Mobile Libraries

Department for Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered am ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Freyberg Lord Freyberg Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government what is the (1) total, and (2) regional, number of mobile libraries currently in operation; and what are the comparable figures for each year since 2009.

Photo of Lord Freyberg Lord Freyberg Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government what is the (1) total, and (2) regional, cost of providing mobile libraries; how are those figures split between capital and running costs; and what are the comparable figures for each year since 2009.

Photo of Lord Freyberg Lord Freyberg Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government what funding and support is currently given to mobile libraries that service remote or under-served communities.

Photo of Lord Freyberg Lord Freyberg Crossbench

To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to commission research into the value of mobile libraries to ensure changing usage patterns keep up with the rise of digital resources.

Photo of Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

Arts Council England collects data from local authorities and publishes a basic dataset of information on public libraries in England. The dataset for 2022 shows the number of libraries in England (both statutory and non-statutory) from April 2010 to 31 December 2022, and includes information on the number of mobile vehicles operating. It can be found here.

The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 requires all local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, and each local authority is responsible for determining how best to meet the needs of its communities, including the appropriateness of mobile library provision. The funding and costs of providing mobile library provision is a matter for individual local authorities; therefore, no such data are held by DCMS.

The Government’s Libraries Improvement Fund is investing £20.5 million in over 90 library services to upgrade their buildings and technology to reflect the changing needs of users. This funding includes supporting the purchase of a new mobile library vehicle in North Yorkshire and also in Warwickshire to deliver the first sensory mobile public library in the UK.

We will be publishing a refreshed Government strategy for public libraries later this year, informed by the independent review of English public libraries conducted by Baroness Sanderson of Welton. The forthcoming strategy will set out our plans to ensure that people across the country can benefit from excellent library services, and HM Government will explore opportunities to increase library use and engagement in line with Baroness Sanderson’s independent review recommendations.

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