Public libraries should open at evenings and weekends and revert to their original concept of "high seriousness and importance", says the Government's first major review of libraries for 50 years.
The report says loans and reference requests should still be free, and some Millennium Fund money will go to developing information technology for libraries.
Iain Sproat, Minister of State for National Heritage, said he felt that libraries had gone quite a long way down the road of "mere entertainment" in recent years. It was time to redress the balance, he said.
Reading the Future: a review of public libraries in England, is free from the Libraries Division, DNH, 2-4 Cockspur Street,London SW1Y 5DH.