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The Centre for Local Government (CLG) at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) was engaged by the State Library of New South Wales to undertake research to explore and recommend regional management models for NSW public libraries. The review of literature and extensive engagement process undertaken by CLG, directly engaged with representatives from the NSW State Library and public library managers from different library models across NSW.
Public libraries in NSW are managed by local councils in accordance with the Library Act 1939, with assistance from the State Government though the State Library. At present approximately 68 councils are party to regional library agreements which are enabled by s12 of the Act. Effectively this means that one council provides library services (or an aspect of library services) to neighbouring councils. Councils that are not party to regional library arrangements run their own public libraries, but often cooperate with neighbouring council libraries to some extent. In 2011 the Act was amended to add s12A which enables councils to propose alternate models for regional cooperation on libraries.
The project included a literature review, stakeholder interviews, case studies and the development of a guide to regional library management models in NSW. These documents were endorsed by the Public Libraries Consultative Committee at their meeting on 7 December 2015.