The 'Renew Our Libraries' campaign asks the NSW government to better fund public libraries

Funding crisis: Councillor Peter Nelson urged all public library users to sign the Renew Our Libraries campaign. Photo: Olivia Ralph

Funding crisis: Councillor Peter Nelson urged all public library users to sign the Renew Our Libraries campaign. Photo: Olivia Ralph

A new campaign that pushes for better funding for public libraries has launched and councillor Peter Nelson has encouraged all public library users in the Wingecarribee Shire to sign the petition. 

Cr Nelson said the state government contributed just 7.8 per cent of the total cost of funding public libraries in NSW, compared to 18 percent in Victoria and 12 per cent in Queensland, placing a heavy burden on local governments to maintain services. 

“Libraries are changing from a traditional role of borrowing books to more friendly, community loungerooms,” Cr Nelson said. 

“We are struggling to maintain services and I call upon all public users of libraries to sign the petition,” he said. 

The NSW Public Libraries Association (NSW PLA) and Local Government NSW (LGNSW) united to create Renew Our Libraries campaign after acknowledging that funding had reached a “crisis point” at the LGNSW conference last year. 

Around 35 million people visited a public library in NSW last year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

While some view the use of public libraries as antiquated, the ABS also reported that it was 18-24 years olds that most used the facilities and services libraries offered. 

Despite this, the NSW government cut the budget for public libraries across the state by 5 per cent last year. 

The Renew Our Libraries campaign calls for the state government to double its current contribution to public libraries across the state and create a sustainable funding model to avoid issues in the future.