Archive for March, 2011

Wiltshire parish raises tax to pay for public library; DCMS talks with Glos and Lewisham

495 libraries (428 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK.  Complete list in link on righthand side.

It is the first of its kind I’m aware of.  A parish council in Wiltshire has voted to increase tax by £7 per person in order to pay for a properly staffed library.  Voters decided with a ration of 2 to 1 to voluntarily raise taxes to keep the paid librarian rather than closing it down or staffing it with volunteers. 

The DCMS have summoned Gloucestershire and Lewisham councils for meetings, presumably over their cuts to their library services and possibly due to the legal challenges to both.  That the DCMS is also undergoing a judicial review into whether it has been doing its job properly may or may not be related.

In other news, the libraries minister Ed Vaizey is in talks to secretly censor the internet. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day (nor to my knowledge is anything else in this blog, although it is sometimes hard to judge these days).

Changes
Flintshire – £300k extra money for Buckley
Gloucestershire – council summoned to DCMS to explain their actions.
Lewisham – council summoned to DCMS to explain their actions.
Nottingham – 13 libraries to have reduced hours; Bulwell and St. Ann’s Library to move into “Joint Service Centres” in 2012
Sefton – Aintree to be closed twice a week (Thu and Sun), Meadows Library to be closed on Sundays; opening hours scaled back to 2001 levels; voluntary redundancy for staff.
Solihull and Warwickshire – Mobile library services merge saving £100k (no job losses)
Wiltshire – Aldbourne Library will remain staffed due to increase in parish council tax.

National News
Arts cuts are an act of unthinking vandalism – Guardian “The cuts to ACE cannot be seen in isolation from the removal of public funding for humanities tuition in higher education; the absence of arts subjects from the English baccalaureate; the unstable situation among local authorities, some of which are bravely protecting cultural provision while all too many are cutting it off; the starvation of libraries. Music tuition risks transforming into a privilege for the well-off few, rather than the many, as music services lose funds.”
Arts Cuts – Guardian -Of all the cuts, those to libraries and the arts are particularly heartbreaking. It’s in places such as libraries and theatres that people learn to think of new ideas, and to dream of different ways of living.” (David Peace)
Britain’s back-room negotiations to establish a national, extrajudicial internet censorship regime - Boing Boing (Ed Vaizey takes us “one step further to dictatorship”)
From the archives: the 1991 Derbyshire inquiry – Alan Gibbons
Libraries, bias and the BBC – Undaimonia Library activists are not in opposition to the Government or any political party: they are in opposition to anyone who would close functional library services.”
Most councils to cut Sure Start and libraries spending – LGC (paywall) “Some 83% of respondents said they were planning to make savings from library services …”
Place of the cure of the soul - Voices For The Library “It took so many of us to build, so few to tear it down.”
These gung ho cuts mar all that is best in Britain - London Evening Standard “They go at it with disarming geniality, they talk excitedly of creative destruction, but their relish for the project cannot excuse a demoralised NHS, a chaotic education system, shuttered libraries and – small beer though it may seem to be – the needless dismemberment of an arts scene that costs so little and offers so much.”
Two councils summoned to DCMS - Alan Gibbons
You’re invited to #libchat - Pixel & Page

Local News
Cardiff – Librarian prepares to celebrate 40 years among Cardiff’s books – Your Cardiff
Dorset – Libraries fight: county council invites people to have their say - Dorset Echo
Dorset – Libraries fight: why the council is in their bad books – Dorset Echo ““Unless you look carefully you’d think that the council’s proposal that communities should take over their library buildings is an act of generosity.”
Flintshire -Buckley library to get £300k investment boost – Flintshire Chronicle
Flintshire – Anger over “slap in the face” as Flintshire library gets cash – Leader
Gloucestershire – Culture Minister offers Gloucestershire library campaigners meeting – Cotswold Journal
Isle of Wight – Opening times shake up for island libraries – Isle of Wight Gazette
Leicestershire – Spending cuts threat to libraries’ opening hours – Burton Mail
Manchester – Front line in the cuts blame game – Channel 4 FactCheck Blog “So as Mr Shapps rather surprisingly admitted to me, deprived areas will inevitably suffer most from the spending cuts the government has put in place as it tries to stop the country going bust. It’s all very well for ministers to praise their Conservative colleagues in Trafford. But efficient as they may be, they’re also blessed with a financial cushion denied their poorer neighbours across the border.”
Middlesbrough – Cuts not fair, says Middlesbrough mayor – Gazette “The cuts will undoubtedly impact on the services the council can provide and, while we have to look at what is affordable, those who suggest we should close all our libraries, sports centres and mima need to think again. Such a policy will not encourage people to visit or settle in the town and will lead to people moving elsewhere.”
Nottingham – New [worse] opening hours at city libraries – My Nottingham
Sefton – Maghull and Aintree Library opening hours to be cut back – Maghull and Aintree Star “If the proposed hours will keep our library open then I will be very happy as this library is the lifeline for people like myself who cannot travel far and meet people.”
Suffolk – Vocal protesters stage demo to support library service – Newmarket Journal
Surrey – Passes at libraries for Surrey bus users – Surrey Comet
Warwickshire – Mobile libraries service merges – Coventry Telegraph
Warwickshire – Cabinet minutes published - Warwickshire Council
Wiltshire – Aldbourne voters back library cash - This is Wiltshire “Of the 386, 283 supported the parish council paying towards the cost of keeping the service run by librarian Trish Rushen, rather than let it be run by volunteers.” £7 extra voted onto council tax bill to avoid using volunteers.

