The Australian Government this week released its National Cultural Policy, Revive: A place for every story, a story for every place. This ground-breaking new policy explicitly recognises the role of public libraries in Australia’s arts ecosystem.
Revive is structured around five interconnected pillars which set out the Government’s strategic objectives as follows:
First Nations First
Recognising and respecting the crucial place of First Nations stories at the centre of Australia’s arts and culture.
A Place for Every Story
Reflecting the breadth of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.
Centrality of the Artist
Supporting the artist as worker and celebrating artists as creators.
Strong Cultural Infrastructure
Providing support across the spectrum of institutions which sustain our arts, culture and heritage [including public libraries]
Engaging the Audience
Making sure our stories connect with people at home and abroad.
Directly relevant to libraries is one of 10 principles that sit across the pillars to guide the Government’s actions and investments over the next five years, specifically:
- Cultural infrastructure, including galleries, venues, theatres, libraries, museums, archives and digital collections, is restored, built and maintained.
While the funding details will not be known until the May budget, it is hoped that the Government’s investment will include Trove.
Libraries are mentioned throughout the policy, most immediately in one of two actions against Pillar 1, namely:
- Support the telling of First Nations histories and stories in Australia’s galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
Under Pillar 3, the government will increase funding to the public lending rights program to cover ebooks and audiobooks. While this will not impact on libraries in terms of costs, it will significantly benefit authors and publishers. ALIA has welcomed the announcement – see Media release – Library sector welcomes lending rights into the digital age.
Under Pillar 4, libraries are explicitly recognised as among the organisations that ‘provide cultural infrastructure that enables Australia’s cultural and creative sector to flourish.’ Recognising the role of public libraries in the Australian arts – particularly literary – ecosystem was a key objective in PLV’s submission to the National Cultural Policy.
You can download a copy of the Revive policy here.