2017 State Election: Policy Priority 5 - Restructuring of Library Arrangements Friday, October 28, 2016
Local Government is seeking the continuation of the Public Library Services Working Group
to develop and implement a Public Libraries Strategic Plan in line with the Vision 2025 and
Framework for Strategic Action for Public Library Services in Western Australia.


Research and consultation in late 2014 and early 2015 have highlighted the need for significant
transformational change at both state and local levels to deliver more efficient and flexible public library services that meet diverse community needs. No longer repositories for books, libraries have grown to reflect broader needs of their communities and have adapted their services accordingly. Public libraries are hubs of the community. Historically, the financial partnership between the WA State Government and Local Government for public library services was an equal one of 50/50 investment. However, today the average investment from the State Government is 12 percent, with Local Governments picking up the balance of 88 percent.

The key issues Government will need to consider over the next decade will be:
  • What will the relationship be between State and Local Government going forward?
  • What is the public library service offer to be provided in the future?
  • How will it be provided?
  • How will the infrastructure and services be delivered in a climate of increase financial constraint?
  • How will identified community outcomes be met in the most cost effective way?
In September 2015 State Council endorsed the Vision 2025 and Framework for Strategic Action
for Public Library Services in Western Australia which would guide public library reform around
four key pillars:
  • Integrated planning
  • Good governance
  • Best value
  • Strategic positioning
Funding:
Minimal investment required initially, estimated at $1.5m over two years.

Benefit to the State:
Restructuring library arrangements to reposition libraries as community hubs will benefit the State in a number of ways through more efficient service delivery and centralised multi-purpose facilities. Further, the provision of facilities for disenfranchised members of the community enhances community connectedness.

Responses WALGA has received from political parties:

WA Labor:
WA Labor will continue the Restructuring of the Library Arrangements through the Public Library Services Working Group. WA Labour recognises the importance of public libraries to the community.

The Greens WA:
The Greens WA are very supportive of all of the ten priority areas with the focus on improving the quality of life of citizens. This is akin to our principle that Local Government has a valuable role as the third tier of government and in local governance and the representation of local issues and delivery of essential community services.

Liberal Party of WA:
WALGA has yet to receive a response.

The National Party of WA:
The Framework Agreement for Local and State Governments for the provision of Public Library Services in Western Australia was agreed to in 2010. The Nationals support this agreement and support the continuation of the Public Library Services Working Group.