19 November 2006

Griffith library protest

| johnboy
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Casalingo send in the following picture of the protest on Saturday over the planned closure of the Griffith public library

He had this to say:

Steve Pratt said the Liberals would reverse the decision if they got into Government.

John Hargreaves said the library would close on 1 December, despite the community anger. He said he didn’t consult because he already knew the community would be against his decision.

Some interesting stats were read out by organisers. One of the most telling. On average over two books were borrowed by visitors to Griffith Library, whereas about three quarters of a book on average was borrowed by visitors to other libraries. The consultant’s report (which is used to justify the decision) claims there are too many books at Griffith! And too much space.

Hargreaves had better be able to back up his rather uncertain claim that children’s services comparable to those in Griffith will be available in other libraries like Civic. In any event this doesn’t get around the problem of how people of the inner south are supposed to get to other libraries elsewhere.

Lots of community anger was expressed, but as expected the Government will press ahead with the decision.

What’s left…the ballot box.

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Incidentally, Maelinar, the ACT library website currently offers a wide range of web services, including e-books and e-audio-books, as well as the ability to reserve books online. So it’s not like the ACT library service has exactly been ignoring the internet.

Maelinar, online books haven’t taken off. Why? Because books are portable in a way that even laptops aren’t – and anyone can access a book from a library. It’s a massive assumption that everyone is/can afford to be online. Library access is an equity issue, but pollies are too well off to ‘get it’. In fact most pollies and govt departments assume everyone can jump on a website to get info, which pisses me off – I only got online recently myself and it’s pretty pricy when you add up the gear you need plus the ongoings.

Of course Libraries are important, they raise the educational level, and lower the discontent of simoleons. I tend to drop one between about every 4th suburb, alongside a police station, a fire department and a school, with some kind of novel attraction depending on the timescale period of the game.

In real life however, they are severely behind the 8 ball. Instead of tossing a few old books out the door they should be looking at alternatives such as people wanting to learn to read, only need to wait for the next fly-by-nighter on this website for confirmation of that topic.

No sign of an internet gaming lounge anywhere near a library, nor are there any related books or gameguides.

They must view the internet revolution as a fad that will pass, and need to get on the bandwagon or be left behind.

There is not one spec of information that I have ever needed that I couldn’t google, so why fight it ?

There were some letters to the c times from griffith book volunteers to the elderly.

Seepi, that kind of thing would be what a bookmobile is for. As far as I know, that’s still running.

And sometimes a small number of people using a service are vulnerable people who cannot get this service elsewhere – eg the book volunteers that take books to the elderly from Griffith library are now expected to pay for parking to do this from Civic (if they can ever get a park there.) And disabled people who could park right outside Griffith – where should they park in Civic?
Modern thinking on sustainable living is to have facilities within communities, not to have all the houses around the outside, and everyone driving into the centre for all services.

Woody Mann-Caruso10:22 pm 20 Nov 06

I audited a library once. Everybody loved it. Unfortunately, “everybody” wasn’t very many people at all when you looked at how much it cost, and “loved” didn’t turn out to mean much at all other than emotional attachment.

The collection was old. The Internet had taken a huge chunk out their business. Performance data was scarce. The library’s mission was fuzzy. Why was it there? Who were its clients? Was the library the best way to deliver those services to those clients? “You know – books and stuff” didn’t quite cut it. Neither did “libraries are, like, important man.” The library was big on tracking ouputs – number of loans and the like – but what was the net benefit to users? It was sketchy to say the least – even the librarians and research staff couldn’t paint a consistent picture of what they were about.

In the end, it seemed that the library was just a place for people who liked the library to hang out and talk about the library, to borrow books that were out of date, to read the newspaper, to steal what few new books there were, and because they were too thick to use Google by themselves. It was a rich source of social capital – for a small number of people, and at enormous expense, and for little practical benefit. Still, people insisted that libraries were important, that this library was important, even though they couldn’t really say why. It seemed to strike a deep chord, as though the foundations of civilisation were under threat, as though we were sacking Alexandria all over again.

The library closed – protests about attacks on knowledge and reducing services fell on deaf ears, mainly because the librarians couldn’t explain what knowledge they offered that couldn’t be had more efficiently and effectively elsewhere, or why their services were of any value at all. The users had to use a different library, which did great things because it could achieve economies of scale and because the people who ran it had a better idea about what a 21st century library should be. Everybody got over it.

i feel so much better in the knowledge that our babysitters are dropping 6 mill on a bunch of trees on a windswept hill, and closing the most convenient library in canberra. i’m sure civic library will be very shiny, but will i be allowed to park my wheels 30 feet from the door? for free?
if you are a griffith library user, just drop your returns back to the legislative assembly building…leave them on the front counter with a nice note for john hargraves. include a bottle of beer so he’ll take notice. and be nice to the security staff.

