Public Libraries

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Labour, Slough

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on levels of social mobility of access to public libraries.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Libraries play an important role in giving everyone opportunities to improve their life chances and achieve their full potential. In doing so they serve a diverse range of people from all backgrounds, including those in lower socio-economic groups. In addition, DCMS’s Taking Part Survey indicates that unlike other cultural sectors, public library use in 2017/18 by people in black or minority ethnic groups is significantly higher (40.9% having visited a public library in the previous 12 months) than for people in the white ethnic group (31.7%).

In recognition of this, the Government funds the Libraries Taskforce to encourage good practice and innovation to public library services in achieving the strategic outcomes set out in its 2016 strategy Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021. DCMS also invested £3.9 million in the Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone fund to support innovative library service activity in 2017/18 to benefit disadvantaged people and places in England, including projects to help people develop their skills and achieve their potential.

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