Goonellabah to be first NSW library to close in 15 years
GOONELLABAH'S public library will be the first NSW library in more than 15 years to shut its doors without a new library opening to take its place, according to the Australian Library and Information Association.
And recent figures from the NSW State Library show Lismore City Council already spends 20% less than the state average on its libraries.
ALIA executive director Sue McKerracher yesterday issued a stinging criticism of the proposed closure, arguing the decision contradicted Lismore City Council's "safer, happier, more inclusive Goonellabah" community plan launched last week.
"Goonellabah has high levels of disadvantage and low literacy levels, yet the council has spent a significant sum on scoping the redevelopment of Lismore Park - a distant pipedream - while proposing to close a much- valued community facility," Ms McKerracher said.
Martin Field, former chief executive of the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library, said Goonellabah library's almost 10,000 visits in the first quarter of this year showed it was healthy.
"That's a reasonable level of use, and given the disadvantage in Goonellabah, it's an extraordinary decision to close it," Mr Field said.
Mr Field pointed out that Ballina, Byron and Tweed all have three branch libraries, while Lismore has always had only two.
According to spokes- woman Corena Wynd, the closure of the library will affect young families, senior citizens, and teenagers who benefit from quiet study space away from home.
A public meeting will be held at the Goonellabah Community Centre on Oliver Ave next to the library tomorrow at 2.30pm. Concerned residents can also contact Corena Wynd on 0432 534 611.