The Future of our Public Library Service
Liberal Vannin welcomes the current government consultation on the Island’s public libraries:
Sadly, it is partly occasioned by the uncertain future hanging over the Family Library and Mobile Library Service, which provide a social lifeline to many in Douglas and throughout the Island.
Paul Weatherall, Liberal Vannin Chair and candidate for MHK in Ayre & Michael recently visited the Mobile Library at its stop at Kirk Michael Community Housing Association’s sheltered housing complex at Cannan Court. He said:
“What a great service they provide throughout the Ayre & Michael constituency. If elected, I will work hard to secure sustainable long-term funding for it. It's a disgrace that the present government hasn't thought fit to do that.”
Liberal Vannin believes that public libraries provide a significant benefit to Island residents and deserve to be part of a better integrated network, whether that is through closer working together or more formally creating a single agency responsible for all our libraries. The most important requirement is to establish appropriate library service standards for the Island, drawing on best practice in the nations of the UK and elsewhere.
Our public libraries should be recognised as community resources that can be developed to reflect the needs of their local communities, recognizing that the use of public libraries varies throughout life. Information and advice services are particularly relevant. Libraries should also cater for the changing needs of children, teenagers and young adults in terms of providing access to educational and recreational media and information as platforms change.
Whatever the future structure of our public libraries, funding needs to be secured to place them on a sustainable basis for the long term. The proposal for an all-Island Community Rate is one such model, but Liberal Vannin believes that this should only be investigated alongside a long overdue review of local authorities and reform our rating system instead of in the piecemeal manner being proposed.