Reports are emerging of plans to reduce the opening hours of the Brooklyn, Wadestown and Khandallah libraries so they would only function for half of the current 10 hours they are open each day. It is estimated that this would save $417,000 per year, which you have to admit is not an insignificant sum. The report also seems to propose that the Central Library move to close at 7pm on weeknights (rather than the current 8:30pm and 9pm hours).
Unfortunately, the councillor the Dom Post has gone to, social portfolio leader, Stephanie Cook, seems woefully underprepared to fight or even challenge it. Her messaging is all over the show…
“It is going to be politically very unpalatable. While the council has got some huge cost pressures, I think things like these [proposed cuts to] direct service areas are going to spike a huge backlash from the community.”
Ms Cook is less averse to reduced opening hours at the Central Library and thinks the public may also be accepting of it.
“Apparently the visitor numbers are really low for that last hour and a half … But I’d like to see more detail on the numbers to see what they actually are.”
This issue has the potential to be a big thorn in the side for many of the councillors, particularly Cook and Wade-Brown. I doubt anyone who voted for Celia thought that would lead to their precious libraries closing early.
There was a Facebook group called O.W.L. (Owners of Wellington Library) created during the election campaign – it will be interesting to see if these people are capable of getting any traction out of the issue.