The prettily covered Consultation Document for the Tauranga City Proposed Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025 wanted to know what we thought about “Library Stock”.
Don’t get hysterical they’re not suggesting an urban dairy conversion as the hottest alternative for the Downtown Tauranga City Library. No, under the general heading of “Delivering efficient services to our communities” above the section wanting community opinion on “Reserve Mowing”, “Tsunami Evacuation Routes”, “Property Sales” and “Bay Oval” is “Library Stock”.
“Our library stock includes books, e-books (since 2012), DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and newspapers” “Council’s proposal is to set the library stock budget at $798,000 per year for the next 10 years This means the number of stock items per resident will decline until 2021/22, subsequently increasing due to a higher number of e-books. Note that e-books are funded from a separate operational budget.” “Reducing book purchases would reduce debt by $7m over the 10 years and save $180,000 in rates based on the reduction of stock purchases in the first year. This equates to an average rate reduction of $3.38 per ratepayer. This saving would increase incrementally with each year’s reduction in expenditure on books, leading to a saving of over $1m per year by the end of the 10 years”
Don’t cry because the grass will be cut “ We reduced the level of reserve mowing through the last Annual Plan and since then received a significant number of complaints about the height of grass in reserves. We have listened to your concerns and propose to reinstate reserve mowing to its prior levels. The annual rates impact is $45,000, a cost of $0.85 per ratepayer per year.”
And cricket is to get more money: “Following the success of the recent international cricket matches at Bay Oval, we want to support opportunities that will help to improve the Oval’s profile as a premier facility for sporting events. We propose to help fund the grass cricket training facility maintenance at an additional cost of $62,500 per year, to further support local and regional cricket. This will bring our total contribution per year to $282,500. The annual rates impact of the additional funding is $62,500. a cost of $1.18 per ratepayer per year.”
And if you’re into athletics “The artificial track at Tauranga Domain needs to be replaced in 2017/2018 at a cost of around $790,000. We propose to fund 50% of the track replacement, provided that Tauranga Millenium Track Trust secures the remaining funds. In order to recover some of these costs, we will be developing a user fee scheme to contribute to funding. Any proposed costs will be discussed with the key users of the track. This project will increase debt by $395,350. The annual rates impact of the additional funding once the track is resurfaced (2018) is $108,938, a cost of $1.95 per ratepayer per year”.
It’s all a bit like that old crowd pleasing teaser of watching the sixpence.
My submission to Page 16, of the Consultation Document, Library Stock said:
“The Council is proposing to fix the funding for library stock (as outlined in the document) not including e books to $798,000. per year for the next 10 years. The practical effect of this is that the number of stock items available will decrease but the number of e books available will eventually increase. I think that’s what you’re telling me.
My understanding is that the Tauranga City Council intends there will be more residential occupants in the Downtown Tauranga area in coming years. From my personal observations, the Tauranga City Library is already something more than a “Library”. It has developed into a Community Hub. I have also noticed that it attracts numbers of seemingly overseas students using the Library as a place to study and young tourists using the free WiFi.
I am a traditional dedicated Library user – fiction and non-fiction, newspaper reading, magazine reading and information gathering. I also participate in the business forums the Library has recently started to organise. Sunday afternoons exemplify the on-going importance of books and libraries to children.
It seems ironic at a time (a) when the Chief Youth Court Judge of New Zealand is publicly discussing the importance of literacy and education as factors preventing youth disengagement and criminality; (b) the population of Tauranga is predicted to increase; © there are ongoing media reports of the development of a University site with Downtown Tauranga; (d) and there is persistent banging on about the redevelopment of social and cultural vibrancy in Downtown Tauranga; the Council proposes to restrain the Library budget.
Having said the above I would submit the following be considered:
(a) While I am mindful of the many in the Bay of Plenty with very limited incomes; that there is a tiered system of paid borrowing implemented. For instance you could have:
A ratepayer free basic library borrowing card that entitled you to take out two fiction books (in any format) and two non-fiction books (in any format) per week.
(I’m not clear whether there is a fee for non-ratepayers at present, if not then there should be a basic fee of say $50. per 12 months for other than ratepayers).
Then for everyone a six monthly fee of say $30. which entitled you to something more than the basic book allocation. This would be an annual fee for ratepayers of $60. per year (0.97 cents per week of a 52 week year) and non-ratepayers of $110. per year ($2.12 cents per 52 week year).
Existing free and paid systems would remain within the subscription system. The existing charges for items such as new magazines and paid books would remain as would the free services such as the newspaper and magazines reading section and New Zealand room.
There could be a basic charge for access to the Library WiFi; that it is free is why so many young tourists are sitting around in the Library.
(b) A charitable trust to fundraise and hold events specifically for Library purposes could be established.”
I couldn’t find the sixpence but it looks as though there are no “savings” at the Library. The Library budget is being cut because other things are considered more important to spend money on. Not to me.
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop