CILIP and The Big Issue call for sustainable long-term funding for public libraries
Responding to yesterday’s Budget announcement, CILIP, the UK library and information association, and The Big Issue Group have jointly called for long-term sustainable investment to secure the future of England’s public libraries.
CILIP and The Big Issue Group have collaborated to produce compelling evidence of both the popularity of public libraries and their impact on wider social issues including health and wellbeing, education, poverty, loneliness and digital skills. This evidence will be presented at a meeting of the Libraries All-Party Parliamentary Group today, 30th October, chaired by Lord Bird and Gill Furniss MP with Libraries Minister, Michael Ellis MP and Local Government Minister, Rishi Sunak MP.
The evidence will be presented alongside a petition calling on local and central Government to ring-fence future funding for public libraries, which has already received more than 20,000 signatures since it was launched in late September.
Welcoming the report, Co-Chair of the Libraries APPG Lord Bird said, “Michael Ellis asked us to present hard evidence of the impact of libraries in our local communities and the wider economy. With the support of Big Issue readers and CILIP, we’ve made an extremely strong case for a sustainable and properly-funded library service.
“In his Budget, the Chancellor called on Britain’s high streets to adapt, in order to remain at the centre of our communities. As our report shows, libraries have been doing this in spades. What they urgently need is additional, ring-fenced funding to ensure they can keep on delivering for our communities in the long term.”
Speaking about the call for investment today, CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole said, “With the Chancellor committing in yesterday’s Budget to invest in public services, education, mental health and social care, now is the time for Government to invest in the transformation and modernisation of our public libraries.
“We are delighted to be working with The Big Issue Group to present compelling evidence of the positive impact of professional librarians and quality public libraries on their communities. The petition started by a local constituent in Sheffield, Frances Belbin, could not be more timely as a show of public support for sustainable long-term investment in libraries.”
Calling for long-term sustainable funding for libraries, Chair of the Libraries APPG Gill Furniss MP said, “Libraries are vital economic and cultural drivers for our local economies and I am proud the APPG has been key in exploring these themes.
“I am pleased that today, in partnership with CILIP, The Big Issue and armed with a 20,000 strong petition initiated by my constituent Frances Belbin, we will be putting forward a comprehensive case for a fairer funding deal for libraries to the Minister, Michael Ellis. A fairer funding deal will be crucial in securing the long-term sustainability of our libraries.”
CILIP is committed to working with sector partners including the Libraries Taskforce, Arts Council England and Libraries Connected to secure the future of our professionally-run public libraries on behalf of communities everywhere.
Headline image photograph The Curve, Slough's new public library from the Libraries Taskforce's Flickr feed, Cropped and re-sized. (CC BY 2.0)