Apr 13, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Free Public Libraries under Threat

2 min read

The Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) is pushing for a crucial law change to keep public libraries free across New Zealand.

LIANZA warns that free libraries will soon be a thing of the past unless New Zealanders enshrine their rights in legislation.

Barbara Garriock, LIANZA spokesperson, says Many Kiwis would be amazed to learn there is currently nothing to stop local authorities in New Zealand charging for services like book loans, Internet and digital services.

Crucial legislation to keep public libraries free would bring New Zealand in step with countries like Australia, the UK, Canada and the United States. she says.

Attempts have already been made by some local authorities to charge for membership and book lending.

Public library managers should be able to focus on providing library services to meet their communities needs. These repetitive negotiations are a huge waste of tax payers money.

It will only be a matter of time before we are all forced to pay for library services. For some families, the charges could add up to hundreds of dollars a year.

Ms Garriock says Those on low incomes would be hit the hardest by library charges. When economic times get tough, people need libraries even more. Visits to public libraries have increased by over 10.5% within the last year to over 37 million across the country. New Zealanders love libraries!

2011 is General Election year and LIANZA will be contacting candidates to advocate the importance of keeping public libraries free.

To find out more about this issue visit the LIANZA website: http://www.lianza.org.nz/sites/lianza.org.nz/files/keep_public_libraries_free_background.pdf

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