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.

National: Lobby your MP to help public libraries, 13th March. Website: http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/  Download flyer here.

News

  • Beautiful bookshelves, in pictures – Guardian.  These are hardly for public libraries but they are, indeed, beautiful bookshelves.
  • Children’s reading group network launches in Wales – Reading Agency (press release).  The Reading Agency is delighted to announce the launch of its new Welsh Clonclyfrau/Chatterbooks network of children’s reading groups on 7 March 2012.Chatterbooks is a reading group programme for children aged four to twelve; its patron is top children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Chatterbooks groups run in libraries and schools, supporting children’s literacy development by encouraging them to have a really good time reading and talking about books.”
  • Deprofessionalization and the library blogosphere – Library Juice (USA).   “Library administrators and funding institutions have an interest in the deprofessionalization of librarianship in two ways – economic efficiency and control. Library support staff, who are being trained up to take on most responsibilities now handled by professional librarians, cost libraries less in wages.”. [Interesting piece.  Volunteers, of course, cost even less … but on the other hand, control is harder than with paid staff – Ed.]
  • Full-time school librarians linked to higher student reading scores – School Library Journal.   “According to new research from Library Research Services, which reviewed standardized test scores from Colorado schools in 2005 and 2011, reading scores statistically increased when schools retained or gained a school librarian. “There is a positive and statistically significant relationship between advanced reading levels and endorsed librarian staffing trends,” reads the report, published last month.”
“That this House recognises that public libraries are important community spaces and a vital public resource; acknowledges that many are under threat due to wide-scale budget cuts; is concerned about the impact of closures on social inclusion, social mobility and society more generally; welcomes the formation of Speak Up for Libraries, a coalition of national organisations and library campaigners that is leading a delegation of supporters from around the country to Parliament on 13 March 2012 in order to highlight the vital role that library services, run by professionally trained and qualified staff, play in the community and for individuals; and therefore calls on the Government to undertake a thorough assessment of the state of the public library service and develop a national vision for the service.”  Speak up for libraries” Early Day Motion House of Commons. Session: 2010-12 Date tabled: 05.03.2012 Primary sponsor:  Anderson, David Sponsors: Durkan, Mark, Hancock, Mike, Hepburn, Stephen, Lavery, Ian, Meale, Alan

  • Structuring and managing a volunteering programme – Creating Capacity.  A course advertised to library managers on online discussion site lis-pub-libs [which has caused some negative comments along the lines of “turkeys voting for Christmas” – Ed.]

Changes

Blackburn with Darwen Barlow Institute has 500 books, open only on Saturdays, to replace withdrawn mobile library.
Bolton Castle Hill Library closed, Heaton Library will be closed on Friday.  Replaced by books in local centres with self-service machines.
Brighton – Wifi to be installed at Jubilee Library.
Dorset – Volunteer groups have presented business plans to take over seven branches that would otherwise close, two other libraries without sufficient volunteers (Portland Underhill and Corfe Castle) likely to close.
Hertfordshire – Radlett library open self-service only Monday morning termtimes as Children’s Centre staff use library for sessions.

Local News

  • Birmingham – Four-day week plan for most of Birmingham’s community librariesBirmingham Mail.  “23 local libraries will now be open for 26 hours a week, spread over four days.” … “In another move they rubber-stamped plans to sell a series of Sutton Coldfield car parks to pay for £2.5 million of repair work to the Town Centre library which has been closed since 2010 due to asbestos.”
  • Blackburn with Darwen – Official opening for village library – Bolton News.  The library is open every Saturday from 10am to 1pm, and storytime sessions for youngsters are already proving to be a hit. There is also a cafe selling hot and cold drinks as well as snacks. The library stocks around 500 books. Volunteers hope the numbers joining will continue to grow, and there is a possibility that the library’s opening hours could be extended if there is the demand.”
  • Bolton – Third “self-service” point replaces library – Bolton News.   Castle Hill Library closed, to be “replaced” by a “collection point” at Tonge UCAN Centre.  “The new-style service enables people to borrow books via a self-service machine and computers will offer internet access.”
  • Brighton – Wifi plan for Jubilee Library in Brighton – Argus.  Brighton and Hove City Council said it hopes to boost conference business at Jubilee Library through the provision of Wi-Fi connections.A council spokeswoman said that if the pilot project proved successful Wi-Fi would be rolled out across all libraries in the city and could also be installed in other council-run locations with modifications.”
  • Doncaster – Mayor refuses to save Denaby and Carcroft Libraries – Save Doncaster Libraries.  The news on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning has revealed that Mayor Davies has refused the proposed amendment to his budget which would fund the re-opening of Denaby and Carcroft libraries, and would also fund a paid member of staff in both those libraries and the remaining 12 being thrown to vounteers to run.”
  • Dorset – Residents threatened by cuts ask to take over libraries – Dorset Echo.    “Seven communities set to lose core funding for their Libraries have submitted business plans to take on the facilities themselves. In July last year Dorset County Council agreed to withdraw funding to nine of the county’s libraries in a bid to save £800,000.” … ““Business cases could be approved on the basis that the county council will provide the agreed package of support without any additional resource support. This brings the risk that some local communities may feel that without any additional resource support from the county council, their plans to take on the responsibility for the building and for the provision of a non-core library service cannot progress.””
  • Durham – Twin campaigns to stop Durham library cuts Durham Times.  “Newton Hall and Belmont libraries, both on the outskirts of Durham, face having their weekly opening hours slashed from 43 to 20 under Durham County Council cutbacks.” … “Amanda Hopgood and Mamie Simmons, who represent Newton Hall, and Mark Wilkes, of neighbouring Framwellgate Moor, are launching an online petition against the cuts and sending out 3,000 leaflets asking residents to back their campaign.”
  • Hertfordshire – Self-service pilot scheme extends opening hours at Radlett Library – Hertfordshire Council.   Radlett Library is open on termtime Monday mornings because Children’s Centre staff use the building and so the building can be unlocked and the public can use the self-service machines.  The council reduced overall opening hours by a third last year.
  • Kent – How well do you know your local library? – Kent Council.   “Over the next few months, discussions will begin with groups in each district to talk about their local libraries and explore new ways to deliver library services. These groups will include councillors from local and county councils, and community representatives. The aim is to help these discussions by providing as much background information as possible so the groups can make informed recommendations on how their libraries could be run in the future.”.  Looking at co-location and, in some branches, voluntees running the building.
  • Surrey – Councillors forced to stand down from cabinet posts – BBC.  It’s unclear why this has happened or indeed if there is any libraries link.  It is included here as the council is facing a legal challenge over its cuts to libraries.