Library toilets 'totally appalling'

Poor toilet facilities and a lack of wheelchair access at the Dunedin City Library have been criticised by the Dunedin Public Libraries Association at the Dunedin City Council's annual plan hearings.

Association president Merle van de Klundert said the library toilet facilities were ''totally appalling'' and ''probably full of germs'', and the building was difficult to access for people in wheelchairs or with baby buggies.

She accused councillors of using ''spurious'' arguments about funding cuts being due to lower borrowing rates.

''Choosing to ignore the fact that if a library is unable to provide the materials that its customers wish to borrow, demand will inevitably drop off.''

The association wanted better maintenance and eventually a major refurbishment of the library.

It also wanted a decision on a library for South Dunedin and said a temporary library should be set up.

Library Services manager Bernie Hawke said the toilets were regularly cleaned but had not been upgraded since the library opened in 1980.

Some were being refurbished later this year. While wheelchair access did not meet the code for new buildings, it was still possible for wheelchair users to enter the library from Municipal Lane or the car park.

The library would need to meet wheelchair standards if it was extensively refurbished, Mr Hawke said.

The council's Long Term Community Plan includes major work on the library, scheduled to begin in 2015-16 and to be finished in 2020, but is subject to annual budgets.

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