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.

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News

  • 1964 Public library standards in 2012 – Gareth62.  Questions the legality of the dropping of Library Standards a few years ago.
  • Eating the Seed CornCharlie Stross.  “… if the drop in my PLR loans reflects library closures, then we have just slammed the door in the face of a new generation of readers. I got my start reading fiction from my local library; the voracious reading habits of a bookish child aren’t easily supported from a family budget under strain from elsewhere during a time of cuts. I hate to think what the long term outcome of this short-term policy is going to be, but I don’t believe any good will come of it.”

Change

Local News

  • Bolton – Meeting room rent charges set to soar – Bolton News.   Room hire charges up by 14%, due to improvement in facilities.
  • Gloucestershire – Rural/Community libraries: the facts behind the fiction – FoGL.  Council is deliberately maximising cost and minimising usage of mobiles in order to make closing them easier: Mobiles make only monthly stops to reduce demand and are operational only two-thirds of the time.  Mobiles doublestaffed, with driver being a highly paid “agency” one due to the council one being made redundant.  Mobiles have had bookfund cut by 60% with stops cancelled if there is a (very frequent) staffing shortage. 
  • Harrow – Plans to merge Harrow libraries still in pipelineHarrow Times.   Merging Gayton and Civic Centre libraries in new library, effectively meaning closing one, has been confirmed in council.  Hatch End Library may move into Harrow Arts Centre. 
  • Kent – Save libraries on National Libraries Day in Whitstable – Voices for the Library. “Everyone is asked to bring a “quotation” from one of their favourite books or dress up as a character from a book – you can do both, of course.  Your “quotation” should be less than 140 characters in length (like a Tweet) and you can write it on a placard or poster or read it aloud at the meeting. Whitstable has a reputation for creativity, dressing up and putting on a show; so let’s make this a memorable celebration of how important libraries are.”
  • Northern Ireland – Local library hours hardest hit in ProvinceBalleymoney Times.  ““The Minister shares the views of the many thousands of people who responded to the public consultation that Libraries are an important public service with an essential role in the heart of our communities.”.  However, cuts would still mean 10% less opening hours locally.  Need to promote service.
  • Oxfordshire – 20 volunteers needed to keep village library open – Henley Standard.  “Each one would work two hours every other week in order to make up for the loss of 50 per cent of staff funding in cuts agreed by Oxfordshire County Council.”  £4 to £5k p.a. needed to keep Benson Library open, with campaigners hoping to keep a paid member of staff on site at all times.  Moving towards volunteers cleaning the library and also to increase donations.
  • Peterborough – Library fears over Vivacity cash cut – Evening Telegraph.  Council will cut funding to Trust by £100k per year (from £3.1m to £3m).  Councillors fear library hours will reduce.  Vivacity has already had cut of £180k this year.
“The Lib Dem group has always argued that libraries are a basic service which should be kept under direct local authority control. Libraries help children to learn to read and enable people of all ages, particularly those on lower incomes. Many councils have set up leisure/cultural trusts but only a few have included libraries.”

  • Warrington – Rename our building, win an iPhone – Friends of Grappenhall Library.  As you know our old local library in  Victoria Avenue is re-opening again very soon. Its planned to be far more than just a library and the energy and commitment of local people in Grappenhall and wider afield in South Warrington, will help us do far more. To mark the change to a wider community use, we are holding a competition to rename the building. The prize is an iPhone”
  • Warwickshire – Evening and weekend opening cut at libraries –  Weekly News.  “Hours were shortened in attempts to save more than £2 million in Warwickshire County Council’s library network. This week results of public votes on new hours were announced. In new opening times starting on April 1 Leamington library will be the only one opening on a Sunday or into the evenings on weekdays.”