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Southland District Council is proposing changes to its bookbus service in the Draft Long Term Plan to cater for usage demands and declines across the District. Covering 11% of the land area of New Zealand, Southland District Council's bookbus service aims to ensure that library services are readily accessible to all residents and ratepayers, particularly those who do not live near a library.
The bookbus currently visits 35 locations and operates 43 stops on a fortnightly or monthly cycle. This accounts for nearly 25% of the total number of books that are issued through Southland District Council's Libraries service.
Usage patterns have shown declines in some areas of the District and increases in others so Council is looking at changing the bookbus service to meet these trends. Dacre, Mokoreta, Glenham, Colac Bay, Thornbury, Drummond, Five Rivers, Wendon and Wendonside are among the stops that are proposed to be removed from the bookbus network. This would mean that library patrons of these areas would have to access the bookbus at the next closest stops.
"The Council constantly reviews how it delivers its library service. The number of book issues from the nine stops proposed to be discontinued is considered too low to warrant the costs of the bookbus operation," Council's libraries manager Lynda Hodge said.
Southland District Council is proposing to replace the existing bookbus, which has travelled more than 300,000 kilometres, with a smaller vehicle that will be cheaper, more energy efficient and safer to operate.
"Transporting large sections of Council's libraries catalogue in the existing bookbus, when only a small portion of these may be of interest to patrons on any given day, is not the best way to continue to deliver the service in the future. The proposed reconfigured vehicle would carry a smaller, but highly popular, selection of books with more of a focus on the provision of users' pre-arranged selections," Mrs Hodge said.
Council is currently calling for submissions on these proposed changes as part of its Long Term Plan submission process until 9 May.
"These proposals are by no means cast in stone and we would like as much feedback as possible from the community on these before making a decision," Mrs Hodge said. "I would encourage anyone with an interest in these matters to lodge a submission and let Southland District Council know how you feel about the proposed changes."