Archive for June, 2011

“The call to save libraries is long overdue – so we can expect to pay heavily for it”

I noticed the above quote on Twitter today.  I fear it may be true but, like all good things, the price will be worth it.  It’s the price of not paying it that is not.
395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

 
News

  • Attracting and retaining volunteersCreating Capacity.  Course advertised to librarians.
  • Could we replace libraries with book swapping clubs?Guardian.  Lottery-funded NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)’s Philip Colligan says “Anyone who has worked in a council knows that you need to tread carefully when it comes to libraries, or indeed any of the universal services that most taxpayers take for granted. The frequency of bin collections, charges for leisure facilities, library opening hours and street cleaning standards are all issues that excite the passions of the public, and which politicians and managers misjudge at their peril.”.  Example is Sutton Bookshare, [specifically described by its creator as not a replacement for libraries]
  • Keeping reading on track - Libraryinfonews.  “I’m irritated at the thought of video or other bits of media distracting from reading. And those experimental texts that ask readers to choose how the story progresses seem, to me, simply bizarre.” 
  • Library tribeVoices for the Library.  “My name is Tony Smith and I have recently started to document my local library in a photographic project I call ‘Library Tribe’. It started as a reaction to the closure of my local branch library, which was only a couple of streets walk away. I had taken an image in there just over a year ago. The building also doubled up as my local polling station and that is where I last cast my vote in the May 2010 parliamentary elections. I don’t recall being asked to vote on losing my library at the time.”
  • Tale of two librariesChB:PhD.  In Denmark, threatened library went almost completely self-service for 18 hours per day, 7 days per week.  CCTV and cardswipe to allow access and security.
  • Welcome privatized libraries with cautionSignal (USA).  “It is not enough to have a large amount of the current best-sellers. There is a need for a broad base of special-interest materials to meet the needs of those of us who are not part of the pop-book culture, but read to learn and broaden our knowledge bases”
  • With cuts like these it’s as if the Government doesn’t believe its own policies – London Evening Standard.  Member of PM’s inner circle, Phillip Blond, says “It’s almost as if the Government doesn’t believe in its own policies. Libraries and children’s centres are closing before the right to challenge [local council spending decisions] and the right to take over [public buildings] has come in. I’d have given it more time. I would not have front-loaded local authority cuts in order to allow these new models to come in.”

Changes to service

Bromley – Large scale reductions in opening hours. 

Local News

“It takes 3-4  years to train a librarian, and for someone to just go in and say we’ ll  take your book and we’ll stamp it…..you need to know a lot more than that and I feel quite strongly that the people who are trained librarians must feel very sore at all the time that they have spent in training to think that someone is going to volunteer to come and run the library…you’ve got to know what you are doing. It is not just scanning the barcode on books..I don’t think volunteers can be the answer  Gloucestershire – The WI get it, why doesn’t the secretary of state?BBC Radio Gloucestershire, 19:50 to 25:30.

  • Lewisham – Campaigner’s letterAlan Gibbons. “As a final punch line, thus far, no librarians in the Lewisham service seem to have been made redundant. They are too busy training volunteers! Thus there is no saving on salaries yet and neither is procedure being followed, e.g. TUPE or the Data Protection Act.”
  • Somerset – Burnham MP attacks plans for “massive cuts” to mobile librariesBurnham on Sea. Tessa Munt MP describes 25% cut in library services as “way more than is necessary” as government funding of Somerset has actually gone up by £20m. 

 

If you’re on strike, use your library

Comment
On Thursday 30th June, the better part of a million public sector workers will be on strike.  It will be the turn of those in public libraries to do the same thing soon enough.  Southampton librarians are already striking.  The Public Libraries News logo, gratefully taken from the genius Phil Bradley, says “this time we are all in the front line”.  If there has ever been a time since the Second World War for such unified action it is now.  So, those who are striking tomorrow and have some spare time, boost our usage statistics, rediscover the wonderful thing in your town called a Library.  Help library staff now and we’ll return the favour by answering your question or by helping your mother get her essential books or by helping your child choose a book.  Don’t help out and we may not be there when you need us.
395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

  • As WiFi havens and E-book Centers, public libraries aren’t going away soonFast Company (USA).  Usage and tech increases in American libraries but budgets are flat or cut.
  • Celebrate the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature 2011 - Daily Telegraph.  This is a golden age for children’s writing and there is something uniquely important about the books we read as children: few subsequent reading experiences are quite so intense or engrave so deeply into your imagination. At a time when libraries are under threat it is even more important that the joys of reading are highlighted.”
  • Chaos LibraryArtists and Makers. A “pop-up library … All books are donated freely and may be borrowed by anyone who visits the library, wherever it pops up.”
  • Communities will benefit from Big Society if postcode is rightPublicNet.  “The Big Society is set to bring benefits to many communities across the country, but others will lose out. The losers are in the areas with limited community wealth such as volunteering… In a boost to the Government’s Big Society agenda, new polling by Ipsos Mori shows that there is an untapped well of people willing to get more involved in community work through staffing libraries, sharing skills or mentoring children.”

Importance of promotional activityVoices for the Library.   Promoting events in libraries can improve usage and thus make the library safer from closure, especially as councils often refer to changes in usage from previous year.  Libraries and campaigners can therefore promote events like the Summer Reading Challenge in order to sustain the current service.

“This research event will bring together a range of senior council staff, providers, social entrepreneurs, innovators, community groups, cultural service experts, community groups, academics and service designers. It will test how emerging best practice could be developed further to imagine the next generation of local library services and define a new role for community assets.” Libraries and community assets: ripping up the rulebook - New Local Government Network and May Gurney.  6th July event at the Design Council. 

  • Localism Bill, part one – BBC Democracy Live.  “The bill hands powers from central government to local councils and neighbourhoods, as part of the government’s Big Society agenda. The government says local communities will be given more control over housing and planning decisions, and the right to buy pubs, shops and libraries put up for sale.” 
  • Realising Community Wealth - New Local Government Network.   £12 report (not seen)  uses research and polling to show that some areas may be more receptive for volunteers than others and many would be willing to staff libraries –  “In new heat maps illustrating Big Society resources, Barking & Dagenham and Harlow councils are least well placed to benefit from the Big Society, with the South West and North of England regions faring strongest.”
Save our libraries, fire the librarians - News Leader (USA). Article starts off questioning the need for a new library at the time of budget cuts then turns into probably the most bizarre mainstream article on librarians this year – “most librarians are little more than unionized pawns for the social-activist bosses of the American Library Association”, “an enforcer for ultraliberal sociopolitical cause”, “sided with terrorists to ban public debate”, ” vigorously promotes homosexuality and other [sic] deviant behavior by children”, “Our library has slanted bookshelves”.  The author chaired Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in South Florida.

