Protect our Local Libraries
The Australian Services Union and the Local Government Association SA are calling on the Treasurer to include annual indexation in future funding arrangements for local libraries.
Local councils invest $86 million each year into these important community places but under the current State Government deal, your local libraries are losing $16 million over 5 years due to inflation.
This loss of funding could have detrimental effects on our libraries, including cuts to books and programs, restrictive opening hours, and fewer staff on hand to assist members of the public.
In these times of economic strain, with mounting cost of living pressures, Libraries become safe havens for our most vulnerable members of our communities.
Libraries also provide digital access to residents who can’t afford internet connection at home (approximately 18% of households are without internet access).
These residents would otherwise struggle to conduct important life administration in an era when government and financial support services require you to contact them exclusively through online portals.
In an era when technological advancements can inadvertently widen the digital divide, libraries bridge this gap. Librarians, who are regarded as trusted sources of truth, ensure that our communities are equipped with the necessary skills to navigate the digital landscape responsibly. A modern Librarian is just as likely to spend part of their day teaching older people how to use a computer, or sit alongside someone while that try to navigate the MyGov app, as they are recommending books to readers or teaching toddlers to love literacy.
Libraries are the heart and soul of Australian communities, embodying the values of accessibility, inclusivity, and knowledge-sharing. Their significance cannot be understated, particularly in times of financial strain and societal challenges.
The ASU has written to Treasurer Stephen Mullighan, calling for the Malinauskas Government to uphold the current funding levels, with CPI indexation, for the Collaboration Agreement between the State Government and Libraries, as part of its ongoing investment in South Australia's social, intellectual and economic development.