Today is Library Lovers Day and Victorians are encouraged to show their love this year by celebrating how libraries help to shape our national identity, and contribute to our social and economic wellbeing.
Library lovers can also pen their own love story to a library, and share it with a special #libraryloversday ‘hashtag’ on social media to unite virtual communities in their widespread support for libraries.
With an estimated 2.2 million Victorians being members of public libraries and approximately 46 million items borrowed last year, libraries have proven to be a crucial asset to a healthy and thriving community.
Cr Mary Lalios, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) said that public libraries provided significant support for all Victorians through access to opportunities for lifelong learning and information.
“Our relationship with a library is one of the first we know, from early childhood learning through to continuing adult education. Libraries provide free and equal access to services and programs that significantly contribute to our lifelong literacy and learning.
“Libraries help both children and adults with study, education, workforce participation and community wellbeing. They offer a safe, welcoming space to visitors of all ages seeking a quiet spot to engage their minds – or provide a hub for nourishing the soul and building a vibrant knowledge economy.
“Councils provide around 80 per cent of the operational funding required to cover the daily running costs of libraries – from paying staff, to opening the doors, purchasing new books and other resources, and providing internet access and access to computers.
“They also provide mobile services to remote communities, the housebound and elderly people, as well as increase social connections with clubs, workshops and many other programs,” she said.
Crucial to the growth and livelihood of community libraries are the efforts of councils for maintaining the services and operations of these vital public spaces, while ensuring that library infrastructure meets the needs of our growing population.
Cr Lalios said over the years, councils had increased their share of funding to support the expansion of infrastructure and services to cater for 21st century community needs and the changing role of libraries.
“With 275 libraries and 35 mobile libraries operating across Victoria, more State investment in collaborative approaches to library operations is crucial to ensuring equity for councils experiencing significant population growth.
“Wednesday is a great time to head to your local library and curl up with your favourite book for Library Lovers’ Day, sign up as a library member to show your love, or find out what other activities are happening at your local library,” she said.
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Contact: Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.