3 A library service for the 21st
61. While the core offering of a library service
is access to books and other sources of information, especially
for those who have little or no access at home to printed or electronically-provided
witnesses were unanimous that much greater value came from linking
the resources and facilities available in libraries into wider
programmes reaching out into the local community. Many libraries
already do this in a variety of ways, but the need for local authorities
to prune budgets has increased the urgency of reviewing the library
service in the light not only of its own value but also of the
value it can add to other services.
62. One area of symbiosis is with education,
not least because many school libraries also face considerable
funding reductions at present. The local public library provides
not only access to information, but also a safe space for study,
with the additional advantage of access to the knowledge of trained
In some cases, local authorities have found that locating a public
library within a school or college benefits both the educational
establishment and the local community; but we were told that this
did not work everywhere.
The Government has recently taken up an idea put forward by the
children's author, Michael Rosen, of automatic library membership
for all primary school pupils, to encourage them to use their
63. Other examples of shared facilities are less
obvious. Our witnesses referred to combining a library with the
registry of births, marriages and deaths (in Sevenoaks) or with
a tourist information office (in north-east England).
Those who hosted our visit to the library in Pimlico emphasised
the potential for libraries to support the health service, both
in the provision of written information and as a place where medical
staff could meet the local community in a relaxed environment
in order to promote understanding of public health issues.
One of the witnesses to our predecessor Committee drew attention
to other government departments whose work was supported by the
library service: in providing information and practical support
to those seeking work (the Department of Work and Pensions); in
helping small businesses (the Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills); and in addressing those disaffected from schooling
and thus helping to tackle anti-social behaviour and truancy (the
Annie Mauger of CILIP and the Minister also wished to persuade
departments other than the DCMS of the contribution libraries
could make to the outcomes which they wanted to achieve.
64. Leicestershire has taken the approach of
viewing libraries as part of its heritage and arts services, enabling
the council to concentrate on medium-term aims for this sector
rather than just immediate cuts (for example, it has decided not
to close any libraries or museums but to look at redesigning,
joining up or, in some cases, reducing services). This approach
has enabled significant savings, mainly through staff reorganisation,
while retaining the expertise of librarians and curators; and
it has also had some collateral benefits in terms of applying
the commercial expertise developed in the museums and arts service
to exploiting the potential of library facilities.
65. There has also been a renewed emphasis on
the role of the library building as a meeting place for the community.
In some places, this has been achieved partly by for examplelocating
a privately-run cafe in the library, which has contributed to
a rise in the number of visitors to the library.
Such partnerships may provide some additional income, though experience
is that this has not been substantial: it is the increase in usage
that is more significant for the library service. Bradford Metropolitan
District Council has adopted a different approach. Under its 'Library
Links' initiative, it has located 'library service points' in
66. Such relationships with the private sector
are not universally welcome, however. We ? Libraries, a Hertfordshire-based
library campaign group, expressed concern that co-location with
private retailers would turn libraries from neutral venues open
and welcoming to all into something more commercial and less inclusive.
Co-operation and mergers
67. One area on which our witnesses agreed was
that there were considerable potential benefits to be gained from
procurement partnerships for purchasing books, and possibly in
other areas where a 'national' approach might reap substantial
savings and efficiencies.
Miranda McKearney of The Reading Agency mentioned as examples
a national digital portal for libraries, and a suite of planned
services to be available 24 hours a day.
Other witnesses argued that it would be impossible for libraries
to engage with e-books except on a national basis: publishers
were not very interested in the concept of lending e-books as
licensing difficulties could not be adequately addressed at a
local level and significant demand for a lending service from
readers was yet to emerge.
Miranda McKearney also suggested there was scope for engagement
with potential partners, such as the BBC in relation to its digital
resources, but said that this was being hindered by "a major
gap in the ability of libraries to act and plan nationally".
68. A number of our witnesses were cautious about
the idea of forming regional hubs: there was resistance to the
idea of 'mega-libraries' or 'destination libraries' given the
difficulty of travelling long distances to them, though some regional
hubs (such as in Newcastle) were acknowledged to work well.
Nevertheless, it was acknowledged that there was scope for far
more partnership between local authorities, andin the view
of Sue Charterissuch co-operation was vital because the
scale of the cuts meant that otherwise there would not be enough
professional expertise available to run the library service.
