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Milton Library Service Review - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs - Provision of Library Services to Milton

  1. Why is provision of Library Services to Milton being reviewed?
    The northern Shoalhaven is serviced by Nowra Library, the central Shoalhaven by Sanctuary Point Library and the southern Shoalhaven by the new Ulladulla Library. Milton Library replicates services provided at Ulladulla Library, which is 7km away, and a service model based on three main libraries and a Mobile Library service may provide more equitable access to library services for all Shoalhaven residents.

    All other Shoalhaven villages of equitable size to Milton are serviced by the mobile library and these villages are at a further distance from a physical branch.

    Milton Library holds 14,910 items to the value of $360,830, which are only available 2 days per week, rather than over a 6 day period for longer hours which would be the case if they were added to the other libraries' collections. It is felt that adding these items to other collections will provide a better use of the Council's limited resources and money.

     

  2. What's going to happen to the current staff? Will there be any job losses?
    No, the hours that are used to run Milton Library will be transferred to the new facility in Ulladulla. There will be no job losses.

     

  3. If Milton Library were to close, what library services would be provided to the Milton area?
    Ulladulla Library is accessible to Milton area residents, and already many registered borrowers who live in Milton or the surrounds use the Ulladulla Library.

    The Shoalhaven Mobile Library service would also be able to provide a service to the Milton township. Currently this service could be offered once a month or with a review of the mobile library timetable, it may be able to be offered once every two weeks, which is the level of service provided to other townships in the Shoalhaven, most of which are located at greater distance to a library than Milton's proximity to the Ulladulla Library.

    A volunteer Home Library Service is provided in the Milton Township and this service will be maintained and serviced through the Ulladulla Library.

    Shoalhaven Libraries have a growing collection of online resources that are available for download. There is a large online eBook and Audiobook collection, along with a new online magazine service. In addition there are literature, science, reference, health and language databases; these are supported by a range of learning and development programs to enable library users of all ages to become familiar with access and use of eResource materials.

    The level of service that would be offered to Milton Library would be equitable with similar size towns in the Shoalhaven.

     

  4. State funding is received to run Shoalhaven Libraries, so why is it a Shoalhaven City Council decision to close Milton Library?
    In the financial year 2011/12 the operating expenditure for Shoalhaven Libraries was over $3,000,000 with a state subsidy of only $259,817 received.

    The State Government currently puts in only 7 cents out of every dollar and local councils now have to fund 93% of the cost of providing public libraries. The NSW State Government contribution to libraries is the lowest of all states in Australia and the expenditure on public libraries from the State has decreased as a proportion of total public expenditure from 23% in 1980 to only 7% in 2013. Therefore the burden for funding rests with Local Government.

    In this year's NSW State budget a $15m infrastructure public library grant program has been awarded over 4 years, but this only reinstates the grant funding program to the level that it was in 2005-06. For this financial year $3 million dollars is available for all 151 NSW public libraries, through a competitive grants program, but this money can only be used for public library infrastructure projects, such as buildings and information technology systems. There has been no increase in recurrent funding for library services, and this state budget makes no impact at all on the ongoing and increasing costs of the library services carried by the Council.

    There is currently a high degree of uncertainty as to the level of ongoing funding for public libraries in NSW from the State Government. The intent of the NSW Library Act in 1939 was for equal funding from state and local governments to provide library services. Since that time local government has increasingly carried the funding burden and the situation has deteriorated significantly over the past few decades.

     

  5. How many books are issued at Milton Library?
    In 2012 Shoalhaven Libraries had a total circulation of 530,993 items. In 2012 Milton Library loaned 11,941 items, which is 2% of total circulation for all Shoalhaven Libraries.

    Milton Library is open for ten (10) hours per week and the number of items circulated on an hourly basis equates to 23 items per hour. This compares to 107 books per hour at Nowra Library, 44 books per hour at Sanctuary Point Library and 45 books per hour on the Mobile Library.

