Council endorses Library transition

Bass Coast Shire Council has formally endorsed the transition of West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation (WGRLC) to a not-for-profit organisation.

This recommended change will not impact services or the support Council provides, but will help prepare for changes prompted by the removal of Library Corporations from the Local Government Act 2020.

Under the Act, Councils are now required to establish Not-For-Profit entities. The change provides benefits to how libraries are operated, including access to greater opportunities such as philanthropic donations, private sector funding and innovation. This enables a strong sense of independence, whilst limiting the financial risks often faced by Councils.

Bass Coast, along with South Gippsland and Baw Baw Shire Councils make up the membership of WGRLC and all three member Councils must adopt the same resolution in order for the transition to occur. South Gippsland Shire Council made their decision this week, whilst Baw Baw Shire Council will consider their decision next week.

Recognised as industry leaders in the library sector across the state, WGRLC delivers innovative library services to Bass Coast, Baw Baw and South Gippsland communities.

According to a Victorian Auditor General’s Office report, WGRLC is ranked in the top third for all library services across Victoria in both core library services, programs and events.

Council has been working with WGRLC on the proposed transition to ensure the required governance changes do not affect the important service. Benefits from the proposed changes include:

  • Partnering with organisations to deliver additional community focused and specialised library services that a community is seeking, while realising efficiencies through shared library services with other Councils; and
  • Pursuing philanthropic opportunities for fundraising, sponsorship, donations and bequests, which support long-term financially sustainability.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said that innovation is key to ensuring WGRLC meets the needs and expectations of the growing community.

“Our libraries are a really important asset for our communities and are a vital part of the social fabric of our towns,” Cr Tessari said.

“If all three member councils vote in favour of this transition, it will enable WGRLC to continue to provide these amazing benefits to our communities, and beyond.

“The most important thing to note about the transition is that it won’t change anything for our library users. They will continue to experience all that they love about the service,” Cr Tessari concluded.

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