PNH members hope community library can join new chapter
THE future of a community library located at Portarlington Neighbourhood House remains in limbo as the house gets ready to relocate to Parks Hall.
The Portarlington Neighbourhood House will become a new tenant at the hall in September, relocating the majority of its programs to the important community facility.
But Hetty Anbeek, who has operated the community library for the past 10 years, said the City of Greater Geelong did not have any current plans or space at its new Parks Hall “community hub” to house the 1500-book resource.
“We are in limbo,” Ms Anbeek said.
“It’s a pity we can’t move it straight away, but hopefully there will be a place at Parks Hall in a while, because we don’t want the library to have to stay here with the neighbourhood house over there.”
Earlier this year, the City of Greater Geelong took over the management of Portarlington’s Parks Hall from Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee.
The City has worked closely with the committee and regular users of the hall to ensure the change of management caused minimal disruption to existing users, and has undertaken some improvements to the hall, including creating additional office space and a new reception area.
PNH coordinator Julie Hyslop said while she welcomed the construction of a new office and reception area for the house, she hoped Council would create a place for the library too.
“The library is an important community resource,” Ms Hyslop said.
“It’s open to everyone, it’s totally free and it’s been put together solely over the last 10 years from quality donations, and we like to keep it current and relevant.
“Between 30-40 people come in to use it every week.”
Ms Anbeek has spent hundreds of volunteer hours during the past 10 years building the book and DVD library up, and also fully cataloguing them.
“I love that people can come and borrow and they’re friendly and ask, have you got this and have you got that, and because we have it on computer at least we can look it up,” she said.
“When I started here there was nothing organised and no one knew what we had and where they were.
“It would be sad for the community to see it go.
“But we also don’t want to be too negative… the library will stay here until at least the end of the year.
“We move in September, but the library will stay here and we hope to open several mornings a week.
“It’s an interim solution but we hope the library can also move to the community hub at some stage.”
The City’s Director of Community Life Robyn Stevens said improvements to the hall, including creating a new office space for Portarlington Neighbourhood House, were nearly complete.
“As a tenant, the Neighbourhood House will be relocating most of their programs to the hall,” Ms Stevens said.
“Unfortunately, the library will not be relocated to Parks Hall.
“The City is continuing to explore other accommodation opportunities for the library with the Neighbourhood House.”