About the campaign
Without warning or explanation, the Victorian Government cut its recurrent funding for public library operating costs for 2011 – 2012. The cuts amounted to a projected loss of $5.7 million to $7.1 million over four years.
A campaign was launched calling for a reversal of the funding cut and an urgent review of funding for Victoria’s public libraries to achieve a more sustainable model.
The Victorian Government responded by restoring library funding levels while it undertakes a review into the future of Victorian library services and funding arrangements.
We are planning a positive campaign to increase the visibility of community support for public libraries to coincide with the government’s longer term review of public library funding.
The timelines for the government’s review are still unknown. In the interim, posters have been developed for display in libraries and other council facilities to harness the community support displayed in response to the initial cut to library funding.
Councils now provide almost three-quarters of the operational funding and their share has continued to grow in recent years as funding from successive Victorian governments has failed to keep pace with the growth and expansion of services. Victorian ratepayers cannot continue to sustain this financial burden.
The government’s recurrent operational library funding contribution is essential. It helps to cover the daily running costs of libraries – paying staff, opening the doors, purchasing new books and other resources, and providing internet access.
Victorians love libraries
- 2.6 million Victorians are members of public libraries
- We borrow 52 million items each year
- We visit libraries 28 million times a year
- We make 3.4 million bookings to use library computers
- 261 libraries and 26 mobile libraries operate across Victoria
- 8.8 million items are maintained in collections
- Every dollar invested in libraries yields $3.56 in benefits
- Councils fund approximately 80 per cent of library costs
- The Victorian Government contributes approximately 20 per cent of costs
Libraries are a vital community asset. They provide free and equal access to services and programs that contribute to lifelong literacy and learning. Libraries help both children and adults with study, education; workforce participation; social connections and community wellbeing.
They offer formal meeting spaces and informal opportunities to connect with other people – whether it’s a warm place to read, attending a bilingual program, joining the chess club or using the computer. Libraries also provide mobile services to remote communities, the housebound and elderly people.
Libraries have grown in popularity and so have the services they offer. Local government is committed to the ongoing provision of high quality public library services that meet the growing and diverse needs of local communities.