Council’s Library Service is celebrating the news it will receive a 37% increase in funding this year from the NSW Government, through its per capita based subsidy payments from $180,944 last year to $247,018 in 2019/20.
Earlier this year, the State Government promised additional funding of $60m for public libraries over the next four years. They have since announced that $36.5m has been made available across NSW in 2019-2020 with each local government area receiving a share based on their population. This followed the successful, statewide Renew Our Libraries funding campaign run jointly by the NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW.
“This is fantastic news. Libraries are at the heart of our communities and are one of the places where all the generations meet and mix to learn, share knowledge and enjoy activities,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.
“Providing high quality and popular library services is a job we take very seriously and I’m delighted that we are going to be able to provide an even better service with this extra funding.”
Enzo Accadia, Council’s Group Leader Community and Cultural Services (Acting), said that the funding increases will make a huge difference in helping our libraries better meet the growing demands and interests of local library users and visitors.
“Libraries offer so much – from quality collections, comfortable and safe public spaces, high speed internet, to events and programs. They play an important role in helping create a literate, healthy and informed society,” he added.
The new funding package also includes a capital grants program of $24m over four years, which will enable improvements to library buildings and IT systems across the state.
The NSW State Library will work closely with councils on library improvement projects as the funding is allocated.
In addition to the public library funding increase, the NSW Government has allocated a further $2m to the State Library for Vision Australia to enable the provision of expanded services and a greater selection of audio and braille books to the 126,000 people who are blind or have low vision in NSW.