Well, not a good news week for libraries so far.  Yesterday we had the news that the Isle of Wight campaign has had their application for a judicial review quashed (partly due to delays with legal aid – for more on this see the statement about the LSC from Dave Quigley below).  Today, we have the news that Dorset Council has confirmed it will close nine libraries, or force volunteers to run them if they don’t want to see them closed, despite intense efforts from the Ad Lib campaign.  Similarly, despite one of the most spirited campaigns anyone has seen, Barnet Council have moved one step closer to closing Friern Barnet and two other libraries. Not many campaigners will be feeling lucky after this.  Hold off buying a lottery ticket until next week, folks.
Dave Quigley from the Isle of Wight campaign has given me permission to publish his email below about his experiences with the Legal Services Commission….
“Originally they granted a legal aid certificate and proceedings were started, letter before claim was served on the council. There was discussion between the claimants Solicitors, Leigh Day & Co regarding the level of the expected community contribution, which we always knew would be required.  24 hours before papers were due to be served on the council the claimants legal aid was suspended, had that been 24 hours later the application for a judicial review would have been served in April.  We had already launched an appeal for funds and were getting quite a good response when the legal aid cerificate was caanecelled, which caused donations to cease. Despite the LSC knowing that the 3 month period was already half way through and despite repeated requests from Leigh Day and from the complainant, the LSC took 9 weeks before they eventually set up an appeal hearing.   Again, despite repeated requests for the decision of the appeal panel we were told nothing for a further 13 days. When we were eventually told that we could go ahead we were still not told the actual decision of the appeal panel- a decision that the LSC received within 48 hours of the hearing. After Leigh Day again asked for the actual decision they were told that it had been sent several days previous- followed several days later by an apology, that because of an “oversight” it hadn’t actually been sent after all.”

In the interests of balance and to avoid being sued by the experts, it should be pointed out that the Legal Services Commission has said the following in an article with the BookSeller:

“The LSC does not accept that delays on our part caused this claim to fail. The claimants’ solicitors have been on notice since the 6th of April that a significant community contribution would be required for the case to proceed. Both the applicant and the Isle of Wight community campaign group would have been aware of this.”

Ed Vaizey Tweet of the Day – “Pinewood began shooting its first British film this month A Fantastic Fear of Everything with Simon Pegg”.

409 libraries (329 buildings and 80 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. 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. 


“Even J.K.Rowling admitted that she was unable to present a kind librarian in Harry Potter because otherwise all the mysteries would have been solved in a couple of days… and so we thought to ourselves: there are plenty of kick ass librarians in fiction! .” 10 Action Librarians Mary Sue (website).  

“…in many towns, libraries are the only places “where both grownups and children are welcome to sit and read in peace.” I would go further and argue that they’re among the last truly public spaces left to us. Where else can we congregate without an admissions ticket, or money enough to afford something on the premises? Parks, maybe, but those aren’t frequented year-round, or readily accessible in poorer communities.Save a library, save democracyBig Think (USA website)

  • Library CampConference notification or, more accurately, an unconference notification.  “A place for anyone interested in modernising and transforming libraries of all kinds…”
  • Margaret Atwood’s ebattle against library privatization Nichole McGill (Blog) (Canada).  Summary of the ongoing battle against privatisation of Toronto’s libraries, including the mayors’ brother not knowing who (world’s most famous Canadian author ever) Margaret Atwood is. Petition against privatisation now has over 26,000 names.  Councillor says to author “get elected or pipe down”.  Twitter explodes.
  • Why we need libraries more than everAtlantic (USA).  Arguments against charging for libraries.  “In short, the small amount of additional revenue results in a much less effective use of  the public support. With a fixed investment in a service that benefits those who use it and their community the more they use it, you want them to use it as much as possible.”… “Sure, the library is an old fashioned concept. So is democracy. So is equal opportunity.”  


Bromley –  St Pauls Cray and Mottingham libraries may be cut from 43 hours per week to 14, while Chislehurst and West Wickham may go from 44 hours to 20.
Coventry – New library opened at Allesley Park. 
Manchester – Confirmed (via email) that 4 mobile libraries will close, therefore total up by two.

