399 libraries (309 buildings and 90 mobiles) are currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK.  The 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

Bookstock increases in Japanese public librares 1967-2005
From Public Libraries in Japan by Haruki Nagata
  • House of Lords Debate: LibrariesThey Work For You: 7th February. Baroness Rawlings gets asked several questions on libraries.  Emphasis on localism (Councils can do what they want): ” Every local authority in England is required to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service, as I said to the noble Lord, Lord Sheldon, and it is for each local authority to determine at the local level how much it spends on libraries and manages and delivers its services.”
“Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter and to assure you that I take great pleasure in accepting the invitation of the committee of the Manchester Free Library.  My engagements are very numerous but the occasion is too important and the example too noble to admit of hesitation.  Very faithfully yours, Charles Dickens.” Revealed: Charles Dicken’s support for Manchester’s first free library in letter to Lord MayorManchester Evening News. 

‘Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter and to assure you that I take great pleasure in accepting the invitation of the committee of the Manchester Free Library. My engagements are very numerous but the occasion is too important and the example too noble to admit of hesitation. Very faithfully yours, Charles Dickens’.

Read more at: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1481237_revealed-charles-dickens-support-for-manchesters-first-free-library-in-letter-to-lord-mayor

‘Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter and to assure you that I take great pleasure in accepting the invitation of the committee of the Manchester Free Library. My engagements are very numerous but the occasion is too important and the example too noble to admit of hesitation. Very faithfully yours, Charles Dickens’.

Read more at: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1481237_revealed-charles-dickens-support-for-manchesters-first-free-library-in-letter-to-lord-mayor

‘Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter and to assure you that I take great pleasure in accepting the invitation of the committee of the Manchester Free Library. My engagements are very numerous but the occasion is too important and the example too noble to admit of hesitation. Very faithfully yours, Charles Dickens’.

Read more at: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1481237_revealed-charles-dickens-support-for-manchesters-first-free-library-in-letter-to-lord-mayor

‘Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter and to assure you that I take great pleasure in accepting the invitation of the committee of the Manchester Free Library. My engagements are very numerous but the occasion is too important and the example too noble to admit of hesitation. Very faithfully yours, Charles Dickens’.

Read more at: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1481237_revealed-charles-dickens-support-for-manchesters-first-free-library-in-letter-to-lord-mayor

“If promoting the reading of bestselling thrillers is what public libraries are about, then they don’t have much reason to exist. A long time ago librarians thought that reading popular tripe would help cultivate the people’s taste for better books, but they gave that up when they realized that reading popular tripe cultivates a taste for reading more popular tripe.” Why should libraries focus on popular books?Library Journal (USA). [This article by Annoyed Librarian pretty much goes against everything I believe to be true but it is, like a lot of the stuff on PLN included for completeness and to make people aware of the issues – Ed.]

Local News

  • Camden – Chalk Farm Library deal agreed – Camden New Journal.  There had been a delay in confirming a joint  bid for the Chalk Farm branch in Sharpleshall Road lodged by the Friends of Chalk Farm Library and the Primrose Hill Community Association.  The bid had asked for a 20-year lease. Camden will now give the library group the building for six years, rent free, with an option for a further six.”
  • Durham – Council planning £26m of cutbacks – Northern Echo.   “…councillors also ordered a 12-week consultation on cutting opening hours to 36 a week at 11 town centre libraries and 20 a week at 27 community branches. Mobile library services would also be reduced to save £1.5m overall. About 250 library staff could be affected. Only Clayport, in Durham, will escape the cuts, having had its hours reduced last year.”
  • Kent – Bear club children get early start on reading This is Kent.  The free service means children can join and receive a library passport. Each time they visit the library they get a stamp and once they have collected six they receive a certificate. Teacher Tanya Foy said: “Children as young as four months have joined the library. Reading is one of the key activities a parent or carer can do with their child to improve their achievements later on in life.”
  • Kirklees – Councillors kick off party spat over library transfer proposals – Yorkshire Post.  “The council is seeking to reduce its budget and wants community groups to take over several smaller libraries. The transfer will mean job losses and possible changes in opening hours at libraries in Denby Dale, Golcar, Honley, Lepton, Kirkheaton, Shepley and Slaithwaite.”.  Conservatives accuse governing Labour party of choosing to cut libraries in Conservative areas: “Five of the seven wards affected by the library changes have no Labour Party representation.”
“The answer I got back was ‘the criteria used was verbal discussions between senior managers and Cabinet members. In other words there is no audit trail and, therefore, no evidence for the general public as to whether the correct libraries have been selected for this venture.”

  • Norfolk – Crime thrillers are the most borrowed fiction in books in Norfolk’s libraries – Norwich Evening News.    “Romance used to be the most popular genre, but now people seem to be escaping into a grittier world.”
  • Sefton – Cremation fees hiked, lifeguards reduced and mobile library axed in the latest round of cuts by Sefton Council – Crosby Herald.  “Two posts are to go from the local history / information service, saving £37,000. The service, based at Crosby Library, responds to 12,500 local history queries every year. Axing Sefton’s mobile library will save £42,000. The council argued that the service has declined by 31% in usage between 2006/07 and 2010/11 from 7,149 issues per year to 4,946.”
  • Southwark – Inside the library of the future in Canada Water – Wharf.   “Coinciding with National Libraries Day on Saturday, we went along to see how the grand building has been faring since its opening late last year. Designed by architect Piers Gough and built to replace the old Rotherhithe library in Albion Road, the light airy space overhanging Canada Water basin has been pitched as a blueprint for libraries of the future.”
  • Surrey – Investment in new library sees visitor numbers double – Surrey News.   “Visitors to Dorking library more than doubled when it re-opened in plush new premises. A new chapter in the library’s life began with a bumper first week that saw 4,806 people through the door. This compares to 1,791 visitors during the final week at the library’s old location in Pippbrook House – an increase of 168%. More than 250 new members signed up during the opening week, which is more than the number of people who joined throughout the whole of January 2011.”.  £30,000 new stock and wifi.
    • County Council’s plans to be reviewed – This is Surrey Today.  “A SLAM spokesman said: “This moment has been a long time coming. Surrey County Council has not consulted with library users, has not assessed the impacts of community-partnered libraries on the affected communities, and has avoided scrutiny of its plans at every turn.”.  The council disagrees.