Comment
The following is a comment from a BookSeller article.  It shows the insidious nature of the current cuts in library services, the threat to the jobs of librarians and the terrible dilemma that faces those who are trying to help: 
“A library builds up a group of volunteers and the permanent library staff really want and need this help. They keep asking for it as they feel that without volunteers the library could be closed earlier as the service would be poor. The volunteers aren’t specifically to replace trained staff – in fact it started with the porters and more volunteers were needed to help set up events and clear chairs away.
But bit by bit the build up of voluntary helpers is used to keep the service going smoothly. At a certain point the librarians are interviewed for their jobs, and lose them, which has now happened. By the time the local newspapers are building up a campaign to stop a library closure, this has all happened. You could end up saving a library which you already need to run as a team of volunteers. The damage is done earlier and librarians have already lost their jobs.
This happens even if the librarians do a wonderful job in an excellent library, while building up events and services that are vital to the local community. The events I’ve been holding there provide a London venue to support publishers all over the UK who want a reading for their books launches followed by open mic which helps the audience get a foot in the door of publishing by submitting to an anthology. 
None of this seems to change anything. Volunteers are gradually built up, librarians lose their jobs, and the libraries we save at the point of closure will have been dismantled already as far as I can see. Funding is one of the few things that can help, and I also believe libraries could be more financially viable. I don’t see why they can’t charge a small fee for lending out ebooks, in the same way they lend out audiobooks. Ebooks are taxed not as books, but as electronic services, so it should be possible to charge for them, and this could be a large market. Just a small charge could help build an ebook lending service that’s really needed and would help fund the libraries. Competition is needed for Amazon and the libraries provide a network that could really help with that.” Adele Ward commenting on ACE library choices attract campaigner criticism - BookSeller. 
Speak Up For Libraries – Lobby your MP to help public libraries. Website: http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/ 
398 libraries (309 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. 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.

News
  • £230,000 grant announced amid library closure threats - Public Service.  “…to help fund 13 new library projects across the United Kingdom to allow libraries to test new approaches to “service deliveries”. It is expected that the grant will be used to demonstrate ways in which libraries can work together with other arts and cultural organisations to help reach out to broader audiences and become better value for money.” See also:
    • ACE library choices attract campaigner criticism - BookSeller.   “Clarke said that overall the choices were “bizarre” and “so sad”, in the light of the widespread cutbacks and closures facing the library service. He said: “The Arts Council and the Local Government Association haven’t faced up to the issues everyone is talking about within the public library service. Libraries desperately need leadership and they have just been shoehorned into the Arts Council’s priorities, where they do not fit.” … “Kirklees Council has threatened seven libraries with closure unless they are taken over by volunteers. Meanwhile, the Arts Council offer funding for a cinema in one of the libraries.”.  However, another commenter points out that it is not the job of ACE to fund libraries, but rather to help initiatives and new strategies.  Some very interesting comments from a lady helping her local library which shows the problems there are with volunteering and poor funding.
  • Bilbary seeks to heal the digital rift between publishers and libraries - Good E-Reader.   “Founder Tim Coates, the former CEO of Waterstone’s, Sherratt & Hughes, and WHSmith and a long-time advocate for public libraries, developed Bilbary with the intention of bridging the current divide between public libraries who wish to lend ebooks to their patrons and the publishers who have to guard the interests of their companies and their authors.” See also:
“I have spent the last ten years working in the public library system, trying to save them because they are at the brink of destruction and closure. It’s a shame, but not entirely unpredictable. They are very different than bookstores because they provide enormous low cost access to reading. Two-thirds of reading is books that come from public libraries, while one-third of reading material comes from bookstores. Therefore, libraries are not just a player in the game, they are the player. People who don’t see that are not conscious of how important libraries are. There’s a gulf between the libraries and publishers and it’s coming from 150 years of tradition.”
  • BookStart celebrates 20th anniversary with sharing scheme - BookSeller.  A pledge postcard will be available in libraries and children’s centres in England, Northern Ireland and Wales from this week, with members of the public encouraged to share books through reading to children, whether family members or through a local school or library. Booktrust will also be celebrating with a “birthday bash” during National Bookstart Week in June, with libraries, children’s centres and schools encouraged to take part.”
  • Calling the Mayor of London - Good Library Blog.  Lack of leadership from anyone else means the Mayor is the last hope. 33 different library services with their own structures should be more unified to avoid wasteful duplication in management, bureaucracy etc.  Only 5% of £200m budget is spent on books.
  • CILIP CEO to give evidence at Culture, Media and Sport Inquiry - CILIP.   ““I am extremely pleased to be giving evidence on behalf of CILIP at the inquiry … This is an opportunity to expand on our evidence and let MPs from all parties know how damaging cuts to public library services in England could be. I will be talking about the importance of a professionally run service and calling on Westminster government to provide the national leadership that an effective, locally delivered service needs.”
  • LSSI answers library campaigners’ questions - Stop the privatisation of UK public libraries.   Campaigner responds to points made by LSSI.
““It was hard to understand their concerns,” Pezzanite said. “They were coming from a very emotional place.LSSI executive Pezzanite doesn’t understand “emotional” library women - SCVTalk (USA).  See also comments below article.
“Electronics are here to stay, but someday the digital revolution in publishing may well be seen as just another phase in the natural evolution of a vital and resilient industry.”  Why book publishing can save the digital age - Bloomberg (USA).  “Although there was much grumbling along the way, the industry gradually accepted that the new products and distributors, including libraries, were not evil incarnate. To the contrary, they were something of a boon in that they generated interest in reading among people who didn’t frequent bookstores.”

