Labor have taken the NSW Liberal National Government to task saying the budget handed down this week has seen funding to public libraries slashed by 18%. Leanne Atkinson, Candidate for Bega “Public libraries are community hubs. Whether it is the older person sharpening their tech skills in a seniors group or a young parent and toddler at Rhyme Time, the local library plays an important role in connecting the community.” “There are a range of programs and services that our local libraries offer that go beyond borrowing a book.” “The Liberal National Government do not understand the needs of rural communities. This budget shows that the Liberals and Nationals have the wrong priorities.’’
In their latest media statements NSW Labor has announced that a State Labor Government will double the ongoing per capita state funding for our public libraries if elected in March 2019.
In addition, they have stated that they will create a $25 million Public Library Infrastructure Fund for public libraries to upgrade their facilities or purchase new equipment.
The media releases state that "NSW Labor believes that libraries are at the heart of our communities. They help promote lifelong learning; provide free access to information and are ‘hubs’ for people to meet and engage. In communities where people experience social isolation, the library may be the one place people come together to connect with their community."
"The NSW Liberals and Nationals have got their priorities wrong. They do not understand the importance of public libraries especially in rural communities."
"NSW has the lowest per capita investment by a State government in libraries in Australia. Tasmania and South Australia make the highest contribution."
"The State Library of NSW administers funding to NSW Public Libraries on an annual basis. There were 34.8 million physical visits to NSW public libraries in 2015-16, and 11 million virtual visits to public library websites."