433 libraries (344 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 

  • Close the Local Government Association down – Good Library Blog.  What always emerges from what they say is that ‘localism means leaving the local council free to do whatever it wants’ – but the truth, as library campaigners everywhere have learned, is that nothing is more hidden and evasive than the activity of a local council. They need much more central governnment scrutiny – not less.”.  Tim Coates is unimpressed by the LGA (see cartoon above).
  • Free libraries are one of the strengths of our nation – Syracuse (USA).   A pro-library article with truly scary anti-library comments below it.  “Yup-got a library right here at my computer. It’s time for that liberal tax sucking dinosaur to end.” etc.  Eugh. 
  • Many uses of technology at librariesOmaha (USA).  Surveys technological use in public libraries by users.  “We don’t always know how people use our computers or the difference it might make in their day or life, but we do know they depend on access to technology and the Internet at Omaha Public Library. Beyond that, they also rely on the staff — the people who are there to help. We are grateful to be able to help meet this need in our community and provide opportunities for people to succeed.”

Local News

  • Bradford – Petition calls on Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council to object to Co-op planIlkley Gazette.  “More than 600 people signed a Save Our Shops petition in response to plans to relocate a Co-operative convenience store to Burley-in-Wharfedale Library. Hundreds of Burley residents and visitors to the village signed copies of the petition, concerned that the bigger store could pose a “serious risk” to local shops.” … “Although the library is not currently at risk of closure, a Bradford Council libraries boss said there was a £200,000 backlog of maintenance work, and the 1970s building was not “fit for purpose”.”
  • Cumbria – Spotlight on the future of South Lakes libraries – Westmorland Gazette.  Council claims library usage has dropped [it has, but not as much as funding – Ed.] due to the internet.  Working group reporting in Spring on what to do.  Some libraries only open 11.5 hours per week. 
  • Gloucestershire – Volunteers running Prestbury Library hope to extend their opening hours – This is Glos.  “Chairman of the parish council, Councillor Malcolm Stennett, said more volunteers were needed if the library was to extend its opening hours. He said they hoped to open an extra day a week. He said: “We have agreed to maintain the grounds from January. From that date, we will take on the maintenance from the county council. Anybody who wants to join in will be more than welcome because we are looking at putting a team together. I believe it will be quite enjoyable for the residents.”.  Council claims decision unaffected by legal case, comments deny this and call on Leader to resign.
  • Oxfordshire – Libraries pay the price, but corporates escape – Oxford Mail.    Total cuts to libraries results in the same cut to council budget as the 12 extra new staff leader of council has appointed for his own team.  “The total salary for these staff; one HR policy manager, two business support officers, three policy and performance support officers, two senior policy and performance officers and one solicitor, will be £341,000 per year. This cancels out the savings from using volunteers and means that the hundreds of volunteers required to replace the front-line staff in the 21 libraries affected will in fact be purely helping Cllr Mitchell to increase his headquarters staff.”
  • Somerset – Victoria Rooms host benefit event for libraries campaign – This is the West Country.   “The Victoria Rooms in Milverton will host a benefit event for the Friends of Somerset Libraries campaign with a poet whose work is for ‘people who didn’t think they liked poetry’ on Saturday, November 26. Matt Harvey is host of BBC Radio 4’s Wondermentalist, a show which bills itself as a comedy-infused, musically-enhanced interactive poetry cabaret.” 


“Well done to Gloucester and Somerset. We are the support group for Atherton library. Our library is being made an Express Library and being located in a school academy which isn’t on a bus route so when members of the library can’t get to the library and the non academic pupils won’t use the library, the wmbc [Wigan Culture and Leisure Trust / Wigan Council] will close it becuase it won’t be used. The hidden agenda of Wigan Borough Council.  We will continue fighting for our library service and the decision for Gloucester and Somerset has given us new vigour to keep fighting.” Wigan – Comment on 16th November PLN posting.