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Griffith City 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.

Griffith City Library Manager, Karen Tagliapietra, said public libraries are the heart of our communities and valued places where people meet, access knowledge and share ideas.

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

Griffith City Council recently joined the NSW Public Libraries Association (NSWPLA) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) in launching a major grassroots push to deliver a sustainable funding model after the NSW Government reduced funding in its recent Budget.

Griffith City Mayor John Dal Broi said that the demand for local library services had increased, but NSW Government funding had failed to keep up with demand.

“Every year local councils like ours contribute over $314 million to support over 360 libraries while the NSW Government provide just $23.5 million in recurrent funding,” Cr Dal Broi said.

“This is an unfair burden for us to bear, particularly when local council budgets are already stretched.”

“At around 7.8 per cent of total funding, the NSW contribution to libraries is the lowest in Australia, far behind Victoria (18%) and Queensland (12%).”

“It’s time the NSW Government paid its fair share.”

Mayor Dal Broi said that if the NSW Government failed to increase funding, public libraries will struggle to serve our growing communities.

“Today’s libraries are more than just books. They are valuable centres of information, knowledge and community,” Cr Dal Broi said.

“Libraries are a vital part of our social infrastructure. They support literacy in young children, bridge the digital divide, foster social inclusion for newly arrived Australians, and serve as meeting places for students and seniors. We need to address this funding shortfall to ensure ongoing access to library services, including mobile library services to schools, those who are housebound or live in remote areas. We need to ensure that libraries have the resources they need to provide the services our communities deserve.

“That’s why we are calling on all political parties to urgently address this funding crisis in NSW public libraries by doubling recurrent funding and creating a sustainable funding model.”

“If you care about your local library we’re asking every member of the community to get involved by signing the petition. We’ll keep you up to date and provide you information on what actions you can take to support your local library.”

Renew Our Libraries arose from the 2017 LGNSW Conference, where NSW councils unanimously resolved to advocate for improved NSW Government funding to enable public libraries to meet the growing needs of local communities and to raise public awareness of the multiple roles public libraries play in supporting the educational, social, cultural and economic outcomes in local communities.

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