INVERELL Shire Public Library held its official celebrations for it 75th birthday on Monday afternoon. Supporters, special guests, dignitaries, previous staff were among the 80 who were present.
The cake fooled just about everybody because it didn’t look like a cake at all. It looked like three books with a tablet sitting on top, and looked so realistic it drew comment from the mayor during his speech.
“It’s a good mix of old and new technology,” he joked.
“Even Cr Anthony Michael didn’t know it was a cake.”
Mayor Paul Harmon also said the dedication and foresight of council in those days remained ongoing to provide services to the community.
“Some people don’t actually have a computer and internet access in their home,” Cr Harmon said.
“The activities that are provided at the library today are amazing, and council has recognised that it provides a very important part of the fabric of the Inverell community.”
President of NSW Public Libraries Association Graham Smith was present at the ceremony and brought down the myth about Inverell Public Library being the third oldest in the state; it is the second oldest.
“The state librarian (who also sends his best wishes) diplomatically allowed it to be said that the City of Sydney Public Library was the second oldest library,” Mr Smith said.
“But then whispers an aside; ‘Really, it was part of my library back then and the City of Sydney Council only took it over much later.’, so in fact, Inverell is the second oldest council operated public library in NSW.”
Mr Smith said when many councils first committed to their libraries it was agreed the state would co-fund them on an equal pound for pound subsidy basis.
“Well; dreams. Dreams,” Mr Smith’s comment drew chuckles from the audience.
“These days it’s more like a 93 cent contribution from the council to a seven cent contribution from the state government.
“Much has been made in the last few months of the government’s Library Infrastructure Grants, $15 million over this year and the next three years. That takes us back to the grant allocation of about 2003.”
Mr Smith said there is no commitment by any party likely to win government in the next couple of weeks to change the current system of funding.