District Libraries

March 4th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

writes in the Dom Post:

And then there was the library. Every Friday night the four Armstrong kids would troop down and get our books. The librarians were friendly and though the library was small, it had a copy of my favourite book – Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. It’s about a steam shovel operator who digs a great big hole but forgets to create a path out. Little did I know that Mike Mulligan would provide me with a perfect metaphor for the Wellington City Council in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

I grew up in Island Bay, and the Island Bay Library was an important part of my childhood. I was a fast reader and would visit there almost every fortnight to borrow more books. Because it was in my neighbourhood, I could walk there on the way home from school. There is no way I would have gone to the central library in town.

But if you investigate further you find that this pillar of the Brooklyn community is at risk from a far greater natural disaster than earthquakes – city councillors. Brooklyn Library’s services have been deliberately run down by cutting staff hours and stock circulation. Though Brooklyn is categorised as a District Centre, which entitles it to a library, this apparently conflicts with the council’s recent Centres Policy, which sees Brooklyn as a Neighbourhood Centre. And under this policy, because Brooklyn is (just) less than 3 kilometres from the city library, then it doesn’t qualify for a library. To think our rates pay for this ridiculously bureaucratic way to define a community. You wouldn’t read about it – especially now that they’re wanting to close .

Wadestown’s excellent library is also under threat, though community facilities portfolio leader Justin Lester said recently that closing Wadestown Library would not be worth “the amount of hurt that you go through trying”. I would prefer that the councillors I elect to say things like “Wadestown Library will close over my dead body” than to tell me that they don’t want to engage in a bitter public fight over its closure.

I doubt there is a lot Dave Armstrong and I agree on politically, but community libraries may just be one of them.

I think it is vital that kids can easily access a local library and borrow books at no or low cost. The benefits of having kids be enthusiastic readers is massive. I do regard this as a clear public good, which should be funded by ratepayers.

Kids should be reading as much as possible. Few families can afford to buy scores of books a year. That is very libraries are so brilliant, with temporary borrowing. They make it easy for all families to have kids who read. Of course there are other barriers such as parental attitudes, but libraries at least remove the barrier of cost.

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78 Responses to “District Libraries”

  1. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    If only libraries had stuck to their core business i.e supplying books, but they have gone into putting music and DVD stores out of business as well, which they did not need to do.

    I love reading and this was re-enforced by easy access to the Timaru Public Library, but I wonder how much resource is taken away from books by the music and the movies and then how much this has to do with the closure of suburban libraries. And I’m not even going to try and get my head around copyright issues .

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  2. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    Thank God (no pun intended) John Banks wasn’t elected Mayor of the Auckland SuperCity.

    Libraries, along with public pools, were to be privatised under a Bank’s regime.

    Nothing like keeping books away from poor kids to keep ACT coffers alive.

    [DPF: Why do you lie? Do you think anyone believes you?]

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  3. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    “I do regard this as a clear public good, which should be funded by ratepayers.”

    Well I do not, and it should not be funded by ratepayers. If you want public libraries Mr. Farrar, then organise a charity and raise the money voluntarily.

    Whereas there once may have been a case for libraries, and ratepayers being compelled to contribute on the justification that it is a “public good”, these are reasons that have long been perverted into too many rip offs of gullible and well meaning rate payers. It needs to stop.

    At the very least, there should be tick boxes on the rating form.

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  4. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Only hamnidaV2 could attack Banks, ACT and party funding in a post on libraries.

    On topic, I enjoyed libraries and reading as a kid.. but surely the 21 century will see this media give way to digital on-line?

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  5. lazza (382 comments) says:

    David you said “I do regard this (Council libraries) as a clear public good, which should be funded by ratepayers”

    Sorry but I disagree totally with this stance … and here is why.

    Kids and books … parental encouragement of early reading habits is paramount NOT access (walking distance!?) to a public (ratepayer funded!) library.

    Give a Kindle for every kid’s first birthday/Christmas present. For pensioners provide one cheap-subsidised model from a Council sponsored bulk order.

    If you have any doubts on this maybe a cost benefit analysis of (expensive) staffed rates funded Council libraries costed against the (more efficient-cheaper) alternatives above might change your mind.

    Or are we all happy with existing Council rates/charges … and the huge subsidy granted without a murmur (sacred cow!) annually to Library services?

