Book theft is becoming an issue with councils after talks about increased contributions took place recently.
Book theft is becoming an issue with councils after talks about increased contributions took place recently.

Council discusses book theft

IT might prove to be a somewhat dry crime mystery, but for local councils the issue of book theft is a real page turner.

Just how many books are actually stolen from council libraries was a source of intrigue at last week’s meeting of the Nambucca Shire Council.

The topic arose during discussions about the Clarence Regional Library ’s (CRL) latest request for an increase in contributions from its member councils.

Those three councils, Clarence Valley, Bellingen and Nambucca, collectively contribute around $700,000 on a per capita basis to the provision of services at 10 libraries between Yamba and Macksville.

For the fourth consecutive year they are being asked to support a 10 per cent increase in their contributions.

The Clarence Regional Library’s Chief Executive Anne D’Arcy said that money would go towards the purchase of new books and to replenish stocks possibly depleted by theft.

“We have no idea just how many books are stolen from our libraries,” Ms D’Arcy said.

“Our staff have spent the past four months doing a physical stocktake of all our books, so we hope to know soon how many have gone missing.”

Ms D’Arcy said consideration was being given to new technology called RFID which tracked the movement of books, but at Thursday’s meeting Nambucca Councillors wanted to know what was the real level and real cost of theft.

Mayor Rhonda Hoban said until the level of theft was known she couldn’t support the implementation of RFID.

“The CRL said it’s going to cost around $435,000 to implement and then $45,000 a year to run,” she said.

“Where do we get that sort of money?

“At some stage we will need to tell the Clarence Regional Library that there will be a point where we can’t continue to increase our contribution while rate pegging is in place.”



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