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.

News

  • 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

Changes

Gateshead – £305k cut, some staffing cuts, possibility of volunteers replacing staff in some branches. 
Kent – Sturry Library temporarily closed due to arson attack

Local News

  • 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 transferThis 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.”