Comment
 
Cambridgeshire has announced a “supermarket style” tiering of its libraries into Library Extras and others.  A standard big library is now renamed an “Extra”.  Everthing else is no longer “Extra” as it is being degraded to a greater or lesser extent.  Presumably, in the next round of cuts, there will be less “Extras” and the few that remain will be renamed something even more superlative (like “Mega”?) and everything else drops down a tier.  Tiering – in the incarnation of giving away some of the least wanted libraries to other organisations – has already happened in Lewisham, from which there is a highly critical letter today that, if half of it is true, bodes ill for the whole concept.
429 libraries (343 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

  • East Village bookshop owner busts library thief – New York Post (USA).  “There’s no other situation where I would do this. I was so angry that he was stealing from the library,” Davis said. “The library is just a very important piece of our community.”
  • Libraries judicial review: no result for “two weeks to two months” – This is the West Country.  “The three-day hearing at the High Court in Birmingham ended with the judge reserving his decision for between two weeks and two months.”.  Campaigners’ lawyers says “Although no-one can second guess what a judge will decide, they were optimistic of a good result, with the judge having stated that he will carefully consider and weigh up all the arguments in this complex case.”.  Council refuses to give comment. 

 

 
  • School with no library for people of the bookJewish Chronicle.  King David High School in Liverpool to open but “one sentence made me choke on my breakfast and – assuming my family were to move to Liverpool – vow that no child of mine would ever attend King David. “In another advance on tradition,” it read, “there is no school library.”” … “But how is getting rid of a school library progress? What can replace a well-stocked library, where children are encouraged to read fiction and non-fiction? Where else can they browse books in a variety of subjects – including those they do not study – read expert opinions and have a break from the fact-cramming, box-ticking, keyword-spewing curriculum imposed by politicians?”
“Private schools, in contrast, value their libraries and arrange regular author visits. The lack of a library increasingly denotes social inequality. Parents should not be dazzled by technology. A good librarian in a well-used library is just as important.”

  • Smith to be vice-chair of CILIP – BookSeller.  Smith, a learning and teaching support officer at the University of Leeds, will serve for one year from 1st January 2012. Smith has gained a high media profile for her work with Voices for the Library and the Save Doncaster Libraries campaign.”
  • Social care cuts: it’s all Philip Pullman’s fault – Guardian.   In response to Keith Mitchell’s attempt to blame the campaign to save libraries in Oxfordshire on leftwing activists and posh authors.  “This attempted outsourcing of blame is disingenuous, not least because some of the most powerful lobbying against the library cuts came not from Oxford lefties but from Mitchell’s own political comrades and supporters.” … “Mitchell’s outburst is really a diversion to cover his own failure of judgement and leadership.” … “many of Mitchell’s own party members lost confidence in his handling of the cuts – indeed, Mitchell barely survived an attempted coup in May.”  … “”Big society” was meant to emerge to fill the gaps caused by cuts, and it was assumed that the Tory shires would be enthusiastic participants. Ironically, in Oxfordshire it appears that it is opposition to cuts, not the prospect of running one’s own library, that has galvanised the long dormant community spirit so prized by Cameron.”
  • What do public librarians and library staff do? – Walk You Home.  In response to the Mayor of Doncaster’s comments about library work being easy,  Lauren Smith and friends lists what it is library staff actually do.

