Library inquiry to hear oral evidence

The Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into library closures will begin hearing oral evidence next week. The evidence session is expected to commence on Tuesday 7th February and will be open to the public.

Librarian campaign group Voices for the Library and Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Brent, are among those who have been asked to give oral evidence. Written evidence has already been submitted by the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association and the Society of Authors.

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

The committee is investigating 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.