Lismore City councillor Isaac Smith visited the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library in June.
Lismore City councillor Isaac Smith visited the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library in June.

Public barred from library meeting

THE public will be excluded from a meeting on Friday to discuss the new role of the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library’s library committee and proposed service level agreements.

The Lismore City Council, which announced in June it would take over the role of the library’s administrative council, yesterday defended its decision to bar the public.

“It is normal for all organisations to be able to have these type of conversations without the public in attendance at this early stage,” the new executive member of the Richmond-Tweed Regional Library, Rino Santin, said.

“Once negotiations have progressed to a stage where the councils have reached an understanding, the details will be made public.”

Lismore controversially informed the library committee, which comprises representatives of the four participating councils, that it was no longer needed and it would take over from July 1, stating that the network’s existing structure was in conflict with the Local Government Act.

The Northern Star understands the meeting will discuss a proposal to allow Lismore to appoint and dismiss the committee chairperson, and dissolve and reconstitute the committee as it sees fit.

Mr Santin confirmed the new role of the committee would be ‘very different’.

It is also understood assets owned by the library will be divided into library owned-assets, shared assets owned by more than one council, and excluded assets to be held by an individual council.

The Lismore Community Action Network said yesterday that given the community anxiety over the takeover, the meeting should be open to the public.

“Lismore Community Action Network is concerned the general managers and the library committee ... are meeting behind closed doors to discuss this issue,” member Trish Gibson said.

“We can see no reason under the NSW Local Government Act and Lismore council’s own Code of Meeting Practice why this matter should be confidential.

“The timing of this confidential meeting is curious given Lismore councillors had called for a briefing on this issue, which is not to be held until August 31, and it seems to leave the voice of our community representatives out of the loop.”



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