  • Visits to the library - Marcus Moore.   “Looking round, it was obvious that many of those using the library computers were regulars: ordinary folk who can’t afford expensive technology; those working away from home; students doing research.”
  • What librarians and Google are for - Phil Bradley’s Weblog.   Neat summary of the differences which will not be spoiled by summarising here.
  • WI members launch Love Your Libraries campaignThis is Somerset. “An army of women campaigners are being mobilised to fight for libraries across the West, in a new campaign being spearheaded by the Women’s Institute. Tens of thousands of members from Dorset to Gloucestershire have backed plans for the campaign, called Love Your Libraries, to fight individual council plans to close branches, cut opening hours or replace staff with volunteers.” 
  • Writer-in-Residence, with a twist – Nilam Ashra-McGrath.  “I am to be a Writer-In-Residence at Huddersfield Library for the next two weeks. But this is a residency with a twist. Instead of going out to schools and community groups to encourage reading, writing and the take up of library services, I’ll be writing about the experience of using the library and what it means for its members. This has been a personal project of mine for a while and I am in bits with excitement.”

Changes to Service

Ealing -  Mobile Library to go but no branch libraries to close, “Birth of Eve” picture sale of £570k to go to Libraries for Wifi and new computers, Library opening hours reduced by 25 per week, move to Trust or other model to be considered, “comprehensive” volunteer programme, some branches may be entirely “self-service”, 20 FTE library jobs to go. 

Local News

  • Brent – Mark Twain stamp released as fight continues to save Kensal Rise Library - Save Kensal Rise library.  “Kensal Rise Library was opened by Mark Twain as a gift to the people of Brent from All Soul’s College, Oxford. It was opened to encourage reading and raise child literacy levels, and it is for that reason that residents are fighting so hard to keep it open.”.  Mark Twain Museum (USA) supports efforts to save library.
  • Croydon – Lies, damned lies and statistics? A working model? - Sanderstead Library Campaign. Relates to Voices for the Library post on promotion (above) – “Croydon has already experienced this decline in the breadth of activities on offer and in the promotion of its activities.  Calls to have events better advertised have been ignored so far.  Wrong or incomplete information is in circulation.”
  • Doncaster – Mayor critical as Miliband backs library closure protestStar.  “We will keep as many open as possible, working with the community. But we already have too many libraries in the borough. There are certainly some libraries where no-one has come forward as a community saying they are interested in keeping them open.”
  • Doncaster – Mayor Davies caught with his pants on fire againSave Doncaster Libraries. Mayor suggests he is (a) improving Central Library but no evidence of this and (b) bemoans lack interest in volunteer-run libraries as lack of interest in libraries, which is not the case.  In addition, the council has not made clear what, if any, support it would offer. 26,000 Doncaster people have signed petition to save their threatened libraries so far.
  • Ealing – Committee PapersEaling Council. Full proposals.- Mobile Library to go but no branch libraries. 
  • Ealing – Conservatives still worried about the future of Ealing LibrariesEaling Conservatives Press Release.  (Labour.) proposals suggest a “two tier” approach to libraries, with volunteers involved in some.  Unhappy with mobile library service going as 66% wanting it to stay (esp. nurseries where it stops). “Birth of Eve” painting should not have gone to supporting basic service.  “Whilst we welcome the reduction in the tiers of management, we deplore the reduction in customer facing staff in the libraries.”
  • Gloucestershire – Painswick library to be re-housed in the town hall - Stroud News & Journal.  “The original library building was closed in December 2009 on health and safety grounds, the town residents have been sourcing their books from a mobile library…formed a group of trustees, which includes professional librarians and people with a wide range of relevant experience in business, marketing, charity administration, law and the public sector.” 
  • Hampshire – Slimmed-down library ready to hit the road - Gazette.  13 mobile libraries cease from 4th July, £500k cut. 
  • Hertfordshire – Campaigner mobilises headteachers and MP against Borehamwood library cuts – Borehamwood Times.  Area of high deprivation should be cut less say local schools and James Clappison MP. “I want councillors to appreciate you cannot make these cuts without there being an impact on literacy.” says Louise Aldridge.
  • Isle of Wight – Volunteers “should not replace library workers” –  “Volunteers should supplement, but not replace, library provision on the Island, according to MP Andrew Turner”. 
  • Northern Ireland – Killyleagh library campaign use unique art formDown News. “The local library has a place in the social order and  sometimes we just don’t fully appreciate the importance of it. A library is a place where people meet socially too and this is an important function. So our library van is really a form of performance art, an expression about the experience of lending books.”
     
    “It’s not a smart move to close it down I believe”, passing  Dutch Pastor notices 
    Killyleagh Libraries campaign.  Northern Ireland – Save Killyleagh Library
    • Southampton – Council workers begin new strike – Library staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners, toll collectors and parking enforcement teams are walking out for seven days…. In February, councillors finalised budget cuts of £25m and said all workers earning more than £17,500, which is 65% of staff, would have their hours cut – resulting in a loss of pay.”.  All but one library closed by strike.
    • Suffolk – Rethink over future of Suffolk libraries - Haverhill Echo.  “Among the ten recommendations are that the distinction between ‘county’ and ‘community’ libraries should no longer apply, the role of mobile libraries should be made clear and that absolute clarity should be given to communities and groups interested in running a library.” 
    • Surrey – Communities need council libraries: join the lobbySave our services in Surrey.   “Join the lobby of the SCC Cabinet to save council libraries: Tuesday 26th July, 1pm, at County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston. Click here to download distributable flyers (PDF)”. 
    • Surrey – Group formed to fight Surrey library closures - Get Surrey.  Umbrella group formed – “Hands off Surrey Libraries group”. “Apart from the one representative of Surrey County Council management present, the meeting voted unanimously to oppose the council’s plans outright and to defend publicly owned and publicly run libraries across Surrey and to demand a full, open and transparent public consultation over the proposals.”
    • Wirral – Library plans a mistakeWirral Globe (Letters).   [Self-Service] “I feel the introduction of this system would make far more work for staff, as one only has to look at the supermarket self checkouts, a member of staff has to be on hand to sort out problems, and I feel that the proposed system for the library would make problems for older people and disabled.And, after all, a machine can’t smile at you or help with an enquiry as the staff do now”
    • Worcestershire – County Council has “no plans” to close Rubery Library - Bromsgrove Advertiser.   “As with all our libraries we are looking to see if the service can be run more efficiently, perhaps by sharing buildings with other organisations or getting the local community more involved.”

