Two ways to save libraries

(1) The Government has launched a consultation that could lead to the removal of all statutory protection for public libraries in the UK.  Please see this link on the subject and also a sample letter. If this legal shield goes, expect to see the total of public libraries under threat reaching 1000 or more by February 2012. No public library will be truly safe.

(2) While this legal protection still stands, challenges are being launched to protect libraries. Please see this link for how you can send evidence to help.

Known changes to info on authorities/library funding/opening since last posting
Flintshire – confirmed 1 (of 2) mobiles closed (£40k cut)
Isle of Wight – legal challenge placed
Lincolnshire – “library services will be cut back”
Local News – all news is representative and not comprehensive
Flintshire – major changes planned for mobile libraries – Leader
Isle of Wight – Legal challenge to library closures – Isle of Wight Radio
Isle of Wight – “Unlawful” decision challenge – Ventnor Blog “Latest word in Niton is that library users will be asked for a £10 “voluntary” annual subscription”
Isle of Wight – Legal threat to libraries’ closure – IWCP
Lincolnshire – Primary school turns old classroom into “first-class community library” – This is Lincolnshire
Manchester – Have your say on libraries facing the axe – Manchester Evening News
North Somerset – Weston-Super-Mare Library to move to town hall – BBC
Northern Ireland – Big turnout needed at Gilford meeting – Dromore Leader
Northern Ireland – Libraries NI n
Staffordshire – Free Wi-Fi introduced at libraries – Lichfield Blog
Suffolk – 28 hour read-in to save smallest library (Debenham) – Wordblog “A wall of books will also be built to defend the library.”
Warwickshire – Save Bulkington Library petition signed by more than 3000 – Coventry Telegraph

National News
American Library Association attacks HC e-lending policy – BookSeller

Bestselling author Joanne Trollope slams library cuts on visit to Welwyn Garden City – Welwyn Hatfield Times ““It is important to save people’s health, but libraries save people’s sanity” ”
Call out Cutswatch hotline – don’t suffer in silence – Mirror “Is your Sure Start centre under fire? Is your library earmarked for closure?”
Government threat to universal library service – Mirror “The move comes despite Arts Minister Ed Vaizey promising last month that the Act was guaranteed and would not be reviewed.”
DCMS not achieving value for money – M&H “some recent cost-cutting decisions have been made based on “insufficient financial information and analysis”, as exemplified by the decisions to merge and close some arm’s-length bodies, such as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.”
Government denies library statutory protection is under threat – BookSeller
Lauren Smith, Doncaster and UK library campaigner, “Mover and Shaker” – Voices for the Library
Library-saving machine Lauren Smith, 2011 Mover and Shaker nominee – Library Journal (USA)


525 libraries (464 buildings and 61 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK
Information on 176 authorities listed out of 206 in UK, 135 of those are on record as (at least) considering closing libraries or making significant cuts (list below news), 59 on record as not closing libraries in 2011/2 (list at bottom)
Legal challenges are being prepared/under way in Brent, Gloucestershire, 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.

List of cuts by authority (click on name of authority for link to relevant report)
NB. From 2012, the MLA will be abolished – the Arts Council will take over its role for libraries with a budget of £3m rather than £13mThe Book Trust has also had its funding halved (from £13m 2010 to £6m in 2012). Therefore, libraries start 2012 with more than £10m less, regardless of any further cuts. There are 151 authorities in England, 206 in the UK.  Please note that this blog depends on published news reports and council bulletins for information and does not claim to be comprehensive.