Zadie Smith

My goodness, Zadie Smith has stirred things up.  She did a five-minute slot on Radio Four in defence of libraries this morning and all hell breaks loose at the Telegraph.  No less than four articles about (well, against) it.  The BBC is accused of showing great pro-library bias and Zadie Smith is accused of being very anti-Conservative (doubtless very true) and wanting everyone else but her to pay for libraries.  One worry is that at least one of the Telegraph articles, by Daniel Knowles, is actually pro-library but sees no problem in charging for their use. That would be against the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, although it’s equally stressful to note that the Government is at the moment reviewing that law. The other worry for those who want public libraries to stay in public hands is, of course, that the BBC will now stay clear of libraries, or praise Big Society ones, for fear of accusations of breaking their impartiality. 

“I got the new ‘Big Society Cluedo’. Much the same only it doesn’t have a library…” Jeremy Corbyn MP 

495 libraries (428 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK (see link on right for full list of situation by authority)

Changes/Additions to list  
Brent – Cut to libraries budget is £1m
Dorset – Documents on proposed cuts
Harrow£1.1m saving expected from installation of self-service in all libraries
Hillingdon – Hayes library closed (to be replaced by new library in leisure centre so this not added to figure of closures)
Leicestershire – 40% budget (£4m) cut over four years; opening hours cut (Wigston down from four days to two, Wigston record office hours cut by one day per week.
Sutton – “The future of libraries in Sutton” consultation website, until 22nd April.

National News
BBC criticised for bias over Zadie Smith’s R4 broadcast – TelegraphThe BBC has been accused of bias after it invited Zadie Smith, the author, to read out a five-minute lecture attacking library closures”
Cash for Quatrains – Bookseller (Poetry Society future in doubt as Arts Council funding ceases)
Has the BBC given up all pretence of political impartiality? – Telegraph (on the BBC giving time to Zadie Smith, 400 enraged anti-BBC comments)
How have the cuts affected libraries, swimming pools and parks - Guardian.
Jeremy Hunt has not borrowed a library book in a decade – Financial Times
Libraries: gateways to other lives - New Statesman “”I know I would never have seen a single university carrel if I had not grown up living a 100 yards from the library in Willesden Green. Local libraries are gateways not only to other libraries, but to other lives.”  Critique also of Mr Bailey’s response.
No reason to abolish MLA say MPs – M&H
Why should special librarians defend public librarian? – Organising Chaos
Zadie Smith: In defence of libraries - BBC (also see Shaun Bailey, “Big Society” ambassador on same page who says “people are voting with their feet” and not using libraries).
Zadie Smith joins campaign to save her [Kensal Rise] local library – Guardian “”I can see that if you went to Eton or Harrow, like so many of the present government, it is hard to see how important it is to have a local library”
Zadie Smith and the great Tory library conspirary – Telegraph
Zadie Smith’s anger at shameful library cuts – London Evening Standard
Zadie Smith likes libraries. So she thinks everyone else should pay for them - Telegraph “As an astute observer remarked a couple of weeks ago, we are currently in the process of “firing libraries” ten at a time at Gaddafi’s forces in Libya.”

Local News
Barnet – Resident’s association will support residents in battle to save [Hampstead Garden Suburb] library – Barnet Times
Brent – Campaigners hand in 6000 petition – BookSeller (in support of Preston Road Library) “The leader of the council [councillor Ann John] gives as a reason for these closures that she herself ‘did not grow up near a library’ and that people can ‘buy books for 60p’ and ‘browse in charity shops’ instead, and that ‘everyone has computers’ and Kindles”.
Dorset – West Dorset: Have your say on proposed cuts – Bridport News“It was quite clear from the meeting that nobody there was pre-disposed to take over the libraries from the county council.”
Durham – Council forks out £1.6m on consultants in three months – Teesdale Mercury (£1.5m cut to libraries budget in Durham this year)
Ealing – Series of meetings coming up – Ealing Today
Gloucestershire – Friends of Gloucestershire libraries to meet with DCMS officials – FoGL
Gwent - Gwent libraries, museums get £450k boost – Campaign “Risca, Blackwood and Chepstow libraries will share a total of £364,771 to modernise their buildings.”
Harrow – Self-service terminals to reduce cost of libraries – Harrow Observer “Harrow Council claim the refit to all 11 libraries in the borough will allow them to reduce running costs by £1.1million”
Hillingdon – Campaign launched to save Hayes Library – Uzbridge Gazette
Hillingdon – Council to sell off Hayes Old Library, MP accuses council of betraying community – John McDonnell MP “Hayes Library in Golden Crescent is one of the oldest community buildings in Hayes and is a local heritage site. Now closed because a new library has been opened, local residents had been assured by the Council that the building would be retained for local community use. It has now been revealed that a report is going to Hillingdon’s next Cabinet Meeting to sell off the building to the highest bidder.”
Lambeth – Our voices united: Brixton Library – Youtube
Leicestershire – Libraries and museums face opening times cut –  This is Leicestershire “”By closing them at their least busy times, we can cut costs and keep them open at the most popular times. This reflects the public’s desire to get value for money from these services.”
Leicestershire – Spending cuts threat to libraries’ opening hours – Burton Mail
Suffolk – April 2nd [protest] details – Rosehill Readers
Suffolk – Things have to change – Public Service (glowing interview with Andrea Hill, Suffolk chief, previously under fire for high salary / council-paid personal trainer / council-paid PR photoshoots / spending £520k on “gagging orders” on leaving staff  / wishing to close 29 out of 44 libraries)
Surrey – Volunteers come to the rescue of Surrey libraries – This is Local London (Ewell Court and Stoneleigh libraries have got 30 volunteers in respones to council’s “run them yourselves or close” ultimatum.)
Sutton – Sutton bookshare is not a library [written by its designer] – Adrian Short “But it’s my view that the scale and nature of Sutton Bookshare makes it a useful supplement for the library service but not a substitute for any part of it. My hope is that Bookshare becomes a useful thing in its own right. It’s more like a club than a public service”
Warwickshire – Have say on threatened libraries in Nuneaton and Bedworth - Coventry Telegraph

