Did you know that for decades now, NSW Governments have failed to keep up their fair share of funding for public libraries?
The subsidy to local libraries has stayed at $1.85 per capita while costs have continued to rise and libraries have delivered new, 21st century services.
The result has been cost-shifting to local government. In 1979/80, councils paid around three-quarters of the funding for public libraries, but by 2010/11 their share of the costs had risen to more than 90%.
The recent Contribution of Australian Public Libraries research report commissioned by the Australian Library and Information Association estimates that every dollar spent by NSW public libraries brings $3.20 in benefits to communities.
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Jan Barham’s motion on public library funding (notice given 26 March 2013):
1. That this House notes that:
(a) libraries are a fundamental part of the educational and cultural vibrancy of community, providing life learning and opportunities for social interaction,
(b) 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,
(c) Arts NSW, via the New South Wales state cultural institutions, manage significant cultural heritage collections and provide 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
(d) 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
(iii) the Library Council of NSW “Age of Collections” standards states 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,
(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 1979/80, $8,478,905 was spent by the State Government on public library services while total local government expenditure in 1980 was $ 27,517,031,
(b) in 2010/11, expenditure by local government on public library services was $314,284,780, whereas expenditure by the State Government was $25, 538,000, which includes $2 million for the Country Library fund, and
(c) from 1979/80 to 2010/11, the percentage of funding provided by local government to public libraries has increased from 74.6 per cent of the total funding on an annual basis to 92.5 per cent, while State Government funding has decreased from 23.6 per cent to 7.5per cent on an annual basis.
3. That this House calls on the Government to increase the State Government funding for public libraries to reinstate the previous 1980 level of contribution of 23.6 per cent.