Funding cuts puts book loans on hold at City of Melville libraries

Melville Library Services co-ordintator Alison Mudgway.
Melville Library Services co-ordintator Alison Mudgway.

BOOK loans from outside the City of Melville’s libraries are on hold as a state funding cut stopped a courier service in its tracks last Monday.

Libraries in the City of Melville will continue to share books with one another, but resources from the State Library or other libraries can not be borrowed locally.

As a result, Melville librarians have been fielding complaints and encouraging people to voice their disappoint- ment with their local Member of Parliament or Culture and the Arts Minister John Day.

Mr Day said with the direct delivery of new materials to public libraries and a recent pilot of metropolitan libraries not engaging with the exchange systems, there had been decreased demand for the van service over the past few years.

“Local governments already contribute to the cost of the van service and will be able to use this money for alternative delivery methods,” Mr Day said on Thursday.

“The SLWA, WALGA and Public Libraries WA are working together to find alternatives to the metropolitan van delivery service.

“In the interim, the use of postage and other courier services to transport items has been recommended and will be used by SLWA. However, some libraries are unfortunately advising customers that the service is no longer available which has resulted in some people contacting my office.”

Last week, Mayor Russell Aubrey said the cut to public libraries was “disappointing”.

“The State Library-run courier service has been the backbone of the state-wide Public Library Service ensuring continued equity of access for the community and this fundamental change to the partnership between the State Library and Local Governments is detrimental to the ethos of public libraries,” he said. PLWA Inc president Debra Summers agreed.

“This decision was never of any public libraries’ choosing,” she said.

The Department of Culture and the Arts Agency Expenditure Review identified the van services to be non-core business.

“It will be an option for local libraries to buy items with money provided by their ratepayers instead of sourcing requested material,” she said.

Melville Library Services co-ordintator Alison Mudgway said the City of Melville was already generous with its support, providing about 40 per cent of funds needed to stock the library.