    Here then is one blindingly obvious way to get better value for ratepayer’s money. And forget all the starry-eyed nostalgia … it ain’t what it used to be OK?

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  6. Komata (1,202 comments) says:

    As an ex-Wellingtonian and a Librarian, I am appalled. The view of the Councillor responsible for the Brooklyn Library is enlightening:

    ‘Council officers have advised that Brooklyn Library is seisimically prone and that the required stregthening works are not feasible given the cost and the impact it would have on the configuration of the building. If you live in Brooklyn and enjoy the current library service this is less than ideal.

    As a result Councillors have asked staff to look at alternative accommodation options, be it within a nearby school or the Brooklyn Community Centre. In particular, I support the concept of hubbing with other facilities and hopefully this will hve mutual benefit, be it via WCC contributing to rental payments, assisted staffing levels or financial contributions to existing facilities.’

    (Source: Justin Lester – Wellington City Councillor, Northern Ward)

    Unfortunately ‘hubbing’ tends to result in loss of library space and a reduction of library services in favour of more ‘politically advantgeous’ and ‘sexy’ alternatives. It’s a very slippery slope that never does libraries any good, and given the Council’s already-stated views concerning the ‘need’ for a library ‘so close to town’ I am surprised that Mr. Lester is so indifferent towards the threat that such a statement makes. Closeure is looming and he mumbles platitudes.

    Obviously he also goes into town, and uses ‘Central.

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  7. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    I disagree David, just because you think it serves a public good (i.e. you like them) isn’t a good enough reason to keep them. If you don’t regard power companies, postal services et all as being good enough to be funded by taxes (or rates as they are in this case) then Libraries would have to fall well short of that same ‘line’.

    I too loved going to libraries as a child as we were certainly the family that couldn’t afford to buy books. However, the best way to keep them relevant might be to privatise them and make them user pays.

    Let the market decide and all that.

    [DPF: I regard access to knowledge as fundamentally different to commercial commodities such as postage and electricity.]

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  8. seanmaitland (501 comments) says:

    I’ve played in Dave Armstrong’s football team quite a few years ago, and he is a few cards short of a full deck.

    What is it with left leaning political commentators, that every single article without fail is simply bashing, criticising, whinging, complaining about things, and then never attempts to come up with valid solutions?

    I get sick of reading Bernard Hickey’s column in the Herald every week, continually going on about the over valued currency and how the housing market is going to crash soon. Bloody boring as crap, and most of the time their reasoning is batshit crazy.

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  9. artemisia (254 comments) says:

    DPF – “Few families can afford to buy scores of books a year”. Maybe true if they are new books, but there are huge volumes of cheap second hand books about. Many larger centres have book fairs and a parent would be hard pressed to carry
    $20 worth of kids books. Add to that op shops, school and church fairs, which usually have mountains of cheap kids books. And Trademe also have loads of cheap kids books for those in more remote areas.

    Then there are school libraries as well. And requests can be made for books and book tokens for gifts at birthdays and Christmas.

    If parents make a small effort and outlay they can usually supply their children with plenty of reading material.

    Been there, done that. No money for new books but there were always plenty of books about.

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  10. wreck1080 (3,969 comments) says:

    Our library cut the number of books you can simultaneously borrow on a single library card from 40 down to 10 ( i think 10 but can’t remember exactly).

    So, being a family of 2 Adults/3 young children where a young childs book can be read in less than 2 minutes (for the baby books) this was a little tricky as we could easily borrow 40 books in one go.

    This made us get 5 library cards, one for each person. But, it was a nightmare to manage and many other members of the public did the same as us.

    This caused huge queues to form at the district libraries as librarians and customers attempted to juggle book quantities between cards.

    Who would be so stupid to implement such a change? Well, the some council that tried to charge for borrowing, Tauranga City council of idiots.

    Incidentally, TCC reversed their policy due to the ensuing chaos .

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  11. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    “DPF: I regard access to knowledge as fundamentally different to commercial commodities such as postage and electricity”

    I totally agree that. It is in the state’s best interest to have an educated public.

