Victoria’s public libraries will receive a much needed boost thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
The Victorian Budget 2016/17 provides $22.4 million over four years, with $5.6 million in ongoing funding, to bolster the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program and the Premier’s Reading Challenge Book Fund.
Visiting Oakleigh’s library today, Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins acknowledged the important role public libraries play in local communities as places of learning and as a point of access to community services.
The Living Libraries Infrastructure Program helps councils meet growing community needs by helping fund public library infrastructure projects across Victoria.
It provides grants to councils and regional library services for capital works to improve libraries, leveraging investment to build new libraries and upgrade facilities to expand services and meet growing demand. Contributions are sought from councils which are not small and regional.
The Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund commenced in 2005 and provides funds for public libraries to purchase new books and other materials to boost participation in the annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge.
The Labor Government also provides $41.5 million per year for councils to use to buy books and to assist in library services.
Victoria is home to 272 permanent library branches and 29 mobile library services. There were more than 46 million items loaned from Victorian libraries in 2014-15, with more than seven million Wi-Fi and PC bookings. Almost two million people attended programs provided by library services across the state.
An independent KPMG review of public library funding in Victoria was also released today – recommending continued investment in current programs such as the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, and exploring options for shared services across Victoria’s library services.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“Public libraries are a huge part of our local communities in Victoria, with Victorian libraries visited more than 30 million times a year.”
“We’re upgrading and improving libraries right across the state to keep up with the community’s growing demand for library services.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos
“Victorians love reading and our libraries continue to foster lifelong learning – they’re one of our most valuable public resources.”
“I’m proud that the Andrews Labor Government is working to give local communities the modern libraries they deserve.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020