In other news, Lewisham’s council papers show who they want to take over the five libraries under threat – four will go to community groups, one may be closed.  Also, 38 000 people have signed in one day an electronic petition against HarperCollins wishing to self-destruct library e-books.  In Suffolk, worried library users are wondering how their “saved” libraries will be after a 30% cut in funding… and, finally, spare a thought for the librarians in Devon who are being forced to reapply for their jobs on lower pay. 
490 libraries (416 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  For full breakdown by authority, see “tally” on right.
News
Europe risks undermining public servicesPublic Service Europe.  Professor of public policy explains why privatising public services like libraries undermines them.
High Court challenge to library closures in the West – BBC.  Public Interest Lawyers issues a claim to High Court today against Somerset and Gloucestershire on the grounds that surviving service would not be “comprehensive and efficient”, there was insufficient consultation and that the changes will have a disproportionate impact on the vulnerable.
In defense of the Memory Theater – Open Letters Monthly (USA).  “Libraries absolutely cannot keel over and let Google replace them. They are our collective bookshelves, the memory theater for a community.”

“Undoubtedly there are more urgent, life-or-death concerns: hospitals, schools, wars. Yet what they forget, the powers that be, is that when everything else is sliding and slipping, the one thing you have left is the possibility of escape through your imagination. And that’s what a library offers, apart from being a social space, or a computer room, or a community centre, or an information point, or whatever else the people want it to be; it’s a portal for dreamt-up adventure, a rocket to the moon” Library – New Statesman. 

Legal challenges to library closuresPublic Interest Lawyers.  Libraries are closing in most economically deprives areas, one consultation was for just one month, the other was still ongoing when the decision was voted through council.
Tell HarperCollins: Limited checkouts on books is wrong for librariesChange.org.  US Petition (but anyone can sign) protesting against publisher’s decision to self-destruct ebooks after 26 issues, already has over 32000 electronic signatures.
Changes to tally
News by Authority
Barnet – Fighting closure in Barnet – Alan Gibbons. Petition to save Friern Barnet Library. 
Brent – Council’s ‘million pound spending spree’ while libraries face closure - Harrow Observer.  £1.2m spent on consultants in one month – the same month it recommended closing 6 libraries to save £1m over two years. Brent Youth Parliament has persuaded scrutiny committee to keep libraries open during exam time.  Final decision on libraries to be taken on May 22nd.
Devon – Sidmouth: cuts hit library – View Online.  Manager of library made redundant but able to reapply for her post at a lower grade. 
Dorset – Library bid: Campaigners say new proposals would be “unworkable”Dorset Echo.  Improved council offer does not solve problem of where the volunteers will come from. 
Gloucestershire – legal challenge launched against Gloucestershire county council’s library cuts – FoGL.  Astonished council will waste money in defending challenges.  “The County Council obviously feel they are not answerable to Gloucestershire residents, so now they are left answerable to the law – it is dismaying that they have let it come to this.”
Lewisham – Asset transfer proposals and provision of community library facilities – Lewisham Council.  If the council agrees, Grove Park, Sydenham and Crofton Park Libraries will be divested to Eco Computer Systems although they are worried that ECS will have to undergo massive expansion to cope and may go bankrupt.  Age Exchange will take over Blackheath.  New Cross may close.
Newcastle – a picture of Lib Dem declineGuardian.  “Newcastle council has been very smart in avoiding cuts that are likely to be emotive or trigger active opposition. Library services provide an apt illustration: instead of closing libraries, a measure liable to generate popular campaigns in their defence, there is a move towards “express libraries” with fewer staff and shorter hours, which may mark a worsening in provision but doesn’t provide a rallying point for campaigners
Somerset – Watchet’s legal challenge – Alan Gibbons. Watchet Library was gifted to the town for a library in 1953.  “It is a disgrace that the Library is being closed. Watchet is a small town and there are very few amenities remaining since the council closed the youth centres”. 
Suffolk – Suffolk libraries could remain open under new proposals - BBC.  Worries over what a “community interest company” would mean in practice.
Suffolk – Suffolk library u-turn: devil in the detail?James Hargrave’s Blog. 30% cut in budget still expected (compared to a 20% cut in council budget as a whole). Other worries – who is going to be on board of directors of new libraries Community Interest Company (CIC), were staff consulted, will there be a new head of Suffolk Libraries, how will the CIC be accountable to the public.