    Since the opening of the refurbished Ulladulla Library there have been 41,798 items issued at Ulladulla Library and 5,949 items issued at Milton Library.

     

  6. How many people are members of Milton Library?
    Milton Library has 1,868 registered members, which represents 4.6% of all Shoalhaven Library members. Of this total of 1,690 Milton registered members:
    • 407 live closer to Ulladulla than Milton
    • 340 live in villages that have a mobile stop
    Since May 28th 2014, when the new Ulladulla Library opened, there have been 741 new members join Ulladulla Library and 13 new members join Milton Library.

     

  7. It costs about $50,000 to run Milton Library. $50,000 isn't much money for Council, why can't we just keep the library?
    Shoalhaven City Council is seeking to find over $2 million in service level savings as part of the ongoing organisational transformation project. At Shoalhaven City Council service reviews are being conducted to better allocate limited resources to ensure greater equity access to these resources for all residents of the Shoalhaven local government area.

     

  8. Some residents of Milton aren't mobile and can't get to Ulladulla. What about them?
    There will be access to a Mobile Library service, Home Library service and digital resources for Milton residents who are unable to access Ulladulla Library. These are the same resources available to equitable size villages in the Shoalhaven.

     

  9. What will the building be used for if the library closes?
    This will be up for community discussion as to the best uses that can be found for this heritage building. Already interest has been received from local historical and art groups who would like to use the space for their functions, as they currently do not have a space.

     

  10. What is the number of items borrowed at the Milton library and Ulladulla library (individually) during the last 6 months being since Ulladulla library opened?
    Ulladulla re-opened on May 28th
    Month Ulladulla items borrowed Milton items borrowed
    June 2014 9762 1621
    July 2014 10516 1408
    August 2014 9803 1505
    September 2014 10510 1070
    TOTAL 40591 5604

    Milton Library is open for fewer hours than Ulladulla Library, so to enable comparisons this has been calculated on an hourly issue basis:

    • Ulladulla Library has issued 53 books per hour over this period and
    • Milton Library has issued 33 books per hour over this period.

     

  11. What is the number of items borrowed at the Milton library and Ulladulla (individually) in the 12 months prior to the closing of Ulladulla library for refurbishments?
    Ulladulla Library closed on October 2012
    Month Ulladulla borrowings Milton borrowings
    October 2011 9392 0 (Milton closed for refurbishment)
    November 2011 9706 13 (Milton closed for refurbishment - relates transfer return of book stock from Milton)
    December 2011 7957 3 (Milton closed for refurbishment - relates transfer return of book stock from Milton)
    January 2012 10041 1012
    February 2012 9019 1611
    March 2012 9261 1496
    April 2012 8355 916
    May 2012 8609 1283
    June 2012 8069 1411
    July 2012 8326 1197
    August 2012 8498 1619
    September 2012 8260 1231
    TOTAL 105493 11792

    Milton Library is open for fewer hours than Ulladulla Library, so to compare we can calculate that:

    • Ulladulla Library has issued 46 books per hour over this period and
    • Milton Library has issued 30 books per hour (taking into account the three month closure).

     

  12. What are the number of members at Milton library and Ulladulla library now, at the time of opening of the new Ulladulla library, at the time Ulladulla library closed and 12 months prior?
    When Ulladulla members
    Milton members
    October 2011 (12months prior to closing) 6505 1042
    October 2012 (at time of closing) 7275 1112
    May 2014 (Ulladulla opening) 7349 1854*
    October 2014 (now) 8097 1876

    * The number of borrowers increased significantly at Milton Library between October 2012 and May 2014, this was due to Milton Library operating as the main Library in the southern Shoalhaven for this period due to the refurbishment at Ulladulla Library / Civic Centre and ALL new members have been joined as Milton borrowers.

