February is Library Lovers Month and according to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hope, it is a good time for the whole community to find out about the wide range of services which Werris Creek and Quirindi libraries offer and to consider the vital role they play in our local community, work and personal lives.
“I’m very proud of our libraries. The LPS libraries have the highest per capita borrowing rates of all in the Central Northern Region cluster. Obviously many residents are aware of what they offer and utilize those services but I’d like to encourage others to call in, say g’day and to discover they are portals to all of the world’s knowledge. Our librarians are the original, and still the best, search engines. Only a tiny fraction of the world’s information is available for free on the internet. But all of it is available through our libraries,” he said.
“Werris Creek and Quirindi libraries provide an extensive collection of books, videos, DVD's, CDs, magazines and audio books. If they don’t have what you are looking for they can often order it in. You can borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks online. They provide public use computers with free internet access and Wi-Fi. Printing and photocopying facilities are also available. They have seed libraries too. There are also many library events. These vary between branches and include children's story time, author talks, book clubs and baby book time. There is always something new and exciting happening at your library so drop in and discover things of interest to you,” Councillor Hope said.
“Children in particular can benefit through regular visits to the library. Library time is active, not passive. Regular visits inevitably lead to more reading and reading, as it turns out, is brain food! Research shows that reading actually aids in brain development, especially in a child’s first five years of life. When kids are read to, their brain cells are literally turned on, and existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new cell links are formed. Reading is also one of the best activities to provide the foundational language and literacy skills a child needs to succeed. When you visit the library, you can expose your children to more books and magazines than most people can afford to buy. Additionally, the local librarian can recommend books that you may not know of or think to suggest, broadening their tastes and expanding their minds and vocabularies. Owning a library card helps teach kids responsibility,” he continued.
“It is also vital to recognise the importance of our libraries as information service providers for people who may otherwise be disadvantaged by their lack of access to information and services. They help level the intellectual playing field by allowing people of any income level or background to access high-quality information, to use computers, or to borrow what they want. The existence of libraries ensures that knowledge and technology are available to everyone, not just to those who can afford their own. This essential social service helps raise the education levels of society as a whole,” he said.
“So how can we help our libraries grow even stronger? Our libraries need substantially more State Government funding. Originally they paid half the cost of public libraries in NSW. By 1980 this had dwindled to 23.5% per cent. Now it is about 8 cents in every dollar with councils picking up over 90% of the bill. Write to your local MP demanding more funding for libraries.
“Both Werris Creek and Quirindi libraries have volunteer ‘Friends’ groups that assist in many ways. If you’d like to support them ask your librarian about how you might make a positive contribution,” he said.
“Libraries have been around for 5,000 years. If they were not essential institutions, they would have died out long ago. Next time someone suggests they are not essential ask them why some of the world’s smartest and richest people, such as Andrew Carnegie and Bill Gates, pour their time and money into them?
“To find out more about your local library and what it offers drop in or call Werris Creek on 6768 7340 or Quirindi on 6746 2350,” Councillor Hope concluded.