OUR SAY: Library funding more important than ever

News that public libraries should soon be able to buy more books, upgrade their facilities and continue to provide innovate and fun ways for people to enjoy the written word should give rise to celebrations.

Thanks to a new $60 million investment, the state government will be able to assure the future of this vital community resource that means so much to so many.

Of course the end result wouldn’t have come about without a campaign led by the the NSW Public Libraries Association and Local Government NSW who warned that insufficient funding was threatening the viability of 360 public libraries across the state.

The outcry came after the government was criticised for cutting recurrent funding to libraries by 5 per cent in its recent budget.

According to premier Gladys Berejiklian every one of NSW’s more than 370 public libraries, including Orange library, will benefit from the new investment.

Of course when you invest in libraries, you invest in better literacy rates.

This year's NAPLAN results show that the percentage of NSW students achieving at or above the national minimum standard in spelling and reading fell for year 7 students.

Whether you agree with NAPLAN testing or now, reports of declining standards of literacy are alarming.

We know reading is the cornerstone of learning so the more time spent encouraging and enticing children to read, the better the educational outcomes we will see.

Of course the social importance of libraries should never be overlooked.

The Daily Liberal runs numerous stories with the local Macquarie Regional Library showcasing the impact that libraries have on people’s lives. 

While the stories are generally about events held at the library they show how great a place the library is to meet people and allow children to interact with others their own age, especially during school holiday events. In fact children’s story book time is also a highlight of many parents’ and children’s day.

Libraries also host meetings, educational classes, book clubs and even provide a place to borrow DVDs, access the Internet or use computers. There’s plenty of proof that despite this digital day and age libraries still serve a vital role in broadening our knowledge, enhancing our minds and facilitating our need to socialise and revel in a sense of community.