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- Volunteer-run libraries
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Archive for February, 2012
Pro – (a) Getting all this money back would make a significant impact. This is taken very seriously in the USA. An American library service uses a collection service that generates $9k per month.
Also, (b) it encourages others to return items on times and thus improve available stock. It even (c) encourages people to come back to use the library as the fees charges are rarely as high as people fear (although, often, those with non-returned books worry so much about late items they keep them for years, or bin them, rather than owning up to the feared scary librarian who, in reality, would be just happy to see the item back). Finally, (d) breaking the law by stealing books is an offence and offenders should be punished.
Con – (i) It could cost a fortune to fully recover fines/items because (ii) amounts owed to libraries tend to be quite small but very numerous. The cost of recovering these debts can be similar to, or exceeding that, of the value of items returned. Taking legal action against a member of the public for return of items is (iii) rife with danger as it could be seen as a waste of resources being the cost of legal action would almost certainly be more than the value of the items concerned (see this article about Bromley sending a letter asking for some books back from an eight-year old – this article was then taken up by the Telegraph the next day). Being (iv) too stringent on chasing late items would also deter genuine users from the library service. Generally, (v) British library services see owed fines as a standard part of the service, impossible to eradicate, that they will likely largely recover over the fullness of time. Finally, (vi) one could fall foul of the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act if one uses fines as a way to make money for the service rather simply as an incentive for returning material on time. However, considering the recent poor enforcement of this Act, this is likely to be seen as only a minor problem by authorities.
“Assistant mayor Councillor Sarah Russell, who is responsible for libraries in the city, said: “A lot of time people are worried if a book has been damaged, or if they find it under a teenager’s bed when they move out of home – they decide to keep it rather than face the fines. “That’s why we hold amnesties every now and then, because it helps us as well as the library users. “It means we don’t have to spend money replacing missing items and we don’t have to spend energy chasing people up.” Leicestershire.
“You don’t want to penalize people for reading. Sometimes you’re really into a novel and it takes you a little longer to get through it. As it happens, you return a book two or three days late. It’s not a big deal. We can get over that,” Maghnieh said. “It’s a way of really rewarding our patrons for using the library.” Windsor Public Library, USA.
- European librarians visit Birmingham’s £189m facility - BBC. “More than 250 senior librarians from Europe are gathering in Birmingham to discuss the future of library services. As well as meeting at the Town Hall, visitors will see progress on the £189m library being built in Centenary Square. The 10-storey development, which will have an outdoor amphitheatre, is due to open next year. The site will also include a theatre, recording studio and free access to the National Film Archive.”
- Seven library services you might not know about - Matador life (USA). Includes job hunting, finding a date, live music, storytelling, author feedback, legal advice, home energy audits.
- Cambridgeshire – 13 smallest libraries to be reduced to one paid member of staff, with volunteers and self-service for the other work. I have included these as still at threat for the time being, although I am aware this is a grey area. Previously these thirteen branches were to be totally volunteer-run with a “central” librarian directing them.
- Brent – Labour councillors block lifeline for Brent libraries - Brent Council Liberal Democrats. “Labour has stopped listening to local residents and is no longer on their side. Labour Leader Ann John actually boasted about the library cuts when she made her speech.”
- Cambridgeshire – Lindon Library is secure: and could be renamed - Haverhill Echo. “That decision marked a reversal on initial plans to divest 13 libraries, mostly in South Cambridgeshire, including Linton and Sawston, meaning they faced possible closure.”. Will be renamed “Lindon Community Hub”. ““The library service will continue to exist, though maybe in a more limited form and more on a volunteer basis.” … “The county council will take responsibility for the core running of the service and will meet the basic cost, while the library service will recruit, train and manage volunteers with at least one paid member of staff in each library.”
- Camden – Conservative propose 3% tax cut - Conservative Home. “But the alternative budget proposed by the Conservatives would also have protected services. Camden Council has closed nurseries, play centres, luncheon clubs and youth services have been closed down. Libraries have been set adrift, while funding for breakfast and after school clubs, and the voluntary sector, is being slashed.”
- Croydon – Closure of New Addington Library building not far off, says Sara Bashford – This is Croydon Today. “Croydon councillor Sara Bashford said it would not be long before the current building on Central Parade is closed and moved into the Calat building. But the councillor, who acts as the council’s cabinet member for customer services, stated she could not guarantee the same number of available books would be transferred over despite promising the new home would “offer the same level of service”.
- Isle of Wight – Council ethics watchdog resigns after Pugh’s Westminster Library evidence (updated) - Ventnor Blog. “One of the members of the Isle of Wight council’s Ethical Standards Committee has resigned his position after watching Cllr David Pugh giving evidence about Island libraries to the Culture Media & Sports Committee in Westminster last week. Keith Fagan told VentnorBlog, “Having watched it (Cllr David Pugh giving evidence to the Select Committee) three times, I feel that by remaining silent, I would be condoning or endorsing his words.”
“I know that some of the facts given in evidence, in oral form, were incorrect”. Keith says his resignation isn’t the end of this, “I don’t just want to resign and disappear in to the ether, I need to take this up.”
- North Yorkshire – Milestone as libraries handed over to communities - Yorkshire Post. “Councillors rubber-stamped final plans for the scheme this week, with the go-ahead being given for six community-run libraries in Ayton, Barlby, Bilton, Embsay, Gargrave, and Great Ayton, after volunteer groups presented detailed business plans demonstrating the feasibility of the scheme. However, Humnanby Library failed to produce a viable plan and the county council revealed the village, near Scarborough, which is one of the largest in England, would be served by a mobile library from April, although other options are currently being explored.”
- “People power” helps ot keep village library open - Press. “The final details of plans for the future of six libraries have now been approved. It means the library in Barlby will be run by the local parish council. It will be staffed by volunteers and will incorporate a meeting place, information and exhibition space and a parish office.”
- Redbridge – Borough offers library fine amnesty - Guardian series. “The borough’s libraries are owed a whopping £167,692 in fines. The figure was revealed on the day that an amnesty was announced in an attempt to persuade people to return some of the 27,846 books, DVDs and CDs which are currently overdue.”
- Richmond – Library services in Richmond get £20k – Guardian series. “Library services have got a £20,000 boost thanks to Arts Council England. Richmond Council will use the money to take the lead on a partnership project with library and arts services in Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth. Richmond’s arts and library services will use funding to improve the quality and delivery of arts for adults and children with disabilities.”
- Surrey – An appeal on behalf of libraries and librarians - SLAM. “…we are now making this unashamed appeal for you to contribute to the “fighting fund”. We believe libraries and librarians are worth fighting for and have been working extremely hard to protect them and improve them. But we do need your help. It is wonderful and encouraging to have such high profile celebrity supporters such as Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed and Sue Perkins, but as you can see from our fundraising thermometer on the right of this page, we still need everybody’s help, including you!”
- Swansea – Website winners put library top - This is South Wales. “Clever use of websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube means Swansea Library Service has been named the best of its kind in Wales. Swansea Council’s Library Service came first in the social media category of the Welsh Libraries Marketing Innovation Awards 2012.”
It’s not illegal. They’re entitled to do it. They may feel under such gigantic pressure that they have to do it. This is a council that last year considered closing an awful lot of of their branches. It’s, after all, a great service to visit the school and get it all done. It’s also, of course, the start of a slippery slide into unequal services and the end of a free public library service. Expect more of these money-making ideas from councils around the country. Unless the Secretary of State starts making difficult decisions himself, rather than doing nothing at all.
400 libraries (310 buildings and 90 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 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.
Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether his Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend or annul the Libraries Act 1964; if so, when; and if he will make a statement.
Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative)
This Department has no plans at present to amend or annul the Libraries and Museums Act 1964.Hansard via They Work For You.
- Harry Potter ebooks to be distributed to public and school libraries through Overdrive - Marketwire. ” Pottermore, the online experience and home of the Harry Potter eBooks created by J.K. Rowling and partnered by Sony, announced today it has entered into an exclusive worldwide eBook and digital audiobook distribution agreement with OverDrive for public and school libraries.”