69. Unfortunately, our witnesses reported that,
with certain exceptions (one of which we discuss in more detail
below), co-operation between authorities had recently become more,
not less, difficult: one witness said that the 'good old days'
where one authority would specialise in books on fine arts and
another on 20th century history had gone as many of
"those co-operative systems" had broken down.
Another witness explained that the emphasis on local finances
in the last 18 months, and the resulting focus on local library
services, had, perversely, made such co-operation 'politically'
the Library Campaign acknowledged that collaborations could be
an effective way for libraries to improve efficiency, it suggested:
Shared services may be one way of making more efficiencies
but only if the authorityand its usershas/ have
the same amount of guarantee that services will be delivered on
time, to budget and where required. There is no point in a shared
service which simply means shipping books from one huge central
depot to the branch if there is no other saving.
70. South Gloucestershire Council told us about
the Libraries West Consortium (consisting of itself, North Somerset,
Bath and NE Somerset, Bristol and Somerset library authorities)
which had managed to make significant savings from shared procurement
of ICT and stock, from shared services (IT support, bibliographic
services, information provision via an Enquiry Centre, marketing
and the development of new services), and shared training and
we were told of other examples of successful cross-boundary co-operation
in Warwickshire, Cornwall and Devon, the north-west and potentially
the most commonly cited example was that of the 'tri-borough'
project, encompassing the London boroughs of Westminster, Hammersmith
& Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea.
71. This initiative covers a considerably wider
set of services than those relating to public libraries or even
the arts in general: it is a project to save money by, wherever
possible, combining services in order to rationalise and reduce
management structures and simultaneously improve front-line services.
The Local Government Association described it as
"an integrated libraries and archives service managed as
a single service across the three boroughs, with local branding
and delivery in line with local community needs". Launched
in April 2012, the tri-borough initiative for libraries was intended
to produce savings of more than £1 million a year as a result
of the single back office/management structure and from introducing
best practice in the deployment of operational staff.
Elizabeth Campbell of the Local Government Association and also
a councillor in Kensington and Chelsea, described the thinking
behind the approach as follows:
[We] saw cuts were coming, and thought, "How
do we not only safeguard what we have, how do we keep our 21 libraries
across three boroughs open, maintain the number of hours, but
at the end of the day produce a better library service for our
customers?" I suppose that is what has galvanised all our
thinking; how are we going to be more resourceful, more ready
to modernise at the end of it, at the same time as taking £1
million out of the service? We feel that we will have done that.
We will have taken £1 million out over the next couple of
years, but we will have one library card serving all our customers.
We will have a million books that they can take out. We hope our
footfall of 5 million over the three boroughs, coming forward,
will mean that we are probably more open to sponsorship or other
deals. We may say that this is the first step. We will merge first,
make our library service efficient and then think, "What
now? What other things can we do?
She added that the library service had always been
part of the plan to merge services as the management and back
office structures in the three boroughs more or less mirrored
one another, so it was easy to rationalise them.
When we asked whether it would be simple to replicate this across
England and Wales, she replied that it would be difficult to achieve
where the participating authorities were not of the same political
persuasion as a lot had to be taken on trust, particularly as
each authority would make gains in some areas and losses in others.
72. There have been suggestions that the tri-borough
experiment with libraries should be repeated on a larger scale,
for example by combining the library services of all 33 London
boroughs into a single unit. It was estimated that, by removing
administrative duplication, this might save up to £80 million
a year. While
making administrative savings on this scale is attractive, such
centralisation runs the risk of losing the detailed knowledge
of local needs which has, for example, allowed both Westminster
and Tower Hamlets to develop their library services in ways which
clearly reflect the needs of their local resident and working
73. While several of our witnesses expressed
considerable enthusiasm for the tri-borough project,
Sue Charteris noted that many council leaders believed that this
approach would work only in urban areas. She accepted that it
would be much easier where there were clear economies of scale,
but she was still of the view that there were significant possible
benefits to be had from partnerships even among counties. The
vital ingredients, she thought, were real professional expertise
and political leadership.
74. Some very good models of
co-operation between library authorities already exist. Local
authorities must ensure that they maintain and improve co-operation,
both across boundaries and nationally, as this will free money
for front-line library services. It is short-sighted to reduce
co-operation at this time of financial constraint.
and the role of volunteers
75. A far more controversial response to funding
cuts has been to hand over library facilities to volunteers, with
the intention that they should be run as 'community libraries'.
