About $1.6 million allocated to buying books, DVDs and CDs, and a van service delivering inter-library loans, will be cut over the next two financial years following a review.
The cuts prompted Public Libraries WA president Debra Summers to warn that other important services may suffer as councils shift resources to cover the losses.
“As these cuts reduce funds for physical books, councils may have to shift resources from important services, such as free access to the internet for our most disadvantaged community members and story time for babies, to buying books for children, adults and seniors,” she said.
Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the cuts would ensure the State Government delivered programs efficiently, responded to new technologies and ultimately provided value for taxpayer money.
“More than $9 million is provided each year to public libraries for books and other materials. This funding will continue to be used to ensure public library users have access to fresh and contemporary materials,” he said.
Mr Day said expectations from the community were changing with new technologies. More than 16 million items were borrowed from public libraries in 2014-15, of which 361,391 were e-books.