423 libraries (333 buildings and 90 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 are 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

  • Library book is 123 years overdue with £4509 fine – Mirror.   One has to laugh at these articles, especially the bit with the notional “fine” that no authority would dream of charging and in a world where almost all authorities have maximum fines anyway.
  • LSSI gets its first contract in FloridaLibrary Journal.   “Under the terms of the five-year agreement, the county will pay LSSI just over $24 million; LSSI will collect $4.7 million the first year, and that amount will rise slightly over each of the following four years. The county will also spend from $580,000 to $670,000 annually on library costs not covered by the LSSI payments.”.  $6m cut in funding expected over five years due to deal. “According to the agreement, operation hours will “initially” remain unchanged. LSSI will offer positions—at the current base salary—to all current 76 library employees who must reapply for their positions, and compensation levels will remain unchanged for at least six months.”
  • Scrooge starves the shelvesIndependent (Boyd Tonkin).   “Against stiff competiton, this year’s prize for the most purely Scrooge-like behaviour among cost-cutting library authorities goes by acclamation to Redbridge council in east London. Via the Vision agency, a “charitable leisure trust” which now manages the borough’s libraries, the council made 15 library staff redundant on the Tuesday before Christmas.”
  • Six things that must happen to reverse this headlong rush to an illiterate British generation – An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.  The six things are (a) occupy libraries to protest, (b) stop closing libraries, (c) books should be cheaper, (d) ebooks should be much cheaper, (e) reading must be made cool, (f) be involved in advocacy work.

Changes

Nottinghamshire Mansfield Library: new building officially opened on Tuesday 3.1.12 after £3.4m refurbishment inc. wi-fi, local studies expansion etc.
Stoke on Trent Promised Blurton Library cancelled due to cuts

Local News

Police side with council as it empties the library. Brent takes advantage of the holiday shutdown to pre-empt any intervention from the Supreme Court, where an appeal was lodged two weeks ago. Campaigners expect the council to rush through the sale of the library in the coming months, depriving the area of its last local service.”

  • East Sussex – Staff celebrate 10th anniversary of library – Eastbourne Herald.  “Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd donated £100 to the celebrations to show how much he valued their efforts. He said, “It’s great to see that this community project is still going strong and providing a much needed service to the people of Old Town for almost 10 years.””
  • Hertfordshire – North Herts library group bids to prove service worth – Comet.  “The We Heart Libraries group, which was founded this year, has a number of activities lined up for the first ever National Libraries Day … users to sign up to one of several pledges, such as borrowing a book a month, signing their children up for library cards of visiting a new branch.”.  Group unhappy with closure of school library service and renting out of libraries to voluntary groups in times when branches were previously open.
“We need to make sure that they’re not taken for granted so that, when the council needs to find cuts, it doesn’t turn to them first. For this reason, we are really hoping that as many people as possible will help us shout about them and make National Libraries Day a success in North Herts and Stevenage.”