Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Mayor pledges not to close the book on small libraries

Laurie Webb was pleased to hear the announcement by Len Brown (left) that the library will stay open. Photo /  Natalie Slade
Laurie Webb was pleased to hear the announcement by Len Brown (left) that the library will stay open. Photo / Natalie Slade

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has ruled out a proposal to close libraries in Snells Beach and Grey Lynn to reduce costs in what will be election year.

On Friday, Mr Brown said he doubted any libraries would be closed but would not give a firm guarantee to users of the Mahurangi East and Grey Lynn libraries.

But following responses to a story in yesterday's Herald, Mr Brown issued a statement saying he would not be closing any libraries.

But he reiterated the need to find savings to reduce the projected rates increase in next year's budget from 5.2 per cent to "well below 4 per cent".

Yesterday, more than 600 people had signed a petition against the Mahurangi East proposal.

Snells Beach ratepayers' association secretary Lesley Leversha said the community, without exception, rose as one at the thought of the library being taken away.

One resident, Laurie Webb, said the mayor's pledge would be welcomed by the community, but the closure should never have been suggested in the first place.

"I can't imagine any local body politician wanting to close libraries, which are at a centrepoint for the community," he said.

A former library assistant, Alexis McCullough, said Grey Lynn was one of the most vibrant, friendly and nuturing libraries she had worked in.

"If you take away a library from a community, you take away its heart."

Public Service Association assistant secretary Warwick Jones said there did not appear to be a clear rationale for closures, and the two libraries were an integral part of their communities.

Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers said the Grey Lynn library was a treasure and the board would not allow its demise.

- NZ Herald

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