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  12. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    @DPF – [DPF: I regard access to knowledge as fundamentally different to commercial commodities such as postage and electricity.] – I would argue that it would be more beneficial to have access to an internet kiosk over outdated books as far as access to knowledge. Certainly from a research point of view; I would then suggest that a pretty hefty percentage of the material borrowed by children is in fact fiction which means it is of no benefit to them as far as increasing their awareness of the world around them. Would you agree?

    For the record I love books, libraries and the nostalgia that comes with them. I just don’t know that they play a fundamental enough part in our day to to day lives these days to warrant the millions of dollars they cost each year.

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  13. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    Come to think of it, for the cost of keeping our libraries in Auckland ‘current’ I wonder what you could do as far as making internet more accessible across the city (free)….now that is somewhere I’d like my rates to go into. Just a thought.

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  14. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    [DPF: I regard access to knowledge as fundamentally different to commercial commodities such as postage and electricity.]

    Succinctly expressed, and it’s sad it does need to be expressed because it should be obvious to anyone with a brain.

    Give a Kindle for every kid’s first birthday/Christmas present. For pensioners provide one cheap-subsidised model from a Council sponsored bulk order.

    “Access to knowledge” is also fundamentally different from having a good supply of fiction to read – not the same things at all.

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  15. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    The problem is the world is moving on and libraries are a relic of earlier times but emotionally clung on to so anyone proposing change is vilified as a Philistine.

    I used to be a regular library borrower and we always had a family card but we haven’t been near one for years, thanks to my computers and Kindle – and cheap books on-line.

    Even school libraries no longer stock shelves of outdated reference books now kids can use the internet. Disposing of books is always a problem because there are so many people who ‘love books’ as objects rather than for what they contain. Schools are used to helpful members of the community rescuing 1960’s geography textbooks from the dump and trotting back with them!

    I find it a relief to have culled my ridiculously large collection going back to university textbooks and keeping only much-loved children’s books and a few special books rather than miles of smelly, dusty old paperbacks and non-fiction no-one ever looks at any more. I have even cut down on cookery books.

    Perhaps it is time to turf out the derelicts, close down the present buildings and change to smaller libraries servicing families where they live.

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  16. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Why is this public good something to be funded by ratepayers, instead of taxpayers?

    You’ve certainly advocated against councils doing things in the past (social housing is one that comes to mind, but I’m confident there were others) on the basis that while it was important, it should be the central government and not local government that deals with it. What is the distinction between public goods that should be local government run and public goods that should be central government run?

    [DPF: There is a case for taxpayers rather than ratepayers – I agree. But as all the libraries are currently funded by local govt, I’m not sure there is benefit from changing. What I don’t like is when something is already funded by central govt, and local govt decides to get involved also]

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  17. Manolo (14,070 comments) says:

    Dave Armstrong writes rubbish and is nothing but a hack.
    How he manages to get published in the DomPost is a mystery and an indictment on the capital’s newspaper.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    I would argue that it would be more beneficial to have access to an internet kiosk over outdated books as far as access to knowledge.

    The ignorant generally hold this view. It’s how they achieved the level of ignorance necessary to hold this view.

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  19. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    Rather than just calling people names, how about you explain why you think I’m ignorant? (or are you just being a cunt).

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  20. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    So, as noted by others, providing access to fiction is a public good. Why cant schools fulfill this fucntion for kids? Oh, thats right, they already do…

    Libraries are dying for a simple reason – the model is flawed and broken.

    But on the one hand Councils are evil, because they show no fiscal restraint…unless its a pet hobby horse that must remain for ‘the greater good’, and when Councils try and manage within constrained resource limitations, thats bad.

    Confused, much?

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  21. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    Libraries were great when they were libraries.You know when you could have a quiet read or borrow a book etc

    Now rate payer money has been used to “sex” up these places into community drop in centres with noisey “Teen areas” etc.Security guards and CCTV are now employed as drug dealing goes on as dross is attracted to the “library” rather than rate paying book borrowers.

    Isn’t progress marvellous.

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  22. TheContrarian (1,091 comments) says:

    “Now rate payer money has been used to “sex” up these places into community drop in centres with noisey “Teen areas” etc.Security guards and CCTV are now employed as drug dealing goes on as dross is attracted to the “library” rather than rate paying book borrowers.”

    What fucking bullshit.

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  23. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt, a communist librarian, and white knuckled paranoid at the prospect of privatisation. :)

    The state may well benefit by people having ready access to knowledge, but this is not a case for having the state/ council provide libraries.