We were told that this phrase covered a wide variety of models
and very different levels of consultation, engagement and support
from the relevant local authorities. At one end of the spectrum,
there is the example where a library has been handed over completely
to the community, without any professional support and even (in
some cases) with the removal of vital IT equipment such as computers,
so that it is impossible to join the library or request a book
at that place.
At the other end of the spectrum, the facilities remain intact,
there is continued access to the advice and support of professional
librarians, but the professional staff are "not necessarily
the people who open and close the building every day".
While acknowledging that libraries had often made good use of
voluntary staff in the past to enhance the service, our witnesses
were generally of the view that, unless there was access to the
advice and support of trained staff, facilities could not be considered
to be part of the public library network.
76. Sue Charteris told us about the development
of the community libraries programme under the auspices of the
Big Lottery Fund. She said that the key determinants of the success
of that project were, first, it involved an injection of capital;
and secondly, it required slow and painstaking work with the local
community to design, deliver and develop the service. She cited
as a particularly successful example a healthy living centre on
a housing estate in Weston-super-Mare, where the libraryrun
by a social enterprise shared its facilities with a church,
a social services area office and a community cafe.
She told us:
Councils need to decide, when they are considering
cuts, what they mean. Do they mean that they have done a needs
analysis and do not think that that library is needed at all?
Or do they mean that, actually, they do still think they need
that network of provision? It might be in those places that need
it most and use it least that a different community partnering
model might be more effective, but it will not work if it is a
case of "Here are the keys of the building, get on with it,
it is up to you whether you use it or not." The council needs
to be part of it.
77. The Isle of Wight Council has been the subject
of particular criticism for its decision to reduce the number
of public libraries on the island from eleven to six. The other
five have been handed over to local volunteers and Councillor
David Pugh, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, made it clear
that those five libraries were no longer part of the statutory
service. We examined
exactly what this meant in practice for the volunteers. We were
told that none of the community libraries was accountable to the
local authority; each library had responsibility for recruiting
its own voluntary staff and, though the council asked volunteers
to agree to comply with certain basic legal requirements, such
as data protection, it was for each community to develop its library
service as it saw fit. There were no common service standards.
The buildings had been made available on a peppercorn rent, but
other costsin particular utility costswere the responsibility
of the relevant library, albeit that some transitional funding
from the Isle of Wight Council was still in place and the local
rural community council had some involvement with two of the libraries.
This had resulted in some parish councils increasing their precepts,
at least in part to support their local community library. Some
communities wanted to move their library to a different building
to co-locate with other services: Councillor Pugh said that the
local authority would support them "to whatever extent they
need within reason."
The community libraries did not have any employees of the local
authority working there, with the exception of one part-time person,
paid for by a town council, who was the library volunteer co-ordinator.
(Councillor Pugh argued that volunteers had not replaced professional
librarians as the previous staff, though competent, were not professional
five libraries continued to have access to the council's library
IT service, including the full database of books, and Councillor
Pugh expected that stock would be rotated and new books would
be able to be ordered via the Isle of Wight's central stock controls,
78. The Minister made it clear that an authority
that had handed over a large proportion of its library facilities
to volunteers would not escape his Department's scrutiny: "we
would still want to see a comprehensive and efficient local-authority-run
service in the local [area]".
79. Volunteers have long been
a valuable and valued part of the library service, and there are
places where their work may help the local community to retain
at least some ability to borrow books and access reference material.
It will require considerable dedication by the volunteers and,
as the Isle of Wight example shows, the financial costs may be
high, even if buildings are made available at a nominal rent.
It is not clear how sustainable some of these community libraries
may be, nor what impact the change will have on some of the outreach
work conducted by libraries, particularly in relation to children
and reading. It is clear, however, that community libraries will
fail unless given at least some support by the local authority
in terms of access to stock (including new stock), retaining computer
equipment and IT support, and access to the advice and assistance
of professional library staff. It would be very helpful to councils
to receive some guidance from the DCMS on best practice in the
provision of support. Councils which have transferred the running
of libraries to community volunteers must above all, however,
continue to give them the necessary support, otherwise they may
wither on the vine and therefore be viewed as closures by stealth.
80. A different model of devolved library provision
is that presented by the Industrial and Provident Society (IPS),
currently being piloted in Suffolk. In December 2011, Suffolk
County Council decided to adopt an IPS model for its libraries
which involved setting up an independent not-for-profit organisation
with a Chair. In its written submission, Suffolk IPS Ltd stated
that the IPS was still in a transitional phase, becoming fully
operational in June 2012. It went on to explain:
The County Council retains its statutory responsibilities
for providing comprehensive and efficient library services. It
will fund the IPS through a contract and service agreement; monitor
progress and ensure compliance.
