Blue Mountains News
Love Your Library Week – 2 December to 8 December 2019
Member for Blue Mountains Trish Doyle has joined with Blue Mountains Councillor Romola Hollywood to pledge support for public libraries and back calls for the State Government to ensure secure long-term funding for council-run public libraries.
MP Ms Doyle was invited to take part in the “I love my Library” pledge.
“I chose my local library at Lawson because I know how valuable this library, as well as the other five Council libraries are, to our community in the Blue Mountains,” Ms Doyle said.
“Public libraries provide so many different services. They help people who want to further their education and development, do research on a local history, connect with others in our community and this can be especially important for children and families as well as older people in our community.
“Libraries are safe and welcoming places and vital community hubs for everyone, no matter what your age. We need to know that libraries have long-term financial security from the State Government.”
Love Your Library Week comes after the NSW Public Libraries Association launched its State of our Libraries Report in Parliament House earlier this month that demonstrated that public libraries across NSW are booming in the digital age.
Councillor Hollywood, who is also the Vice-President of the NSW Public Libraries Association said: “Blue Mountains Libraries have over 450,000 visitors which borrowed more than 533,000 items last financial year. They also used over 22,000 hours on Internet computers and asked staff nearly 50,000 reference questions.
“Libraries are more than just books – they are spaces away from home or work that are welcoming and warm. It was great to see the injection of $60m into public libraries over the next four years but we need to secure and increase library funding for the long-term in NSW.”
In a joint campaign with Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and NSW Public Libraries Association, which was initiated by a motion brought forward by Blue Mountains City Council to the LGNSW conference, people across NSW won an important battle to address a funding crisis in public libraries, securing $60 million over the next four years.
Blue Mountains Libraries received an extra $57,382 in this financial year from the State Government thanks to the Renew Our Libraries campaign and according to this new funding formula. In the previous year 2018/19, the service received $193,016 and in 2019/20 the funding went up to $250,399.
But the majority of operational costs for libraries are still borne by the Council and this additional funding is only guaranteed until 2022/23. So the push is on for the State Government to the guarantee funding certainty, including indexation, for the long term.
Councillor Hollywood thanked the Blue Mountains community for the great support for our local libraries and encouraged people to get involved in the campaign.
“We’re encouraging everyone to get involved by taking a photo at their local library and sharing their reasons why they love their library,” Cr Hollywood said.
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