The Richmond Tweed Regional Library’s campaign for more funding was mentioned in Federal Parliament this week.
The Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, took the opportunity to raise the issue of declining public library funding when she made a statement in Parliament.
Ms Saffin said she wanted to speak up for libraries because they are a rich community resource for learning, communications and information.
In calling for a better funding deal for libraries, Ms Saffin also said she didn’t understand why libraries came under the sport and recreation portfolio when, to her way of thinking, they should come under education.
“We all love to love libraries but we often do little to promote and defend them,” she said.
“ I know in times of high public demand for basic services like health, education and roads, it’s easy to overlook libraries.”
Ms Saffin told Parliament that supporters of the Lismore-based regional library had asked the public to get behind a campaign to secure an extra $1 million they say is the current funding shorfall.
“The Country Public Libraries Association of New South Wales and public libraries in New South Wales have been asking for an increase in the overall percentage of state money provided to local libraries,” she said.
“I have supported them and, in doing so, did the research and found the following: The Federal Government’s contribution to libraries is, correctly, primarily concentrated on national libraries and university libraries.
“State funding is to State libraries and also to local libraries but at about one-third of the local government contribution. Local government makes a significant contribution and most libraries would be struggling if not for local government.
“That is a very big burden for local government to bear and one that it needs some assistance with.”