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Gunnedah Shire Council joins statewide push to avert library funding shortfall

16 August 2018

Gunnedah Shire Council has joined other local governments and public libraries in a united effort across NSW to call for a doubling in State Government funding to resolve a shortfall that threatens the long-term viability of local public libraries.

Council’s Director, Corporate and Community Services Colin Formann said the local library is a valued place for the community to meet, access knowledge and share ideas.

“Providing high quality library services is a job we take very seriously, that’s why we’re proud to support Renew Our Libraries,” Mr Formann said.

At last night’s Ordinary Council Meeting, Councillors voted to join the campaign promoted by the NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW to improve State funding for public libraries.

Mr Formann said the demand for local library services has increased, but NSW Government funding is failing to keep up.

“While public libraries do receive State funding, the level of this funding as a portion of overall expenditure on libraries has gradually declined,” Mr Formann said.

“In 2015/16, State funding for Public Libraries covered only 7.5% of the total costs of operating the 368 libraries across NSW. At Gunnedah Shire Council the State contribution is approximately 9% of the total library budget.”

The NSW contribution to libraries is the lowest in Australia, behind Victoria (18 per cent) and Queensland (12 per cent).

“Neither this Council nor the broader NSW Local Government sector can plan with confidence considering the high degree of uncertainty about the level of ongoing funding for public libraries,” Mr Formann said.

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Photo caption: Gunnedah Shire Library activities in doubt if funding shortfall continues. At the Knit and Natter, Colour and Chatter launch with Olwyn Jones, Gunnedah Shire Council Librarian Christiane Birkett and Acting Cultural Precinct Supervisor Lauren Mackley.


Media contact: Brooke Maisey 6740 2100