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Public Libraries lead the way for service

Public Libraries lead the way for service

New Zealanders love their public libraries and are visiting them more often, according to the Kiwis Count survey of more than a thousand New Zealanders carried out earlier this year.

The survey found generally high levels of satisfaction with public services but none higher than public libraries. Libraries had an overall score of 85 for overall service quality, well above the overall service score of 72 for public services generally.

“It’s no surprise. Public libraries are a fantastic public resource and people recognise that,” says Brenda Pilott, National Secretary of the Public Service Association.

“Libraries play an essential role in enhancing literacy and providing information that supports our education system and our democracy. For example, libraries run reading programmes for children and homework support centres”

“Our concern is that if the Government’s proposed amendments to the Local Government Act go ahead, some public libraries will be forced to introduce user charges for books as many already do for DVDs and music.”

The Government intends to amend the Act to make local councils narrow their focus to undefined “core responsibilities” in a way “that is most cost-effective for households and businesses”.

“That could put a squeeze on library budgets. We are already aware of public libraries cutting costs by shortening hours and raising charges in response to financial restraints.”

“We welcome MP Darien Fenton’s private member’s bill to keep books, DVDs, music and internet use free of charge at public libraries and hope it finds support in Parliament.”

© Scoop Media

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