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Shire’s librarians check out new funding

Eurobodalla’s libraries will receive increased funding over the next four years, and have more say on how the money is spent, after the NSW Government responded to public pressure to revamp it’s resourcing of these much-loved community spaces.

The Council’s libraries coordinator Debbie Williams said regional libraries were dependent on this kind of funding.

“It’s a recognition of the role libraries play in the community,” she said, “and acknowledges local library staff are best placed to decide how to use the money to greatest effect”.

The additional funding is allocated on a per capita basis, with the additional funding increasing from $2.45 per resident in 2019/20 to $2.85 in 2022/23, with some additional funding based on Eurobodalla’s socio-economic ranking. Ms Williams said Eurobodalla libraries would see an extra $22,000 this financial year.

“We can use the funds to make our collection more dynamic, that is, more responsive to our readers’ choices and preferences. Or provide other resources that contribute to community connection and life-long learning. For example, there’s strong demand in our aging community for assistance using devices and the internet,” she said.

The funding augments work already being done in the libraries to keep pace with community needs and expectations. Ms Williams said both the Narooma and Moruya libraries were recently refurbished and work was currently underway at Batemans Bay.

“We have changed around our large-print collections recently. We swapped out 500 titles per library; it’s refreshed the collection for readers and we’ve seen an increase in borrowings,” she said.

“We’ve also joined a consortium of South East libraries that expands our e-collection from around 4,000 to more than 12,000 titles. That helps satisfies the appetite for on-device reading.”

“In addition, we have CollectionsHQ software added to our library management system. It’s designed to help us understand borrowings and make more efficient use of our collection across the three branches.”

NSW State Librarian John Vallance said the funding was announced in the 2019 NSW State Budget.

“Public libraries offer so much to the people of NSW including quality collections, comfortable and safe public space, high speed internet, as well as events and programs. All this together helps create a literate and informed society,” said Dr Vallance.

"We are also very pleased that the Government has amended the Library Regulation to lock in the per capita increases, giving certainty for councils about per capita funding in future years.”

Above: Eurobodalla’s libraries coordinator Debbie Williams says increased funding from the NSW State Library is recognition of the role libraries play in the community.

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