Brilliant overview of what is happening to libraries and what we can
do about it from the man himself.   “Is it the case that children are craning
their necks reading Dostoyevsky?”
Things you can do today
428 libraries (339 buildings and 89 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

  • Borrow ebooks from your local library … without even going there – C-Net.  “So, instead of buying, why not borrow? It’s not widely publicised, but Britain is one of the world’s best-served nations when it comes to digital lending, as most of our libraries have signed up to provide books through the DRM-managed OverDrive system.”
  • News round-up from the NetworkCommunity Knowledge Hub. Organisation set up to help volunteers take over under-threat libraries lists achievements so far.  Currently working with groups in Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire, Leeds and Wakefield. 
  • Saucy librarian fraud exposedDaily Mash. “Thousands of young women wearing large-framed glasses are not actually repressed nymphomaniacs, it has been revealed” … “Malley estimates that less than one in a thousand geeky-but-attractive looking women could actually name every crew member of Deep Space Nine and reckons they just like the way they look in a cardigan.”
  • Save our librariesDancing with Myself (blog).  “the government’s cutting criteria seems somewhat biased, aiming the severest hacks at those visited by a lesser volume of people.  So regardless of how important a library may be to a small village, due to the lack of public buildings or low income, their libraries could be hit the hardest.” … “The more we protest to our council, the more they have to take notice.  So, write to your MP’s, stage a protest, dress as a book and parade around the streets.  We can’t let them close our libraries.”

Changes

Northern Ireland – 8 out of 10 libraries threatened reprieved. Moneymore and Moy will close.  Five others will need to get new buildings or close.
Surrey – 10 libraries confirmed as volunteer-run.   Volunteer group: Friends of Stoneleigh Library. 
Warwickshire – Bidford, Henley and Kineton will be volunteer-run with parish council support.

Local News

  • Barnet -Community turn out to show support for threatened library – Barnet Today.  “Supporters of Friern Barnet library held a day of celebrations to highlight the library’s place at the heart of the community.”. 300 people took part … “My son has a learning disability. He recently walked, with the rest of his class, from Holly Park School to the library, to get a book. This is a reminder that the library is central in the community, and in this situation, it was part of my son’s inclusion in a mainstream school. It would be such a shame to see the library go.”  
 
  • Bolton – Councillors rubber stamp plans to close one-third of town’s libraries – Manchester Evening News. 5 out of 15 confirmed to close.  “Conservative councillor David Greenhalgh said: “From the consultation ending, then it going to the executive, the scruitiny committee and here, this has been done with undue haste and has not given the right impression to communities out there who have been fighting to keep their libraries open.”… “To replace the axed libraries, five new neighbourhood collection points will be set up” 
“As you may now know we have been granted leave to appeal the decision of Justice Ousley. the appeal is due to be heard in about three weeks. In the meantime Brent is not able to board up our library or remove any of the books. They have done this to some of the other libraries and it is truly shocking for the people in those communities to see such sights.  Our campaign is certainly not over although we welcome the respite from standing outside the library in the freezing cold. Our community has responded magnificently and made sure we have been fed and watered throughout the day and night, with one supporter stting his alarm for 3am to make sure we had hot drinks. We cannot thank our community enough for the support they have shown. We also really appreciated the brilliant messages of support from others, heartening indeed. We will be at the library conference on Saturday and can perhaps thank peple in person. Regards, best wishes and thanks, Margaret Bailey, Co-Chair” Brent campaign.
“I understand the strong opposition to library closures, but Brent’s library programme was not a knee-jerk money-saving reaction to budgetary cuts but a well thought-out policy based on visitor numbers and the state of the buildings. Most people living in Brent still have a library no more than a mile and a half from their homes and they will now be able to visit them seven days a week and enjoy more books (traditional and electronic), better internet access and regular cultural and family events when they get there.” Cllr James Powney, Brent – Why libraries are closing (Independent) Alternative would otherwise be “genteel decline”.

