New study finds government cuts put libraries at risk

(31 May 2017) A new study has found that the federal government’s ‘wilful neglect’ of Australia’s national libraries, galleries and museums is putting the nation’s shared history and heritage at risk, particularly in regional areas, reports the Canberra Times.

The report by Community and Public Sector Union researchers Kristin van Barneveld and Osmond Chiu, which was published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration, found that a $36.8m government budget cut starting in 2015-2016 had made it harder for institutions to acquire and preserve items, slowed efforts to digitise historical documents and put artefacts at risk of deterioration.

A National Library of Australia staff member told the union that temporary contractors had replaced experienced and knowledgeable workers, and efforts to encourage private donations and increase commercial revenue had not filled the gap left by the government’s cuts.

The report also found that the growing dependence on private sponsorship has steered cultural hubs towards ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions.

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