Letter Deplores Attack on Libraries

Well-known Paraparaumu Beach identity Ken Ash says the history of libraries stretches way back into antiquity — and they have been both revered and feared.

Baroque Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal

Revered by those thirsting for knowledge and feared by those wishing people to remain ignorant, he says.

‘This has led in the past to wholesale destruction of libraries, and infamous book burnings even into recent times.

Nazi students and officials burn books on May 10, 1933

‘;I am not for one moment suggesting that such an august body as the Kapiti Coast Council has such a motif in mind.

Though its decision to reduce the libraries budget to purchase books by almost fifty percent is still an attack on its function as a community source of information, intellectual stimulus and pleasure.

Digital media argument is spurious

‘The argument that this gap can be filled by the digital media is spurious.

‘This electronic substitute due to its business-friendly algorithms, tends more to reinforce prejudice rather than expand one’s views.

‘Recent research shows that books have not to any appreciable degree lost favour.

‘The tactile response aroused by handling a book is missing from that hard-glowing bit of plastic, even if it holds a multitude of titles. 

Reading the Council claim

‘The council claims damage done to the Waikanae library due to poor maintenance has necessitated the funding cuts.

This is nonsense, building maintenance is an entirely different expenditure issue. In any case, why should such an important asset be compromised due to such poor governance.

‘It sometimes seems quality governance is inversely proportional to the executive salaries.

‘This poorly conceived decision is counter to community needs and should be rescinded.’

Hi Gill,

Nice to see a fellow Walcott appreciator. But please, don’t mistake my intentions; I do very much see this as a controversial issue. But please note: it is not a controversy fostered by the ignoble citizens who cannot but hold to the value of literature. This is a game of political power.

But ironically enough, “all in compassion ends so differently from what the heart arranged, ‘as well as if a manor of thy friends.'”

Great to see Henry Tilney quoting Walcott (RIP) at least a bit of culture is creeping in. I picked up somewhere along the way noises about ‘devices’. Surely going to a library and letting children get away form digital to handle books, choose them and read them is a whole educational experience on its own (Sometimes they might even walk there). In a whispering voice I must say when I nod off reading a book it is easier to look back through the pages to find out where I was up to or to check something I can’t remember (it happens) than flicking back and forwards on a screen. Not that I don’t love technology and use it but I love books too.They are two different things – don’t confuse them. And Henry, this issue is controversial as far as I’m concerned – along with many others sorry to say…

Hi J. Elliot. What you call personal attacks I look at as history. I believe Allan is prepared to allow you to put your case about this sorry saga. While some would have already cast their votes it’s still not too late to do so.

At the end of the day a vote for this proposal was cast which held your name. To most voters that is all that will count (pardon the corny pun). It might be that you are the most democratic soul around the table. Only history can judge that and by then no one alive today will care.

As to personal attacks I have just stated the facts as I am aware of them. You did use the water meter protesters but that is done and gone. If you mean my freak show comment I stand by it. These folks you sit down with will chew you up in no time at all.

I have to tell you (and the others) that while a lot of ratepayers don’t give a shit, there are also many who have a hate for how they are treated by council. These voters see right through any and all the corny rhetoric pumped out via the tree killing home delivered media outlets on candidates behalf. There are always the willingly stupid and lazy who wish to believe in fairy tales and they would make up the largest voter base. The social act of voting has been worthless for a very long time now but the foolish wish to believe in something or someone so they tick their little boxes and hope for the best.

We are still waiting for your novel on this subject which I’m sure Alan will publish even if you use a few too many alphabet collections, so over to you…

Thank you Chris Walker for helping me re-confirm exactly why transparent governance in council is so important and I am more than happy to continue being transparent. I would have thought you would be grateful 1 elected councillor is unafraid to speak publicly on this issue, (despite your constant personal attacks). By the way I have always wholeheartedly stood behind the decision to temporarily re-allocate half the libraries materials budget to the libraries infrastructiure budget when it was needed. Sure beats borrowing money! Commonsense really.

Jacqueline: In the interests of fairness I for one would like Allan to print “Your” version of events. This is only right and proper if you can stick to the facts and not start proselytizing for re-election.

One piece of advice I would give you is that as official records show that you voted for the cuts don’t try to downplay this antisocial act. After that the voting public don’t give a shit what else may have happened. You either helped the rest of this anti democratic council create the present situation or not.

As history now shows you did this but now feel the guilt’s about it. There is very little doubt that library users are going to withhold their votes from you because of this. This is only fitting because you personally used the water meter scandal to shoehorn yourself into a council seat. Being one of the 200 who participated in your “Water Meter Protest” held at Rimu Road, I can state for the record that you used those people and everyone else who believed in your short crusade to get into the position you now hold.

Not content with this you then held a meeting at the Pram Memorial Hall to gather in ideas for your campaign and them promptly killed the WM protest movement such as it was. These are the facts because I and another were at both venues to see this. I told the other person at that time that it looked to me like you were going to make this play but they had more faith in you and didn’t believe that what would happen a week or two later would occur.

The publisher of this democratic organ gave you space to go ‘full vent’ in the story: “Kāpiti’s Deputy Mayor Backs Library Book Cuts” (https://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/kapitis-deputy-mayor-backs-library-book-cuts/)

So much so that he had to mildly chide you to keep the word count down somewhat. He has also published your ongoing missives. Why you ever thought that threatening Allan over this would fly we can only put down to your many years around the council table and your witnessing of this sort of conduct usually working. Not that time however.

Jacqueline, if the stars somehow aligned for you on election day which led to you becoming the mayor it would be a freak show of massive proportions. These people you now hang with would gobble you up in no time…

The book budget scandal is no scandal Henry. It is the wide distribution of serious misinformation by those who historicaly can not let an election go by without having a protest of some sort. Very sadly this one is fuelled by complete misinformation, bias and refusal of K.I.N. to print the facts they have had since day one. Very early on “Friends of the Library’ distanced themselves from the campaign starter due to his unacceptable response to the temorary book budget reallocation. (By the way I have not played the middle field, I have been clear on reasons for the budget change from day one)

“One thing it will do however is clean out the shit filled stable that is the council table” – That is true. It definitely could be a positive in that area. However, with 3 mayors in the last 3 terms (and looking to be a fourth this year) it reminds me a bit of Derek Walcott’s poem Parades, Parades “…and only the name of the fool changes.”

“Unfortunately those in the office who probably came up with this spoof…” – Again very true. Despite the high staff turnover we will probably not see an end to the fiasco that is senior management for some time into the future.

Oh my goodness – I wondered how long it would be before someone publishes a photograph of book burning! The uninformed hysteria around this topic has truly reached epic proportions….. and just for the record, a significant proportion of the annual book budget is for E-books…not paper ones. Signed – book lover .

How these ill-informed “representatives” thought this proposal would fly is beyond most of us. One thing it will do however is clean out the shit filled stable that is the council table. Unfortunately those in the office who probably came up with this spoof we can never get rid of.

Looking forward to the election results to see what damage has been done to the overdosers of the power drug…

One thing worth considering. Technically speaking, all incumbent Councillors have no choice but to defend the book cuts because they were foolish, or misinformed enough to get into this situation and they can’t really admit their mistake this late in the game. (Jackie Elliot has proven the terrible situation you put yourself in when you try to play the middle field and I am sure she will lose support on both sides)

Therefore, the book budget issue is exactly this: a polarizing divide between incumbent and new Councillors. I have to say, in my day of political scandals and such, nothing better would I have liked than a nice controversial issue by which I could subtly support my candidate’s campaign bid for government.

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