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

  • Botella lanza un programa piloto para incuir a voluntarios en las bibliotecas – El Pais (Spain, article in Spanish).  Moves to staff a couple of new buildings with volunteers are proving to be highly controversial.  Although the council states that, without volunteers, the new libraries would not open and that no existing paid staff would be replaced, the policy has, “exploded in their face”.
“Celebrating World Book Day at Eastcote Library in Hillingdon” Ed Vaizey, Twitter.   Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries comments “Mr Vaizey “celebrates World Book Day” yet does nothing when the only source of books and wider reading for many are being closed on his watch.”

“Chewed off lovely Ed Vaizey‘s ear at the @ContempArtSoc fundraiser re not closing libraries. Don’t want to British to become the Illiterati” Kathy Lette, Twitter.

  • Libraries, the community hub and service needs in the online age – Civica.   Report on a roundtable meeting, with – given that the host was Civica – a strong outsourcing bias.
  • Oceanside library outsourcing a no-go – U-T San Diego (USA).   “A proposal in Oceanside to outsource library operations to save money may be finished before it officially began, after a councilman told city administrators last week that he wasn’t interested in the idea.” … ““I don’t know, maybe they [LSSI]can save us $300,000 or $400,000, but the quality that we’ve come to know from the library even with the cuts they’ve taken already, I’m thinking that I’m just not willing to forsake that,” Feller said in an interview. “I’m still for privatization if it can save us significant money. When you’re saving money you’re going to save money by reducing the number of employees.”
  • ¿Se garantiza la Red de Bibliotecas Públicas de Castilla-La Mancha? – Iwetel list-serv (Spain, article in Spanish).  The province of Castilla-La Mancha has modified its public library act so that libraries will not be funded if the state cannot afford them.  It goes on ““the difficult situation we are facing requires to give up everything that is not strictly necessary”
  • Why a library should never close its doors to children – Mummy Rates It.  “I have a bee in my bonnet. I’m not the only one. It’s keeping me awake at night and the closer it gets to ‘decision day’ the more het-up I feel. Our local library is faced with imminent closure and it saddens, infuriates and annoys the hell out of me that the people who are making the decision to close it seem oblivious to the reasons it should stay open.”  Article about decision to close Upper Norwood but it can stand for any library.
  • World Book Day set to give away 14m tokens – Guardian.   “Brand new stories from Neil Gaiman and Anthony Horowitz, the culmination of Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s quest to find the UK’s best storyteller and the country’s biggest ever book show will all mark World Book Day tomorrow.”
“Prime minister David Cameron has pledged his support for World Book Day, which he said “plays an important role in helping children to develop a love of reading from an early age, supporting the inspirational work that takes place in schools and libraries up and down the country”. Citing Dr Seuss’s The Lorax as his own favourite children’s book, Cameron said that the books loved by children were “something you treasure for the rest of your life”.”

Local News

Campaigners, including the young authors, interrupted a full council meeting at Croydon Town Hall on Monday February 27. About 70 people packed into the public gallery singing Books Glorious Books to the council before hurling paper aeroplanes over the balcony.”

  • Darlington – Schoolboy’s letter to save library gets PM reply – Northern Echo.  “William Dore, a pupil at Cockerton Primary School, in Darlington, was upset when he heard that councillors were considering closing Cockerton Library, which he visits regularly with his classmates and family, as part of budget cuts.” … PM’s office thanked him for excellent letter and passed on letter to DCMS.  Cockerton has been, at least temporarily, saved from closure. 
  • Milton Keynes – Decisions on traveller’s sites, nurseries and libraries – MK News.   “Assurances have been made by councillor David Hopkins, cabinet member for libraries, that there will be no closures. Famously, residents in Stony Stratford launched a campaign to save the town’s libary after it was earmarked for closure as part of the budget set in 2011, along with Woburn Sands. But a new report detailing how almost £500,000 can be saved without the need for any closures has now been adopted.”
  • North Yorkshire – Village volunteers take over libraries – Telegraph & Argus.  Libraries in Embsay and Gargrave are to be run by volunteers following the approval of North Yorkshire County Council. Both libraries will be formally handed over to the communities on May 1 after the council approved their business plans.”
  • Somerset – Taunton Library re-opening on Mondays – Somerset County Gazette.   “Taunton Library is opening on a Monday next week for the first time in months. Somerset County Council closed it for a day a week as part of its multi-million pound cutbacks last year. But it was forced by a court ruling to reinstate full opening hours in Taunton and other libraries and to abandon plans to close other libraries completely.”