Kāpiti Library Crisis

Library shelves -- but where are the trained librarians?
Full Library shelves — but where are the trained librarians?

Library manager’s answers on ‘restructure’ and the loss of expert librarians

By Alan Tristram

Kāpiti Libraries’ Manager Leeann Morgan has replied to our detailed list of questions about the current crisis affecting libraries in the district.

Two days ago the Independent reported that nine highly-trained librarians had resigned , or had been  forced to leave, as a result of a major ‘restructuring’ of library services. (see story below).

Two former managers — one the overall district manager — have gone public to voice their disquiet; other librarians have told the Independent of their concerns.

The Libraries’ Manager says the whole idea of the restructure has been to create solutions, to make the libraries more current and relevant to the needs of customers.

 And Leeann Morgan gives these answers to our questions:

Question 1: What exactly are the changes?

Ms Morgan: “This is the most comprehensive review of our libraries organisational structure and service delivery in 30 years.

The idea of the review is to identify whether we are providing library activities and resources that meet the needs of our community.”

 

2. Why you’re so keen on them?

Ms Morgan: “The changes are underpinned by the principles of the Public Libraries of New Zealand Strategic Framework, which defines libraries purpose are to, ‘…provide connections to knowledge, ideas and works of the imagination, anytime, anywhere, enabling individuals to turn knowledge into value, participate as citizens and strengthen their communities.’

The changes that have been implemented are making a difference in our community and strengthening and supporting national public library strategies.”

 

3. How many librarians have left or have resigned this year — and why have they gone, or are going?

Ms Morgan: “In the 2012/2013 financial year, 3.5 FTE positions were vacant at the time of the restructure and were disestablished.

Three (3) people chose not to reapply for positions and took voluntary redundancy. 7.34 FTE positions were disestablished and of these people 6.12FTE people were reassigned to different roles. 2.5 FTE positions resigned in 2013.”

 

4. Why weren’t the staff fully consulted about the changes?

Ms Morgan: “Staff were fully consulted and this is ongoing.”

 

5. Was buying for the non-fiction section suspended for a time? Why?       

Ms Morgan: “No”

 

6. Is spending on magazines being reduced?

Ms Morgan: “Each year, as part of our ongoing continuous improvement processes, we review all collections in the library.

We review a number of factors, including community usage, to ascertain how much money will be spent on individual collections.

Some magazine titles were not being used by the community and these subscriptions have not been renewed.”

 

7. How can the libraries carry out their specialist functions if librarian’s are required to be ‘generalists’?

Ms Morgan: “The libraries functions have actually been more clearly defined and resourced.

We now have four focus teams. Youth Services, heritage and Māori Collections, Community Programmes and Collection Support.

These are specialist teams and most staff are part of one of these teams. Part-time staff support these teams and provide valuable services to our community.”