- Libraries segment - Live with Gabby, Channel Five, 41:30 to 50. Concentrates on Kensal Rise library, [including a cameo from myself at the beginning, so best to skip to 42:50 at the start - Ed.], with interview by Margaret Bailey and with local library users, including a “pop-up” library. Authort Kathy Lette says “Britain is famous for its’s writers and to cut off that lifeline … it makes you stupid if you can’t read”. Gabby Roslin
- Saving our Libraries - Big Issue. Lauren Smith writes in the “Our Issues” column on the threats facing libraries and why campaigning is so important.
- Brent – Protest held outside Brent Town Hall as council chiefs rubber-stamp budget - Brent & Kilburn Times. “Around 30 members of Brent Fightback, the borough’s anti-cuts campaign group, Brent SOS Libraries, National Union of Teachers (NUT) members and representatives from the latest library group Keep Willesden Green rallied outside the building in Forty Lane with placards and a megaphone.”
- Library money earmarked for better flowerbeds in Brent - Preston Library Campaign. “Having convinced the government and the judiciary that there is no money for libraries, and that cuts will now be made in essential services, Brent has found £420,000 extra to give to Ward Working, a fund that local councillors spend on grafitti workshops, noticeboards and flowerbeds.”
- DCMS is “not minded” to investigate mass library closure in Brent – Preston Library Campaign. “They met Brent Council in June, but have refused to speak to us, or hear our (ample) evidence. Now, after a letter from our legal team challenging their year-long silence on the matter, they have finally spoken. We have until Thursday March 1 to challenge this provisional decision. Email them (using info below) – email@example.com“
- Essex – Homework club in Greenstead to be axed - Chelmsford Weekly News. “A homework centre which helps dozens of childen iis being axed. The centre at Greenstead Library in Colchester provides support for 65 students, mostly from Colchester Academy, but funding is being withdrawn.”
“Originally homework centres in libraries were set up with time-limited funding from the National Lottery. When this funding ended, the majority of such arrangements across the county had to be discontinued. We were able to avoid this in Harlow and in Greenstead by means of a one year grant from the Essex County Council study support budget. Unfortunately, this too will no longer be available after March.”
- Gloucestershire – Multi-million pound businesses Tesco and Sainsbury to benefit from brutal library cuts … at our expense - FoGL. “It has been brought to our attention that Gloucestershire County Council are running “library workshops”as part of the libraries consultation and are paying attendees £40 each in shopping vouchers to be spent at Tesco and Sainsbury as detailed in this invite Invite – workshops BME (this was sent to us by a FoGL member, we have not been notified by GCC, nor have we been asked to circulate the invite. We have no idea who this invite has been sent to). The invite states that the library review is happening due to “limited resources”. We are disgusted that Gloucestershire County Council sees fit to place tax-payers money into the pockets of retail giants like Tesco and Sainsbury when they claim they do not have the money to run basic public services?”
- County Council approves £29 million cuts package - Stroud News & Journal. “Proposals to invest £1 million to help keep the county’s libraries open over the next two years were rejected as Gloucestershire County Council approved cuts totalling £29 million last week.” … “The opposition group wanted to use money from the authority’s £106 million reserves to fund a further £2.2 million worth of road repairs, a £3 million investment in infrastructure, a £1 million contribution to assist the county’s libraries and a £600,000 spend on youth work.”
- Harrow – Children win a librarian for a day - Harrow Times. “Three schools in Harrow won a librarian for a day, in celebration of World Book Day. Pupils at St Bernadettes, in Clifton Road; Longfield, in Dukes Avenue, and Stag Lane, in Collier Drive, won the librarians after they entered an open competition run by Harrow’s library service.”
- Isle of Man – Save our libraries: petition launched - Isle of Man Today. “Two have launched a petition against the closure of the Department of Education and Children’s family and mobile libraries. In just two days Michael Synnott, aged 11, and his classmate Robert Moore, collected about 50 signatures.”
- Kent – Edukent Packaged Services - Kent Council. Charges for school staff to use public libraries after the recent withdrawal of the school library service there.
“A visit to the library and a session with library staff to set up individual library tickets for children and regular book exchange visits to library. The school will manage future sessions”
- Somerset – Councillors reject library safeguards - This is Somerset. “Somerset Liberal Democrats hoped to persuade Somerset County Council to agree that no library should have funding withdrawn without a consultation based on residents’ needs. They also sought to promote libraries as “community hubs” and “public space.”"
- Wiltshire – “Yes” to council budget, “no” to free car parking plan - Wiltshire Times. “On libraries, Jane Scott says: “Unlike other local authorities we have opened a new library in Pewsey [where they sacked the manager on the same day it opened - Ed.] and work on our new Trowbridge library is well under way. We have kept all of our libraries open withthe help of over 600 volunteers.”
- Wokingham – Private library firms shortlisted - BBC. “The Conservative-led council currently pays out about £2.1m a year to run its library service but said it believed it could pay firms less to take them on. However, a report to councillors said there could be an “increase in staff turnover” and “loss of influence” over the service.”
Tim Coates, who kindly provided these charts, argued in a final slide that the points to be made were (a) “The library service has been well resourced with both capital and revenue”, (b) “Book collections have been neglected and as a result the use of books have fallen and (c) the rise of council overheads have stifled improvement”. A video presentation by him analysing Somerset’s expenditure is also available. However, one should say that Tim’s views are not one uniformly shared, especially by librarians. For my part, I don’t know enough to make a firm stand either way, although I would agree with Tim that an easy correlation can be made between bookfund and the resultant book borrowing.
I have amended this commentary due to feedback kindly received. And added paragraph (29/2/12) is in italics.
|Number of libraries was already accelerating downwards
|Spending on new library buildings and refurbishments
|Staff costs have largely stayed the same|
|Available books dipped significantly from 2001 (c. 68m)
to 2007 (c/ 59m) then levelled of to some extent.
|Budgets rose 2001 to 2006 then levelled off, with a decline
starting in 2010/11
|However, the amount that Councils took from these budgets
started shooting up from 2005 from around 10% then to
14% in 2010/11, presumably making the recent overall
decline in libraries budget more noticeable.
|Child usage has levelled/slightly risen.|
|Adult borrowing’s decline slowed by 2006/7, with
decline starting again in 2010/11
|Visits increased to 2004/5 but have declined since.|
From CIPFA data, charts kindly supplied by Tim Coates
- Engineers crashing our gates - Nicolas Morin (USA). Librarian written blog article: “We’re the nice guys, the not-for-profits, we’re working for the common good, we’re small, we’re poor… but we nevertheless are members of the incumbent class. It’s uncomfortable, since we mostly think of incumbents as people of power who want to preserve the status quo in their favor, but that’s the way it is: we’re incumbents with little power.”. Not the easiest read or especially relevant to library cuts now but it does point to possible future paths.
- Lauren Smith to step down as CILIP Vice President - CILIP. “Lauren Smith has announced her decision to step down from her role as Vice President of CILIP. Lauren said that she did not take the decision lightly but wanted to focus her time and energies more on active campaigning than she feels is currently possible within the scope of the Vice President role.”
- Nearly half our kids don’t have anyone to read to them - Mirror. “The Mirror’s Get Britain Reading campaign aims to encourage viewers to pledge 10 minutes of their time to read every day. Daybreak is to launch a similar reading campaign this week.”
“So what is missing? What is the bridge, the conduit, the middle cog between those children whose parents don’t foster a habit of reading and the necessities of a print-rich world? It is the librarian and the teacher. Thank goodness, I don’t (yet) have to defend the role of the teacher. But why, in the name of all that is coherent and sensible, do I have to defend the role of the professional children’s librarian? Why, in county after county, are they being made redundant? Why, up and down the country have talented children’s reading ambassadors become an endangered species? Why are schools dispensing with their services or failing to sign up to School Library Services?” Alan Gibbons
- Doncaster – We need your help: Legal Aid to match - Save Doncaster Libraries. “Efforts to match the Legal Aid funding awarded to our brave resident heading our fight for justice through the Courts, have begun. A hardy group of campaigners stood outside Doncasters’ fantastic Markets to inform and enable people to drop cash in buckets. We are also commencing targeted requesting, and facebook/twitter campaigning. We need to raise a significant amount in a very short time, £15,000 (+VAT).” [Plus VAT? Not only are the Government forcing people to fight their battles for them but they're also taxing them for the privilege of doing so - Ed.].
