Discussions to continue about Ceduna School Community Library changes

LIBRARY: Former Ceduna School Community Library staff member Chris Blums has expressed concern about potential changes to the library's layout. Picture: Luca Cetta
LIBRARY: Former Ceduna School Community Library staff member Chris Blums has expressed concern about potential changes to the library's layout. Picture: Luca Cetta

A plan to alter the configuration of the Ceduna School Community Library to provide greater space for early learning special needs children remains in a discussion phase.

Ceduna Area School – which operates the library alongside the Department of Education – engaged architects to review the layout of classrooms last year, due to a need to accommodate additional early learning special needs space.

The area of the library identified for reallocation would take away part of the administration space.

Former library staff member Chris Blums has expressed concerns about the potential reallocation.

She said in a letter to the Ceduna District Council – which provides financial assistance to the school enabling the library to be open outside of school hours – that school-related activities such as reading, studying and socialising in the space, and the use of the library by other community groups, would be “severely hampered by lack of space”.

She noted the library last year engaged a consultant to work on strategies to maximise productivity of space and to improve presentation to increase usage.

The library was then re-painted and $30,000 was spent on new shelving and signage.

Mrs Blums expressed concern redevelopment would cut shelving space and impact on study areas.

“I don’t want to see the library get too much smaller,” she said.

“I realise the needs of kids is the first priority, but we have spent all that money and it is an asset to the town.”

She said the library was used by students, for the young children’s storytime group, senior citizens, crochet club, and was a space to run school holiday courses.

“I spent 20 years with the library and saw it was a nice meeting place for people that is safe for children and the facilities and services it has are an asset,” Mrs Blums said.

“Senior citizens come in for a visit, the crochet club uses it every Thursday night and lots of tourists come in for the free internet.”

Community member Una Connellan organised and handed a petition, signed by 77 people, to the council asking it to reconsider any changes to the library.

School principal Andrew Gravestocks said any potential changes were still being discussed.

He also said there were no plans to close the library.

“There are no definitive plans to the changes to the layout of the library and special needs class,” Mr Gravestocks said.

“The library is open and running as usual.”

Mr Gravestocks added if anybody had concerns they could contact him at the school.

The council’s manager of governance Mark Hewitson prepared a report on the matter for the December council meeting.

While the council has no authority over the library’s space allocation, the council decided to write to Mr Gravestocks, the State Library Board and the education minister objecting to the reduction in usable space.

Councillor Peter Codrington said there needed to be enough space for all to operate.

“We want the library preserved as a facility for everybody in the community,” he said.