Librarians’ Leader from Kapiti Coast
Throws Book at Tauranga Fees
By Alan Tristram 12th December 2009
Leslie Clague, the Kapiti librarian who chairs the Library Managers’ Association, has lashed out at plans to charge rental fees for books at the Tauranga public library.
She says:” Speaking in my capacity as the chair of the Association of Public Library Managers, I am appalled by this action — and even more amazed that most of the discussion surrounding this proposal was whether or not to charge 50 cents or a dollar per book.”
Ms Clague says the Tauranga Council has proposed charging 50 cents per book for all adult material in their libraries.
She says children’s material is to remain free, but all adult collections, both fiction and non-fiction, are to carry a 50 cent charge per item from 1 July.
Books Gifted to Libraries
Ms Clague, who is the Kapiti Coast District Libraries’ Manager, has been speaking out after accepting a gift of 61 books from the Kapiti branch of Amnesty International.
The gift marked International Human Rights Day on December 10– the 61st anniversary of the signing in Paris of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The emeritus Professor of Psychology Tony Taylor, of Waikanae, gave the keynote speech (see separate story) on the universal human need for justice.
In her speech Ms Clague concentrated on the new threat by a move in one part of New Zealand to charge fees for public library books.
“Although this issue is not totally parallel to the work that Amnesty International so successfully undertakes, it strikes in me a note of alarm,” her speech says.
“If here in New Zealand we cannot see our way to free public library services for everyone, what other freedoms could be at risk?
UN Manifesto Calls for ‘Free Library Services”
“The UNESCO manifesto on public libraries is quite clear.” she says.
“The Public Library shall in principle be free of charge.
“It must be supported by specific legislation and financed by national and local governments,: Ms Clague says.
“It has to be an essential component of any long-term strategy for culture, information provision, literacy and education.”
Core Service of Local Government
Ms Clague adds:” I would like to think that the people who took part in the ceremony will agree that public libraries are fundamentally core services of local government. “To put a barrier of money between and individual and their right to know is undemocratic,” Ms Clague says.
“There is currently no specific legislation in New Zealand to support public libraries – the Library Managers’ Association will be working to change this.”
Ms Clague also thanks the Kapiti Amnesty members for their support of books.
And she says the Library Managers would ask for their support in protecting public library services.
She says the 61 books gifted to Kapiti libraries expand peoples’ awareness and knowledge concerning human rights and the human condition.
She concludes:” It is so terribly important for everyone to have access to this type of literature – when and if they wish to grow, know and learn.