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What people are saying about closing Iluka library

There was a consensus among the people who have spoken to the Independent: the library must stay – and there are various reasons, some of which are outside of just borrowing books.
The Iluka Chamber of Commerce’s president, Sonia Deakin, described it as a “vital part of the community; it’s such an asset to everyone”.
She highlighted the community’s use of the library’s wi-fi among the various demographics.
“It’s great for students and small businesses, too, if needs be; for school children and preschool children [the library is] a vital necessity; that’s where they get their books and resources,” she said.
“It’s a great place for out of school meetings – students can go there for research in a nice quiet place with wi-fi.”
She pointed out that the library doubled as a community hub and that the town has a strong book club.
Ms Deakin, however, praised the council regarding it is consultation with the community. “That’s what we applaud,” she said.
“That’s fantastic, but I can’t see anyone not wanting the library here; it will be disappointing if it has to go.”
Speaking on behalf of the Iluka Mothers Group, whose mums and children meet at the library each week for social interaction and education, Toni-Jayne Northcott told the Independent: “Instead of contemplating the possible closure of Iluka library, the council should be drawing up plans and approving finance for an expansion of services available from this valuable community facility.
“…The library is a critical adjunct to the community health centre and can play a major role in rehabilitation after illness and in times of crisis.
“There is no denying that there are disadvantaged socio-economic groups here in Iluka; pensioners, widows, the unemployed, part time and seasonal workers and many more.”
A number of people at the library said the library was the only place in Iluka where they could get free access to the internet.
They also said many people could not afford to buy newspapers every day and the library provided them with the opportunity to read them at their leisure, in quiet and peaceful surroundings.
A craft group meets at the library for two hours each Wednesday afternoon, and there is a knitting group, a book club and other special interest study groups all making use of the library.
A spokesperson for the book club said: “We grew up with books and relied on them before the age of television, computers, tablets, Kindles, smart phones and other electronic devices.”
“Many people enjoy the tactility of a book rather than the glare of a computer screen.”
Betty Lewis, Brenda Brown and Marlene Chadwick were at the library last Friday, busy knitting for their charity donations to disadvantaged people.
“We distribute our rugs and knitted clothes and toys throughout Australia and overseas. We contributed many items to the victims of the recent Lismore floods,” they said.
“The Iluka library provides an extremely valuable resource for us, which in turn provides for the community at large.”
Dave Cowen was emphatic that he was typical of Iluka parents who made extensive use of the library.
“I’ve been bringing my four children here regularly for more than 15 years,” he said.
“It must not be allowed to close.”

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