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New Direction For Mobile Library

5 December 2000

Auckland City’s Community Development Committee has approved changes to the mobile library bus service to target wider interest groups within existing budgets.

The changes, which include retiring one of the mobile library buses for a year on a trial basis, will start at the end of January 2001.

Community Development Committee chairperson Councillor Penny Sefuiva says, “I am pleased that the Community Development Committee has now reviewed this matter. The existing service is costly, poorly targeted and delivers to a very narrow customer base.”

A revamped service will see the retention of 70% of existing customers and will also have the added flexibility for developing new services for older adults and others. “The advantage for all concerned here is that it is a 12 month trial with the option to review it at the end of that period, and that we can effectively target new groups who may be missing out on a library service,” she says.

Councillor Sefuiva says that most of the debate centres on the whether people will miss out on access to a mobile library. “To maintain the status quo the mobile service is costing us $122.25 per person annually which, frankly, is untenable. The option chosen will cost $30.92 per person and have the advantage of allowing us to look specifically at the diverse needs of communities,” she says.

“We really need to move with the times and look at how we can meet these changing needs. We need a service that truly represents the beginning of an expanded and accessible service to older adults, and one that also has wide potential to expand its customer base.”

Libraries will now examine the options, looking specifically at improved targeting to a wider group of housebound and rest home elderly, while maintaining access for most existing customers and improving access to others. “It’s an exciting challenge to improve an historic service that, sadly, is really only servicing a tiny proportion of older folk and very limited numbers of children.”

Councillor Sefuiva says that libraries have to look at both economic and social benefits and make correct strategic decisions, which will influence their style of delivery and their relevance to communities in the future. “It is my view that library staff must have the flexibility to respond to the changing needs of a large city. They must remain pertinent, accessible and competitive in the fast developing knowledge economy today.”

The new service will be monitored and opinions gauged from community feedback on the changes to routes and other access requirements. “We will not be deserting the older adults and the housebound, and will look at every aspect that will improve the service. This may even include a six or seven day mobile service,” says Councillor Sefuiva. Covering similarly sized geographical areas, Auckland City has more libraries than either Manukau City or North Shore City. Manukau City only operates one mobile library bus.

A new timetable for the remaining mobile library bus will be available in the New Year and will start on Tuesday, January 30, 2001.

ENDS
For further information please contact:
Councillor Penny Sefuiva, tel: 8460861
Chairperson, Community Development Committee

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