All libraries will remain open, and public opening
hours will not be reduced. Community management groups are planning
to develop the scope and public offer of the new service locally.
81. The Minister told us that the Government
had no preference about who ran the statutory library servicewhether
it was run in-house or under contract with a not-for-profit, mutual
or private companyprovided it could meet the 'comprehensive
and efficient' criteria.
82. We will be very interested to follow the
development of the Industrial and Provident Society model for
library provision in Suffolk. Again, it relies heavily on the
goodwill of volunteers, but it has the advantage to the local
population that the county council retains overall responsibility
for the service. There may
be many other potential models for providing library services
than those discussed in this report. We urge the DCMS, Arts Council
and Local Government Association to evaluate the effectiveness
of the different models being developed round the country and
to produce an analysis for councils by the end of 2013.
83. We very much welcome the
commitment given to us by the Minister to produce a report by
the end of 2014 on the cumulative effect on library services of
the reduction in local-authority provision and the growth of alternatives
such as community libraries.
We look forward to receiving that report. Enthusiasm over the
scope for volunteer involvement, and for new models of provision,
is fine, butgiven the importance of library servicesa
systematic look at the impact of funding cuts and organisation
changes is needed to assess the durability of new approaches over
Responsibility for ensuring a
comprehensive and efficient service
84. Much of the frustration of those campaigning
for the retention of library services has arisen from a perception
that the Secretary of State has been refusing to exercise his
statutory responsibility for ensuring the provision of a comprehensive
and efficient library service.
Appeals to the Secretary of State to initiate Wirral-style inquiries
into the decisions of individual authorities have failed: judicial
reviews of council decisions have resulted in courts limiting
themselves to considerations of process, while referring back
the definition of 'comprehensive and efficient' to the Minister.
Moreover, with the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives
Council, and the transfer (as recently as 1 October 2011) of some
of its responsibilities to the Arts Council, there is no longer
a body with specific responsibility for maintaining standards
within the library service at national level.
ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE
85. Section 1(1) of the Public Libraries and
Museums Act 1964 states:
From the commencement of this Act it shall be the
duty of the Secretary of State to superintend, and promote the
improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities
in England and Wales, and to secure the proper discharge by local
authorities of the functions in relation to libraries conferred
on them as library authorities by or under this Act.
There is therefore a clear duty on the Secretary
of State to "superintend, and promote the improvement"
of the library service provided by individual local authorities.
It seems reasonable to conclude it is his responsibility to provide
at least a framework for judging whether a service is 'comprehensive
86. Under section 10 of the same Act, as subsequently
amended, the "default powers" of the Secretary of State
are outlined as follows:.E
(a)a complaint is made to the Secretary of State
that any library authority has failed to carry out duties relating
to the public library service imposed on it by or under this Act;
(b)the Secretary of State is of opinion that an investigation
should be made as to whether any such failure by a library authority
and, after causing a local enquiry to be held into
the matter, the Secretary of State is satisfied that there has
been such a failure by the library authority, he may make an order
declaring it to be in default and directing it for the purpose
of removing the default to carry out such of its duties, in such
manner and within such time, as may be specified in the order.
(2)If a library authority with respect to which an
order has been made under the preceding subsection fails to comply
with any requirement of the order, the Secretary of State, instead
of enforcing the order by mandamus or otherwise,
(b)[relates to joint boards, which may be dissolved
back into their constituent parts and those parts reconstituted
as separate library authorities], or
(c)in any other case, may make an order providing
that the functions of the authority relating to the public library
service shall be transferred to the Secretary of State.
(3)A power conferred by subsection (2) above to make
an order shall be exercisable by statutory instrument, which shall
be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either
House of Parliament.
(4)Where functions of a library authority have been
transferred to the Secretary of State under subsection (2) above
he may at any time by order transfer those functions back to the
authority, and the order may contain such supplemental provisions
as may appear to him to be expedient for that purpose.
It is these powers that the Secretary of State has
recently declined to use in respect of the half dozen or so cases
referred for judicial review, on the grounds that they were not
serious enough for him to intervene.