    Glos appears to ignore the legal injunction … but can Number Ten ignore the WI?

    Comment

    Gloucestershire council appear to be ignoring a legal injunction against them.  The second of the five points therein is that they must suspend “transferring or agreeing to transfer any library building or lease or responsibility for running any existing library”.  However, no less than nine such transfers  have been recommended for a council decision next week.  The Council seems confident it will win the legal hearing on the 7th July.  One wonders what advice they have been getting, and from whom.

    The Government may soon be getting advice from the WI, although it is unlikely to want it.  The Financial Times notes their new pro-library campaign is likely to alarm Number Ten.  The bastion of Middle England will be on the same side as Unison in opposing library closures. 

    395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

    News

    Are school librarians expendable? - New York Times.  “My concern, as someone who works with people who lack technological access and education, is that removing school librarians and media specialists from the educational environment will have the largest effect on those whose information access is already hampered by the same pressures that are affecting our schools. Public education in this country is a right, and libraries and librarians are an indivisible part of public education.”
    Communities Secretary Eric Pickle says “I was right” over local government spendin cuts - Liverpool Daily Post.  “The Communities Secretary insisted it was now clear that councils had been able to make the necessary spending reductions without “everything coming to an end” – just as he had predicted….However, Mr Pickles did not refer directly to the impact on council services, amid threats to libraries, leisure centres and – it was reported this week – deep spending cuts for old-age care.”

    “And so this is for the people for whom libraries saved their lives
    Shouting “throw the book at those who look to cut us with their knives”
    And so this is for the people who know lives are saved by culture
    But have seen the arts all torn apart by Philisitines and vultures”
    Part of For the PeoplePoem by Tony Walsh, commissioned by Unison for Glastonbury Festival.

    New research reveals council libraries have to do better onlineeGov monitor.  “While libraries are the fourth most important reason for people to visit council websites – the online library services are often too complicated and not user friendly….”
    What, dear reader, is the future of the book? - BBC Radio Four (six minutes).  Julia Donaldson “I saw an ebook on Alice in Wonderland … and there was some sort of button to press to make her neck grow and shrink …they’re just going to be pressing this wretched button”.  Penguin executive says people will not read books from page one to the end but dip in and out, google parts of it, etc.  Julia has refused a Gruffalo ebook, much to the annoyance of her publishers.  Early chapters of books may be put online free to encourage sales.  Charing Cross Road has some struggling bookshop: high fixed costs and low margins so it doesn’t take much to make it hard to sustain.  Specialist bookshops thrive, especially if they have atmosphere and passion.  Regardless of content, Sarah Waters argues people will still want characters and plots.
    WI launches campaign to save librariesFinancial Times.  “News of the campaign is likely to set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street given previous encounters between politicians and the WI’s formidable members… Gloria De Piero, a shadow culture minister, urged the coalition to “sit up and take notice” of the campaign. “The Women’s Institute are the backbone of so many communities and they work tirelessly for the good of them. They are campaigning for libraries because they know how vital they are to so many,” she said. 
    Womens’ Institute launches libraries campaignBookSeller.  “It is urging members to sign up to their local library and write to local councillors urging the importance of their local library to their community. It has also asked members to sign a petition, raising Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to hold a debate on any petition with more than 100,000 signatures.”
    Changes to services
    Portsmouth – Longer opening due to installation of self-service and loss of 8 librarian jobs. 
    Wirral – 32 new staff employed to replace 50 staff made redundant 2010/11. 
    Local News
    Croydon –  Shapps “Breathtaking incompetence” on council taxInside Croydon.  Council fails to collect 3% (rather than normal 1%) of tax which could mean it has missed money that could otherwise have paid for “Services such as the weekly bin collections that were promised only last year, like our libraries, or the David Lean Cinema, or the Clocktower Arts Centre, or police officers, the provision of youth services, or the summer music festival in Lloyd Park”
    Gloucestershire – Library hours ruling angers town council – This is Glos.  Moreton library to be downgraded, moved to (probably) a polic station, partially staffed by volunteers.  “It’s a disgrace – she’s [Cllr Antonia Noble] just fobbed us off.” And clerk Heather Sipthorp said: “We don’t understand the decision based on their figures – we have the most footfall and the most books taken out. What about the money earmarked from the Fire Service College developers for library facilities?”
    “… Lechlade has consistently argued against the closure of our library by the County. Two public meetings and an 800 signature petition have endorsed the Town Council’s requests that the County continue their provision, but they have refused to do so. In order to secure a library service for our residents we have reluctantly submitted a bid to take over the library, but hope that this will not be necessary and that the County will be forced, either by the courts, or by the Secretary of State who is currently reviewing the County’s proposals, to maintain the existing service.”  Gloucestershire
    Gloucestershire – Cllr Hawthorne spins away … while Lechlade Library Working Group bravely sets the record straight – FoGL.   “Gloucestershire County Council have, in their usual rather bullish manner,  displayed astonishing disregard for the terms of the injunction. In the last few days the political spin machine has gone into overdrive and several press releases, television news items and newspaper articles have been  brought to our attention that indicate GCC is very much continuing with their plans.”
    Gloucestershire – Community plans get the thumbs up - Glos County Council.   “In advance of a decision by Cabinet Members next week, the official officer report recommends councillors agree that 17 business cases are progressed with the council’s support”.
    Portsmouth – Friday closures of Portsmouth’s central libraries could be reversed – News.  Self-service to replace library staff and to allow for longer opening up to, it is hoped, 10pm.  £400k spent on equipment, hoping for £118k saving per year by losing 8 librarian jobs.  ‘This will see hard-working library staff trained to use the machines, then train others, then wait to see which of them loses their job. They are dedicated people, who will be a loss to the city’s library service” (Unison) 
    Stoke on Trent – Church steps in to lend books after mobile library service cut - This is Staffordshire.  “A church is to start lending books in a village which lost its mobile library due to council cuts. About 500 books will be available when the service starts at Ball Green Methodist Church and Chatterley Centre.”
    Wandsworth and Croydon – Could outsource their libraries - Guardian series. “The easy option would be to follow what other councils are doing and close branch libraries. Instead we want to do everything possible to protect our libraries while looking at ways to enhance the excellent service our residents expect. ” 
    Wirral – Labour pledge Wirral’s libraries are “safe in our hands” – Wirral News.  “Libraries are “safe in our hands” Wirral Council’s leader has pledged – and his party had learned its lesson after a failed attempt to modernise the service two years ago.”

