428 libraries (337 buildings and 91 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.

Can you help?

Everyone – Submit evidence/views to Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Library Closures before Thursday 12th January.
Surrey – Campaigners are looking for someone who qualifies for legal aid (owns less than £8000) in order to challenge council over library cuts.  Must be a Surrey resident.

News

  • Campaign for the Book Newsletter – Alan Gibbons.   Looks at the legal actions Glos/Somerset/Brent, closures, Liverpool cuts and National Libraries Day.
  • “If you tolerate this …”: Nicky Wire on library closures – Guardian (Music).  “Libraries were my band’s lifeline, writes Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers. We must fight for them.” … “One of the most amazing things about public libraries remains their utter classlessness. You don’t have to have gone to Eton to make the most out of a library. They aren’t inhabited by the kind of people currently damning them.”
“It’s hard not to feel utterly despondent at the current plight of public libraries. Along with the NHS and the BBC, our libraries are some of the few truly remarkable British institutions left. So often absolutely ordinary in appearance, a good library should offer escape routes down the most extraordinary avenues, pathways into different worlds from the one you’ve left outside. Ridding our villages, towns and cities of libraries, which are essential in shaping a nation’s consciousness, seems like a direct attack on the soul of the country.”

  • Islwyn MP joins campaign to save libraries – South Wales Argus.  MP Chris Evans has joined other politicians in campaigning for Britain’s libraries to be preserved. They helped launch the All Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries (APPGL), which will seek to ensure that continued public sector cuts don’t devastate the provision.”
  • Library – Rainy Day Mum.  One of my goals for 2012 is that we make a regular visit to the library. This time last year our local library was under threat of closure – the county were going to close all but 3 or 4 of the libraries – we supported the “Save the library” campaign and attended the Book Start groups for Babies and Toddlers (J was between the two groups at the time), but funding was cut to let the libraries stay open and the toddler group was gone and for some reason we stopped going. Towards the end of the year we started again when I realised that we needed to add books to our collection, so we have decided to make it our goal each week to go and visit the library.”
  • Point of View: Why didn’t Harry Potter just use Google? – BBC.  Potter was written justg before the invention of Google. Internet has changed it all: “There is all too little danger of the knowledge currently accumulating in floods – multiply-owned, stored and captured – being lost. Rather, if we are going to make sense for posterity of today’s information-saturated present, one of the things we will have to learn to do is decide how to prune the evidence, and ultimately, what to forget.”
  • Universities collected £50m in library fines, figures show – Guardian.   “With fines as little as 10p for each day a book is overdue, it shows that students are returning thousands of books late each year. But many are never returned – more than 300,000 university library books remain unaccounted for.”

Changes 

Calderdale – 1 mobile to end, cuts in opening hours in “Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, King Cross, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden from 45 to 37 hours a week.”.
Warrington 6/1/12 Grappenhall Library taken over by volunteers eight months after it was closed: group: Friends of Grappenhall Library. 

Local News

  • Bradford – Extended building would accommodate convenience store – Ilkley Gazette. Plan for Co-op store to open, with library.  “There has been a big response to the proposal from the community, including both letters of support for the development and a petition against the plans. The Co-op already has a store in a former newsagents premises on Station Road, Burley, but wants to move to bigger premises. There has been a big response to the proposal from the community, including both letters of support for the development and a petition against the plans. The Co-op already has a store in a former newsagents premises on Station Road, Burley, but wants to move to bigger premises.”
  • Brent – Update January 2012 – Save Kensal Rise Library.   “We may not be given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in which case we will explore other options, and we have other options. We believe this community needs a library and that is the end we are pursuing.” … public meeting soon, “pop-up” library continuing, business plan for running library created.  Artist Jamie Reid has done poster for campaign, to be launched at start of February.
  • Brighton and Hove – An unsavoury morsel – Christopher Hawtree.   Conservative MP called Cllr Hawtree (a well-known library campaigner) the Dr Beeching of library services.  Cllr replies “I have urged a continuing, central place for public libraries despite the fact that Mr Weatherley’s own Government is imposing cuts of up to a third on Council budgets over the next few years.” … “What is proposed is to use the mobile library as a temporary one while the adjacent branch library in Woodingdean is rebuilt. For fifty years Woodingdean has had a temporary one but the new one will be twice the size. Pretty bloody good in these times.”.  Priority will be on bookfund.
  • Calderdale – “Drop new library and rescue all the others” – Halifax Courier.   “A total of 2,235 people responded to the latest council survey on opening hours and they were equally divided over whether there should be cuts to the six biggest branches.”
“What is the point of spending millions on a new library and archives in Halifax when other library services are being slashed?” said Coun Stout (Ind, Brighouse). “Of course there are some serious decisions to take about cutting costs but it is no good protecting Halifax to the exclusion of everywhere else,” he said.”

