415 libraries (333 buildings and 82 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

  • CILIP: libraries report “does not meet needs”BookSeller.  CILIP chief executive Annie Mauger said the report was not a “robust” enough piece of work from which to draw proper conclusions for the service. She said: “A Tory government made libraries statutory, now here we are with a Tory government supporting a programme that is not giving anything that will meet people’s needs. I feel quite strongly that it is such a limited document in scope and doesn’t change the underlying issue that libraries are being hit more than any other service.”  
“The notion that they can be run by volunteers in an Oxfam style is barbaric. Libraries don’t just lend books! Libraries are conduits and developers of information and bring information and communication skills to practitioners and residents at local and authority level. Libraries are learning centres and offer free access to many services as well as IT. Library buildings are a focus of action and interaction. They are gathering places that reflect a sense of belonging or even ownership among users. They offer welcoming, neutral spaces that provide opportunities for personal, cultural and community development. This helps us to see that the unique offer of libraries is not a single attribute, but the combination of many and this constitutes a powerful engine for community cohesion.” Edinburgh’s street corner universities: libraries don’t just lend books – Public Service. Chief librarian of Edinburgh Libraries speaks out.

 
“People have made an extremely strong link between librarians, libraries and books. This is only natural, but it really sells short the full value of libraries and the full scope of librarian work. Libraries offer so much more than moldy old books. There’s also music, movies, tv shows, video games, and electronic databases that span a whole galaxy of scholarly and practical information unavailable to any level of googling. Additionally, libraries offer free internet access that is utterly vital in many poor and rural communities. As government services migrate online, good citizenship almost requires an internet connection. Libraries also provide a free space for local groups and communities and have been at the forefront of job search training and computer instruction. Coordinating all of this are the humble librarians. We are not mere cart pushers, let me assure you. This job requires a Masters degree for a reason.” What people don’t get about working in a library. See comments too.

Changes

Local News

  • Brent – Libraries ruling put back to October – BookSeller.  Judge had originally said ruling to be announced in August.   
    • Ruling postponed till October Preston Library Campaign.  £20,000 out of £30,000 needed to pay for legal challenge has now been raised.   
    • High Court ruling on Brent libraries delayed until OctoberLondon24.  “Most campaigners would say this has been a valuable lesson in local democracy, or the lack of it. It is astonishing that a Labour council, which represents a party that historically has always supported the provision of free local libraries, should so blatantly disregard the wishes of communities, communities who for the most have put that council in power.”
“This is an important test case and it is clear that the Court is giving it a commensurate degree of thought and attention. Brent has, so far, refrained from taking any significant steps to implement the closure decision under challenge and we understand it will continue to hold back from doing so over the Summer period out of respect for the Court process. Were existing services undermined or imperilled while the case is ongoing, we would, of course, need to take action to protect them such as seeking an injunction. We trust that will not be necessary.” John Halford from the Brent Campaign (Press release).

“I am full of admiration for the excellent work undertaken by the Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries. I think it is very short sighted to close libraries, especially because that is where a lot of children gain and develop a love of books and reading and can extend their repertoire. Sometimes governments and local authorities forget that children are the adults of the future. I am in total support of the court case against Gloucestershire County Council. If left to proceed unchallenged, the Council would clearly be failing in its duties to provide an efficient and comprehensive library service.” Gloucestershire – Julia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate and author of The Gruffalo, meets with Friends of Gloucestershire LibrariesFoGL.  

  • Isle of Man – What a novel idea: library goes digital with ebook loans – Isle of Man Today.  Borough Council has paid for 600 downloadable titles at Henry Bloom Library.  “The service is free for residents of Douglas, Braddan, Santon and Lonan, and available to all other island residents for an annual fee.”
  • North Yorkshire – Credit union collection points set up at libraries – Craven Herald & Pioneer.  Skipton and Cross HillsLibraries have points.  ““It is brilliant news that the credit union’s services will be available at the library. This is yet another valuable service being offered to residents and reinforces the important services and facilities the library offers the community.” 
  • Somerset – Tories claim they’ll bounce back after by-election defeat – This is the Westcountry.  Conservatives lose seat with c.30% less votes than previously.  Lib Dems win.  Lib Dem MP says ““I believe this result is a wake-up call to the Conservatives on the county council, who have been implementing some very damaging policies such as closing waste centres and libraries, and axing rural bus routes.”
  • Suffolk – Three communities unite to save their libraries – EADT.   Eye, Stradbroke and Debenham campaigners will form working group to work out how to keep libraries running. ““We had been working together in a shared campaign and we said we could cooperate to share staff and maybe a management structure.”
  • Waltham Forest – Film and stage star backs campaign against library closure – This is Local London.   Sir Derek Jacobi supports Harrow Green Library.  “It is with great pleasure that I lend you my whole-hearted support in your campaign to keep Harrow Green Library open. I owe a [great] deal to the Leytonstone library in my early years without which grounding I doubt I would have enjoyed the career that later occurred. Fight the council to the bitter end.”.  Day of action planned for Saturday 13th. 
  • Wigan – Mobile service scrappedWigan Today.  “Under the proposal there will be three kinds of service – Libraries Central for main town centre; Libraries Local in smaller town centres and a slimmed-down version, Libraries Express.”