415 libraries (326 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.

Can you help by…?

News

National Libraries Day.  Three designs. 50p from every £5 bag goes 
to the National Libraries Day campaign.
  • Library glossaryStop the privatisation of UK public libraries.   Includes definitions of various library terms and titles such as “The Technology Learning Centre – the name chosen for the Hackney Central Library when it first opened which was then very quickly changed back to Hackney Central Library due to the fact that the public kept walking past unaware that it was a library”.
  • Naked wrestling librarian - WidePr.   WWE trained wrestler works as a library assistant in Warwickshire and as a half-naked butler at parties.  [As my correspondent who sent this piece to me has written “Stereotype busting and how!” – Ed.].
  • Union sues to block library outsourcing - American Libraries (USA).   “The union’s issue is with the timing of the vote, which was taken two weeks before a California law went into effect that mandates transparency when cities contemplate leaving a county library system in order to contract out library services in documenting anticipated cost savings.”
  • Stop what you’re doing and read this! - Independent (Book Review).   Review of pro-library/literacy book.  “In a volume of pithy writing  and fierce advocacy, these authors  debate whether books should be read on Kindles or at carrels, out loud or in the privacy of your own head. Philip Pullman is long. Life  is short. What’s the answer? Stop what you’re doing and read this!”.  “A mission statement about the transformative power of reading; about the way it inspires us, the tangible impact it can have on our wellbeing, the importance it holds for us now and will continue to hold in the future.”
  • What can carers do to help children become successful readers - Local Schools Network.  “PISA and Eurydice concluded that teachers, schools and governments need to consider how they could best help busy parents play a more active role in their children’s education. In some countries there are national literacy schemes which promote reading. In this country the Bookstart scheme gives books to children at key points in their lives but the Government proposed cutting its funding at the end of 2010. It was only after a national outcry that funding was reinstated but at a much reduced amount. Libraries play a central role in the promotion of reading skills. Again, in this country investment in libraries is much reduced and many local libraries are closing.”

Local News

  • Brent – Libraries campaigners to hold public meeting - Harrow Observer.  Meeting to inform public of what is happening.  Still waiting court decision on whether the closure of half of Brent’s libraries can be appealed.
  • Durham – Libraries are to stay open - Peterlee Mail.   “Durham County Council’s cabinet will propose measures that will guarantee that libraries across the county will not have to close. Members will be asked to run a 12-week consultation on changes to the service in a bid to balance a drop in users, with a need to save at least £145.8m over the next five years.”
  • Glasgow – Secrets to the success of city’s libraries - Herald Scotland.  Karen Cunningham, head of libraries, is very positive: “At Glasgow’s Mitchell Library she will argue that the city’s lending libraries are healthier than ever before, with visitor numbers, membership figures and the number of books issued all increasing.”
“As the role of libraries changes in the city, we must remember to cherish these amazing buildings and to treat them with care, to understand their worth and to use them to inspire us through the 21st century.”

  • Gloucestershire – Young readers go for goldThis is Gloucestershire.  “The project, Train Your Brain and Go for Gold, is being run in libraries around the county. Youngsters will be given a free pack with the aim of reaching Olympic targets. Three books would be the pole vault, seven books would be the heptathlon and, of course, 26 books would be the marathon. Children taking part will be given medals and certificates to celebrate their success in the challenge, which is running until June. The project is being funded by the Arts Council.”
  • Hackney – New £4.4m library welcomes first visitors - East London Times.   Dalston CLR James Library opens: “In response to questions on the limited publicity the library’s opening received, Hackney council’s head of libraries, Ted Rogers, told EastLondonLines that today was the “soft launch” for the library. The official opening will be held in late February, he said.”.  New library is twice the size of the old one. 
Someone in this group must be a professional graphic designer.  Some excellent
images and campaigning ideas are on their Facebook wall.
“This could all have been avoided if the (ruling) Conservatives had listened and learnt from good practice in other county councils and not closed libraries.”
    • Library “fiasco” could cost £600,000 this year - Bridgwater Mercury.  “… And it must find £240,000 in annual costs for not closing any libraries; £205,000 for restoring previous opening hours; £120,000 in annual running costs for the mobile libraries – totalling £565,000 annually.”
  • Surrey – Lib Dems call on County Council to abandon expensive legal battle - Surrey County Council Lib Dems.  “I am calling on the Conservative administration at Surrey County Council to immediately end its unpopular and ill-conceived plans to axe professional library staff and replace them with volunteers, and to abandon the squandering of council taxpayers money on an expensive and drawn out legal battle in the High Court.”
  • Westminster – Bibliosonic - Soundsofjag.  “taking place on National Libraries Day, Bibliosonic will mark the live debut of Raven Beats Crow’s new ‘Dark Matters’ EP. Their trademark live visuals will be provided by Tartan Walrus” at Westminster Reference Library.