The Andrews Labor Government has put record funding toward Victoria’s public libraries, with a $41.5 million investment in the Victorian Budget 2016/17.
Grants from this year’s Public Libraries Funding Program have now been allocated to every local council to support libraries across the state to buy books, deliver programs such as reading for kids, and improve public spaces.
Funding is also provided to Vision Australia and is divided among recipients based on growth in population sizes and demand.
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 Victoria.
This year’s funding program saw a boost of more than $1 million. It comes on top of the Labor Government’s recent four year, $22 million extension to the highly successful Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, as well as the Premier’s Reading Challenge Book Fund.
Living Libraries provides grants to councils and regional library services for capital works – leveraging investment to build new facilities or upgrade established ones – with matching contributions from bigger and non-rural councils.
The Premiers’ Reading Challenge Book Fund provides funds for public libraries to purchase new books and other materials to boost participation in the annual Premiers’ Reading Challenge.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“Libraries are some of our most valued public resources in Victoria, so we’re proud to have invested a record amount to preserve their place in our local communities.”
“We’re upgrading and improving libraries right across the state to keep up with the community’s growing demand for library services.”