This morning some politicians were out and about in my local area. It's an election year, and I live in a marginal seat. Also, our sitting member has been "kicked to the curb" by the party that she represents and consequently we have a new candidate. And did I mention that it's an election year, and we're a marginal seat???
So I decided to have a chat with our new candidate, get a feel for her, and find out what she had to say about the possible closure of our local library branch. My first impression is that she's intelligent and strong. She seems well-informed about the importance of public libraries to communities, and supportive of the campaign to oppose the closure of our branch. It's not an issue that she has direct control of, not yet being member of parliament. Also, libraries are a local government (Council) issue, and our new candidate is running for a Federal parliament seat. However, she did assure me that she would support my petition to Council.
So I came home and rattled off a letter to the Mayor.
"It has come to my attention that XXXXXXX City Council is considering closing the XXXXXXX Branch of XXXXXXX Library. I have also become aware that moving the Branch to a temporary classroom within XXXXXXX Public School has been forwarded as a possible alternative arrangement.
Please do not close XXXXXXX Library.
XXXXXXX is an isolated neighbourhood with limited transport and the Library is an important asset within the community. In addition, residents from the even more isolated XXXXXXX communities do not have a Library Branch of their own, and the XXXXXXX Branch is their closest public library. The recent opening of XXXXXXX High School further expands the clientele that the XXXXXXX Library Branch serves.
Moving XXXXXXX Library to within XXXXXXX Public School is an unacceptable solution. It opens school students to risk from members of the public who would not usually be on school grounds.
Public libraries are vital to social infrastructure, providing the indispensable service of facilitating access to information for all.
“Freedom of access to public library and information services is essential to the democratic process and to the social well-being of the Australian community.” From Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) Statement on Public Library Services, this can be read in full at http://www.alia.org.au/policies/public.library.services.html
Please use this opportunity to consider how XXXXXXX Library can best meet the information, learning and recreational needs of the XXXXXXX community."
I have forwarded a copy of this letter to our new candidate, in the hope that she will add her voice to the cause.
What about you? Do you have adequate public library service in your area?