Public Libraries: Closures

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 14 May 2024.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make an estimate of the number of libraries that have closed since 2010.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

Arts Council England collects data from local authorities and publishes a basic dataset of information on public libraries in England. The libraries basic dataset for 2022 shows the number of static libraries in England (statutory and non-statutory) from April 2010 to 31 December 2022 and includes information on permanent library closures (though not information on where replacement libraries have been set up). It can be found here.

More broadly, there remains a significant challenge for both the Government and for the libraries sector in getting robust, accurate, and timely data which can be used to support both advocacy and improvement. We are clear about the need to address this problem and are working closely with sector bodies (including Arts Council England, Libraries Connected and the Local Government Association) to chart a way forward in this area. Our forthcoming Government strategy for libraries will follow up on recommendations made by Baroness Sanderson of Welton’s independent review of public libraries in this regard.

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