Comment

The news from North Yorkshire is that “only” 18 libraries (including mobiles) will close or move out of council control rather than the 34 originally threatened.  There’s been a lot of these reprieves on recently.  So much so in fact that the tally of library threatened with closures has dipped by over a hundred.  Great news.  However, actual budgets haven’t been restored.  We could be looking at a situation like that reported yesterday in the Wirral where the libraries are open but there’s no-one home.  It’s worth remembering that the Women’s Institute voted to campaign to “maintain” library services, not merely to keep them open. 

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

Common Knowledge - Voices for the Library (Sibyl Ruth).  Knowledge could be King. Libraries should be places where information is for sharing.  Only I keep thinking about those metal barriers. The ‘Keep Out’ signs. Maybe our civic leaders are in the know.  We are being kept in the dark…”
Ed Vaizey: You can run but you can’t hide (from the Women’s Institute) – False Economy.   Lauren Smith summaries the situation, False Economy adopts the library closures map.
Methods of demonstrating the value of libraries - Library of Digress.  Excellent (but academic) literature review on how one can place a value on the invaluable.
Northern leaders call for a culture of collaboration and dialogue - Guardian (Public Leaders Network).  Wakefield – “Wakefield is shaping up to meet tough financial challenges by exploring innovative ways of providing public services. It is aiming to becoming a “catalyst council” – keeping the responsibility for providing services, such as libraries, but not necessarily directly delivering all those services itself. Delivery would be left to social enterprises, co-operatives, community groups, local businesses, public sector partners, joint ventures with private sector partners and other models.”
Pete Andre and Boris Johnson launch children’s literacy project – London 24.   “The Mayor of London and the Mysterious Girl singer took turns at Botwell Green Library in Hayes, west London to read passages from Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo to a group of children.”… “The National Literacy Trust’s work has demonstrated that friends, neighbours and other community members can help parents support the literacy of their children. This is particularly important for parents with low literacy who may be less confident using services such as libraries and children’s centre”
Read-in Roundup - Screwy Decimal.  Campaigning in the USA.
Shared service push saves libraries - Local Government Chronicle.  Hammersmith & Fulham / Kensington & Chelsea / Westminster merging library services to save £1m per year, “Council leaders will vote on the plans on 20 June and say they will enable the councils to keep 21 libraries open at a time when authorities are closing substantial numbers of libraries.”  

Changes to library services

Birmingham – £200k off £1.3m bookfund some cuts in opening hours, reduction in library staff and bookstock.
North Yorkshire - 10 out of 11 mobiles to close, 8 libraries under threat – Barlby, Bilton, East Ayton, Embsay, Gargrave, Great Ayton, Hunmanby and Masham (may turn to volunteer-run), 16 reprieved.  £1.7m cut. 
Wakefield - Libraries likely to be run by private company/volunteers/others.

Local Library News

Brent – Library campaigners raise cash for legal battleHarrow Observer.  “At a comedy night in Kilburn on Friday (June 10), called Stand Up For Libraries, £700 was raised for the campaign to save six of the borough’s reading rooms. While at Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sunday (June 12), £800 was taken in donations.” £7000 of £30000 needed for legal challenge now raised.
Dorset – Ten could be spared from closure – Dorset Echo. Also reported in Daily Echo as New proposals could save 10 of Dorset’s threatened libraries
Lewisham – Library campaigners hailed as Our Heroes - Guardian series.  “Married couple Peter and Pat Richardson have worked tirelessly to try to block Lewisham council’s closure of five libraries.”
Lewisham – Public meeting at Sydenham Library - Friends of Sydenham Library.  Darren Taylor of Eco-Computer Systems invites all those interested in the future of Sydenham Library to a Public Meeting on Thursday 29 June.  He is happy to share his future plans for the library and answer any questions the local community may have.”
North Yorkshire – Cuts see North Yorkshire mobile library service to end – BBC.  Summary of revised cuts.  “The challenge is to keep our libraries open in a way that is sustainable so that they can grow and develop to meet future needs.”
North Yorkshire – Library closures on BBC Radio1:36:12 to 1:43:40 -  8 libraries still under threat but 16 reprieved, some may be taken over by volunteers. “it’s a vast improvement… but it’s not perfect”.  Councillor interviewed is keen on libraries being run in pubs. Mobiles “have reached the end of their shelflife” (£8 cost per book issued). “The important thing is to make your voice heard”.  “The status quo is no longer an option”.
Oxfordshire – Rural communities suffer the most - Witney Gazette.  “City libraries are reprieved, while rural libraries must move to being run by volunteers, although I cannot see how our very popular, small, part-time library in Charlbury, which is excellently run by our one librarian, can be effectively organised by volunteers without the help of a librarian. And there is not room to serve coffee.”
Suffolk – Plans to offload libraries are confusing and uncertain, meeting is told – Lowestoft Journal 24.  Council aiming to put libraries into a Community Interest Company.  Uncertainty in last six months has led staff to break down in tears.
Suffolk – Campaigners united to form “Save Suffolk Libraries Campaign Network” - Save Suffolk Libraries.
Suffolk – Library campaigners to put their views to County scrutiny commitee – EADT.  “It must be ensured that they are given all the information possible to ensure that they can make an informed decision. As it stands, we do not believe they have that level of information for various aspects of the consultation.”
Waltham Forest – Live: library closures meeting - Guardian. Report live on key meeting to decide if to close two libraries. Cabinet agrees to library closure consultationup to 200 union members protest outside meeting,
Warwickshire – Libraries attract community groups – BBC.  16 groups have expressed an interest in running the 16 libraries under threat.
Warwickshire – 16 libraries under threatBBC Midlands Today.  Piece on the closures, councillor says communities should run libraries causing report to say “when is a closure not a closure?”, local campaigner says libraries are an “essential member of the community”, Lauren Smith from Voices for the Library defends libraries from closure.  Lauren Smith has done a blog post on her experience.
West Sussex – Most villages in Midhurst and Petworth area escape mobile library cuts - Midhurst and Petworth Observer.