Reassurances have been given by the DCMS that they will step in and call public inquiries into library closures if necessary.  Alan Gibbons and the Campaign Against the Book have therefore dropped their moves towards a judicial inquiry.  See Alan’s article here.

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (see tally link on right for full list)


Five myths about the Information Age Chronicle of Higher Education (USA)Debunks several myths like “the book is dead” (more print books are published every year than in the previous year), Google estimates 88% of books not available online and … libraries are not obsolete.
Labour councils “sitting on cash” as services are cutDaily Telegraph (front page)Much debate between Labour and Conservatives on who is sitting on the most money and why the other side should spend it on things like libraries.
Lending to Learning: The development and extension of public libraries – Ronan O’Beirne.  Details of new book. “the public library [should be] not simply as a national institution steeped in tradition, or as a purposeless place providing little more than popular glossy magazine titles, but as a learning space. Or, more correctly, a space owned by and dedicated to learners.” Radio interview with author (and a interviewer knowledgeable about libraries) on Bradford Commumity Broadcasting about the book and the future of libraries is here. 
Libraries: the alternative approach of Brent and BucksConservativeHome.  Compares Brent’s decision to close 6 of its 12 libraries with Buckinghamshire’s more Big Society approach to closing 16 out of 23.  
Library War LISNewsPoster notes debate between lovers of Ebooks and lovers of printed books. (USA) 
Time libraries were shelved? – Silicon (Peter Cochrane’s Blog).  Writer no longer uses paper books, that there is no further point in them or encyclopaedias, that libraries should be closed because other services are more necessary but he does not wish to enter the libraries debate. See response by Alan Gibbons.

What’s the key to a good job interview? – Wikiman.  How to get a job in libraries.

What does it mean, the children ask, borrow a book?
Why borrow when you can buy everything – print on demand –
from a warehouse the size of the amazon rainforest
or download to read later?  They laugh when we say we
used to walk to a building where you could ‘borrow’ books.
The brown packages tumble through the letterbox:
as if they’d ever give them back!  The boy skims through
a billion pages.  The girl fondles her kindle like a wounded pet.
They look up at us and smile, their eyes shining pixels:
what does it mean, the last library has shut tight?
We try to explain.  Date stamps flicker on their lashes. 
Borrow – A Poem by Rosie Miles (Voices for the Library)

Changes to Tally

Bromley – Council has £33m cash reserves
Gloucestershire – Consultation on opening hours until 30th April. 
Lambeth – Council has £93.7m cash reserves.
Liverpool – Council has £121.7m cash reserves according to Conservatives (£16m according to council)
Manchester – Council has £95.2m cash reserves
Nottingham – Council has £50.7m cash reserves.

News by authority

Brent – Councillors told to resign after library axe voteHarrow Observer.  Councillor says “There are more things to consider than just what people said in the consultation”.  Six libraries to close while £100m spent on new town hall.
Croydon – Bashford refuses to answer key questions on librariesInside Croydon. Council is strongly suspected of having already decided to close libraries and transfer them to volunteers. Despite consultation, one councillor has already said “Three libraries are looking at going, Sanderstead being one of them.”
Ealing – Anger over Hanwell Library proposals – Ealing Today.  LibDem councillor calls consultation loaded and points out excludes those who are not online. Hanwell costs £82k p.a to run.  Packed meeting included two former labout councillors and that council “clearly needs to look elsewhere to find these savings.”

“We were able to speak up for everyone in Gloucestershire being affected by the slashing of library services and to whom the county council will not listen, including the 10 communities that will no longer have public libraries and the users of the mobile library services which are being completely axed. It’s such a shame that we have had to travel all the way to Westminster and to central government to make our voices heard, as this is exactly the kind of open and honest discussion we have been trying to have with GCC for months, but to no avail.” Gloucestershire – Library campaigners put their case to government officialsTewkesbury Admag.

Gloucestershire – Library users consulted on opening hours – Tewkesbury AdMag. “Gloucestershire County Council has used statistics on individual library use to suggest opening hours, but says no decisions have been taken and people are being asked to give their views on what suits them”
Leicestershire – Library self-service machines a huge success! – InLoughborough. 85% of issues through self-service machines saving £330k in staffing costs.
Oxfordshire – Benson: Campaign group launched to save library from chop – Henley Standard.  Benson Library’s usage is growing, 40% of its usage is by children and it has won awards for good service.
Suffolk – Lollipop patrols saved by new county council leader – EADT.  Hopeful signs that new council Leader will review decision to close 29 out of 44 libraries.
Suffolk – Stradbroke Parish Council’s response to Suffolk Library Consultation – James Hargrave’s Blog.  Parish Council would prefer to keep library as is, however being Suffolk are determined to close, parish council will take over role with funding by Suffolk for one year.
Wirral – Woman who led Wirral libraries inquiry to speak at New Brighton conference – Wirral News.  Sue Charteris will be speaking in her capacity as co-founder of “Shared Intelligance” at the Reader Organisation’s Reading for Wellbeing Conference at the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton on May 17