THE West Gippsland Libraries truck will be taken off the road – despite objections from Waterline residents – but it won’t happen until the local council’s satisfied there’s another service in place.
But no-one knows what the service will look like. It could be several micro libraries – basically unmanned book shelves in community spaces – or one library building servicing the Waterline towns, or something else.
At a council meeting last week, Cr Geoff Ellis – also the West Gippsland Library Corporation Chair – said, “We won’t abandon the people of the Waterline.”
“We won’t retire the truck until the new service is in place. There’s gonna be no discontinuation of service,” he said.
“I look forward to working with our passionate people to introduce service delivery options that will benefit the whole community, based around a Waterline community library.”
Waterline residents, who’ve protested the decision to remove the truck, say the shire’s simply delaying the axing and haven’t resolved their concerns.
Cr Clare Le Serve said the corporation provided council with evidence-based data when putting forward the case to ditch the truck.
Cr Le Serve said she assumed the replacement service for the truck would be an “enhanced” service.
An alternative motion, put forward by the Western Port Ward councillor, said the truck would remain in service after June 30, 2019, “if the alternative service delivery is not operational”.
“How this will be delivered – we’re yet to know,” she said.
Cr Le Serve thanked the ‘Save Our Mobile Library’ group for their work and their commitment to having library services in their community.
“We’ve all agreed we won’t accept a lesser service,” she said.
“We must work with the library corporation to make sure we get this enhanced service and to communicate it effectively to the community because it’s been very divisive – the way it’s all taken place.”
Cr Le Serve also added in a brief line to the decision which means council will work with the corporation to “ensure adequate community consultation” in regards to the new service.
Cr Julian Brown said the truck was getting to the end of its life.
“It would be nice to see something like a community library in the Waterline area,” he said, followed by a small applause from the gallery.
He acknowledged there is an ageing demographic in the coastal communities and reiterated concerns from residents around transport.
Cr Ellis believed everyone could work together to find a solution.
He said there a number of programs which can only be delivered in static libraries.
Cr Pamela Rothfield expressed confidence in the library’s decision to axe the truck.
She quoted figures showing more Australians are using the internet than ever before, and said, “we’ve got to move with the times”.