NSW Public Libraries Funding – GIPA Treasure Trove

Recently we received our Government Information (Public Access) request on the 2012 funding review of NSW public libraries. To access the full suite of released documents click here.

We have analysed the documents provided under the GIPA request and developed a short presentation which you can check out by clicking “Start Prezi” below (or by clicking here).

The NSW Legislative Council recently passed my motion on Public Library funding. Watch the video of the debate here.

The text of the motion is below. To read the full debate, click here.

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [10.48 a.m.]: I move:

        (1) That this House notes that:
          (a) libraries are a fundamental part of the educational and cultural vibrancy of community;
          (b) libraries provide life learning and opportunities for social interaction;
          (c) under the terms of the Library Act 1939 the State Library of New South Wales administers the Government’s Public Library Grants and Subsidies program, which provides funding on an annual basis to local authorities to assist in the provision of public library services throughout New South Wales;
          (d) Arts NSW via State cultural institutions manages significant cultural heritage collections and provides services and programs throughout the State, and together these institutions provide a unique and irreplaceable archive of the State’s history and contemporary culture; and
          (e) the Library Act 1939 and the library regulation state that:
            (i) “State and Local Government authorities work collaboratively together to enable public libraries in New South Wales to meet the evolving needs and demands of the community”;
            (ii) the age of a collection is a key consideration when determining the adequacy of a public library;
            (iii) the Library Council of NSW “Age of Collections” standards state that at least 49 per cent of the collection has been purchased in the last five years and 90 per cent of the collection has been purchased in the last 10 years; and
            (iv) the size of a public library’s collection should respond to the changing and growing size of a community.
      (2) That this House notes that:
          (a) in 1939 New South Wales councils were eligible for a subsidy from the Government for the provision of library services, and under section 13 (2) (b) of the original Library Act 1939 the subsidy was set at one shilling per resident within the council area;
          (b) in 1952 the subsidy rate under the Library Act was set at one shilling and sixpence per resident within a council area;
          (c) in 1979-80, $8,478,905 was spent by the Government on public library services while total local government expenditure in 1980 was $27,517,031;
          (d) in 2010-11 expenditure by local government on public library services was $314,284,780, whereas expenditure by the Government was $25,538,000, which includes $2 million for the Country Library Fund; and
          (e) from 1979-80 to 2010-11 the percentage of funding provided by local government to public libraries increased from 74.6 per cent of the total funding on an annual basis to 92.5 per cent, while Government funding decreased from 23.6 per cent to 7.5 per cent on an annual basis.
        (3) That this House calls on the Government to:
          (a) review the subsidy rate of $1.85 prescribed in the Library Regulation 2010 and index the subsidy rate to the consumer price index [CPI]; and
          (b) review restoring Government funding for public libraries from the current 7.5 per cent to 20 per cent.