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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS067063)

Impact of the Shift to Local Governance on the UK s Public Library Policy: The Implications and Problems of Local Strategic Partnership and Local Area Agreement
No.67, p.63-87
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Purpose: In the UK, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP ) and Local Area Agreement (LAA) were introduced under the Blair and Brown governments as mechanisms to achieve local governance. This study investigates the implications and problems of these programmes from the perspective of public libraries.

Methods: Literature research on the programmes ’ frameworks and a case study of Derbyshire and Reading, including interviews with the people concerned, were conducted. The case study focused on the structure of the LSPs, content of the plans, process of choosing LAA indicators, main partners and specific contents of the partnerships, financial resources, evaluation methods, perception of the fact that the indicator for the library service (NI9) was selected by LAA, and the perception of the entire LAA institution.

Results: The following implications of the institution were found: (1) If NI9 was selected, public library policy would be treated as a priority by the corresponding local government administration; (2) Compared to the previous institution, the library management’s freedom expanded. However, certain problems were also found: (1) The process and criteria of selecting indicators were not clarified; (2) Partnerships were not always strategic because their contents were not prescribed in detail by the LAA; (3) Local priorities were not coupled with financial resource allocation; (4) Only part of the various types of library use was reflected in the e valuation based on the LAA.

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