LOCAL traditional and online library services run by the West Gippsland Regional Library Corporation (WGRLC) in South Gippsland, Bass Coast and Baw Baw Shires will soon have a new name and operate under a new not-for-profit basis.
While the familiar open-book logo will remain, the WGRLC title and the shorter West Gippsland Libraries version will become Myli – My Community Library.
The new Victorian Local Government Act 2020 now requires the State’s library corporations to restructure, with a mandate to decide on their futures within 10 years, prompting the WGRLC to become a not-for-profit organsiation.
The South Gippsland Shire Council’s three-member administration panel endorsed a decision supporting the WGRLC’s change to a not-for-profit structure at the virtual open ordinary council meeting held on Wednesday July 21, 2021.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s vote to transition the WGRLC to the not-for-profit model only takes effect once the three member councils adopt the same resolution.
The essence of what South Gippsland’s panel agreed to was encapsulated in the section of the long and detailed motion that stated the shire would “participate in the formation of a beneficial enterprise to be known as, and become a founding member of, Myli – My Community Library Ltd (the Company)”.
MyLi – My Community Library is defined in the motion as a “I. a public company limited by guarantee; II. a not-for-profit and charitable institution to be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission; and III. a public library recognised by the Australian Taxation Office”.
Bass Coast Shire Council also made their Myli decision last week, with Baw Baw Shire Council considering the proposal this week.
A report in the South Gippsland Shire July 21, 2021 meeting’s minutes “outlines the significant due diligence undertaken over the past 18 months for West Gippsland Libraries to transition to a company limited by guarantee Not-For-Profit (NFP) following changes to the Local Government Act 2020 that came into effect from 1 July 2021.
“The WGRLC Board has been in discussions about this required change for three years,” the report stated.
South Gippsland Shire administrator and WGRLC board member Rick Brown said that “currently the WGRLC is a partnership between the South Gippsland, Bass Coast and Baw Baw municipalities, allowing for the pooling of resources and resulting in immense benefits for the residents of all three shires.”
The present corporation “is recognised as an industry leader in the library sector across Victoria and delivers innovative services to the residents of the three [member] shires,” he said.
“One of these [services] is providing 24/7 access to the community.
“Foster was the first library in Victoria to provide this service and Mirboo North will be the second with 24/7 access slated to begin from the end of this year.
“Poowong is also set to start providing anytime access by the end of this financial year, likely making it the third library in Victoria to do so, which is a remarkable achievement for a small library corporation,” Mr Brown said.
“Users of the library will continue to experience all that they love about the service, including the services that it has adapted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as online video programs across a range of areas like mental health to support the community.
“WGRLC hopes that there will be a number of benefits made possible by the move to a not-for-profit organisation, including increased flexibility, increased resources and the ability to provide a greater range of service.
“Part of the transition to a not-for-profit organisation include a name change to Myli – My Community Library,” he said.
“This was a necessary step to promote the delivery of library services beyond the existing West Gippsland region. However, the existing logo will remain.”
South Gippsland Shire Council administration panel chair Julie Eisenbise said “we are excited to support WGRLC in their efforts to transfer to a not-for-profit organisation.
“We have had a magnificent partnership with them during our term and have been lucky enough to support them in the implementation of 24/7 libraries across our region,” she said.
“We are eager to work with them in this new capacity moving forward.
“We understand that it is important to our community that the quality of services currently provided by the WGRLC is not lost, but rather built upon with new, innovative ideas that can be fully explored with their reclassification as a not-for-profit organisation,” Ms Eisenbise said.
“Like other business, the WGRLC has had to change the way they provide service, and a clear example of this is the increase in online borrowing of books and videos, which will set them in good stead for the future.”
“As the change begins, Council will support the WGRLC in laying the foundation for the next stage in its evolution to a not-for-profit organisation,” she said.
“Council will also continue supporting the upgrade of buildings, like what is occurring with the Korumburra Hub where a new, modern library will form part of the development.”