The Speak up for Libraries alliance (which includes Voices for the Library) has updated its election manifesto in time for the 2015 General Election. It is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in the General Election and local elections.
Already, many library services are threatened by, or already experiencing, deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning them over to volunteers to run.
This is a once-in-five-years chance to make sure central government understands that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for the work of local councils, and for national agendas such as ‘Digital by Default’ – and deeply valued by local residents and the nation as a whole.
Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking the government to make a public commitment to their survival and development.
Speak up for Libraries is asking MPs to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election:
Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service.
Enforce the commitment in law for local authorities to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.
Acknowledge that libraries are important to individuals and communities – especially in times of hardship.
Enforce the duty that local authorities have to properly consult with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.
Ensure that local authorities receive sufficient funding in order to deliver properly resourced and staffed library services.
Recognise that properly resourced library services contribute to the health and well-being of local communities and of society as a whole and therefore complement the work of other public services and of national government agendas.
Full details of the election manifesto, including downloadable copies, can be found on the Speak Up For Libraries site.