Newspapers of all political persuasions cover libraries today

Public libraries are today on the front page and second page of the Financial Times who do an excellent overview (especially, of course, as Public Libraries News is quoted in it) of the situation in public libraries.  The Telegraph mentions that libraries seem to be figuring highly in the Index of Happiness. The Mail mentions the law that may prevent councils selling Victorian buildings like libraries.  The Independent looks on in shocked horror at what is happening to libraries (and every other council service) in Bury. The public services union, Unison, has an article on libraries.  In fact, it’s only (disregarding the Times which has effectively abstained from public debate by raising a paywall) really the Guardian that’s missing – and, being they have been the staunchest supporters of libraries for months, they probably frankly need the rest.  It’s wonderful to see reports from all sides of the political spectrum supporting libraries.  It bodes interestingly for the May 5th Election. An election, sadly, that will come too late for one library this week – ladies and gentlemen, raise a toast in sad farewell for Foggy Furze Library in Hartlepool set to close on Saturday.

Voices for the Library have released today some hitherto confidential and internal reports from the MLA on the state of libraries in northern England.   Have a look, there’s good news as well as bad.  Being recently used to bad news, I have instinctively added the “bad” comments first to the authorities list (link on the right of this page) and will add the “good” comments shortly.

495 libraries (428 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
- Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent, CamdenGloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Lewisham and Somerset.  In addition, a judical review has been called about the Culture Secretary’s failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level.  Your help is needed to gather as much evidence as possible, from anywhere in the country, to demonstrate councils are breaching their legal duty – please email after reading this blog post from Voices For The Library.

Changes
Hartlepool – Foggy Furze Library closes on Saturday (£47500 cut). Throston Grange Library to merge with Throston community centre.  West View Library was under threat but is now apparently saved.

National News
19th century law may save London libraries – London Evening Standard “I bet there’s between 50 and 100 libraries in London where this legislation will apply.”
Big Society book-swap plan under fire – Financial Times (Page 2)
Coffee and a park: the British recipe for happiness? – Telegraph “And in what could be seen as a warning to David Cameron, who has championed the creation of the well-being index while also overseeing unprecedented cuts to state spending, many of the suggestions of things that improve happiness involved public services such as libraries and municipal parks.”
Libraries campaign continues to grow – UNISON “In Focus”
Library closure row escalates: Government criticised by campaigners and property professionals – PropertyWeek
Library sales to backfire: council cutbacks could be hampered by 150 year old law – Mail
Library sell-offs fall foul of Victorian statute book – Financial Times (Front Page)
MLA assessments on local authorities in the North of England – Voices For The Library
Sweeping privatisation without a democratic mandate – Independent “As we report today, Bury Council’s plans for the privatisation of local services are revolutionary in their scope. Every service provided by the council – from libraries, to youth groups, to social work, to rubbish collection – is to be put up for sale.”
Turning his back on the family is a betrayal David Cameron will regret - Telegraph “I doubt, however, whether the Labour leader sees himself as the Mandela of the save-our-libraries campaign.”
Worried mums talk library closures – BabyCentre

Local News
Brent – Ex Waterstone’s boss slams Brent Council’s plan to close 6 libraries – Willesden & Brent Times It is amazing to come to a building that is so beautiful. How anyone could imagine that you would shut a place like this is beyond a joke.” (some more on this at Tim Coates’ blog)
Bury: privatising public services - Independent “Its recent round of cuts – which threaten to devastate Bury’s youth services and care for vulnerable adults while taking an axe to library services for the housebound, education advisers, school-improvement partners and lollipop ladies – is only the start of a programme”
Cheshire West and Chester – Wharton gets connected with council services – Winsford Guardian  ““We plan to roll out the [videophone] technology to a total of 15 libraries over the next year, so this pilot scheme will be vital in shaping how we go about that.”
Dorset – Protesters use tank in march against the [£5m] new council offices – Dorset Echo  ““This £5million is particularly irrational as DCC is simultaneously seeking to strip £800,000 a year from the 20 smaller Dorset libraries – probably causing some to shut forever.”
Gateshead – Gateshead lands Warhammer 40000 club – Chronicle
Gloucestershire – FoGL march for the alternative – FoGL “Judging by the placards and banners I saw, and conversations I had, there was a lot of love for libraries amongst the some 500,000 marchers!”
Hartlepool – [Foggy Furze] library set to close – Peterlee Mail – set to close this weekend.
Liverpool – Paul McCartney backs library stars plan – WalesOnline

MLA axing questioned, March violence Not In Our Name; Bradford claims mobiles better than branches

Some of the news from councils would be hilarious if not so serious – a Bradford councillor says the mobile library that will replace five closing libraries will offer as good or better service, Camden are closing libraries to pay for a nice new car park; Sutton may be seeing the future of libraries as bookswaps and Warwickshire … well, Warwickshire have clearly reached new heights of lyrical description in the glowing ways they describe closing (sorry, “transforming”) libraries.

496 libraries (429 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
- Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent, CamdenGloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Lewisham and Somerset.  In addition, a judical review has been called about the Culture Secretary’s failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level.  Your help is needed to gather as much evidence as possible, from anywhere in the country, to demonstrate councils are breaching their legal duty – please email after reading this blog post from Voices For The Library.