  • Bracknell Forest – Birch hill Library hits record borrowing – Get Bracknell.  “It was a 1970s’ library in huge need of modernisation. We have managed to get a much better layout and have had several hundred pounds worth of new books.”… “August was the Leppington library’s busiest month ever, with 2,975 visitors and 4,092 books issued – up from 2,458 visitors and 3,467 issues for the same month this year.”.  Summer Reading Challenge alos successful.
  • Calderdale – Let the obscenely-rich of Britain become our benefactors…we’re in this debt mess togetherTodmorden News.  As for the proposed £150,000 cuts in Calderdale’s libraries, this could be averted by stopping councillors’ payments and reverting to the voluntary system of last century. What’s the sense of leaving the bookshelves behind locked doors, sacking excellent librarians, and paying them minimised “benefits”for doing nothing. That’s no way to industrial revival.”
  • Dorset – Colehill residents asked if they would pay to save library – Bournemouth Echo.   “Colehill Parish Council Deputy Chairman, Councillor Susan Davies, said: “Working that out with the number of households, which is about 3,000, it would mean an annual increase in precept per household of around about £3.50.” – Parish Council asking voters if they would be willing to pay more.
  • Northern Ireland – Eight of ten Northern Ireland rural libraries reprievedBBC.The branch libraries under threat of closure ran campaigns to save them, and many recruited new members and increased usage.”
  • Surrey – Bid to block volunteer-led libraries fails by one vote – Epson Guardian.   Councillor had to leave vote early for urgent hospital appointment or jobs would have been saved.  “”I just feel so sorry that all these volunteers are doing it with a gun to their head, knowing that their libraries will close if they are not there to run them.”.  2 Conservative councillors “felt strongly enough” to vote against the party line.
  • Warwickshire – Go-ahead given for takeover of librariesStratford Herald.  “At Bidford the library will be managed by residents with support from the parish council, offering a comprehensive service including lending of books, spoken word and DVDs, along with an information centre. The plan at Henley sees Henley Community Library and the parish council council deliver a service from the town’s guildhall, with whom the community has been discussing lease conditions. The proposal at Kineton involves the parish council taking over the running of the library, which is currently in the village hall. Initially it will be opening for eight hours a week, in line with existing activities in the hall.”

International

  • Future of Libraries Australia Talks(Australia). “Australia’s public libraries have re-invented themselves. Apart from lending books, they’re now community hubs offering internet access, computer games and seminars. But do we still need ‘bricks and mortar’ libraries in the digital age? What is the future of libraries?”
The self-confessed book and tree lover told the Times the council was getting it all wrong, saying more money, not less, should be spent on public libraries. “`What you are describing is a local authority who hasn’t got much money,” he said. “But a city needs the basics to make civilisation work.”.The controversial designer, whose television work included a series about urban blight and regeneration, said the city must focus on the “fundamental principal of sharing” to work. “And libraries, of course, represent one of the most civilised forms of sharing,” he said. Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs) on library cuts in New Zealand.

  • Hamilton library users say “no” to changesWaikato Times (New Zealand). “Among the proposals up for consideration are charging readers $2 to borrow adult fiction books, cutting the book collections budget by $500,000 to $1m, and even closing some community libraries on Mondays and Tuesdays. Children’s books would remain free to borrow.”
  • Libraries benefit from high impact partnership – Impatient Optimists (Indonesia).  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests … “This project, serving 40 district libraries across Indonesia, has been born of our shared passion for improving people’s lives; our shared belief in the role of access to information and technology in social, economic, and community development; and our strongly shared commitment to the tremendously powerful role that public libraries can play in providing this access.”
  • Library member exclusive benefits –  City of Sydney Libraries (Australia).  “Join the City of Sydney Library and receive the ultimate culture card! Library members have access to exclusive benefits to arts and cultural events in the City. The City extends its thanks to the cultural organisations who are participating in the Spring/Summer benefits.”