The idea of integrating council services into the Wanaka
Library was rejected again by some residents at a public
forum last week.
The Thursday evening meeting in Wanaka gave the public a
chance to give feedback on recommendations released last week
by the Queenstown Lakes District Council's library task force
and independent consultants on the future of library services
in the district.
It was attended by about 50 people, including task force
members, councillors and council staff.
Several members of the public reiterated concerns the
integration of a service centre into the library - first
mooted in last year's council restructuring and endorsed by
the council's consultants - would mean a downgrade of library
Council operations general manager Ruth Stokes said such
integration was ''very tried and true across New Zealand for
many council networks of similar size to us'', such as in
Taranaki and Selwyn.
Those communities had expressed similar concerns their
library services would be ''diluted'', but the opposite had
''They bring more people to the library ... and we're
actually about freeing our library staff to add value to
Wanaka Public Libraries Association committee member Dame
Sukhi Turner said she ''would like to rebut everything'' Mrs
Stokes had said.
''Our library is quite active; it's very full, perhaps it
needs more space, and I think anything to interfere with that
... would take away from that,'' Dame Sukhi said.
In contrast, task force member and Grey Power representative
Betty Gray, of Queenstown, said Grey Power members would
appreciate a ''one-stop shop'' with council and library
Resident Kathy Dedo said not enough information had been
provided on how the library might change as a result of
integrating a service centre.
''I think part of the problem is the picture hasn't been
painted well enough what that might look like for us here in
Mayor Vanessa van Uden stressed the council had
''categorically'' not made a decision to put service centres
If the council endorsed the idea, a capital works programme
would be required which would then be subject to an annual
There was also some discussion about RFID (radio-frequency
identification) strips on books which Wakatipu High School
librarian and task force member Paula Bell said would make
library ''housekeeping'' much easier and give the option of
introducing a self-issue service in the future.
One woman said recommendations in the review for service
improvements were ''very broad-brush'' and should not be
applied to the Wanaka Library, which was already exceeding
Mrs Gray supported a new modern library in Frankton, but
fellow task force member Paul Tamati said it would be too
It was suggested the council could work with the Ministry of
Education to establish a Frankton library as part of a new
school already planned for the area.
That idea also came up at Wednesday night's library forum in
Queenstown, which was attended by just nine members of the
Ms van Uden said the library review was on the agenda for
next Thursday's council meeting in Wanaka, where councillors
would either endorse it in its entirety, or make changes
based on feedback received.