Here are a collection of useful documents related to the development of the Library Services.
[Revised May 2013]
- 1850 Public Libraries Act.
- 1942 McColvin Report – See this for a summary of what it says and its relevance today.
- 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act – Outlines the statutory duty of councils to have a “comprehensive and efficient” library service.
- 1991 Local Inquiry into Derbyshire Library Service – This is the first of two cases in modern times when a local authority came close to being in breach of their statutory duties. This summary gives an insight into the legal position of authorities, although it is superseded by the 2009 Inquiry and other developments. (PDF of selected pages of report here)
- 2004/5 Select Committee of the DCMS on libraries made many proposals for public libraries, after hearing much evidence, mainly to do with boosting bookstock, opening hours and other bread and butter issues. The Government at the time’s response to it is here.
- 2008 Taking stock: the future of our public library service – Unison. Very useful guide to the state of play in 2008.
- 2009 Empower, Inform and Enrich – DCMS consultation on public libraries.
- UNISON response to 2009 Empower, Inform and Enrich – DCMS review of public libraries. Link is to UNISON response. DCMS document appears to be unavailable.
- 2009 All-party parliamentary group report on Libraries, Literacy and Information Management.
- 2009 Wirral Libraries Inquiry report by Sue Charteris into proposed closures led to the authority withdrawing their plans and is seen as landmark guidance in what an authority should do in order to be compliant with the 1964 Act.
- 2011 Could do better: Latest overview of adult literacy in the UK – 15% of adults still below the reading age of an 11 year old.
- 2011 Gift of Reading – 1 in 3 children do not own a book at home (compared with 1 in 10 in 2005)
- 2011 Culture, Knowledge and Understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone – Arts Council England. “A companion to our 10-year strategic framework for the arts Achieving great art for everyone, this publication is our first attempt to integrate museums and libraries into this framework. It is designed to provide certainty as to the programmes the Arts Council will run from 2011-15 while soliciting further debate about the directions we should take in the longer term.”
- Review of research and literature on museums and libraries – Arts Council England (2011).
- 2011: Public libraries and literacy by the National Literacy Trust. Findings “suggest that public libraries do not only have a role to play in the reading patterns of those pupils who use them, but also a unique role in providing opportunities to support learning outside of the classroom including support for family
- 2012: A new chapter: public library services in the 21st century by the Carnegie UK Trust.
- 2012: Measuring the economic benefits of arts and culture – Arts Council England. “This report, written by BOP consulting, aims to provide arts and cultural organisations with clear guidance about undertaking or commissioning studies into the economic benefits of their work. The guidance will help organisations choose appropriate and robust methodologies and uses case studies to illustrate the benefits and limitations of different approaches to measuring economic contribution.”
- 2013: Library services in the digital age – Pew Research (USA). Very useful research on how libraries are used and what the public want from the,
- 2013: Community libraries – learning from experience – Arts Council England / Locality. A look at volunteer run libraries using several case studies. Largely regarded as pro volunteer libraries.
- 2013: On permanent loan? Community managed libraries – a volunteer perspective – NFWI. A smaller scale report than the ACE one above. More cautious about volunteer libraries
- 2013: Protecting Library Services – Capita. A look at the technological opportunities (and some others like sharing services) for cutting costs and improving service.
- Effective Campaigning – this is a general UNISON resource, useful but not specific to libraries.
- Future Libraries Programme – Final report is here. Government sponsored programme of several library authorities to find new ways of working / saving money. Full reports on Future Libraries Programme are here. The report is noted for its strong support for volunteers, closing libraries and putting the books in shops and merging library services.
- Letters from Ed Vaizey, Libraries Minister, to local councils explaining their duties. These are highly useful from a campaigner viewpoint as they give an idea of what local authorities should be doing in order to keep within their statutory obligations. Letters (a) 3/12/10, (b)24/2/11 and its annexe.
- Libraries in transition -Social Enterprise London (2011). Looks at the pros and cons (mainly the pros) of social enterprises taking over the work of public libraries.
- Library Campaign Handbook – Brilliant handbook from, of course, the Library Campaign
- Guidance on the management of controversial material in public libraries – MLA.
- Modernisation of Public Libraries: A policy statement March 2010 – The swansong of Labour thinking on libraries, it’s slightly woolly provisions were criticised at the time but now seem a relic of a different era.
- People’s Inquiry into the library service – UNISON, 2008.
- Philip Pullman “Leave the libraries alone, you don’t understand their value”. Widely publicised and well-received speech by the world-famous author.
- Philip Pullman “Consider the Context” – speech to Library Campaign Conference 22/10/11
- Stephen Fry on public libraries “I suppose if I have one campaign I can really get behind it is saving libraries.”
- Taking stock: the future of our public library service – UNISON, 2010.
- Wales, unlike England, has retained formal public library standards. It’s framework for 2011-14 is called Maintaining a valued service. Wales also has a strategy for libraries called Libraries Inspire: the strategic development framework for Welsh Libraries 2012-16.
- What makes a good library service? – CILIP. A summary by the professional association of librarians on what a public library service should provide.