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Public Libraries

House of Lords written question – answered on 11th February 2003.

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Photo of Lord Hughes of Woodside Lord Hughes of Woodside Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proposals they have about the role of public libraries.

Photo of Baroness Blackstone Baroness Blackstone Minister of State (the Arts), Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts)

I am pleased to repeat the announcement made yesterday by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport that the Government's new strategic framework for the public library service, Framework for the Future, has been published and copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The starting point for the strategy is how best to meet the needs of library users and encourage new users. Framework for the Future outlines a range of initiatives designed to promote reading and learning for everyone, giving special attention to those who have literacy problems. It aims to bring access to the digital communications revolution to all and to help communities work together more effectively through better sharing of community information and by creating opportunities for different groups to work together. The new strategy will encourage libraries to build on existing strengths and ensure they position themselves at the hearts of the communities they serve.

Public libraries are a valuable infrastructure, which have the potential to help local authorities deliver across a range of local services. The best libraries are doing so already. By clarifying key priorities and highlighting best practice, Framework for the Future provides a focus for future work across the sector. It provides a basis for authorities to prioritise and plan services to meet the needs of citizens, while being flexible enough to respond to local differences.

The launch of the policy document marks the beginning of the next stage in developing the stategy. We will be working closely with the Advisory Council on Libraries, Resource, the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries and leaders in local government, libraries and education to deliver the strategy.

The document will also be available on the DCMS website at http://www.culture.gov.uk/heritage/pl-frame work.html

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