Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Session 2003-04

26 October 2004


New Inquiry:

Public Libraries

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee will inquire into the Government’s policy on public libraries: the current state of the service and its future development. The inquiry will consider

- whether the accessibility of local libraries, in terms of opening hours, location and community-wide appeal, meets the current demands of the public;

- what can be done to increase the public’s use of local libraries;

- the funding of local libraries and the balance of spending between the various means of providing information (including the traditional investment in books);

- new models of provision and new policy demands (such as tackling social exclusion);

- the effectiveness of the legislative, strategic and administrative framework within which local libraries operate;

- recruitment and training of library staff;

- the role of institutional and specialist libraries and their links with local libraries;

- the performance of the “People’s Network” in providing universal internet access and its future development; and

- other issues that may arise in the course of gathering evidence.

Current policy is set out in the following Government publications:

1. Framework for the Future: Libraries, Learning and Information in the Next Decade (DCMS, February 2003);

2. New Public Library Service Standards (DCMS, October 2004);

Both documents are available on the DCMS website under the publications heading via http://www.culture.gov.uk/libraries_and_communities

Relevant Select Committee reports include:

1. Culture, Media and Sport Committee Sixth Report, Session 1999-2000

2. Science and Technology Committee Tenth Report, Session 2003-04

3. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Committee Twelfth Report, Session 2002-03

Written submissions are invited from all interested individuals and organisations by Friday 12 November 2004. Submissions should be e-mailed, with a signed covering letter by post, to the ddresses set out below. Oral evidence sessions are expected to be concluded by Christmas