DEPRIVED CHILDREN LOSING OUT OVER LIBRARY CLOSURES SAY CAMPAIGNERS – HOUSE OF LORDS TO DEBATE LIBRARIES
Children using the Carnegie and Minet libraries lost out on this year’s ‘Summer Reading Challenge’ say Defend the Ten.
“The libraries that serve the deprived communities in Vassal and Coldharbour wards – Minet and Carnegie – were needlessly closed for the whole summer. “Security cost more than keeping them open” they say.
Defend the Ten – set up to save all 10 of Lambeth’s libraries – have sent a letter to all Lambeth councillors highlighting the lack of a challenge at both libraries which Lambeth closed in April while they go ahead with their controversial plans to turn both buildings into gyms.
“This hugely popular scheme provides FREE activities and keeps children reading through the holidays. “This is proved to prevent the well-known summer dip in reading skills that leaves children disadvantaged when they start school again.
“The numbers are painful:
Children helped by Summer Reading Challenge –
Carnegie Library: 2015 – 409. 2016 – 0.
Minet Library: 2015 – 196. 2016 – 0.”
Defend the Ten also say the new ‘neighbourhood library’ at Waterloo arrived just in time for
the holiday. “It has far less stock, NO space at all for activities and almost NO staff. (The hard-pressed library staff tried to give what cover they could, against the odds.)
Children helped by Summer Reading Challenge –
Waterloo Library: 2015 – 248. 2016 – 6.
“So that looks to be the real future picture for children in Vassal and Coldharbour wards, among the most deprived in the whole borough.
“It’s all so unnecessary! “Lambeth council wants to spend around FOUR MILLION POUNDS installing GLL gyms in the Carnegie and Minet buildings. They will be of no use at all to children (or to most people who need a library).
“This huge sum could easily be invested in the council’s endowment fund which could be used by a libraries trust to run what everyone wants and needs – libraries.
“Now, that WOULD be ‘fair for everyone and ambitious for all our children’.
“It’s not too late to cancel this disastrous plan.
“Why won’t this council put its money where its mouth is?
“The council’s replacement ‘plans’ are in such disarray that nothing at all happened in the Carnegie and Minet buildings – except that mould grew and water leaked in at the Carnegie because it wasn’t looked after. “Repairs are still awaited.”
Further reading: Lambeth drops Punch & Judy act after Jeremy Corbyn ‘devil’ claim
Lambeth Council has apologised after claims that a Punch and Judy show at a council-run event in Waterloo likened Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to the devil. London SE1 community website. London SE1 website. 26 September 2016. (And London SE1 got a reply from the council!)
LAMBETHWATCH – LORDS MANIFESTO DEBATE ON LIBRARIES
On 13 October 2016, the House of Lords will debate the cultural, civil and educational significance of local libraries and independent bookshops in the United Kingdom.
Points from the House of Lords briefing on the forthcoming debate:
The provision of public library services in England and Wales are underpinned by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. Under this Act, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide “comprehensive and efficient” library services. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport explains that it is up to local authorities to determine how library services meet local needs.
In 2012, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report on library closures that argued that a number of local councils were potentially failing their statutory duty to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. In December 2015, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) launched its ‘My Library By Right’, campaign for the right to a quality library.
The library briefing – published on a Parliamentary website – presents some of the arguments made in support of local libraries and independent bookshops. It provides background about the history of public libraries, legislation governing its provision and statistics on public libraries and independent bookshops. It concludes by highlighting some recent developments in these areas.
The Public Libraries Bill was introduced by William Ewart in February 1850 but faced opposition from Tory MPs during its passage through the House of Commons.
The historian Thomas Kelly observed that MPs objected to the Bill on a number of grounds, including cost, the argument that the provision of libraries should be left to private enterprise; and that libraries might lead to public agitation. (Well in one way those MPs have been proved historically correct – Ed.)
2.2 Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964
Public library services in England and Wales are governed by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
Under the 1964 Act, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service for citizens living in the area.
Section 7(1) of the 1964 Act states:
(1) It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof—
Provided that although a library authority shall have power to make facilities for the borrowing of books and other materials available to any persons it shall not by virtue of this subsection be under a duty to make such facilities available to persons other than those whose residence or place of work is within the library area of the authority or who are undergoing full-time education within that area.
(2) In fulfilling its duty under the preceding subsection, a library authority shall in particular have regard to the desirability—
(a) of securing, by the keeping of adequate stocks, by arrangements with other library authorities, and by any other appropriate means, that facilities are available for the borrowing of, or reference to, books and other printed matter, and pictures, gramophone records, films and other materials, sufficient in number, range and quality to meet the general requirements and any special requirements both of adults and children; and
(b) of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service, and of providing advice as to its use and of making available such bibliographical and other information as may be required by persons using it; and
(c) of securing, in relation to any matter concerning the functions both of the library authority as such and any other authority whose functions are exercisable within the library area, that there is full co-operation between the persons engaged in carrying out those functions.
According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), it is up to local authorities to determine the nature of the library services provided:
In considering how best to deliver the statutory duty each library authority is responsible for determining, through consultation, (Our italics – Ed.) the local needs and to deliver a modern and efficient library service that meets the requirements of their communities within available resources.
The 1964 Act also imposes a number of statutory duties on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The Secretary of State can order an inquiry into whether a local authority is fulfilling its statutory duties. This power was last used in 2009 when the then Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, ordered a public inquiry into Wirral Council’s library services.70 The subsequent report found that the “Council’s decision to restructure its Library Service to be in breach of its statutory duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964”.
To read the full briefing please ‘Google’ House of Lords, Libraries and Bookshops Debate 13 October 2016 researchbriefings.parliament.uk › … › Research publications › Research briefings
“On 13 October 2016, the House of Lords will debate the cultural, civil and educational significance of local libraries and independent bookshops ….”