78 Country Libraries Receive Much-Needed Grants

78 Country Libraries Receive Much-Needed Grants

The LBW Trust, in collaboration with Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA) and Harvey Norman, is pleased to announce that 78 country libraries throughout regional, rural and remote Australia are the recipients of much-needed funding through the Trust’s 2023 National Backyard Cricket (NBYC) campaign.

$110,126 was distributed to 78 libraries (NSW 29; QLD 4; SA 13; TAS 5; VIC 8; WA 19) for projects ranging from establishing a Seed Library; holding mindfulness meditation workshops; introducing a Story Dog program; educational programs to increase digital literacy; Aboriginal cultural education events; a summer reading challenge; and a teenager led STEM Club The Innovation Station to run weekly at Broome Public Library in Western Australia.

MYLI – MY Community Library was one of the 78 libraries to receive a National Backyard Cricket Grant. The library received $1475 of funding to buy Lego Education resources and implement Lego Education STEAM programs for our library service. “We are so grateful to receive this funding from National Backyard Cricket. It makes a huge difference for rural communities such as ours,” said Lisa Kirwin, who made the initial application.

“Backyard cricket holds a special place in Australia and it is wonderful to be able to combine our love of cricket with supporting country libraries,” says NBYC Chair Marek Ristwej. “Funding has been made possible by the generous donations of individuals who participated in 2022/2023 NBYC events, plus great support from retailer Harvey Norman and LBW Trust supporters. We are delighted to be able to fund all 78 applicants! We look forward to seeing their projects come to life and the difference they will make in their community.”

FOLA President Jack Goodman says “Country libraries are at the heart of the community, providing havens where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to share ideas, learn new skills and connect with each other. These grants are another example of the exceptional projects being run by Australia’s under-funded and under-valued country public libraries.”

Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director at Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd John Slack-Smith says “We are very proud to be supporting Australian country libraries. With 65% of Harvey Norman Franchised complexes located in regional Australia, we proactively support important initiatives
such as this that help small communities gain further access to the technology they need to thrive and connect within their community.”

About The LBW Trust – 

The LBW (Learning for a Better World) Trust believes that everyone deserves an education, and every student deserves to realise their potential and create their own future. Established in 2006 we have supported more than 15,000 disadvantaged students in cricket-playing developing nations to receive a tertiary or vocational education. We have also supported more than 150 country libraries throughout Australia to help them deliver projects within their community.

Through partnering with reputable and well-established NGOs and educational institutions, we currently support over 2,500 students in developing countries including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Indonesia. Education empowers and improves lives – directly benefiting the student, and their family, and enabling them to become an agent for change. When these students graduate, we hope that they will play an important role in shaping the future of their communities and nations.

Through National Backyard Cricket events we bring communities together to raise vital funds for country libraries throughout Australia to help them deliver projects within their community.

About Friends of Libraries Australia –

Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA) is the peak body representing Australia’s 15 million public library members. FOLA supports the development of local Friends groups who, in turn, support their local libraries across Australia.

More broadly defined, friends are an essential part of the fabric of public libraries.

Today, demographic, economic and technological changes require us to rethink what it means to be a Friend. In the 1990s, Friends groups were instrumental in helping libraries raise funds, provide services, advocate for facilities, and much more.

Today we are reimagining FOLA’s mission as the national voice and advocate for Australia’s exceptional, yet under-recognised and under-appreciated, public libraries. We are particularly focused on country libraries because they face systemic disadvantages due to their isolated locations and the small populations they serve. We hope you will join us on this journey, and do your part to speak up in support of your local library.

FOLA is part of a worldwide network of Friend’s associations, found in many countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and New Zealand.


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