Protest urges govt to open its books

By CRAIG McTEAR

GWENDOLINE Haran hopes the State Government will take heed from yesterday's protest over lack of funding for public libraries.

The long-time local resident and frequent Coffs Harbour City library user lent her support to the campaign for libraries to get a greater share of Government money.

"I feel they should have wonderful funding here," Mrs Haran said.

"This is the way to educate people and encourage more reading, and for them to become more interested in literature and reference materials.

"I come in here each month and have a look at all the new books, but towards the end of the financial year, they have no money to buy new books."

The Coffs Harbour library hosted a symbolic bread-and-water morning tea and wrapped the reference shelves in black plastic to demonstrate the bleak future ahead if funding does not improve.

Other libraries on the Coffs Coast took part in the statewide protest.

Paul Camac, who grew up in Coffs Harbour, was in the city library yesterday researching his family history.

He described the protest as a 'wonderful idea'.

"Without the library, we wouldn't be able to find our family roots and resolve some of the unanswered questions that were part of our family," Mr Camac said.

Coffs Harbour City Council city services committee chairman, Cr Bill Palmer, said a collective approach was needed to lobby for more funding.

"A voice in the wilderness won't get heeded," Cr Palmer said.

"This issue is about keeping pace with demand.

"The funding we can provide is simply not good enough."

In 1980, the State Government contributed 23.6 per cent of the total operating costs of public libraries, but continuing cuts meant that dwindled to only 7.8 per cent in 2006-2007.



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