§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, pursuant to his oral answer of 22 March,Official Report, column 597, if he will consider the creation of a national music library to take on the work and collection of Westminster city council.
§ Mr. Key
I shall certainly consider how national co-operation to meet users' needs can best be enhanced.
My Department is already jointly funding a study for a library and information plan for music. This study is investigating the provision of music scores and music information across the country and is expected to be completed this June. It will produce an action plan for improvements in services.
One of the current applications for funding from the Department's public library development incentive scheme is for the establishment of a national music lending service, based on the present collections of the Yorkshire Humberside joint library service and the British library. A final decision on this application will be taken in September.
Although Westminster city council plans to reduce the opening hours of the central music library and make commensurate staff savings, its service will remain exceptional. The library will still be open six days of the week, for a total of 37 hours; the new opening hours will be tailored to match user demand and there are no plans to reduce the existing, extremely extensive, stock.