Library facelift mooted
THE region’s libraries could one day be part of an enhanced state-wide library network.
The Ministerial Advisory Council on Public Libraries is currently reviewing the library system.
Library branches in South Gippsland and Bass Coast are expected to remain under the new system, recommended by the Tomorrow’s Library review.
West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation chief executive officer John Murrell shared that news when he gave his annual presentation to South Gippsland Shire Council in Leongatha last Wednesday.
“We have a plan to develop each of the libraries in the region,” Mr Murrell said.
Despite some perceptions, libraries are more popular than ever.
Mr Murrell expected 530,000 visits to West Gippsland libraries this financial year, up from 477,493 last year.
Leongatha is the most frequented library in South Gippsland Shire, with 62,215 visits during the 2011-12 financial year.
Nyora had 1267, Poowong 4476, Foster 19,111, Korumburra 26,668, Mirboo North 20,148 and South Coast Mobile Library 3206.
Mayor Cr Kieran Kennedy added: “Library use is up but quite clearly funding is quite disgraceful really.”
Councils contribute about 82 per cent of all funding to the library corporation and the State Government 15 per cent.
“When I first started on council, council was giving 25 per cent and the State Government 75 per cent,” library corporation chair Cr Bob Newton said.
Poor wireless internet service in Nyora has resulted in less people using the mobile library for internet research, Mr Murrell said.
“We are working with Telstra to improve that,” he said.
The new library to open in Wonthaggi in August or September will be five times the size of the current library.
The corporation has delayed a home library service for another year due to limited funds.
Defined benefits superannuation call will result in South Gippsland council being asked to fund $52,620 and Bass Coast $57,429.
WGRLC currently has 12 branches across South Gippsland, Bass Coast and Baw Baw shire councils, as well as two mobile units.
Mr Murrell said people visit libraries to not only borrow books but also for free computer and internet access, and to socialise. The library service has budgeted for more than 12,000GB of data next financial year.
He told a story of an 80 year old South Gippsland man who used library computers due to slow internet speed at home.
WGRLC members have access to 3.5 million items across Victoria.
Member for Eastern Victoria Philip Davis encouraged people who care about their local library to comment on the review.
Stage two of the Tomorrow’s Library review is open for public comment until Thursday, May 16.
“We know people love local libraries, so it’s important for them to have a say on what they would like to see in the library of tomorrow,” Mr Davis said.
Feedback and submissions can be made online before 5pm on May 16 at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/tomorrowslibrary.
Those taking part in the survey would provide their name and address could go into the draw to win an iPad valued at $649.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=6773