Carterton library extends opening hours

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Carterton district councillors last week accepted a proposal to trial longer library hours on Saturday, with new opening hours from 10am to 4pm. PHOTO/FILE
Carterton district councillors last week accepted a proposal to trial longer library hours on Saturday, with new opening hours from 10am to 4pm. PHOTO/FILE

Carterton library and information centre will soon be extending its Saturday opening hours as part of a three-month trial.

At last week's council meeting, councillors voted to accept a proposal to trial longer hours on Saturday, with new opening hours from 10am to 4pm.

Due to staffing resources, this meant closing the information centre on Sunday, except when events are being held at the Events Centre.

The library is not open on Sundays.

Council community services manager Carolyn McKenzie said visitor numbers showed the library and information centre were much busier on Saturdays but on Sundays were often only used by people looking for toilets.

"We've been keeping quite good stats on the reasons for visiting and there is not a demand on Sundays and it hasn't been increasing."

Extending the Saturday hours could be done "with our existing resources", Ms McKenzie said.

She believed no other library in Wairarapa was open as late as 4pm on Saturdays, and the move would be beneficial to families and commuters who might otherwise miss out.

However councillor Greg Lang, who with councillor Mike Ashby voted against the proposal, said closing the information centre on Sundays ran counter to council's economic development goals.

"I've put a lot of work into economic development and it's a step backwards," he said.

The council was promoting the town as a "vibrant" place by encouraging businesses to open on Sundays and should lead by example, Mr Lange said.

"We've got to be proactive and make a difference," he said.

Councillor Jill Greathead said if the Events Centre was able to attract more bookings on Sundays, it would be staffed and open on those days anyway.

"I see that very much as part of that whole process and if we can get our Events Centre full, there will be a custodian here and that would solve the problem."

Councillor Ruth Carter said she had worked as a volunteer at the centre and knew that demand was much higher on a Saturday.

"That's when people are arriving and that's when they want information."

The council voted to implement the three-month trial but wanted more information on the cost to open on Sundays.

Information on the location of the public toilets and alternative i-Sites is to be displayed on the the glass frontage of the Events Centre when it is closed on Sundays.

The three-month trial of the new Saturday hours will begin on June 18.

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