Kāpiti Council Slashes Libraries’ Book Budget After Mould Scandal

The Kāpiti Coast Council is slashing its Libraries book budget by a massive amount this coming year.

The move follows the closing late last year of the Waikanae Library because of toxic mould.

Last week an official report by Morrison Low accused the KCDC of negligence over maintenance of its building assets. It recommended immediate improvements to strengthen asset management (story, Aug 3).

The former Waikanae Library, closed late last year after the discovery of toxic mould in the building and the book stocks

Unprecedented cuts

Mayor K Gurunathan told the Independent today the budget for the 2019/20 year for the purchase of new books was cut from $402k to $211k. It was done through the Annual Plan process to reduce capital expenditure.

News of the unprecedented Library cuts was given to Friends of the Libraries in a confidential briefing last Friday (Aug. 2) by the Arts and Libraries Manager, Ian Littleworth.

The Kāpiti Independent verified the news from other sources.

Politicians run for cover

KIN asked Mayor K Gurunathan and Deputy Mayor Janet Holborrow to comment early yesterday, but so far both politicians have declined to go into details beyond confirming our worst fears.,

Kapiti’s Mayor K Gurunathan — so far hwe’s declined to comment

It’s claimed by the Council that this is only a temporary measure.

But the Kāpiti Independent says the move is wrong and devastating — and should never have been countenanced.

The books and materials budget should in fact increase each year to take account of a rising population and inflation. Temporary measures have a way of dragging on.

And KIN says it appears the KCDC is cutting the vital books and materials budget to pay for its own incompetence in allowing toxic mould to devastate the building and books in the former Waikanae Library.

Foreshadowed in Annual Plan

The recently approved Annual Plan hinted at the draconian action when it said:

KCDC HQ — but don’t ask for the latest books

‘…work to resolve the long-term future of the Waikanae Library will meet our commitment to a Mahara Place location.

‘This includes limiting new book acquisitions temporarily and re-directing Budget towards a medium-term solution for the Waikanae Library service.’

Cutting the funding of a Public Library is a retrograde step. Did this idea come from staff or councillors? Remember the lady who, from her sheltered existence, said, “Let them eat cake …” She lost her head shortly after.

I am absolutely incensed at this draconian measure- especially with regard to the underhand way it has been done. This Council has to go.

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