Libraries to benefit

Myrtleford Times, Myrtleford VIC (General News) by Vanessa Burgess A MARGINAL increase in funding will go a long way to ensuring the continued success of libraries in the Alpine Shire. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced record library funding last Friday and said the state government was giving councils and public libraries the resources they needed to continue delivering important services to country communities. Country Victorian communities rely on our public libraries, thats why the state government is doing more than ever to help continue the wonderful programs and services they provide, she said. Alpine Shire Council will receive $142,678, a $1239 increase from last year. Despite not getting the promised 2.5 per cent increase from the state government, Alpine Shire Council Mayor Ron Janas said the money would go a long way to continuing the level of service at libraries within the shire. Last year we received $141,439, so thats not even a 2 per cent increase, he said. We were under the impression it would be 2.5 per cent, but apparently the government has a formula which is aligned with population growth and thats where we come out. In saying that, we are very grateful to receive any funding as we absolutely rely on it to keep the services running at such a great standard. Alpine Shire Council took over the management of libraries within the shire following the dissolution of the High Country Library Corporation in July last year. The service runs really well, in particular the library hub in Myrtleford at the old shire offices, Cr Janas said. Its been a real positive for us enabling us to utilise one of our buildings has brought down unrealistic costs whilst being able to provide library services and make a profit, he said. We can offer this great service at a cheaper cost that it was before. The hub in Myrtleford supplies the books to the other libraries in Bright, Mt Beauty and Wangaratta. Cr Janas said the funding would be put towards events at the libraries, including author visits, books and technology and possibly some training sessions. I think having digital skills training sessions for seniors would be extremely beneficial, he said. As the digital age pushes forward we need to ensure our senior community members are up-to-date with and understand the latest technology. Its a good opportunity for our young people to interact with our seniors and pass on much-needed skills.