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

  • Joe Orton and our relationship with librariesChannel Four News.   Five minute video clip on Orton’s defacing of library books in the early 1960s, which led to Joe receiving six months (!) in prison.  “In 1962 libraries were considered important hubs of the community and so an attack on their collection of books was seen as an attack on society.  This is interesting to consider in the light of the threat of closure currently facing several libraries around the country.”.  Including clip of New Cross library protest. … “For now, the Essex Road library in Islington isn’t under threat.  And the upcoming exhibition will draw attention to its unique place in literary history.  But perhaps it might also serve another purpose and make us all reflect once more on just how important libraries are – and should be considered by all of us, councils and governments included. If it succeeds on that front, I’m sure Joe Orton would approve of the irony.”
  • Love your library - Library Council (Eire).  A short and simple video on usage of Irish libraries, encouraging people to visit.  There has not been to my knowledge any English library authority or body making a promotional video of similar nature this year.  
  • Philip Pullman’s library campaign blamed for social service cuts - Telegraph.  Keith Mitchell (leader of Oxfordshire) comments criticised.  Campaigner says issue is not “party political” and that there is scope for saving money within the library service.  Article calls Mitchell’s claim “astonishing” and that “Mr Mitchell failed to acknowledge that among those vocally opposed to the library service cuts was Barry Norton, David Cameron’s election agent and leader of West Oxfordshire District Council.” Comments after article are very largely critical of Mr Mitchell who appears to have shot himself in the foot and perhaps needs to relax with a good library book to recover. Alan Gibbons’ comments add that Mr Mitchell is wrong due to (a) other cuts could be made and (b) the money is there (as shown by £1.7bn found for weekly bin collections and council tax freeze).
    • Phony War - Question Everything.  Includes picture of Keith Mitchell in full Freemasons outfit. “What I think Keith is doing here is actually quite cunning. The people protesting against the current library proposals are largely voters in Tory villages where all of the library cuts are happening under this proposal. His plan I believe then is: A. Muddy the argument and make it about something else B. Wind the lefties up so his own side closes ranks against them and votes through the proposal, regardless of any evidence that it won’t work.”
  • Public libraries petition: please sign, we need 100,000 signatures - MumsNet.  Interesting comments showing a wide range of views. 
  • Who will be the last one standing?LaRue’s Views (USA).  “Back in 2008, I was interviewed by a reporter. With a knowing air, he asked me if libraries were going to survive the Internet. On Feb. 27, 2009, after 150 years of operation, his newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, printed its final edition. Now when reporters ask me that question I answer, “You bet we’ll survive. Will you?”

Changes

Hampshire - 42 libraries will have hours cut by one day per week,  the 11 other branches (the largest) will be open at least 50 hours per week .  Volunteers may be used to increase these hours or take over those branches under threat of closure.
Islington – Some may close. Ruled out turning into a trust.  £30k less bookfund, no CDs, increased fines/charges, may co-locate libraries with colleges/community centres, opening hours reduced to three days per week.
Middlesbrough – 4 branches and 1 mobile under threat – Grove Hill, Easterside, Marton and Thorntree. £50k bookfund cut, close the mobile £50k, 1.5 less managers (£36k).
Northern Ireland – 30 FTE jobs to go, £10.3m cut over four years.   

