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Vaizey must speak now over library concerns, says CILIP
27.07.10 | Benedicte Page
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals has warned the government that its actions on libraries are causing "concern and uncertainty" for the future of the service.
CILIP president Biddy Fisher said: "Parliament goes into recess today but [culture minister] Ed Vaizey can’t simply go off on his summer holidays having created such a climate of concern and uncertainty around this most popular of public services."
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday announced the government's intention to abolish the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), on top of the earlier decision to axe the Advisory Council on Libraries (ACL).
Speaking at the first meeting of the Library Support Programme Governance Board, charged by Vaizey with overseeing public libraries' response to the government public spending cuts, CILIP chief executive Bob McKee said: “The abolition of key library agencies calls into question the government’s commitment to public library provision."
McKee went on: "The coalition says nice things about libraries being at the heart of the ‘Big Society, but nothing has been done to protect libraries from the worst of the cuts in the way that education and health have been promised partial protection.”
He added: "There’s been criticism of library leadership in the past. But this announcement [on the MLA] simply dismantles the existing leadership framework and puts nothing in its place.”
Fisher said: "The minister must act quickly to allay public concern, demonstrate commitment to public library provision, and clarify how library leadership at government level will be structured in the future.”