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Wellington Libraries Cut to the Bone

Wellington Libraries Cut to the Bone

Almost two million dollars will have been taken out of Wellington City Council’s libraries budget over the past three years if another round of cuts goes ahead, according to the Public Service Association.

The Council is currently considering its overall annual budget.  As part of that it is proposing a $400,000 budget cut to libraries this year, on top of last year’s $800,000 cut and similar cuts in 2011.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says the Council claims it wants to maintain its library network and services but the reality is they are being cut to the bone.

“Library workers are increasingly receiving complaints from users about reduced services but I think ratepayers would be shocked to realise how much money has progressively been cut from the libraries budget.”

The cuts have led to frontline job losses, particularly among professional librarians, customer service desks have been reduced, children’s book clubs and holiday programmes have been cancelled, stock rotation has been affected and there are plans to reduce opening hours at a number of suburban libraries.

Library services are also consistently rated as the services most valued by New Zealanders as measured by the State Services Commission’s Kiwis Count survey.

“Libraries and the services they provide are valuable community, educational and social assets.  Wellington City Council likes to pride itself on being the cultural capital but these cuts run counter to that,” says Brenda Pilott.

The PSA has made a comprehensive submission on the Council’s Annual Plan and is calling on the Council to withdraw the proposed budget cuts and to reinstate cuts made in previous years.

ENDS

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