    Something so right

    Comment

    Sometimes you come across something so right that one needs to tell everyone.  Such a moment came when I had a look at the brilliant Edmonton Libraries brochure explaining what they do every day.  Through several beautifully produced pages it helps library staff and campaigners around the world with a few tips on how to do it themselves.  I have placed it at the top of the “reasons for public libraries” page as it so neatly does the job for me.  In fact, I could have saved myself some time and just used it instead, if its existence had previously been known to me.  If your library is not like the one described within, ask your councillors why not. Perhaps it’s because libraries in this country have never produced anything like it.

    395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

    News

    Councils must chase up their missing tax - London Evening Standard.  “Unpaid council tax means that councils make up the shortfall either by taxing their conscientious council taxpayers more or by cutting services. Before local authorities cut care for the elderly or close libraries, they should ensure that they are collecting the tax they are owed. In these straitened times, it’s the least they can do.”

    “The LfL strategy recognised the important role that the library sector plays in achieving a number of the key priorities set out by WAG in its One Wales[1] strategy, not only in the development of the culture and heritage of Wales, but also in developing the Welsh economy, providing information that can improve the health and wellbeing of the Welsh people, providing access to lifelong learning and ensuring that resources are accessible to all. In addition, libraries were identified as playing a critical role in placing the citizen at the heart of service delivery and contributing to meeting the aims described in the Making the Connections programme (2005) for public service reform and Delivering Beyond Boundaries action plan[2]“.Evaluation of Libraries for Life – CyMAL (Wales). £10.5m budget from 2008 to 2011. Benefits shown “included increased employability, improved working environment and higher levels of job satisfaction. For library users benefits have included improved environments and facilities and more knowledgeable and up-skilled staff.”

    Get it loud in libraries - Lancashire Libraries.  “Get It Loud In Libraries is a unique award winning project – it is the current Love Libraries Award 2007 winner-designed to give people, especially young people who love music, a damn good time in a library; libraries across Lancashire if you are someone who cares for the small details.”.  Singers include Chipmunk, Secret Sisters.
    Is the future of books and libraries intertwined? - Kaser Info Today. (USA).
    Is this the tipping point for E-books and libraries?Read Write Web (USA).  
    Libraries for a small community - Voices for the Library (Clair Humphries).  “These communities are local, and despite often being as small and narrow as the first library I ever knew, they deserve to be served by libraries that are local too.”
    Libraries told to improve online – Public Service.  Libraries are a “top five online service” but “online council library services are often difficult to use, despite the fact that millions rely on them, research from Socitm has found.”
    Santa Clarita prepares to open new library systemPublicCEO.com.  Favourable report on LSSI’s takeover of three public libraries.  “In anticipation of opening day, the City vastly increased the inventory of library books and media, as well as service days and hours at the three branches.”.  
    Trade unions and anti-cuts campaigners plan summer of protest - Guardian.  “Earlier this month Dave Prentis, the head of Unison, the UK’s biggest public-sector union, promised to mount the most sustained wave of industrial action the country has seen since the general strike of 1926, vowing not to back down until the government has dropped its pension changes.”.  Most library staff who are in a union are in Unison.
    We will not be Shushed: a new method of library advocacy - American Libraries (USA). The “Save NYC Libraries” campaign has put together advocacy events including 24-hour read ins, a Zombie Walk, petition and post card campaigns, and most recently a flash mob library hug around New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

    Who we are and what we valueEdmonton Libraries (Canada).  Simply superb publicity brochure brilliantly explaining and describing what libraries do. The video above is pretty darn good too.

    Local News

    Bracknell Forest – Libraries are owed £105,000 – Get Bracknell.  “The system of fines is used to encourage customers to return items promptly. We would urge anyone who has a library book or other library item to bring it back so it can be enjoyed by others”
    Bradford – Tories attack cafe plan in light of ongoing cutsTelegraph & Argus.  “It appears absurd that we cannot afford the staff to operate libraries or swimming pools, but we can staff coffee shops in City Hall. I am quietly confident that I know what residents would prefer.”
    Brent – June Campaign UpdateSave Kensal Rise Library.   (1) Philip Pullman to speak on 20th July, (2) Application for judicial review now issued, nearly half of the £30,000 required has been raised, review expected when time available July-September (3) Stall at Queens Park Book Festival, stall soon at Kensal Flea Market. 
    Doncaster -Ed Miliband to visit Doncaster Libraries - Save Doncaster Libraries.”Ed Miliband will make a personal appearance alongside campaigners who are not giving up the battle to save 14 Doncaster libraries from the budget cutbacks. The Doncaster North MP is visiting Sprotbrough Library, in Sprotborough Road, on Saturday July 9, from 10.15am, which is one of the branches facing the axe because of cuts imposed by the Coalition Government.”

    Mr Miliband added: “These planned closures – rubberstamped by Doncaster’s mayor and his cabinet – are being proposed because cuts imposed by the Tory-led Government in Westminster are going too far, too fast. Libraries are at the heart of Doncaster’s communities, like any other town in the country, and they should not be taken away.” Doncaster – Leader’s pledge on libraries row – Star.  “the Labour leader has weighed in to the fight to stave off the closure of many of Doncaster’s branch libraries”

    Gloucestershire – 17 offers to get go ahead to run Gloucestershire’s libraries and youth centres - This is Glos. The 9 libraries are Berkeley, Bream, Brockworth, Lechlade, Matson, Minchinhampton, Mitcheldean, Newnham and Painswick.  Painswick is aiming to reopen a library closed in 2009.  Two comments point out going ahead by agreeing thse plans appears to go against the current court injunction which includes the line “Transferring or agreeing to transfer any library building or lease or responsibility for running any existing library”
    Hertfordshire – Cuts to library hours come into force – Hemel Today.    Some of the most serious cuts in library services anywhere, a 30% opening hours cut, will come in force from Monday.
    West Sussex – Council payoffs to officers “outrageous”BBC.   Five senior officers received £1.5m in payoffs, including one who went into £130k p.a. job shortly afterwards. Same council planning to cut 1300 jobs -” the public faced cuts in adult social care services, libraries, buses and young people’s services.”

