Local Government Annual Conference endorses more funding for libraries

Councillor Peter Nelson has welcomed the decision for Local Governments to work the NSW Public Libraries Association to fight for more funding. Photo: Lauren Strode
Councillor Peter Nelson has welcomed the decision for Local Governments to work the NSW Public Libraries Association to fight for more funding. Photo: Lauren Strode

Libraries are much more than just books nowadays.

But many public libraries need more funding and it is an issue councillor Peter Nelson is passionate to keep at the forefront of people’s minds.

Cr Nelson will fight for more funding when council reviews its libraries as part of the service delivery review program.

His push to acquire more funding for libraries is in line with a recent motion that was passed at the Local Government Conference held this week.

The motion, put forward by Blue Mountains City Council, sought support to work with the NSW Public Libraries Association increase public awareness of the roles public libraries play in communities and to advocate in the lead up to the 2019 state election for improved state funding.

In 1980 the state government’s contribution to public libraries was 23.6 per cent.

In 2017 that contribution dropped to seven per cent- the lowest per capita of all states in Australia.

Cr Nelson said it was a positive result that recognised the important role libraries played within local communities.

He said in the Highlands there was a need for longer opening hours and more support for the mobile library.

“When I talk to the staff $15,000 would be able to give the people of Robertson and Burrawang a better service for the mobile library there,” he said.

“They’ve identified that area needs additional support there. They could use another day to support the interest shown.”

The HSC program and opening hours are areas Cr Nelson said council should look at providing more funding for.

When council undertakes its review of libraries, he said he would fight for these improvements. 

Following the conference, Cr Nelson said he hoped state politicians would take note of the support for more library funding.

“It’s not high on the radar for the state politicians in my opinion.”