Saturday 4 August 2018

NSW Libraries - Take a Minute to help #renewourlibraries

By now you have probably heard about or seen actions from the Renew Our Libraries organisation, a joint initiative between the NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW. If not, you should have a look at their material at and consider signing their petition, or following them on twitter @renewlibraries.

I urge you to also telephone or write to your NSW State MP.

It doesn't take long, less than one minute, and ensures that your MP knows that her or his constituents are concerned about these cuts. I love a good letter, sent by post, because this usually prompts a written response and in my experience Members of Parliament have some very nice stationery. However, a phone call or an email can be just as effective, and you can request a written response. Many people don't take time to contact their Member directly on issues of concern, but as more individuals do so on any issue the more attention an MP needs to give to responding to that issue.

Here's a script you might like to use. It's better if you customise it to reflect your own feelings. Library staff know the importance of stories. Perhaps you are angry that NSW provides the lowest State government funding for public libraries of any in Australia. Ask them why funding has been cut at a time when library use and visits have increased. It might be that your area is seeing a greater density of residences as mandated by the NSW government and yet the social and educational facilities that public libraries provide are already being reduced as a result of this decision. It could be that you think if a government commissions a report about the funding needs for NSW libraries, they might follow the recommendations or at least provide reasons why they have done the reverse. Maybe you love using free wifi and having space to work, study, or meet without being expected to make a purchase. Personally I am cheesed off that many NSW councils merged at the behest of the NSW government, and now the same government is cutting funding for one of the services those councils are mandated to provide, putting more costs back on the local governments. Whatever your reasons, take the time to call or write, let your MP know that you personally are concerned about it. Also, request people you know to do the same.

I enjoy the vulgar Australian expression "Piss or get off the pot." Friends in NSW, do your bit, and get your friends do the same.