Libraries could be on the move

AS Shellharbour City Council continues its efforts to clear up "misinformation" about the future of Warilla Library, doubts have also been cast over Shellharbour Village's service.

The council wrote to business operators last week to emphasise Warilla Library would not be removed as part of the City Hub development, which will include a library.

Mayor Marianne Saliba said the council had no plans to close libraries, but if a buyer decided to make an offer on the old Warilla council chambers and the library, the council would have to make a decision "in the best interests of the community".

"If the library site were ultimately included in the sale, the council would then need a new library site in Warilla," she said.

"Whatever the case, Warilla will continue to have a library."

However, councillor Kellie Marsh said the issue was where Warilla Library would ultimately be located.

"The community has not been consulted on what's going to happen to Warilla Library," she said. "We need to ask, 'do you want it to be knocked down or extended, or do you want the library on the same site?'

"My colleagues are running scared when it pertains to community consultation, but whether they like it or not, we have to do what the community wants."

Cr Marsh said an earlier attempt to move Warilla Library to Warilla Grove had been opposed in the past and strong opposition remained.

Meanwhile, she said there were plans to scale back the small Shellharbour Village Branch Library to a pick-up and drop-off service, to allow for another facility in Shell Cove.

"We need good community facilities in all our towns - I don't want to see things taken from the village and put into Shell Cove," she said.

Cr Marsh believed the existing Shellharbour Village branch should be extended on to council-owned land opposite the Shellharbour Village Exhibition Space, and said a consultant had advised councillors against centralising services too much.

"I would prefer money to be spent on the existing libraries before we start on anything else," she said.

"They're right near transport and there are other services around there."

A council spokeswoman said the proposed site for Warilla Library would be "in or around" the current location, while the proposed upgrade of library services for Shellharbour Village would be considered "as part of the Shell Cove development".

Cr Saliba said the community would continue to be consulted about the future of library services, including redevelopments. Proposed library service locations will be included in a future report to the council.

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