TAFE SA exits Berri joint use library agreement

December 2, 2014 · 0 comments

in Uncategorised

A few of our borrowers might be wondering about the future of the Berri Library & Information Centre since TAFE SA made the decision a few weeks ago not to renew their stake in the Berri joint use library agreement? For those that don’t know the background, the Berri Library opened in January 1999 and came about from an agreement between the Berri Barmera Council, Glossop High School and TAFE SA. Over the years it has been very successful with a team of 7 staff (5.8 FTE) serving three (3) distinct customer groups but all working for the Council under a sole employment model in an building owned by the Department of Education and Children’s Development.  We have hosted many visits over the past 15 years from organisations looking at our advantageous joint use model for ideas that they can employ in their own communities.

The Berri Joint Use Library Agreement between the Minister for Education and Children’s Services and Berri Barmera Council which has operated for 15 years expires on the 31st December 2014. On the 3rd November 2014, TAFE SA contacted Council by email and explained that “…TAFE SA is withdrawing from the Joint Use Library arrangements at Berri” because “…the financial aspects of our review of the Agreement indicate the arrangement is not sustainable and we need an alternative arrangement for TAFE students and staff in the Riverland.” According to TAFE SA “…this involves the establishment of an IT rich Learning Commons…” It was disappointing that TAFE SA did not contact library staff, Council or even local TAFE SA staff for their input before making this decision, and it appears it was mainly financially motivated.

For staff at the Berri Library this is a period of uncertainty as the TAFE SA annual financial contribution to the library is approximately $174,000 and services, resources and staffing will be affected by this decision. There is a lot of work happening in the library now to sort out TAFE SA resources so that they can be transferred across to the Berri TAFE SA campus and to find alternative computer and network arrangements for library staff. These changes, although unexpected, are necessary for us to successfully disengage from TAFE SA and continue to provide basic library services to the community – unfortunately they will have an impact on our current budget.

On a positive note, both Glossop High School and the Berri Barmera Council have commenced negotiations and early indications are that both parties would like to continue with the library service, although some fine tuning needs to occur before a new Agreement can be made.

At the moment and until we know more, library services and opening hours will continue as normal and we will do our best to keep our customers informed.

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