MANDURAH MLA David Templeman has slammed the State Government for recent cuts to the WA public library system.
Mr Templeman said almost $2 million had been cut from public libraries in the May Budget, including funding for books sent between libraries after requests from members.
“Libraries are important for education and learning for young children and families and these changes will affect them,’’ he said.
“But they will also affect older users who don’t have access to the internet.
“The Government is axing funding at a time when public libraries are experiencing even greater popularity.”
Mr Templeman said the cuts would affect the number of hard-copy books and materials available for loan and the van inter-library loan system that provides a service for many book clubs, would stop.
He said the award-winning Better Beginnings program in which 60,000 literacy bags were delivered to every family with a new baby and all children starting school was at risk.
But Health, Culture and Arts Minister John Day said claims the Better Beginnings Family Literacy program was in jeopardy was nothing more than a Labor scare tactic.
He said the State Government had allocated almost $8 million to the program since 2008.
So far, Better Beginnings had reached more than half a million WA families with young children and packs would continue to be delivered by the WA State Library.
“The State Government recognises the importance of public libraries and is committed to providing appropriate resources to WA’s 232 public libraries,’’ he said.
Mr Day said the SLWA, the WA Local Government Association and Public Libraries WA were working on a long-term solution to inter-library access.