The Lismore City Council’s decision to cutback on local library services will be mentioned in state parliament, and a protest is being planned for Friday.
Greens North Coast spokesperson Dawn Walker has lodged a motion calling on the government to oppose the cutbacks and provide more funding to local councils for library services.
Ms Walker said the council, led by Labor mayor Isaac Smith, had made the ‘short-sighted decision’ to cut almost $80,000 from its annual funding to libraries.
The cuts would result in reduced hours for Lismore City Library, the closure of Goonellabah library on Wednesdays and the sacking of student book shelvers.
‘It’s disgraceful that Lismore council has seen libraries as a soft target in their cost-cutting endeavours, rather than valuing libraries as assets for the whole community, especially families with children, students and retirees,’ Ms Walker said.
‘While it’s true that proportion of state funding for libraries has declined significantly over the last three decades, every council in NSW has to deal with this, yet Lismore has made the short-sighted decision to rip into its’ library budget to try and balance the books.
‘The Lismore mayor needs to go back to the drawing board and reverse these irrational cuts that will impact the local community’s access to their public libraries.’
The mayor previously told Echonetdaily the cuts were in line with a five per cent savings program across the board within the council’s operating costs.
A community gathering to oppose the cuts to local library services is planned for 11am on 26 May outside Goonellabah Library.