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Libraries bigger than books

April 18, 2005

Libraries bigger than books

Birkenhead Library is booked - to move to temporary premises while the new library and civic centre is built on its existing site on Nell Fisher Reserve.

From late April the library will operate out of the council's Birkenhead Leisure Centre in Memorial Dr, and the area office and Citizens Advice Bureau out of the Rawene Centre in Rawene Rd.

North Shore City community services and parks committee chairperson, Margaret Miles, says Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre is one of the major projects in the 2005-2006 draft Annual Plan.

"Now is people's chance to have their say on the proposal to spend a total of $19m on libraries in the coming year, which is year two of the 2004-2014 City Plan," she says.

The 2005-2006 draft Annual Plan is currently out public comment until this Friday, April 22.

The average rates increase proposed to pay for new assets and maintain existing services is 6.99 per cent.

The total cost of Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre is $6.5m, of which $1m is an additional amount to be funded in the 2005-2006 draft Annual Plan.

The centre will also include the Birkenhead Area Office, Citizens Advice Bureau and Plunket, the Birkenhead Community Co-ordinator, meeting rooms and a café when it opens next year.

Other key projects for the coming year include providing a high-quality, seven-day-a-week library service, planning for an extension to Devonport Library, and a new automated library management system that will be integrated across the region.

North Shore City Council not only has seven separate libraries which operate seven days a week, but a mobile library service which is on the road five days as well. Information sources include books, magazines, CD-ROMs, CDs, DVDs, video and electronic databases, and the internet.

Each year North Shore City libraries lend three million books, and spend more than a million dollars buying new ones.

"We're not legally required to provide libraries, but we do it because it's so important to our residents. It gives everyone access to recreation and leisure, knowledge and education opportunities," says Margaret Miles.

The submission period for the 2005-2006 draft Annual Plan ends on April 22. As well as filling in the reply-paid form on the back of the summary newsletter delivered to every household across the city, people can submit online at www.northshorecity.govt.nz.

The form can also be used to nominate a time to present to the council's hearings committee, which will meet in May. Fifth-term North Shore City councillor Heather Brown will chair this year's annual plan hearings committee.

Any changes as a result will be reflected in the final, approved plan for the year 2005-2006, which will be adopted on June 29.


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