Reading between the lines: local authorities and libraries

Local authorities have a statutory duty to ‘provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof’, generally free of charge.  Budget cuts have made this duty increasingly difficult to fulfil, and so local authorities are increasingly using innovative methods of delivering library services, including transferring libraries to community ownership.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is responsible for ensuring local authorities properly discharge their library functions, and where it finds an authority has failed to carry out its duty the DCMS can take over that authority’s library provision for a time. This would only happen in an extreme case, although the DCMS has in recent years met with council officers from authorities that were considering library closures, such as Gloucestershire and Brent.

The DCMS has appointed the Arts Council to support and develop the libraries sector, although the Arts Council does not provide or fund libraries: it is still the responsibility of local authorities to do this. Last year the Arts Council undertook a major research project, Envisioning the library of the future, which showed there was still a compelling and continuing need for a publicly funded library service…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Walker Morris briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Walker Morris

View more briefings from Walker Morris

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


Kings Court
12 King Street

Turnover (£m): 42.50
No. of lawyers: 188