Councils in the Southern Tablelands region will, from next financial year, take more control in the operations of their own public library services.
Yass Valley, Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan Shire councils will operate their public libraries independently but will still resource-share under a cooperative arrangement.
Yass Valley community development manager, Cathy Campbell, explained the changes:
Since 1992, Yass Valley Council has delivered its library service under a regional model of operation. Under this model, Goulburn Mulwarree, Upper Lachlan and Yass Valley Council have collaborated to deliver library services to residents throughout the three local government areas. The service was known as the Southern Tablelands Regional Library Service (STRL).
“A review of STRL operations was conducted by the NSW State Library in 2011. “Subsequently Yass Valley Council conducted a detailed library service review that covered operational and financial aspects of council's library service.
“The review revealed (amongst other things) that a cooperative model of operation would be cost efficient and that savings could be directed toward the development and implementation of a range of new programs, activities and services that are targeted to meet community needs.”
Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Geoff Kettle said it was a positive step for the councils.
"The participating councils have agreed that the time is now right for each council to set the future directions for and manage the operations of their own public library services," Cr Kettle said.
"This will enable each of the councils to better meet the particular needs of their own community.
"The councils, however, see that there are still advantages for their communities in working together within the Southern Tablelands Region, although in a more limited way.
"There are also advantages to using a shared online catalogue and website and in pooling their resources to ensure the best purchasing advantage when buying collection material."
From July 1, council will enter into a cooperative model of library operation with Goulburn Mulwaree and Upper Lachlan councils.
Under the new model, Yass Valley Council will purchase (on a fee for service basis) technical and ancillary services from Goulburn Mulwaree Council.
Ms Campbell said that savings achieved under the new model would be redirected to “implement a range of new programs and services that meet the needs of our local community.
“Residents will still be able to borrow at no cost from the same large collection of resources.”
The new cooperative agreement will run initially for a three-year period.
Library on wheels
The Yass Library has received a grant of more than $60,000 to purchase a van that will be fitted out as a mobile library to provide library services for those living in villages outside of Yass and Murrumbateman.
Member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson visited Yass Library last week and presented a chegue to the value of $61,510 to Yass Valley Councillor Bill Luchetti and librarian Michelle Manderson.
Michelle and Cathy Campbell were pivotal in the application to receive the funding and this was recognised by the state member.
“I congratulate Yass Valley Council for successfully applying for this funding,” she said.
“I particularly commend the efforts of Michelle Manderson and Cathy Campbell who put in such an excellent submission.”
The submission required proof that Yass was in need of the aid and Ms Campbell said that while it was a lot of work, there was a simple side to it all.
“It was definitely hard work, but at the end of the day it was easy because it wasn’t hard to prove that Yass needed the van.
“We have so many towns just outside of Yass like Bookham, Bowning, Wee Jasper and they will all benefit.”
Yass Library will also share a similar amount of funding with Goulburn and Crookwell libraries as part of the Digital: Branching Out Project, which will go toward collection development.