  1. Aberdeen – 8 (out of 16)
  2. Aberdeenshire – some, (brief mention here seems to suggest all but this very unlikely)
  3. Anglesey – 4 libraries earmarked for closure have apparently been (temporarily) saved
  4. Angus – 4 libraries closed this year (April) to be possibly replaced by a mobile.  More info here
  5. Argyll and Bute – 3 libraries and mobile library.
  6. Barnet – some – public consultation here
  7. Barnsley – 3 (confirmed) (combine 11 surviving libraries with “customer centres”)
  8. Bedfordshire – 1 mobile to go
  9. Bexley – 3 and 1 mobile (3 from a list of 5 will go, plus one mobile) (this is the five) (£1m – 16% cut) (merge with Bromley?) (5 could be unpaid)
  10. Birmingham – 39 (three libraries lose hours so Tower Hill can remain open) (school library service to close)(all branch libraries under review, £200m super library being built)
  11. Blackburn with Darwen – 1 mobile (reduced opening hours) cut, opening hours reduced, bookfund cut.
  12. Blackpool – 2
  13. Bolton9(out of 15)(£400 to £500k) (consultation 12 weeks from 1/3/11)
  14. Bradford – 5 (Confirmed 5 to close – £70k)
  15. Brent – 6 (out of 12) (6 confirmed as closing) (talking to private company LSSI)(legal challenge)
  16. Bridgend 3 (may not be able to reach Welsh Assembly library standard) (opening hour cuts at most)
  17. Bristol – (£200k cut from staffing, self-service, “alternative provision) (£90k cut off bookfund of £700k)
  18. Bromley (link is on page 7) – 8 (out of 15) (KAB talking books cut) (Penge and Anerley libraries merged)
  19. Buckinghamshire – up to 14 to close or be staffed by volunteers (extra time given to look for volunteers) (this article says 11)(£688k cut)
  20. Bury – 1 (1 other reduced hours) – Manchester Evening News (libraries to be transferred to trust/private company/charity) (housebound service closed)
  21. Caerphilly – (“rationalised”)
  22. Calderdale – (£250k cut, opening hours and bookfund cut – previously reported as £350k cut inc.12 jobs, £200k stock)
  23. Cambridgeshire13 (36% cut in funding, £445k in 2012£3.2m by 2016, closures down from previously reported 19) (mobile services already “slashed”) (£1.1m cut) (school library service closed)
  24. Camden 5 plus one mobile library (£2 million cut)
  25. Cardiff – (no closures, cuts to be considerd on 4/3/11)
  26. Carmarthenshire5 in 2011, 18 in 2012 therefore 23. (improvements in Llanelli and Carmarthen)
  27. Central Bedfordshire – one mobile library to go
  28. Ceredigion – (£1m “relocation” of Aberystwyth, £100k to be spent on Cardigan)
  29. City of London – (15.9% cut to Libraries/Archives/Art Dept budget, cuts to London Metropolitan Archives opening hours.  Source = LAGAG update email ) (cuts in Guildhall and City Business Libraries hours)
  30. Conwy – 7 (out of 12) (review under way)
  31. Cornwall – 2011 cuts confirmed – (£1.5m cut, 90 hours lost, merge with Registrars/One Stop Shops)
  32. Coventry – (opening hours cut, more fees)
  33. Croydon – Up to 6 (public gets to choose which), (£690k saving) (council will decide in July 2011)
  34. Cumbria – (review under way, no closures yet, 3 of 6 mobile libraries closed in 2010) 
  35. Darlington – some (£250k from budget of £1m) off budget (consultation may take one year)
  36. Denbighshire – (Rhyl has reopened after £300,000 refurbishment; no closure or merger plans, although ‘this may be reviewed”)
  37. Derbyshire – (Opening hours to be cut)
  38. Devon (may have reduced opening hours, less mobile stops, no new Exeter Library – suggests mobile library service has improved).  BBC article confirms no closures. (“brutal” cuts to Exeter Record Office). 
