Hereford Library Users' Group

01/21/2012

All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries

Further to our blog of November 2nd last, HLUG are pleased to report that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries has now been successfully launched in December last. It is backed by CILIP – the organisation that supports professional librarians. APPG’s are cross-party groups that allow both MP’s and Lords with a shared interest in a topic to come together to share information and issues.

As we indicated previously, Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson is the Chair of the APPG and hosted the launch last December.  The purpose of this All-Party Group is to set out a pro-active and positive agenda to promote libraries. The group can set the agenda and share best practice. Already topics up for discussion will be skills in the sector, school libraries and library services and public libraries. A total of 59 MP’s and Lords have signed up for the Group.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was also at the launch and said that he supported library campaigners, but that it was down to individual local authorities to decide how they deliver services. (Sounds like a bit of a cop-out to your editor). However, he went on to say that the Government would not make it easier for local authorities to shirk responsibilities with the comment that “It is important to realise that Libraries are still a £1 billion service. We have maintained the statutory duty for local authorities to provide a comprehensive library service and that is non-negotiable. But local authorities are in the driving seat for running libraries.” (Ah, now there’s the rub……). But at least the profession now has a powerful advocate in high places and a means to guide the APPG in the right direction. HLUG will be watching with interest.

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