Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My Library By Right-Fight for England's Libraries

A new nationwide library campaign will hold the government to account over its legal responsibilities towards libraries following accusations of "neglect", "short-term thinking" and "failure to carry out its legal duty to the public". The campaign also calls on local authorities to put all changes to library services on hold or risk breaching the law.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has launched the My Library By Right campaign which will both "champion the public's right to libraries" and "hold the government accountable for carrying out their duties under the 1964 Public Libraries Act".
According to figures from CIPFA, public libraries received more than 265m visits in the financial year to 2015, but despite this "many library services are being put at risk" due to the government's disregard of the statutory nature of these services, CILIP said.
"Under English law, everyone has a right to quality public library services provided by local authorities using guidance that the secretary of state for culture, media and sport (DCMS) is obliged to provide," CILIP added. "However, these rights are not widely understood and for too long the statutory nature of library services has been ignored."
My Library By Right aims to build on legal advice received pro bono from human rights barrister Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers, which highlights the legal duty of the DCMS secretary of state John Whittingdale to provide clear statutory guidance on the definition of a "comprehensive and efficient" service.

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