87. We suggested to some of our witnesses that
there were good pragmatic reasons for the Secretary of State to
refrain from intervening at present: the sheer scale of the budget
cuts meant that so many closures and other changes were being
proposed that he would simply be overwhelmed if he intervened.
The response was that, nevertheless, he had a statutory duty to
Coburn summed up the reason why campaigners thought it appropriate
for there to be responsibility at a national level for a service
which, they agreed, had to reflect local needs and be delivered
it is a de facto national service. I can go into
my local library and discover that the nearest copy of the book
I want to borrow is in Keswick; I live in Essex, but I can get
that book, perhaps not the next day, but very quickly. There are
all sorts of other aspects that make it a national service,
and, therefore, there is
a place for some national governance, for want of a better word.
88. The local authorities, on the other hand,
favoured the current light-touch approach to supervision and,
if anything, would have preferred the Secretary of State to have
no powers to intervene.
They placed heavy emphasis on learning from one another, and particularly
on the role of the Local Government Association in disseminating
information, conducting peer reviews, and generally promoting
different models of good practice.
89. Alan Davey of the Arts Council explained
why, in his opinion, it was wrong to rely solely on the process
of judicial review to decide whether local authorities were fulfilling
their statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient
library service: "the judicial cases all focus on process
and no one is talking about policy, about innovation, about where
libraries could be going, about why libraries do matter to people,
how they could matter to people more."
Sue Charteris, who had similar concerns, considered that this
pointed to a need to amend the 1964 Act, not so much to remove
responsibility from the Secretary of State, but to make him more
'proactive': to give him a clear role in relation to areas that
needed to be addressed at national level (for example, negotiating
digital access and using scale to achieve savings in the purchase
of goods and services) and to make his supervisory role more akin
to that of the relevant Secretaries of State in respect of the
health and education services.
To some extent, Ministers are already assuming a more active role
in relation to national objectives: the DCMS is now working with
other government departments to explore the possibility of providing
Wi-Fi in every library in England by 2015.
90. The Minister said that he intended to hold
discussions with the Chartered Institute of Finance and Accountancy
(CIPFA) about the re-structuring of the statistics they collected
from local authorities to 'flag up' possible areas of concern
relating to expenditure on libraries. He added that he wanted
to develop a 'proper partnership' between CIPFA and the Arts Council.
Subsequently, he announced that CIPFA had developed 'comparative
profile reports' to enable fair comparisons to be made between
comparable local authorities in the way in which they delivered
library services. The Minister denied this was a reimposition
of inflexible library standards; it was intended to enable the
DCMS to ask questions if, for example, there were wide divergences
in the apparent efficiency of expenditure on books. To this end,
the DCMS was commissioning reports on all library authorities
in England, to be completed in December 2012 and to be made available
to the public as well as councillors, MPs and other interested
91. The Minister considered that the role given
to the Secretary of State by the 1964 Act was still of value.
There is an interesting debate going on, if you like,
a perspective certainly from local authorities that would like
the Act repealed. They do not want a superintending duty. They
do not want it to be a statutory duty. They want complete freedom,
so they regard it as frustrating that they have to account to
us. I would say it is good that they are frustrated that they
have to account to us because it shows that we are taking an active
interest in what they are doing. I do not think that superintendent
function is redundant. I am not sure the exact question was asked
in the transcript, but I think it is in the mind of every local
authority when it looks at its library service: will we breach
our duty? What will happen if we go too far? Will we be called
in by the Department?
92. It would be possible to remove the Secretary
of State altogether from any role in respect of libraries by repealing
sections 1 and 10 of the 1964 Act, and making any consequential
amendments; but, though it has the benefits of simplicity and
clarity, this is not entirely satisfactory. The more libraries
develop their role in order to deliver national goals, whether
in education or in promising new areas such as public health,
the more they match the model of a 'national service delivered
locally' rather than just a 'local service'. Consequently, there
is an argument for retaining an element of national oversight.
