Predictably, libraries don’t hit the headlines in any of the main English party manifestos. But the differences are interesting…

The best-informed statement is from Labour – including a promise to restore national standards, as campaigners have demanded since they were abolished in 2008. They promise £1 billion for libraries, galleries and museums, and specifically mention updated IT for public libraries.
MEANWHILE the Conservative party has been sharply criticised by librarians for one of its “fake news” wheezes. See separate story.

Labour Party Manifesto 2019
“We will ensure libraries are preserved for future generations and updated with Wi-Fi and computers. We will reintroduce library standards so that government can assess and guide councils in delivering the best possible service.”
“We will invest in the towns and communities neglected for too long, with a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to transform libraries, museums and galleries across the country.”

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019
Their offer has already been announced (in October). Spread over two sectors and five years, it does not add up to much. “£250 million to support local libraries and museums “

Green Party Manifesto 2019
One of two mentions sees libraries just as venues to lend tools. But the second at least shows the right attitude…
“Encourage a shift from models of ownership to usership, such as with car-sharing platforms and neighbourhood libraries for tools and equipment.”
“We will support councils to also use this funding to nurture arts and culture in their areas, keeping local museums, theatres, libraries and art galleries open and thriving.”

Liberal Democratic Party Manifesto 2019
The sole mention of libraries is slightly bizarre… “End period poverty by removing VAT on sanitary products and providing them for free in schools, hospitals, hostels, shelters, libraries, leisure centres, stadiums, GP surgeries, food banks, colleges and universities.”

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