Victoria’s libraries will share in a record $38.2 million Brumby Government funding allocation in 2008/09.
Local Government Minister Richard Wynne said the Brumby Government has increased the allocation to the Public Libraries Grants Program by $1.5 million, which is almost a five percent increase on last year.
“The Brumby Government is taking action to ensure all Victorians have access to quality libraries,” Mr Wynne said.
“With almost half of all Victorians belonging to a public library, there is a growing demand for library services, which is why we have given them this boost.”
The funding boost reflects increased populations in many areas, as well as increased demand for a range of services among existing users.
Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney MP, said that Glenelg Shire Council library services would receive $145,853, an increase of 4.3 per cent over the last years recurrent funding allocation.
“I know as the local MP and a regular visitor to the Glenelg Shire, how many more people are using libraries. These funding increases reflect the growing demands and will allow libraries to meet local needs,” Ms Tierney said.
The funding includes an additional $4 million through the extension of the Living Libraries Program to support renovation and new facilities, as well as an extra $1 million for the Premier’s Reading Challenge Book Fund.
A further $1.6 million has been allocated for new programs including the Wireless Internet and Computer Management Programs.
“Living Libraries has been hugely successful in giving communities bigger, better, brighter libraries through funding the renewal of public library infrastructure,” Mr Wynne said.
“The additional $1 million for the Premier’s Reading Challenge Book Fund will help libraries to add to the seven million books that have already been read by school children taking part in the challenge.”
Ms Tierney said that in addition to record funding, visits to Victoria’s public libraries were also at record levels.
“More than 650,000 visits are made each week to libraries in Victoria, with over 50 million items borrowed each year,” Ms Tierney said.
“The way that people use libraries is changing too – we are seeing record numbers of people making ‘virtual’ visits and more and more people are taking advantage of the internet and IT facilities available in libraries.”