Local News

  • Barnet – Protesters to continue battle to save libraryTimes series. Cabinet members approved plans to move Friern Barnet Library into the artsdepot, nearly two miles away in North Finchley last night.” despite 3000-name petition – campaigners have until 31st October to work out volunteer plan instead.  
    • Barnet’s libraries one step closer to closureTimes series.  “After agreeing to planned closures of Friern Barnet, Hampstead Garden Suburb and North Finchley libraries, Cabinet members threw a lifeline to campaigners desperate to save their “community hubs”… user says  ““I don’t think you realise Friern Barnet is our special community place.” 
    • Library closures approved but campaigners given lifeline – Times series.   “Therefore, campaigners who have already held protests and signed petitions, now have a chance to come up with their own ideas of how to better run their libraries and ultimately, save them.” 
  • Brent – Library campaigners await court ‘s verdictHarrow Observer.   “The three day judicial review, which began on Tuesday last week (July 19), was fronted by three claimants, including Margaret Bailey, manager of Kensal Green Under Fives Community Nursery in Mortimer Road, Kensal Green, and co-chairwoman of the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign group. She said: “We presented a very strong case and our legal team did a tremendous job. It’s difficult to know how the decision is going to go.”
  • Bromley – Jobs set to Bromley and Bexley library staff merge – Bromley Times.   “St Pauls Cray and Mottingham libraries would be cut from 43 hours per week to 14, while Chislehurst and West Wickham would go from 44 hours to 20.”
  • Cambridgeshire – 7000 sign Save Cambridgeshire Libraries petition – Cambridge First.  “Leader of the Labour group at Shire Hall, Cllr Tariq Sadiq, said: “We are hoping the petition will change the cabinet’s mind about the future of its libraries. We want to show the strength of feeling about libraries among the community.” 
  • Coventry – Bucks the trendPeters Gazette.   New library opened at Allesley Park. “The building, which opened just in time for the school holidays on 21st July, replaces a mobile library which offered a mainly ‘static service’. (i.e. it didn’t get out much…)”
  • Devon – Budleigh library hours cutExmouth Journal. “Steve Dace, chief officer of Age Concern, said: “Some councils have said keeping libraries open would put services for vulnerable and elderly people at risk. However the mass closure and attempt to reduce the opening hours of public libraries is hitting older people.”
  • Dorset – Community to run Charmouth library? – View Online.   ““There is still a lot going on behind the scenes where Ad Lib (the Association of Dorset Libraries) continues to act as a unit and will be exploring the possibility of a judicial review and, at the same time, negotiating for a better community offer with the council.”…“Any takeover by the community does not have to happen until September 2012, so we have time to ask residents what they want in a new-look library, to raise funds and to see if we can find enough enthusiastic volunteers to keep it open.”
    • Beaminster library is saved – View Online.   ““I think now the library service can go from strength to strength. The volunteers at the library have some very good ideas for the future. I don’t think the DCC will want to re-visit these libraries and I certainly won’t want to do that.”
    • Burton Bradstock library volunteers will soldier on after appalling decision – View Online.   ““Burton Bradstock is a slightly unique case and to be honest and it won’t make a great deal of difference to us. We beat them down so they now have to provide books and terminals and we just have to takeover the building and the running costs which was something we had planned to do anyway to keep the building and to stop it from being sold off.”
    • Charmouth campaigners’ positive outlook after library is axed – Bridport News. “Though it’s difficult at the moment, we have to try to look at this positively. In the next few weeks, in co-operation with the parish council, we shall be asking Charmouth residents for their wish lists. We must look at this decision as our chance to make the library into a real social hub for the village in a way that has not been possible in the past. Unless we can do this and unless there is sufficient support, the library will close forever.”  
  • Isle of Wight – Campaigners may appeal libraries decision Isle of Wight Radio.  “We’re looking at the possibility of an appeal against the court’s decision but funding is going to be difficult. At the same time we’re looking to put forward a formal complaint against the LSC and seeking that they fund the appeal as a redress, in our view, against the omissions over the original case.”
  • Suffolk – Clare and Kedington libraries are saved but the fight for services goes onHaverhill Echo.  1000-name petition saved Clare in council vote on Tuesday.  ““Our next fight is to keep our qualified librarians.“It has been proven time and time again you can only run a service with volunteers if they are given training and are committed.“We need professional librarians. We accept that we won’t need them there all the time, probably only half the time,” said Beryl.” New structure for library service to be decided in November.
  • Surrey – Library protest judged a success Get Surrey.   “Between 80 and 100 representatives from the threatened libraries as well as Unison and Women’s Institute representatives, turned up to express their concern about the plans before a cabinet meeting.”…”“We are getting messages from the county council and officers that libraries are very pleased to be involved in running with volunteers. It’s clear that it’s not true. People see it as a fall back position”.
  • Wakefield – Councillors agree to withdrawn from running librariesYorkshire Post.  “Yesterday’s decision means the council’s plans for a new-style service will go out to a third stage of the public consultation, to collect views on what the service should be like and to build on the interest the authority says is already being shown by organisations themselves in running library services.”