Changes
Bradford – 5 libraries to close will be replaced by mobile library
Camden – Budget to be cut from £8m to £6m by 2014; consultation runs until 4th April; petition.
Sutton – Book Swap website set up as part of “Big Society Pioneer” program; Carshalton Library may be moved into a nearby leisure centre; opening hours review; co-ordinated volunteer program; newspaper/magazine/CD review.
Warwickshire – Libraries transformation information pack – Warwickshire Council

National News
£2.8m for libraries, museums and archives – News Wales ““Central to this investment is the ongoing modernisation of our public libraries to appeal to new audiences by providing new services alongside the ever popular books in a modern attractive environment”
ALCS welcomes MP’s PLR call – BookSeller
Arts groups face cuts double whammy – LocalGov
DCMS Committee report that PLR should be administered by Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society  – Virtual Press Office
Funding of the Arts: DCMS Committee Report: on the MLA – House of Commons “We are concerned that the Arts Council does not have the expertise or the resources to carry on, adequately, the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.”
Good news from Rhyl - Alan Gibbons
Lewisham campaigners’ report: March for the alternative - Alan Gibbons
March against the cuts – Walk You Home (good pictures)
Message from the  many stifled by the violence of a view – Independent, Leading Article
Museums council axing should be reviewed, says MPs – BBC
Osborne’s budget impacts the poor and vulnerable – Guardian Letters

Local News
Bradford – Mobile libraries to replace branches in Heaton, Wilsden, Denholme, Wrose and Addingham – Telegraph and ArgusAll we are getting is an accountant’s view of the library service”.  Incredibly, the councillor responsible claims ““Although we have decided to close these libraries, they will have mobile provision to a similar or better standard.”
Cambridgeshire: Libraries reviewed in council cuts – BBC
Camden: Libraries consultation – Fitzrovia News (3000 replies to consultation)
Ealing: Hands off Northfields Library: Local councillors urge community to protest over Council plans – Ealing Today  “The proposal to shut Northfields Library defies belief. It is newly re-built and the immediate area is currently being re-developed with a new Children’s Centre, incorporating the Log Cabin, Scouts and the nursery. The park right next door is also being re-developed to incorporate the library. There is no logic to this crazy proposal.”
Ealing – Libraries to find volunteers or face closure – Ealing Gazette
Gloucestershire: Tuffley residents feel they are being set up to fail - FoGLAttending the meeting in Tuffley I had hoped to be in at the birth of a new community initiative. On reflection though I feel that I attended a wake for the library service of yet another community in Gloucestershire.”
Gloucestershire: County Council’s library cut plans to be scrutinised by Whitehall – This is Gloucestershire (meeting between DCMS and Glos Council in “next four weeks”)
Oxfordshire – Fundraising boost for library – Henley Standard (£350 raised for campaign to save Woodcote Library)
Oxfordshire – Libraries can stay open says councillor – Henley Standard “He suggested that librarians could operate in several libraries, supported by a network of volunteers.”
Sutton – Big Society Book Swap plan under fire – Financial TimesSutton pilot project sets up bookswap website “the “exciting” book-share idea was not an attempt to reduce the library service “by the back door”
Warwickshire: Library transformation information pack - Warwickshire Council

496 libraries (429 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
- Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent, CamdenGloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Lewisham and Somerset.  In addition, a judical review has been called about the Culture Secretary’s failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level.  Your help is needed to gather as much evidence as possible, from anywhere in the country, to demonstrate councils are breaching their legal duty – please email after reading this blog post from Voices For The Library.

Changes
Bradford – 5 libraries to close will be replaced by mobile library

Camden – Budget to be cut from £8m to £6m by 2014; consultation runs until 4th April; petition.

Warwickshire – Libraries transformation information pack – Warwickshire Council 

National News
£2.8m for libraries, museums and archives – News Wales ““Central to this investment is the ongoing modernisation of our public libraries to appeal to new audiences by providing new services alongside the ever popular books in a modern attractive environment”
ALCS welcomes MP’s PLR call – BookSeller
Arts groups face cuts double whammy – LocalGov

DCMS Committee report that PLR should be administered by Author’s Licensing and Collecting Society  – Virtual Press Office
Funding of the Arts: DCMS Committee Report: on the MLA – House of Commons “We are concerned that the Arts Council does not have the expertise or the resources to carry on, adequately, the functions of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.”
March against the cuts – Walk You Home (good pictures)

Local News
Bradford – Mobile libraries to replace branches in Heaton, Wilsden, Denholme, Wrose and Addingham – Telegraph and ArgusAll we are getting is an accountant’s view of the library service”.  Incredibly, the councillor responsible claims ““Although we have decided to close these libraries, they will have mobile provision to a similar or better standard.”
Cambridgeshire: Libraries reviewed in council cuts – BBC
Camden: Libraries consultation – Fitzrovia News (3000 replies to consultation)

Ealing: Hands off Northfields Library: Local councillors urge community to protest over Council plans – Ealing Today  “The proposal to shut Northfields Library defies belief. It is newly re-built and the immediate area is currently being re-developed with a new Children’s Centre, incorporating the Log Cabin, Scouts and the nursery. The park right next door is also being re-developed to incorporate the library. There is no logic to this crazy proposal.”
Ealing – Libraries to find volunteers or face closure – Ealing Gazette
Gloucestershire: Tuffley residents feel they are being set up to fail - FoGLAttending the meeting in Tuffley I had hoped to be in at the birth of a new community initiative. On reflection though I feel that I attended a wake for the library service of yet another community in Gloucestershire.”
Gloucestershire: County Council’s library cut plans to be scrutinised by Whitehall – This is Gloucestershire (meeting between DCMS and Glos Council in “next four weeks”)
Oxfordshire – Fundraising boost for library – Henley Standard (£350 raised for campaign to save Woodcote Library)
Oxfordshire – Libraries can stay open says councillor – Henley Standard

Warwickshire: Library transformation information pack - Warwickshire Council

Marching to the Future

I was in the march through London today, along with at least 250,000 other people, protesting about cuts to services.  A true case of the real Big Society defending itself. However, I was talking to people on the train back home who said that they saw a group of people dressed in black and red at the back of the march who clearly intended to break the law and then started vandalizing Fortnum & Masons.  Two of the three people we talked to then said that breaking the windows of banks was “OK” and justified as people were angry. Regardless of how one feels about banks (and indeed purveryors of luxury foods to the Queen) this made me uneasy. Then we started receiving texts asking if we were safe.  Then we heard the radio about the trouble, then we got home and saw the TV.

