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Libraries Act 2008

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The Act provides for the establishment of a Library Authority (“the Authority”) to deliver a public library service for Northern Ireland.  This decision was part of the Review of Public Administration, and it streamlines the delivery of the library service by combining the separate library services delivered by the five Education and Library Boards.  It provides for a unified library service which will deliver equity of provision, improved transmission of best practice, and will develop the service to meet the modern day needs of its wide range of customers.

4.The policy context is provided by ‘Delivering Tomorrow’s Libraries’ published by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in July 2006.  It sets out the framework for the direction of the library service, identifying the core business of libraries, and the public value derived from the way they are delivered - a universal service, free at point of use.  To make the most of their contribution and enhance their public value, it sets out a vision for the service, specifies types of targeted action which increase the focus on the customer, and develops a series of standards against which to measure the performance of libraries.

5.The Act sets out the statutory duties and primary functions of the new Authority, and provides for the transfer of functions (as regards the public library service) and designated property, rights, liabilities and staff from the five regional Education and Library Boards (which, under the Act, cease to be responsible for libraries) to the new Authority.

6.The Act also defines the relationship between the Authority and the Department.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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