    The private sector or better still charities should provide them.

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  24. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Rather than just calling people names, how about you explain why you think I’m ignorant? (or are you just being a cunt).

    Just being a cunt, mostly. In my field you get dumbass bosses all the time trying to tell you everything’s on the internet now so there’s no need for all those books and that valuable floor space, and it gets very, very annoying. If you don’t need to know anything much about anything, an internet kiosk would be an excellent substitute for a library, but if you actually need to know anything in-depth, an internet kiosk is no more than a starting point.

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  25. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    “But on the one hand Councils are evil, because they show no fiscal restraint.”

    Spending money on deserted bike tracks when it should be spent on flyovers.

    Councils have been infiltrated by Green political zealots and as consequence are spending money like water on things the bulk of the population does not want.

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  26. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt, a communist librarian, and white knuckled paranoid at the prospect of privatisation.

    If only he took the relaxed, easy-going pragmatism of, say, Redbaiter as a model…

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  27. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    c#ntrarian brings insightful depth to the debate with

    “What fucking bullshit”

    Thanks cuntrarian,now run along.

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  28. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    Having bosses not provide literature is a different kettle of fish though. Those books are privately purchased I think it is still essential to have reference material handy in a book for many jobs. In terms of public good you would be doing more if you opened a community soup kitchen than you would if you a library open (not that I am advocating that!)

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  29. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    “Spending money on deserted bike tracks when it should be spent on flyovers”

    Youve obviously not been watching bike tracks or cycle sales then weddy.

    “Councils have been infiltrated by Green political zealots and as consequence are spending money like water on things the bulk of the population does not want.”

    I think you mean ‘A small number of councils etc, but to suit Nationals argument we’ll crow that its all of them, whilst still offloading extra responsibility on to them with no additional funding”. I think youll find that investment decisions are made by councillors, and if the ratepayer electorate sticks Greenies in Council, thats what the community wants…

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  30. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    “Youve obviously not been watching bike tracks or cycle sales then weddy.”

    I have. Its a hobby. A trend. Like skateboards.

    Fine for shiney arsed bureaucrats sitting in the same Wellington office all their lives, but not really helpful if you’re one of the few remaining in the country who actually gets things done.

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  31. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    c3nutrarian says
    “DPF: I regard access to knowledge as fundamentally different to commercial commodities such as postage and electricity”

    I totally agree that. It is in the state’s best interest to have an educated public.”
    Vote: 0 0

    c3untrarian thinks of what is in the best interest of the state,not what is in the best interests of the individual or the citizenry.

    What utter fucking statist bullshit.

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  32. MT_Tinman (3,257 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt (1,255) Says:
    March 4th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    “Access to knowledge” is also fundamentally different from having a good supply of fiction to read – not the same things at all.

    Yes, it/they fucking is/are!

    There is as much to be learnt from fiction as any textbook or any other of the myriad of usually dead boring non-fiction books available and more often than not that knowledge is easier absorbed and held when wrapped in interesting prose.

    Well written fiction should be number one on any parent’s shopping/borrowing list.

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  33. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    I am not entirely surprised to hear that you don’t patronise our country’s libraries.

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  34. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “libraries are a relic of earlier times”

    They seem pretty busy, not to mention popular, perhaps people haven’t caught up with their out of dateness?

    I’d regard kid’s fiction as a crucial thing for getting kids to know and understand the world. Partly for developing reading ability but also for presenting information that most kids aren’t going to absorb any other way. After doing a fair bit of travelling I observed that the books and comics I read as a kid gave me a far more accurate picture of the world than a lot of newspapers and non-fiction did. I’d guess this works for history as well, though obviously I’ve no way of checking out the past, not having been to North Korea.

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  35. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    “Fine for shiney arsed bureaucrats sitting in the same Wellington office all their lives, but not really helpful if you’re one of the few remaining in the country who actually gets things done.”

    I count myself as one who “gets things done” Run my own company. Pay a shit load of tax. Employ people. I ride bikes. Three of them in fact. And I know people who own and run bike shops. Given their strong sales and growth through the last few years, starting around 2007, its a trend that continues. Through a long period of economic gloom. Facts. Like the number of people who ride bikes now who didnt a few years ago. I see them all the time.