Local News

  • Barnet – Save our libraries - Our Barnet.  Front page article and photo from Save Friern Barnet Library campaign. Details council decisions and campaign to save libraries in Barnet and next steps. 
  • Blackburn with Darwen - New library service in North Turton to beat cuts - Lancashire Telegraph.  Mobile library withdrawn so, instead, “a stock of 250 titles will be housed in a community building and volunteers will help monitor the loaning out of the books. Every six weeks, 50 titles will be exchanged.” 
  • Bolton – Community trust could run library - Bolton News.   “Residents said the loss of the library would be a big blow for the community, with others asking if they could withhold their council tax if the facility shut. They backed running the library as a social enterprise, which could attract grants, sponsorship and commercial backing.”
    • “Quality not quantity” at core of 200-page report - Bolton News.   “The review states that the council’s statutory responsibility is to provide a library service for bolton, not necessarily a branch library service.” … “The council’s main message in the report is “quality not quantity”. Most residents in Bolton, the review states, will still live within two miles of a library.”.  Final decision to be made next Wednesday, with protest rally planned for outside.
  • Doncaster – Volunteer your time to save our libraries - Save Doncaster Libraries.  “If you’ve got any time to spare on the morning of Wednesday 12th October, please join us outside the Mansion House in Doncaster before the Cabinet meeting, where we’ll be protesting the Mayor’s proposals to force communities to run their own libraries, which we believe is unfair, unrealistic and unsustainable. There are many alternatives which the Mayor has refused to listen to because they do not fit in with his political views and the desire he’s had all along – to massively reduce the library service – purely because he doesn’t see the point of it.”
    • Mayor of Doncaster answering questions - BBC Radio Sheffield (2:11:00 on).   Includes facts like mayor has never used a library but libraries are “vital in schools”.  People should stop “belly-aching” about the cuts and suggest where else they should fall.
  • Gloucestershire – Children’s laureate to read to school children at Stroud Library - Stroud News and Journal.   Julia Donaldson: “”I’ve always been a big fan of libraries. They are where children discover their taste in books and become lifelong readers. I am planning to visit as many as I can during my two years as children’s laureate, to draw attention to all the exciting things that can and do go on in them. My hope is that these visits will result in children who are not already members signing up with their local library.” 
  • Hampshire – Centre could be made “key” hub - Gazette.  Smaller libraries may close one more day per week, while 11 largest remain unaffected.  Councillor in charge of libraries says “We have to make the service sustainable, so clear business sense has to prevail to give everyone reasonable access at least cost, especially when you consider we have one instance where the figures show every visit to one of our libraries costs the taxpayer £15 a time.””  Volunteers may help out or even take over under threat libraries.
  • Hertfordshire – Local and Libraries Cabinet panel - Hertfordshire Council.  Papers on the proposal for extending opening hours by allowing volunteer groups and charities to use libraries out of hours.
    • European lobbying pays off - We Heart Libraries.   “One of the East of England MEPs that we contacted has come back with a positive response. Andrew Duff, the Cambridge-based Liberal Democrat representative, is now more engaged with the issues facing libraries across Europe and says he may be open to supporting action on the subject in future.”
    • Library opening hours added to council’s scrutiny work programme - We Heart Libraries.   “The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has considered the idea and agreed to put library opening hours and mobile services on its work programme for the end of next year – by which time it feels the new system will have been in place long enough for some useful evidence to be gathered. This is in line with its usual rules on the length of time after which decisions become appropriate for scrutiny.”
  • Islington – Libraries: the battle begins – Islington Tribune.   “Staff say that at meetings there have been “ominous noises” about how “a library can be set up anywhere” and that space inside existing libraries could be rented, or buildings even sold.” … “One librarian, who asked to be identified as “Adrian Mole” but whose identity is known to the Tribune, said that staff morale was rock-bottom and that the council had expressed its “terror” about public reaction to the plans…. these cuts are the equivalent of losing two libraries …”.  Alan Gibbons “believes that local authorities have room to manoeuvre. Newcastle and Hull have managed to avoid library closures and to protect services,” he said.“The cuts in Islington look unnecessary. The first place they should be looking is to cut management services. Hitting frontline services is pretty lazy thinking.”
  • Lambeth – Minet Library and Lambeth Archives - Facebook group includes some very interesting looking events. 
  • Middlesbrough – Children’s services may suffer under budget cut plans - Northern Echo.  “Libraries may shut in Grove Hill, Easterside, Marton and Thorntree as well as eight Sure Start Children’s Centres.” 
  • Northern Ireland – Over 30 library posts face axe in cuts plan - Belfast Telegraph.  “The libraries authority, Libraries NI, told members that as part of its cost-cutting exercise to save £10.3m over the next four years, library staffing hours could be cut by 1,200 hours per week.“This equates to 33 full-time posts. However, as many library workers are part-time, the impact will be even greater and will greatly affect the predominantly female workforce,” a statement added afterwards.”
  • Oxfordshire –  Future of Benson Library: a new chapterFriends of Benson Library.  An extremely professional report defending the library.  Executive Summary has also been produced.
  • West Sussex – Meeting tonight on library cuts - County Times.  Steyning library will face 15% cut in budget.  Parish council meeting to look at ways of supporting library and to voice the concerns of the community.