Public Libraries

Closed 20 Aug 2021

Opened 9 Jul 2021


In July 2018, Tynwald agreed the following:

Recommendation 1

We recommend that the Council of Ministers establish a Working Party to continue with the important work of determining the future direction of the Island’s libraries.

This work should now move forward to undertake a detailed investigation into the provision and purpose of public library services. This investigation should involve all those involved in library provision on the Island. The Working Party should report back to Tynwald no later than December 2019 on:

    • The purpose of public library services;
    • The wider provision of library services across the Island;       
    • Use and cost of Libraries; twelve months of data, to be collated and presented in a way which is in an agreed and consistent format used by all, re costs for staff, stock, facilities, utilities, training and other overheads; and usage including membership, footfall, loans, opening hours; additional services; and events;
    • Options for statutory requirement for provision
    • A Manx Libraries structure to include:


  • Options with outline plans for future funding arrangement to include, but not be limited to, a shared catalogue, all Island lending and return, all Island Library membership

Recommendation 2

  • Tynwald is of the opinion that the Isle of Man Government should provide funding to the Family Library Limited up to total of £125,000 per annum for a maximum of two years to allow time for a Working Party to report into the future provision of the library services     

The Council of Ministers' Libraries Working Party carried out an extensive investigation on the provision of public libraries both on, and comparatively, off Island.

Findings of the Libraries Working Party

The Libraries Working Party concluded the following:

  • That provision of library services should be underpinned by the principles of equity and accessibility to enable everyone on the Isle of Man to easily access books and services via the Island’s libraries
  • That libraries are more than just loaning books and that they can, and do, play a role in supporting the most vulnerable in our society
  • That libraries and Local Authorities from across the Island should work together to introduce a universal membership card which would enable shared membership and consider a shared IT system to support shared stock
  • That consideration should be given to developing legislation to provide a core, coordinated, across the board library service
  • That a mobile library service should be secured
  • That library provision and its associated costs should be transparent to the tax payer

Libraries Working Party Report Recommendations


That the Council of Ministers recognises the value of a mobile library service and in the interim supports its continuation via an appropriate level of annual Government subsidy, with Government also to undertake an assessment of needs to enable maximising usage of mobile library services by those most in need.


That the Council of Ministers should legislate to establish a Libraries Board with a National Libraries governance framework in place drawing on a set of national standards and guidelines (see Sections 6.6 - 6.8 on page 34 of the report). The Libraries Board be responsible for all Public Libraries and a publicly funded Mobile Library service.


That the newly established Libraries Board be jointly funded by Government subsidy, and formally referred through rates reform as part of a community rate that gives consideration to other socially valuable activities and community hubs. That an established Libraries Board sets out a clear framework for funding to ensure consistency of service provision.

This would ensure service provision, be it a static or mobile library, dependent on the individual Local Authority need. 



Why your views matter

The Council of Ministers Libraries Working Party report summarises the current situation in respect of library provision, and the recommendations contained within provides options for the future provision of public libraries and how they continue to be funded.

The Council of Ministers would like to understand the public views on our public libraries: how they are funded; and the services provided, to ensure that any scope for change can be fully understood and supported by our residents.


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