The current situation, however, where the Secretary of State has
considerable reserve powers but is unwilling at present to use
them, satisfies no one. One
of the key problems for those trying to conduct judicial reviews
of local decisions is that, since the revocation of the library
standards, there is no national definition of 'comprehensive and
efficient'. We have already recommended that the Secretary of
State issue guidance on what, in broad terms, constitutes a good
We note that the Arts Council's libraries team is based in all
the regions and is intended to advise on best practice. This team
could also be used to feed information on potential problem areas
back to the DCMS. This system of advice backed up by intelligence
should both help councils to adapt their approach to reductions
in the library servicewhich may serve to reduce the recourse
to judicial reviewand enable the Secretary of State to
give a swifter and clearer response to any complaints or judicial
referrals. Section 10 of the 1964 Act then really would be a final
93. We are attracted by Sue
Charteris's outline of a modern approach to the Secretary of State's
supervisory duty, with its emphasis on developing the service,
promoting best practice and supporting the service through intervention
at a national level in areas where there are potential efficiencies
of scale. This leaves responsibility for both determining and
meeting local needs to the local authorities, where it should
rest. It alsoas we discuss belowfits the stance
taken by the Arts Council in respect of its advisory role for
libraries. We do not think that adopting this approach would require
any amendment to legislation, as the Secretary of State already
has the duty of 'promoting the improvement' of library services.
94. We note one suggestion of
a small but significant change to the current procedures and practices
relating to the Secretary of State's powers to call a local inquiry
into the actions of a library authority. Sue Charteris argued
forcefully that the Public Libraries (Inquiries Procedure) Rules
1992 were virtually unworkable and so adversarial that they hindered,
rather than helped, to solve the underlying problem. She believed
that they should be changed.
95. We briefly explored whether
it made sense for the DCMS to continue with responsibility for
libraries, given the DCMS gives no direct funding for libraries
but instead national funding comes from the Department for Communities
and Local Government. Our witnesses were divided on this question,
but were generally of the view that the identity of the parent
department mattered less than the political commitment to the
ROLE OF THE ARTS
96. When we heard from its Chief
Executive in February, the Arts Council had only recently taken
over some of the role and responsibilities of the Museums, Libraries
and Archives Council (MLA). The Arts Council saw its role in relation
to libraries as two-fold: it had to provide the Secretary of State
with information (such as on the extent of closures), and it had
to assist with the Secretary of State's duty to promote the improvement
of library services, which it saw mainly in terms of spreading
good practice. Formally, it took over from its predecessor responsibility
for the Future Libraries programme. The Arts Council did not,
however, have the 'semi-supervisory' role of the body it replaced,
a sort of devolution of the Secretary of State's statutory duty
to superintend the service. This duty was anywayin the
view of the Chief Executive"not terribly well-defined"
and he argued it properly and firmly rested with the DCMS itself.
97. Moreover, as the Chief Executive
admitted, the amount of money allocated to libraries within the
Arts Council's budget, was "tiny": £230,000 or
about £76 per library.
This fund, which is part of the Libraries Development Initiative
launched in November 2011, is intended to fund 13 projects to
"test new approaches to library service delivery."
The Chief Executive denied that libraries were a low priority
for his organisation, arguing that, rather than regarding them
as a simple add-on to museums, the Arts Council viewed the role
of libraries as popular and trusted local institutions with a
strong role to play in encouraging people throughout the country
to engage more with culture.
He also said that an area he wished to develop was increasing
access by libraries to lottery funds: many library services had
been unaware that they were eligible to apply for these, and he
thought the Arts Council could help improve both application and
success rates for libraries.
After we had finished taking oral evidence, on 28 June, the Minister
announced that the Arts Council was allocating £6 million
from its Grants for the Arts programme for library authorities
to work with arts and cultural organisations on projects to promote
art and cultural activities.
Applications for this funding opened on 27 September 2012 and
the programme is due to finish in March 2015.
98. The Minister acknowledged
that the abolition of the Museums, Archives and Libraries Council
had caused disquiet, especially as the Arts Council was in receipt
of a smaller grant-in-aid than its predecessor. He noted that
the MLA had already reduced its staff by half and had closed its
regional offices by 2010; he argued, moreover, that it did not
have a separate cadre of library staff. He stated that the Arts
Council was spending more on library development projects and
its consultation programme than the MLA had.
He hoped that the Arts Council would fulfil the function of a
"libraries development agency", a resource for collecting
and disseminating best practice and for providing support where
needed, rather than an Ofsted-style inspectorate.
