“Library staff started dreaming about this in 2015, the dream came true today,” Parkes Shire Library’s Cultural, Education and Library Services Manager Shellie Buckle said.
Ms Buckle was of course referring to the $2.2 million funding announcement made on site by Parliamentary Secretary for Western NSW Rick Colless on Friday afternoon.
The major funding – $2 million coming from the NSW Government’s $100 million Regional Cultural Fund and $200,000 out of the Public Infrastructure Grants Program – will go towards the renovation and expansion of the library in Bogan Street.
Parkes Shire Council applied for the grants by way of a video application.
The expansion will involve adding another pavilion to the facility, it will be modern, will allow more room for the facility’s current programs and exhibitions, and feature an outdoor environment.
Ms Buckle said the funding will go a long way towards ensuring the library is offering the best cultural and recreational services and resources to people in the region.
“Parkes Shire Library will reinvent itself with an innovative and modern expansion to deliver new dynamic art and cultural spaces including an intergenerational maker space,” she said.
“We will soon have new areas for children's programs, meetings, quiet study, connecting with technology, and green space.
In the current library building, which is now 18 years old, Ms Buckle said their children’s program was squashed in its space and didn’t allow room for growth.
“We love our children’s program but it was also a little noisy for other people in the library, so this expansion will allow room for quiet spaces,” she said.
“And more artists are learning we can host exhibitions. The library space is now booked out for the rest of the year," Ms Buckle said.
“This money will also allow us to host these exhibitions more professionally and with a bit more class.”
Parkes Shire Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM thanked the NSW Government.
“[Thank you] for its significant investment towards supporting our community’s vision to establish a strong cultural identity,” he said.
“The Parkes Library is an integral hub for our community and this funding will ensure we can expand our range of programs, services and initiatives to accommodate the needs of our growing community.”
Ms Buckle confirmed the library’s original architects, Brewster Hjorth Architects from Sydney, are on board with the new project, with planning expected to take six months.
Turning of the first sod should take place in February with hopes of completion by June or July next year.
But the first order of business is to appoint a building manager.
“This is fabulous news for members of the community in Parkes – this funding is greatly needed, and it’s great the NSW Nationals and Liberals have been able to deliver it,” Mr Colless said.
“We have so many projects going on across the electorate, covering all spaces from arts to infrastructure to health to agriculture – the region is booming and it’s great to be a part of making things happen.
“Communities from Parkes to Peak Hill to Trundle and Bogan Gate will all benefit from this massive funding injection into the community.
“Projects such as these whether they be big or small – enhance the cultural richness and vibrancy of our regional communities.”
Applications will soon be invited for the next round of funding through the Regional Cultural Fund scheme.
Further information about the RCF is available at www.nsw.gov.au/regionalculturalfund or email email@example.com.