Changes

Local News

  • Barnet – Last ditch plea to save library - Barnet Today.  “… the proposal’s by the Save Friern Barnet Library group are set to be rejected because it would still require £124,000 from the council’s budget and would mean the authority would lose up to £37,000 in potential rental income. It is recommended the library will be closed on March 31.”
    • Council officers recommend Friern Barnet Library closure - Times series.   “If Barnet Council cabinet members agree to the plans on Monday, Friern Barnet and North Finchley libraries would close, and a new one would be set up at Artsdepot in North Finchley. But Martin Russo, a member of Save Friern Barnet Library (SFBL), said: “We don’t see this as a transfer – we see it as a closure.The idea of transferring services sounds exciting but some people, like children, won’t be able to commute to the Artsdepot.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Mobile library service is saved as villagers bring council to book - This is Somerset.  860 name petition saves service. “Villagers of all ages in Timsbury turned out in force at the mobile library’s recent visit to take part in a hug-in organised by the Women’s Institute.”
  • Brent – Magazine gets it wrong again - Preston Library Campaign.   “The loss-making Brent Magazine this month proclaims Ealing Road Library to be the top venue for the events on March 1. Yet on the previous page we have just been told it will be closed for improvements between 27 Feb and 26 March.”
    • Anger over Willesden Green library plans - Harrow Observer.   “Chaos broke out at a council meeting this week as it was agreed Brent’s closed libraries would not be used during the redevelopment of Willesden Green Library Centre.” … “There was also anger that Willesden Green Bookshop is being turfed out of its premises at the centre and will not be given space in the new cultural hub.”
    • Visually impaired Brent resident makes a splash for local libraries - Save Kensal Rise Library.  ““This is a cause very close to Marcos’s heart. Marcos began volunteering his time at the library as soon as he heard about the closures. Marcos is very keen to do the sponsored swim to raise money. We are all very proud of him. Go Marcos!”
  • Caerphilly – Library in Aberbargoed to close next month - Campaign. “Aberbargoed Library will be closing its doors on Friday March 9. The library services have been relocated to the new and exciting Hanbury Chapel Library in nearby Bargoed.”
  • Calderdale – Halifax library consultation will be re-run in JuneHalifax Courier.  The entire consultation process which started in December is being scrapped and the detailed views of more than 2,500 people consigned to the dustbin. In a humiliating climbdown, the council’s Lib-Lab coalition had decided to begin the whole process again in June – a month after the council elections. But it might not take place at all if there is a change of political power at the town hall.”
  • Camden – Third community run and managed library approved - Camden Council.   “The Council approved transitional funding and grants from the Camden People’s Fund of over £100,000 for each group to deliver libraries and community projects through a radical new approach. This will mean that for the first time in the UK, these facilities will be run by residents offering their time and managed by Primrose Hill Community Association (Chalk Farm library); The Winch (Belsize library); and Keats Community Library (Heath library in Hampstead).”
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response from the community and have worked extremely hard with Camden Council to come to an agreement. We still need more offers of help and donations to ensure that we can deliver this bold ambition but hope that with this agreement in place these will continue to be forthcoming. To date 350 people have pledged to donate £521,000 and over 150 people have volunteered to give their time to help in the library building which is fantastic.”

