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

  • 2011 Guardian and Observer books power 100 – Guardian.   The one hundred most influential people (authors, publicists, media …) on UK reading habits.  I don’t see a librarian on the list.
  • Bevan Foundation warns over “online exclusion” in WalesBBC.  One-third of those in Wales may not have easy online access “The researchers found nearly 200 computers are available free of charge in public libraries in Caerphilly county borough, but there are limitations on how useful they are, such as access not being available outside library opening hours and the blocking of some websites.” …””If people can’t get to a library, or they’re put off by how they’re taught, they won’t make the step to using digital services”.
  • Chance to strengthen public libraries – Daily Review (USA).   “One of the more counterintuitive developments of modern times is that public libraries have retained their relevance in the digital age. They not only continue to present the printed word in its traditional format, but serve as a universal, toll-free entrance ramp to the digital realm.”
  • Kid and Teens, start a new chapterNYPL (USA).   “Bring back your overdue book, check out a new book, and have your fines waived”
    “It is hoped that this national forum will help support local groups in building their campaigns to save library services. Campaigners from around the country will be facilitating workshops, and Phillip Pullman and Pete Challis from Unison will be speaking. Doncaster have been battling library cuts and reductions in service for a number of years now and will be able to share our experiences and offer advice, as well as learn from others in areas such as legal challenges, volunteer-run libraries and outsourcing/privatisation. ” Library Campaign ConferenceSave Doncaster Libraries

  • Libraries aren’t dying, they’re evolving – Shareable (USA).  ““People who talk about libraries dying out are the ones who remember the libraries of their childhood,” says American Library Association (ALA) President, Molly Raphael, from her home in Portland, Ore. “But the library of today is not the library of our childhood, and the library that children see today is not the library we’ll see in 20 years.”
  • Making volunteering more simple: the new “My Community Starter”Guardian (Advertising Feature).  Forthcoming website from Zurich aims to list volunteering opportunites by area.  “In an increasingly risk averse and litigious culture, Zurich understands all too well the myths and perceptions that can influence the public’s attitude to volunteering. Many are concerned about personal responsibility and accountability. At the same time however, the government has called on us to rally as individuals and groups to help build its vision of a ‘Big Society'; where communities are empowered to get involved with or run public services – from community centres and libraries to transport services and housing projects.”
  • Throw the book at the library haters Independent (Boyd Tonkin). “However, what if another explanation applied: that some benighted councils actually dislike libraries, distrust their users, and in particular loathe those uppity campaigners who dare to question their decisions? After all, they can and do dismiss these trouble-makers as “middle-class” (however blatantly misleading that is, especially in city centres), as if that amounted to any sort of argument. They may also claim that people can now buy all the books they want cheaply from Asda or Tesco; that everyone reads on computers or Kindles; that paper books mean nothing to fully-wired youngsters.”
  • Volunteering at ten year low in blow to Big Society Telegraph.   “Just 39 per cent of people took part in some form of volunteering in the last year, the lowest level since 2001, according to the Government’s annual Citizenship Survey. “

Changes

Dorset – Campaign group – Friends of Colehill Library.
Nottinghamshire – New £3.4m Mansfield Library expected to open Jan 2012.  

Local News

  • BlackburnArrest after man attacks librarianBlackburn Citizen.  “A man is alleged to have punched the woman in the chest after being denied access to a computer. When detained by police, he is again said to have become aggressive, injuring the officer.”
  • Bolton – Moment of truth for library campaignersBolton News. “results of a public consultation on the future of Bolton’s libraries will be announced on October 5 — a week before Bolton Council makes its final decision.”
  • Bradford – Library plan is chance to shop and borrow a bookIlkley Gazette.  “Plans to extend Burley-in-Wharfedale Library to create a new Co-op convenience store have been submitted to Bradford Council.”
  • Dorset – Future service provision and arrangementsDorset Council.   Nine libraries to close unless volunteer run.  “The council is proposing to provide books, computers, self-service facilities and staffing expertise to support those nine local communities if they want to take over responsibility for their library building – which could then also be opened up for other public uses. The value of this support is over £5,000 for each of the libraries.”
  • Isle of Wight – Island libraries to be handed over – Isle of Wight Radio.   “Five Island libraries will stop being funded by the Isle of Wight Council at the end of September. It has been confirmed that they will be run by volunteers in their own communities, apart from two which will be run by a charity.”… “All five will have free access to the council’s library book stock and will get broadband installed and paid for by the council. The new arrangements will save the authority around half a million pounds a year.”
  • Northern Ireland – Bookworms to unite against library closuresBelfast Telegraph. ““It is regrettable that Libraries NI are proposing to reduce the opening hours in the Bangor, Donaghadee and Holywood libraries.“I know these Libraries are well used by both young and old in the community and it is unfortunate that their opening hours are now going to be under review.” … ““Whilst I recognise that Libraries NI need to balance their budget, making such cuts at the behest of the Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure could be the death knell of some libraries reducing visitors to an unsustainable level with the next logical step closure”.
  • Nottinghamshire – New Mansfield Library is fit for 21st CenturyChad.   “Workers were busy installing enough shelves to display a massive collection of 35,000 books at Mansfield’s gleaming new library this week. Bosses behind the £3.4m project say they want to create the ‘wow factor’ at the library when it opens its doors for the first time in January.” … “The facility is expected to attract 300,000 visitors every year and Mr Gow says the revamp should increase the number using it by up to 30 per cent”
  • Somerset – Library campaigners hit their target and prepare for court – West Somerset Free Press. “Campaigners fighting to stop the closure of 11 Somerset libraries – including two in West Somerset – are preparing to take their battle to court after reaching a £9,000 fundraising target for initial legal costs.
    Watchet library user Rebecca Hird is being used as a test case in a three-day judicial review hearing in Birmingham which gets underway next Tuesday (September 27) ” … ““Not only have we received the financial backing from local people and library friends’ groups, but they have also helped by providing information and witness statements to the court countering the county council’s position,”
  • Pembrokeshire – Library services improveTenby Observer.   “A recent 2010/11 Assessment by the Welsh Government has found that the service run by Pembrokeshire County Council has achieved 11 of the 14 Welsh Public Library standards. This is an improvement on the nine standards achieved in 2009/10 and the six achieved in 2008/09.”
  • Staffordshire – New gaming club to launch at Lichfield Library  –  Lichfield Live.  “Titles such as Warhammer 40,000, Lord of the Rings, Magic the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh will be played at the club at Lichfield Library.”
  • Surrey – Leader of Surrey County Council, Dr Andrew Povey, to stand down – Guardian series.  “The idea that he’s taken this time to look after his business is nonsense – he’s been kicked out. More than half of the Conservatives told him to go and it’s not the first time.”There was a vote of no confidence a couple of months back.Povey has been responsible for some of the most damaging and unpopular decisions of the Conservative administration – that’s pay and display and the libraries.”
  • Wirral – Library to celebrate centennial – Wirral Globe.   “Councillor Chris Meaden, Wirral cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “The role Wallasey Central Library plays within the local community is as important now as it was 100 years ago.” … “Winners of the library’s “100 Words” writing competition – which invited people to explain what their local library means to them, will be announced and Mayor McLaughlin will then unveil the painting and plaque.”.  John Hegley to speak.