  39. Doncaster14 (out of 26) safeguarded for one year but still under threat  (may also be taken out of council control) (over 50% cut in funding)
  40. Dorset– up to 20 (out of 34) to close or be given to community groups  (£143k off bookfund).  Dorset is the sole council to receive an actual increase in funding for 2010/11. (£800k cut for libraries)(council confirms £800k cut but gives three months extra time for consultation)(apparently, only choice on consultation is for the community to take them over)
  41. Dumfries and Galloway -(£256k cut via staffing and other)
  42. Dundee – (to transfer to the same trust as swimming pools/basketball)
  43. Durham – some (£1.5m cut by 2015) (decision on closures delayed until 2012)
  44. Ealing 3
  45. East Sussex – (£313k cut) (less books bought)
  46. Edinburgh – (£550k cut)(possible cut in mobiles)
  47. Enfield – Up to 3 out of 16 libraries under threat (£1.5m cut over four years) 
  48. Essex – 2011 confirmed  (extensive opening hours cuts to 54 of 73 branches, 21 jobs to go) (no cuts to mobiles)
  49. Falkirk – (transferred to Trust)
  50. Flintshire3 confirmed (8.3.11, 2 libraries reprieved) as closing one mobile confirmed (£40k cut)
  51. Gateshead – some (school library service, music library, AIRS talking newspaper under threat)
  52. Gloucestershire –  confirmed 10 branches and 6 mobiles to close or be run by volunteers. 8 libraries open 12 hours per week rather than previously proposed 3.5, £10k to community groups who take over a library [previously, up to 18 and 6 mobiles  – 10 to close or go to volunteers. 7 to close if they don’t find a partner (43% total cut in funding). (Cinderford saved) (revised proposals here)  A further 11 reduced to 3.5 days a week. 100 library jobs to go say UNISON, 40 FTE to go says council, inc 36 managers cut to 9, 3.5 FTE librarian posts cut (to 10)] (legal challenge)
  53. Greenwich1 (Greenwich council has reserve of £133m – the highest in the country)(could be turned into a Trust) (school library service closed)
  54. Hammersmith and Fulham – 2 (to be run by volunteers) and 1 mobile (record office to have £70k cut from £88k, volunteers, presumably no professional archivists, reduced hours) (£310k cut)
  55. Hampshire – 13 mobiles confirmed as cut (now 365 stops rather than 1200) (£600k cut, 58 FTE jobs to go) (and mobile libraries cut within two miles of each branch, this report says 18FTE to go)(libraries merged with IT/property etc) Source of number of mobiles is UNISON Hampshire, No extra overtime or weekend pay
  56. Haringey – (staff cuts)
  57. Harrow – (34 FTE to go)(self-service machines to increase)
  58. Hartlepool2 (out of 7) to close (another to merge with community centre, all library’s hours cut)
  59. Herefordshire – (new Ledbury Library delayed) (no branches to close but mobile library review)
  60. Hertfordshire5 mobiles (2011 Confirmed – opening hours to be cut by one third – from 2236 hours down to 1575) (mobile libraries cut)(records office hours cut) – At least one library (Borehamwood)  faces a 40% cut. (£580k cut in first year, £1.4m after – plus a further £275k from mobiles and £131k in records office/HQ library mean total cut of over £1.8m)) (cuts confirmed) (some mobile stops saved)
  61. Highland – (Wick Library to close and merge with school library) (Libraries to be run by an ALO – “Arms Length Organisation” to avoid tax) (this report says no closures) (suggestion that professional staff are being lost – a source is needed).
  62. Hounslow – initial plan to close 8 cancelled after public consultation, £300k cut in bookfund, some libraries may still be at risk as cuts “postponed”.
  63. Inverclyde – some
  64. Isle of Wight – 5 (confirmed) (out of 11) (£100k offered as temporary extra) (four libraries will remain open at 21 hours per week rather than previously mentioned 10 hours) (full proposals here – 2/3/11) (Legal challenge)
  65. Islington – some (consultation to be launched on £430k cut/7.5% in 2011/12)
  66. Kent some (volunteers to be asked to run some) (83 FTE to go as self-service comes in)- Isle of Thanet one of areas hardest hit (School library service closed)
  67. Kingston – (50% adult bookfund cut)
  68. Lambeth4 branches (out of 11) and 2 mobiles (setting up a trust “which will give you a chance to run libraries”)(“@walkyouhome: EVERY librarian in Lambeth has been told they are having their post deleted. Only assistants and admin staff remain” on twitter 9.3.11 confirmed 13.3.11)
