Friday, 11 March 2011

Campaign for Books launches library closure challenge

Campaign for Books launches library closure challenge

02 March 2011

Campaign for the Book has launched a legal challenge to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport’s failure to comply with his duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.

The 1964 Act requires the Secretary of State to “superintend and promote the improvement of the public library service provided by local authorities”. It requires each local authority to “provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons” and places a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that such provision is maintained.

The current, widespread proposals to close vast number of public libraries across the UK, demonstrates the Secretary of State’s failure to comply with this duty. And the guidance issued by him to local authorities about their duty to “provide a comprehensive and efficient” library service is inaccurate and misleading.

Saving public libraries

Campaign for the Book organiser Alan Gibbons said:

“I have asked Leigh Day solicitors to pursue the Campaign’s concerns over the possibility of a large scale withdrawal of funds from public libraries. I think it is vital that the Courts examine the legality of the Secretary of State’s approach on the provision of libraries in England and Wales. He has a duty to ensure that councils provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. I believe that he is failing in that duty.”

The Campaign for the Book is an umbrella body that attempts to raise the profile of reading for pleasure and supports libraries and librarians.

Richard Stein and Rosa Curling of Leigh Day & Co Solicitors, who are acting for Campaign for the Book said:

“The duties under the 1964 Act require the Secretary of State to investigate and compel, if necessary, local authorities, to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service in their area. The current cuts to public libraries across the country demonstrate that he is failing to do this.”
Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

No comments:

Post a Comment