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Village may back library struggle

Monday, 29th April, 2013

South Library supervisor Peter Smith says more volunteers are needed to keep it open. South Library supervisor Peter Smith says more volunteers are needed to keep it open.

By Kurtis J Eichler

Patton Village could step in to avert the closure of the struggling South Library.

The volunteer-run organisation faces a potentially dire future if it can't find a body to cover its insurance, now paid for by the St James Anglican Church.

A lack of volunteers to man the six-day-aweek library is also an issue which could lead to it closing its doors.

However Patton Village chairman Jason King said the committee had expressed interest in covering the costs.

"It's definitely something we're looking at," the Bells Milk Bar owner said.

Mr King said if it was to take over on the insurance costs, he'd like to see it developed into more of a community centre.

"It's been the same for 20 years and so I'd like to see it made into much more of a community centre as well as a library.

"It is a community asset."

The library has been teetering on the brink of closure for some years and supervisor Peter Smith said it has resorted to sausage sizzles and fundraisers to pay the bills.

"We do make a little bit of money through photocopying and phone use and we have sold cool drinks cheap for a dollar," Mr Smith said.

City Council has waived rent on a number of occasions which keeps the library afloat, he said.

Insurance regulations mean two volunteers must be at the library for every shift, Mr Smith said, and this was one of the reasons it was struggling to stay open.

"We've got nine volunteers but they are usually the older gen," Mr Smith said.

"The younger generation aren't that interested in volunteering.

"It's the generation that went to the World War and in the fifties and sixties that find that helping people also helps themselves."

The library has its regulars but there is more of a demand for people using the computers rather than reading books, he said.

"We also have 19-year-olds that are a nuisance to the ladies," he said.

"That's another reason we'd like to have two on instead of one."

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