Expanding reach of library services
Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
MINISTER for Local Government Shaun Leane joined Ararat Rural City Council on Wednesday to unveil upgraded services at the Ararat Regional Library.
Through the Living Libraries Infrastructure Program, Ararat Rural City Council received $120,000 to purchase a new mobile library vehicle to service Streatham, Elmhurst, Pomonal, Moyston and Willaura.
Library staff will use the vehicle to ensure the small communities have access to weekly library outreach services.
Minister Leane announced a further $23,500 while visiting town to set up a smart locker system at the Ararat Library, allowing members 24-hour access for drop off and pick up.
“We're always delighted to support libraries with funding, it’s a great thing,” he said.
“I've just been lucky enough to see the van that visits a number of small towns in the local government area, but also the Ararat Regional Library which is a fantastic community space.”
The smart locker funding is in addition to the more than $67,000 provided to upgrade and refurbish the Ararat Library building, making it a more welcoming place for locals to work, study and access.
The Living Libraries Infrastructure Program enables councils to deliver new or renewed library infrastructure to strengthen communities and encourage lifelong learning.
Mr Leane toured the Ararat Regional Library ahead of his announcement, impressed by the new study pod and upgraded spaces.
“I'm really happy to be here in person to acknowledge and say, what a fantastic job this Council has done supporting their community,” he said.
“Libraries, for a long time, have been really important social community hubs and that's only been enhanced in recent times.”
Mayor Jo Armstrong said the ongoing state government support is fundamental for the library’s connection with the community.
“Without that foundational support in funding from the state government, we wouldn't have been able to extend beyond the hub here in Ararat and it’s so important we serve the whole of our municipality,” she said.
“To be able to have (Minister Leane) here to celebrate the announcement of funding and actually see the assets that we've been able to invest in is really great.”
Cr Armstrong said the new smart lockers are expected to be up and running by early 2023.