    To put this into context for the past 22 months while both libraries were open prior to the redevelopment of Ulladulla, Milton Library averaged 7.7% of the combined new members for both libraries,

     

  13. What are the profit and loss statements for the last 3 years for library services with a breakdown between all libraries in the Shoalhaven including mobile library with detailed breakdown of expenditure for each library
    Libraries are currently managed with a centralised budget as Shoalhaven Libraries e.g. book purchases, marketing, events, circulation control services and collection services, children's promotion, costs for the IT systems and licensing - including Libero etc. (for example), are all a cost to Shoalhaven Libraries, and are not allocated across individual branches or aspects of the service as these are not operated as separate entities.

    Budget information is reported / presented as consolidated figures for the Libraries and is detailed in the 2014/15 Budget.

     

  14. The Milton Library Services Review document quotes statistics for 2012 for Milton, Nowra and Sanctuary Point libraries however there are no statistics for Milton, what are the equivalent statistics for Ulladulla ie books per hour and total visitors.

    In 2012 Ulladulla Library loaned 108,615 items , which is 47 items per hour and there were 81,614 visitors.

    Items Borrowed Nowra Sanctuary Point Bookmobile Ulladulla Milton
    Jul 2011-Jun 2012 288,457 83,878
    38,100 108,615 11,941

    Items Borrowed Per Hour Nowra Sanctuary Point Bookmobile Ulladulla Milton
    Jul 2011-Jun 2012 107 41 45 47 23

  15. The cost of Milton library has been quoted as $50,000. What is the detailed breakdown of these costs? What portion of these costs are actual outgoings rather than simply book entries. Does this cost include notional rent of the building ? depreciation etc?
    Building Maintenance and Security $9800
    IT & Communications $8215
    Utilities & Insurances $4800
    Promotional activity and stock purchases $28200
    Total $51,015

    These figures Exclude:
    • Depreciation
    • Staff costs
    • Any of the centralised library costs that are attributed to Shoalhaven Libraries

     

  16. What is the estimate of cost savings through the closing of the library and what are the additional cost estimates for the mobile library service if it is to come to Milton ?

    The expenses detailed in response to Question 15 would be savings, along with a reduction in centralised costs that are attributed to Shoalhaven Libraries.

    The level of replacement library stock purchases would be reduced if Milton Library were to close as currently there is replication of some items bought for the two separate libraries, hence the reduction in the amount of stock purchased would provide a cost saving on stock purchased.

    There would be no additional costs for the mobile library service to visit Milton. In its current format the timetable can be modified to allow a monthly one hour stop at Milton. Further modifications from its current format could occur to provide a fortnightly service if necessary.

     

  17. What are the borrowing numbers in terms of users and items for Milton library whilst Ulladulla was closed, including the dates that it is for.

    Ulladulla Library was closed from October 2012 until end of May 2014. During that period Milton Library issued 145,080 items.

     

  18. Which Schools visit and use Milton Library?
    In 2013 the following visits were made:
    • Shoalhaven Anglican School (SAS) regularly had 2 classes visit twice per month.
    • The three Milton pre-schools (Cabbage Patch, Gumnut, Kids R Us) brought groups of 15 children per time at least twice per month on a rostered basis.
    • Each kindergarten class from Milton Public School (usually 4) and SAS (usually 2), as well as each pre-school (3), conducts a discovery walk that includes the library.

     

  19. How many young members/older members are there at Milton Library?
    • Below 20 years of age: 468
    • Between 20 and 50 years of age: 542
    • Over 60 years of age: 884

     

  20. Where would books go if Milton Library were closed?
    • If Milton were to close the books would go to other branches within the Shoalhaven to be borrowed by the community, with the majority going to Ulladulla.
    • The books would not be put in storage and there is adequate space in the larger library at Ulladulla for this additional stock.
    • Further Shoalhaven Libraries, in conjunction with the Library Cooperative, lend books within the cooperative between Branches. Hence books available in other Library locations can be accessed for loans - this is common industry practice.