To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the minimum statutory requirement is for a local authority library service; what the derivation is of that requirement; what guidance she has issued to local authorities on compliance with the minimum statutory requirement; and if she will make a statement.
The 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act does not seek to be overly prescriptive but instead anchors the delivery of a local service to the needs of the local community. As the hon. Member is aware, Public Library Standards were wound up as part of the Governments wider reform of local authority performance indicators in 2008. A 'comprehensive and efficient' library service represents the balance to be struck by each local authority in meeting local needs within the context of available resources in a way which is appropriate to the Identified needs of the communities they serve. Each local authority has an intimate knowledge of local conditions and needs and has direct democratic accountability to the local population.
The Department re-circulated in March 2013 the three pieces of correspondence from the Minister for Culture and Secretary of State to library authorities drawing attention to their responsibilities in delivering a comprehensive and efficient library service.