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Griffith library protest

By johnboy 19 November 2006 31

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.

What’s Your opinion?


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Griffith library protest
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Thumper 8:07 am 22 Nov 06

Besides, books look better than laptops and CDs.

Kind of the way the a record looked better than a CD….

Ah, I must be getting old. Someone fetch me my slippers to read, a newspaper for my feet, and stuff an old dog into my pipe to smoke…

simbo 8:04 am 22 Nov 06

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.

miz 10:43 pm 21 Nov 06

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.

Maelinar 1:12 pm 21 Nov 06

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 ?

seepi 1:08 pm 21 Nov 06

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

simbo 12:53 pm 21 Nov 06

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

seepi 11:33 am 21 Nov 06

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.

Thumper 8:09 am 21 Nov 06

This is just another part of the slow erosion of the social capital of this Territory.

Public parks have been neglected and left to fall into disrepair. Suburban schools to be closed. Local suburban shopping centres and small business driven out by malls, suburban development on previous rural lands, lego land developments such as Amaroo with no infrastructure….

Some things don’t need a financial bottom line to justify their existance.

Remember, once these are gone, they will never come back.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:22 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.

gurunik 8:10 pm 20 Nov 06

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.

casalingo 6:56 pm 20 Nov 06

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.

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