No? Neither do we. And you can help us to keep public libraries free for everyone.
We are running the “Keep Public Libraries Free” Campaign to lobby the New Zealand Government to introduce legislation to protect public libraries. Libraries should be free to the whole community and without legislation in place there is a real danger local authorities will impose charges for basic library services in this tight economic climate.
LIANZA is asking for your support because we believe your organisation holds similar core values and interests to us: a commitment to human rights, literacy, and education as well as progression for everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation. Organisations such as yours are uniquely placed in their communities to make people aware of, and to encourage participation in, this campaign. You can also help us to make MPs and electoral candidates aware of how high levels of public support are for this.
The lead up to the General Election 2011 on 26th November provides an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of this crucial issue.
Many public libraries throughout New Zealand are finding themselves in challenging circumstances, with councils wanting to impose charges on free core services such as book borrowing. These and other cost-saving measures are being proposed at a number of local authorities as the squeeze goes on to reduce costs and increase revenue. Community response so far has been critical to ensuring that proposals have been either withdrawn or scaled back.
In 2009, over 100,000 “New Zealanders Love Libraries” postcards urging politicians to define public libraries as a core local authority service were sent to Parliament by public library supporters throughout New Zealand. As a direct result of this action, Public Libraries are now defined as a core service in the Local Government Act 2002. This positive outcome illustrates how public opinion can influence legislation. It is time to take the next step and lobby to get free public libraries protected by legislation as they are in countries like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
What is LIANZA?