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Public Libraries

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether the public library service standards will be incorporated into the national indicator set for local authorities; and whether the standards will continue as benchmarks for library authorities. (184642)

The Public Library Service Standards (PLSS) will not form part of the national indicator set for local authorities. A new measure, capturing use of public libraries by residents, is included under National Indicator 9, Stronger Communities.

The PLSS will be replaced by the new library benchmark, which has been developed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL). The benchmark contains 23 criteria which library practitioners might consider when planning and improving their service. It will enable libraries to compare their local performance against other authorities, against themselves over time, and against the national position. The benchmark will encourage the sector to identify and share best practice. Central Government will not use the library benchmark to monitor library authority performance but the information will be collected by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and published annually in their report Public Library Statistics.