Comment

The petition says…

“I, the undersigned, believe that libraries are an essential local educational and information resource yet with many libraries under threat, the future of the library service is at risk. I want to see the value of libraries recognised at both local and national levels and I am calling on the Government to honour both its commitment to act as a champion of the library service, and its duty of oversight to ensure that a comprehensive and efficient library service is provided.”  Petition in support of public libraries,

It’s supported by the Women’s Institute and Voices for the Library and, I suspect, scores of campaign groups up and down the country.  Sign it by clicking on this link.  Thank you

419 libraries (339 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. 

News

  • Are public libraries obsolete?Blogcritics.org by Nukapai.   “A good library is worth saving and a bad one is worth improving because when libraries work, they offer us much more than books on paper. You can also download free ebooks and audibooks from the convenience of your own home and pop them on that digital device. Good libraries have good librarians and good library assistants. Good libraries offer help for job seekers, group sessions for new parents and their children, access to valuable market research data for would-be entrepreneurs and all manner of things that don’t always seem at the forefront of discussions on the value of the library.”
“One of the most effective tactics in disarming any campaign on the ground is simply to wait it out. Politicians—national and local—are clearly hoping that campaigners (who have jobs, families, responsibilities, nine-to-fives) will run out of money and steam. It’s a waiting game. It’s why campaigns such as the Summer Reading Challenge, organised by The Reading Agency, are so crucial. They keep the spotlight shining on libraries. This is the time—as problems in all areas of funding and social prioritising become more acute and more fiercely argued—that politicians hope the library campaign will be forgotten. We owe it to the campaigners, and to ourselves, to keep the issue alive.” Kate Mosse – Keep libraries in the spotlightBookSeller. 

  • Libraries must be the future: for the good of democracy – Thoughts of a Wannabe Librarian.  The assumption made by many when discussing library closures is that the internet will remain static, forever acting as a source of free and open information.  But, of course, the internet is not static and is subject to change.  And who is the biggest driver of this change?  Corporations.” 
  • Love libraries day – Time to read.   “Time To Read would love to try and help co-ordinate some innovative activity across North West Libraries and would like to hear from anyone with interesting ideas to offer. Time To Read has some funds to support activity but is short of time, so ideas must be easy to understand & organise, with plenty of publicity potential as well as impact.”
  • Schools’ library snubs hit literacy ratesBookSeller.   “”Libraries are essential to provide free and open access to a wide variety of learning materials. Economic constraints are forcing some of these to close and for schools to limit their library facilities, and this can only be a barrier to successful literacy for learners of all ages.”
  • Voices for the Library now available on FourSquare – Thoughts of a Wannabe Librarian.  Another Web 2.0 product is used in the campaign to save threatened libraries and to publicise the positive features of those who are not.
  • Why we should ban e-petitionsNew Statesman.   “So there you have it. Britain speaks. And it when it does, it tells us to tear up the Human Rights Act, re-open all our libraries and get Kate and Wills to start polishing their CVs.”.  Article is against e-petitions as they will be puppets of “The lobbyists, the activists, the business interests; those who have the time, money and resources to manipulate them in their favour.”.  [Library campaigners apparently have time, money and resources according to this article, which comes as, frankly, a bit of a shock].  Article concludes MPs should “explain face-to-face how they have absolutely no intention of withdrawing from the Human Rights Act, re-opening our libraries or abolishing the monarchy.”.
  • Women’s Institute launches library petitionBookSeller.   “Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to hold a debate on any petition with more than 100,000 signatures. Launching its Love Your Libraries campaign in June, the Women’s Institute said: “[We] believe it is time for communities to love their libraries; to use them and share why we value their services, and to raise awareness of the threats to their future.”

