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Library’s bottom line in good shape

Our Annual Report 2016/17 is now available and reports on another successful year for the Geelong Regional Library Corporation.

A $1,102,244 deficit reported in the Geelong Advertiser (19 October) is not a cause for concern. The organisation’s net cash position has improved by $229,000 when compared to the previous financial year indicating a healthy financial position. Importantly, the corporation’s net cash provided by operating activities remains virtually unchanged from the previous financial year at $1.65 million. This demonstrates that the day to day operations across the last two years has been consistent.

Income in 2015/16 was increased by gifted assets of $1.3 million in the form of fittings and furnishings for the new Geelong Library & Heritage Centre. Therefore, when compared directly with the previous year, 2016/17 shows a significant decrease in income received.

Depreciation of assets increased in 2015/16 and 2016/17 due to the increased size and value of the Collection with the addition of Geelong Library & Heritage Centre. This will always occur with the opening of new branches as we expand our Collection. Although depreciation will continue to grow, it will not continue to increase as substantially as it did in during 2015/16 when GLHC commenced operating and 2016/17 with the first full year of operation.

The news article also implies that the employment of 183 staff members is excessive. The corporation employs the equivalent of 97 full-time roles. Half of the staff members employed by the corporation are part-time or casual, indicative of a flexible workplace.

In 2016/17 the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre operated for four full quarters of the financial year compared with three quarters in the previous financial year. This increased the span of opening hours across the network significantly, and led to a steep increase in salary costs when compared with the previous financial year. These fully-funded costs will now steady out in the second full year of operation with the new central library as part of the network.

The annual report records a successful year of achievements including being named Victoria’s number one performing library service for the third year running. The Word for Word Non-Fiction Festival was held for the first time at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre and enjoyed a 60% increase in ticket sales. Library membership also increased to 120,841 members - representing 40% of the region’s residents. Annual visits increased 9% to 1.9 million and attendance at library events and programs increased 10% to 148,815. In addition, loans of e-books increased 27% to 106,953. The Geelong Library & Heritage Centre recorded 474,900 visits for the year indicating strong appreciation of the region’s new central library.

Figures released earlier this month reveal that the library corporation has achieved number one performing public library in the State for the fourth year running and the independent analysis of the corporation’s comparative status demonstrates that the library corporation not only delivers on performance – it also enjoys one of the highest levels of library usage per capita in the State.

The library corporation achieves its exceptional outcomes with levels of financial and operational efficiencies that are equivalent to the industry average, displaying the highly desirable combination of very high service levels and usage delivered at average industry cost.

The Chair and Acting CEO of Geelong Regional Libraries wish to extend their thanks to staff and library members for their ongoing support and contributions to making the service such a valuable asset for the whole of the region’s community.

 

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