Public Library Funding

Distribution of grants and subsidies for NSW councils

Under the terms of the Library Act 1939 and the Library Regulation 2010 the State Library of NSW administers funding to NSW public libraries on an annual basis.

As announced in the State Budget on 21 June 2016, the  public library funding  managed by the State Library has been increased by $2,100,000 over a two year period. 

The Minister for the Arts the Hon Don Harwin has approved the Library Council of NSW’s recommendation for the distribution of funding for 2017/18.

All NSW councils that operate public libraries in accordance with the Library Act 1939 are eligible to apply for subsidies. Please see PDF iconSubsidy and Subsidy Adjustments 2017/18 for the approved amounts. 

For 2017/18 additional payments have been approved for councils that meet the following criteria:

  • Councils that merged in 2016/17. This one-off payment of $5,000 is provided to assist with the merging of library services. Bayside Council was the only merger that occurred in 2016/17.
  • Regional and rural councils that are part of collaborative arrangements under the Library Act are eligible for a $4,355 collaboration incentive payment. The funds are provided to support and encourage collaborative activities. 
  • Highly isolated councils (including Far West Councils) with stand-alone library services and small populations receive an additional $5,000. This payment is to assist councils with improvements to library services.

The Public Library Funding Strategy for 2017/18 is  as follows:

Subsidy - $1.85 per capita, as prescribed by the Library Regulation 2010

Population served 7,723,770


Subsidy Adjustment Funding

Allocations to councils in addition to $1.85 per capita (above)



Outback Letterbox Library


Strategic Network Projects


State Library services to public libraries


Public Library Infrastructure Grant Fund Year 4


Total Public Library Grants and Subsidies