§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Minister for the Arts (1) how he implements his superintendent powers over public libraries;
(2) how he ensures the efficient operation of each public library authority as required by the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.
§ Mr. Renton
Statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy which provide information on the public library service in England are monitored by my office, which collects supplementary information direct from the local authorities. I investigate any complaints about public library authorities through my professional library adviser. It is for the district auditor to satisfy himself that arrangements are in place within local authorities to secure value for money.
In furtherance of my responsibilities to promote the improvement of the library service, I have produced two management tools on costing systems and performance indicators. A third, on objectives, will be published next year. In addition, I have awarded grants totalling £603,549 for 30 projects under my public library development incentive scheme. I also support research into public library provision leading to the publication of case studies and examples of good practice.