- East Sussex – How do you rate library services? - Eastbourne Herald. “The county council library and information service is looking at how it provides rural and mobile library services – including its libraries in the Eastbourne area. The council wants to ensure it is giving residents the best service at the best price – and in the right place at the right time. The review runs for 12 weeks from Monday, February 27 to Monday, May 21, and people can complete a survey in paper copy or online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay.”
- Gateshead – Hundreds of jobs under threat at Gateshead Council - Chronicle. “Some £305,000 will go from libraries and arts services, with staffing reductions likely and talk of voluntary groups helping keep some branches open.”
- Greenwich – Conflict of interest allegation halts Greenwich libraries transfer – This is Local London. “Greenwich Council has announced it will reconsider decisions on leisure and library services at a future cabinet meeting “to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest in the council’s decision making process.” Unite branch secretary Onay Kasab described the surprise move as a “temporary victory”.”
- Kent – Sturry library shut after suspected arson attack - Kent Online. “A library has been damaged in a suspected arson attack after a bin was pushed up against the building and set alight. Three fire crews were called to Sturry library, near Canterbury, at about 8.30pm on Sunday. They managed to stop the blaze spreading, but some of the roof and internal areas – including books – were damaged.”
- Warwickshire – Warwick Library reopens after move to save money - BBC. “Warwickshire County Council said the move from Barrack Street to Shire Hall was part of plans to save £2m from its £7.4m Library and Information Service budget.”
Doncaster – Appeal for funds for legal case against the closure of twelve libraries. Anyone who wants to donate can contact SDL treasurer John Sheppard. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07951 382 703.
- Library Book, edited by Rebecca Gray: Review – Guardian. “A refrain runs through this essay collection, published to support the Reading Agency‘s library programmes: libraries made me what I am. Val McDermid, growing up in Kirkcaldy, made a “home from home” of her local library. Stephen Fry first read Oscar Wilde thanks to the mobile library near his home in rural Norfolk. For many contributors, personal recollection mutates into anger at the current government’s library-closing tendencies”
- LSSI’s written evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee – Stop the privatisation of UK public libraries. “Reading this you could mistakenly believe that LSSI is a philanthropic organisation only interested in the literacy levels and well being of poor little children and not a library company bankrolled by a private equity firm seeking to turn a profit.”
- Shhh! The iLibrary sneaks up on Kindle with 30p eBook rentals – Sunday Times (behind paywall). ”The Bilbary site, which features a virtual library where visitors enter through saloon bar-style doors to browse the on-screen shelves, will launch in America next month, with a British and European launch to follow.”
- Woman stole 2,000 library books to sell on the internet - Los Angeles Times (USA). “In exchange for pleading guilty to one count of felony burglary, Nater is set to receive probation when sentenced April 25. She has agreed to pay $7,600 in restitution, stay away from public libraries, and not use any internet accounts such as ebay, Craigslist, or Amazon, according to prosecutors.” … “The investigation began when Carlsbad librarians noticed that shelves were being depleted of books over several months.”
- Bolton – Residents face fortnight with no library facilties - Bolton News. “A library will shut two weeks before its corresponding neighbourhood collection opens breaking Bolton Council’s promise that replacements would be in place before any facilities closed. The announcement about Heaton Library came yesterday on the same day another library, Oxford Grove, closed its doors for the final time.”
- Doncaster – Booking up ideas to help save library - South Yorkshire Times. “Leading the group is Stuart Bolton, he said the band of volunteers were determined not to let the site – which caters for 500 people a week – disappear. He said: “We formed a new group called Stainforth For All when we heard that the council was going to close the library.”
- East Sussex – Rural and mobile libraries in East Sussex - Sussex Express. “Rural and mobile libraries are coming under the microscope as East Sussex County Council asks users for their views during a three-month review. The council wants to make sure that it is giving residents the best service at the best price – and in the right place at the right time. The review will run from Monday February 27 until Monday May 21 and people can complete a survey in paper copy or online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/haveyoursay”
- Gloucestershire – Library consultation event in Matson - This is Gloucestershire. “The council had planned to hand 10 libraries over to the community but a High Court legal challenge forced a rethink. As a result Matson has received a reprieve and will be staffed by the council for between 12 and 21 hours a week.”
- Thousands share library views with two weeks to go - Stroud News and Journal. “With two weeks left to go on the new library strategy consultation, Gloucestershire County Council has spoken to 2,400 people from many different areas and backgrounds, and is urging more people to have their say. “
- Isle of Wight – Friends write to Committee over inquiry into library closures – Ventnor Blog. Complaint regarding statements by David Pugh, leader of the Council that (a) volunteers reluctantly did so as a last resource rather than enthusiastically like Mr Pugh said, (b) that Mr Pugh has done very little volunteering unlike the impression given by him, (c) library staff were very unhappy to train volunteers, not happy like Mr Pugh said. From this article, one wonders if there is anything that Mr Pugh said to the Committee that is not disputed. Double taxation also caused by local councils having to support libraries that Wight no longer has decided to. Volunteer-run libraries have a questionable future, dubious finances and poor to non-existent long-term planning. Loss of Act, suggested by Mr Pugh, would mean some areas having a very poor service and the likelihood of the closure of all but two Wight libraries.
- Sheffield – Novel idea to take used books to city libraries - Sheffield Telegraph. “All libraries in the city now accept donated books and CDs that can either be added to the libraries’ collection or sold in a ‘give and take’ section for 50p. Frecheville, Firth Park and the Central Library will be the first libraries to offer readers the chance to buy the donated books and the council intends to roll out scheme across the city in the next few months.”
- Suffolk – In 1851, Suffollk libraries and education lagged behind, they still do - Suffolk Wordblog. “Suffolk county council was ranked close to the bottom of the table for library spending by English counties in 2010 (latest available figures) and GCSE results ranked the county as 121st out of 152 education authorities according to a report this year.” … “Glyde was worried not only by the lack of educational books available in Suffolk libraries but by the paucity of good fiction. He would have been shocked by the pile of discounted chick lit I saw being unpacked to fill the shelves of one Suffolk library recently.”
“A love of books was with me from the very start,” he said. “Libraries to me were magical places and they continue to be so. When I walk through the door of this place there is that feeling of excitement, all these books around you. The internet won’t do that for you, it’s the books themselves and this place creates that. It is superb, a great example to the rest of Surrey and to the rest of the country of what can be done.” Surrey – Dorking’s new library “should be an example to rest of England” says BBC newsreader - This is Surrey. “Ian Caldwell, who led the Leave Our Library Alone campaign, said: “The council were determined to push it through before they even listened to what we had to say. I am just pleased we have still got a library.”
Doncaster – Appeal for funds for legal case against the closure of twelve libraries. Anyone who wants to donate can contact SDL treasurer John Sheppard. Email email@example.com or call 07951 382 703.
- Boyd Tonkin: How to quench the book-burners - Independent. “Dr Mastafa Jahic and his colleagues – including a cleaner and a nightwatchman from Congo – put their lives on the line to rescue 10,000 books and manuscripts, under sniper fire, from the library of the Gazi Husrev Beg mosque.” plus also Our barbarian bureaucrats about the closure of Friern Barnet Library: “A new library is, in due course, promised at an arts centre elsewhere, but the timetable is clear as mud – again, par for the course with so many authorities. Polite, resourceful and eminently reasonable, the Save Friern Barnet Library campaigners justly feel that the council has treated them with scant respect. They certainly had no joy this week from Barnet CEO Nick Walkley, who earns £200,976 pa from public funds.”
