Public Libraries: Finance

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 3rd August 2018.

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Photo of Lord Bird Lord Bird Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to deliver a properly funded and sustainable future for libraries.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Local authorities in England have a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, and it is for individual local authorities to decide how to use their funds, including how best to provide a public library service that meets local needs within available resources. DCMS works across central and local government to encourage investment in libraries to ensure they can continue to support delivery of local and national priorities and needs.

DCMS and the Local Government Association established the Libraries Taskforce, which works to promote good practice and innovation to assist library services and enable them to be sustainable for the long term. DCMS provides funding to Arts Council England, as the development agency for libraries; ACE is funding seven libraries organisations in its National Portfolio for 2018 to 2022 at a total annual spend of £1.6 million, including Libraries Connected as a sector support organisation for libraries.

DCMS has also provided direct funding support for library services in England, including a £2.6 million programme to support the installation or upgrade of wifi in public libraries in England, and the £3.9m Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone fund, to support innovative library service activity in 2017/18 to benefit disadvantaged people and places in England.

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