Assistance with Fit for the Future

The State Library of NSW is available to assist councils with advice on the integration of public library services that will result from the State Government's Fit for the Future process.

The State Government’s Fit for the Future local government reform process foreshadows a range of council amalgamations and new arrangements through Joint Organisations and a Western NSW Authority. 

The State Library of NSW is available to assist councils with advice on the integration of public library services that will result from the Fit for the Future process.

State Library Support for Public Libraries in Transition

Where two or more councils merge to form a new council, or move to joint arrangements, the merger of the former councils’ library services will necessitate the integration of a complex range of attributes, such as Library Management Systems (LMS), collections (including record metadata), membership data, as well as the integration of staff, policies and procedures.

Mergers will provide the opportunity to review library services and strategy.

Councils are encouraged to use the State Library’s public library consultancy and review service for advice on service development that is compliant with the Library Act and consistent with standards, guidelines and industry trends. Data on NSW public library performance is available through Public library statistics.

The State Library will contact councils with the offer of assistance once new councils are proclaimed.

For councils that are currently part of regional library agreements, the State Library will also assist with the development of new agreements for regional and cooperative library arrangements in compliance with the Library Act 1939.

The publication Collaborative Library Service Delivery has good advice on analysis and specifications of library services. Other publications from the Regional Library Models project might also be useful.


The State Library of NSW is refining a checklist of issues that will need to be addressed to ensure the effective transition of library services to the new arrangements, including:

  • Library Management Systems (LMS) integration (membership records, circulation, catalogue)
  • Opening hours
  • Staff structures

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my new council have to adopt the Library Act?

No - See Clause 17 of the Proclamation which states:

Anything done or omitted to be done by a former council and having any force or effect immediately before the amalgamation day continues to have effect as if it had been done or omitted to be done by the new council.

Do library members need to join the new library?

Clause 17 of the Proclamation means that membership carries over to the new library service. However libraries may wish to consolidate membership into one database and issue new cards once systems are in place.

What about State Library grants and subsidies?

State Government library funding provided in 2015/16 and previous years,  including Subsidies, Local Priority Grants, Public Library Infrastructure Grants and Tech Savvy Seniors funding carries over to the new council. The new council is responsible for acquitting the funds.

Subsidy allocations for 2016/17 will be considered after the State Government Budget is handed down. Following this consultation will occur through the Library Council of NSW's Public Libraries Consultative Committee.