Changes

Local News

  • Birmingham – Cabinet and scrutiny committees fall out over budget deficit – Birmingham Post.  “Two months into the financial year the committees, which run local libraries, sports centres and parking, are overspending by £2.1 million and have launched a fast-track review of future service delivery.”
  • Bournemouth – Sophie rises to Bournemouth libraries ‘ 100 book challengeDaily Echo.  “The youngster reads on average 10 books a week, but there just wasn’t enough space to record them all on her library reading log.” 
  • Bradford – Growing opposition to Burley library planWharfedale Observer.   “A consultation meeting has been called over unconventional plans to transform a village library into a mini supermarket, as opposition from local traders grows.”  Co-op wants to take over library, providing new one of first floor.  Supporters think it will save library, opposition think it will close local shops.
  • Brent – On Philip Pullman, the author “who hasn’t forgotten why people need stories” – Save Kensal Rise Library.   Summary of recent excellent fundraising event with well-known library campaigner and author.
    • Private Eye eyes Brent Preston Library Campaign.   Cricklewood and Kensal Rise libraries are earmarked for closure but council has been repeatedly told that they cannot be used for any other purpose due to Literary and Scientific Institutions Act 1854.  All Souls College Oxford would regain ownership if they were closed.  Criteria for volunteers to run libraries were kept secret from the volunteers,
  • Cambridgeshire – Emerging library vision revealed as part of review – Fenland Citizen.  ““We have already seen Post Office, doctors and other councils share our library facilities and believe this is a model that could be rolled out across Cambridgeshire. But to do this we will be talking to communities to see what they want and how this can be delivered.” Council is looking at a very wide variety of options.
    • Library service plans dynamic ways” to save moneyBBC.  “In order to make savings, a number of libraries are being given the option to run their own facilities on a voluntary basis.  The council is also considering combining libraries with post offices in rural areas, opening the buildings up for school and community use, and basing police surgeries in libraries.”
  • Conwy – Town council backs fight to save Penrhyn Bay libraryNorth Wales Weekly News.  Unanimous vote from Llandudno Council to write to Conwy against the closure. Consultation goes on until next week.
  • Croydon – Library users denied say on futureSanderstead Library Campaign Group.  “The decision to market test involves all 13 libraries and not just the six that were the subject of the original consultation. Residents are yet to see one official notification of this decision so many are still unaware. Not even a simple A4 notice has been spotted in any Croydon library.”
  • Devon – Sidmouth librarian’s tea party send off – Sidmouth Herald. “It is good libraries are not going to close, but savings had to be made. I looked at the options and decided to opt for voluntary redundancy.“I don’t think the public realised quite the extent of the cuts and they haven’t ended yet”.
  • Dorset – Councillor defends library closures – View Online.   Councillor says ““At the end of the day I voted for Option B because I felt it was designed to build up our library service, to improve it, to increase its use and to give it a bigger role.”…but campaigner responds…”“The fact that there might be more cuts one day is no reason, in our view, for depriving these small and often isolated rural communities of their libraries. Their loss will cause much hardship among the young and the old and the disabled. Why inflict such pain when the feared cuts might never come?”
  • Harrow – Self service machines are a hit at Harrow libraries –  Harrow Observer.  “All of Harrow’s libraries will be fitted with the equipment by September and are part of the borough’s battle to keep its much loved libraries open.”
  • Leicestershire – Loughborough library has opening hours reducedLoughborough Echo.  All libraries have had hours reduced.  Council looks to volunteers to help staff service.
  • Newham – Campaign to save foreign papersYellow Advertiser. Newham Monitoring Project campaigning against decision to remove foreign-language periodicals, suggested by mayor to encourage learning of English. Meeting on Tuesday August 16th.

  • North Yorkshire – Sad farewell to book bus – Wetherby News.   10 out of 11 mobiles have now stopped.  “The children at the playgroup, aged between two and five, will now use their own books at the playgroup, as the Tadcaster Library is too far for them to walk.” 
    • Barlby library closure consultationSelby Times.  “Barlby and Osgodby parish councillors will be asking for the views of local residents as they try to formulate a plan for the library’s future. Barlby Library is set to close if the community does not get involved in running it. Tory-led North Yorkshire County Council has faced a county-wide public outcry over its controversial plans to save £2m from the libraries budget and £69m in all.”.  Keeping library open would cost £13 p.a. per household.
  • Suffolk – Community-run libraries set for April 2012 – BookSeller. 14 Libraries previously reprieved by public protest will be run by volunteers/charities/town councils as part of a pilot to see if possible.  30% cut in budget over 3 years hoped for.
    • Fourteen libraries chosen for Suffolk County Council’s pilot community projectEADT.  “Suffolk County Council will work with the organisations – including town and parish councils, community groups, a staff collective and an independent community company – to deliver seven pilot projects.” 14 libraries to be grouped into 7 pilots. 
    • Eye, Stradbroke and Debenham libraries team up – Diss Express.   “When the projects go live in April 2012, library users will see more outreach services, local decision-making, fundraising and activities, and more public services brought together under one roof. The projects will be used to assess the effectiveness of the council’s new approach to library services.”
  • Wiltshire – Your help has saved libraries – Wiltshire Times.   “Thanks to the efforts of more than 300 people all the county’s 31 libraries will remain open, at a time when government cuts have resulted in closures nationally. All five of Wiltshire Council’s mobile library routes will also continue, serving the county’s most rural communities.”