99. Our other witnesses seemed
largely satisfied with the part played by the Arts Council so
far, with both librarians and local authorities expressing approval
of its commitment to the spread of best practice, and with CILIP
and Sue Charteris encouraging it to work closely with the Local
Government Association and professional bodies to develop advice
100. We have no doubt that the
Arts Council will fulfil its duties in respect of libraries efficiently
and with enthusiasm. Its decision immediately to start a major
consultation on how libraries should look in the future bodes
well. However, rightly or wrongly, the demise of the Museums,
Libraries and Archives Counciland the transfer of libraries
to a much larger body with a more circumscribed responsibility
for the service and a very low direct budget allocation for itcontributes
to an impression that the library service in general is being
afforded a lower priority than in the past. In the current climate,
it is inevitable that library services will be asked to bear their
share of local authority cuts and in some areas be rationalised,
even though others have committed to keeping all libraries open.
We believe, however, that all those involved in providing this
service to the publiclocal authorities, Arts Council and
the Secretary of Stateneed to work harder to demonstrate
that it is still much-valued and has a promising future.
109 Qq 12 and 39 Back
Qq 124-127 Back
Qq4, 8and 12 Back
Qq 96 (Annie Mauger and Alan Davey) and136 [Elizabeth Campbell] Back
Minister's speech to The Future of Library Services conference,
28 June 2012 Back
Qq 62 and 38 Back
Q 2 (Miranda McKearney), Ev w3, para 7, Ev w34, paras 2.1-2.8 Back
Public Libraries, paragraph 58 Back
Qq 103 and 188 Back
Qq 124, 126 and 137 Back
Qq 2, 43 and 132; see also the Southend example of shared buildings
cited in Q 96 (Alan Davey) Back
Q 53, relating to Hillingdon. We also saw an example during our
visit to the library in Pimlico in London Back
Ev 78 (LGA) Back
Ev w42 Back
Qq 38 (Sue Charteris) and 84 (Annie Mauger) Back
Q 5 Back
Qq 40 and 41 (Sue Charteris) and 4 (Andrew Coburn) Back
Q 5 Back
Qq 19-21 Back
Q 37 Back
Q 20 (Andrew Coburn) Back
Qq 20 and 21 (Miranda McKearney) Back
Ev 64 Back
Ev w94 Back
Qq 20and 133 and Ev w31 Back
Ev 78 Back
Q 128 Back
Q 130 Back
Q 132 Back
'Give Mayor control of all London libraries', Evening Standard;
23 February 2012 The article was quoting the former head of the
Waterstone's book chain, Tim Coates. Back
See, for example, Qq 2 Miranda McKearney) and 36 (Sue Charteris) Back
Q 37 See also Q 36 Back
Qq 24 and 30 (Miranda McKearney), 74 (Annie Mauger) Back
Q 48 (Sue Charteris) Back
See, for example, on the proper use of volunteers: Qq 31 (Abigail
Barker), 50 (Sue Charteris) ,75 (Annie Mauger and Alan Davey)
; on the need for professional support, Qq 48 (Sue Charteris),
74 (Annie Mauger and Alan Davey), Ev w42 (We ? Libraries) Back
Qq 49 and 52 See also Ev 54 Back
Q 48 Back
Q 123 Back
Qq 138-139 and 150 Back
Qq 142 and 156-157 Back
Qq 123, 141 and 145-146 Back
Qq 149 and 151-153 Back
Q 175 Back
Ev w297 Back
Q 178 Back
Q 189 Back
See, for example, Ev w186 (Friends of Lambeth Libraries), Ev 50
Qq 79 (CILIP and Arts Council), 97-99 (CILIP) Back
Qq 26-29 Back
Q 100 (CILIP) Back
Q 28 Back
Qq 159-160 Ev 78 (Local Government Association) and Ev w225 (Gloucestershire
County Council) Back
Qq 134 (Elizabeth Campbell) ,55 and 61 (Sue Charteris), Back
Q 79 Back
Q 57 Back
Speech to The Future of Library Services conference, 28 June 2012 Back
Q 164 Back
Speech to the Future of Library services Conference, 28 June 2012 Back
Q 183 See also Qq 166, 168-169 Back
Q 56 Back
Pro-transfer to the DCLG: Q 11 (Miranda McKearney); suggesting
this is a minor detail: Qq 60 (Sue Charteris) and 188 (Minister) Back
Qq 65-66 and 101 Back
Qq 64 and 102 Back
Qq 64, 102 and 106 and Ev 74 (Arts Council) Back
Q 64; see also Q 190 (Minister) Back
Speech to The Future of Library Services conference: http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/ministers_speeches/9167 Back
Q 190 On concerns about the dowry from the MLA, see, for example,
Q 84 Back
Qq 181 and 190-192 Back
Qq 58-59, 94, 135 Back