Libraries change lives

The Libraries Change Lives initiative will be launched today at Wodonga to highlight the economic and social benefits public libraries bring to the state, and to our region.

Developed by Public Libraries Victoria Network and State Library Victoria, Libraries Change Lives is a statewide project designed to build community support and attract additional state government funding for the state’s 272 public libraries, which attract more than 30 million visitors a year.

New economic modelling demonstrates that every dollar invested in public libraries generates $4.30 of benefits for the state.

Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said public libraries have evolved beyond their traditional role of housing collections to offer vital community services, including digital connectivity, support for all kinds of literacy (including early years, financial and digital), universal access to information and government services.

“Today’s libraries are about services and programs as much as physical collections. No other institution offers the same personal help, equal and free access to information, social engagement, and sense of safety and belonging,” she said.

“From seniors’ technology programs to Story Time sessions for preschool children, public libraries offer an incredible breadth of services to support community members at every stage of life.”

The research from SGS Economics shows public libraries deliver more than $1 billion in benefits to the Victorian community each year and drives more than $328 million in economic activity.

In 2017, Wodonga Library welcomed 145,541 visitors and provided them with access to more than 2.4 million items through the SWIFT Consortium.

There were more than 560 public programs, including early years literacy, seniors and youth programs, which were attended by almost 20,000 people.

There are 40,049 items in the Wodonga Library collection with more than 17,000 computer access sessions registered.

The library has held more than nine specialised IT programs for senior citizens, which were attended by 142 people.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.LibrariesChangeLives.org.au