Justin Tomlinson – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Justin Tomlinson on 2016-09-12.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what plans she has to support the library service in England.

Mr Rob Wilson

I am responding as Minister with responsibility for Libraries policy.

The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 requires the Secretary of State to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England, and to secure the proper discharge by local authorities of the functions in relation to libraries as conferred on them as library authorities.

The Government invested £2.6m in 2015/16 to install and upgrade WiFi in over 1,000 libraries in England. This means that WiFi is now available in over 99% of public libraries in England.

In addition, the Government and the Local Government Association established the Libraries Taskforce in 2015. The Taskforce has already published Toolkits and case studies to assist local authorities and consulted on “Ambition”, a draft vision for public libraries. This will provide a range of practical and innovative options local authorities can deploy to maintain and transform our library services. I expect to see local authorities working with Government and their local communities to consider these options, and to ensure library services are sustainable for the long term.