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.
Things you can do today
News
  • Arts Council England launches strategic funding and 2011-15 plan - Arts Council England.   Details of £440m of investment, including for libraries.  35 page document.  “will extend to our new responsibilities for museums and libraries as we look to understand how these important areas can become central to the Arts Council’s work. We see this uniting of the cultural sector as an unprecedented opportunity”. Looking at collaborations between arts/museums/libraries etc. Confirms that ex MLA staff have largely taken over new ACE posts – “37 of 53 new or transferred roles being filled by staff from the MLA“.
  • Chinese public libraries see record number of patronsXinhua (China).  “China’s 2,880 libraries received about 330 million visits in 2010, according to a document released by the Ministry of Culture on Wednesday at an annual meeting on public library projects in the city of Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province. China’s public libraries contain about 140,000 computers and 80,000 digital reading rooms, nearly triple the number in 2005, according to the document.”
  • Conference notes, Reading for Pleasure – bringing the classics to life, 20 October – Guardian.   “Links between school groups and public libraries was discussed as being extremely important.”
In line with the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) Taking the Lead approach to sector-led improvement, which the Government support, Arts Council England (ACE) and the LGA have no intention of imposing performance targets on local authorities… ACE will launch the libraries development initiative next month with the aim of building on the Future Libraries programme.Ed Vaizey answers his shadow Dan Jarvis, House of Commons 31st October

  • Library card is a barrier to library use - Librarian 1.5 (Scandinavia).  “hy do we insist that library members log into library websites with library card number and a pin-code? Why not let them have the option to log in with their Facebook  credentials, OpenID, Google- or Twitter login? I see this option at more and more sites and would like to have this possibility available for my library members as well.” Cards are (a) only used for one thing and (b) only have the library card number on and (c) can be lost.
  • Newly hired librarian completely unaware that books existInsert Eyeroll (USA).  Spoof article ““Well, this is completely inefficient. I checked Amazon, and most of these books are available online. We’ll get rid of these things and people can download them on their tablets. We’ll partner with Amazon or something.” When asked about library holdings that weren’t available online, she considered her options. For a moment, Olivo looked troubled. “If they weren’t online, it’s probably because … they weren’t very good?” She brightens immediately. “Yeah, let’s burn this shit.” “That’s the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that this library needs,” said Excelsior CEO and President John Foster. “Ms. Olivo has a future in information management.”
  • UK library cuts proceeding apace - World Socialist Web Site.  “In spite of protests all over the country, library closures and cutbacks are proceeding as planned.”.  Accurate survey of cuts [has the author been using Public Lbiraries News? - Ed.].  Critical of union involvement so far … “The role of the unions has been to issue token statements of support for those opposing library closures while ensuring that no effective action is taken.”
  • Wales’ libraries fortnight - News Wales.   “Many libraries in Wales will be taking part in the Libraries Fortnight, which is happening from 1-14 November. The Libraries Fortnight comprises a programme of free events for all the family in libraries and communities across Wales. The theme linking all the events is the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme, which inspires creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.”
  • YLI campaign support - Making Music.   “Since emailing our 3,000 members on Friday 28 October, we have received over 1,050 emails and letters in support for this campaign, copying communications which have been sent direct to the YLI Council. A staggering response! But not a surprising one, given the far-reaching implications of this situation.”.  Music and Drama library serving Yorkshire is likely to close.
“I have just heard the news of the closure of the Yorkshire Library Music and Drama Service. This is an unthinkable act of cultural vandalism which, if implemented will affect many thousands of people nation-wide. All those of us involved in working with amateur musicians in the UK know the immense value of our library services. The inter-library loan scheme is the bedrock of choirs’ and orchestras’ ability to perform music at a cost which makes it possible. To lose this – or a major part of it, which the Yorkshire Music and Drama Library is – would be to deny many people the opportunity of singing and playing great classical music in a world which is already seeing the Arts squeezed to the point of extinction in some cases”

Changes

Local News
 Buckinghamshire – Farnham Common Community Library handover “I know that older people use it and kids read books like mad so saving a library is such an important thing to do” Johnny Ball.
  • Camden – Plan to create Romantic poets centre to save Hampstead library - Ham & High.  Heath Library may be taken over by Heath & Hampstead Society if agreed by the City of London Corporation who own the building.  ““We want to create a literary and literacy centre based around the core elements of Keats and the Romantic poets.”
  • Doncaster – Reprieve for Doncaster’s closure-threatened libraries - BBC.   Carcroft and Denaby Libraries, due to close, will stay open until 10th November after Labour group raises objection.  Decision to close will be go to overview and scrutiny committee.
  • Kent – Big Society fails to take off in Kent - Kent Online.   “Kent County Council has yet to spend a single penny of a £5 million ’Big Society’ fund it has set aside to help volunteer groups to take over council-run services.”
    • After his victory, what next for council chief? - This is Kent.   “Mr Carter was forced to backtrack over his plans to close libraries but is now trying to encourage community groups to run small branches which don’t get much use. He said: “There won’t be any closures until we have explored all the options, including community ownership.”
  • Northern Ireland – Fighting for library hoursLurgan Mail.   “Last month the ‘Mail revealed plans to cut hours at Lurgan Library from 53 and a half to 40. Since then the proposal has been roundly criticised by politicians and library users alike.”
  • Oxfordshire – Bid to stop linking library and care cuts - This is Oxfordshire.   ” County Council will today debate whether library cuts should be linked to reductions being made to social care.” … Council Leader had linked the two issues.  “At the council’s budget in February, it was announced £37m would be saved by cutting social care and £2m by closing libraries.”
  • Portsmouth – The way we use our libraries is changing - News.  “Across the country, library visits and book issues have tumbled – almost to the level of collapse.” … library services manager says “‘Visits are down and the number of books taken out has dropped to less than one per person, per visit. Most people aren’t coming in to borrow books.’” – ebooks, use of archives and other reference facilities mean the same number of people are using libraries but in different ways.  Also includes council and cancer information points.  Hampshire librarian says same thing – deep budget cuts and visitor numbers down.  ” ‘Lending figures have fallen, but people come for information, to use the computers and to meet with friends. It’s vital to us to make sure they can continue to do that, with at least one library open near to every Hampshire resident.’
  • Reading – Return to lender, libraries missing 2500 books - Get Reading.   “Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request showed at the start of the month borrowers from Reading Borough Council libraries had 2,418 overdue books – which could be worth more than £14,000 if they reach their maximum fines.” … “Council spokeswoman Sarah Bishton said: “The majority of these overdue books will be returned to Reading libraries and most were overdue by only a couple of days so there is only really a small impact on other users.”
  • Suffolk – Reassurances sought over Suffolk County Council library organisation - EDP.  Eye Library campaigner unsure if new Industrial and Provident Society will pay for staffing.  Also worried that money already promised by Suffolk Council to help the transfer to volunteers may be lost.
“Under the new regime which is about to come in, the libraries would avoid paying business rates, but now that money would reduce the pot in their own local council, which, they will suddenly see when they read the bill, is not a good idea at all. None of these things are actual savings- they are just accounting niceties within the realms of government.” Tim Coates

“Thanks to all who came to support reopening of YGLibrary this evening. Great evening and wonderful to see so many people using the library!” Wandsworth – Save York Gardens Library (Twitter).