.

Geelong Regional Library Corporation is seeking “friends” six months after losing a controversial bid to close three branches.
The corporation launched Friends of Geelong Regional Libraries this week with “a number of discounts and benefits” for subscribers.
Corporation chair Margot Smith said she was looking forward to building a network of “passionate supporters of public libraries”.
“We know that we have many supporters in the community and this new friends membership will allow people to express their support for the work we do while enjoying some valuable discounts and benefits,” the Surf Coast councillor said.
“In the past year the region’s libraries have welcomed 2 million visitors to our 16 libraries and two mobile libraries and 150,000 attendances to an extensive range of life-long learning and cultural events.
“We hope that our friends will assist us to continue building a love of reading and literature in our young people, deliver on special projects to preserve our region’s past, continue to deliver excellent collections, encourage a digitally inclusive future and provide lifelong learning opportunities of the highest quality.”
Ms Smith launched the subscriptions with the help of state libraries chief and former ABC TV new executive Kate Torney.
Ms Torney spoke at the launch about the success of a similar friends program for the state libraries organisation.
Earlier this year Geelong Regional Library Corporation’s board controversially recommended to the council that libraries at Highton, Chilwell and Barwon Heads should be closed.
The board wanted the closures in response to “to a shortfall in proposed funding in order to maintain current service levels and opening hours,” corporation chief Patti Manolis told the Geelong Indy in June.
Geelong’s former council administrators considered the recommendation amid public outcry and protests for retention of all three branches.
The administrators initially backed the recommendation but eventually back-flipped, giving the libraries a $290,000 one-year lifeline.
The move effectively passed responsibility for any decision on the libraries’ fate to the city’s next elected council.
The controversy prompted then former councillor Ron Nelson to call for an inquiry into the libraries corporation.
The corporation had “a bit of fat at the top there that perhaps we don’t need”, he said at the time.
The corporation’s staff earned an average $87,271 while Ms Manolis was on $181,000 plus superannuation and a car, he noted.
He also questioned payment of “unelected” individuals “higher up”.
Cr Nelson was returned at October’s council elections but has yet to announce any formal push for an inquiry.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.

More News

A Geelong microbiologist kept 260 animals including two freshwater crocodiles in cruel conditions, a court has found. Wildlife officers found the ...

Local MP Simon Ramsay has slammed the State Government’s “failure” to begin construction on a Norlane health centre scheduled ...

Laura Smith’s Talkin’ Turkey win has come just in time for her for first family Christmas with 10-week old ...

An Iraqi community group has joined forces with Iranian and Slovenian counterparts to build a fleet of wooden boats for ...

City Hall could dump its controversial $25,575 membership of the Committee for Geelong next year, with new mayor Bruce Harwood set ...

Lara’s Amber Dew was “shocked” when officials at the 67th Miss International pageant placed a $100,000 tiara on her head ...

Latest Sport

Local Cricket, by Jim Timberlake With the huge amount of rain and wild weather hitting Victoria last weekend, cricket at ...

On the Bite, by Chris Pitman Anglers ducked for cover amid last week’s wild weather but those who picked ...

Barwon Heads grommet Ellie Harrison has become the best under-14 surfer in the country after winning at the Australian Junior ...

Entertainment

Jade Hurley’s current audience might not be the screaming fan girls he played to in the ’60s, but they ...

Locals can climb aboard Portarlington’s most popular mini train for just $2 this Sunday, as it celebrates its second birthday. ...