Newby: 'libraries are key to targets'

May 3, 2002

Libraries and their ability to supply learning and teaching resources in unconventional settings will be vital for universities to meet expansion targets, according to Sir Howard Newby, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Sir Howard told the House of Commons education and skills select committee that to meet expansion targets, higher education would need to develop local provision. He added that the Janet academic network, which extends to schools and colleges, would be key to increasing participation.

Sir Howard also highlighted the importance of the British Library. He told the committee that "the funding council regards the work of the British Library as key for higher and further education - more so in the future".

But Sir Howard was concerned that the British Library "which is very important to universities is in the control of another department".

Although the British Library receives £80 million a year from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, more than half the service requests it receives are from universities. Three-quarters of the requests are in science and technology.

In March, the British Library announced a strategic alliance with Hefce with the ultimate plan of creating a single national electronic research library.

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