Libraries' use of Lottery money : LETTERS

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From Mr Jeremy Newton Sir: The first statement in Marianne Macdonald's article ("Artless libraries are deprived of lottery cash", 21 January) is open to misinterpretation. In fact, as I am quoted as saying, we are delighted to receive applications from libraries for capital projects which will enable them to promote literature and the other art forms, and in many cases we will be able to assist. However, the Secretary of State's Lottery guidelines forbid the Arts Council from using Lottery money to pay for operational activities, such as new books, additional staff or longer opening hours.

Central and local government have a statutory responsibility to provide a library service, and we are not entitled to replace or duplicate that responsibility by providing from Lottery funds the core costs of building mainstream facilities for housing and lending books.

We can, however, contribute to the costs of enhancing these facilities by providing space for activities such as readings, literary events, exhibitions, concerts and performances, and will ask libraries to comply with the same rules and application criteria as any other public body applying to the Arts Council for Lottery money for capital purposes.

Yours faithfully, Jeremy Newton National Lottery Director Arts Council of England London, SW1