    Yeah, sorry about those fact things, its not meaningless rhetoric, strongly put that if you dont immediately agree with, youre wrong. Pesky facts huh?

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  36. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    hmmmOKrightI’mafuckwit- I am not disputing your so called facts because they’re not worth disputing.

    Here’s a fact for you.

    The number of people who fancy riding bikes as a hobby or as a means of (with urban liberals) commuting does not justify the money being spent on bike tracks.

    We need flyovers to reduce traffic congestion. Not looney tune watermelon fads.

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  37. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    “OKrightI’mafuckwit” – thats your A game, right?

    Your mummy must be so proud :)

    So, lets not debate based on facts, lets start name calling. And then you propose a fact thats actually more speculation.

    You sir, are a knob.

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  38. BeaB (2,148 comments) says:

    Sam Buchanan
    I didn’t say kids shouldn’t be reading. I doubt anyone on this blog needs a lecture on the importance of reading.

    Lbraries, however, like newspapers, are relics of the past and we need to look for new ways to deliver services to people.

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  39. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    “Your mummy must be so proud”

    My mummy was killed crossing the road with her walker. She was hit by a hoard of speeding cyclists riding four abreast and outside the bike lanes. None of them stopped, but were heard to be cursing old people volubly as they rode off. Something about pedestrians thinking they owned the road.

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  40. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @hmmokrightitis

    Redbaiter doesn’t believe in facts. If a fact contradicts his world-view then he just ignores it.

    Feel free to argue with him, but be aware that it’s like wrestling with a pig – you both end up dirty and the pig enjoys it.

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  41. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    The worst part is she was off to the library at the time.

    OK- I withdraw the hmmOKrightI’mafuckwit, although going on past performances, that’s an extremely generous gesture.

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  42. hmmokrightitis (1,595 comments) says:

    Being judged by you on my commentary is akin to Penny claiming the moral high ground. Even I laughed at the prospect of that.

    As gump has rightly noted, there is no point in debating with you – facts to you are as brains to a moron. Even my kids understand that in order to influence you need to be taken seriously.

    How goes that fight with the left, you know, measurable progress etc.

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  43. Jack5 (5,161 comments) says:

    Tablets like the Kindle are still falling in price and available free are thousands of great titles that are out of copyright. However, computers enhance the value of libraries as stores of paper books. How convenient to be able to search the stock by computer from home. And to know how long you might wait for a book you request.

    Still I think libraries are great. They are community assets well worth preserving. I agree with every other poster here that reading is a wonderful personal and community asset. I find most librarians extraordinarily helpful to everyone in search of a book, or just information. That’s another good reason for keeping libraries.

    If you ever dry through the little town of Fairlie in the South Island MacKenzie country, you may well still be able to see on the outer wall that the local library building (and no doubt much early stock) was one of thousands gifted around the world by the great American magnate Andrew Carnegie. The Fairlie library is now run by a local body. Charity is great, but it still needs local bodies to make use of the gift.

    I don’t understand why libraries have frequent sales to quit old stock. That’s fine for magazines and pop. fiction, but I think they should keep every other readable book they buy so their resource grows over time.

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  44. Jack5 (5,161 comments) says:

    I wrote at 6pm… if you ever dry through the little town of Fairlie.

    Freudian slip. I was thinking that this is probably licensing trust country, and if so this would probably have meant it was probably a prohibition zone in early days.

    The roads are too long and straight to be tempted to stop for a beer nowadays.

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  45. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    If you agree with Libraries funded with stolen rates money DPF then you can have no moral disagreement with any other Socialist stealing and spending paln done in the name of ther ‘common good’ or some such rubbish. Libraries don’t not require coerced funding for any reason and to think they do reveals an ignorant mindset and a lack of trust in your fellow man. Private sector libraries abound in NZ….no stealing required to keep them open either….they go by the names of Video Ezy,Video runner,Hirepool, Party biz etc etc….all lending libraries of a kind that serve a voluntary market. If there is a demand for cheap lending libraries then no force is required to bring them about…..the market will serve the need as it arises…as it does for all goods and services.

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  46. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The crowning point is that there is no right to books or free access to them at someone elses expense….

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  47. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    Private sector libraries abound in NZ….no stealing required to keep them open either….they go by the names of Video Ezy,Video runner,Hirepool, Party biz etc etc…

    “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.”

