The NSW government has announced $6 million in grant funding for a number of public libraries across the state, with 26 local councils selected to receive the grants.
The Public Library Infrastructure Grant program will help councils to extend and improve public library buildings, spaces and information technology for local communities.
The grant program is part of the government’s $60 million boost in funding for public libraries over four years, which it announced as part of its budget in 2019.
It is administered by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the Library Council of NSW and $24 million will be allocated under the program over four years.
Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said in a statement that $38.6 million will be provided to councils this year, with further increases to come next year.
“Good libraries contribute to community resilience with quality facilities, great collections, and access to the internet, and we are so pleased to help councils upgrade these critical services.”
New branches and library upgrades
Amongst the councils selected to receive the grants, several will receive grants of $500,000, including Lane Cove Council, which will be putting the funding towards St Leonards Library, which it is calling ‘a library for urban renewal’.
The City of Parramatta will be using its grant funding to start a new library branch at 5 Parramatta Square, a site next to its town hall that will be turned into a community hub.
Wollondilly Council will use its funding of $403,092 to upgrade Wollondilly Library.
Mayor Matt Gould said the funding will allow Council to build a community lounge space and provide more places for people to read and meet with others.
“We have been consistently told that our library users need more spaces for quiet study or reading within the library building,” he said in a statement.
NSW State Librarian Dr John Vallance said the funds will enable councils to develop and improve library buildings and mobile library services.
“Two years of fires, floods and pandemic have left the people of New South Wales more in need of strong, safe, well-provisioned libraries than ever before,” he said in a statement.
“Public library funding is one of the state government’s most significant contributions to the health of our communities.”
All NSW councils were invited to apply for grants in August last year.
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