Voices for the Library reports on a shocking Private Eye article that Ed Vaizey, the minister for libraries, has not had one meeting with library campaigners in the last year.  What has he been doing when the libraries he has in charge of have been under threat and in the news as never before?  Apparently, he is the “most-lobbied” minister in the whole government – but not by voters, just private companies.  He has had seven meetings just with Warner Bros alone during the same period.

Yesterday’s discussion of public libraries at Kensal Rise Library and on Newsnight has already been the subject of an article earlier today on Public Libraries News.  It as covered in the Telegraph as Alan Bennett: closing libraries is tantamount to “child abuse” , in the Mail as Shutting libraries is child abuse and in the London Evening Standard as Library closures like child abuse, says Alan Bennett.  The Bookseller notes the success of the programme in raising the issue in a short article titled Bennett’s Newsnight library defence becomes Twitter trend.  To help raise money for the legal challenge to save Kensal Rise and other Brent libraries, see Brent SOS Libraries.

451 libraries (383 buildings and 68 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”)


Computers “harm reading”Express.  ““It is not the computers in themselves or the activities they are used for that impair reading skills but rather the way in which the computers have stolen time from leisure reading.”
Ebooks in libraries – Facet Publishing.  New book published.
Hidden treasures in my local library – Fiction uncovered.   “Our local library service continues to provide a valuable and vital service to society, continually introducing readers to new books and authors every day. “

Despite books kindled in electronic flames.
The locket of bookish love
still opens and shuts.
But its words have migrated
to a luminous elsewhere.
Neither completely oral nor written —
a somewhere in between.
Then will oak, willow,
birch, and olive poets return
to their digital tribes —
trees wander back to the forest?

Libraries news – Private Eye (not available online – issue 1289, pg 10).  Ed Vaizey has had 148 meetings since taking over as minister responsible for libraries and has become the most lobbied minister – by telecoms companies.  He has only had one meeting entirely concerned with libraries, none with campaigners.

“When I was a kid and the other kids were home watching Leave It to Beaver,” Winfrey has said, “my father and stepmother were marching me off to the library.” She put it this way: “Getting my library card was like citizenship; it was like American citizenship.” Reading for life: Oprah Winfrey – American Libraries (USA).  “The ways Oprah Winfrey has supported the programs, the mission, and the success of libraries in the United States are legion.”

Saving libraries in YorkshireGuardian.  Includes quotes from a pro-library WI spokesman who has set up a new WI in a library, a Conservative councillor delighted that Rawdon Library has been given a 12 month reprieve, an Addingham Library supporter keen to preserve it as volunteer-run and part of the council network.
Scenes from Los Angeles’s teacher-librarian witch hunt – Boingboing (USA).
What is your library worth to you? – Mount Vernon Public Library (USA).  This handy site will calculate how much your library usage would cost if you needed to pay for everything.

News by local library authority

Dorset – Beaminster: not going without a fight – View Online.  Three-week series of consultation meetings start amidst “absolutely outrageous” lack of publicity. 
Dorset – Lyme Regis: councillors opposed to taking over the town’s library service – View Online.  Local councillors thought it unfair to do so as they were already effectively paying for it via council tax anyway.  Lyme already has a great deal of volunteering so there was a feeling that a volunteer-run library would be a step too far.
Dorset – Lyme Regis: Library is one of six that may survive closure – View Online.  Six closures (out of the 20 proposed) may be “open to challenge” in the view os the council. 
Enfield – Boosts digital reference role – Guardian.  “it is now a reflex action for many people to run a search on Google or Wikipedia. He [librarian] says that in many cases this will not be as productive as going to the council reference library, as they have sources that are more accurate and focused on specific areas of interest.”
Norfolk – Library hours could be cut – Bury Free Press. Public consultation on cutting all libraries’ hours by 10% started last week. 
Renfrewshire – Lochwinnoch library and annexe action group – Gryffe Advertiser (p.38).  500 responses to campaigner’s questionnaire, locals not properly consulted on closure of library.  Appeal to Scottish Ombudsman likely.
Wokingham – Private libraries row hots up – Get Wokingham.  No libraries to close but “one of the first tasks for the contracted company would be to conduct a full review of library locations to assess their efficiency”, confident of there being no job losses.  Council expects saving of £200,000 (10%) in first year. Opposition (Lib Dem) councillor says ““I do not know what they’re trying to achieve with this other than palm the libraries off on someone else and then blame someone else when they shut them. It’s appalling.”.  Council reveals it would have closed libraries otherwise.