Wollondilly Shire Council joins statewide push to avert library funding shortfall

Warragamba Panorama

Wollondilly Shire Council joins statewide push to avert library funding shortfall

Posted on: 06.08.2018

Wollondilly Council has joined other local councils and public libraries in a united effort across NSW to call for a doubling in State Government funding to resolve a shortfall that threatens the long-term viability of local public libraries.

Wollondilly Mayor, Cr Judith Hannan said, “Our public libraries are the heart of our communities and valued places where people meet, access knowledge and share ideas.”

“Providing high quality library services is a job we take very seriously, thats why we’re proud to support Renew Our Libraries.”

Last week, Wollondilly Council joined the NSW Public Libraries Association (NSWPLA) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) in launching a major grassroots push to deliver a sustainable funding model after the NSW Government reduced funding in its recent Budget.

Cr Hannan said that the demand for local library services had increased, but NSW Government funding had failed to keep up with demand.

“Every year local councils like ours contribute over $314 million to support over 360 libraries while the NSW Government provide just $23.5 million in recurrent funding.”

“This is an unfair burden for us to bear, particularly when local council budgets are already stretched.”

“At around 7.8% of total funding, the NSW contribution to libraries is the lowest in Australia, far behind Victoria (18%) and Queensland (12%). It’s time the NSW Government paid its fair share,” she said.

If the NSW Government fails to increase funding, local library services could be affected - we may see shorter opening hours, fewer programs and services and reduced book and digital collections.

“We don’t want to have to shut the door on students, parents with children and older library users because we don’t have the money to keep the lights on,” said Cr Hannan.

“That’s why we are calling on all political parties to urgently address this funding crisis in NSW public libraries by doubling recurrent funding and creating a sustainable funding model.”

Renew Our Libraries arose from the 2017 LGNSW Conference, where NSW councils unanimously resolved to advocate for improved NSW Government funding to enable public libraries to meet the growing needs of local communities and to raise public awareness of the multiple roles public libraries play in supporting the educational, social, cultural and economic outcomes in local communities.

Members of the community are being asked to get involved by signing a petition. For more information visit: www.renewourlibraries.com.au