Comment

The results of the judicial review into cuts to Brent libraries will be announaced at 10 a.m. in the High Court (Strand) London tomorrow, Thursday 13th.  Good luck to the campaigners.  No matter what the result, the amount of time, effort and money put into this campaign definitely that people love libraries and value/use them now as much as ever. 

436 libraries (347 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

  • Congratulations Lauren - Voices for the Library.  On Lauren Smith soon to become vice-president of CILIP.  “We are all sad that Lauren will be leaving Voices For The Library to undertake this new role, but we wish her well and hope that her enthusiasm will strengthen the work CILIP is doing and will inspire others to get involved and make a difference too.”
  • Council leaders sceptical of “Big Society” - Public Finance. “Almost two-thirds of councils do not think that local communities will be able to take over the running of public services” … “councils might be too risk-averse to allow community groups to take on services, the survey finds. Almost all of those surveyed – 99% – said that they did not have a risk strategy that would allow for greater community involvement in services.”
  • Council’s plan to save 23 libraries - London Evening Standard.   ” LoveFilm or Blockbuster could be involved in handling the DVD borrowing service. Council bosses in Wandsworth and Croydon are looking at merging and handing management of the libraries to the private sector or voluntary organisations. Under the scheme, council staff would also be permitted to apply to run libraries.”.  “Every option will be carefully compared in terms of cost and quality but only solutions that ensure the future provision of our entire branch network will make it past the first hurdle.”.  Also mentions Brent decision on Thursday.
  • Kindle public library ebooks: when are they coming to Canada, UK?Vancouver Sun.  Amazon says there is no planned date and indeed no plans at all. “No “we’re working on it”. No “we value our Canadian Kindle users and hope to announce something soon”. Just a simple no comment — which, to my mind, suggests library lending isn’t in the cards for non-U.S. Kindle users anytime soon.”
  • Mysterious paper sculptures at Edinburgh libraries - Txikito Planet.  If you’ve not seen them yet, have a look.  Amazing artwork with a pro library message.
  • What price do you put on libraries?Everything stops for tea. “I am a Librarian. I am a professional. You wouldn’t expect a volunteer to teach your child or give you medical treatment”… “Chris Smith, once our Culture Secretary stated that “Libraries are our street corner universities” Sorry Lads, it looks like they might all be closed for business.”

Changes

Bexley – 1 mobile now ceased (Source: posting on LIS-PUB-LIBS).
Vale of Glamorgan – 1 mobile ceased June 2011.  2nd and last mobile to cease end of Dec.  (Source: email from council).
Wakefield - Libraries may move to being run by a Trust. 
Warrington – Libraries may move to being run by a Trust, £500k to be found through this or cuts.

Local News

  • Bolton – Anger as a third of Bolton’s public libraries are closed to save £400,000 – BBC.  “Council bosses said the closures were necessary to offset central government cuts to local authority budgets. Bolton council must save £64m over the next two years. Chief executive Sean Harris said: “It is not possible for the library service to be exempt in making cuts during this period.” … Campaigner says “The majority of the people who completed the council’s survey voted against the plans. This is an insult to people.”
“Although hardly unexpected, this is a deeply disappointing decision, which we feel has ignored local opinion, and been poorly thought through. We do not believe these savings were necessary and they will make life worse for many vulnerable people in our community, especially families with children and people who can’t get around as easily.” Bolton – Ian McHugh, Save Bolton Libraries.

