414 libraries (325 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.  The librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries could be 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.
 
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News

  • Developing a new brand of library - OCLC. In the morning, there will be a pre-conference session hosted by Lise Robinson (OCLC Manager of the new FABLibraries initiative) entitled, “Just because you build it, doesn’t mean people will come….”  When libraries worldwide are facing unprecedented cuts in funding we need to be working to ensure that the general public see libraries as relevant to them and their lives.”
  • Helsinki’s Library 10 & Meetingpoint - Walking Paper.   A look at the amazing Helsinki Library, full of ideas up to including the lending out of guitars.  Lots of meeting spaces, no counters and a forward-looking feel but with plenty of printed books too.
  • Libraries are much more than books - An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.   Author goes through five libraries that have been important to her.  A lovely read.  
“You see, libraries aren’t just about reading are they? They’re about being transported to another world, they’re about contemplation and memories. No amount of money can buy those.” 

  • St Mary’s pupils get ebooks to tempt reluctant readers - London Evening Standard.   Sony has donated 12 e-books to flagship school library, opened recently by David Cameron, which has also benefited from donation by a Russian billionaire.  ” “The children were thrilled with the e-readers. All but one of the students said they would prefer to read on them than on traditional books – they told me it was ‘because it’s technology, Mr Brading’.”

