I'm delighted to let you know that the Rockdale Council will proceed with the new main library after the vote on Wednesday night was carried, seven votes to six.
Three speakers addressed the public forum, all in favour of the new library, and their passion and conviction for the impact that a new library could make struck a chord with all those in attendance. Sue McKerracher spoke on behalf of ALIA, travelling from Canberra to do so. It did of course help that ALIA Sydney members made up the greater part of the public gallery, making an effort to get across Sydney after their own work, to support this cause. In the council chamber, a show of strength can be very persuasive, and the depth of feeling was obvious. I know that the staff of Rockdale library were energised by the support they had received.
The Rockdale councillors all spoke in favour of the place a library should have in the community, some were very open about how poorly they felt the community had been served in this matter. Those who eventually voted against the motion made a point about the proposed funding of the building, and were roundly rebuked by councillors speaking for the motion, pointing out that there had been ample time for them to put forward any workable alternatives over the three years of planning for the library, and yet they had produced nothing. For a nice coverage of the debate you could check out the action on twitter.
Once I got home, I sent out email to local friends that I knew had contacted their ward councillors in support of the library. One immediately replied that she already knew the result because one of her councillors had emailed her at the same time to relay the good news. It's great to know that councillor was clearly as excited to spread the news as I was, and will hopefully be motivated to ensure no backsliding occurs.
The next stage should take about 9 -12 months while final planning and permissions go through, and hopefully soon after that the demolition of the existing buildings will take place.
After thirty years of waiting, it can't come soon enough.