Good grief, what an object lesson in how to tarnish an otherwise brilliant event. To be successful in saving public services, one needs to gain the support of the middle ground.  The middle ground wins the elections and thus the argument.  Breaking the law alienates that support, especially when one cannot count on the media to be entirely unbiased.  Libraries, perhaps amongst the most of all of those services under threat, are for people of all political parties and will be supported by the great majority as long as they are not alienated.

496 libraries (429 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
- Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent, CamdenGloucestershire, Isle of Wight, Lewisham and Somerset.  In addition, a judical review has been called about the Culture Secretary’s failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level.  Your help is needed to gather as much evidence as possible, from anywhere in the country, to demonstrate councils are breaching their legal duty – please email after reading this blog post from Voices For The Library.

Changes (S) marks item added on Sunday
Bromley – Some to close (some will move to being run by “trustees” and volunteers)
Ealing – 4 libraries and 1 mobile library under threat (previously reported as 3); consultation until May 3rd; Hanwell, Perivale, Northfields (£610k upgrade in 2007), Northolt Leisure Centre (£1m upgrade January 2010); Ealing Library Campaign.
Islington – No closures (previously reported as “some”); May move to being a trust to avoid £500k in tax; opening hours may change; consultation available from end of March.
Lewisham – £995k cut from £4.6m – 21.6%.  (Previously reported as £800k)
Nottinghamshire – 4 mobiles to be cut out of 7 
Oxfordshire - £1.7m cut still going ahead; co-location (inc with fire stations); library staff to be cut with volunteers taking their place
Warwickshire – consultation dates; official consultation blog; in addition to closing libraries “Opening hours at Whitnash library could be cut from 45 hours a week to 16, and from 51 hours a week to 35 at Warwick and Kenilworth libraries, with hours cut from 56 to 50 at Leamington.

National News
50 cuts: the end of the beginning – Guardian Councils faced with the biggest cuts for generations have drawn a circle around what they must by law provide. Statutory services inside the circle haven’t escaped – libraries for example – but the heaviest pain has been inflicted on those outside the ring. Those neat ministerial references to “protected” frontline services are shown to be fantasy.”
Crossing boundaries to borrow your books – South London Press “If the plans goes ahead, residents living in Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon and Greenwich will be able to use their library card in any of the boroughs’ libraries.”
David Cameron’s job is to put his country first - Sunday Mirror ” Like the ­libraries which face closure and Scout groups which face being charged thousands of pounds for a ­meeting place” (S)
Hidden cuts are undermining libraries – Guardian “Library insiders suggest local authority plans for reductions in opening hours, funding and services could be just as harmful as closures, but Vaizey committed to volunteer-run model”
Just who does Andrea Hill think she is? – Mail – Suffolk council chief under spotlight for (a) £218k salary, (b) spending council money on PR photoshoots, (c) spending council money on lifestyle gurus, (d) spending £520k of council money on “gagging orders” (e) wishing to close 29 out of 44 libraries due to surprising lack of council money (S)
Leading  article: protest has a role fairness – Independent (S)Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, tells children which books they should read while his government’s policies are closing libraries all over the country” (S)
Miliband: Government practising “politics of division” - BBCMr Miliband said the “common bonds” and institutions uniting communities, such as the NHS, libraries, Post Offices and Sure Start Centres, were “under threat” from the budget squeeze.”
Not the usual suspects – BBC “Nevertheless, the plans have been made and Chloe will be on a train tomorrow morning with her “Save The Libraries” placard.”…””We all volunteer but you don’t expect to run youth services and libraries,” echoed Julie Baker. “The Big Society is there but it’s not there to run the country in this crazy way.”
New Reader Libraries: The Reader Organisation campaign to save libraries – The Reader Organisation
No sharing allowed: Amazon and book publishers’ stupid attempts to curtail ebook lending – Slate (S)
Richard Eyre warns cuts will lead to “cultural apartheid” – The Stage “The cultural life of this country – libraries, museums, theatres, opera houses, galleries, concert halls, cinemas and arts centres – is going to be eroded in a perfect storm…”
The great cuts lie: today’s march by state workers will fuel hysteria …. - Mail “They will hear about libraries up and down the country closing as a result of wicked Coalition policies …” [apparently no front-line cuts are necessary and it’s all Labour’s fault – the headline is nicely ironic]
The library ebook will self-destruct in … – Sunday Times, p.19, behind paywall (S)
We marched – Tom Roper’s Weblog (S)

