427 libraries (334 buildings and 93 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

“Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many county councils charge for the borrowing of audio books from libraries. [84869] Mr Vaizey: The Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 prevents libraries from charging for the loan of material in a form which is readable without the use of electronic apparatus. Library authorities can therefore lawfully charge to lend audio books and other audio-visual material (music, films etc.).” Hansard: 5th December. [This also, alarmingly, means that there is no protection for ebooks and, indeed, one library authority has already started charging for them - Ed]

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many (a) museums and art galleries, (b) music teachers and schools, (c) ballet and dance schools, (d) theatres and concert halls, (e) drama schools and (f) libraries he expects to be operational in each of the English regions in each of the next four years. [84492] Mr Vaizey: The Department has not made any estimate of future numbers of museums and art galleries; music teachers and schools; ballet and dance schools; theatre and concert halls; drama schools and libraries.” Hansard, 5th December.  
  • Give a child a book for Christmas: the gift is solace and companionship - Independent (Terence Blacker).  Owning a physical printed book can provide escape, solace and companionship to a child: the right book, given for Christmas, will be remembered down the years. As for those children with no books on the shelves at home, the adult world can provide a simple, lasting gift for Christmas: an end to the destruction of our libraries.”
  • To the residents of Simi Valley - Save Santa Clarita Libraries (USA).   Yes it is privatization ! : “It has not been easy and we’re still waiting to see if the UK is ready yet for the idea of library privatisation,” said its chief executive Brad King, who also admitted the UK apparently is not ready, although LSSI is,… for profits that is….This website was created to show the lack of transparency by our city leaders in Santa Clarita regarding its library privatization and to expose the rushed, almost silent process, by which our libraries were handed over to LSSI by a $19 million contract.”

Changes

Brent – Council has spent £154k on legal costs trying to close librraies.  Cost of redundancy of sacked staff was £258k.
Telford & Wrekin - £330k cut by 2014, parish councils being asked for donations. Cuts in opening hours.
Trafford – 5 (out of 15) – Mobile library service to be stopped (previously to be run by volunteers) and Bowfell and Greatstone libraries to be entirely unstaffed (self-service only), Hale and Old Trafford libraries to be run by volunteers (Old Trafford has 2011 had major refurbishment of children’s library). CDs lending to be stoppedEbooks to be introduced. Talking books to become free

Local News

  • Bath and North East Somerset - Somerset residents to save mobile libraries - BBC.  Bath and North East Somerset (Banes) Council is proposing to scrap all mobile services from April 2012 as part of its planned £12m spending cuts.But local residents are “shocked” by plans to end the “valuable” service and are campaigning to save it.”
  • Brent – Council’s library legal costs double – Press release from Lib Dem group, Brent. Brent Council has now clocked up legal costs of £154,837.04 as a result of its decision to close half of Brent’s libraries. The sum has more than doubled in the three months since September when the council announced it has spent £70,532.60.  Liberal Democrat group Leader and libraries campaigner Paul Lorber said: “This is a shocking. It is a huge waste of public money which could have been avoided if Cllr Ann John and her fellow Labour councillors had been prepared to act reasonably. They could have sat down with the local community and discussed how best to work in partnership. Instead they chose to force through their plan to axe half our libraries and only the intervention of a judge will make them listen.”In October the council admitted that the cost of sacking library staff and paying redundancy costs was a staggering £258,411.89.”
  • Four legged friend joins Kensal Rise library campaign – Harrow Observer.  “A content cat has joined the swathes of local residents fighting to save the library, which is under threat along with five others in the borough. The pet, who is thought to be called ‘Rusty’ and lives on College Road, has been going to the pop-up library every day when its owners to go work, in a bid to keep volunteers warm.”
  • Gloucestershire - Briefing note from Public Interest Lawyers: Gloucestershire libraries ruling - FoGL. Excellent legal briefing on the court judgement, too long to summarise here.  “In quashing all relevant decisions, they have been made a nullity.  It is as if the decisions were never made in the first place.  That is the position that prevails now.  In the absence of these decisions, library services in Gloucestershire must be run in accordance with the Council’s previous decisions – as to budget, opening hours, range of services, number of fixed and mobile facilities, ownership etc.This doesn’t of course insulate libraries from future decisions.”
  • Hampshire – Public consultation: changes to library opening hours - About My Area.  “Hampshire’s Library Service is holding a public consultation into changes to library opening hours as part of the next phase of its restructure and we would like you to help shape future decisions. Anyone wishing to comment about these proposed changes should do so before the consultation ends on Wednesday 28 December. You can do this online or at your local library.”
  • Lewisham – “Catastrophic” plunge in lending at Lewisham’s community libraries - BookSeller. “Lewisham library campaigner Peter Richardson said: “We’re shocked at the paucity of the issues in these community libraries. We were anticipating a drop but such a drop is catastrophic and has implications for the service as a whole. We’re concerned about the two-tier system now extant, which is a breach of the 1964 Act.” 
  • Telford & Wrekin – Libraries face cuts to hours - Shropshire Star.  “The borough council is now approaching parish councils for money to bridge the gap but bosses were turned away by councillors in Donnington at a meeting last night after asking for more than £7,000.”
  • Trafford – Looking forward: options for the future of Trafford’s libraries - Trafford Council.   Age UK taking over home library service, mobile library to be stopped, Bowfell and Greatstone: “The proposal is to withdraw the staffing from these two libraries and have them on self service all the time. We will ensure that some staff time is spent maintaining the stock and self service machines but there will be no set time when this is done.”.  Hale and Old Trafford: “Trafford Council would still support the organisations by buying and maintaining the stock, maintaining the buildings and providing training to the groups that took on responsibility for the running of the library.”. 
  • Council to axe 100 jobs, and replace staff with unpaid volunteers - Manchester Evening News.  “Town hall bosses say they want to put in place a ‘volunteer army’ of unpaid workers to replace staff in areas such as libraries and parks in a bid to save over £16m next year.”.  See comments too.