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LGA responds to new report about the future of libraries

Cllr Ian Stephens, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, responded to the publication of an ‘Ambition for libraries' report about the future of libraries

"There is a fantastic amount of creativity and ambition among library staff, councils and their communities to make the very best of resources.

"Libraries are playing an increasingly important role as community hubs, empowering local people to use a wide variety of services ranging from homework clubs to public health and business advice. They are also helping our residents and businesses to boost their digital skills and get online, with all the extra economic and social benefits which these bring, and providing free wi-fi.

"However councils have experienced a 40 per cent reduction in core central government funding over the last Parliament and funding pressures will continue over the next few years. This means library services must continue to adapt and change in line with the resources available, and the changing expectations of their communities.

"The joint LGA and DCMS Taskforce was set up to create a vision for the future of library services and prepare them to meet the needs of communities of the future; as well as place them on a more sustainable footing.

"Councils support the proposals set out in Libraries Deliver, and the funding that the Minister has made available to help libraries transform. Improving libraries' digital presence, training library staff in the new skills they need, and increasing their support offer for local businesses will help our libraries continue to deliver.

"I encourage all councillors and officers to read this document and reflect on how their library services can benefit from these ideas.

"Ultimately, this will lead to libraries that are at the heart of communities, helping everyone achieve their full potential."

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