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  48. mikemikemikemike (331 comments) says:

    @The Scorned – As long as you don’t mean ‘access to information’. All people (especially kids) must have a way of accessing information. If it is not through the libraries then a state funded means must be provided. This allows all kids who, if they have circumstances out of their control and are not provided the necessary tools to access it by their parents – and who wish to compete against those who do, the platform on which to do it.

    I think a library filled with books is a bit antiquated as far as modern teaching and learning goes. I love books but perhaps they should be funded by those who gain the most use/enjoyment from them.

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  49. bc (1,377 comments) says:

    How sad that people here think you can just shove a Kindle in a kids face and problem solved – they have something to read so we don’t need libraries anymore.
    I wonder if they have been to a library lately.

    They are wonderful family/community places, not just somewhere to get books. Kids areas have puzzles and games as well as books. Great for families, especially for families with limited disposal income.

    There is also internet available. It’s all well and good for us sitting here on our computers to comment about libraries, but there are plenty of children/students at home without the internet who use this invaluable service.

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  50. Michael (911 comments) says:

    Education is an important function of Government and free lending libraries are an important part of that. A quote (although a bit archaic) for you to think about:

    “The education of the common people requires, perhaps, in a civilized and commercial society, the attention of the public more than that of people of some rank and fortune.” – Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations.

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  51. nasska (11,808 comments) says:

    The problem with deciding what civic amenities are worthwhile & those that aren’t isn’t limited to libraries. The wastrels who get themselves elected to local bodies are generally very keen on splurging ratepayers money on art galleries, museums, halls, sports facilities & a multitude of other crap that comes under the heading of public good.

    It would be interesting to see the results of a ratepayer’s referendum giving them a chance to rate in a list what is worthwhile & what could be done without.

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  52. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    “They are wonderful family/community places,”

    Why don’t you and all of the other socialists commenting here address the real issue-

    Why should ratepayers be compelled to fund libraries?

    All of the things you say about libraries may be quite true, but they are not an argument for compulsory funding. And if you seek to construct such an argument, take care that it cannot be used to likewise justify any number of excesses by out of control councils.

    Think about and answer the real question- why should ratepayers be forced to fund libraries?

    Again, they may be all you say, but this is not anything that means they cannot be funded by private sector investment or charity.

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  53. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    What Red said….perfect.

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  54. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    If these facilities are soooooooo valued and needed by people then why the need for coercive funding at all….? If people are NOT prepared to willingly fund them by donation/fee paying patronage themselves then they are not, by default,valued enough to be bothered with..

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  55. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    Ratepayers should be compelled to fund libraries because:

    1. The educational benefits to the individuals that use the libraries is massive.

    2. The cultural benefit to the communities that have well read members is massive.

    3. The economic benefit to the country that has well educated citizens is massive.

    Education is the engine that drives increases in worker productivity and economic growth.

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  56. Jack5 (5,161 comments) says:

    “The Scorned” posted at 6.18:

    …..the market will serve the need as it arises…as it does for all goods and services…

    Aha! A libertarian, but, it is to be hoped, not a disciple of the mad Ayn Rand, described elsewhere on the Internet as a “pill-popping, boy-crazy nincompoop”.

    Will the market provide a police force? Armed defence services? A Customs service? Where do you stand, “The Scorned”, on such mass medication as purifying water or vaccination against polio epidemics?

    IMHO, libraries can fit in with such essential services, with local bodies rather than central government being the non-private player.

    Most library borrowers are also book buyers. We sort of match the mixed economy model that is near-universal (North Korea and perhaps Belarus being the exceptions).

    However, if “The Scorned” merely argues that NZ is too much on the State side of the State-Private model of an economy, it would be hard not to agree with him/her.

    2.”Psycho Milt” posted at 7.17:

    …“When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver…

    You are being ironic, aren’t you “Psycho Milt”, in using this quotation which is sometimes attributed to Herman Goering, but apparently comes from a Nazi theatrical play of 1933 called “Schlageter”. The correct quote apparently is:

    …When I hear the world ‘culture’, I release the safety on my catch on my pistol.

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  57. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @The Scorned

    Your argument makes no sense.

