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Survey shows library upgrade should stay on-site

June 23rd, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

Louis Attenborough, Glennis Coote, Helen McCubbin
and Morgan Clark

When the Motueka Library receives its long-overdue expansion and upgrade, it should be on its current site rather than being built in a new location.

This was the main finding of a resident survey conducted by the Motueka High School Year 10 Community Issues class this month and presented by Morgan Clark and Louis Attenborough to librarians and David Ogilvie this afternoon.

The library for some time has been identified as being well below government standards for a town of Motueka's size, in terms of both facilities and size, and the Tasman District Council with the Motueka Community Board is drafting up some ideas for its upgrading. It was therefore an ideal project for Bruce Reid's class to research.

Morgan told the class that it appeared that cost factors influenced most of the 432 people the class students surveyed to prefer an extension and rebuild on the current Pah Street site rather than building a new library on another site. However, when asked where else a new library could go if a rebuild was not appropriate, most preferred a site in Decks Reserve.

Of particular interest to the librarians, represented at the presentation by Motueka chief librarian Helen McCubbin and TDC librarian Glennis Coote, was the finding that the main improvements that library users would like to see in an expanded space and new layout were separate areas for Internet users and children's play. Helen and Glennis said this tallied with their own findings and would help greatly in firming up their design planning.

The class chose the library upgrade issue following discussions with community board chairman David Ogilvie. With the help of feedback from Glennis Coote, the students designed the survey questions and noted their hypotheses about what the outcomes may be.

They interviewed a very willing public over four days, tabulated the results and prepared PowerPoint slideshows. The two best slideshows were then chosen for the final presentation.

The main findings were that 91% of those interviewed were locals (as would be expected in winter), and 57% were ratepayers (the others would probably be renting accommodation). About one half used the library at least monthly. A good majority said the library currently met the needs of the community, but 28% thought the library was often too crowded. Almost everyone expected that the community would be consulted when conceptual plans for the rebuild were drafted.

The final report noted that the survey would hopefully guide the TDC to make plans that would reflect the wishes of the community. "It was apparent that people expressed their views on the basis that the cost of the rebuild would be borne by Motueka ratepayers rather than all TDC ratepayers.

"This may have influenced the strong support for an upgrade on site rather than a complete rebuild. People may have thought an upgrade on site would be a cheaper option." However, David Ogilvie said today that the cost would be borne by all Tasman District ratepayers.

The high school's Community Issues classes are becoming an important "institution" in Motueka's community life, having provided well researched input into a growing number of issues over the past few years. This term's project has been particularly well conducted and received, and the students are to be congratulated.

The class is believed to be the only one running in New Zealand high schools, thanks largely to the dedication of teacher Bruce Reid. Sadly Bruce will be leaving this work at the end of this year, and for the sake of the community as a whole it is hoped that another teacher can carry on the work.

Click here to view the survey questions »
Click here to view the survey results »


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