Cutting libraries is the “Act of philistines … atavistic nonsense… the nemesis of our country”
“More education is done in libraries than in any other place”
Moving away from the awed wonder that is necessary when watching Brian Blessed, a report from Swindon shows the terrible reality that can occur when a council pass a library branch to volunteers without proper training, plan, investment …. all those things that cost money in fact.
434 libraries (347 buildings and 87 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

“Closing libraries because *you* don’t use them is like blocking in a speeding ambulance because it’s not *your* gran in it.” #bethanar tweet

  • Convincing politicians that libraries improve literacy – Johanna Bo Anderson’s Blog. “there are the statistics, the evidence out there, but what there is not is someone with clout to deliver that message.”
  • Libraries not leafletsDaily Mail.  Janet Street-Porter bemoans the cuts in her local North Yorkshire library.  “Asking for free labour to deliver services we already pay for is the thin end of the wedge. Will we soon be asked to deliver meals on wheels, clean schools and run museums?”. Solutions suggested by her include less council publicity leaflets/newsletters and less pay for councillors.
  • Volunteering: Would you?Johanna Bo Anderson’s Blog.  Dilemma: Volunteering will mean paid people lose their jobs vs. if one does not volunteer, the library would close.  Interesting comments 

Changes

Herefordshire – £2m for joint library/wedding venue/council offices in Ledbury. 
Lancashire – £5m refurbishment for libraries. 

Local News

  • Herefordshire – Library and wedding plan for Ledbury Master’s House – BBC.  £2m for joint library/wedding venue/council services centre.  “Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “At a time when many local authorities are having to close libraries due to government spending cuts, we remain fully committed to providing this service which is much valued by the local community.”
  • Hertfordshire – Library campaign group appeals for residents to join fight – Royston Crow. “Anyone interested in joining the group should visit its website at www.weheartlibraries.org.uk and sign up. The website includes the latest news from the campaign, and also groups that members can join including a parents’ group, a reading group and a writers’ circle. “
  • Lancashire – £5m to revamp Lancashire County Council librariesLancashire Telegraph.  “We know that libraries are important to people’s quality of life and are at the heart of local communities, which is why we are investing around £5.5million in refurbishing them.”
  • Suffolk – Mobile library serviceAlasdair Ross.  “Mobile libraries are a lifeline to those who can’t easily make it to a public library, hopefully the Council will carry out this consultation with more grace and intelligence than the full library consultation.”
  • Swindon – Letter from Sherry Waldon – Swindon Advertiser.  Walcot Library since begun volunteer-run: “It has no real library staff, is now shut on Saturdays and is no longer available for the local schools to use, because there’s no room available since the charity shop moved in. It is now, in fact, a charity shop with some stacks of books as a sort of afterthought. Comparison of library usage between the years 2008/9 and 2009/10 shows the figures for Walcot have gone down dramatically.”.  Lack of training and investment may spread to other branches.