Earlier this week, WALGA President Karen Chappel AM, City of Vincent Mayor Alison Xamon and Award-winning author, and former ABC Broadcaster Gillian O’Shaughnessy came together in support of WALGA’s State Budget Submission ask to Renew Our Libraries. 

WALGA is calling for $30million over four years from 2024-25 to restore library funding to 2012-2013 levels, including annual increases for inflation and population growth.  

We are also asking for $4million in 2024-25 to implement the WA Public Library Strategy 2022-26. 

President Chappel called on the State to provide funding towards the implementation of the WA Public Library Strategy 2022-2026

“The State Government provides the books, but the Local Governments provide the infrastructure, the technology and the resources,” she said. 

“There’s been no funding to assist Local Governments to lift the infrastructure and services to the level that our community requires.” 

“We’re endeavouring to offer those services, but the State Government hasn’t seen that as a priority to lift that partnership fund.” 

As a vital part of the social infrastructure landscape, public libraries support literacy in young children, continue to bridge the digital divide and provide a safe space for many vulnerable members of the community to meet and find assistance. 

Libraries provide free services to the community at a time when the cost of living presents a major challenge for many Western Australians. 

Current funding has not kept up with the cost of provision, with the average cost to public libraries for e-resources being $26.15 per e-book and $80.38 per audiobook. The majority of these e-resource licences also expire after one year, requiring re-purchasing. 

Mayor Alison Xamon said the City of Vincent had a wide range of services available to their residents but called on further funding from the State Government to help boost capacity. 

“The City of Vincent Library offers a diverse range of programs and services for all ages, interests, and abilities. These include the Books on Wheels home delivery, book clubs, craft workshops, digital skill building, literacy and STEM based programs, story time, English conversation, and coding programs,” she said. 

“Public libraries have been transforming their traditional programs and services to satisfy the community’s increased demand for equitable access to information and literacy, digital services, and social connections. This requires additional support and funding to meet community demands and changing needs.  

“Additional State Government funding would boost public libraries’ capacity to deliver sustainable and innovative services.” 

For more information about WALGA’s $34 million ask and to read the full State Budget Submission, click here