Fair cop dude, and I agree with you on sham consultations. I think all consultants’ reports should be read selectively – particularly those commissioned by a Government desparate for cash and one which wont release their TOR (and for that matter audit reports should be read selectively as well). Anyways, I’m glad you weren’t christened Woody. And glad you like libraries – I think that makes you a more attractive manne.

Woody Mann-Caruso4:15 pm 20 Nov 06

Only problem Woody (do you get shit with a name like that?)

No, because it’s not my real name.

even the flawed consultants report indicated that the library is a valued and used service

As an auditor, I’m always amused when people insist that reports are “flawed”, then use selective bits of them to prop up their arguments. It’s amazing how consultants always get the bits you agree with right, but only those bits.

Anyways, not saying I agree with the decision – I think there should be more libraries, not fewer. I just like the approach. “I have decided this for these reasons. Suck it up. See you at the polls, when we’ll see who’ll get the last laugh.”

How come no one has mentioned, that if Stanhope did not spend money on the aboretum or drag way all the kids could have a library nearby to borrow a books from?

cheers, jb – I think there was an html translator issue = the typist didn’t know what he was doing 🙂

if you were using html it’d be fine. the issue is you need to put the text to be linked between the opening and closing tags

Only problem Woody (do you get shit with a name like that?) is that even the flawed consultants report indicated that the library is a valued and used service. People actually visit this library to read and borrow books, not just to hang out while waiting for a bus or because they dont have friends to have lunch with in Woden. In other words, there is no compelling reason to close this library other than the desperate need for money – which brings you back to the question, where did all that money from the property boom go!!!

Sorry it’s not accpeting my html – so you’ll have to copy and paste the URL:-


third time lucky

trying again – here it is Australian Politics Test

Probably due to the fact that the ‘faceless apparatchiks’ have done their sums and determined that Griffith doesn’t return well at the ballot box.

While I had no time whatsoever for the likes of Moore, when he sold out to the Liberals, I agree that a minority government is the way to go. As long as the controlling interests are not devoid of intelligence (e.g. Stevenson, etc).

I always liked the idea of the Dem’s keeping the bastards honest in the Federal Senate – shame they self-imploded by forgetting this role was their lot in life.

By the way – I once stumbled across this Australian Politics Test and discovered to my horror that I was a closet Dem!!!!

So what exactly is the rationale for closing the library? Assuming there is one…

Woody Mann-Caruso1:07 pm 20 Nov 06

You misspelled “cnut”.

Nice to see a politician who has the balls to get the information required to make an informed decision, and then act rather than slowing down the wheels of bureaucracy with sham consultations with a beligerent and self-interested public. The schools thing should’ve been handled the same way.

You’re probably onto something there Seepi. Land in the middle of Griffith won’t exactly sell for cheap.

Excuse my French but I think it’s justified when directed towards the current Labor govt:


Absent Diane12:12 pm 20 Nov 06

yup very sad.

This is very sad. The library is obviously well loved and used.
And how much will it even save them – or is thiws another shameless land grab?

With an aging population libraries need to be in the community not the commercial centre. Forcing people into Civic is not a good idea.

Hargreaves stuffs everything he touches. Kid Barr wrecks everything he is given to play with. Barr only got the job because of factionalism within factionalism. Stanhope thinks he is Napoleon.

However Canberrans, having had a lot of experience of Dennis Stevenson, Residents Rally (actually small business rally), and that flip-gidget Carnell, will probably stick with Labor – in desperation.

Canberrans may well support an alternative, and we have put faith in both Moore Independents and Greens. Also the Democrats. An alternative has to be credible.

We need our schools, libraries, bus services, taxis services, health services, housing services, jobs and future. And the sooner our well paid superannuated politicians realise this – the better.

Stupid Pratt, saying the Liberals would reverse the decision. We all know this is pollie-twaddle.
They would promise to reverse time, if it won them an election and then tell us, the day after…

“Sorry that was not a core promise”

Good photo, good crowd – Bad luck that Labor will ignore it all.

Hargeaves appeared to be firmly resolute in his demeanour.
Mind you, when you spend hours playing the pokies in your favourite yacht club, a certain steely determination does tend to set in…

I WAS a Labor voter. They are going to be last next time round. They are crapping on my town.

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