Record funding for public libraries continues

NSW Government

NSW residents will benefit from improved access to books and information with more than $165 million to be invested into public libraries over the next four years.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the ongoing record levels of funding enables public libraries, especially those in regional areas, to better meet the changing and diverse needs of their communities.

“In 2018, this Government delivered the largest increase to public library funding since the Library Act was established in 1939,” Mr Kean said.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to public libraries and the extraordinary work they do to serve their communities. As part of the ongoing increase in funding, money provided to councils to support public libraries will be indexed to meet population growth.”

The annual funding package includes $30 million to councils to improve collections and services, a $6 million capital grants program, $2 million in Internet connectivity support and a range of targeted programs such as the Outback Letterbox Library, which is operated by Broken Hill City Library.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said he is particularly pleased the record increases to annual subsidy payments will continue and an ongoing capital grants program will be maintained as part of the package.

“Libraries are a place to go to learn as well as a place to meet, providing a source of delight, education, entertainment and information,” Mr Franklin said.

“This funding ensures all councils will continue to have access to funds for library extensions, renovations and improvements, whether they are in the cities or the regions.”

State Librarian John Vallance welcomed the news on behalf of NSW’s 364 public libraries.

“This announcement provides certainty for councils and enables them to plan ahead and to keep improving their collections, library buildings and spaces,” Mr Vallance said.

“The State Library works closely with all NSW local councils and their libraries, and we know this funding is critical to supporting free access to books and information for every citizen of NSW.”

Public library funding is administered by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.

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