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Council backs Renew Our Libraries campaign

Armidale Regional Council is backing a statewide campaign to protect public library services in NSW by gaining commitments from the political parties ahead of the this month’s State election.

Council has resolved to support the Renew Our Libraries campaign, a NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW initiative aiming to secure bipartisan commitment to develop a sustainable funding model for public libraries.

“Forty years of underinvestment” in NSW public libraries has left services with a funding crisis, according to Local Government NSW and the NSW Public Libraries Association.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said: “Adequately funded and resourced public libraries are vital for the wellbeing of communities. These days they are much more than a place to read and borrow books.”

Councillor Murray said the Armidale and Guyra libraries are perfect examples of how the resources and activities provided by libraries are constantly evolving, including an array of online and other digital resources.

“Their free resources and activities are a lifeline for many people, enabling them to stay informed and entertained,” he said.

“However, libraries are also vital and much-loved social hubs for a large number of people - a welcoming environment where people can connect with their communities.”

A NSW Public Libraries Association report said there were 35 million visits to NSW public libraries in 2017, up from 27 million in 2000.

“Despite recent funding announcements, local councils shoulder the burden of over 90% of total funding for public libraries, with no guarantee of sustainable funding in the future,” the report says.

Armidale Regional Council resolved to write to NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin and Shadow spokesperson for the arts Walt Secord, seeking bipartisan support for sustainable library funding as the Parties campaign for the 23 March State election.

The resolution also included making representations to the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, seeking his support for the campaign.

For more information, visit https://renewourlibraries.com.au

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