Public Libraries

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

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Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many public libraries have closed since 2010; what action they have taken to ensure that all the services previously provided by those public libraries are provided by other organisations; and what assessment they have made of the national research project conducted by SERIO to explore the service effectiveness and sustainability of community-managed libraries in England the results of which were published on 5 September 2017.

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

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport monitors proposed changes to library service provision throughout England, but does not hold complete figures on the number of public libraries closed from 2010 to date.

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 best to provide a public library service that meets local needs within available resources. However, DCMS works with the Libraries Taskforce and local and central government to promote good practice and innovation to sustain and improve library services in England.

In 2017, DCMS and the Libraries Taskforce commissioned research by SERIO about how community managed libraries in England operate, and lessons that can be learnt and shared about their effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Following consideration of the report and its recommendations, DCMS and the Libraries Taskforce has improved and strengthened information and guidance on community managed libraries. For example, updating the Taskforce’s Community Managed Libraries toolkit for those running or considering establishing community libraries. DCMS and the Libraries Taskforce has also worked with partners to help community managed libraries to set up a peer network, to build closer links and to share learning and support between themselves.

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