- Dame Joan Bakewell says sorry to Jamie Oliver over library campaign - Daily Telegraph. “The veteran broadcaster had taken Oliver to task over what she claimed was his failure to support the bid, tweeting: “Jamie Oliver’s children use Chalk Farm Library. He won’t join the appeal to save it. Shame!” Oliver replied saying: “please get your facts straight joan I have offered loads of support”.”
- David Harte: The book in a digital age - Birmingham Post. “What surprised me about the system is that once an ebook is taken out, it’s not available to anyone else. In other words, it works just like a real library book. Each book in the elibrary can only be taken out by one user at a time. Until you return it, no-one else can read it. These restrictions seem bizarre to me. I thought the digital age would be an age of plenty, of infinite available copies.”
- Playwright Alan Bennett on libraries, cycling and “celebrity” neighbours – Camden New Journal. “Mr Bennett said families in Primrose Hill and beyond should be able to take their local library “for granted” – and not be in fear that it could close down. The 77-year-old said on Tuesday: “I think that at this stage it doesn’t matter what children read or where they read it, whether it is in a book or on the computer, what matters are words.”. Save Primrose Hill Library, in association with Primrose Hill Books, are inviting residents to an evening with Alan Bennett at Cecil Sharp House next Thursday (March 1) at 7pm for 7.30pm.
“People do say children don’t need libraries because they have got a computer – that’s rubbish,” he said. And it’s rubbish because they just don’t all have computers, poor children don’t have computers, and a lot of children who go to Chalk Farm Library will be poor. You are not supposed to say that these days, it is supposed to be bad taste to say that, but it is the case. The library is for every section of the community but it is the children who are the most vital it seems to me.”” Alan Bennett.
“Schools minister Nick Gibb met Tesco in February and March last year……The government did say the meetings were held to discuss literacy, reading and how to get children to read more. But no more information, such as who came from Tesco, was released. The Eye pursued the matter under freedom of information laws, but the department refused to say anything about the meetings, simply pointing out that ministers needed to discuss sensitive and high profile issues without distracting, disruptive or otherwise detrimental effect of disclosure. The Eye appealed, and while the minutes of the meeting remain secret, some sketchy e-mails were passed on. They show that Gibb met Tesco boss Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who was accompanied by Tesco’s senior buying manager for children’s books and government affairs director. Another e-mail says that between the two meetings civil servants set up a meeting with Tesco marketing team based on the direction the minister wishes us to go in.” The Tesco Problem, Private Eye, 10/2 to 23/2/2012.
- Truth behind the “Team London Library” project - Stop the privatisation of UK public libraries. Questions whether being a London library volunteer is additional to or, as the article suspects, replacing staffing. “Another authority involved in the project is Hackney. Hackney libraries have cut 25% of the workforce but have recently advertised for a ‘Volunteer Support Officer’ costing £25-£27,000 a year, this isn’t ‘supporting’ this is a co-ordinated attack on paid library staff”
- Vennesla Library and Culture House - Paranoias. One of the most beautiful small library designs I have seen for a while, this one being in Norway. Star Trek Meets Star Wars (doesn’t that look like the Jawa’s transporter from some angles?) meets Gutenberg.
- Devon – Volunteers extend opening hours each Tuesday morning at Colyton: first of its kind in Devon. £35k work at Colyton includes self-service.
- Edinburgh - Cuts to opening hours reversed after 10,000 responses to consultation.
- Waltham Forest - South Chingford and Harrow Green Libraries closed in December 2011. A new volunteer-run South Chingford Library will open in April 2012.
- Devon – Residents invited to see Colyton’s new-look library - Midweek Herald. “Renovation and improvement work, costing around £35,000, is currently under way and the building is set to reopen on March 13. The library will have a new entrance and a new improved flexible layout, designed to make browsing easier and to expand the use of the building for the local community. A new self-service kiosk will be installed and a redesign of the children’s area promises to make it easier for youngsters to look for books.” … “Following the revamp, the library will be open for longer, with special ‘Library Extra’ sessions hosted by the Friends of Colyton Library group taking place each Tuesday from 10am to 12.30pm, which is when the library was previously closed.”
- Doncaster – Legal fight to stop community-run libraries - Star. “Mr Davies had proposed making £110,000 available to meet the running costs of the 12 libraries which are being switched to being run by their communities. But Labour has tabled an amendment which would see a £382,000 contingency fund created to provide a member of staff and a self-service machine in each of the community-led libraries, as well as re-opening Carcroft and Denaby libraries which were closed outright earlier in the year.”
- Edinburgh – Libraries closure move is shelved - Scotsman. £300,000 from reserves used to reverse cuts in opening hours after public protest. “At 10,000 responses this is one of the biggest consultations we’ve ever had and it reflects how important libraries are.”
- Gloucestershire – Tuffley Library to be a community hub? - This is Glos. “”If the council was really interested in serving the community, rather than getting opinions on library closure, it would be gathering opinion on turning library sites with development potential into better facilities. “Even in the current economic climate it is necessary to look to the future as well as retreating from and repairing the damage from the past.” Mrs Howard believes the Windsor Drive site in Tuffley could become a real community hive of activity.”
- Hester’s Way urged to have their say on proposal for new community centre - This is Glos. “The hope is that the library would be moved to the Oasis centre building off Princess Elizabeth Way from its current location in Edinburgh Place. It would enable the centre to remain open and allow organisations to provide additional services. The site has a sports hall so people could get involved with activities including basketball, badminton, gymnastics, judo, zumba and football.”
- Greenwich – Union plans legal challenge on Greenwich libraries - News Shopper. “Their proposed challenge centres on cabinet member Councillor John Fahy’s organisation Meridian Link, which he runs with Mark Sesnan, managing director of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) – the group given control of the libraries. During the cabinet’s library vote this month, Cllr Fahy declared an interest and abstained from the debate and subsequent vote. But the Unite union is asking why he did not do the same thing at a cabinet meeting in November when GLL was given control of leisure facilities and tasked with drawing up a plan for the libraries.” … “The union, which claims it has 1,400 signatures against the plan, also insists there was a lack of proper consultation with only three public meetings, which they say were called at short notice, and no online survey. Mr Kasab said: “The demand from the community is clear – no transfers, no privatisation, hands off our libraries.”
- Suffolk – Swap it don’t drop it at Ipswich Library - Suffolk Reads. “Bring your garments & accessories to out ‘swap it, don’t drop it’ event and look good for less. Whether it be shirts, skirts, dresses, jumpers, cardies, trousers, coats, jackets, shoes, handbags, necklaces, hats or more, simply bring what you want to swap, leave it on the swapping tables and take as much as you want when you leave. Simple as that!”
- Waltham Forest – Chingford: library service launch date announced - Guardian series. “A former Waltham Forest Direct shop in Chingford Mount Road was secured and volunteers have pledged their time to making the library a success.”
- Wokingham – Libraries move closer to privatisation - Reading Chronicle. “Four shortlisted companies have already presented ideas on how they would improve the library service if they were successful in their bid for the five-year contract. Cllr Ullakarin Clark, executive member for internal services, told the full council meeting: “We believe people in the borough deserve to have access to a library service that is fit for the 21st century and this will allow us to provide great value for money.”
Arts Council England opens consultation on the libraries of the future - Arts Council England. “Envisioning the library of the future will begin with an assessment of trends in society which may affect the delivery of library services in the future. Following on from this, we will undertake a programme of consultation with library experts. In mid March 2012, an online consultation will open to all, with a series of short articles prompting public thoughts and opinions on the future of public library services, providing a deep understanding of the public value of libraries.”
- “Give Mayor control of all London public libraries” - London Evening Standard. “Tim Coates, who was the chain’s [Waterstones] managing director and now campaigns on libraries, said a single service with a centralised management function should replace the separate services in the 33 London boroughs. The duplication of administration costs £80million a year out of the £200million spent on the capital’s 380 libraries, he claimed.”
“Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many libraries were (a) closed and (b) opened in each local authority area in each of the last five years.
Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative)
Data about the library sector are published annually by the Chartered institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and are available for the last five years. The Department supplements them by monitoring proposals about changes to library services across England through information gathered via correspondence, media coverage and from relevant bodies such as Arts Council England. It is difficult to get an accurate picture, as many local authorities are still developing and consulting on proposals and consequently the overall picture is always changing. While a definitive number is open to interpretation, we understand, from information we have gathered to date, that fewer than 50 static libraries ceased to be funded by their local authority between April and September 2011. Of these, responsibility for around a dozen libraries has been transferred away from the local authority and they remain open. Initial assessments also suggest around 40 libraries are being refurbished or are being opened—for example, large scale library building and improvement is happening in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Blackpool, and significant new builds have opened, for example in Southwark and Hertford.” (Hansard - via They Work For You 20/2/12).
North Somerset - Backwell Library to close from April.
- Barnet – No reprieve for library while freeze on council tax planned - Barnet Today. Poor writing in libraries report attacked. “Mr Rawlings said proposals by the Save Friern Barnet Library group to take over the running of the library in Friern Barnet Road were never properly considered.”. Council says they did. “Negotiations are ongoing with the Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association, which is hoping to take over the running of the library in Market Place, while the council continues to pay the lease.”.
- Labour councillors to call-in Cabinet’s decision to close Friern Barnet Library - Times series. In defence, council said. “”Unfortunately, the proposal submitted for Friern Barnet was not viable as it isn’t a no cost or low cost solution. Their proposal required the continued provision of staffing by the Council – which, with associated overhead costs, would have made it unaffordable.”
- Campaigners share their disappointment over Friern Barnet library closure - Times series.
“Disappointed campaigners say they have been “robbed” of their community library after plans to relocate its services were given the go ahead on Monday. More than 3,000 people signed up to the Save Friern Barnet Library (SFBL) campaign, but despite their desperate attempts to save the much-used public space, Barnet Council’s Cabinet ruled in favour of its closure on March 31.”
- Brent – Libraries fight latest - Harrow Observer. “Kensal Rise, Barham Park, Tokyington, Preston Road, Cricklewood and Neasden are now just shells after Brent Council emptied them of books and equipment.”. DCMS “minded” not to intervene, campaigners still fighting. ““We are submitting yet more evidence to his department in the coming week and are taking advice from our legal team on the options available to us.””
- Read the letter from DCMS legal advisers about library closures in the London Borough of Brent - DCMS. Letter from department explaining why they are “minded” to intervene.
- Brighton and Hove – An open letter to Brighton Green councillors - Bear by Sea. “My worry is this; once the principle of a small cut here, a small cut there is established what next? Will a change in opening hours this year progress on to a full closure next year?”
- Carmarthenshire – Library plan’s cash setback - This is South Wales. “”Ammanford library scheme not going ahead now due to unsuccessful Cymal bid,” said the report.”
- Conwy – Public meeting called to continue fight to keep Penrhyn Bay library open - Weekly News. “People have vowed to fight to the end to try to keep Penrhyn Bay library open. And after a meeting with Conwy County Council officers, have decided to set up a steering group to formulate a plan for residents to run it.”
- Volunteers needed to help run library - North Wales Pioneer. “Despite the Penrhyn Library Users Group (PLUG) being dissolved, former members believe that the library can be saved if enough interest is shown. A meeting will be held at St David’s Church Hall in Penrhyn Bay, at 7pm on Thursday March 8, where organisers will ask the public what they want from their library and how much time they could put into it.”
- Croydon – Milly, aged six, tells Croydon Council off - Crystal Palace Local. “Six-year-old Milly Maker has written her own letter to Croydon council telling them what she thinks of their plans to stop funding the Upper Norwood joint library from April 1st. We reproduce it in full:…”
- Doncaster – Legal action planned against Doncaster library cuts - BBC. “Lynne Coppendale, of campaign group Save Doncaster Libraries, said taking this action was a “great sadness”. She added the mayor and cabinet had been inflexible “from day one.” Meanwhile the council said 200 people had already volunteered to help the library service and it appealed for more people to come forward.”
- Volunteer appeal for community libraries - Yorkshire Post. “Doncaster Council unveiled plans last year to off-load 12 of the borough’s libraries to be run by volunteers, and the scheme is set to begin in the next four weeks. Yesterday, the authority said “really good progress” had been made with around 200 volunteers coming forward, but appealed for more people to cover the required hours.”
- Save Doncaster Libraries and judicial review - Save Doncaster Libraries. “SDL has never said the public library service was perfect, we acknowledged improvements and changes were necessary. However we dispute this meant wholesale closure of Denaby and Carcroft and vehemently decry the change to Community Libraries of 12 others, whereby communities were forced to volunteer or lose them (closure by stealth).”
“Any donation, no matter how small, can be managed by contacting SDL treasurer John Sheppard, email address firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 07951382703, or by contacting the blog author (see contact link above) for discussion of your preferred method. Please note that if donating by cheque it should be made out to ‘Save Our Libraries’.”
- Durham – Public meeting on cuts to library - Teesdale Mercury. “The Friends of Barnard Castle Library organisation is rallying residents to voice their opinions on Durham County Council’s controversial proposals. The council’s cabinet last week agreed to seek feedback on plans to reduce opening hours at Barnard Castle Library to 36 hours a week.”. Mobile libraries also to be cut.
- Gloucestershire – Mr Hunt, action is overdue – FoGL. Library book budget is amongst lowest in country and will be cut even further to less than 79p per resident. The Secretary of State should take his duties seriously and intervene.
- Greenwich – Organise against the cuts in Greenwich - Socialist Party. “Over 1,300 members of the public have signed the Unite survey cards opposing the transfer. Nearly 500 have signed petitions. Now, following a council decision to press ahead with the transfer despite the huge opposition, Unite members in libraries are preparing for strike action and a real victory is possible.”
- Kent – So what were Kent’s secret plans for libraries? - Infoism. Lists the 45 libraries that were originally aimed for offloading by the council. “With this number of libraries under threat, Kent could see the largest assault on public libraries in the country. And all this in an authority that is headed up by the Secretary of the Society of Chief Librarians“
- Lambeth – Cooperative libraries consultation - Lambeth Council. “Our ‘pop-up’ library idea is that we could have library services in different locations such as community centres or even cafes - this is about finding and creating a service that meets your needs. If we can get this right then these places can become the centre of our communities.”
- Leeds – Friends group in battle to save Leeds community centre - Yorkshire Evening Post. “The Friends of Rawdon Library led a determined campaign to stop Leeds City Council from closing the venue and replacing it with a mobile service last year. Now the team of volunteers have to demonstrate to the authority that the community hub is worth saving for future generations.” … “council bosses have agreed to look at the possibility of Rawdon staying open and being put in the hands of the community under a system known as Community Asset Transfer.”
- North Somerset – The end for library - This is Somerset. “Backwell’s scaled-down library service is to close from April – with villagers being left to rely on a fortnightly mobile service.” … “A number of books were transferred to the library along with a computer which the public can use to check books in and out. But the authority is now planning to withdraw the £600 it costs to run the service. It has asked Backwell Parish Council to step in but it refused after learning that the computer had been used for only 92 minutes during the last month.”
- Sheffield – Save Sheffield Libraries campaign meeting - Library Workers for a Brighter Future. “Come and talk about what we can do to protect libraries in Sheffield, at the Quaker Meeting House, Wednesday 29th Feb, 6.30pm onwards. (Donations for room hire very welcome!). Just because there are no libraries closing doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems – the cuts are affecting the service, and there are more to come.”
- Warwickshire – Warwick Library to reopen on Monday - Coventry Telegraph. “The town has been without a library for last few weeks as it moved from its former home in Barrack Street to its new base in Shire Hall. The move is part of a refurbishment of the council’s headquarters and comes as cuts were made to libraries across the county, with several closing.”
- Westminster – Two locations in the running for new Marylebone library site - Ham & High. Existing library to be sold off next year … “ut the council is now committed to building a new library either as part of a larger mixed-use development alongside housing at Luxborough Street or on a vacant car park site at Moxon Street.”
