Tuesday: libraries debated at Westminster Hall and at a Big Society round-table

Tomorrow sees public libraries back in the spotlight with two events taking place at Westminster.

At 9.30 Lisa Nandy’s adjournment debate on the future of libraries is taking place in Westminster Hall. This is a public debate so if you’re in the area why not go along? You can also watch it live. For those who can’t make it we are hoping to pick up tweets from inside the hall. Details will be announced via @UKpling.

The other event will not be open to the public and will be taking place in a private room – close by Westminster Hall – with Ed Vaizey in the chair. DCMS are expected to announce the event tomorrow morning. This will be a one and a half hour discussion, starting at 4pm, on “Libraries and the Big Society”.  Areas for discussion include:

·         Models for community libraries

·         Volunteering

·         Asset transfer

·         Philanthropy

·         Libraries role in empowering communities

·         Alternative suppliers for delivery including Mutuals and Outsourcing

·         Future Libraries Programme

Sadly there will be no tweets from this event although we are hopeful of obtaining some feedback from the discussions. From the above list one might reasonably surmise that the subject of volunteer-managed libraries is uppermost in Mr Vaizey’s mind.

It’s good to see that Mr Vaizey still maintains some interest in the future of a service that up to now he has insisted is the sole responsibility of local authorities to maintain. Sadly there seems very little on this agenda to suggest that he recognises the intrinsic value of libraries to their communities, only in reducing their cost to the exchequer.