  • Bracknell Forest – Library’s brush-up boosts borrower numbers - Bracknell Forest Council.  Record numbers of visitors and issues, especially by children.  “Simon Hart, branch supervisor, said: “The customers have all been really positive about the refurbishment, with lots of comments about how much brighter the library is now the brown bricks have been painted and how good it looks. There’s lots of encouraging comments about how we’ve managed to fit more shelves in while making the library look less cluttered. The new layout is really popular, especially the rug in the children’s library.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Little Chalfont Community Library bidding for NatWest money “Little Chalfont Community Library has entered a competition run by NatWest Bank to win £6000. The money will be spent on much-needed repairs and refurbishment of the community library building. The library is run by unpaid volunteers and financed by donations and grants therefore winning £6000 would be of tremendous help to us.” … “Currently the Library is in 3rd place (out of 55 projects). Voting is very close so your vote will make a difference in keeping us in the top 3.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Plea to help bid to save Yaxley library - Evening Telegraph.   ““We were told about the predicted future of Cambridgeshire Libraries and the knock-on effect it would have on Yaxley Library, so a friends group was established. It was clear from the meeting in May that there was popular local support for the continuation or improvement to existing library services, rather than their degradation.”
  • Doncaster  -Davies, you’re a disgraceSave Doncaster Libraries.   “The Mayor has flatly refused to listen to solutions offered by the Labour group and has failed to investigate alternative methods of keeping libraries open. Instead, he has jumped at the massively problematic volunteer method.” … “The council has proven itself incapable of effective consultation and unable to meet the needs of its citizens. Mayor Davies has demonstrated total ignorance ever since the library cuts proposals began.”
    • Libraries funding cut agreed - BBC.   “Two libraries at Carcroft and Denaby will close on 1 November and volunteers are being sought to run 12 others as the council seeks to make savings” … “Jill Johnson, a former head of library services in the town, said: “I think that in the long term these different kind of libraries will fail.” …”Mayor Peter Davies said: “I would argue that the libraries have not been working very well in the past.” … “Our policy now of making these 12 super-libraries more attractive and more pleasing for people to visit may well restore people’s faith in libraries and, who knows, libraries in Doncaster may enjoy a renaissance.”
  • Herefordshire – Mobile library service is replaced - Worcester News.   “More than 60 years of library history came to an end on Friday, September 30, when the Herefordshire mobile library service made its final visits. The service has now been replaced by an increased home delivery and nursing home provision, which will continue to provide a service to those people in rural areas based upon their needs.”
  • Islington – Library service consultationIslington Council.  Majority against trust status and closing libraries.  Most popular options are reducing hours and sharing services with other councils, volunteering, increasing charges/fines.  Self service “a realistic option” but not favoured by those consulted.  Cuts proposed are: Extend Self Serve £250k, Reduction of opening hours (twinning) £200k, Back office reductions/VR £140k, Stock fund £30k, Shared home library service £30k.  If council decides on a Trust – “A financial appraisal carried out has shown that the saving made by forming a trust would be £110k in the first year, £160k for future years.”.
  • North Yorkshire – Public praised for help to save libraries - Gazette & Herald.   “Council officials have now said there is a ‘strong possiblity’ no libraries will be forced to close despite the loss of nearly £70 million. However, moves are still being made to replace Malton and Norton libraries with one facility.”… “Following the feedback from the consultation to ‘share the pain’, all of our libraries will see a reduction in opening hours, some of as much as 30 per cent, unless suitable numbers of volunteers can be found to assist”
    • New schedule planned for mobile library - Gazette & Herald.   ““We know the withdrawal of the mobile libraries created concerns for people who valued their service and live in the more remote parts of the county. What we are trying to do is offer a much improved replacement.”
  • Southwark – Libraries “here to stay” - Net-Lettings.   “Bookworms living in flats to rent in Southwark may be excited to hear that all of Sutton’s libraries are to remain open, despite deep cuts in government funding. A report published by the local council – following a five-month review into the subject – concluded that none of the 12 existing facilities need to close.”
  • Surrey – Bid to stop staff cuts defeated - BBC.  “Surrey County Council’s proposals to have the libraries run by volunteers have proved controversial, with protests held against the cuts. At Tuesday’s full council meeting, a motion from the Residents Association Group to scrap the plans was defeated.”
  • Wakefield – Council may link up with firms to deliver services to the public - Yorkshire Post.  “Working with community organisations to deliver some services together or to transfer the running of some to these organisations, such as markets and libraries.” … ““We are the biggest provider of public services in the district and will continue to be responsible for those services, even if some of them are provided in a different way in the future.”
  • Warrington – New body to run leisure and cultural services in town? - This is Cheshire. “The executive board is set to vote on whether to create two not-for-profit organisations to take over the running of council leisure centres including the new Orford Park Neighbourhood Sports Hub, libraries and cultural services like the Pyramid and Parr Hall as well as Warrington Museum.”.  May  be successful in “attracting external funding from companies keen to help the community.”
  • Waltham Forest – Libraries to close - Guardian series.   “The proposals to shut the Harrow Green branch in Leytonstone and South Chingford in Hall Lane were rubber stamped by the council’s cabinet at a meeting tonight. Campaigners pleaded with the authority to consider alternatives but the Labour leadership claimed it was the only way to save money following cuts in its funding from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat government.” … “Protester Vi Gostling, who has been a Labour member for 62 years, said she was “in despair” at her party colleagues’ decision.” ..”Fellow campaigner 29-year-old Hayley Bowden, of Orange Grove, Leytonstone, was in tears. Ms Bowden has been visiting the library her entire life and regularly takes her eight-year-old daughter Amber. She is disabled and fears her restricted mobility means she will not be able to visit other branches instead.”
  • Warwickshire – Library charges fail to rake in target - Stratford Observer.  “A report set to go before Warwickshire County Council’s cabinet this week showed the charges of up to £5 an hour, introduced back in July 2009, raised just over £40,000 as usage plummeted.” … failed to raise even a quarter of target.  “users simply used the free first half an hour before logging off” but ” half an hour just isn’t enough to do most things – applying for a job for example.”.  Removal of charges is being considered.