Libraries to help with jobs and community recovery

A major funding package for libraries will allow them to play a far greater role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Budget 2020 contains over $60 million of funding to protect library services and to protect jobs,” says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.

“This package provides for free internet access in all public libraries to ensure that anyone can access the online services and information they need.

“It also recognises the role that librarians play in providing this support. Half of this funding, $30 million, will ensure around 170 librarian jobs are directly protected.

“This is targeted funding over two years to keep librarians in jobs and upskill them to provide extra assistance to jobseekers and to people wanting to improve their reading and digital literacy skills,” the Minister said.

 “The $58.8m of funding over four years includes:

  •  $30 million over two years to fund and upskill librarians in public libraries so they can provide greater support for library users and help bolster reading and digital literacy
  • $4 million over four years to extend the National Library’s Aotearoa Peoples’ Network Kaharoa (APNK) public internet service to all public libraries. This provides free access to the internet and devices for any member of the public
  • $11.5m over two years to help maintain library services by waiving National Library subscription charges to libraries, and
  • $13.3m over four years for specialist library services for schools and young people with the greatest need at this time.

“Libraries play a vital role as a community hub and they can be the places where people can get real practical help during the tough economic times,” Minister Martin said. “This new money and the range of initiatives recognise the role that libraries play and that councils are going to be facing funding pressures.

“It’s a much-needed boost to keep these services going and support the New Zealand public through the recovery.” 

The Minister said that the package also includes a 20% increase to the Public Lending Right fund – the money that is paid to New Zealand authors that have books available through our public libraries.

The $1.6 million extra over four years is the first increase to the fund since 2008.

ENDS

Media contact: Richard Ninness 021 892 536