Open all hours;TES campaign;TES libraries campaign

16th July 1999 at 01:00
Today The TES launches its summer campaign - to make Britain's libraries once again a first-rate public service. We want to see a Government commitment to restore funding levels to their high-water mark, so that councils can keep libraries open longer and buy more books.

Official figures show that funding for the country's library service has fallen into sharp decline. As we report in these four pages, both opening hours and book-buying have been greatly reduced.

A survey carried out for The TES by Lancaster University shows the British public remains loyal to its libraries, however. Three in four have visited their library in the past year, more than half in the past month. But our survey also shows that more than one in four would use their libraries more if opening hours were more convenient.

We welcome the Government's recently declared aim of setting national minimum standards for local library provision. We believe these should include: * the central library in each local authority to stay open at least 60 hours a week, at hours suited to modern living.

* other public libraries to stay open at least 45 hours a week.

* minimum standards for book-buying to be set at pound;2.26 per head per year - the level of a decade ago - at a cost of pound;44 million.

Today, the writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg writes in support of our campaign (see page 15). Next week, Culture Secretary Chris Smith responds. Over the summer, a series of distinguished figures, starting today with the poet Benjamin Zephaniah, will write about themselves and their libraries. We shall also focus on libraries of the future.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today