    Silent Library TV Show in the UK

    395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. 

    News

    Adam Buxton to present “Silent Library” gameshow - British Comedy Guide.  Will air on digital channel 5* from July.  Aim of the show, originally from Japan then showing in a MTV USA (linked above, NB may be offensive) is for the contestants to stay quiet in a “library” while strange things happen to them.

    Changes to service

    Croydon - Dozen library staff lost in April. 

    Local News 

    Community glue

    395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. 

    News

    • Author attacks “hypocrisy” of library closures – London Evening Standard.  “Singling out Education Secretary Michael Gove, Ness said: “Here is a man who races to the latest news about what a tragedy it is that three out of 10 children don’t own a book. Yet he utterly fails to see the irony of how closing libraries will affect not only the three who don’t but the seven who do and who would like to read more and more and more.”
    • Big Issue - Alan Gibbons. Argues that the government is encouraging any form of moving libraries out of council control – volunteers, trusts, private – that it can in order to cut costs and hope that one works. “Let a hundred flowers bloom, they cry. Close a few libraries here, toss a few to the community there, dangle a few under the noses of private providers elsewhere. There is no need for a strategic plan.”
    • Community engagement in public libraries: an evaluation of the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Libraries ProgrammeMLA, March 2011.  A similarly pro-volunteer report to the recently publoshed Community Managed Libraries report.  However, this one concentrates more on the positive impact of using volunteers to complement existing library staff rather than replacing them. 
    • Community-run libraries “could charge” – BookSeller.   Summarises the Community Managed Libraries report, noting that it was sent to all council chiefs last week, with a cover note by Jeremy Hunt seeming to encourage all of them to divest libraries – saying he was “conscious of the current budgetary challenges we are all facing and would encourage you to be creative about how resources can be managed in an efficient way . . . One option may be to consider if a community supported library may assist a local area rather than closing a library.”
    • Front LinesTimes Higher Education. “At a Unesco forum, Matthew Reisz hears about the hunger for libraries, corporate creep, and what should and should not be archived on the net … Several members of the panel were eloquent in defending the continuing value of libraries. Sue Sutherland, acting chief executive and national librarian at the National Library of New Zealand, called them “one of the last bastions of public civic spaces”. After the earthquake in Christchurch in February, she noted, they were very often the places where “people came together to meet and make sense of what was happening”.
    • Future of library services in the big society - Voices for the Library (Carl Clayton, SINTO).   “My own quick rough count of the attendees list shows c40 librarians, 11 senior directors and 4 councillors … [Ed Vaizey's] message to local authorities appeared to be that he was happy to give them plenty of time to discuss options and alternatives but although he was keeping his powder dry he was prepared to use the weapon of intervention if all else failed … his phrase that “the public library service is a huge asset to be exploited; not a burden to be gradually got rid of” could well feature on the Voices for the Library website (although the cynics out there may well ask exactly how the “asset” of libraries will be exploited, and by whom!)”
    • Future of library services in the big society: notes on Ed Vaizey’s speechvia Alan Gibbons. Also Questions asked to him (“I will respond to you after discussions with my officials”). 
    • How to survive the age of distraction – Independent.  “The book – the physical paper book – is being circled by a shoal of sharks, with sales down 9 per cent this year alone. It’s being chewed by the e-book. It’s being gored by the death of the bookshop and the library. And most importantly, the mental space it occupied is being eroded by the thousand Weapons of Mass Distraction that surround us all. It’s hard to admit, but we all sense it: it is becoming almost physically harder to read books.”

    “Q. You have recently been campaigning against the closure of libraries in Brent, most notably Kensal Rise. Local libraries are obviously a vital part of a community – what do you think the impact of these closures will be on local life and aspiring writers who will no longer have the ease of access these places afford them? “A.The question sort of answers itself, doesn’t it? I don’t think I would have passed my exams without my local library. Without the exams I wouldn’t have gone to college. Without college I doubt I would have written. It’s all so obvious. But no-one seems to care. It’s not just libraries – it’s a whole avenue of escape that’s been closed down. I was born in 1975. I was schooled for free, educated for free, when I broke my leg it was fixed for free, when I passed my exams I got to Cambridge for free. With a maintenance grant from Brent council that I did not have to pay back and without which I couldn’t have survived. That is what made my life possible – the availability of services that were free at the point of access. I should think I’ve paid the state back in taxes many times over by now. From the vantage point of 2011, 1945-1975 looks like a golden period in British history. It was a period where you at least had a chance of realizing the opportunities of a meritocracy. That time is over.” Interview with Zadie SmithLiterateur.  

    • Libraries and library workers are community glue!UNISON motion 43 passed at conference.
    • Library: A world of possibilities - Voices for the Library.  “Libraries are magical places that inspire kids to read. They are community hubs, information centers, study halls, meeting places, story time theaters, craft centers, and most importantly, gigantic bookshelves! Show me a literate society and I’ll show you public access to libraries. Don’t close the doors to our world’s libraries. Save our libraries and open up a world of possibilities.” Dianne de La Cassas.  
    • Libraries: Information and Knowledge Spaces - Huffington Post.  Quite a technical article but with some great pictures of libraries.
    • Suffolk be warned - Private Eye, via Alan Gibbons.  Notes Suffolk’s plans to convert to a CIC are similar to that experience in Glasgow where “despite finding £54,000 for a rebranding changing the company’s name to Glasgow Life, by 2010 it was having trouble meeting the bills, resulting in community centres closing down, major cuts to opening hours at libraries, hundreds of staff redundancies and strikes at many of the city’s top tourist attractions.” 

