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Community feedback shows Motueka needs new library

April 18th, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

Feedback obtained through a popular Facebook page suggests that most Motueka people feel a modern library is a community need, not just a "nice to have".

An open question about whether libraries are "wants" or "needs" was placed last week on the Motueka 2030 Facebook page, which currently has over 800 followers.

The broad range of well-argued comments gives a clear pointer to community leaders and Tasman councillors that people believe well resourced libraries are a key part of our future, not a relic of our past.

The Facebook post put forward the following discussion point:

"Recent meetings with TDC indicate there are people in Motueka and the district who believe that modern town libraries are something which we 'want' but do not 'need'. There are also people who believe the opposite - that modern town libraries are a key part of communities.
"We want to know what you think. Is it a 'NEED' or a 'WANT'?
"And which would you prefer - (1) fractionally higher rates if it meant a new standard-sized library for Motueka, or (2) keep rates as they are by deferring a new library for 4 or 5 more years?"

A total of 35 people left at least one comment, in most cases with reasoned arguments. You can read all the comments by downloading this PDF document.

On the specific question of "want" or "need", one person said community libraries were a want while 24 people explicitly said they were a need. (Ten comments did not indicate either way.)

However seven of the people giving an answer to that question indicated that they thought the current library is adequate for the task, while 14 people stated that it was inadequate and an upgrade or new library was necessary sooner than planned.

Only five people left comments regarding whether they would be happy with fractionally higher rates if it meant a new library sooner; four of them said they would be happy while one said they would rather wait.

Here is a selection of typical comments made on the Facebook post:

"Need! Libraries are one of the few completely democratic spaces in our communities. They're not just for books - they're a haven which anyone can access for free; for warmth on a cold day, company when lonely, activities for children, knowledge about and access to the wider world, free computer training etc etc. Motueka library is an essential resource in our community. So, given the two choices you gave, I would choose fractionally higher rates and an upgrade in the nearer future." - Pania Konecna

"The trend is from libraries to information and learning hubs where books are the major focus but there are varied forms to enhance learning , access to information and communication. It should enhance and add value to schools and early childhood sectors.We have a great opportunity to invest in and develop an amazing , innovative resource centre for children, families and the wider community!" - Lyn Campbell

"OMG a library is not even a need, it's a MUST! If you see how my daughter almost eats books! Today she took back 21 books. She would be miserable without the library!" - Marije Maroha

"We definitely need a new library and the sooner the better!. I think the staff are amazing the way they 'cheerfully' deal with the shortage of shelving, the cramped children's area (thinking of holiday programmes particularly), areas for study, etc." - Mary Maxwell

"Modern town libraries are an absolute need, and it could be expanded - reseach rooms, meeting rooms, short term offices for hire. If Richmond deserves a great library, with meeting rooms, a cafe, an IT room and lots and lots of space, why don't we?" - Jenn Fitzsimmons

"Our library is the heart of the community, especially for parents of young children. Im always running into a wide cross section of our community there, doing all sorts of things. Need!" - Ketter Voss

The issue of a new library in Motueka is bubbling to the surface following recent news items around TDC's Annual Plan for 2016/17. A story published by Motueka Online last week about Council's refusal to start a feasibility study on the project during that year has received more than 2,200 views on our Facebook page over the past five days.

The Motueka Community Board is planning to introduce shortly a survey on community attitudes to a new library, to be made available to all people rather than just Facebook users.


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