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Libraries welcome $60 million in NSW Government funding

Libraries welcome $60 million in NSW Government funding
August 28, 2018

A 40-year public campaign to secure adequate resources for public libraries has welcomed a NSW Government announcement of $60 million in new funding.

The high-profile campaign had long highlighted that the NSW Government gives the lowest amount of funding to libraries in Australia, despite a consistent rise in library visits in NSW - with more than eight million more visits in the last 17 years.

In the last month, libraries have been appealing for urgent help as some were forced to reduce opening hours and even warned of complete closure leading to the commitment from the NSW  Government.

Stating that the funding signifies a "great day" for libraries, said Renew Libraries spokesperson Robert Knight, Executive Director of the Riverina Regional Library, told the ABC “this shows our campaign has rung a bell or two ... reminding people exactly what's at stake.”

Knight said he is somewhat surprised at the quick turn-around by the NSW Government who slashed library funding by 5% in its last budget.

He added "we are grateful the Government of the day has actually recognised the value of public libraries.

"Loans, physical visits, online visits are all absolutely burgeoning in NSW libraries.

"42% of people in NSW are members of registered libraries - any business would kill stats for that."

The money pledged will be used to expand opening hours, expand book collections, deliver English lessons, provide HSC study help and outreach programs for seniors.

Announcing the funding at the end of last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated “this is a record investment in NSW's public libraries - the biggest single cash injection in their history.”

It will bring NSW Government funding, which currently sits at 5.8%, in line with that of Queensland at 12%.

NSW Public Libraries Association President Dallas Tout said the fact that local governments provide 92.5% of library funding in NSW shows that the model needs fixing.

Images: Blacktown Library (top) and the library at Blacktown Leisure Centre Stanhope (below).

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1st February 2017 - State Library of NSW secures $15 million in private donations for new world‐class galleries

18th January 2015 - NSW cultural institutions fail workplace diversity targets

18th August 2013 - Canberrans have Australia’s best library service

6th August 2011 - Campaign for more funding for libraries

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