RICHMOND Valley Council is supporting a State-wide day of action on 5 December to draw attention to the urgent need for increased library funding at the local level.
Local supporters of the Richmond-Upper Clarence Library network, including Friends of the Library and library users, are encouraged to join the campaign to lobby State Members of Parliament.
Council’s General Manager John Walker said there had been widespread support by NSW councils for the NSW Library Funding Campaign, which was being coordinated by the NSW Public Libraries Association, with input from Local Government NSW and the Australian Library and Information Association.
Mr Walker said the burden of funding libraries fell mostly on the shoulders of local government.
He said while Council acknowledged the recent NSW Budget delivered a $15 million Infrastructure Public Library Grant program over four years from 2014/2015 to 2017/2018, it only reinstated the grant funding program to the level it was in 2005/2006.
He said Council believed a fixed-term recurrent program was needed to provide the certainty required for this all-important annual grants program.
“There is currently a high degree of uncertainty as to the level of ongoing funding for public libraries in NSW,” Mr Walker said.
“The intent of the NSW Library Act in 1939 was for equal funding from State and local governments to provide library services. Since that time local government has increasingly carried the funding burden and the situation has deteriorated significantly over the past few decades.
“Without urgent action from local government and NSW Public Library Associations, this situation will continue and local councils will once again be forced to pick up the funding shortfall.”
Mr Walker said the Richmond-Upper Clarence Library network provided an important service to our communities, through events such as exhibitions, story time for kids, information technology programs for seniors, and stimulating holiday activities for teenagers and the younger members of our community.
For further information, or a personal comment from General Manager John Walker, please contact Sharon Davidson on 02 6660 0257 or 0419 401 214.
Media Release: Friday, 21 November 2014