At the end of May 2020, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced a $60 million funding package for local libraries and librarians. This funding will protect jobs and library services, allowing them to play a key role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the recovery from COVID-19.
Libraries are vital community hubs, and places where people can get practical help during the tough economic times. The work that librarians do is critical to supporting lifelong learning and using some of their expertise to assist those looking for work. Being able to maintain library services during these unprecedented times is crucial to the role of local government’s focus on community well-being – in particular the social and economic well-being of our communities - as well as fulfilling the first purpose of local government by enhancing democracy.
Communities should know that their local library is a safe space to access online services and to be supported in performing basic digital tasks, such as CV writing, accessing career services, matching their current skills with transferrable skills into other career pathways etc.
The package includes targeted funding over two years to keep librarians in jobs and upskill them to provide extra assistance to jobseekers and people wanting to improve their reading and digital literacy skills. It also provides libraries with extra relief in this time to help protect and support their services and provide free public internet access.
With your council's support, the contribution of public libraries to the COVID-19 recovery will be timely and greatly beneficial to local communities of Aotearoa.