Let NSW State Government Candidates Know Library Lovers Vote Too!

Sutherland Shire Libraries are participating in the Day of Action on Friday 5 December by asking residents to contact their local NSW State Government candidates in the 2015 election and highlight the need for increased funding from State Government to protect the future of public libraries.

The Day of Action is an important strategy in the ongoing NSW Public Libraries Association’s Library Funding Campaign, which was launched in April 2014.

“Thousands of Shire residents have already shown their support by signing a state-wide petition which gathered 70,000 signatures asking for increased funding from the State Government, but more needs to be done,” said Lyn Barakat, Manager – Library Services, Sutherland Shire Council.

Library funding was once split 50:50 between State and Local Governments. The State Government currently contributes just 7 cents out of every dollar and local councils now have to fund 93 per cent of the cost of providing public libraries. 

NSW Government recurrent funding to support the public library network is the lowest percentage of total budget of any State, and about half of that provided in Victoria and Queensland, the two most comparable networks. Previous NSW State Governments have put in less and less in real terms every year.

The NSW Public Libraries Association acknowledges the additional capital funding provided by the NSW Government in the 2014-15 budget, and for coming years. 

“What needs to be made clear is that the funding under this increase is available by application to the grant program, and is not universally spread across the state. While this funding will provide enhanced facilities for those councils which are successful, without funds for resources or the staff to make it work, then it is a pointless exercise,” she said.  

“If opening hours are reduced or branches closed it will be because funding pressures on councils have become too great.  For a modest increase in recurrent funding, the NSW State Government can prevent this,” said Ms Barakat.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.nswpla.org.au or talk to your local library staff.