    Research shows that people won’t immunize their children when there is a cost to do so. Only a moron would argue that immunization is “not valued enough to be bothered with..”

    People don’t always respond rationally when presented with prices. That’s why we authorise the Government to offer subsidized services (when the benefits can be shown to outweigh the costs).

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  58. lazza (382 comments) says:

    Attn DPF … GOOD IDEA REFERENDUM re Council services and libraries.

    Quote: “It would be interesting to see the results of a ratepayer’s referendum giving them a chance to rate in a list what is worthwhile & what could be done without”.

    Why not do one huh? Better still get every Council to do one. Then! we might get some where with lower rates and charges and/or make for a decent contestible LG election come October.

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  59. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Jack 5…check your history….the market, meaning the people, created and paid for all the services they wanted and valued long before the state was ever thought of.

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

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  60. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    It’s reasonably well-known that the days of community libraries are numbered. Most Councillors want to knock them down to combine them with community centres. And this is because most councillors are liberal tits who think that foot traffic will be increased by tossing the books and introducing “terminals” to browse the interwebs.
    Fer fucks sake. A library is a library and not a fucking internet kiosk, but mark my words you guys have a fight on your hands to subvert the process that has been underway for five years,

    Initially marked for demolition are the libraries of Khandallah Ngaio, Brooklyn and Wadestown, The council wants the plebs here to go to the town library, Karori and Johnsonville.
    I never researched the other side of town but I can guarantee the library workers there would give a similar story,

    And it is fucking nuts for this library slash and burn policy to be pursued by a council that wants better use of public transport. The libraries above are frequented by moms and kids who walk there or who drive in the opposite direction to the peak traffic flow.

    Expecting these families to divert to the man libraries is going to be tits for traffic congestion.

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  61. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Ratepayers should be compelled to fund libraries because:

    1. The educational benefits to the individuals that use the libraries is massive.

    So what? Having slaves saved a lot of whitemen from getting bad backs too…..doesn’t make slavery right or validate it. The supposed need of some is not a valid reason or moral license for theft and the denial of other peoples rights to their property and liberty

    2. The cultural benefit to the communities that have well read members is massive.

    Again…so what? Excuses theft and rights violations how exactly? There is no “right to books” for anyone no matter how much handwringing you engage in…

    3. The economic benefit to the country that has well educated citizens is massive.

    That doesn’t require in anyway coercively funded libraries or violating peoples rights to their property and liberties. If there really is such a benefit then the market will address it without needing state theft employed to make it happen. An educated and civilized society is not one where force is used to compel people to give up their rights and property in altruistic submission to others who claim “need’ as a licence to leech.

    Education is the engine that drives increases in worker productivity and economic growth.

    Agreed…but that is still no justification or validation to rob people and use their monies for purposes not their own

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  62. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    I haven’t used a public library in years, although I don’t have any problem with rate paying for them and there are far far bigger wastes of public money. (e.g Money wasted on NZ TV shows.)

    There are eBooks you can borrow from the world library here:
    http://thepiratebay.se/top/601

    The second most popular book, The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation, is always on loan when I go into my local branch.

    Be sure to delete the file after reading, otherwise it’s stealing.

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  63. Nigel Kearney (1,049 comments) says:

    Central government funds school libraries. It’s duplication to have ratepayer ones as well, except for use by adults who can travel a bit further. And one decent central library is a lot more useful than lots of little ones all over the place. My 5 year old gets one book a week from school and 3-4 more which I borrow from the central library in my lunch hour. We hardly ever go into the Johnsonville library even though it’s just down the road.

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  64. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Well that speaks volumes Nigel Kearney.

    Males who work are not one demographic that re supported by community libraries, I agree.

    But If you were a housewife you might have a different fucking opinion. Community libraries are an important hub for Moms with young children as well as senior citizens who desire contact and assistance.

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  65. southtop (266 comments) says:

    In the town of Motueka the community board and some of the Tasman Council want to spend $2million on a new library. Justification: Richmond and Takaka got theirs upgraded.
    TDC already owes $150million+
    As far as I can tell the Motueka library is mainly frequented by tourists using free wifi and a few oldies that don’t like paying a dollar for a new book.
    The population of Motueka is approx 4000
    My maths may not be great but buying everyone an e reader would be a better bet than more 19th century facilities?

