Public Libraries

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 26th November 2018.

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Photo of Lord Bird Lord Bird Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of public libraries on (1) inclusive economic growth, (2) learning and skills, (3) health and well-being, (4) digital literacy, (5) business support, and (6) poverty prevention.

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

Public libraries play an important role in giving everyone opportunities to improve their life chances and achieve their full potential. They support individuals, communities and society by providing access to books and information, bringing people together and providing them with support and guidance at every stage of their lives.

The Libraries Taskforce, jointly established by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Local Government Association, published Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021 in December 2016. This strategy sets out seven strategic outcomes that libraries support, along with information and evidence about the impact they have in relation to:

  • cultural and creative enrichment
  • increased reading and literacy
  • improved digital access and literacy
  • helping everyone achieve their full potential
  • healthier and happier lives
  • greater prosperity
  • stronger, more resilient communities

The Taskforce reviews progress against the Ambition aspirations and action plan annually. DCMS continues to work with the Libraries Taskforce and its member organisations to support the libraries sector. This includes developing and strengthening the evidence base on the impact of public library services on the outcomes, and to encourage good practice and innovation in achieving these aims. DCMS also advocates the value and contribution of public libraries across central and local government.

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