Laura Sharman 01 December 2016

Councils back new vision for library services

Councils should use libraries to deliver a wider range of public services in a bid to reinvigorate the sector, a new report has argued.

Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021 calls on local authorities to be innovative when using library buildings, such as for delivering employment, health and learning opportunities.

The strategy, produced by the Libraries Taskforce, includes a £4m fund to deliver new initiatives for disadvantaged communities across the country. The fund will finance new projects such as literacy schemes, improving access to technology or increasing the number of children visiting libraries.

Minister for civil society, Rob Wilson, said: ‘Libraries can flourish and prosper but this will take change and new thinking about our service.

‘This strategy provides a blueprint for how libraries can be better utilised, to make them more resilient while still delivering vital public services to the communities that need them.’

The Local Government Association, who set up the taskforce alongside the DCMS, urged all councils to help libraries adapt to changes in funding and communities’ expectations.

Cllr Ian Stephens, chairman of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: ‘Councils support the proposals set out in Libraries Deliver, and the funding that the minister has made available to help libraries transform. Improving libraries’ digital presence, training library staff in the new skills they need, and increasing their support offer for local businesses will help our libraries continue to deliver.

‘I encourage all councillors and officers to read this document and reflect on how their library services can benefit from these ideas.’

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