WITHOUT increased funding from the state government, library programs and services could be facing the axe in regional communities.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) is set to join a statewide campaign calling on the state government to wear at least 50 per cent of the cost of running public libraries in NSW.
TRC spends about $2 million a year on its library network, which it claims is about 93 per cent of the overall running cost.
Central Northern Regional Library executive officer Kay Delahunt said the facilities have evolved to play an incredibly important role for the community.
“A part from assisting people to find information and to provide them with recreational resources, they’re here to help people develop digital literacy,” Ms Delahunt said.
“They’re here for people of all socio-economic levels, they’re are here for absolutely everyone.
“They are the one place that anybody can come in and be a part of.”
Ms Delahunt said usage of “e-resources” and participation in library-run programs has increased in recent years.
“Over 2000 people attend programs just in Tamworth libraries every quarter,” she said.
“And that’s growing, there is increasing demand for programs that teach people life skills and improve the way they can use the digital resources that are available to them.”
She said there was about 170,000 visits to Tamworth’s libraries every year.
TRC will vote on whether to support a statewide campaign run by the NSW Public Libraries Association, on Tuesday night.
Councillor Juanita Wilson believed it would get a majority of support.
“For libraries to be where they need to be now and to support and fund and staff what needs to happen, then the state government needs to accept responsibility,” Cr Wilson said.
She said local government couldn’t carry the current financial load of funding libraries.
“It would really good to get to 50-50 balancing of funding,” she said.
Should libraries receive more state funding? Write a letter to the editor. Click this link to have your say.
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