    Local News

    “The door is open”- MLA report on volunteer-run libraries

    Comment

    Two very important documents have come to light today.  The first is by the MLA and appears to have been published, quietly, on 29th May.  Called “Community Managed Libraries” it is a must-read for all interested in the current cuts to public libraries.  It details the current volunteer-run library scene and the pros and cons (not, interestingly, as comprehensive as the page on this site) of the model.  Far more interestingly, it examines those libraries currently being considered for “divesting” to the community and analyses which ones would stay statutory.  That is, it examines whether the council could claim that they are still meeting their duties in those communities under the 1964 Act.  It’s last paragraph may spread a feel of dread (or, depending on one’s point of view and/or situation, conceivably, of hope) to those currently using libraries:

    “The benefits (and issues) inherent in community management and support of libraries are clear from the evidence; the door is open for local authorities not simply to transfer libraries to community management to ensure efficiencies, but to work with communities to transition the process in a thoughtful and strategic manner to create shared benefits for local government, but also local community, and local user.”

    The second document is also well-researched and professional, but in all other ways is very different. It comes from UNISON.  Called “Love Your Libraries” it is also an essential read for library users, staff and campaigners.

    395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

    News

    Cash-strapped councils likely to recruite fewer graduates and school-leavers – Wales Online.  In some authorities, workers have accepted pay cuts as an alternative to redundancy, while “non-statutory” services like libraries and leisure centres are facing the real possibility of closure.”
    Community Managed LibrariesMLA.  Complete report on the current situation regarding volunteer-run libraries in the UK.  Essential reading for all library campaigners and those with a viewpoint on library cuts and closures.

    “…if Ed Vaizey is passionate about libraries and his government is working behind the scenes to save them, then that must be the best kept secret in the country.  I have seen leakier super-injunctions.” Edited speech by Patrick Ness.

    Love your libraries: Campaign pack for libraries – UNISON.  “This short information pack is designed for use in local branches and provides information on the key issues affecting
    library services as well as guidance on how to mount a successful campaign in your area.”
    Love your libraries campaign - WI.  Actions for members include joining library, sign the petition, write to councillors.

    “Ness, who described himself as a “child that libraries built”, praised the work of librarians. “Librarians open up the world,” he said. “Knowledge is useless if you don’t even know where to begin to look. How much more can you discover when someone can point you in the right direction, when someone can maybe even give you a treasure map, to places you may not have even thought you were allowed to go? This is what librarians do.” Patrick Ness accepts Carnegie medal with fierce defence of libraries - Guardian.

    Time to throw the book at Ed Vaizey – Independent (John Walsh).  “It’s a shame. Ed Vaizey could easily have been the champion of library users. If only he had grown some bollocks at the Culture ministry, spoken out and not been stifled by civil servants. Instead he is ineffectual and impotent in office, a former can-do idealist, a man who body-swerves confrontations and decisions: Mr Evazey.”

     Display at UNISON conference. The vast majority of comments (on the pink hearts)
    concerned issues of community, equal access, civilisation and education for all.
    Changes to libraries
    Herefordshire – 2 (out of 2) mobile libraries to close, final decision to be made June 30th.  
    Local News

    Blackpool – Mereside and Boundary libraries saved for 12 monthsBBC. “Councillor Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture said: “We have been engaging with the residents and listening to what they want from the council. Libraries are a vital link with the community. We have got some people that rely on them.”

    Bradford – Denholme and Addingham libraries get stay of execution, but Wilsden and Heaton to close – Telegraph & Argus.  Three may be run by volunteers, two others may close at end of June.
    Brent – Residents raise money towards legal challenge to save six libraries from closure in Brent - Harrow Times.  £400 raised on libraries stall.  “It is a disgrace that the council refuses to listen to their views and instead uses taxpayers’ money on expensive lawyers to justify the closure of six popular community libraries across Brent.”
    Camden – Our libraries must be run by Camden, insists Alan BennettCamden New Journal.  “I’m not a campaigner and I’m no tubthumper, but it’s something I’m very passionate about. Everybody should do something to support the campaign to save our library, and other libraries in other less fortunate places.”
    Cumbria – Campaigners bid to save two Cumbrian librariesNews & Star.   “Pupils and teachers from the school took to the streets of Whitehaven yesterday to demonstrate against the plans. They chanted and marched with ‘Save Our Library’ placards from Whitehaven harbourside to Copeland Council’s offices, where they presented a petition to Mayor John Jackson.”
    Dorset – Lyme Regis and Chssrmouth: Ray of hope for library rescue bid – Bridport News.  “It remains hard for those of us who care about keeping our libraries to understand how Conservative councillors are so obdurate in their support for closures, even when there is a viable alternative which their own advisory committee, the Policy Development Panel, has devised.” 
    Gloucestershire – Court halts library cuts – Tewkesbury AdMag. “We wanted an independent review before the proposals were pushed through and warned the council several times that they would force an expensive legal challenge if they did not hold one. It is a pity that they can afford to fight this and not fund our libraries.”  
    “Precise figures are hard to come by but at least one source has mentioned over 40. However, the leadership is in retreat after a Conserative group meeting held this week saw backbenchers express their horror at the scale of the possible cuts and demanded a re-think. Sources say that many county councillors were aghast at the proposals, not least because some of those identified for closure were in Kent’s Conservative heartlands. Others pointed out that they had made various election commitments that local libraries in their areas would be safeguarded.” Kent – Rare Conservative retreat over library closures plans: how a retreat happened – Kent Online.  

    Libraries in transition; DCMS rules out explaining inaction.

    Comment

    The DCMS has announced in the BookSeller that it will never in the case of library closures:

    - Explain why it has not acted.
    - Rule out action or inaction.
    - Give a timescale as to whether it will ever act or not.

    In other news, there is a very useful, possibly essential, 31 page report on public library closures produced by the Houses of Parliament and a report called “Libraries in Transition” has come to light, leaning heavily towards moving libraries into trusts or social enterprises.  Lots of reading to do.  Fewer libraries each month in which to do it.

    393 libraries (319 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. 

