Closing libraries to save money a 'lame' excuse

FORMER librarian Sharon Force has submitted her own report on the performance of Gladstone libraries following the council's decision to close the doors on Sundays.

The libraries' hours were originally extended to cater for the increase in workers on Curtis Island who came back to the mainland late during the week.

>> Read Ms Force's report here

But with the wind down in work, Gladstone Regional Council decided in April it would close the Boyne and Gladstone libraries on Sundays - a move that would save $150,000.

The council cited lower user numbers, the expenses of staff wages and cost of electricity to justify the change ahead of the next budget.

But Ms Force says the numbers don't add up.

She said closing the libraries for the sake of saving a small fraction of money in the $170 million budget was "one of the lamest reasons for the proposed closures".

Ms Force said 263 daily visitors at Gladstone Library - that is 44 per hour - should be enough to justify keeping the doors open on a Sunday.

The council also cited annual electricity costs of $26,275 for both the Boyne and Gladstone libraries as an expense, on top of $128,470 in wages.

But Ms Force says a church group uses the Boyne Library on Sundays. They pay for their electricity costs.

That must go some way, Ms Force said, to paying the bill.

"Council calculated the electricity costs at Boyne Island as $261 per day, however, given there is a church group that uses (the largest room in the complex every Sunday), and they pay for this hire (including electricity/air-conditioning)... surely these fees would be offsetting the power costs to some degree," Ms Force said in her written report.

Mayor Gail Sellers declined to comment because she said she hadn't seen Ms Force's report.



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