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Labour’s positive stance on Free Public Libraries welcomed

Media Release: Tuesday 5 July 2011

Library Association welcomes Labour’s positive stance on Free Public Libraries

The Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) welcomes Grant Robertson’s announcement of 30 June outlining Labour’s support for legislation to protect the provision of Free Public Library services.

Barbara Garriock, the Association’s spokesperson says “We are pleased that Labour has recognised the current risks to free public libraries in this country and responded with such a positive move by drafting legislation to address this very important issue.”

The provision of free public library services is significant on both a local and national level. Public libraries are vital hubs, connecting people to their communities and contributing to New Zealand’s sense of national identity. A well-informed, educated population brings social and economic benefits to the whole country.

The Association believes that charging users negates the right of all New Zealanders to equal access to information and discriminates against those who most need free public libraries, people from low income households.

Ms Garriock says “For example, the removal of an internet fee of $2.00 per hour at Auckland City Libraries in 2007 resulted in significant growth in the use of internet services, indicating that even small charges are a barrier for library users”.

“In this time of technological change it is crucial that the principle of freedom of access to information, irrespective of format, is enshrined in law. There is currently a risk that some local authorities will treat the introduction of e-books as an income generating opportunity”.

LIANZA will be advocating the importance of keeping public libraries free and seeking to establish the position of all political parties on this issue before the General Election and encourages the public to do the same.

More information, including how you can support keeping public libraries free, can be found on the LIANZA website: http://www.lianza.org.nz/news-events/keep-public-libraries-free


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