27 Jan 2010

Council considers charge for most library books

5:35 pm on 27 January 2010

The Tauranga City Council is a step closer to charging for a large number of its books.

On Tuesday, the council voted to accept projected savings from charging for library books into its annual plan, but a decision on whether the charges will go ahead is yet to be made.

The council wants the library service to lower its reliance on ratepayer funding from 90% to 80%.

The library service is proposing it charge 50 cents for adult fiction items, among other changes, as a way of increasing revenue by $493,000 over the first three years. The cost would then rise to 80c after three years.

General manager for libraries Jill Best says councillors are likely to discuss the plans again if enough ratepayers object to the proposed charges in annual plan submissions.

Ms Best says the council is trying to balance between general rating and user-pays.

At present, each ratepaying household pays about $120 a year for the library services.

The Library and Information Association believes charging for books is an unfortunate move and diminishes a library's effectiveness.

Vice-president Caroline Robertson says basic collections and services should be freely available to the public