To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he is taking steps to ensure that local authorities support local libraries during the next phases of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
The Government is providing local councils with unprecedented support during the pandemic with a £4.3 billion package, including £3.7 billion which is not ringfenced and £600 million to support social care providers. This is part of a wider package of almost £28 billion which the Government has committed to support local areas, with funding going to councils, businesses and communities.
DCMS has a statutory duty to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England. To assist delivery of this statutory duty, DCMS issued a joint letter with the Local Government Association to all local authorities in England requesting detail of restoration of their library services given the opening of physical library buildings is now permitted. This detail will assist the department’s engagement with local authorities and its ongoing monitoring of library service provision.
DCMS continues to work closely with Libraries Connected and other key stakeholders to ensure that the Libraries Connected Service Recovery Toolkit remains relevant and continues to assist libraries with their opening and reintroduction of their services during the pandemic.