Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 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

  • Future of Libraries Telegraph.   Article looks especially at national libraries and other special libraries that have unique content, seeking to put such resources online, often at a charge.
  • Love Your LibrariesUNISON (Facebook).  New Facebook page to publicise what the main trade union for public library workers is doing for libraries and to link up with local campaigners.
  • Public Libraries: ClosuresHouse of Lords (Hansard).   Baroness Rawlings agrees libraries are important.  Suggestions for keeping libraries open include volunteers and using Church buildings (“We have in Hereford diocese an excellent example, of a library in a church tower. A lift, loos and other facilities are provided”). “Big Society” seen as very important role for libraries and a very important role to keep same libraries open.
  • Rethinking libraries? 3rd Axiell Symposium 2011Axiell.  “The Axiell Symposium is a two-day international conference…We are all familiar with improvements in efficiency and savings. Reorganisation is also a well-known term that has characterised our libraries for the past decade. But what is the next step?”
  • Social networking and British libraries – Wikipedia.  Survey of use of social networking websites by libraries, including by campaigners.
  • What will Amazon’s “Netflix for Books” do for libraries? – Publishers Weekly (USA).  “Libraries have shared much of publishing’s uncertainty as physical books continue their slide.” …”In addition to embracing digital books, libraries are trying everything under the sun in order to save themselves.” … “But can local branches, many already running dry, survive if Amazon gives Prime, which is becoming more and more of a deal at $79 as it decorates its price tag with feature after feature, and its users the capability to access any book a library could provide, without having to leave one’s home?”.  Will the word library in 2021 bring up an “image of a person, never leaving his or her house, pressing a series of buttons on a high-res Amazon tablet screen to check out a lent book, scanning the lines using the device’s backlight instead of the low ceiling lights of a library?”
“To lose bookstores hurts. But the idea of the library itself being supplanted by e-commerce is downright dystopian. Blockbuster was just a video store, Tower Records just a music store. But a public library is something ineffable and sacrosanct, a cornerstone of democracy. Libraries were the first pillars of the DIY movement, long before the age of Make and Etsy–they offered a do-it-yourself education, free of charge. No one is actually accusing Amazon of killing the library, the way Netflix pretty much killed Blockbuster. But as the e-book revolution continues to erode the physicality of books, we should ensure that it doesn’t erode, too, the physical milieus books traditionally lived in, and the crucial and uplifting services those spaces provided–lending, outreach, and the occasional talk by the likes of Amitav Ghosh, all free of charge.” Will Amazon’s “Digital Library” kill the physical one? Let’s hope not – Technology Review.   

  • Self-service libraries can leave you long overdue – Telegraph.   New self-service machines in Gravesend cause queues and confusion, including giving back more in change than was paid in to pay a charge. In all, returning those books and paying the fine took 10 minutes. When I was a boy, in the days of cardboard library tickets, the same transaction would have involved the following steps: 1. Enter library. 2. Hand books and coins to human librarian. 3. Exit library.”

Changes

Local News

““I can’t believe how incredibly short-sighted this is, especially when now, more than ever before, it is imperative that we encourage creativity in as many ways as we possibly can, especially for children and young people.” Bolton – Funny man Dave [Spikey] backs the “save libraries” campaignBolton News.  “Spikey, who now lives in Chorley, spent his formative years devouring books in libraries in Heaton and Halliwell. Now, as both libraries face the axe, the funnyman is calling on Bolton Council to have a rethink and has branded the proposals “short-sighted”.”

“The information obtained from the market sounding exercise has provided a very clear indication that a competitive ‘market’ exists for the provision of library services in both Wandsworth and Croydon. It is therefore recommended that the Council market tests the management of its library and heritage service and that, subject to approval by this Council and Croydon Council, library services for both Councils are procured jointly.”

  • Wandsworth – see also Croydon, above.