Library cuts are a low blow
Library cuts of 18 percent valued at more than $5 million announced in the 2018-19 New South Wales (NSW) Budget have been criticised by Wagga Wagga City Council deputy mayor Councillor Dallas Tout.
President of NSW Public Libraries Association, which represents a network of 368 public libraries across the State, Cr Tout said that these new cuts constituted a major blow to library services that were highly valued by local communities.
New South Wales Local Government Association (LGNSW) President, Councillor Linda Scott, said the Budget was a big let-down for local government with little focus on community infrastructure and local government reform.
Cr Scott said the NSW Government swapped funding for local infrastructure and services for a handful of short-term sweeteners in its so-called ‘people’s budget’.
Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Mayor, Abb McAlister, said, “These cuts raise significant concerns, the impact of these cuts will mean the loss of services to vulnerable populations in our community.
“Libraries are the cornerstones to a community, they bring people together, offer a variety of services and are valuable resources for our communities.”
“The funding cuts could see the reduction of opening hours, cuts to programs that the community love, like the popular children's story times. Reductions in staff numbers, and the services they offer,” Mayor McAlister said.
Cessnock City Mayor, Bob Pynsent, concurred saying he was disappointed by the Government’s decision which is a major blow for every community and their residents.
“As our communities grow the need for improved library services increases.
“The importance of libraries needs to be recognised and we need to be investing in these spaces that provide an overwhelming positive benefit to the entire community.”