The Riverina Regional Library (RRL) is the largest regional library service in NSW. It provides library services to approximately 137,700 constituents of 10 local government areas, those being the shires of Bland, Coolamon, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Federation, Greater Hume, Junee, Lockhart, Snowy Valleys, Temora and the City of Wagga Wagga. The service consists of 18 stationary library branches and a mobile library spread over an area of 47,830 sq km (which is around 70% of the total area of Tasmania and 6% of the total area of NSW).
The RRL was established in 1978, and has grown from its initial membership through the admission of additional Councils.
RRL has for some years been considered a leader amongst regional libraries. It has participated in a number of statewide projects; been represented on various State Library of New South Wales committees; contributed to the development of policy and other documentation at the State level; and introduced a range of service and technology innovations. RRL has also taken a lead role regionally, and has instigated a number of collaborative training initiatives with other libraries in the South-West Zone as well as acting as a “mentor” for smaller libraries in the Zone.
Sections 11 and 12 of the NSW Library Act 1939 provide for the joint provision of library services by two or more Councils under the Executive Council model. This is the only model under which a regional library may operate in NSW, and requires participating Councils to appoint an Executive Council to administer library services on their behalf.
Wagga Wagga City Council is the Executive Council of RRL. The Riverina Regional Library Advisory Committee, comprising representatives from the 10 member Councils of RRL, meets twice per year to make recommendations to the Executive Council on regional library matters. The Executive Director of RRL reports to this Committee and acts as the conduit with the Executive Council.
RRL operates under a Deed of Agreement which is reviewed every 5 years. The Agreement was last reviewed in 2012.
RRL operates on a funding agreement that is part of the broader Deed of Agreement. The funding formula is a per capita based calculation that includes different operational components which reflect the flexibility that the organisation requires. Funding components can be individually varied and indexed without affecting the integrity of other components.
RRL has a long established and solid strategy framework including the Integrated Planning Strategy 2014-2018 which presents:
Our Vision: Inspiring People, Engaging Communities, Enriching Lives.
Our Mission: Creatively connecting people, information and knowledge.
Our Values: Respect for people, ideas and knowledge. Commitment to fostering learning communities. Integrity, equity and quality of service.
Our Key Strategies: Build Capacity, Innovation and Accountability, Create Connections.
RRL is part of the strong NSW Public Library Network that includes 363 service points across the state. The State Library of NSW plays a pivotal role through provision of consultancy and support services to public libraries, as well as administering the distribution of State Government library funding to NSW Councils.
RRL and WWCC strongly support the contribution of RRL staff to various library sector forums and committees at regional and state levels. The contribution of RRL staff to the statewide network has had the added bonus of raising the profile and reputation of RRL amongst NSW libraries.
Executive Director – Riverina Regional Library