It seems all too common … the government needs more money, so they “reallocate” library funds, and use it for other things. We heard of this in regards to Trove and the National Library of Australia, and sadly now the State Library of South Australia (SLSA) is facing major funding cuts too, which will result in not only staff cuts, but reduced services as well.
I believe that libraries ARE important, and I’m not the only one. June Edwards from the Oral History Association is taking a stand by starting a Change.org petition, and she needs your help to spread the word as far as you can about these funding cuts.
Here’s a portion of what she’s written:
Why should you care:
$1.42 million is to be cut this financial year from the State Library of South Australia’s budget and the State Government allocation for 2016-7 will be reduced by $400,000 resulting in a $1.82 million cut overall. This is a massive hit to the budget of the State Library of South Australia and the significant work it does for South Australians. This follows more than a decade of major cuts in staff and finances which have reduced services and opportunities. A funding reduction of this magnitude means the Library’s budget will be less than it was a decade ago. The operations of the Library will become untenable.
These cuts translate not only to the loss of up to 35 jobs, but an appalling loss of skills and specialist knowledge. The Library’s collections and services lie at the very heart of South Australians perception of themselves – an understanding of where they live, who they are and where they have come from.
There has been no budget for buying new books in the past twelve months. This is at a time when there is a growing demand to access print material especially from schools.
The ability to collect digital resources is limited and contributing to the Pandora project has ceased.
There is a notion that research staff are no longer needed. The attitude that questions can be answered by searching the internet is bleak. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the depth of material in the State Library’s unique collections.
These cuts come at a time when more and more people require the Library’s services. There is enormous pressure to make the archives accessible for such events as the commemoration of World War 1.
Family history research is now one of the most popular pastimes in the world. The State Library is the first place many people visit in their quest to find out about their family story. This service will become a part of general reference with no specialist staff
Authors, journalists, politicians and historians use the Library’s collections to inform their work, resolve problems and find solutions. Some make their living from the collection
How will the Library ensure ‘current and future generations will enjoy and learn from the collections’?
How will the Library be able to provide timely information and research services?
How will the Library make their collections accessible?
Students, families, and researchers from all genres use the State Library on a regular basis. There are events, exhibitions and tours that are held there regularly, these are likely to be affected. And it’s more than just those that visit in person. The State Library’s website contains a wealth of information, with thousands using it each day: The Red Cross letters, the thousands of photos on Flickr including the South Australian’s in WW1, SA Memory, transcripts of diaries and letters, as well as a whole bunch of eResources – they’re all valuable resources. But what will happen to these?
If you are horrified at these funding cuts and want to try and do something about them, please take a moment to sign this petition, and then share it with everyone you can.
It’s not right that the government simply keeps taking library funds. Libraries are just as important as many other services (and sometimes more). Afterall they help educate, and education is needed for the future, or as June writes “information is power”. Now let’s see what we can do about this.