My Library By Right is our campaign to stand up for your legal rights to quality library services.

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals My Library By Right calls on Government and Local Authorities to follow their legal responsibilities to provide you with a quality library service that meets your needs.

By statute Local Authorities must provide ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library services and Government must oversee and improve libraries.

These rights are not widely understood and are being neglected in the face of economic pressures. This is putting important principles at risk, including the ability to access a quality library service wherever you live and at times to suit you.

Public libraries in England provide a lifeline for millions of people every day. They help people get online, develop their literacy and skills, find employment and build stronger ties across their community. We must stand up and defend our statutory right to a quality library service.

"Democracy of reading, democracy of space: that's our library tradition, it was incredibly hard won for us by the generations before us, and we should be protecting it not just for ourselves but in the name of every generation after us.” Author Ali Smith


My Library By Right brings people together to campaign for:

  • The public’s rights to libraries to be recognised and respected
  • Public libraries to be treated as the statutory services they are
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to carry out their legal duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act
  • For DCMS to provide Local Authorities with guidance on their duties under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act

Why we are campaigning

Under English law, everyone has a right to quality public library services provided by Local Authorities using statutory guidance that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport should provide.

However, these rights are not widely understood and for too long the statutory nature of library services has been ignored. This has allowed the withdrawal of financial and political support for public libraries in England to go unchecked, resulting in the loss or ‘hollowing out’ of services.

We will hold the Government to account for their legal duties.

My Library By Right builds on legal advice received pro bono from celebrated Human Rights Barrister Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers. This advice highlights the legal duty of DCMS Secretary of State to provide clear statutory guidance on the definition of a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service.

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