Following the decision by the Administrator at the June 29 Central Coast Council meeting to close The Entrance Library on July 30 July, I have now been informed that the closure “will instigate an extension to the Council’s existing outreach program by setting up a mobile library at The Entrance”.
This, it is said, “will provide all community members with access to library books, magazines and other resources in our library collection… [and] will also attract visitors to the town centre for the benefit of local businesses”.
Will it do so in circumstances where the Council Customer Service point is to be relocated to the Visitor Information Centre, and available for only 14 hours per week?
Having regard to the above matters, my first query is this: was the Administrator properly informed of community objections to the closure of The Entrance Library prior to the decision being taken?
It seems inconceivable that he was.
I was informed prior to the Council meeting that “a number of submissions and the petition were received regarding the proposed closure of the library and have now been collated for Council’s consideration.”
However, this statement references one petition only.
Had the Administrator been accurately briefed he would have been aware of a second petition with almost 1,400 signatories from The Entrance community who were opposed to the library’s closure.
This is not an insignificant level of opposition.
To the contrary, it emphasises legitimate and strong concern on the part of the community.
It is untrue to suggest that a mobile part time library will be as good as a permanent library.
A mobile library does not have the range of literature or the technology services that a permanent library provides.
It is self evidently second best and inadequate.
The proposed site of the temporary Council Services is unsatisfactory in a variety of ways including that it is largely inaccessible by public transport to older members of the community.
The Council owns much other real estate in The Entrance that could readily house a modern library.
It is not too late to reconsider the fate of the library.
The Entrance is a community of disadvantaged persons.
The legacy of the Administrator ought not be as the man who left low socio-economic status children with little or no access to good literature; who stopped the elderly from having a permanent place to attend to keep up-to-date with current reading and meet with like minded people; and, who condemned The Entrance community to part-time Council services.
Mr Hart, you have the opportunity and ability at the next Council meeting to right this wrong by reversing this terrible and short sighted decision.
I am not unmindful that hard decisions had to be taken, however, it is necessary that all decisions you make be taken with consideration of the long term interests of the community.
The closure of the library at The Entrance is not such a decision.
Email, July 5
Jacqueline Austin, The Entrance