    News

    Briefing paper on public library closuresParliament.  Overview of the current and recent situation in libraries over 31 pages.
    British Library makes Google deal - BBC.  “Thousands of pages from one of the world’s biggest collections of historic books, pamphlets and periodicals are to be made available on the internet.”
    Community Knowledge Hub and Libraries - Information Twist.  A critical examination of the new website and its underlying thinking.
    Libraries - Parliament UK.  “This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on libraries. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.”
    Libraries in transition: are there creative alternatives? – Social Enterprise London. A pro social enterprise piece suggesting that Trusts are a way out of closing libraries.  Examples include Wigan (6 libraries under threat this year) and Prudhoe Community Trust (website down due to circumstances beyond their control).
    Mystery object gifted to National Library of Scotland - LinkedIn.  Gramophone made out of books left outside of its doors, labelled “For @natlibscot- a gift- in support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas….. (& against their exit)”.
    Sam’s story: Libraries are about people - Voices for the Library.  “Will library volunteers want to invest time and effort in managing complicated IT networks and understanding the needs of their local community? Will a private company want to run a holiday reading scheme and associated events if they don’t generate profit?”
    Sheriff Vaizey - Information Twist.  Compares Ed Vaizey’s barnstorming performance in the Wirral campaign with his current inaction.
    Stonewall from government on library closures – BookSeller.  DCMS confirms that it will never say why it has not acted and if it will ever act, or not, on any closure. “The spokesperson added no reasons would be made public as to why the government had declined to act in Gloucestershire or in Lewisham, where five libraries closed last month despite meetings held by the DCMS with residents and the council many weeks ago. “The duty on the department is to continually superintend the service so there is no point in which a case is closed and we explain the reason why we have not intervened,” he said.”
    What does “professional” mean? CILIP new professional conference 2011 – Undaimonia. “Professionalism is in one’s conduct, is in getting involved with libraries and librarianship, is in how one stands in relation to the rest of the profession, and is in holding to an ethical code. In the words of Batman, “it’s what you do that defines you” rather than what qualifications, experience, or labels you have.”

    Changes

    Barnet - Friern Barnet library campaign.

    Local News

    Cumbria – Residents flock to keep library open – North West Evening Mail.  All residents at the meeting were opposed to the closure of the library and felt there were no alternative venues for the service.”
    Ealing – Meeting to decide future of Ealing librariesEaling Gazette.  “Councillors could be butting heads next week during a special meeting to discuss the future of four libraries in the borough.” 

    “I absolutely agree that we need to preserve our libraries, indeed I have been fighting a campaign in my constituency to stop the closure of three local libraries that are of endless value to the community around them. I am also pleased that the Department for Communities and Local Government is also undertaking work on the ownership and running of community assets in the Localism Bill. Ministers want to give individuals and community organisations a fair chance to take over facilities and assets that are important to them, including their local libraries” (Enfield – Nick De Bois MP, Digital Democracy)

    Hammersmith & Fulham – Council accuse Brent of being “lazy” in shutting down libraries – Save Kensal Rise Library.  Refers to full London Evening Standard article.
    Merton – Volunteers work with council to keep libraries openLondon Borough of Merton. West Barnes Library will be staffed by 40 volunteers on Mondays.
    Milton Keynes – Online Questionnaire - About My Area. “Milton Keynes Council is facing a large reduction in funding and the Library Service needs to find ways of changing the way it currently works to meet this reduction.”
    Oxfordshire – Volunteers aim to keep library open - Get Reading.  Sonning Common library is likely to stay open with a professional librarian and a “staff” of volunteers
    Surrey – Libraries to get next generations service whilst tax payers save money – PRLog.  Wi-fi in all libraries, more self-service.

    Ed Vaizey equates intervening to save libraries with nuclear war

    Comment

    The minister for libraries, Ed Vaizey, said it is “better to discuss with local authorities before we press the nuclear button of intervening” at the “Future of Libraries in the Big Society” conference (Cost per ticket – £718 for companies, £358 for the discounted members – it’s unclear if volunteers delegate tickets were free) today.  Mr Vaizey then said he will decline to act until he has been advised that “there is a prima facie case that they [the local authority] have breached their library duties. I haven’t been given that advice yet.”.  Reports from the conference suggest he praised the new Community Knowledge Hub website which is a resource for those wishing to run public libraries with volunteers. Mr Vaizey then went on to concentrate on positive stories such as Newcastle and Manchester Libraries updating their Facebook pages.

    An immediate response from a Gloucestershire campaigner, where the public is having to fund a legal challenge to the council’s plans to cease funding 16 libraries, was “Is this man on another planet?!”.  Alan Gibbons says that Ed Vaizeys’ “comments threaten to turn complacency into an art form”. 

    Shirley Burnham chronicles in the comments of the BookSeller article how Ed Vaizey was keen on intervention when in opposition (see below):

    9 February 2010 : Vaizey and Hodge Clash over Library Future
    “Vaizey said it was ‘outrageous and offensive’ to everyone who ever cared about books and reading …..”
    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/vaizey-and-hodge-clash-over-library-fu…
    7 February 2010 : Vaizey on Libraries – “We can’t go on like This !”
    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/vaizey-libraries-we-cant-go.html
    3 March 2009 : Vaizey Slams Burnham ["Ignoring his responsibilities as Secretary of State !"]
    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/vaizey-slams-burnham.html
    23 January 2009 : Vaizey Tables Early Day Motion on Wirral
    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/vaizey-tables-early-day-motion-wirral…. 

    393 libraries (319 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

    News

    Annie Mauger gives key speech at The Future of Library Services in the Big Society conference – CILIP.  “Annie stressed that professional staff understand the information needs of the communities they serve, and can plan to meet them. That librarians are trained to deliver impartiality, neutrality and safety. As a result libraries are an impartial and trusted source of information.”
    Community Knowledge HubNew government sponsored website for running libraries with volunteers announced by Ed Vaizey at the “Future of Libraries in the Big Society” conference.
    Confronting the future: Strategic visions for the 21st Century LibraryALA (USA).  Survey from the American Library Association on what the future holds for public libraries.

     “Now, Nicholas I don’t want to teach you to suck eggs but what I find in my local library are books, mainly for people to take away to borrow. They can open the doors, present a card and then leave with nuggets of literature bound in plastic so nare a spill should tarnish their incredible cover.  For those who have tunnel vision, there are also volumes that will allow them to read at some distance.  My grandmother used to love a Catherine Cookson from a library.  She would mount it at the end of her long hallway and still, with those uncataracted eyes, she would be able to make out even the most nugatory of vowels.  It is an incredible place of learning.  We must fight to make sure that no government removes these accessible institutions which gave those… (MASSIVE CHEERING)… Save the Libraries!” Sue Perkins, Just A Minute (Radio Four, 14.30 to 15.30)

    Shared back office costs saves libraries – ConservativeHome.  “The proposals are being backed by the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Ed Vaizey MP.”  “of 1,500 residents who took part in a telephone survey in February, said the three authorities should share as much as possible. 34 per cent said there should be some sharing of services. Only 13% of people were opposed to sharing services”
    Union will continue to fight for libraries - UNISON.   “Dissent is everywhere, and we need to be at the forefront of it,” declared Mary Pearson of the local government service group executive, as conference delegates in Manchester vowed to continue the campaign for the nation’s libraries. With voters across the country rebelling against library closures, conference called on UNISON to: build alliances across the library network, including users and local communities; fight for a key public service which makes up just 1% of local government spending, but is invaluable in improving people’s life chances.”

