Cash boost for lo­cal li­braries

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

NSW Govern­ment funding to lo­cal li­braries should in­crease this year, with the govern­ment pledg­ing an ad­di­tional $60 mil­lion for pub­lic li­braries.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil­lor John Bruce has wel­comed the in­crease, say­ing it will re­lieve the pres­sure on coun­cils to fund ser­vices, but said it does not quite cover the 18 per cent cut to li­braries ex­pe­ri­enced in re­cent years.

Be­fore the funding in­crease, Ber­ri­gan Shire’s al­lo­ca­tion from the govern­ment was $38,000 a year to ser­vice all its li­braries and Mur­rumbidgee Coun­cil was to re­ceive $36,000 to fund Jer­ilderie’s li­brary and mo­bile ser­vices in Coleam­bally and Dar­ling­ton Point.

While the ac­tual in­crease for the coun­cils has not yet been re­vealed, it is an­tic­i­pated Ber­ri­gan Shire will now re­ceive at least $50,000 a year.

Cr Bruce said it may help coun­cil to re­al­lo­cate some of the $600,000 it sets aside in the an­nual bud­get to cover the short­fall in govern­ment funding.

‘‘The money will help a lit­tle bit, but it’s still far short of what we wanted. There’s been a down­ward spi­ral on li­brary funding for quite a while,’’ he said.

‘‘Li­brary ser­vices are pretty im­por­tant to the com­mu­nity. I don’t know why the govern­ment de­cided to cut funding from their bud­get originally.

‘‘I sup­pose it’s about getting bal­ance sheets back in the black and once you do that, they can start to spend a lit­tle bit more again.

‘‘There needs to be some sort of com­mon sense.’’

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