432 libraries (346 buildings and 86 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

  • AB 438 Will Help Save Public Libraries from the Privatization BeastCalifornia Progress Report (USA).  “As a public librarian, I believe that library services should be available to everyone, and this can best be done through a strong public library system. The residents of Santa Clarita did not have a choice or a voice in their City Council’s decision to privatize their libraries and how their tax dollars are spent but AB 438 will change that for other communities. With the help of CREDO and change.org more than 71,000 Californians signed petitions in support of AB 438 and librarians along with public library supporters across the country joined them.”
  • ACE library report “a disappointment”BookSeller.   “Library campaigners have expressed intense disappointment with the Arts Council (ACE)’s first strategy document on libraries. with one claiming it is not “devised to meet people’s needs”… Desmond Clarke says it advocates replacing paid staff with volunteers,  Tim Coates says it missed a lot of important research – “There is no consciousness about the real issues that matter, books, operations, opening hours, and you have to have been living on another planet not to know what these issues are.” – CILIP are in discussion with ACE but fear lack of funding.
  • Amazon turns your local library into retail book chain – New York Times (USA).   “Amazon threw down the gauntlet against terrestrial competitors today by announcing that Kindle and Kindle app customers can borrow and purchase Kindle books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States. In essence, these first 11,000 local libraries just became a chain of local bookstores for Amazon’s catalog of virtual books.”
  • Local government’s “duty to involve” the English is being scrapped – Our Kingdom.  ““…it could easily lead councils to consult on everything regardless of whether decisions have already been made or not. This is a recipe for consultation overload, cynicism and a devaluing of consultation more broadly.”” 
  • Maximise the potential of your public library – Knowledge Network.   “Learn how public libraries can help local governments tackle critical community priorities such as economic development, public safety, environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, education, and literacy.”
  • New trends in European Children’s Libraries – Eurolis.  Seminar –  “At a time when libraries’ educative mission is endangered and children’s literacy is declining, European experts present ideas and innovations for children’s libraries. This one day seminar is organised by Eurolis, the consortium of librarians of European Cultural Institutes in London and CILIP. The speakers will come from library services in the following European countries – UK, Germany, France, Portugal and Spain.”
  • On the other side of the counter at Winsford LibraryVoices for the Library.   Hannah Bailey, libraries officer for UNISON spends a day with library staff.  “Meanwhile on the counter, a constant stream of people were coming in and out, putting paid to the rumour that nobody uses libraries anymore. Remember earlier this year when John Redwood MP made some startlingly ill-informed comments about libraries after a brief visit to one? Anyone deeming themselves worthy of comment needs to spend at least a day in a library before drawing any conclusions. After all, a visit to an uncharacteristically quiet supermarket at 10pm wouldn’t lead one to conclude that modern retail as we know it is dead would it?”.  [Disclaimer – Winsford Library is the branch that I manage].

Changes

Local News

“Friern Barnet Library, Hampstead Garden Suburb Library and North Finchley Library are under threat of closure in the London Borough of Barnet.  Consultation has closed and Friern Barnet and Hampstead Garden Suburb are set to close 31 Dec 2011 unless local campaigners come up with an acceptable community option to saving the services provided at these libraries.” Barnet – Email to PLN.

  • Bradford – Library plan is chance to shop and borrow a book – Ilkey Gazette.  Ilkley-based company Fairbrook Developments Ltd has applied for planning permission to refurbish and extend the Bradford Council-owned Grange Road library. The plan, now available for public inspection and comment, proposes space for a Co-op store on the ground floor, plus storage, staff room and car parking, plus a first floor extension to house the library.”
  • Croydon – Fears over Croydon library plans – Guardian series. She argued this option [outsourcing] was the only way to keep all the libraries open and predicted the decision could reduce the cost to the council by £367,000 annually, while only costing £250,000, spread over two years, to implement. Asked to clarify how these figures were reached she was unable to provide details.”
  • Dorset – Dorchester: Dorset voters stand up for democracy – View online. Dorset for Democracy (D4D) rose from the ashes of the former Fair Votes for Dorset group, at Thursday’s meeting at the George Hotel in Bridport. The protest group plans to address a “democratic deficit “ in local government, which has led to unpopular plans going ahead against the wishes of the community. The building of new district council offices in Charles Street in Dorchester and the closure of nine community libraries in the county have angered members in particular.”
  • Hounslow – 40% reduction in spending on new books plannedChiswickW4.com. “In its statement, the Council said that John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS),who hold the contract for staffing, building maintenance and other services, were working over and above the hours contractually required and there was a savings opportunity to review opening hours and reduce them accordingly. A total of £ 1.25 million had been saved using the company over the past three years. The Council said the target of £ 540,000 savings could be made with ” limited impact” on the library service.”
  • Isle of Wight – Council confirms library handovers – IWCP.  “The council will continue to run Cowes, Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Ventnor and Freshwater libraries, while community groups will take over at Bembridge, Brighstone, East Cowes, Niton and Shanklin. The council has said the new arrangements will save around £500,000 a year.”
    • Hoarder’s attic at Ventnor LibraryVentnor Blog.  “Members of FVL and users of the library have cleared their own ‘attics’ and donated a variety of items for gardening, crafts, household, ladies wear, health and beauty and of course books. The proceeds will go towards funding projects in the Library.” 
  • Lincolnshire – Scheme to introduce children to books – Sleaford Standard.   “A new initiative will help introduce children to the wonderful world of books. The Bookstart Bear Club has been designed to encourage families with young children to make the most of their local library. The club is open to children aged up to the age of four, with members receiving a paw print stamp each time they return a book or attend a story or rhyme time activity in the library.”

  • North Yorkshire – County Council axes mobile librariesCraven Herald and Pioneer.  “As part of the savings, 10 out of 11 vehicles that served more than 800 villages have been taken off the road. The remaining “supermobile” library, which is equipped with internet-enabled computers as well as books, has been spared.” … “Library user Mary Vineall, from Hebden, said she was “saddened and appalled” by the cutbacks. She said: “This is a service which provides a lifeline to many people in remote villages up and down the Dales. Many clients are elderly and have no cars. Numerous mothers collect books for children to encourage them into the joys of reading.” 
“We all need to do our bit for society; I (like many others nationally) have been giving up hundreds of hours to ensure we keep our small library running a normal service. Time I could have spent with my baby girls & wife. It has actually cost me time & money. I’m sorry to say this but you & the rest of the Taxi users in OCC are becoming a parody of fair play & decent public spirit. You all seem to want a BIG society but not actually get involved. Let me remind you people have lost their jobs, are losing their public services & you have “not the slightest intention of getting on a bus or a tube train”?” Oxfordshire – From our Oxfordshire correspondent – Alan Gibbons.  Council spends £25k per month on private transport for councillors.  

  • Oxfordshire – Villagers sing out to save their libraryOxford Mail.  “More than 80 Old Marston residents joined by children’s songwriter Nick Cope, took part in a sing-in to save their library.  The musical session was organised by the Save Old Marston Library group over Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to have volunteers run it two-thirds of the time.”
  • Surrey – County Council implodes – SLAM.   “The Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council (David Hodge) was dismissed on Monday and the Leader (Andrew Povey) resigned last night. The library plans and the car parking issues are believed to be the major factors in these events.” … “Take the day off work, cancel your dentist appointment, take friends in your car – tell everyone.  We must stop the library plans – we must stop Surrey County Council – we must act NOW! Next Tuesday (27th) 2pm at County Hall, Kingston – be there – be there early.”