With the NSW State Election just around the corner, Northern Beaches Libraries would like to bring to your attention a very important campaign that is close to our hearts.
Right now, our public libraries are facing a funding crisis. NSW public libraries receive over 35 million visits a year but State recurrent funding has not increased to match the demand and in fact, was slashed in the 2018-19 State Budget. As a result, Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) and The NSW Public Libraries Association created the Renew Our Libraries campaign. Driven by love for public libraries and the services they offer, this campaign is to ensure the elected government implement a sustainable funding model for the 368 public libraries across NSW. We can't do this alone however and would love our community to get involved. If you wish to share your support by signing a petition, please head over to the Renew Our Libraries webpage.
We are proud to announce that thanks to the efforts of councils and community supporters so far, the NSW government and Opposition have committed to providing millions in additional funding to NSW public libraries over four years from 2019. But there is much more work to do. These commitments cut off in 2023 and without indexation, do not deliver a long-term solution for funding public libraries. We and other public libraries around the State strongly wish to avoid any future funding crisis scenarios.
LGNSW has called upon parties and candidates contesting the state election to commit to 12 priority areas. We are happy to see that sitting at number two is a commitment to fund public libraries properly. Our public libraries are a vital piece of social infrastructure for people in our community as they:
- Support literacy in young children
- Bridge the digital divide
- Foster social inclusion for newly arrived Australians
- Serve as a meeting place for older Australians
- Bring together people from all walks of life
It is therefore critical that together with our community and others, our Council and all councils, commit support to renew our libraries.
Once and for all, it's time to Renew Our Libraries.