Wake up to library, v-cs told

October 17, 1997

LIBRARIES need a Pounds 770 million investment before they will be ready for the lifelong learning revolution, says a Department for Culture, Media and Sport report out this week. It calls for the higher and further education funding councils to contribute.

Launched by secretary of state Chris Smith, New Library: The People's Network, calls for a radical shift into information technology for public libraries. These will play a pivotal role in the planned University for Industry and lifelong learning projects.

The report from the Library and Information Commission says: "New libraries will be integrated components of a new national educational system meshed into the National Grid for Learning." But an investment over seven years of Pounds 769 million is needed.

Matthew Evans, commission chairman, said funding from higher and further education "depends on how inclusive the vice chancellors see their role. If they are complacent and see themselves perpetuating their traditional role, then they'll miss out. If they see themselves as part of an integrated whole, then the release of money will become a reality."

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