Public Libraries

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

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Photo of Lord Shipley Lord Shipley Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an audit has been undertaken of library provision in each local authority to assess whether any local authority is now failing to meet statutory requirements in relation to public access; and if so, which authorities are not currently meeting those statutory requirements.

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 that meets local needs. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also has a duty to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England, and to secure the proper discharge by local authorities of their library authority functions.

DCMS takes the statutory duty seriously and monitors proposed changes to library service provision throughout England. Where DCMS receives a complaint that a local authority may be failing to meet its duty, we will carefully consider the evidence before deciding if a local inquiry is needed. The Department is currently handling eight complaints to determine whether the changes to library service provision mean that these are no longer providing comprehensive and efficient library services.

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