News

Select committee to put libraries cuts under spotlight

The Culture, Media and Sport select committee is to hold an inquiry into library closures.

The cross-party committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale, will have the power to call ministers Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey to give evidence, as well as local authorities and library campaigners.

The committee is inviting written submissions and requesting views on what constitutes a comprehensive and efficient library service for the 21st century, the extent to which planned library closures are compatible with the Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964, the impact library closures have on local communities and the effectiveness of the secretary of state’s powers of intervention under the 1964 Act. Submissions should go to cmsev@parliament.uk, with “library closures” in the subject line, by a deadline of 12th January 2012. A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website.

A spokesperson for the DCMS said the department “noted” the announcement. Annie Mauger, chief executive of CILIP, said she was “absolutely delighted” by the news, having been lobbying select committee members to hold an inquiry “for some time.” Campaigner Desmond Clarke described the inquiry as "wonderful news".

Tim Coates, chair of umbrella group Libraries for Life for Londoners, said: "At long last the culture select committee have decided to interrogate the activities of the DCMS because that is their job." However, he warned that to have any authority, the committee needed to explain why it had allowed the DCMS to ignore the findings of the last committee inquiry, chaired by Gerald Kaufman, published in 2005. Coates said it found the library service was in poor condition and made recommendations for its improvement.

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Hooray! about time too. If not for Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries many of our county's libraries would have been unlawfully closed 6 moths ago whilst, despite our continued pleading, DCMS twiddled their thumbs and let GCC walk down an unlawful path.

Johanna

Hurrah! A massive well done to all the friends groups who have been campaigning hard on this. Hopefully this is another step on the road to saving as many libraries as possible from the ideological cuts in local government.

This makes the Library Campaign conference's call for a march on DCMS and lobby of parliament all the more timely

Not before time, Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey and the DCMS have totally ignored all petitions regarding library closures/funding cuts. Their lack of lack of action in upholding the 1964 Act can be seen as nothing less than a dereliction of duty, they are unfit for purpose.

All groups who were represented at the Library Campaign conference should put in carefully argued submissions. I just hope this enquiry does not prove too late for some areas.

Coatesy demonstrating his amazing and unmatched ignorance of how politics works once more.

Hooray! about time too. If not for Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries many of our county's libraries would have been unlawfully closed 6 moths ago whilst, despite our continued pleading, DCMS twiddled their thumbs and let GCC walk down an unlawful path.

Johanna

Hurrah! A massive well done to all the friends groups who have been campaigning hard on this. Hopefully this is another step on the road to saving as many libraries as possible from the ideological cuts in local government.

This makes the Library Campaign conference's call for a march on DCMS and lobby of parliament all the more timely

Not before time, Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey and the DCMS have totally ignored all petitions regarding library closures/funding cuts. Their lack of lack of action in upholding the 1964 Act can be seen as nothing less than a dereliction of duty, they are unfit for purpose.

All groups who were represented at the Library Campaign conference should put in carefully argued submissions. I just hope this enquiry does not prove too late for some areas.

Coatesy demonstrating his amazing and unmatched ignorance of how politics works once more.