Public Libraries: Learning Disability

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 21st February 2019.

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Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that people with learning disabilities are able to access resources in unstaffed libraries.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Arts and Heritage)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that public libraries are autism and dementia friendly spaces.

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

Local authorities in England have a statutory duty under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. It is for each local authority to decide how best to provide their library service ensuring that it meets local needs, including for those library users with a learning disability, or with autism or dementia.

Many library services in England train staff to meet these needs and provide library spaces, resources and support designed for people with these and other disabilities or conditions. For example, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council received around £100,000 from DCMS through the Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone fund, to develop innovative new spaces in its central libraries, including in Thornaby Library. This Imagination Station opened in May 2018 and provides sensory and immersive experiences designed for people with a variety of health needs, including those living with dementia, autism, or learning disabilities.

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