COUNCIL has been called on to fight for more funding for public libraries from the state government.
The NSW government slashed its contribution to public libraries by 18 per cent in its latest budget, taking away more than $5 million from the state’s 368 libraries.
A report to be tabled at this week’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting said the funding situation has reached a “crisis point”.
There are six library services in the council area and Tamworth Regional Council serves as the executive for the Central Northern Regional Library (CNRL) network which is comprised of 17 facilities around the region.
CNRL manager Kay Delahunt has asked council to make Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson aware of the need for additional funding and take a “proactive role” in lobbying the government for increased and sustainable funding.
The report has also asked council to write to the NSW arts minister, Don Harwin, and shadow spokesperson Walt Secord, to call for change.
The NSW Public Libraries Association has asked council to get behind its ‘Renew Our Libraries’ campaign which has garnered support around the state.
“The NSW public library network is at serious risk,” the report to council said.
“Neither this council nor the NSW local government sector can continue with the high degree of uncertainty about the level of ongoing NSW Government funding for public libraries.”
The CNRL network has about 105,000 people visit its facilities annually and in the 2016/17 financial year it loaned more than 297,000 books.