Yes! Libraries are worth saving - An insight by Pollyanne Pena

On Tuesday 3 September, Wellingtonians attended a debate about the worth of our public libraries. The debate was organised by Wellington Library Coalition (WLC), a group formed this year, aimed at stopping further cuts to library funding and staffing.

I was approached earlier last month by my friendly PSA campaign organizer Conor to add a “youthful” perspective to the debate and immediately said yes. While my activism is predominately centered around feminism, I couldn’t resist the chance to argue for the place that has continued to foster my love of learning, continuous education and my wider community.

Disappointingly, our libraries’ budget has been reduced year after year. As a result, library staff are under increasing pressure; services like story-reading time, school holiday programmes and the books for babies schemes have been cut back or stopped entirely, and stock is no longer rotated around branches, meaning smaller branch libraries offer a reduced selection of materials.

I had an absolute blast participating in the debate, the crowd was jovial, incredibly bright and very friendly. Most heartening was the mix of genders, ages, ethnicities and class coming together and all getting in behind the idea of saving these amazing community spaces. Many thanks to the PSA for inviting me to be part of such an important community discussion and my PSAY delegate Asher for coming along and supporting me on the night.

My favourite quote of the evening? “When you try and access the internet, sometimes the connection doesn’t work, the link you want to use is broken, there will always be problems but you can guarantee with a book, when you open it up, there will always be words on the page.”