Public Libraries

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 5th September 2012.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information her Department holds on the number of libraries closed in each local authority area in each of the last three financial years; and how many libraries currently operate in each local authority area.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Data about the public library sector are published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Its annual statistics do not provide the number of openings or closures, or the number of libraries that have transferred from the public library service to community management; but instead show the net figure of public libraries open in each year. Data showing the number of public libraries in each library authority in the UK can be found in CIPFA's annual statistics, available in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Department supplements these data by monitoring proposals about changes to library services across England through information gathered via correspondence, media coverage and from relevant bodies such as Arts Council England. From this monitoring over the past year, the Department estimates that around 60 static libraries closed during 2011-12. During the calendar year to date, the Department also estimates that 40 new or significantly refurbished libraries have opened; full details can be seen in a recent letter to Public Libraries News, which can be found at the following link:

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