HC Deb 11 December 1997 vol 302 cc635-6W
Mr. Rooney

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consideration he has given to the Audit Commission's recent report on the Public Library Service, "Due for Renewal". [20736]

Mr. Chris Smith

The Government welcome the publication of "Due for Renewal". We recognise the importance of the public library sector, and are committed to its future. However, we also recognise that there are a number of challenges that public libraries are having to face as they approach the Millennium. "Due for Renewal" usefully identifies some of the main issues, and provides valuable advice about service planning and the scope for achieving further efficiency savings. This work complements the Government's requirement for library authorities in England to produce Annual Library Plans from 1998. I hope that library authorities will respond positively to the report's recommendations in considering their own services.