Local News

  • Barnet – Please keep Sat 4th Feb free - Save Friern Barnet Library.  We’ll be holding an event at Friern Barnet library, our theme will be ‘love our local library’, tying in with Valentines Day round the corner. We’ll be walking in pride from outside Old Town Hall, corner of Friern Barnet Lane and Friern Barnet Rd from 2pm. Come along, bring a crowd, bring a banner, bring a heart to show your love for Friern Barnet Library!”
  • Birmingham – Library “faces” see work move ahead - Birmingham Mail.   New library will open in 2013.  “Faces” are people chosen to publicise the library: ““They will be brilliant advocates for the Library of Birmingham in their local communities, and will help spread the excitement amongst the city’s residents. “We are still looking for nine more faces, so I hope people will be inspired to leap into action and apply, so that they can be involved in this exciting project too.”
  • City of London – Have you been to the mobile library? - Londonist.   “The service – which is only three months old – is a temporary stop-gap for those affected by the closure and on-going  redevelopment of Camomile Street Library, which has been out of action since March 2011. Against the backdrop of so many closures, the City of London hit upon what has been hailed as ‘a perfect solution’, according to Carol Boswarthack, Head of Barbican and Community Libraries. Instead of dying a bricky, dusty death, Camomile Street Library will be replaced with a community centre to offer “east of the City communities a one-stop-shop for facilities including libraries, adult education and much more” once it emerges in the autumn, reincarnated on the grounds of the underused Middlesex Street Estate car park.”
  • Durham – Fears for the future of our town library - Teesdale Mercury.   “Concerns have been raised about plans to hand Barnard Castle Library to a charitable trust as part of a major shake-up in council services. “
  • Ealing – Council in talks to outsource libraries - Ealing Gazette.  “Ealing Council is in talks with Brent and Harrow to establish a shared, privately-managed leisure service to save the libraries. Plans could see the council hiring independent providers to manage both libraries and sports and leisure facilities across the neighbouring boroughs.”
  • Gloucestershire – Plans up in the air for Brockworth Library - This is Gloucestershire.  Neil Hopwood, from Brockworth Community Trust, said in an ideal world, the area’s library would have more council support. He said: “At the end of the day, anything which can be provided as a statutory service is better. “The main thing, from our point of view, is we still don’t feel that Brockworth has been given a fair assessment.”
    • Campaigners plea - Alan Gibbons.  Council’s actions “…surely a display of blatant defiance of the judge’s ruling and a clear indication that this was not approached with an open mind but with a mind to try to justify their previous cuts, cuts that were based (as now) on no proper needs analysis. It only takes one look at the new EIA to see that even this has been done incredibly badly!. Cart before the horse yet again! Gloucestershire County Council are clearly incredibly confused and in need of supervision if they do not want to end up in court again. No one wants that. It is farcical and yet where is Vaizey?”
    • Council library case cost £95,000 - BBC.  “The authority said it spent £36,000 on “in-house labour” and £59,000 on expenses including barristers’ fees. In November, the High Court ruled the cuts were unlawful as the council had not complied with equity laws.”
    • National Libraries Day in GloucestershireFoGL.  Loads of author visits, organised not by the Council but by campaigners.  “All of these events have been arranged voluntarily by library users. If nothing is happening at your local library why not arrange something yourself? It doesn’t have to be a big grand event or even an author visit – the point of the day is to celebrate the role of our local libraries in our communities so use your imagination! There are some ideas at http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/get-involved/suggestions-for-library-users/
  • Hackney – Volunteer Support Officer - Hackney council.  “This is your opportunity to work with the Development and Support Manager to sustain, develop and coordinate volunteers working in Hackney Libraries, Archives and Information Services.” 
  • Hampshire – County Council set to cut library and museum posts - Daily Echo.   “The latest planned job cuts include 16 library staff, five museum posts, four countryside jobs and two in sports and community services.”
  • Hertfordshire – No reprieve for Hertfordshire’s axed school library service -  Times series.  Council says “As the decision to discontinue the support services we provide to school libraries has already been debated as part of the panel process, councillors decided not to put this matter on their work programme for scrutiny.” Nearly half of all primary schools in the county and a third of secondary schools have an annual subscription to the SLS. Many more are signed on the pay-as-you-use basis.”
    • No reprieve for School Library Service - Comet.   “North Herts group We Heart Libraries had written to the county council following the decision, and it was subsequently discussed in a scrutiny meeting yesterday (Wednesday). But councillors decided to not take any further action on the matter. It means the service will still cease in March.”
  • Kent – No National Libraries Day in Kent - Infoism.   Boss of Kent Libraries is also boss of Society of Chief Librarians.  “So why are Kent libraries not supporting National Libraries Day, an event designed to celebrate the contribution libraries make to our communities?  Might it be something to do with the fact that the council is preparing to look at a range of options for libraries across the county (including closures and forcing communities to run them)?  Perhaps they don’t want people to ‘re-discover’ their local library and see the range of services the excellent staff provide?”
  • Northern Ireland – Library opening hours cut - Belfast Telegraph.   “A Libraries NI spokesperson said: “Libraries NI regrets any reductions in opening hours and the impact this will have on library users. “Though additional funding was announced recently, Libraries NI still needs to reduce opening hours in order to deliver the savings targets resulting for the Comprehensive Spending Review.”  … but councillor says “Cutting Holywood Library opening hours from 53.5 to 40 is a significant reduction with only one other library in Northern Ireland targeted for such a massive cutback.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Love Your Libraries#MyNottingham.   “To celebrate the day and your local libraries, Nottingham City Council wants as many people as possible to borrow a book, film or music CD on the same day. It is a chance for citizens to show their support and visit their library and by taking out at least one item. By the end of the day it is hoped that City Libraries will have loaned 4,000 books, films and CDs.”
  • Surrey – Council seeks libraries court order reversal - BBC.   “In a statement, the Conservative-run council said it was concerned that the temporary court order was “ambiguous and therefore should be reversed”. It added that it did not believe it prevented the authority from continuing to work with the volunteers who had come forward.” 
“Surrey County Council put out a press release yesterday saying they were seeking to overturn the injunction stopping them from progressing with their Community Partnership Library plans. SCC requested that a hearing was held within 24 hours of the request. This request has been rejected by the High Court. Instead, the hearing (to determine whether or not the injunction should be overturned) has been scheduled for next Thursday at 10.30am.” [Press release from SLAM]

    • Wasting taxpayer’s money on technical defences - SLAM.  “They are seeking an expensive High Court hearing, not to argue the merits of the case, but solely to get the injunction overturned because they do not understand it. SCC’s confusion stems from the words “irrevocable steps” used in the injunction (please see our previous blog for full wording) and is claiming that the wording is too “ambiguous” for them to comply with. Rather than seek a clarification of the Court Order, they are using this technicality to overturn the injunction altogether.”