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Community Library

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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To ask the Minister for the Arts if, following the announcement of the closure of Kingswood library by Southwark London borough council and the publication of the Green Paper on the financing of libraries, he will give consideration to allowing alternative agencies to provide community libraries in cases where the relevant local authority is unwilling or unable to provide this service.

Statutory responsibility for providing a comprehensive and efficient public library service rests with the London borough of Southwark. My Green Paper does not propose any changes in responsibility, only that library authorities should consider contracting-out as a means of providing services more efficiently and effectively. There is nothing to prevent a private library seeking to provide a service to the public being financed by voluntary contributions or private sector sponsorship.