- Wokingham – Libraries in Spotlight – Bracknell News. The “executive committee is due to approve plans to move to the tendering stage of the process after more than 20 companies submitted bids in June last year to take control.” … “It is hoped that the partnership will save the council £170,000 each year, but the plans led to uproar from residents who feared library closures, job losses and cuts in services. It also brought the first debate in the history of the council triggered by a public petition, which contained 1,500 signatures.”
- Council defends bid to privatise libraries - Get Wokingham. “The council agreed to investigate privatising its libraries in May 2010, with the expectation of appointing a partner in March this year, however the project has been delayed and is now expected to be operational by October.” … “Although the council is putting conditions in place, such as engagement with library users when making decisions, there is no specific condition to keep all libraries open.”. All the comments after the article are negative.
The DCMS have made it clear that they are not going to intervene over the closures in Brent. This will surprise no-one who has followed the department’s, and the relevant ministers, approaches to the cuts in libraries over the last year. Let’s make this clear. In bold and in italics. Anyone who is following libary cuts at least privately believes that there is no way the DCMS will intervene in any case on any terms. It would go directly against the perceived localism agenda and the need to force through the biggest cuts in local government in peacetime history. There are aspects of the response to cuts, notably the use of volunteers and non-profit organisations in the running of libraries, that ties in so beautifully with the Big Society that it almost seems designed for it. The only way that the Government will intervene is if they are legally forced to by a judge deciding that the Secretary of State is in breach of his statutory duties. Even then, it is likely that the Government will simply change the law, as they are doing with the recent case of a court deciding that saying prayers in council meetings is illegal. It is up to the campaigners and the organisations involved to see if the effort to force the DCMS to intervenese is therefore worth it.
- APPG for education calls for school library support - EdExec. “in its inquiry report, the APPG raised concerns over the Government’s lack of support for school libraries and the impact this had on child literacy. In response, the DfE stated that it recognised the positive contribution to literacy standards of good libraries ” … “However, DfE stopped short of promising future funding by adding that it preferred schools to make their own choices about book resourcing and library provision.”
- Join us at the consortia conference 2012 in Bath on Thursday 3rd May - Consortia Conference 2012. “The consortia conference 2012 offers the opportunity to listen to speakers from two of the biggest UK public library consortia (LibrariesWest and London Libraries Consortium), to find out more about shared services in action and to participate in workshops and panel discussions.”
- Ministers don’t understand libraries - Huffington Post UK. Annie Mauger, CILIP chief, said at the Inquiry that politicians often don’t understand what libraries do. She also singled out Jeremy Hunt for failing to intervene to stop closures. Arts Council England chief complained of the lack of breathing space libraries had to cope with the cuts and other changes.
- Select Committee hears of librarian job loss toll - BookSeller. “Research by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has indicated that as many as 700 of 3,500 professionally qualified librarians have lost their jobs in the current financial year, chief executive Annie Mauger told the culture select committee at its second oral evidence session, given this morning (21st February).”
- Barnet – Campaigners “devastated” over Friern Barnet library closure - Times Series. “Campaigners are “devastated” after plans to close Friern Barnet library were given the go ahead last night.” … “SFBL had gained the support of more than 3,000 people who were fighting to keep the library open. The group argued the Arstdepot is too far away, and the closure would affect the most vulnerable people in the area as well as detriment hundreds of children’s literacy levels. But speaking in favour of the library strategy at last night’s Cabinet meeting, Councillor Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships said: “We will see libraries that will open longer, more money will be spent on books, new libraries will be built and every child at school will be signed on to the libraries service.””
- Barnet Council agrees to close Friern Barnet and North Finchley libraries - Times series. A new library will be set up at Artsdepot in North Finchley, although Councillor Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships was unable to say exactly what services would be on offer by April 1. Hampstead Garden Suburb library will remain open after councillors agreed to enter negotiations with Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents’ Association on housing a “community library” in the existing building.”
- Brent – Legal bid to halt library closures ruled “academic” - London Evening Standard. Jeremy Hunt “dismissed their claim that he was obliged to intervene on libraries under threat as “academic”
“It seems they accept Brent’s reasoning at face value. It seems to me a very dismissive response. They gloss over what is a lot of chaos on the ground. They seem to have accepted whatever it is Brent has said to them about the library service being comprehensive and sufficient.” Brent campaigner.
“I don’t see how they can go further now in legal terms”, adding: “We’re actually going to have a better library service from our six libraries than we had for the 12, in that sense campaigners have been very misguided.” Brent councillor James Powney
- Secretary of State hints he might not step in to save axed libraries - Brent and Kilburn Times. “…a statement on the Department for Culture, Media and Sports’ website has revealed that Mr Hunt is ‘not minded to intervene by way of a local inquiry into Brent Council’s library plans.”
- Minister refuses to investigate library closures - Harrow Observer. “Brent SOS (Save our Six) has announced today that Jeremy Hunt has refused to look into the council’s closure of six treasured libraries, despite receiving more than 10,000 submissions from the public.” Brent campaigner shave 14 days to reply.
- Ealing – New Ealing libraries strategy “is rehashed muddle” - Save Ealing Libraries Campaign. “We’d been told [at the Ealing Council Cabinet meeting] on January 24 that a new libraries strategy would be launched in February. As there was no evidence of this on the council’s website I phoned Committee Services and learned it’s not a new document at all, but a tidying up of last July’s Draft Ealing Library Strategy 2011-2014″. The good practice of Hillingdon nextdoor is highlighted by the article.
- Gloucestershire – Shoppers in Cheltenham uninterested in future of libraries - This is Gloucestershire. “Council staff at the shopping centre approached people to fill in the library questionnaire. The previous plan failed due to lack of consultation with all users. In a bid to combat this, a Polish translator was available at the Cheltenham roadshow, as well as literature in other languages such as Japanese. There is also an “easy read” paper questionnaire for people who prefer a simpler version and the council has drafted extra guidance to help people fill in some of the questions.” [Japanese? Really? - Ed.]
- Isle of Wight – Council leader defends library closures - IWCP. “As part of his early evidence, Cllr Pugh told the committee the community could hold councillors to account over the changes to library service at the ballot box at the next election. He also urged the secretary of state to continue his ‘light touch’ approach to local authority library services.”
- Leicester – 250 sign petition against closure of library - This is Leicestershire. Protest against closing St. Matthew’s Library and moving some of its books into nearby leisure centre with a self-service machine. ” “A lot of school children use the library to study and the availability of school books is crucial given how expensive they are to buy.”
- Suffolk – “Virtual” council gives way to people power - Guardian. “Some residents are prepared to accept that things cannot stay as they are, given the financial constraints the council is facing. Former libraries campaigner Colin Owens is one of them. He has just joined the board of a new industrial and provident society (IPS), a social enterprise created by the council to run its libraries. It will enable all 44 libraries to stay open, instead of the council’s original plan of closing two-thirds. The theory is that the IPS will have lower overheads and its charitable status will enable it to make tax savings and apply for grant funding.”
“The Wickham Market partnership began by asking local people what they wanted from their library. The answer was longer opening hours, a coffee machine, soft seating, more groups and more use by children. It looks as though people are going to get all of that. Some 20 volunteers will help staff to extend opening times from 22 to 38.5 hours a week, while on Mondays the library will be handed over to the local school.”
- Surrey – Libraries judicial review now set for March - BookSeller. “A start date of 19th or 20th March is now expected for the proceedings, following a postponement.”
- Trafford – Council hopes £1m fund will help Trafford libraries turn over a new leaf - Manchester Evening News. Level of protest against cuts to library staffing and in other services has led to creation of £1m budget to “soften the blow”. “Under the plans Old Trafford and Hale libraries would only have one paid council worker each. But anger among voluntary groups has sparked a contingency plan by the council. Although bosses are unlikely to back down entirely, they say they will listen to the results of a public consultation in the coming weeks. If necessary, the new pot of money will be used to soften the blow. It could also be used to tweak £6.8m of cuts to adult services, depending on the public’s response.”
- Wiltshire – Have your say on mobile library routes in Wiltshire - This is Wiltshire.
“The Secretary of State is relying on flawed evidence to justify his reluctance to get involved. Brent Council appears to be trying to pull the wool over his eyes by claiming that library usage in Brent has increased. Tragically the facts show otherwise. Since Labour closed half of our local libraries far fewer local residents are visiting, studying and enjoying their local library service.” Cllr Paul Lorber, Liberal Democrat Leader, Brent.
More details on this can be found in this letter to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State.
399 libraries (309 buildings and 90 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 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.
- 500 libraries shut down or managed by unqualified staff - Tribune (Pakistan). “An Education Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that out of the 445 public colleges in the province 200 have libraries run by non-qualified staff. Out of more than 400 government higher secondary schools across the province, 336 do not have librarians appointed.” [The Punjab is blazing the way for the UK it seems - Ed.]
- Evidence sessions for Parliamentary Inquiry into library closures - Voices for the Library. Summary of the points made during first inquiry session.
- Iain Banks campaigns against “barbaric” cuts to libraries - Scotsman. “Best-selling author Iain Banks is launching a campaign to stop Scotland’s libraries from cutting their opening hours. Banks, who is spearheading the protest alongside fellow sci-fi authors Ken MacLeod and Charles Stross, has described the moves to slash opening times by up to 20 per cent as a barbaric act.” … “The libraries campaign will be launched next month in Edinburgh, where the council has cut staff and plans to restrict access to save money.”.
“The reason so many in the book world reacted lukewarmly to Nick Gibb’s words about reading is the record of the Government (“Top marks to our Schools minister”, 12 February). The coalition turned down our request to make school libraries statutory, a status prison libraries have. It cut the very successful book-gifting schemes run by Booktrust, and would have cut them even more had we not howled with outrage. It is, as D J Taylor notes, inflicting shocking damage to our libraries. Secretary of State Michael Gove praised a New York reading scheme while failing to mention our own highly successful Summer Reading Challenge co-ordinated by the Reading Agency. We authors love words, but without action to nurture the reading environments in which they nestle, germinate and grow, their power to educate, inform and inspire is reduced.” Alan Gibbons in letter to Independent.
- “Self-interested authors want to save libraries” – Philip Ardagh. “I could go on, but you get the picture. We complain about the not-in-my-backyard culture and I’m just as bad. I’m one of those ‘yes-in-my-backyard’ people. Yes, I want libraries to remain in our communities, for the selfish reasons already outlined and the million-and-one other reasons other people may selfishly have. There’s a rally and lobbying of parliament on 13th March, in London (and you can find out more about it here http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/). I’ll be there of course, along with people from all walks of life, no doubt including other self-interested authors, and the most self-interested of all: those disgraceful librarians.”
- UK Supreme Court rejects appeal over Brent library closures - World Socialist Web Site. “In place of the existing comprehensive coverage of local libraries, the major political parties and the media are promoting the construction of one centralised “super library”. As hundreds of libraries are threatened with closure in London and across the country, three new London “super libraries” are reportedly “bucking that trend”, with more to follow.”
“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.”
- Vaizey to give evidence in library inquiry - BookSeller. “Culture minister Ed Vaizey will be interviewed by the culture, media and sport select committee on 13th March as part of the inquiry into library closures. Vaizey is the only witness called to give oral evidence at the session that day. The evidence session will coincide with the lobby of parliament by librarians and authors set to take place on the same day.”
Isle of Man – 2 to close: Family and Mobile Libraries. School Library Service as well. Facebook Group. Petition.
Wiltshire – Review of mobile library service (but no cuts to total numbers, staff or hours).
Wolverhampton - £900k renovation of Central Library enters final stage.
Worcestershire – Upton Library under threat.
- Barnet – Library closure plans go before Cabinet tonight – Times series. “Barnet Council Cabinet members will discuss proposals to close Friern Barnet and North Finchley libraries tonight.”. Friern Barnet has 3000 supporters, Hampstead Garden Suburb Library also to be discussed.
- Brent – Terminates Willesden Bookshop lease - BookSeller. “Willesden Bookshop is searching for new premises after Brent council plans to develop the Willesden Green Library Centre, where it is based, into a “brand-new multi-million pound cultural centre” led to the termination of its tenancy.”
- Speaking at doomed Willesden Green Library - Another Green World. “I am speaking at Willesden Green Library tomorrow, I am sad though that library is to be demolished, this seems to be the reality in Britain today, a symbol of a wider assault on culture.” … “This meeting is in the tradition of stimulating public meetings at Willesden Green Library which will be demolished under regeneration plans. The rather sketchy proposals for the replacement Willesden Cultural Centre do not appear to include plans for public meeting rooms”
- Bradford – Council budget plans changed “to protect vulnerable” - Telegraph & Argus. “…proposals to reduce library opening hours and cut the book fund by £350,000.”
- Buckinghamshire – Great Missenden to decide library’s future - Prestwood and Great Missenden. “A new model will see a business move into the premises to create extra revenue for staffing – a cafe and the Post Office have so far put forward proposals. It is one of 14 which BCC earmarked in 2010 to become volunteer-run in order to save £688,000.” … “After a campaign by the community to keep permanent staff, a working group was set up last December to come up with a solution.”
- Isle of Man – Prospect hits back at library cuts - Manx.net. “Prospect members, were amongst members of staff at the Department who were informed on Thursday 16 February that their services were being shut. Staff in the library services broke down in tears at the news that services, which provide a vital link to the elderly, housebound, disabled and least privileged in Manx society, would go forever.”
- Prospect Union on library closures - Manx TV. 4 minutes interview showing how important libraries are and what an impact the closures will make.
- Proposed libraries closures “sad but inevitable” - Manx Radio. “Mr Karran says both are nice-to-have but non-essential and, to avoid damaging cuts in schools, had to go.” … “Mr Karran says things we’ve taken for granted have become luxuries we just can’t afford any more:”
- Lambeth – What does Lambeth’s “cooperative libraries” plan mean for Waterloo? -London SE1. Waterloo Library could have 40% budget cut. “This Wednesday the council will host a public meeting at Waterloo Action Centre to enable local residents to comment on plans for the future of the library service. Open for just 31.5 hours a week, Waterloo Library received 40,156 visits last year and 24,552 books were issued.”
- North Somerset – Village library service set to be closed - This is Bristol. “BACKWELL’s scaled down library service is to close from April – with villagers being left to rely on a fortnightly mobile service. The village’s main library at Station Road was closed last year as part of North Somerset Council cost cutting measures. Following objections by residents and local councillors an agreement was reached with Parkwood Leisure to base the library in the village leisure centre. A number of books were transferred to the library along with a computer which the public can use to check in and check out books. As part of North Somerset Council’s cost savings, the authority is now planning to withdraw the £600 it costs to run the service.”
- Portsmouth – WeLL what’s your story? – About My Area. WeLL means “We Love Literacy”. “Two wonderful things happened this week – the logo for my residency was finished and most of the events for the first half of this year have been organised. Half of these events are school based and the other half are a mixture of outreach work with support groups and public drop in relaxing WeLL conversations.”
- Surrey – Stephen Fry invited to discuss Surrey library plans - BBC. Council says “”Perhaps when we’ve had a conversation, at the end of it, I would hope that Stephen would realise why we are doing this and what our objectives are. Perhaps he would like to come and meet some of the volunteers who are going to do this and then perhaps he might be in a position where he can then make a judgement from a constructive point of view.”. Mr Fry tweeted his support for those against the cuts a couple of days ago.
- Stephen Fry tweets support for Surrey library action group - BBC.
- Libraries judicial review delayed for a month - Get Surrey. “…due to issues with the “availability of counsel”, the local authority said. The review, which was applied for by Surrey Libraries Action Movement (SLAM), will now take place on either March 19 or March 20.”
- Wiltshire – Review of mobile library service - Salisbury Journal. “The council has said there will not be a reduction in the number of mobile libraries, the number of mobile staff or the time mobiles spend in communities.”