Local News

  • Blackpool – Central library reopens after £3m revamp – BBC.  “The renovation of the Grade II-listed building on Queen Street includes a new extension with three rooms for community groups to use and a cafe.”  £2m from Big Lottery Fund, £1m from council.
  • Bolton – Campaigners vow to carry on fight to save libraries – Bolton News.  “Campaigners have vowed not to give up their fight to save five libraries from the axe. The Save Bolton Libraries Campaign reacted angrily to the council’s final proposals, published online yesterday.”.  Rally next Wednesday when Council will rubber-stamp closures. … “They say they have listened but they have disregarded hundreds of people’s views and thousands who signed petitions.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Supermarket-style library services given green light – Hunts Post 24.  “Members of Cambridgeshire County Council’s cabinet have approved a move to replace the current library service with a “21st century” model, that would see libraries being ranked as supermarkets.” “Extra” = standard library services for three largest branches, “Access”/”Compact” = lesser facilities, including volunteers, for other less fortunate places.
  • Camden – Primrose Hill Community Association (PHCA) submit proposals to take over Chalk Farm library, but still need £1.2 million – Camden New Journal.  “A partnership between the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Friends of Heath Library could take over the threatened Keats Grove branch, while the Friends of Belsize Library are hoping the Winchester Project Community Centre will submit an expression of interest to manage the Belsize branch. In the case of Chalk Farm, the PHCA say their bid will hinge on getting funding to guarantee the library’s future for 20 years and will follow a mini-consultation among users on what they want from the building.”
  • Conwy – Fresh call for guidance on library closures – North Wales Weekly.  Local AM says to Senedd “‘The closure of Kinmel Bay and Cerrigydrudion libraries would be a real blow for residents. They are important facilities for the community. There is a need for guidance from the minister in this area. Kinmel Bay and Cerrigydrudion have been defined as deprived areas in terms of educational attainment and income levels.”
  • Doncaster – To hand 12 libraries to volunteers – BookSeller.    Report on plan, inc Mayor’s explanation and Lauren Smith’s response.
    • Moves to cut library funding criticised – Yorkshire Post.   “Controversial plans which will see a council cut its funding for more than half of the libraries in a Yorkshire town have been unveiled and met with a barrage of criticism from campaigners.”
  • Enfield – Town library up for SCALA architecture award – Enfield Independent.   “he building – which now includes a two-storey extension and a renewable energy ground source heating system – also won a London Planning Award from Mayor Boris Johnson in January.” … ““This is a very attractive building and the new work has attracted lots of visitors. It is great to see it being used by so many people from the local community.””
  • Lewisham – Letter to Vaizey – via Alan Gibbons.  Letter from Peter and Patricia Richardson on the failure of the DCMS to intervene, drawing the attention of Ed Vaizey to the experience of non-council run libraries in the borough: (1) council accepts that Eco Computers (took over 3 libraries) may fail and could lead to a “reputational” loss to the council which would be hard to avoid. (2) Downgrading of library service may be against the 1964 Act.  (3) “large scale” removal of stock.  If a cafe is added, this remove yet more stock.  (4) Reservations take up to 5 weeks to be satisfied. (5) Blackheath Library only has 1000 visits per month now compared to 7 ot 8000 before. (6) marginally more opening hours is of no benefit with greatly reduced stock. (7) None of the libraries is open as much as promised due to failure to recruit volunteers.  (8) It is not clear how the Data Protection Act affects the work of volunteers. (9) all lost buildings need considerable work.  “The new temporary site for Blackheath is only accessed by crossing a sloping, badly surfaced terrain.  No official building would be allowed to permit the public access in this way.”.  However, a comment by a user of one of these libraries, says he is still “receiving a good service”.
  • Middlesbrough – Closures on the cards as Middlesbrough mayor unveils cuts proposals – Northern Echo.   “Several libraries, children’s centres and youth centres are earmarked for closure during 2012-13, as is Clairville Stadium and Tennis World, which would be put up for sale.”.  Services protecting the elderly and vulnerable will receive less cuts than rest.  Mayor says ““This is a climate of creativity, if you have ideas and they are a bit off the wall, let us have them.””
  • Swansea – Horrid Henry grips thousands in Swansea’s Summer Reading Challenge – Wales Online.  “A record 2,184 youngsters took part in Swansea council’s Summer Reading Challenge and the most borrowed books were about the adventures of Horrid Henry.” … ““Feedback from staff is that some children start reading more often after the challenge and many persuade their friends to join the library and sign up for the challenge too.”