412 libraries (323 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

  • Get It Loud In Libraries: 2012 show dates so far – Never Enough Press.  Get It Loud In Libraries is a unique award-winning project (Love Libraries Award 2007 winner) that curates fantastic shows in public library buildings. GILIL showcases a whole array of groundbreaking acts and can count Florence & The Machine, Holly Miranda, The Thrills, Alessi’s Ark, Ellie Goulding, Diana Vickers, Bat For Lashes, British Sea Power, Juliette Lewis and Daisy Dares You as having graced its stages before (and while) hitting the big-time.”
“Launched in May 2005, the innovative Get It Loud In Libraries project stages numerous one-off, kick-yourself-if-you-miss-it gigs per year, pulling in people who haven’t been inside library walls for years, or those who never have. Since conception, it has been featured on BBC’s The One Show and Newsround, as well as many other publications, blogs and industry know-alls.”

  • However busy you are, read to your children, says PM – London Evening Standard.   “”I try to read to my children a couple of nights a week,” he said. “I think that however busy you are in life, you should always try to read to your children.” Mr Cameron astonished parents and pupils at St Mary’s primary in Battersea when he arrived for a surprise visit to open a new library sponsored by the Evening Standard.”.  David Cameron especially keen on the volunteers who help with reading to the children and on the £100k donated by a Ukrainian billionaire to pay for 85 reading volunteers for three years [That’s more than £1000 each – why? Ed.]. See comment by Alan Gibbons.
  • PLR rate drops again – BookSeller.  “Authors hearing news this week of PLR payments for loans made during the year from July 2010 to June 2011 learned that the rate per loan has dropped to 6.05 pence, down from 6.25 pence in 2009-2010, and 6.29 pence the year before (2008-9).”.  This is due to 15% cut in funding over next four years.  
  • UK library closures and the High Court decision on Brent Council – World Socialist Web Site. “Both councils [Glos and Somerset] came away satisfied that the ruling authorised them to make cuts to existing library services. They are aware of the hostility to their proposals and are moving warily. But they have not changed their basic plan. As one correspondent who disagreed with our article noted, the November ruling only prevented the councils from “continuing with their plans in their current form.” (Emphasis added).”
“Libraries, like other social services, cannot be defended on a piecemeal, council by council basis. Councils will look to incorporate opposition groups that take this approach and use them as advisers or pawns in their cuts agenda. Similarly, there can be no expectation that the Labour Party will advance any opposition to these measures. In many councils, like Brent, Labour is the very force imposing cuts.”

  • Who needs libraries? Apparently lots – Sun Chronicle (USA).  Providing ebooks, online resources and help for the unemployed has made Mansfield Public Library more popular than ever.

Changes

Local News

  • Bolton – Library service faces more changes – Bolton News.  “The report, which is due to be considered by councillors next week, says that income from library fines has been gradually reducing over the past few years, after users became able to renew books online.”
  • Brent – Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid donates prints to Save Kensal Rise Library campaign – London 24.  “Legendary artist, Jamie Reid, who created the Sex Pistols’ album cover for God Save the Queen has designed and donated 200 signed limited edition prints to the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign. The prints will be sold for £30 a piece at the Masons Arms, in Harrow Road, Kensal Green on February 3. The event will mark National Libraries Day, which falls on February 4.”
    • Plans to redevelop Willesden Library agreed – Build.   “The new ‘Willesden Green Cultural Centre’, as it will be known, is expected to open its doors in the spring of 2014, providing residents with a state of the art library and cultural centre.” … “Brent Council will retain the freehold while developers Galliford Try have the right to build homes at the back of the centre for market sale in return for the development.”
    • Public meeting to save Preston library – Preston Library Campaign.   Thursday 31st January.
  • Caerphilly – Borough libraries faring well in Wales wide comparison – Campaign.   “The report includes performance indicators of how Caerphilly County Borough Council’s libraries service is performing compared with other local authorities in Wales.”
“Cllr Phil Bevan, Cabinet Member for Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning said: “While many libraries in other parts of the country are being closed down, here in Caerphilly we are investing in these important community facilities. It is fantastic that these brand new facilities have proven so popular, and these schemes will shortly be followed by other exciting new library developments across the county borough.”

  • Durham – Library hours could be cut by trust plans – Durham Times.  “Last night, proposals emerged to cut opening hours to 36 a week at town centre libraries and 20 a week at community libraries. Mobile library services would also be cut. The bus would only visit settlements more than four miles from the nearest library and stop only once in each village. Readers would also be warned to “use it or lose it”.”
    • Libraries face cuts – Peterlee Mail.   “The news comes as Durham County Council, which provides library services in the east Durham area, also considers transferring some library services to be run by a not-for-profit charitable trust in a bid to safeguard services.”
  • Edinburgh – Frankie Boyle to appear at free Dalkeith Library show – Scotsman.   “But Frankie Boyle is to make an unexpected deviation from his usual routine next month – by promoting libraries across the Lothians. The stand-up, and former Mock the Week panellist, will swap the bright lights of concert arenas and television studios for Dalkeith Library.”
  • Gloucestershire – Libraries do have a future: Mark Hawthorne – This is Gloucestershire.   Article by Leader including belief no library will close [7 will close if volunteers do not take them over, 5 mobiles will close – Ed.].  Says that “some believe” libraries should be immune to cuts.  “Fundamentally, we want to create a sustainable, affordable network of libraries that really works for Gloucestershire people. I firmly believe that working in partnership with communities is the best way to do that and with our continued support I believe they will succeed. I know we’ll be looking to use the excellent work we have already carried out here to help us shape more services into the future.”
    • Fight is on to save Lechlade Library after cuts announced Wilts and Glos Standard.  “Cllr Coakely, chairman of Lechlade library working group, said: “What’s really galling is that officers have said we can go to Highworth for library services. But we expect our services to be provided by the council that we pay our council tax to.”.  Statistics also appear to unfairly measure (by halving it) Lechlade’s population. 
  • Harrow – Plans to merge libraries and “nurture” cultural services – Harrow Times.   “More than 2,000 people were consulted on the plans which could also see improvements to public IT systems in libraries and the restoration of the borough’s Headstone Manor and museum. Another idea focuses on libraries being moved into cultural facilities, for example Hatch End Library relocating to Harrow Arts Centre.”
  • North Yorkshire – Dales communities’ views sought on library hours – Westmorland Gazette.   “North Yorkshire County Council has written to town and parish councils and other partners asking for comments, and proposed revised opening hours have been distributed via libraries throughout the county.”
“We have been working very hard over the last year to extend our partnership working with our partners, including parish, town and district councils. As a result of excellent partnership working, this means that in some cases we will actually be able to deliver an increase in library opening hours for local communities.”

“It would be a downgrading of the library. It’s probably going to be smaller because, at the moment, It has a reference section area, a computer room and a little area where children go to read stories. The foyer is used for information leaflets and what’s on posters. That would be lost if it moves.”