Search This Blog

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Can Leeds Close All its Libraries?

The Independent reports that Leeds is considering closing all its libraries.

Is this legal?

The answer is that no one has ever tried.  The original law defining Council duties to provide a library service was passed back in 1965 so no one considered the Internet.  Some Councils charge for computer use, implying that do not see it as part of the library duty at all.  The Brent and Draper court cases both suggested it was.

This leaves open the question, can you claim you are providing the service if there are are no library buildings?

That depends on whether a court considers it to be "comprehensive" and "efficient".  I would say that such a service would be inaccessible to many people who live, work or are being educated in Brent.  I would also sspecutas a spectacularly in effective use of the current libraries resources that have been designed the way they are through the libraries transformation.  There would also be the question of how the Council had carried out its assessment of need under the Equality Act and in order a Wirral style review.

While I don't expect a full on closure programme, Brent will certainly be thinking about a massive reduction.  Voices within wanted this In the 2019 budget.  They got cold feet as public opposition became clearer, but they are likely to return to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment