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Independent Library Report for England ["Sieghart Review"] 2014

Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 18 December 2014

“The public library service in England is at a crossroads.For 150 years, library services have been run by local government, with oversight from central government. Libraries already deliver a wide range of facilities and services within local communities, and, given sharply reducing budgets, and changing needs, there are keen concerns about continuing to provide these vital functions.Many local authorities are delivering impressive and comprehensive library services. Their delivery and management is innovative as well as excellent. The need now is to build on and extend those practices to benefit every library in the country.Central government therefore commissioned me, with the help of my advisory panel –Sue Charteris, Janene Cox, Luke Johnson, Roly Keating, Caroline Michel, Stephen Page and Joanna Trollope –to investigate how the public library system could best work, in the future”.

Submissions to the Sieghart Panel


“Locality is the UK’s leading network of community development trusts, settlements, social action centres and community enterprise practitioners with over 700 members. There is no typical member–we work in both rural and urban areas and with both large and small community organisations. What we do have in common is our approach, our belief in our communities and our commitment to change through community enterprise and community asset development.

“Many of our members have long standing relationships with library services– hosting publicly managed libraries in community buildings (e.g. Zest, Sheffield),taking ownership of library assets and securing capital investment to help upgrade public libraries (e.g. Prudhoe Community Partnership, Northumberland), taking over the management of library services (e.g. Alt Valley Community Trust, Liverpool), or calling for the establishment of new libraries and managing them on a contractual basis (e.g. Fresh Horizons, Huddersfield). However, three years ago, we began to receive requests for support as local library branches came under threat of closure and the option of community ownership/management became apparent. So, we opted to work in-depth with 10 local authorities and 50+ community groups to establish a dedicated community managed library network which nowadays benefits from over 250 members:”


Desmond Clarke

Written submission by Desmond Clarke to the Review of the Public Library Service in England

Desmond Clarke is a library campaigner who retired as President and CEO of a group of businesses in The Thomson Corporation (now Thomson Reuters). He has been a director of several book trade and technology businesses and arts organisations.desmond_clarke_sieghart_panel_submission_feb2014.pdf


From the submission:-

“Our proposals for the Panel’s consideration:

We believe that there are some key issues that should be considered by the Panel:

A:Can the Panel begin the process of articulating the vision of the Public Library Service based on the work of Arts Council England: a positive and wide ranging role, delivered by forward thinking library practitioners?

B:What entitlements do the service users of public libraries in England have,no matter where they live? How can users have more confidence in the services they provide?

C:Can the Panel promote research into the social and economic impact of libraries and create a new public understanding of their purpose?

D:Can the Panel scope a Road Map towards 2020 which sets out what is needed to ensure that there is a Public Library Service in England that meets the needs of communities and is still comprehensive and efficient?

E: How can there be a national development and improvement programme for

public libraries based on outcomes, not metrics,and on impact on communities

F:Can the Panel recommend where leadership of the sector should rest to ensure future delivery and sustainability?

G:Can the Panel begin an open discussion about how community managed libraries fit into an overall library service and what guidance local authorities need


Arts Council England (ACE)

The Arts Council is the national development agency for the arts, museums and libraries in England. Our mission is ‘Great art and culture for everyone’.We work to achieve this through advocacy,partnerships, development and investment.


The Library Campaign

TLC, founded in 1984 and now a charity, is the sole national representative of library users and Friends groups. We liaise with the SCL and ACE, attempt to work with DCMS, and work with CILIP, Unison, Campaign for the Book and Voices for the Library through the Speak Up For Libraries coalition, holding well-attended annual conferences and working on a national SUFL website of resources. Our own website ( serves a large number of members and non-members, eg by maintaining the only national list of library groups. We also publish the only national magazine on public libraries. Back issues can be downloaded from our website.



ASCEL is the national network of senior managers in children’s public and schools library services. ASCEL’s aim as specified in the Children’s Promise (Appendix 1) is that every child and young person visiting a public library is inspired by an exciting environment which makes reading for pleasure irresistible and every school has access to a high quality school library service.


Frances Hendrix

“The sector urgently needs rationalising and simplifying. too many authorities, with too many different standards of service. One large Library Supremo management would have advantages in savings in procurement, not only materials but IT etc., central management and specialised services”

seighart_review_on_public_libraries_frances_hendrix_march2014pdf.pdf [no longer accessible]

The Network

The Network’s mission is “to assist the cultural sector, including libraries, museums, archives and galleries, heritage and other organisations, to work towards social justice.”


Comments and articles on the "Sieghart Review" (2014)

(many thanks to Frances Hendrix who posted most of these on the LIS-PUB-LIBS discussion list)

Leon's Library Blog : 22nd March [no longer accessible]

Sieghart…or jumping through hoops! So it will be interesting to see if Sieghart does indeed produce an independent narrative or if, as I suspect, this is just another fudged report exploited by the DCMS to justify and extend the use of volunteer run libraries.


Sieghart submissions highlight library 'lottery' [no longer accessible]

Public Policy Exchange

The Future of Local Libraries and Cultural Services - Tuesday 3rd June [no longer accessible]

This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, government departments, the library sector, shared services teams and other key partners to examine the Government’s latest policy initiatives and explore how libraries can remain a vital local resource in the 21st Century – innovating and adapting to deliver a whole range of services.

THE INDEPENDENT : 25th February

Losing Britain's libraries: The places where we discover books are imperiled like never before

THE BOOKSELLER : 24th February

Stark warnings of library 'emergency'; hopes for new review

Public Libraries News : 23rd February

Editorial | Have even less of a say in the organisation you pay for

The BOOKSELLER publishes a two page report and also devotes its cover and part of the editorial in its print edition (21 February) to the library review.

THE BOOKSELLER : 12th February

Page:'new library review will bring real change'

THE BOOKSELLER : 10th February

Blog | Get stuck in - by Desmond Clarke

Public Libraries News : 8th February

Editorial | Government announces dramatically wide-ranging Libraries report

Library Campaign : 8th February

Oh No! Another Time-wasting Inquiry

JUST DO IT! The Library Campaign urges all who care about libraries to contact the inquiry. And to tell the minister we are sick of his inaction.

Don't Privatise Libraries : 9th February

Not another bloody report!

Modernisation Review of Public Libraries (2010)

'Empower, Inform Enrich. The modernisation review of public libraries; a consultation document

“There are five significant challenges for the library service:

• How can the library service demonstrate to citizens,commentators and politicians that they are still relevant and vital?

• How can we reverse the current trend of decline in library usage and grow the numbers using their local library?

• How can all libraries respond to a 24/7 culture and respond to changing expectations of people who want immediate access to information?

• How can all libraries grasp the opportunities presented by digitisation?

• How can the library service cope with limited public resource and economic pressures?

This Review aims to address these challenges by questioning the structures, services and skills of the public library service to ensure that libraries are a major player in creating skilled, informed, creative citizens and communities for the 21st century.”

THE INDEPENDENT : 25th February

Losing Britain's libraries: The places where we discover books are imperiled like never before

review_of_public_libraries.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/02 19:30 by