Comment 

The Telegraph has printed an article in which it points out the danger of whole areas of the country being without a bookshop, or a library, in the near future.  The decline in the independent bookshop, the end of Borders and the worries over Waterstones mean that the public library may be the only place in which to browse a physical book.  Online, the future is equally as bleak, with Amazon seeming to dominate the market which could lead to an effective monopoly on printed book provision in the UK.  The picture is little better with e-books, where a lawsuit reports suspiciously similar (and high) prices between Amazon and Apple. Yet another reason to save the public library near you.

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

419 libraries (337 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

“Speaking of libraries, a little reported section of the recent DCMS study, This Cultural and Sporting Life: The Taking Part 2010/11 Adult and Child Report – buried among “Attitudes to the Olympic Games”, “Digital engagement” and “The Big Society” – shows that people (three-quarters of children and two-fifths of adults) do use libraries, that their use has not declined in the past two years, and there is less of a difference in use of libraries between rich and poor areas than in any other cultural sector. The Government is just going to have to think of some other excuse for closing them all down, then.” Between the covers - Independent.  

  • How Twitter and Facebook helped Bing Thom design a public library - Fastcodesign.  Canadian library designed in record time due to use of social media for public consultation.  ““Surrey used to be the joke of Vancouver. Well, it’s not going to be a joke. People are starting to see that it’s the future.””
  • Internet and supermarkets kill off 2,000 bookshops – Telegraph.   “Campaigners warned yesterday that the loss of bookshops, coupled with threats to close thousands of libraries as part of council cuts, will lead to “book deserts” across large areas of the country.”.  CILIP says cutting libraries can lead to anti-social behaviour.  Waterstones stops its 3 for 2 offer, independent bookshops likely to (mostly) close.
  • Karin Slaughter and Lotte Sluyser – This Week in Libraries. “World famous best seller writer Karin Slaughter and Lotte Sluyser, a driving force for libraries in the Netherlands. Lotte is the Director of the Public Library of Haarlem.”
  • Library media box and other vending machines - Swiss Army Librarian.  Shows several different types with pros and cons. Anything we can do to make library services available outside the library’s building and operating hours – in a variety of ways to meet a variety of patron needs – is a good thing.”
  • Porn in US Libraries - RT (USA)Russian TV channel emphasises supposed porn aspect of US libraries caused by constitutional freedom of free speech. Includes several viewpoints but emphasising shock at such liberty.
“Kids who read become students who do well in school. Students who do well in school go to college. College students graduate to good jobs and pay higher taxes. Libraries don’t service only Democrats or Republicans. They don’t judge by class, race or religion. They service everyone in their community, no matter their circumstances. Rich or poor; no one is denied. Libraries are not simply part of our guarantee to the pursuit of happiness. They are a civil right, the foundation upon which time and time again the American dream has been built. If we lose our libraries, we risk losing our communities, our families and ourselves.” Save the Libraries (USA) Letter of advocacy by Karin Slaughter.

  • Why we love libraries (and we bet you do too)Shine. Reasons – quietness, free items, librarian advice, meet people, universal, connect to past, ownership of library card, rainy afternoons, answer questions, “the magic”.
  • World of Julia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate – Telegraph. “A lot of local councillors seem scared of not being voted in at the next election if the libraries close – it is brilliant that protests are having such an effect. As Children’s Laureate I am planning a big libraries tour next year to do sessions dramatising picture books with local schoolchildren. I want to illustrate the things that can and do happen in libraries; I don’t want to just swan in like the Queen.”

Changes

Local News

  • Bath and North East SomersetLibrary survey starts – BBC. ““We’re not in the same situation as many other councils who are looking at drastic cuts and closing libraries. We’re looking to make sure that the library service we’ve got is what people actually need and what they want.””
“This is an empty alternative that will in no way meet the range of needs that local people have.  Although this is part of the Council’s preferred cost saving ‘Option One’, they have not said how much the new service will cost to set up, what the ongoing rental, staffing and transport costs will be, or indeed how the service will be staffed. Will it be by volunteers, or by existing community centre staff? This is a shambles of a proposal. Local people need a proper library service, not a small pile of books in the corner of a community centre.” Bolton – A library is more than a pile of books in the corner of a community centre – Alan Gibbons.  Quote from Bolton campaigner Ian McHugh  regarding council suggestions for “taster” collections to replace closed libraries.