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LIANZA Opposes Library Charges

For immediate release
27 January 2010

Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa opposes library charges

LIANZA, The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, opposes Tauranga City Council’s current proposal to charge for adult loans in an effort to reduce the rates contribution to library services.

LIANZA believes that public libraries have a fundamental role in the development and maintenance of a democratic society supporting culture, education, and economic and personal development.

Barbara Garriock, LIANZA President is concerned that other public libraries may also be facing increased charges and budget cuts.

“In hard times Council officers and elected representatives need to focus on services that will provide the most benefit to their community.” Ms Garriock says.

Recognising that in times of economic stringency there is a tendency to look for ways of raising funds for public services other than by taxation, the Association asserts that it is essential that a basic level of public library provision be retained in accordance with its Standards for Public Libraries, 2004:

1. Public libraries should be free and universally available.
2. Public library services should be available free of charge, except such charges as defined in the Standards.

The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto (1994) states that “Constructive participation and the development of democracy depend on satisfactory education as well as on free and unlimited access to knowledge, thought, culture and information.”

Public library usage in this country is amongst the highest in the western world and LIANZA opposes any limitations on access to collections by New Zealanders due to user charges.

ENDS

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