Prospero Pl under study

PETRA FINER SOUTH TARANAKI STAR
Last updated 12:25 19/09/2012

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South Taranaki Star

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Stratford's Prospero Pl is set for a new look in the next couple of years.

The Stratford District Council is undertaking a review of library services as part of a wider look at improving the use of that area for residents, said Mike Avery, director of community and environmental services.

It has been a long time since the council last reviewed such services and times have changed, Mr Avery said.

"The area is wonderful but it doesn't get as higher traffic count as it could," he said.

"We would like to see the relationship between Prospero Place and the Clock Tower heightened."

Mr Avery said despite the Percy Thomson museum, the library services, the information centre and a cafe all being located in the area, it was still common for people to walk down Broadway and miss Prospero Place.

"There's always opportunities for improvement," he said.

Added to that is the fact that community requirements of the library have changed; it is no longer the quiet primary place to access books.

People now visit the library for internet access, as a meeting place for reading groups, and a hot spot for tourists needing information.

"Some people are wanting to make a fair bit of noise in the space and others need a bit of quiet," he said.

To help with the consultation, the council has enlisted the help of a surveying company.

A representative spent time in the library interviewing users last week.

Mr Avery stresses that this is only an initial consultation phase, there is no budget in the Long Term Plan for work to be carried out in the area anytime soon.

"If the community is overwhelmingly happy with the service provided there, then that will put some sort of limit on further development," he said.

Stratford district librarian Jonet Moore said use of the library has definitely changed over the past few years.

While many still borrow books for recreational reading, Ms Moore said that libraries across New Zealand have noticed a large drop in non-fiction requirements.

"If someone wants to find out some information then the internet is the first port of call."

She said they also have a lot of people using the wireless internet connection with their own computers, tablets or cellphones or using library computers.

There are questionnaires in the Stratford District and Centennial Library on Prospero Place until tomorrow when they will be sent away for collating.

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