Blake has his say

Young reader speaks out to support book bus

ALANA DIXON
Last updated 15:19 23/05/2012
Blake Kirk
NICOLE GOURLEY/Fairfax NZ
Glenham School pupil Blake Kirk, 6, reads the submission he made to the Southland District Council asking it not to change its mobile book bus service.

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Six-year-old Glenham School pupil Blake Kirk reckons he will be pretty disappointed if a proposal to change the Southland District Council's mobile book bus go ahead.

"I'd feel sad, because the book bus is really good because it helps people learn,'' he said.

Blake does a lot of reading with his mum  his favourite books are "all of them''  and, in addition to the Wyndham and his school libraries, he likes having a browse on the book bus.

"I've found lots of book in the bus I really like to read.''

The district council's draft long-term plan (LTP) outlines proposed changes to the service and has met with opposition from ratepayers.

Glenham School principal Cathi Knowles said after Blake wrote his own submission on the proposal, the other pupils at the school, who were studying government, decided they wanted to make one too.

Every book a child read was an important tool in their education, and as the children had pointed out, the district council's motto was "People First", Mrs Knowles said.

"I see this about literacy, and therefore it's more important than money.''

The book bus visited once a month, and between pupils and the rest of the community had doled out 84 books during its last visit, Mrs Knowles said.

Proposed changes include moving to a smaller, more economical vehicle, and fewer books, with a greater focus on prearranging selections.

The network of scheduled stops is also in for an overhaul, with existing stops at Dacre, Mokoreta, Glenham, Thornbury, Colac Bay, Drummond, Five Rivers, Wendon and Wendonside set to be discontinued.

Council library manager Lynda Hodge said the proposal was about looking at the usage patterns of the service.

"The majority of them aren't being used as much as they were, for any number of reasons, such as the school has closed, like at Dacre. Some of them just aren't being used in the same way, so we're looking at perhaps more spreading the resource fairly rather than curtailing it,'' she said.

Submissions on the LTP will be heard in Invercargill from June 6 to 8  229 in total were received, the highest number to a draft LTP to date

The final plan will be brought to the district council for adoption on June 27.

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