  • Dudley – Library to close while asbestos is removed – Stourbridge News.   ““Although it is unfortunate the library has to close for one week, it is necessary to ensure the asbestos can be removed safely. The housing office located on the ground floor of the library will, however, remain open as normal while the work is carried out.”
  • Hampshire – Cuts in services loom again – Gazette. A further 8% cut to all services, following a previous 8% cut last year.  Cuts of “£4.7m in libraries, museums and country parks.” … “Library opening hours have also been cut. The council is aiming to make the savings it needs to in two years instead of four as a result of the Government squeeze on spending.” [presumably to have extra boasting points while cutting services prematurely by two years? – Ed.]
  • Hertfordshire – County Council axe school library service – Advertiser 24.  “A plea to save the schools’ library service has been snubbed after the county council agreed to axe the resource aimed at boosting literacy among all children and young people throughout Herts.”.  Service cancelled because it was not making a profit. 
  • Liverpool – Letter from Council Leader – Liverpool Echo. “It is by being imaginative that we have brought forward proposals which will retain 85% of our libraries despite a cut in the budget of a quarter.” … “Cllr Kemp suggests placing libraries in schools. We have done this at West Derby and would have liked to do it with more schools as part of wave six of Building Schools for the Future, but unfortunately his government axed the scheme.”
  • Middlesbrough – Thousands sign petitions over Middlesbrough council cuts – BBC.   17000 signed peition against cuts.  “The planned closure of youth centres and libraries has also prompted about 800 letters to the borough council.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Kipper the Dog set for library opening – This is Nottingham.   “Improvements include a computer area with free wi-fi, dedicated children’s, local studies and professional gallery areas, a Discovery Room for courses and training, a new theatre space and thousands of books for all ages.”
  • Suffolk – Can you help with the future of Suffolk libraries? – Haverhill Echo.   “Community groups are being asked to nominate members to join an organisation being set up to run Suffolk’s libraries.”.. “Mr Fox said: “I’ve taken on this challenge because I believe it is the way forward for public services. To reflect local priorities, communities themselves must be fully engaged and sufficiently empowered to ensure the service delivers what they want. They must take responsibility for shaping their own destiny and making sure the services they receive are right for their communities and not just based on a single, ‘one size fits all’ solution.”
    • Board members sought for library enterprise – Bury Free Press.   “Letters went out this week to the county’s 44 libraries plus local groups who had expressed an interest in running them inviting nominations for the four other interim board positions, by January 22.”.  Will be in partnership with council.  “The IPS will be registered and appoint its interim board this month then, between February and May will apply for admission to the Local Government Pension Scheme and consult on and transfer employment responsibilities from the county.”
  • Warrington – Grappenhall villagers win campaign to take ownership of former council library – Warrington Guardian.   “A group of campaigners in Grappenhall have been handed the keys to the village library – nine months after it closed. The Friends of Grappenhall Library, a group of volunteers, won the right to take ownership of the building after the council closed it as part of budget cuts.” … “We already have a good mix of 3,500 books to fill the library from fiction to non-fiction and adult to children’s.” 
  • Worcestershire – New year timetable for Worcestershire mobile libraries  – Shuttle.   “Rural communities are being urged to make the most of Worcestershire County Council’s mobile library service, with a new year timetable available.”