  69. Lancashire – 2 mobile libaries (plus 16% staffing cut)
  70. Leeds – Up to 20 (out of 52) – council says 20 closures are not about cuts but to make service viable.
  71. Leicestershire – NB This information is under doubt.  I have received a call saying this article relates to Leicester.  Article, though, seems to be indicate it is Leicestershire.  No libraries are down for closure according to his article, although they could all/some be transferred to a trust or privatised (merge of lending/reference- 14 FTE jobs lost).
  72. Leicestershire – (£250k cut in bookfund and hours)
  73. LewishamConfirmed 2011/2 5 (41% cut – £800k) (legal challenge)
  74. Lincolnshire – (“services will be cut back”)
  75. Liverpoolsome (£500k / 28% may be closures / cuts in opening hours)
  76. Manchester5 (may also be 4, may be 6 – see link)  (plus no libraries open on Friday or Saturday)(£394k cut) (end of homework clubs) (council has reserve of £109m)
  77. Merthyr Tydfil – some
  78. Merton – (cuts in opening hours at West Barnes and Colliers Wood, £81k cut)
  79. Milton Keynes – 2 (Feb 2011 – closures delayed for 12 months)
  80. Moray – some – (previously marked as no public libraries closing but council has appealed for volunteer groups to run them, may move to being in a Trust, another article here).
  81. Newcastle – (12 jobs lost, £245k cut) (8 libraries to be semi-staffed “library express”)
  82. Newport – 7 (“No closure plans; considering how to ensure “21st Century provision”)
  83. Norfolk – (£1.5m over 3 yrs proposed cut inc opening hours cut, staffing cut, bookfund cut, less mobile visits)
  84. Northern Ireland– 20 (cut in bookfund, 15 to 25% cut in hours, recruitment freeze, removal of buildings budget (denials up to 30 could close)
  85. Northamptonshire – Up to 8 libraries originally under threat,. Libraries given a reprieve but still apparently under longer term threat. (Cuts to management and support).
  86. Northumberland – some
  87. North Lanarkshire – 1 (closed March 2010)
  88. North Lincolnshire – (£15k opening hour cut, £30k Bookfund cut)
  89. North Norfolk – some (c. £1m reduction)
  90. North Somerset – 1 closed, 2 proposed, volunteers may run libraries. Weston Mercury update
  91. North Yorkshire24 (out of 42) to close or be staffed by volunteers, 9 mobiles to go off road, surviving libraries could have funding cut to share out with any community-run libraries established. (£2.3m cut from £7.5m total)(£650k to keep libraries open a bit more, inc. from bookfund)(consultation ended)
  92. Nottingham – 1 (3 libraries to close, 2 new ones to open) (computer use to be charged)(1 library closed)
  93. Nottinghamshire – (22 out of 28 libraries to have their opening hours cut, 80 FTE jobs to go, 50% off bookfund, 1 library already closed.
  94. Oldham – (increase in volunteers, merging, cuts)
  95. Oxfordshire – (£300k extra found – strong rumours libraries to be “saved”) (apparently confirmed 2011 but subject to review in Summer) 20 – (£2m)  list of those under threat here, Oxford Central hours extended to 7 days per week . also, Record Office cuts. (private company LSSI interested in taking over libraries)
  96. Peterborough – (8 out of 10 libraries cutting hours, most by one third, £250k cut from £1.9m)
  97. Plymouth – some – £370k cut 2011 £480k 2012 £620k 2013 – 9 FTE (10%) cut to staffing, reduction to opening hour, increased computer charging, less security.  No closures 2011 but 5 claimed as under threat for future years – Stoke, Southway, Ernesettle, Eggbuckland and West Park
