British Library statement on the Independent Library Report for England

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said:

“I welcome the publication of the independent report, which is thoughtful, measured and very timely. I was delighted to serve on William Sieghart's advisory panel, and I believe his final report makes some wise and, crucially, achievable recommendations.

“Libraries remain part of the foundation of our society, with more than a third of us using our local library. Just as we have seen at the British Library, the growth of digital research and e-lending has not changed the fact that people value safe and welcoming places where they can access information and knowledge of all kinds.  

“The public library system faces some serious challenges, with changes to operating models and significant cuts at the local authority level. It is vital that libraries are equipped to adapt and thrive, and that all parties from local and central government to librarians and publishers take part in shaping their future.

“The British Library has a statutory link to public libraries and we look forward to working with our partners on the new library taskforce. We will also work to develop our collaborations with local libraries to provide services and cultural programmes in the coming years."

Notes to Editors

The Independent Library Report for England was published on 18 December. It was commissioned in 2014 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and is authored by William Sieghart, who worked with an advisory panel including Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library.

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The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.