Blue Mountains City Council is calling for more funding for public libraries at a time when NSW public libraries receive less state government funding than any other state or territory in Australia.
“Council-run public libraries serve as important community hubs, particularly libraries run by councils in rural and regional areas. Research has shown that every dollar invested in public libraries returns $4 to community,” said Ward 2 Councillor Romola Hollywood.
Since 1939, the NSW Government contribution to public libraries has reduced significantly. In 1980, it was 23.6 per cent and in 2017 it is just 7 per cent.
The NSW public library network is based on co-operation between council libraries and the State Library of NSW.
“Changing demographics, community demand for a wider variety of library services and programming, an increased variety of collection formats, new technologies and e-government have created both enormous opportunities and challenges for the delivery of public library services and have resulted in increased pressure on library budgets,” said Clr Hollywood.
“Public libraries are no longer solely store-houses of information but also fulfil an important educational, cultural and social role within the community.”
Blue Mountains City Council is taking the lead in advocating for NSW public library funding at the Local Government NSW Annual Conference in Sydney from December 4-6. Cr Hollywood, who is also Vice President of the Metropolitan of NSW Public Libraries Association, will be seeking the support of the association to develop a strategic partnership with the NSW Public Libraries Association.