  98. Powys – (cuts, decision in March)
  99. Redbridge – 5 out of 12 may close, another may relocate (£2.3m cut). Goodmayes saved.
  100. Renfrewshire 1 (1 library to move into smaller sites in community centres)
  101. Richmond – 1 (£351k cut) (service may be privatised) Heathfield due to close in March.
  102. Rochdale1 (some library managers to to go in first phase of cuts, bookfund cut by two-thirds)
  103. Rutland – (6 libraries to have reduced hours, staff cut)
  104. Salford3 – some libraries to move to sports centres or provide space for community groups (2 to have reduced hours)
  105. Sefton – 3 (consultation here) (or is it “just” an opening hours cut?)
  106. Sheffield – (30% cut expected, £2.5m) (no closures, opening hours reduced) (33 FTE, mobile reduction)
  107. Shropshire – 2 and 3 mobiles(reference library to merge with central library) (may move to Trust, volunteer or privately managed)
  108. Slough – (put library services out to tender, Essex will help run service)
  109. Somerset–  2011 Confirmed – 11 (out of 34) (£1.35m cut) will be closed/offered to community groups over 2 years. 4 (out of 6) mobile libraries will also go.  25% cut in funding. Full (revised) plans here (20% cut in opening hours). Rethink on mobiles may happen – article here. Public will be asked for “voluntary contributions”. (legal challenge)
  110. South Tyneside – (libraries could move into a Trust)
  111. Southampton – 2 (charges increase)
  112. Southend – some
  113. Southwark – (school libray service closed)
  114. Stoke – 2 and 1 mobile library, (ends RNIB service)
  115. Suffolkconfirmed 2011 £350k this year, 29 (out of 44) to be “divested” 2012/13 – (three month consultation here until April 30, £2m cut 30% ) (Private firm LSSI in talks to take over all libraries) (petition here)
  116. Surrey –  11 and 5 mobiles (£1m cut)(confirmed 1/3/11 council overrules scrutiny committee, 6 months for local groups to organise to run them) (Feb 2011 -delayed while consultation takes place1/3/11 scrutiny committee argued for longer consultation) 
  117. Sutton1 mobile library and some branches (9.3.11 “main” libraries will be kept open) (£935k off £6m p.a. budget) (school library service to close)
  118. Swansea – some
  119. Thanet – some
  120. Thurrock – Confirmed 2011 £350k cut, staffing reduction (20% cut in hours if work more than 15 hours), all to close on Mondays. 
  121. Tower Hamlets – (staff made to reapply for their own jobs -23 library staff replaced)
  122. Trafford – (mobile library to be staffed by volunteers)
  123. Vale of Glamorganmobile library reduction considered
  124. Wakefieldat least 2 ,(libraries may be run by church/charities) new central library but local closures.
  125. Walsall – some (previous article had called them safe but under review, may close in 2012)
  126. Waltham Forest – some
  127. Wandsworth – (York Gardens – description of council proposals here, library stays open but with cuts in service and staffingdecision not well-liked) mention in Guardian here plus reduction in hours in others. Council papers here.
  128. Warrington – (2011 Confimed)  2 and 1 mobile library confirmed . More info here. Journals stopped also, £25k off staff. £10k off reference.
  129. Warwickshire – 16 (out of 34) (council agenda here, 30%, £2m cut from £7.4m budget over three years) – official report from council here, (£2m already cuts since 2006, staffing already cut by 63 FTE 24%), Statistics of usage/cost in table/chart form,   special county map of closures here.
