Library Closures

Library Closures

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Recent campaigns against the closure of local libraries have highlighted the strong attachment that many people feel to their library services. However, much of the focus of the campaigns has been on library branches rather than the broader question of the preservation and possible enhancement of the library service. Reductions in opening hours and the loss of professional staff may damage the service more than the closure of particular buildings. The provision of a library service is a statutory duty, but a number of councils have drawn up plans that fail to comply with the requirement to provide a a€™comprehensive and efficient' service. A full assessment of the needs of the local population for the services is key. Guidance on how to assess local needs does exist, but more must be done to disseminate it. Although the future of public libraries may be uncertain there is opportunity for reassessment of their roles and how they are organised. The Committee saw many examples of innovative thinking about what libraries can offer to the local population, and a number of models of how those services might be provided. Councils which have transferred the running of libraries to community volunteers must continue to provide support otherwise failure may be viewed as closures by stealth. The Committee looks forward to the promised report, by the end of 2014, on the cumulative effect on library services of the cuts in local authority provision and the promotion of alternatives such as transfers to community volunteersThird Report of Session 2012-13, Vol. ... Act gave power to town councils to levy a small rate for the establishment of public libraries and museums in all municipal ... of arguments familiar to those interested in the public library service today: the utility of libraries in spreading literacy and ... have reduced significantly while restrictions on the ability of local authorities to increase council tax for their residentsanbsp;...

Title:Library Closures
Author: Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Culture, Media and Sport Committee
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2012-11-06

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