Local News
Bradford – Campaigners “will have their voices heard” - Keighley News
Brent – Library users hold mass storytelling event – Harrow Observer (200 at Sudbury); Barham to close but has recently had £200k refurbishment; “The big losers from the closure would be nearby schools, which use the library for day trips and projects, and older people living in Sudbury.”
Bromley – Community news; West Wickham – Haverhill Echo “Libraries are under review and some will close, some run by volunteers and some run by trustees.”
Cambridgeshire – Summary of the public consultation in Libraries North area – Save Cambridgeshire Libraries (Facebook)
Cambridgeshire – Anti-cuts banner hung overlooking Parker’s Place – Cambridge First “These cuts are worse than anything Thatcher attempted. If we don’t stop them now, we’ll see our schools, hospitals and libraries decimated and sold off for profit.”
Cumbria – Libraries phase out paper reminders in Cumbria - BBC (S)
Dorset – GMB union: an alternative “budget” – Dorset Echo Spokesman for Ad Lib (the Association of Dorset Libraries) Mike Chaney backed the call to shelve the plans for a new library in Dorchester in the hope it could preserve the future of 20 other libraries in the county that are threatened with closure.”
Dorset – Classical guitarist Partington entertaints crowd in Puddletown – Dorset Echo “Mike Chaney, of Friends of Puddletown Library, said the group was raising cash for its ‘fighting fund’, which will enable the villagers to fund the library themselves if the county council decides to pull the plug on funding” (S)
Ealing – Ealing Council face criticism over the future of the borough’s libraries – Ealing Times  “Councillor Bakhai said the council could afford to invest if they abandoned their plans for a £5.5m car park in Southall.”
Flintshire – Flintshire Council’s six-month bill for consulatants: £1.25m - The Leader “Flintshire Council has just announced its budget; we have got libraries closing, we have some members facing the risk of redundancy and yet there doesn’t seem to be proper checks on the expenditure on external consultants.”
Gloucestershire – Dear Mr Vaizey, please help - FoGL
Gloucestershire – Mystery surrounds the future of Moreton Library – FoGL
Gloucestershire – Conservative councillors claim library “victory” – FoGL “In the full council debate about the library plans NOT ONE of the Conservatives spoke up for libraries or for the views of their communities.”
Islington – Islington’s libraries may be given over to a trust – Islington Tribune
Leeds – Fight to save Shadwell and Scholes libraries step up a gear… – Wetherby News “[Council Chief]Mr Riordan went on to issue a personal apology to a Scholes parish councillor after he was inadvertantly sent an offensive email describing villagers as “silly sods.” ; Joanne Harris backs Leeds campaign.
Lewisham – Public sector cuts: where they will hit: New Cross Library – Guardian
Manchester – Johny Vegas joins battle to save Hulme Library mural - Manchester Evening News, £20k mural unveiled by comedian nine years ago to be destroyed as building demolished. (S)
Merton – Volunteers sign up to fill void of cuts at West Barnes Library – Wimbledon Guardian “Nearly twenty residents have signed up as volunteers to keep West Barnes Library open on Mondays after Merton Council announced a reduction in its opening days to save costs”
Nottinghamshire – Mobile library hit by cuts - Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser
Oxfordshire – Oxford to “co-locate” libraries - BookSeller
Somerset – Somerset County Council defends £800 a day consultant – BBC
Somerset – Fight for Highbridge Library steps up – Weekly News
Somerset – Roger Taylor’s Story – Voices For The Library “The knowledge I have accrued over many years of specialist work will be lost, and no-one with be recruited to replace this”
Suffolk – Strong library support show in human chain – Bury Free Press (100+ protesters) ““Some people who signed the petition have realised for the first time that this has a local impact and that it actually effects their community, it’s not just some general cut backs happening in the background.”
Suffolk – April 2nd details – Rosehill Readers
Suffolk – Protests over cuts to Stowmarker and Debenham Libraries – Evening Star
Warwickshire – Library consultation meetings and roadshows: no winners, many losers - What’s In Kenilworth
Warwickshire – Consultation on library cuts – Leamington Courier

Oxfordshire rethink – Total of UK libraries under threat dips under 500

490 libraries (428 buildings and 62 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
Changes 
Gloucestershire - private companies are being considered
OxfordshireSome under threat (not 20) Consultation from mid-May until end of September; existing list of 20 threatened libraries “torn up” – all 43 branches included in consultation; emphasis on reducing staffing costs, all libraries will remain on library computer system.  Privatisation still under consideration.
Peterborough – £171k cut (rather than proposed £223k); 5 out of 10 (rather than proposed 8) cutting hours.
Warwickshire – list of consultation dates
Wiltshire – Some under threat (previously 10) c.28% cut over four years; no closures but some reduced to just three hours open per week.  Changes to opening hours, though, only available in paper form in each library so unknown how many will have reductions so great as to be effectively closed.

Wider Picture
An essential service for rural adult students – Voices for the Library
An unforgiveable disgrace: the axe hanging over our libraries – The Author via Alan Gibbons
Budget 2011: Cut fuel duty or save a library? – GuardianThough designed for immediate consumption, the fuel move could have a lasting political effect. For it signals an end to the first phase of this government, in which it argued that the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, that there was simply no money left. By giving a tax cut, Osborne has signalled that he does, in fact, have a degree of discretion: he had some money to spend and he chose to spend it helping motorists. Now those campaigning to save a local library will be able to say: why couldn’t you have spent that money on us? In a small but clear way, the terrain of political battle has shifted.”
Ed Vaizey – Letter in full (via Alan Gibbons)
Ed Vaizey – Annex (via Alan Gibbons)
How libraries add value to communities – Librarian in the cloud
Librarians march for the alternative – Undaimonia
Library closures and the law – Progress
Rational irrationality: Austerity Britain: Lesson for the US? – New YorkerLibraries are closing, and local governments are preparing mass redundancies.”
Saving libraries is the way to boost child literacy – Telegraph “Librarians are the people best-placed to advise children when they are choosing the 50 books a year Mr Gove is asking them to read. Mr Gove had better act quickly before our public and school libraries, and our librarians, are lost forever.”
Ta da! Librarian! – Metadata, cataloguing and various librarian-like stuff

