Two weeks ago, the mobile library users in the small coastal towns of South Gippsland and Bass Coast, received notification that their mobile library service will cease by 30 June 2019. No consultation, no discussion, nothing. That’s it. Gone forever!
A survey undertaken in 2014 about improving the delivery of library services, is used as justification. However, this survey did not mention the cancellation of the mobile library service. Is this survey relevant? I think not, for many reasons.
The West Gippsland Regional Libraries Board (WGRLB) say it is economically unviable to replace the mobile library truck but they are not “cost-cutting”. Their aim is to improve delivery of library services. If their aim is to introduce a superior library service, then why have they retained the second mobile library truck that services the Northern sites in Baw Baw and Nyora?
Two answers were given:
1. The Northern mobile library truck is a few years younger and doesn’t need replacing – yet! Watch out Baw Baw residents and Nyora, you’ll be next!
2. Baw Baw mobile library sites and Nyora have reached the “benchmark” of usage. “What’s the benchmark?” we asked. Sometime later, we learnt that the Northern library sites have more members and more book withdrawals per hour. Does this mean that small coastal towns must compete with towns the size of Trafalgar (population 3912) Langwarry (2004) Yarragon (1650) and Nyora (1527) to receive this service? Where is the equity in this?
This whole process is economic rationalism at its worst.
The Bass Coast and South Gippsland Councils and the WGRL Board should be fighting for small township access. Go to the State Government for a grant to fund a new mobile library truck, as we did 20+ years ago. The State government may be more interested in social equity than bean counting.
Veronica Dowman, Coronet Bay.