Wingecarribee Shire Council has welcomed the announcement by the NSW State Government pledging $60 million in investments across the State’s public libraries.
The announcement was made by the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for the Arts Don Harwin in a joint statement and follows Council’s Mayoral Minute, which was passed last week.
Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Ken Halstead said supporting public libraries was essential.
“For many regional communities libraries are much more than a place to borrow a book,” he said.
“Libraries are also a focal point for people of all ages to meet, learn, stay in touch and create.”
“We believe our public libraries should never become a bargaining chip and all levels of government should financially commit and contribute to the long-term growth of these vital community spaces.”
“Indeed Council’s recent Mayoral Minute calls for bi-partisan support for an increase in State funding for our public libraries,” the Mayor added. “Only this would guarantee the long-term future of our public libraries regardless of which party wins the next election.”
Under the proposed NSW Government investment pledge, funding would increase from the current rate of $1.85 per capita to $2.85 per capita and be spread across the State’s 370 plus public libraries by 2023.
“In the interim, Council is thrilled the Berejiklian Government has pledged support, should it be re-elected,” the Mayor said.
“However until the next State Government election, Council promises to continue the campaign for our public libraries and call for a sustainable funding model to build our libraries of the future.”