HC Deb 09 April 1970 vol 799 cc729-30
13. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what financial estimates he has made of the book and other library requirements of students registered with the Open University; how much assistance he proposes to provide, via public libraries, for such student needs; and what consultations he intends to have with universities to assess the scope for shared use of existing facilities.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Miss Jennie Lee)

It is for the university to advise its students what books they will need, and to consider in consultation with other interests concerned how these needs can best be met. The Department is examining with the university the implications for public library services. On the possibility of using other university libraries, I cannot add to the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 5th February.—[Vol. 795, cols. 174–5.]

Mr. Brooks

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that a decisive part of an undergraduate's work is done in a well-stocked university library, and that the problems facing mature students working in the Open University will be extremely severe unless adequate funds are made available for library facilities? Will she consider setting up regional centres for lending books specifically for this purpose?

Miss Lee

I should like to send my hon. Friend a full account of what is being done in this sphere. The librarian of the Open University is in close contact with my Department. Some text books are being written specially for the courses and are being published. Others are out to tender, and some have been accepted.

I do not want to take time with a long answer. However, I assure my hon. Friend that we are well aware of the importance of books, and this matter is being looked after on every front.