- Wolverhampton – Central library renovation final stage - BBC. “The work, which will start on Monday, is expected to take 16 weeks and will be in two phases meaning customers will still be able to use the main entrance to the building at all times. The year-long restoration of the library has included the installation of a new lift and the rewiring of the entire building. The interior has also been redecorated.”
- Worcestershire – Everything will be done to avoid closing library - Malvern Gazette. “Both Upton Town Council and Malvern Hills District Council have established working groups to monitor the situation, with the town council issuing a “use it or lose it” warning to residents in a bid to secure its future.”
This post brings Public Libraries News back up to date with all of the known media mentions of public libraries this week. It includes some news from both before and after yesterdays posting “Bit by Bit“. All of the other pages have now also up to date. There were no postings from Monday to Thursday due to myself and the family going on holiday. Ian A.
- £230,000 grants for library projects - DCMS. Grants “designed to test new approaches to library service delivery, looking at ways libraries can work together with arts and other cultural organisations.”
- Arts Council and Local Government Association announce successful Libraries Development Initiative projects - ACE. Lists organisations which have gained funding.
- Brave New World? - BookSeller. “So the coalition government has given the green light to local councils—which are struggling to balance their books in the face of the biggest public sector cuts in peacetime history—to hive off their public library services into the voluntary and community sectors. Many have already dipped their toes into these choppy waters. Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire were early adopters of this governance model, but others have followed in their footsteps—including Lewisham and Swindon, where usage and book loans have gone down dramatically since libraries were staffed by volunteers.”. John Pateman criticises the increasing moves to replace skilled library staff with enthusiastic but often unsustainable and untrained volunteers.
- Celebrating libraries and the people who love them - “However you use your library, I want to hear from you! Celebrating libraries through the lovely people who use them. Please get in touch and let me know how, when and why you use your project.”
- DJ Taylor: Top marks to our Schools Minister - Independent. “Following the advice of the former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, he declared his intention to issue all children of primary school age with a library card and a map….. And how was Mr Gibb’s speech received? There were, of course, countless jokes about the library map being vital as there were so few libraries left.”
- Illiteracy levels a tragedy, PM says - Perth Now (Australia). Government “contributed $1.3 million to the campaign, which is also supported by Australian libraries, state governments and the private sector. It will involve children’s competitions, peer-to-peer book reviews, adult book clubs and workplace literacy programs, as well as a challenge on August 25 for Australians to read for one hour.”
- Middlesbrough - 2 branches under threat – Grove Hill and Thorntree. 2 other branches appear to have been saved. Mobile library appears to have been closed
- Croydon – Upper Norwood Library campaigners hold day of protest - This is Croydon today. “strong feelings among library users who, on Saturday, took to the streets to express their anger. The group included actress Freya Copeland, who donned a burglar’s stripey jumper and swag bag to make her feelings clear over the council’s decision. Protest organiser Lou Garratt demanded a face-to-face meeting with council leader Mike Fisher, to give campaigners a chance to have their say. She said: “Councilor Fisher should come here and tell the children of the area why their library is closing.”
- Gloucestershire – Library users not silent - This is Gloucestershire. 400 have so far responded to consultation.
- Campaigners make complaint against Vaizey - Alan Gibbons. Full text of letter of complaint from Glos campaigners to Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron (and sent also to MPs concerned with library matters) about Ed Vaizey’s failure to respond to a letter sent two months ago with 456 signatures, including celebrities and experts.
- Residents urged to have their say on the future of libraries in Minchinhampton - Wilts and Glos Standard. “Residents in Minchinhampton and Stonehouse have their chance to have a say on the future of libraries in the county today. More than 600 people have already had their say on Gloucestershire County Council’s new library strategy proposals.”
- Isle of Wight – Government committee explains why IW library campaigners not called to give evidence - Ventnor Blog. Leader of Wight council will speak, defending his cuts and much criticised consultation process. Committeee says “You will no doubt have noticed that this week the Committee heard evidence from three library campaigners who put across their views about closures, many of which echoed your comments below. The library campaigners were chosen from national campaign groups, as the Committee decided this would be fairer than trying to select specific witnesses from the many campaign groups across the country.”
- Leicester – Charitable trust approach could save libraries - This is Leicestershire. Letter suggests a trust could stop library closures. “Any library is an important community facility, much supported by local people and which should operate as a central meeting place with a cafe, information centre and internet access, plus, of course, a facility for lending books. The building could be leased to a local community group or charity which could fund-raise in the area and assemble volunteers to help with the various activities.”
- Leicestershire – Pledge to share 20 books with your children - This is Leicestershire. “It is estimated that in the 20 years of Bookstart, 30 million free books have been gifted. In Leicester last year 13,428 Bookstart packs/books were gifted through our partnership and 2,000 families borrowed early years books via the community book loan scheme.”
- Middlesbrough – Libraries and community centres face demolition - Gazette. “Grove Hill Library and the Grove Hill Youth and Community Centre will be demolished and the sites linked into the Grove Hill regeneration project.” … “Thorntree Library and Thorntree Youth Centre will be demolished with the sites being brought forward for development.”.
- Stoke on Trent – Council plans to combine libraries and services under one roof - This is Staffordshire. Libraries likely to be merged with children’s centres. “”We’ve been assured that any services put in with children’s centres will be appropriate. We would love something like a library. “I’m happy with the ideas at the moment, but we’ll see how it goes.”
- Suffolk – Eight join board set up to run county libraries - Bury Free Press. Backgrounds of members are of the new board are libraries (2), charities/volunteering (2), IT (1) and, surprisingly, finance (3).
- Surrey – Stephen Fry lends support to library campaign - Guardian series. Campaign group says that the celebrity tweet has caused a big increase in interest: “”Our twitter has been inundated and our website has had thousands of hits in one morning. I’m surprised the website is coping to be honest.”
Numbers294 libraries (259 buildings and 35 mobiles) are currently under threat or have been closed/left council control since 1/4/13 out of c.4265 in the UK. The complete list is on "Tally by Local Authority" page as are other changes to budgets such as cuts to hours, bookfund and staffing. Public Libraries News estimates 78 libraries and 14 mobiles were lost in 2012/13, although this is likely to be an underestimate. CIpfa have calculated that 201 library service points were lost 2011/12 . Public Libraries News has tracked down links to 142 of these via counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. Full Fact have analysed the accuracy of the figures. For a list of new and refurbished buildings see this page,
- UK libraries one third less funded than USA counterparts.
- Two surveys show the importance of libraries
- “Every library should have a Hulk”: An interview with the man behind a great libraries idea
- Deja vu from 1976 … and CILIP Scotland express deep concern over cuts in Moray
- One of our favourite things
- geraldine cooke on Two surveys show the importance of libraries
- librariesmatter on One of our favourite things
- Ian Anstice on Library Campaign’s call to action on volunteer libraries: “Let’s get real”
- Ian Anstice on Library Campaign’s call to action on volunteer libraries: “Let’s get real”
- Steve Truffer on Could the 3D Printer save the public library service?
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- By authority
- Increasing income
- Privatized Libraries / Outsourcing library services
- Volunteer-run libraries
- Why libraries?
Disclaimers and thanks
Please note that this website is maintained entirely in my own time and should in no way be seen to reflect the opinions or otherwise of my employer.
I would also like to add at this point my thanks to Shirley Burnham for her frequent emails with relevant public libraries news which I then use as a a large part of the material for this site.
Warren O'Donoghue of Rabbitdigital Design has been wonderful in designing and creating this website, maintaining it and basically being there for the one hundred and one web problems that seem to surface all the time.
A mention should also go to Sally Pewhairangi who runs the excellent "Finding Heroes" library news website and daily email service, providing valuable insights from the world and, as interestingly, from New Zealand.
Top Posts & Pages
- Privatisation - Con
- Campaigning tactics
- UK libraries one third less funded than USA counterparts.
- Two surveys show the importance of libraries
- "We now have six examples of poor to terrible performance by community libraries based on hard data"
- By authority
- National Audit Office highlight libraries as suffering from cuts
- You get what you pay for - 2011 CIPFA Statistics
- Withering on the vine: six-year figures for volunteer branch show danger