A $132,000 NSW Government grant will be used to help the Clarence Valley’s more remote library subscribers into the digital age while maintaining access to services.
Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, said the
government recognised the need for libraries to adapt to changing technologies and designed funding assistance to help councils and libraries move with the times.
He said the council would use the grant to buy a new vehicle for its mobile library service but, over time, the service would transition to a digital model.
“The vehicle the council currently uses for its mobile library has reached the end of its life and I’m pleased the Government has been able to help with a new vehicle,” he said.
“It will be a much more cost efficient service than it has been in the past and, over the next few years, library staff will train users of the mobile service in how to use and get the most out of digital services.”
Clarence Valley’s mayor, Richie Williamson, said the grant was invaluable.
“At a time when council is looking at cutting costs in order to improve its long-term financial sustainability, it was questionable whether we could have continued to provide the existing mobile service,” he said.
“The funding for a new vehicle means we can continue to provide mobile library services while training people for the future.
“It could not have come at a better time.”
Meanwhile, at the March council meeting, councillors decided that the council will “undertake the following changes to the mobile library service:
• Move from a truck based service to a van (saving around $200,000 in replacement costs) and better use of digital platforms, with the ultimate aim to cease the mobile library service within five years with a progress review in two years.
• Reduce from 32 stops to 12 stops in the main villages only, at halls with no school stops.
• Reduce days on the road from 9 presently to 6 per fortnight.
• At the extended half day stops (from 30 minutes presently) not only provide a traditional mobile book library service but undertake a digital education program to enable the community to better utilise digital library services and to maximise the use of the new NBN services now live in the majority of the villages eg education along the line of tech savvy seniors delivered by Telstra.
• Accept the State Library’s Public Library Infrastructure Grant of $132,000 for 2015/16 for the Go Mobile! Digital Library on Wheels project.
• Noting the annual ongoing cost as outlined in Item 07.003/16 [$93,587].”
Voting was recorded as follows: For: Toms, Williamson, Simmons, McKenna, Howe, Hughes, Kingsley; Against: Baker, Lysaught
During debate, councillors Lysaught and Baker (seconder) moved the following failed motion (all other councillors were opposed), that: “The mobile library service offered by Clarence Valley Council cease as soon as practicable; and, [that] A digital service be made available to the public as soon as possible.”