Public libraries briefings and statements

Policy statements

Use of Volunteers (2012) 

Communities benefit from the contribution that trained and skilled library workers make to delivering services. Volunteers should not undertake core service delivery or be asked to replace the specialised roles of staff who work in libraries.

The position of the public library service in England (February 2011)

Our statement examined the situation of public libraries in England. We raised concerns about the level and extent of proposals for public library services.

The statement was published on 5 February 2011 as part of CILIP’s activities for Save our Libraries Day.

What makes a good public library service (December 2010)

CILIP's professional guidelines on what makes a good library service for local councils in England provides a checklist by which local councillors can assess their own service.

CILIP published the guidelines in October 2009 and revised them in December 2010. They were sent to all Heads of Library Services in England.


Public libraries evidence briefing

The public libraries evidence briefing is a resources list for the public libraries sector. Items have been included with a view to their usefulness to our own advocacy. Most documents will be new or relatively recent publications but some older strategically important material is also included. This resource list is not intended as a full literature review for the sector.

Public Libraries and the Equalities Act (2010)

The Equality Act protects the rights of individuals and advances equality of opportunity for all. As a public body, public libraries have to consider how their policies, programmes and service delivery will affect people with the protected characteristics set out in the Act.

Public Libraries and the Human Rights Act (1998)

The Human Rights Act sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that individuals in the UK have access to. A lack of guidance as to what constitutes a comprehensive and efficient library service has caused uncertainty about what local authorities should provide. This gives rise to a risk of arbitrary cuts by local authorities to library services. In these circumstances Articles 8, 10 and 14 are of particular significance to public library services.

Public Libraries and Museums Act (1964)

The Public Libraries and Museums Act governs public library services in England and Wales. It is the law that makes public libraries a statutory service. It requires local authorities to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” public library service. Under the 1964 Public Libraries and museums Act:

  • Local authorities have a statutory duty to provide “comprehensive and efficient” library services
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has a legal duty for the stewardship and improvement of public libraries in England