409 libraries (319 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.

Can you help…?

News

  • Accessible websites, airline fees and community libraries Radio Four (You and Yours, 39:00 to 48.20).  Looking at volunteer run libraries, pointing out the importance of commercial support even to them.  Includes Chalfont St Peter (Buckinghamshire): “nothing much has changed”: “it’s enthusiasm and commitment that marks the difference between success and failure”, “I can’t imagine this village without a library”.  The only option to Chalfont St Peter was volunteering or closing.  Local business sponsorship vital to the success even in this prosperous leafy neighbourhood.  Fairweather Insurance now has logo on library sign outside for £18,000 over three years. Also looks at Eco Computer Systems in Lewisham, “It’s basically a site for my business” – computer recycling makes the library possible as it provides the funding for the library parts.  Fear libraries will close anyway as council money dries up but Cheryl Gillan MP (Conservative, Chesham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire and – surreally – apparently also Secretary of State for Wales) reckons that enthusiasm will be permanent.
  • Alan Gibbons: National Libraries Day –  Book Trust.  An interview for National Libraries Day from one of the greatest of all library campaigners.  
“I would not be a writer if it were not for public libraries. Books were a luxury we couldn’t afford when I was growing up, but the working-class culture of my time and place was that education was the way you escaped your history. And education came courtesy of books. My mother used to take me to the public library years before I could read.” Best selling crime writer Val McDermid on the importance of public libraries – Mirror.  

Many of the campaigners involved in tomorrow’s events around the country will, rightly, focus on the negligence and contempt exhibited by Coalition politicians towards the welfare of the library service and its users. They deserve every brickbat. All the same, the myopic idiocy of these false economies cuts straight across party lines. In spite of ferocious competition, from Cumbria to Dorset, I would argue that no local authority has behaved with quite such pig-headed arrogance in pursuit of the destruction of much-loved branches as Labour Brent. Which makes it dismaying, if predictable, that the libraries initiative now launched by shadow arts minister Dan Jarvis contents itself with kneejerk Tory-bashing and fails to examine the mess on Labour’s own municipal shelves.” Branch line to another life – Independent (Boyd Tonkin).  

  • Councils must take library duties seriously in difficult times – Yorkshire Post.   Councils think anyone can work in a library.  “Modern libraries are the result of professional management and development; the application of new technological developments; high professional standards in the education of librarians and information service providers and an ongoing commitment to provide information that supports local democracy.”
  • Don’t forget that tomorrow is National Libraries Day #NLD12 – Voices for the Library. Unlike Save Our Libraries Day, tomorrow is a celebration of all types of libraries throughout the UK, including public, academic, school, business and specialist libraries. Many organisations running these services have planned events to support the day and are listed on the National Libraries Day site.”
  • Last chance – BookSeller.  Blog by Desmond Clarke.  Savings can be made by reducing the number of library authorities and the cost of council overheads.  DCMS must produce guidelines and help for volunteer run branches.  Comment by Shirley Burnham points out Ed Vaizey must either be in denial or under orders.
“Many credit the vigour of the campaigning for the fact that the tally of library buildings to have closed their doors is much lower than had been suggested. A year ago, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals predicted that 600 libraries could go – yet so far, according to the website Public Libraries News, only 32 in the UK have closed. Forty-three mobile libraries have also shut down; eight libraries have been handed over to local communities to run; four more, in Lewisham, have been transferred out to a social enterprise company.” National Libraries Day marks a year of protests against library closures – Guardian.   “”I think the public library service would have incurred phenomenal damage had not Brent, Somerset and Gloucestershire campaigners created a knowledge in councillors that there would be resistance” says Alan Gibbons. 550 out of 600 could continue as volunteer run, says Desmond Clarke.

  • Novel events keep libraries on the front page – Herald Scotland.  “Activities are planned across Scotland, which has over 500 libraries, many of which are finding that their services under strain.” Fines amnesties, librarithons, flashmobs are all happening.
  • Revenent Branch – Golau Glau.  Library related orchestral music.  Is that a datestamp?  A computer?  A library door closing … for the last time?
  • Save Our Libraries: Reader’s reports – Guardian.  Each story is different: Including Mar Dixon (#savelibraries), Cockerton Library (Durham), Isle of Wight, Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes), Sonning Common (Oxon), Brent, Upper Norwood (Croydon), York Gardens (Wandsworth), Doncaster, Gloucestershire, Alan Gibbons.
“Of course libraries could be improved but we will not have the libraries of tomorrow if we allow the libraries of today to close.”

