Today I am publishing the Independent Library Report and depositing a copy in the Library of the House. This has been undertaken by William Sieghart and I would like to state on record my particular thanks to him and his expert panel for their endeavour and ambition to create a positive action plan for libraries. I am also very grateful to everyone who has contributed to this important work.
We welcome the panel’s recommendations, which are being considered in detail. I am taking the immediate first step in partnership with local government to set up the joint taskforce to advise on implementation of the recommendations which will be chaired by Dr Paul Blantern, chief executive of Northamptonshire county council. He will be supported by a range of experts with an interest in libraries. This taskforce will report both to Ministers and the Local Government Association and the first meeting is due to take place in spring 2015.
I wholeheartedly support the public library service which has been making a vital contribution to the knowledge, delight and quality of life of communities in every part of England for more than 150 years. They are a cherished part of our cultural heritage, and a key player in our future.