Library Closures - Do they breach statutory requirements?

1 March 2018

As has been covered extensively over the past few weeks, Northamptonshire County Council yesterday agreed a budget for the forthcoming year that will see them closing 21 libraries across the County. Following that budget decision, and the restraint on Spending Controls, the Council hugely slashed opening hours at the libraries, many of which are now only open for one day per week.

The Northamptonshire Green Party has supported the various campaigns to save libraries across the County and feels that the decision yesterday is a betrayal of both the users of the libraries and the staff that work in them.

We note that CILIP, The Library and Information Association believes that this decision breaches the council’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive and efficient Libraries service as required by the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.

We support this position, and join them in urging the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to hold an inquiry into this failure and for Northamptonshire County Council to keep the libraries pending such an inquiry.

World Book Day should be a celebration of reading and imagination, with libraries playing a key role in that celebration. Instead, Northamptonshire County Council has chosen today to wield the axe.

We will also be writing to the DCMS, specifically to the Minister with responsibility for Public Libraries, Michael Ellis, and ask him to refer the proposals, and we will continue to defend our Public Libraries across Northamptonshire.

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