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 breakdown).

Comment

Nick Clegg has said that it is not the Lib Dems closing libraries.  For this, Alan Gibbons calls him the world’s biggest hypocrite.  Library campaigner Shirley Burnham‘s response is well worth reprinting in full

“The Liberal Democrat Party included nothing about public libraries in its 2010 manifesto, in spite of being cognisant of the threat to the service and in touch with the best minds in the country on the issue well before its publication. Contact with library experts was strictly confidential whilst Lib Dem shadow ministers attempted to draft a policy for public libraries. No-one has to date broken that confidentiality. Now, reading Nick Clegg’s protestations about Libraries, I am angry…. So, I confirm that, when it mattered and when they had opportunity, the Lib Dems performance was abysmal. Subsequently they chose to ally themselves with the Tories who seem hell bent on overseeing the destruction of this great institution, wholly against the public will.

Making political speeches about Libraries now, Mr Clegg, does not convince this former member of your Party. Please take the Culture Minister and Secretary of State by the lapels and insist that they undertake their statutory duties. Failing that, you have no credibility on this issue whatsoever.” 
 
News
(S) shows article added on Sunday

Beast’s business model and what it means for your library – Privatisation Beast (USA) Review of doctoral thesis on the LSSI business model (S)
Clegg tells Lib Dems: Take fight to Tories – Sky News “Speaking in his Sheffield consituency, Mr Clegg attacked cuts made by both Tory and Labour councils to libraries and Sure Start children’s centres across the country. He said: “If you value these services, my message to you is very clear: Lib-Dems are with you.”
Ebooks pass another milestone – Guardian.  Ebook sales in the USA have now overtaken paperback sales in terms of value (not in terms of absolute number) after a 203% increase compared to the same time last year.
Ed Miliband slams Nick Clegg over Lib Dems’ string of broken promises - Mirror.
It is the fate of libraries to die - Financial Times.  [There is a certain irony that this article is found behind a paywall].  Article argues that libraries are luxuries that can no longer be afforded.
Lib Dems go on offensive ahead of council elections – Independent.
Manifestos – Stage one accomplished - Posterous.  Summary of how libraries have been put on the political agenda in Scotland.
Tigers, poets and superheroes - Voices for the Library. Highlights library initiatives including Kirklees housebound borrowers special event, Chris Manby author visit, Swansea Easter events including a superhero party, Edinburgh “Tiger Tales” with event held at Edinburgh Zoo.

Changes by Authority

Enfield – 3 out of 16 under threat (Ordnance Road Library,Enfield Highway Library,Bullsmoor Library) under threat. £578k cut 2011, £300k 2012 and 2013. If massive opposition, libraries could stay open but staffed with volunteers.  Decision to be made in “Summer”.
Portsmouth£650k cut – proposal is for Central Library closed every Friday, whole service cutting 22 full-time equivalent posts. 
Swindon£45k external consultancy report on the future management of its libraries includes June decision on privatisation. (S)

News by Authority

Croydon – Bradmore Green Library is the favourite of users, according to consultation - This is Croydon Today (S).  Smaller libraries attact more “favourite” ticks than Central library.
Croydon – Survey finds threatened libraries more popular than Croydon’s central library – This is Croydon Today (S).
Cumbria – Libraries at risk in council shake-up – Whitehaven NewsCouncil says closing 20 libraries and putting 400 (sic) books into pubs shows they’re thinking differently. Family Centre deputy chief executive disagrees.

“Officers at Cumbria County Council want to close 20 public libraries and move them into village shops, post offices and pubs – which are closing even faster than libraries because they’re not seen as cool either. It’s not to save money, they say. Library closures and reduction in book stocks are for… er, I’m not sure they explained that fully but it’s for reasons of coolness, is my guess. Council officers who are not at all keen on libraries are clearly cooler than those of us who are. They must by iOfficers.” Cumbria – Where is the romance, the community in a Kindle, an Ipad? - News and Star. 

Doncaster – MP Rosie Winterton lends her support to Save Doncaster Libraries – Save Doncaster Libraries.  Labour Chief Whip/MP Doncaster Central.
Doncaster – Naming and shaming library cutters - Save Doncaster Libraries.  Two conservatives who voted for library closures, despite being told not to by their party whip are shown. (S)
Enfield – Libraries under threat again as budget cuts bite – North London newspapers. ““This is very worrying, especially in an age where we are trying to promote education and when there are so many changes coming in. People need their libraries, and not just for books – they are learning resource centres and have internet access for those who don’t have it at home. We would be in favour of having volunteers staffing the library if it means they can stay open.”
Hertfordshire – Bushey Library to close for three month refurbishment - Watford Observer. More computers, wifi, events space, larger children’s area. (S)
Portsmouth – Readers in protest against council plans to slash library staff - News. ‘I have a learning disability and the library has been a great place for me to come. It has so much more information than anywhere else and it’s very wrong to cut back library services.’
Surrey – Library closing? Borrow a phone book - This is Surrey Today. Telephone box still in use has shelf added with donated books – “Writing on the shelf says “You’re welcome to take me, but make sure to replace me” (S)
Swindon – Council meeting 14th April - Save Old Town Library Campaign.  Swindon’s libraries may be privatised. (S)