    Changes

    Hackney – Front-line staff cut by £700k 2010-11, more senior managers.
    Rotherham – Central Library to be demolished, libraries to move to new Civic Building, co-locating with customer services.
    Southwark - Consultation 27 June to 30th September.

    Local News 

    Croydon – Schools and groups queue up to run libraries, apparently – That Woman’s Blog.  “It can only be assumed, in the absence of any “real” Sanderstead people coming forward to volunteer, Eldridge and his new chums at Croydon Council will enlist the help of pixies, elves and the occasional mythical beast, found from within the woods of leafy Sanderstead, which is bound to be a draw card for even the most reluctant young reader.”
    Dorset – Future of Dorset libraries still hang in balance - Dorset Echo.  Closing ten libraries will be the recommended option when full council meets July 21st.  Also Closure threat still hangs over libraries (Daily Echo).

    Ealing – Report will now be available online from Friday 24th June – Ealing Today.  “We are determined to deliver a high-quality library service that serves all residents across the borough. This meeting is the first opportunity to look at how we can work with volunteers and community groups.”
    Hackney – Slow death of the library service: unnecessary cuts despite the mayor’s promises – UNISON Hackney.  Front-line cut, £100k new senior managers.  £700k savings in redundancy not counted off libraries budget. Poor security, poor self-service, “botched” supplier selection of books meaning duplicate and even second-hand stock, quarter of computers not working, Hackney Unison Branch Secretary, Matthew Waterfall said ‘“There will be hardly enough staff to keep the doors open, this is a slow death sentence for the library service.”
    North Yorkshire – Volunteers sought to help save library – Yorkshire Post. Hunmanby: “No one in the local area wants the library to close, but we need to show that there is enough support to keep it open. The friends group is looking to explore all options, and the meeting will be an opportunity to hear people’s ideas about what should be done.”

    “The Steering Group that was formed to establish the Friends of Benson Library is very pleased to announce that the official launch will take place on 23 June 2011 at 7:00pm. You are very welcome to attend. We will take you through the detail of what we have been doing and what lies ahead. Make no mistake, the services that Benson Library offers are not safe, secure or in any way protected. We need your support to secure the best possible result.Oxfordshire – Friends of Benson Library Official LaunchFriends of Benson Library.

    Rotherham – Defend Rotherham Central Library – Rotherham Against the Cuts.  Library to move to ground floor of new Civic Building, co-locating with customer service centre.
    Southwark – Public consultation - Southwark Council. “Make suggestions about how savings could be achieved”.

    Americans against privatisation, New Zealanders against charging

    Comment

    Sometimes one wonders if other countries are experiencing the same serious issues about (and against) their public libraries as we facing.  Certainly I know that our colleagues in Western Europe look upon what is happening here in shock, wondering how anyone can cut what is so obviously such a cheap common good as the public library service.  Other days, I think that we are truly all in it together, or at least the English-speaking (strange that) nations are.  This is shown today by two reports. One is from New Zealand and is part of a campaign to make free public libraries statutory.  It’s weird to read about the UK being an example of good practice but some of the arguments are very apropos in today’s climate.  The other, possibly at the moment far more relevant report given recent headlines, is from the American Library Association (ALA) on “Keeping Public Libraries Public”.  It is a well-researched, thought-out impassioned paper and one which all advocates, and critics, of public public libraries should read.

    393 libraries (319 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

    News

    Keep public libraries free - Lianza (New Zealand).  Campaign to keep public libraries free in New Zealand “New Zealand stands out from countries like Australia, the UK and Canada – all of which protect free public libraries via legislation.”
    Keeping public libraries public - ALA.  Comprehensive guide to the reasons for keeping public libraries in public hands and the problems with privatisation.  Slight American slant but still highly usable.
    Merging library services will save £1m – Guardian.  “Part of our rationalisation is reducing middle and senior managers, which will need to be fair and equitable, but will be a big chunk of initial savings,” he said. “What we envisage later will be looking at more support systems such as IT.” Ruse said the councils will have to move in stages towards full merger. “It’s a radical idea and the three boroughs will have to effectively manage in a very different way.”
    Mutual interest: How the public sector can do more with less in the Big SocietyPublic Sector Executive.  Argues for the Big Society, including the case of Wandsworth’s York Gardens Library.  Article does not mention widespread resistance and criticism of the plans.  

    Changes to services 
    Local News
    Croydon – Has Croydon called in carpet baggers to sell-off libraries?Inside Croydon.  “In Croydon, our wonderful leaders on the council are already doing some of LSSI’s carpet baggers’ work for them, but at our expense. Our service-allergic council has overseen around a dozen trained and senior specialist library staff leave their jobs since April. How convenient for any in-coming commercial organisation not to have to engage in costly redundancy payments.”
    Doncaster – Be careful, DMBC, you could be next - Save Doncaster Libraries. “DMBC is dangerously close to similar legal action. Like Gloucestershire County Council, DMBC seeks to cease funding or close a significant proportion of its libraries.”.
    Hackney – Have your say on the future of Hackney libraries - Hackney Citizen.  “In the last year, for the first time ever, there have been more than one and a half million visits to Hackney’s libraries, and membership is increasing too. We want these figures to keep rising, so the council is working to ensure we have modern libraries, giving people what they want while keeping costs down. If you have something to say about our proposals or you have ideas about what you want from your local library then we want to hear it.”
    Hertfordshire – Herts library opening hours to changeMercury.   Opening hours will be cut across the board by 30%.

    Northamptonshire – Horror as mobile library faces cuts – Lutterworth Mail.  “We’re just horrified at the place it’s stopping. It seems a strange thing to do because where it’s due to stop is a blind corner.”

    Oxfordshire – Libraries could stay open after windfall – Henley Standard.  Council has been given £3.7m in grants, enough to safeguard libraries.  “This grant money may be examined as a source of that extra funding in the council’s budget process for 2012/13.”