§ 30. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Minister for the Arts what discussions he has had with local authorities on efficiency savings in the library service.
§ Mr. Luce
Management of the library service is a direct responsibility of local authorities, but I am concerned that full value should be obtained from the resources allocated to it. With this aim in mind, I commissioned studies of methods of costing library services and assessing their performance, which I hope will help local authorities to manage these services and monitor their effectiveness.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Does my right hon. Friend agree that many of our libraries are located on prime sites in the community? Will he urge local authorities to explore the potential for partnership development schemes with the private sector? That will release resources which will make our already excellent library service even better for its customers.
§ Mr. Luce
In the past few weeks I have visited a number of exceptional libraries, including Sutton, Hillingdon, and even some in my county. I have been impressed by the enterprise of a number of those libraries in providing additional services above the basic book loan service. That helps to improve the overall facilities available to the public in those areas.