Library future hangs on results of survey

SOUTHERN Downs Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley says no decision will be made on the future of library services in the region until the results of a community poll come back.

With speculation Southern Downs Regional Council's mobile library could be axed, residents in surrounding regions of Warwick have called for the service to be kept, or permanent libraries to be created.

However, Cr Bartley said it was common sense to wait until the community's opinions could be heard.

"We conducted a region-wide survey and it's only appropriate that we wait until we have the results of the survey before we make any decisions," Cr Bartley said.

"We've had community meetings and the resounding message we've taken from those meetings is that people don't want a decrease in their access to a library, but in terms of what course of action will be taken, we will wait to see what the survey says."

Residents in the Killarney region have called for a permanent library and Cr Bartley said that was among the potential options.

"In any case the mobile library will be operational for another 12 months, but the van is due for replacement and we will see if there are other ways things could be done and what the community wants," he said.

"There are buildings already in Killarney that are probably under-utilised and if the resounding message from the survey is that residents want a permanent library, we will see what buildings might be available."

Mt Colliery resident Dawn Jess said it was imperative the region have a library service.

"It's vital; to some people, books are one of the most important things in life," Mrs Jess said.

"Without a library, people mightn't continue with their love of books.

"Reading between the lines, I don't think the mobile library will keep going, so a permanent one would be great."

Mrs Jess said she was concerned about the impact no library service would have on young children.

"Being introduced at an early age to books, I think it grabs you for life," she said.

"I see a library as a vital part of our community and I worry about the literacy of young kids if there is no community library service."

A Southern Downs Regional Council spokeswoman said community engagement was ongoing.

"Literacy is a vitally important skill," the spokeswoman said.

"Council has recently completed community engagement regarding its Library Services Strategic Plan.

"Community Services staff will now begin community engagement work about the mobile library service."

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