Library shift upsets

KEEPING a library in Shellharbour Village has been defended by some of Shellharbour's councillors, with a strategy recommending the facility move to Shell Cove.

Councillors adopted the Libraries and Museum Strategy 2024 and welcomed upgrades and extensions to Oak Flats and Albion Park libraries.

However, when discussions turned to Shellharbour Village library, councillors Kellie Marsh and Peter Moran spoke against a plan to move it to Shell Cove.

"The bottom line is you are closing Shellharbour Library," Cr Marsh said.

"There is a library in the village - if that library's not going to be there anymore, that's closed.

"It's not reopening - it's gone."

Cr Marsh said the average age of people using Shellharbour Village Library was 70-80.

"I can't see someone hot-tailing it on their walker going from Shellharbour Village to Shell Cove," she said.

"Shell Cove is a wonderful development that has enough to keep it going - we need to make sure that we have these services in the village."

Councillor Peter Moran was also concerned about the council's preference of Shell Cove, despite its larger population.

"I think we need to keep in mind that Shell Cove will be one of the wealthier areas in the local government area, being one of the newest areas," he said.

"It [is] more likely to have fibre-to-the-home broadband access and less reliance on the services that library will provide now and into the future."

Councillor Helen Stewart queried whether a shopfront could be accommodated in any redevelopment of the Roo Theatre - a joint facility has been flagged since the 1980s.

General manager Michael Willis emphasised Shellharbour Village Library would not close because Shell Cove Library would replace it.

"Council has already made decisions to the establishment of a new library at The Waterfront," he said.

"This is a strategy not a plan - it's very clear that there's a number of things that need to be worked through and that's certainly the case with Shellharbour Village.

"Is it possible we could have a drop-in facility? Yes of course."

The current library was built as a baby health centre in 1961 and remodelled in 1996 - at 65 square metres, it only accommodates eight customers at a time, with limited capacity for wheelchairs and prams.

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