Our campaign toolkit provides briefings and resources so you can campaign with us and stand up for My Library By Right.
Libraries contribute to a range of agendas including digital literacy, public health, business start-ups and employment, reading and literacy. They are enormously well-used and valued:
- 225 million visits were made to public libraries in England in 2014/15. More visits than to Premier League football matches, the cinema and the top 10 UK tourist attractions combined.
- 191 million books borrowed from public libraries in England in 2014/15: if laid end-to-end they would stretch round the world
- £27.5 million saving to the NHS a year
- 26 million hours of internet access provided in 2014/15 including through free WiFi
- 10 million academic journals available for free
- £38 million in added value to the UK economy through Enterprising Libraries in 2013/15: Libraries are uniquely placed in their communities, providing opportunities for all. The Business & IP Centre Network of Libraries saw that of the people that started a new business 47% were women, 26% black, Asian and minority ethnic, and 25% were unemployed or made redundant.
Skilled staff are essential to providing quality library services, as experts in understanding information needs and designing and managing services that will be of most value to their communities.
What makes a great library service?
Your rights explained
Your have legal rights to quality library services. The most important piece of legislation is the 1964 Public Libraries & Museums Act which defines public libraries as statutory services.
Under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act:
- Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library services.
- The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a legal duty for the stewardship and improvement of public libraries in England.
Under the 2010 Equality Act:
- The Secretary of State’s duty to issue statutory guidance must be exercised in compliance with his duty under section 149 of the Equality Act – to have due regard of the need to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunity among protected groups. This means, for example, ensuring that changes to library services do not disadvantage people who may not be able to travel large distances
- The widely-reported cuts to library services risk contravening these rules and we are particularly concerned that protected groups are likely to be disproportionately affected by any further reduction in library services by Local Authorities.
Under the 1998 Human Rights Act:
- The Secretary of State’s duty to issue statutory guidance is reinforced by the obligation to act compatibly with Convention rights under the Human Rights Act.
- The lack of guidance means there is not sufficient legal certainty about how reductions in library services are compatible with Local Authorities’ duty to provide ‘comprehensive and efficient’ services to support the rights of library users under the Human Rights Act including respect for their private lives, to receive information and to non-discrimination
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