Creator Of 1964 Libraries Act Questions Library Cuts

Man who drafted the 1964 Public Libraries Act states in a letter to The Times that the “Act does not contain any provision for reduction of the duties because of a need for ‘cuts'”

Whilst we’re on the subject of libraries, the man who drafted the Bill which became the 1964 Public Libraries Act, Francis Bennion, has an interesting letter in The Times today.

Francis BennionFrancis Bennion’s letter is titled “Public libraries are ‘Protected by Law'” and follows journalist, Caitlin Moran’s article of 13th August in defence of public libraries.

The letter is hidden behind the paywall, but thanks to library campaigner from , Shirley Burnham, we have a snippet of the letter below.

Francis’ letter concludes, “It does not appear that the statutory duties I have mentioned are being adequately fulfilled at present. The Act does not contain any provision for reduction of the duties because of a need for ‘cuts’.”

Francis is a fascinating man with a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area. We’d highly recommend checking out his Website which has links to the many papers he has produced over the years.

Update 14.01: Thanks to Martin Roberts for letting us know that the full letter to The Times can be found on Francis’ website

Image: Francis Bennion in 1965 just after the 1964 Public Libraries Act was passed

Tuesday, 16th August, 2011 12:56pm



Filed under: Budget Cuts, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Online, Print

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7 Comments on "Creator Of 1964 Libraries Act Questions Library Cuts"

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Alan Mansell

Very interesting, but I’m not sure that our councillors will be quaking in their boots about a letter in The Times. Assuming that any of them can read in the first place.

Paul Miller
Here’s another link to the text of the full letter (reproduced with the author’s permission) which includes a paragraph omitted by The Times: “Under this provision [the Act] a severe reduction now in the public library facilities which were being provided by a particular library authority two or three years ago is likely to be unlawful. This is because there is a presumption that the earlier provision… Read more »
I’m afraid it won’t matter how much “evidence” is produced, Messrs Hunt & Vaizey have absolutely no intention of doing their DUTY under the act- In my opinion, they are too lazy and too scared of their masters to rock the boat. As far as the Isle of Wight is concerned, I doubt if the County Hall comedy team could even be able to read the act… Read more »

alan bennett had an interesting article in the telegraph –