“KCC has just confirmed it is reviewing these and among the options being considered is whether to put them out to tender and allow the private sector to run them. At the smaller end of the scale, watch out for reduced opening hours. Either way, anyone who thinks that Kent will be able to preserve its network of libraries as they are now is probably being unrealistic.”
  • Kirklees – Leader hits back at Tories’ quite “ridiculous” criticism – Yorkshire Post.  The Labour administration is committed to keeping libraries open against the backdrop of budget cuts. We would like people to help us with that and to find innovative ways of providing an effective long-term service. The number of library users has fallen quite significantly across Kirklees, but community-run libraries have been successful elsewhere and this is an idea that is very much worth exploring.””
  • Leeds – Supporters urged to back Rawdon library campaign - Wharfedale Observer.   “Rawdon Library was earmarked for closure by Leeds City Council, but was given a reprieve to assess its viability. Since then, volunteers from the Friends of Rawdon Library have received training to keep it open on Thursdays and now they are hoping to rally more support from library users to “ensure a viable and exciting future”.”
  • Northamptonshire – The Chron looks at what the future holds for Northamptonshire’s librariesNorthamptonshire Chronicle. “Currently about 450 volunteers contribute their time to local libraries and, by March next year, it is hoped this figure will have almost doubled. Grace said: “Since 2008 we have been looking for people to be more involved in the service. We now have 26 Friends groups and also there are individuals who have become a ‘Friend.’” … “By 2014, Grace said, libraries in Daventry and Towcester would have moved to newly-built premises which they will share with other facilities. In Daventry’s case, the building also looks set to house the council’s registrar service.”
  • Portsmouth – Budget speech by Portsmouth City Council leader - About My Area.   ” I cannot speak more highly of the great success of the new Southsea Library. This has encouraged many more people in the library and help give support for the shopping in Southsea. “I am happy to be able to announce that the council intends to make additional investments in libraries in the north of the city. In Paulsgrove the intention is to move the library (subject to survey) to a shop location on Allaway Avenue so that more people use the library. In Drayton we aim to open a library this year. This is something for which local people have campaigned for 30 years and we will deliver it. This will have to have volunteers to help run it and again will have a shop front location. Finally, in Cosham, we will be looking for a location to move the library onto the High Street.”
  • Suffolk – New libraries board recruits teenager - BBC.   18-year old has been volunteering for five years in local library. 20 jobs to go (from 180), large budget cut, board of Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) will be nominate to begin with but be elected by its own members by late 2013.
    • New board members for libraries IPS - Diss Express.   “Eight new board members – three more than originally planned – join the three founding members after being nominated by the local library groups they are members of.”
 
  • Surrey – New friends group set up to support Molesey Library - Elmbridge Today.  “”The friends group will help to promote the library in the community by fundraising and organising events, and just to get the word out that Molesey Library is here.”.  Origins were in initial proposals to pass library over to volunteers last year.
    • Is SLAM opposed to volunteers? - Surrey Libraries Action Movement.  “The truth is that SLAM has always been pro-volunteers. Indeed, most SLAM supporters are library volunteers, but they want to support SCC by volunteering alongside paid staff, not in place of, and certainly do not want to take legal responsibility for the running of their libraries, an unusual demand to make of an unpaid volunteer.”
“He appealed to his 3,915,262 followers to donate money to SLAM to aid them in their legal fight. Fry’s tweet read: “Do help @surrey_SLAM fight the good fight for libraries and librarians. Give the price of a book: a fine cause.”” Stephen Fry tweets his libraries support - Get Surrey.