Correcting comments on the library service

South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) wishes to correct recent misinformation shared in social media about the proposed 2023/24 Annual Plan funding for the Wairarapa Library Service. 

These comments were about the size of our team, their potential salaries should the funding be provided and the value libraries provide.

We would like you to know the Wairarapa Library Service is a SWDC and CDC shared service. Staff are employed and paid for by the respective councils. Jointly there are 10 full time equivalent staff (FTE). SWDC employs the equivalent of 6.75 staff to manage its 3 libraries. Any use of casual staff are paid for by the employing council.  

The libraries are the Councils’ most valued service in its annual customer perception survey. Since 2020 usage and membership has increased by approximately 30%.  

In a 2022/23 review of all staff positions at SWDC, library staff were found to be underpaid relative to other public library staff in Aotearoa New Zealand, some significantly so.  Salaries were brought into line with comparative SWDC roles as well as the Living Wage.   

In our Consultation Document, SWDC’s 2023/24 Annual Plan proposed funding of $165,000 to be set aside to enable employment, as required, of a pool of casual library staff.  

The engagement of casual staff was intended to mitigate the low permanent staffing level, and was equivalent to 3FTE. The funding would have only been used when staff were required.

Public opinion was split on this proposal and last week the Council resolved to reject the proposed funding.  

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