News by authority
Barnet – Plans to close Hampstead Garden Library not welcome but not a surprise – Barnet & Potters Bar Times
Buckinghamshire – Worries over future of Burnham Library – Maidenhead Advertiser
Camden – No fairy tale ending in library crisis – Camden New Journal
Conwy – David Lloyd George’s books pulped by Conwy Libraries Services – North Wales Weekly News
Croydon – Library closures may now face legal challenges – Inside Croydon
Dorset – Library campaigners remain unconvinced by council’s offer – Dorset Echo
Gloucestershire – MLA concerns over GCC library plans – FoGL It is really disappointing that the MLA, the organisation supposed to champion the library sector and promote best practice, seem to be letting GCC off the hook so easily”
Gloucestershire – County council stands by its grossly misleading statements – FoGL (Library in deprived area compared by council to one in an affluent area of Buckinghamshire)
Isle of Wight – Councils “not coerced” to take over services – IWCP “”The localism agenda is not about foisting responsibilities on to town and parish councils without the financial resources or capacity to take them on.” (DCLG)
Lambeth – Read & Shout Festival – DIY “Libraries, regardless of your own personal use of them, are an invaluable resource. Literacy levels plummeting? Phrases like ‘dumbing-down’ becoming the accepted norm? It’s a situation so misguided that it’s almost laughable an event like this even needs to exist.”
Medway – Readers surveyed as Medway Council buys stock – BBC (unclear if £92k for new stock is additional or the council is claiming success for being able to buy any new stock at all this year)
Oxfordshire – Library plans “torn up” – BBC
Oxfordshire – Council leader offers new hope for libraries – Banbury Cake
Oxfordshire – County tears up library closure plan – Banbury Cake “professional staff remained the biggest cost of running a library system and that he envisaged qualified library staff being available to assist with the training of volunteers, with the council offering all libraries access to the county’s stock of a million books, computer order system and library buildings.”
Oxfordshire – Hope for libraries – Oxford Times “But at least the county council is prepared to review the extent of its cuts rather than charging blindly ahead with its original conclusions.”
Oxfordshire – Personal statement from councillor Keith Mitchell - Alan Gibbons
Peterborough – New chapter for libraries in Peterborough – Peterborough Today
Slough – Tessa Jowell latest politician to visit Slough – Maidenhead Advertiser “The main manifesto points include transforming the old Town Hall into a primary school to address the shortfall of primary school places, repairing and replacing all of the remaining play areas in town requiring it, and opening new libraries.”
Suffollk – Save Bungay Library: Telling Tales – Sustainable Bungay
Warwickshire – Kenilworth library may close by 16 hours: how would you choose? – What’s In Kenilworth
Warwickshire – Library consultation – have your say - Warwickshire council
Wiltshire – Council to cut library hours across Wiltshire - Swindon Advertiser “the move to slash hours has made some residents feel ‘sick'”

Ed Vaizey”s new letter – Minister gets even more excited about “community” libraries

520 libraries (458 buildings and 62 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK (Full list available from link on right of screen)

Changes to libraries today 
Devon – consultation launched on opening hours (ends May 7th), none to be closed.
Nottinghamshire – Library opening hours almost halved (from 601 hours per week to 311); bookfund halved (from £1.6m before to less than £800k)
Sefton - 40% library manager posts cut; library opening hours cut “scaled back to 2001 levels”; £140k cut; “several” branches “at risk” (not “3” as previously listed).
Warwickshire – libraries consultation on £2m cuts inc. 16 library closures ends June 9th
Wirral – 50 library jobs cut

National and World
50 books every child should read - Independent “The authors chose books that have brought them huge joy, while expressing their outrage at the “great big contradiction” of Mr Gove’s claim to wish to improve literacy while closing libraries across the country.”
50 books a year is ideal, but why stop at schoolchildren – Independent “Public libraries, which have fed the reading habit so well for generations, are being closed down on all sides by local authorities keen to make savings…”
Libraries’ digital future – Reading Agency (via Alan Gibbons)
New letter from Ed Vaizey to councils - Alan Gibbon “Some local authorities, including several of those involved in the Future Libraries Programme, are looking at new ways of working with their local communities to deliver the library service. Others are looking at how community-managed libraries can be established, enabled and operated alongside a local authority-run library service. I am very keen to learn from and share the experiences of these local authorities and have therefore invited the MLA, working with the LGG and the Asset Transfer Unit, to gather evidence and to consider and present the legal and practical issues, and some case studies, in a guide published for the use of all local authorities. I intend to publish this in May 2011“.
US judge writes unhappy ending for Google’s online library plans – Guardian
Should children read 50 books a year? – Guardian
UK authors weigh in on Education Secretary’s 50 book challenge - School Library Journal

Local News
Barnet – library campaigner vows to make sure Barnet Council implement plans properly - Barnet & Potter Bar Times “What we did was start a campaign from day one when they announced a review, whereas other boroughs weren’t as quick which meant they didn’t get public support fast enough.” (c. 6000 petition)
Cambridgeshire – 1300 sign up to save threatened libraries - Cambridge News
Cardiff – Marketing award for city’s Central Library – Wales Online “Events planned at the library this year include wine tasting, a dance festival and a battle of the bands.”
Devon – Consultation on future of saved Devon libraries – Mid Devon Star
Dorset – Former mayor’s please to keep Wyke Regis library open – Dorset Echo
Dorset – MP Oliver Letwin’s column - Bridport NewsTo judge by my postbag, almost no local topic has caused so much interest recently as the question of the fate of our community libraries”
Gloucestershire – BBC national news interview FoGL – FoGL
Lewisham – Lewisham Latest – Alan Gibbons
North Ayrshire – How council wasted £45,000 – Largs and Millport Weekly News (£45k libraries consultancy report “riddled with inaccuracies”)
Nottinghamshire – Row over “extra money” announced in council newsletter - This is Nottingham (council newsletter somehow presents halving of hours and of bookfund as an increase in spending)
Sefton – Formby Library opening hours scaled back as part of council cuts – Formby Times (9500 responses too consultation)
Warwickshire – Consultation begins over library closures – Coventry Telegraph
Wigan – Golborne library prints – This is Lancashire – 4000 petition; “everyone will be invited to leave their hand print in a book being produced by Golborne Library Action Group as a mark of support for the library.”
Wirral – Letters – Wirral News

