An Open Letter to the Mayor of Wellington
Leading literary lights join forces to fight the partial privatisation of the central library building and a cut to the resources budget - books!
Signatories of the Open Letter included literary luminaries: Kate De Goldi, Mandy Hager, Bill Manhire, Dame Fiona Kidman, Damien Wilkins, Elizabeth Knox, Emily Writes, Gregory O’Brien, Ingrid Horrocks (to name just a few), and organisations such as the Publishers Association of New Zealand/Te Rau o Tākupu, ReadNZ, Coalition for Books, and NZ Society of Authors, Here is a short excerpt:
We write jointly to express our strong opposition to this move and to ask Wellingtonians to roundly reject this private-public partnership model and severe budget reduction.
We remind councillors that in July 2020 they ruled out a possible privatisation of the closed library: just seven months ago they chose to maintain this cultural asset as a service owned by the people of Wellington for the benefit of the people of Wellington. Public ownership of the city’s central library is fundamental to our understanding of civic society, democracy, and infrastructure.
The central library building, its resources and, not least, its librarians are at the heart of Wellington’s civic and cultural life. The library is greatly loved and heavily patronised. Its long-term closure for earthquake strengthening has certainly left a hole in the city; nevertheless, book borrowing (enabled by the three temporary CBD library hubs) has risen over the months since the library closed its doors. And the shuttered library itself stays alive in the hearts and minds of Wellington citizens.
We understand the central library as a space and essential resource for everyone – children, whānau, students, our homeless people, the self-employed, the lonely, business people, the mentally fragile, and the elderly. It is the city’s repository of information, of learning, of cultural and intellectual nourishment; it is the city’s flagship house of reading.
Read the full article HERE.
If you feel strongly about the value of libraries, please write to Mayor Foster and the Wellington City Council with your concerns at https://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say