HUGE LOSS: Portia Brown, 13 of Goonellabah, would find it difficult to complete her school work if the Goonellabah Library closed.
HUGE LOSS: Portia Brown, 13 of Goonellabah, would find it difficult to complete her school work if the Goonellabah Library closed. Cathy Adams

Library big loss for Portia

WATCHING the Goonellabah library close would be a sad day for Lismore High Year 8 student Portia Brown, 13.

Portia, who lives in Chilcotts Grass, visits the lib- rary at least once a week to prepare for exams and projects.

"It's part of my life," Portia said.

"Hopefully it doesn't close because it's going to be really hard for us to get downtown," she said.

Portia's older brother Bart, 14, is also a regular visitor to the library, according to mum Joanne.

"To have the library there and the staff there to help them is amazing," Mrs Brown said.

"I don't know where we would be left without it."

Thanks to strong community resistance against the proposed closure, there may be a glimmer of hope for the many young and old library users.

Since the launch of a Facebook page by Lismore councillor Gianpiero Battista and more than 400 signatures on a petition protesting the plans, other council- lors have joined the fight.

Lismore City Councillor Isaac Smith, who originally voted to put the proposed closure out for public comment, yesterday said he would introduce a motion on the June 11 council meeting to look at alternatives to shutting the library.

The motion will ask staff to find the $84,500 in savings expected from the library closure elsewhere.

Assuming the motion passes, the new options will come before council on the extraordinary June 25 meeting to formally approve the budget.

"I thought it was important to give staff an early indication that councillors would want the library to stay open," Cr Smith said.

"These decisions have ramifications. In making sure the library's funded, we need to ask where does the money come from and what other services might be altered," he said.

The proposed library cut forms part of an overall $1.2 million in service cuts proposed in the 2013-14 council budget, to pay for a $700,000 increase in road mainten- ance expenditure and $350,000 for Imagine Lismore initiatives, including a new social media officer.

The budget is currently on public exhibition alongside the Imagine Lismore 10-year plan.



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