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To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of children accessing library services in (a) Barnet and (b) England.
DCMS works with the Libraries Taskforce and local and central government to promote good practice and innovation to sustain and improve library services provided by local authorities in England, including in Barnet. Library services in England can help transform lives, communities and society as a whole, including in relation to children by supporting them to develop and enjoy their reading; to learn and study; and to take part in events and activities. For instance, the annual Summer Reading Challenge, run by The Reading Agency, promotes reading for children at their local libraries and has resulted in many thousands of children aged 4 – 11 joining a library and accessing library services.
In addition, DCMS provided £3.9 million to the Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone innovation fund to enable library services to trial innovative projects that would benefit disadvantaged people and places in England. These included a number of projects which promoted children’s access to library services.