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  66. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    Things DPF likes – libraries, obscure political TV shows, “the arts” – should be tax and rate payer funded. Other things not so much.

    Calling something like a library a “public good” shows a woeful ignorance of what such a thing is.

    Asserting a cost benefit advantage with no proof is no basis for forcing your neighbours to pay for things you happen to like.

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  67. Jack5 (5,161 comments) says:

    The Scorned posted at 8.53:

    …the market, meaning the people, created and paid for all the services they wanted and valued long before the state was ever thought of…

    How do you know this, “The Scorned”? Can there be a market without a state or some other sort of last-resort power to enforce formal or informal rules? What markets were there before there states or some organisational equivalent?

    A couple of groups of cavemen swapping skins or mastodon meat would surely have taken into consideration the relative force each party could resort to if the deal went wrong. Was that then a free market for the weaker party?

    I think most of the arguments you put forward against libraries could also be put forward against community facilities such as swimming pools, art galleries, parks and sports fields, all of which are usually given rent free to clubs or at a fee far below commercial value.

    Do you oppose community/local body provision of these, too?

    Would you replace all public streets with toll streets provided by private enterprise? (This will probably soon be possible with modern scanning technology.

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  68. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Oh offs, listen to the moaning old buggers complaining that children have access to the same facilities they and their children had the privilege of using, on forward tax cost. How about you pay back your social cost before you claim 30 yrs of super?

    And at the same time you bitch that the youth of today are uneducated.

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  69. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    Gump, the challenge was to state why libraries should be funded by councils rather than charity or private sector investment. You failed miserably in this comparison.

    It always amuses me how trying to get NZers to appreciate this point is like trying to get blood from a stone.

    They are just completely unable to deal with the concept.

    Totally brainwashed.

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  70. gump (1,661 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    As I said – it’s like wrestling with a pig.

    Oink, oink!

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  71. Redbaiter (9,630 comments) says:

    You’re just a miserable little coward who should admit your intellectual inadequacy rather than try and smokescreen it with half witted off topic rubbish.

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  72. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Jack5: I think most of the arguments you put forward against libraries could also be put forward against community facilities such as swimming pools, art galleries, parks and sports fields, all of which are usually given rent free to clubs or at a fee far below commercial value.

    Do you oppose community/local body provision of these, too?

    If funded by coercive extraction of peoples money then yes…obviously….the principle involved is still the same.

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  73. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    You are being ironic, aren’t you “Psycho Milt”,

    Just pointing out that The Scorned could reduce his ideological bullshit to a single sentence without losing any of its actual meaning.

    Think about and answer the real question- why should ratepayers be forced to fund libraries?

    It’s not the “real” question, it’s just one of the various nothings aging grumpy cunts tend to get worked up about. Ratepayers are “forced” to fund libraries to the same extent that voters are “forced” to have a National-led government – if you don’t like it, vote for people who’ll get rid of it.

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  74. southtop (266 comments) says:

    Expat 10.19 makes a valid point, the kids should get access to the same facilities however things have changed. Therefore keep the same building and lift the technology. I am told the software is available to ‘borrow’ a book for two weeks on, say, a kindle

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  75. Thrash Cardiom (298 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why libraries have frequent sales to quit old stock. That’s fine for magazines and pop. fiction, but I think they should keep every other readable book they buy so their resource grows over time.

    They do it because books take up a lot of space. Libraries simply cannot afford to store books that are no longer being borrowed.

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  76. Thrash Cardiom (298 comments) says:

    Expat 10.19 makes a valid point, the kids should get access to the same facilities however things have changed. Therefore keep the same building and lift the technology. I am told the software is available to ‘borrow’ a book for two weeks on, say, a kindle

    Already happening. Quite a few libraries now lend eBooks to borrowers with eReaders.

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  77. BlairM (2,365 comments) says:

    I don’t see why libraries need to be council-funded. All schools and universities have libraries. They are not the great egalitarian leveller that people seem to think they are. Folk get misty-eyed about “books” and “access to books” and other such nonsense unnecessarily.

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  78. Jack5 (5,161 comments) says:

    Blair, it’s not about levelling, but about enriching intellects.

    Expat is on the right track.

    But did those bitching about rates funding libraries benefit from libraries when they were kids, or were they the ones who didn’t read much?

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