  • Stand up for your library tomorrow – London Evening Standard.   Dan Jarvis MP, shadow for libraries “”The cuts imposed by national government are the driver for cuts in local government. The challenge I have is to articulate why people shouldn’t take the easy option and cut these services.” National Libraries Day takes place as dozens of facilities face closure in London, sparking protests.”
  • Support National Libraries Day – BookSeller.   The [arguable] success of library campaigns described “The Bookseller‘s editor-in-chief Neill Denny says: “On National Libraries Day tomorrow, take your family and friends to your local library, take out some books, cheer up the staff, make a point. 
“Although the big trends shaping the book trade can sometimes seem too powerful to change, the story of the fight for libraries shows that they are not. Individual stands and actions do make a difference.”.

Changes

Leicester –  £1.24m cut inc. Aylston Library to close, with books moved to local leisure centre with a self-service machine, transport for disabled to library scrapped, opening hours to be cut.

Local News

  • Brent – Case refused by Supreme Court – BookSeller.    Bad news for campaigners as their final legal avenue against council closures ends.  No “arguable point of law” says Court. Legal action now may be possible against the DCMS. 
    • Library closures: Supreme Court rejects appeal bid – BBC.  Campaigners say “We remain of the view that the secretary of state for culture, media and sport should hold a public inquiry into Brent’s failure to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for those living, working and studying in the borough. We have submitted petitions with more than 12,000 signatures against the closures.”
    • Library supporters vow to carry on campaign – Brent and Kilburn Times.   Council says ““This final decision of the Supreme Court fully vindicates Brent Council’s actions and upholds the earlier decisions of both the Court of Appeal and the High Court that the council acted lawfully.”.  Large number of events being held in Brent by campaigners to show the fight is still alive.
    • Library campaigners take appeal hit – Grantham Journal.  
  • Carmarthenshire – Putting spotlight on library revamp – This is South Wales.  Llanelli has £3.8m revamp, “”Our aim was to provide a wholly integrated, modern public library, housed in a safe, secure and attractive building, on the present library site in Llanelli.”
  • Croydon – Under fire over national Libraries Day – BookSeller.   Croydon has no NLD themed events tomorrow, although some non-NLD events being held.  The council is currently trying to outsource its libraries and is involved in a dispute about the Upper Norwood Joint Library that may end in its closure.
  • Greenwich – Union’s warning over Greenwich library transfer proposal – News Shopper.  Council aims to transfer libraries to GLL Trusts. Unite union not happy with this as it simply means cuts will be made by GLL instead, especially staff wages.  

Leeds – A space for you – Leeds Libraries.
  • Leicester – Hundreds sign petition against library closure – This is Leicestershire.  A petition signed by more than 200 people who oppose the closure of their library has been submitted to the council. Leicester City Council wants to shut Aylestone library, in Richmond Road, and move books to the leisure centre in Knighton Lane East, where there would be a self-service facility.”
  • North Yorkshire – Sign up as library volunteers – Wetherby News.  “Volunteer Linda Clark, who works in Harrogate Central Library, said: “When I started I was so nervous. “I thought I’d maybe last one or two weeks at most, but I became addicted and just love helping at the library.”
  • Northamptonshire –  Show a little love for your local library – Evening Telegraph. “This time last year, eight libraries in Northamptonshire were facing the axe. After an overwhelming show of support from people who use those libraries, Northamptonshire County Council back-tracked, announcing it would no longer close them and would look at other ways of saving money. But councillors made it clear that money must be saved and revealed it wanted to recruit an army of volunteers to help run our libraries. If this couldn’t be achieved, it reserved the right to reconsider closing libraries.”
“A lot of people think because we were not shut, we were saved. That is not the case. It is only a reprieve. We need people to come in and use the library and the events we run.”

    • Use library or lose community’s heart – Biceser Advertiser and Review. Mrs Webb said footfall in libraries is carefully monitored, and although Towcester is safe at the moment, future spending reviews could find the library at risk of closure. She said: “They do work out how much per person it costs to go into a library, but often people don’t even know their library is there or the facilities it provides, and a few years down the line it will be under the cosh again.”.  WI to hug library on Saturday.
  • Rotherham – New reading scheme for kids is launched – Selby Times.   “The ‘Chatterbooks’ reading groups have been introduced by Rotherham Library and Information Service to help inspire more children to read for pleasure.”
The launch of Chatterbooks 2012 gives libraries and schools a best practice framework for creating inspiring reading groups for primary school aged children. The scheme captures and shares the expertise of librarians and is backed by 17 publishers who are working with independent charity The Reading Agency to offer a year round menu of exciting reading opportunities. It also harnesses the involvement of young volunteers.” Chatterbooks.