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Public 'may be charged' to use libraries

27th June 2011

The public may be charged to use community-run libraries in the future if new proposals put forward by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) are accepted.

Earlier this year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport asked the MLA to draft new guidance on how library services could be restructured to cut costs and the latest suggestion is that community-supported libraries could help to avoid the prospect of closures.

However, the MLA noted that there is a 'nationwide variance' in this model being used, with some facilities operating within the local statutory library provision and others outside it.

Despite highlighting the various benefits of community-run libraries, it noted that a UK rollout 'might be seen to undermine the fundamental principles and purpose of the library service and would not reflect the library service as we know it'.

The proposals have been attacked by campaigners against library closures, however, with Desmond Clarke, from the Save Our Libraries campaign, labelling it an 'ill-conceived and badly thought-out strategy'.

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