Michael Gove’s 50 Books Challenge – Easy if you have money, or a library…

523 libraries (461 buildings and 62 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK (See “Cuts” link on right for full list by authority)

Changes by Library Authority
Barnet2 threatened (out of 16) - 1 to go as merge North Finchley and Friern Barnt libraries at “Artsdepot” site;  Hampstead Garden Suburb to close (books with self-service machine to be placed in local Institute); Bookfund up by £10k; £3m raised by selling off buildings (Finchley Hill, Church End, Child’s Hill and Grahame Park – to be moved into presumably cheaper buildings); 16FTE lost; £350k saving joint backroom services
Bournemouth – No libraries to be “cut” for four years if Conservatives win in May
Bradford – 5 announced will close on June 30th “saving” £70k.  £490k cut – £245k via voluntary redundancies; £50k via one floor of Bradford Central Library closing.
Newcastle –  12 jobs lost; charges introduced for book reservations, rise in fees.  NB article says 9 “closed” but “downgraded” may be more applicable so have not added to statistics (email if you think they should be added)
Oxfordshire – Review on closing 20 (out of 43) will end in July.

News – The Wider Picture
Authors raise doubt over Gove’s 50 Book Challenge – Guardian “children’s laureate Anthony Browne has said Gove’s aims are at odds with the library closures happening under his government’s watch. He declared himself “surprised” at Gove’s comments, “given that the government is cutting library budgets, and that programmes giving free books to children, such as Bookstart, are also being cut.”
Big Society – Opportunity or dog’s breakfast? – CILIP
Court rejects Google Books settlement - CNET
Future of library services in the Big Society – Conference, 21st June.
How to hobble the 1964 Act? – Shirley Burnham’s Blog
Marching for public services March 26th – UNISON
Michael Gove: pupils should read 50 books per year – Daily Telegraph
Mountain to climb on deficit is threat to growth budget – London Evening Standard “The squeeze will become increasingly visible to voters as touchstone services like libraries and Surestart centres shut their doors”
Restore library budgets to educate citizens, grow economy – Cap Times (USA)
Why we’re librarians in the first place - Save NYC Libraries
Will Self, Fire and Ire - Johanna Bo Anderson’s Blog

News –  By Local Authority
Barnet – Councillor Robert Rams speaks out on library review plans released today – Barnet & Potters Bar Times
Barnet – New library planned for North Finchley artdepot while Hampstead Garden Suburb will lose out in review – Barnet & Potters Bar Times
Bournemouth – council’s budget will need to be cut by £10.5m – Bournemouth Echo
Bradford – Deadline set for Addingham, Denholme, Heaton, Wilsden and Wrose libraries rescue bid – Telegraph & Argus
Bradford – Community ownership the answer? – Telegraph and Argus
Bradford – Another area looks at volunteers – Alan Gibbons
Cambridgeshire – Programme of meetings to debate future of libraries – Peterborough Today
Cambridgeshire – Save Cambridgeshire Libraries Petition - GoPetition
Camden  – Save Camden Libraries petition - Petition.co.uk
Doncaster – View from the front line: Gagged staff speak out - Save Doncaster Libraries
Doncaster – Save Doncaster Libraries on BBC Radio Sheffield – Save Doncaster Libraries
Flintshire – £635k benefits blunder – Flintshire Chronicle “This money could be better spent on protecting our libraries and heads should roll for this.”
Gloucestershire – Library housebound club volunteer: “We all need to realise how important these places are” FoGL
Leeds – Parish outraged by library gaffe - Yorkshire Evening Post
Newcastle – Newcastle Council introduce library charges – Chronicle
North Yorkshire – Library lifeline - Yorkshire Post “The proposed closure of many libraries in North Yorkshire is of concern to many people. Of greater concern to people who live in the smaller villages is the proposed death of our mobile libraries, about which we hear very little in the press or on television.”
Northern Ireland – Lionel Shriver will bequeathe money to libraries after her death - Culture Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland – Author’s generous legacy to beloved Belfast libraries – Belfast Telegraph “Libraries inculcate better reading habits. If you buy a book, you feel compelled to read it, even if you don’t like it after page 10.  If you take six books out of the library, you will only read the ones you like, and then you’ll go back for more and do the same with them.  You read more widely and more voraciously and become more discerning when you’re a regular library user. I firmly believe that”
Oxfordshire – Have your say in libraries debate – Henley Standard
Suffolk – Protest over cuts to Stowmarket and Debenham libraries – EADT (Stowmarket – 150 form human chain around library:  Debenham – 1000 protest inc Dan Poulter MP, 28 hour read-in)
Suffolk – Defence MP Nick Harvey visits school - Suffolk Free Press ““The minister was disappointed by the county council’s approach to cut frontline services, such as school crossing patrols and community libraries, at the heart of the community,” (see Alan Gibbons’ comments)
Suffolk – Library petition gains support – Haverhill Echo
Suffolk – Suffolk CC must come clean on library categories – Wordblog
Warwickshire – Brainstorming begins to save Harbury Library - Leamington Courier
Warwickshire – Public views sought on closure of Warwickshire libraries – Coventry Telegraph