It’s a very sad thing to hear about someone being evicted out of a house they’ve made their home over many years. Even worse when they have only a month to find somewhere else and move years worth of collected posessions. Now imagine a public library giving its maching orders.
Warrawong Branch Library, the second busiest branch of the Woolongong City Public Library has been given a month to move tens of thousands of library materials and equipment as Westfields push them out to install a discount store.
At one time it use to be advantages for shopping centres like Westfields to have government agencies like libraries under their roof for the benefit of their shopping public and the guaranteed public interest it would bring them. Not any more, it seems that rent is far more important than the quality of service they’re providing to their community.
And it’s not as if the library aren’t keeping their end of the deal. Warrawong is a big branch drawing 165,000 people every year. They provide services and programs that no other shop in Westfields could hope to provide and they do it for free. And what’s more, they’ve doing it in that spot for 21 years.
This unique and treasured service is being replace with a discount store that will only sell the same inferior merchanise as any other shop in the centre. You can’t tell me there aren’t at least 2 other discount shops in that one Westfields, besides the Big W’s, Kmarts, Best for Less and Targets.
Westfields management, like town planners, need to look at their service mix. Sure they can fill every shop front with rent paying discount shops, but what sort of shopping centre would it be?
I would also suggest that council was giving Westfields something for taking the library. I wouldn’t want to speculate on what they might be, but having the library in the shopping centre did make them partners, a partnership Westfields has seen fit to disolve. I wonder if Westfields have taken that goodwill into consideration when they thought about their bottomline.