Libraries on the Central Coast are celebrating a major milestone today, 16 March 2023! It is 75 years since the adoption of the NSW Library Act 1939 by Gosford Shire Council on 16 March 1948. The Act enables the provision of free public library services to the people of NSW.
The very first library to be established on the Central Coast was Woy Woy Library in the former Woy Woy Shire Council Chambers building on Blackwall Road, opening its doors on 13 August 1948.
Followed by Gosford Library three days later, on 16 August 1948 in the former Erina Shire Council Chambers at 23 Mann Street. Wyong Shire Council followed suit soon after, opening their first library branch in Anzac Avenue, Wyong on 11 May 1959.
Council Director Community and Recreation Services, Mel Smith said in their 75 years of existence, libraries on the Central Coast have provided generations of residents with access to information, education and entertainment.
“In 2023 Council is operating ten branches across the Central Coast with over 567,000 visitors each year,” Ms Smith said.
“Council’s library services today extend beyond the physical branches and includes a mobile library service, stopping at over twenty locations across the Coast each fortnight, as well as a home library selection and delivery service for residents who are housebound due to illness, disability or limited mobility.
“These services, combined, average over 1,200,000 items loaned per year. They are processed by library staff across our branches and selected from a collection of 243,590 physical items.
“Our libraries have some 16,764 eBooks, 82,650 eAudiobooks, 3,907 eMagazines on offer as well as a free ‘digital newsstand’ with the latest issues of newspapers,” Ms Smith said.
“A key factor in the survival of our libraries has been the evolution of libraries into community centres with public internet access, technology classes, meeting rooms, and a range of programs and events for all ages with Council libraries hosting over 1,329 sessions this year attracting 18,924 attendees.”
Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the community spirit our libraries were founded on are very much alive and well today.
“75 years on and libraries are as relevant as ever on the Central Coast. Libraries cultivate a love of learning and knowledge by providing free facilities to support lifelong learning opportunities for the whole community,” Mr Hart said.
“Libraries provide equitable, affordable, and flexible community spaces for recreational and cultural engagement.
“Continuing the legacy of our commitment to libraries is the construction of a new Regional Library in Gosford, to be delivered in 2024. The Gosford Regional Library, located at the new site of 123 Donnison Street, is set to become a central meeting point for locals and visitors alike. The Gosford Regional Library will create a drawcard to the city centre and encompass all the offerings of a modern library to service this iconic waterfront city that’s emerging.”
Take a look at the full 75th anniversary celebrations at Central Coast libraries and join all the library services with just one membership at centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/libraries75years