  130. West Berkshire (£200k cut).
  131. West Dunbartonshire – 3 (some staff losses too)
  132. West Sussex Some (5 FTE lost, some librarians pay reduced to library assistant)(job losses) (new library opens)Western Isles – (cuts in opening hours by one day per week and during Summer)
  133. Westminster – 1 (St James’s Library to close) (Marylebone may never reopen)
  134. Wigan– Up to 15 out of 17  (£1.1m cut off £4m budget)
  135. Wiltshire – 10 (plus reductions in hours in all but one of the others, more cuts next year) (26 FTE posts have gone in Dec 2010  inc. 9 out of 13 community librarians)(cuts include a £940k library opened Dec 2010)(self-service in all)
  136. Worcestershire – at least 4 (St John’s, Wardle, Pershore and Broadway) (£1m plus cut) (Pershore library to move out of town centre) , contact centres may combine with libraries
  137. York – (libraries to be “hit”)
Authorities which have announced there will be no library closures (2011 financial year) NB unlisted cuts may be going ahead but not known about by this blog (info from published news and council reports)
  1. Anglesey
  2. Brighton.
  3. Barking and Dagenham 
  4. Blaenau Gwent 
  5. Cardiff 
  6. Cheshire West and Chester.  
  7. Cornwall – (90 hours cut, £1.5m cut, one stop shops/Registrars merging into them, book supply being done differently to save money, no guarantee for 2012) (23% cut in library budget, 102 hours p.w. cut). 
  8. Coventry (but less opening hours, fees to rise).
  9. Derby.
  10. Devon (may have reduced opening hours, less mobile stops, no new Exeter Library – suggests mobile library service has improved).  BBC article confirms no closures. (“brutal” cuts to Exeter Record Office).  
  11. Dumfries & Galloway (£256k staff/pther cuts)
  12. Edinburgh (£550 cut) (pledge to keep open is for the lifetime of the administration)
  13. Essex(but other cuts – see list above).
  14. Glasgow – no closures (or cuts to opening hour cuts to bookfund)
  15. Gwynedd.  
  16. Halton “Despite the economic climate we are continuing to invest in our libraries”
  17. Haringey .
  18. Harrow (some increase in hours, more self-service but less staff).  
  19. Highland (but other cuts – see list above). 
  20. Hillingdon
  21. Hull (number of libraries actually increasing here).
  22. Kirklees.  
  23. Lancashire (but staffing cuts)  
  24. Leicestershire (but opening hours and bookfund cut – £250k). 
  25. Lincolnshire (but “library services cut back”)
  26. Medway.  
  27. Merton – (£118k cut – 2 libraries will have reduced hours but reprieved from threatened closure). 
  28. Monmouthshire
  29. Neath Port Talbot  
  30. Newcastle
  31. Norfolk – no closures but staffing cut, bookfund cut, opening hours cut, less mobile visits). 
  32. North Ayrshire.
  33. North Lincolnshire.  
  34. North Tyneside  
  35. North East Lincolnshire
  36. Northumberland:
  37. Nottinghamshire  – no plans to close any branches but massive reductions in opening hours. 
  38. Oldham  
  39. Pembrokeshire
  40. Plymouth(opening hours to reduce, managers to go)(but major cuts, closures possible 2012/3)
  41. Poole. 
  42. Portsmouth (opening new library). 
  43. Rhondda Cynon Taff:
  44. Rochdale:
  45. Sandwell:
  46. Slough (3 new libraries opening, opening hours up 20%, contract out service)  
  47. Southampton. 
  48. Staffordshire (free internet access also retained, using libraries as meeting places, wifi introduced).  ““While libraries around the country are closing, Staffordshire is committed to protecting and innovating the service to meet people’s needs. It’s very clear that libraries are a priority for the people of Staffordshire.”
  49. Sheffield (cuts in opening hours).  
  50. Slough (3 new libraries opening here, usage significantly up). 
  51. Swindon.
  52. Torfaen (but one closed April 2010)  
  53. Tower Hamlets,
  54. Thurrock (but other cuts) 
  55. Trafford – (but mobile library staff will be replaced by volunteers). 
  56. West Berkshire (£200k cut).
  57. Windsor and Maidenhead. 
  58. Wirral (plus £1 million investment inc ebooks, wifi, info screens)
  59. Wrexham  (libraries increasing)