News from the Surrey campaign is that the decision on the judicial review there looks likely to be delayed until after Tuesday. This follows the pattern of other library reviews, which have sometimes taken weeks or months. The first day of the review was mainly taken up by the barrister for the campaigners. The second day will be mainly the turn of the barriester for the council.
The other news that sticks out today, over the now normal cuts news (bad news in Bradford, good news-ish in Isle of Man, neutral in Croydon), is two mutually incompatible articles on ebooks.  One is arguing that libraries need to be all for itThe other is that, basically, it’s too early, too expensive and there’s other things to be worried about.  I love the title of the latter piece and so have stolen it for the blog title today.


  • Jabba the Hutt running the triathlon – James Christie (Via Alan Gibbons).  “Ed Vaizey is obviously hoping the whole problem will solve itself via the noble efforts of well-meaning volunteers, closures, burgeoning self-service, more closures and gradual erosion. I think his actual intention is literally to do nothing. He’s as fit for the job as Jabba the Hutt would be to run the Triathlon.”
  • Paperback fighters – Morning Star (Alan Gibbons).   “In the Vaizey “vision” – if we can grace so much back-of-an-envelope thinking with so grand a term – volunteers, who have always supplemented library staff, will no longer be an additional support but often a wholesale replacement.” … “while the activists are winning the public debate in favour of sustaining and improving the public library service, they are finding their efforts frustrated by cuts and the intransigence and abdication of responsibility of minister Vaizey and Secretary of State Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt.”
“Ten per cent of full-time staff have been lost in a single year. In a very real sense, the entire notion of a professional librarian with a range of important skills is being called into question.”


Local News

I have just been informed that Bradford School Library Service is to close in August. Another cut that will have negative repercussions.” Bradford SLA – Alan Gibbons.

  • Croydon – Four options for future of popular library – Croydon Guardian.  Options include continuing to fund the library at the existing level, reducing funding to the library, withdrawing funding, with money then used in improve other library services in the area and finally withdrawing funding and using the savings to protect other council services.”
  • Dorset – County Council questioned on mobile library decision – Dorset Echo.   “A councillor has slammed a decision to send a mobile library to a village with its own library as ‘bureaucracy gone mad’.Dorset county councillor Ron Coatsworth wants answers as to why the mobile library goes to Burton Bradstock when it has a community-led library of its own.”.  Council response is interesting: ““It is perhaps worth noting that some other councils which sought to remove or reduce their mobile library services have been subject to successful judicial review. A decision to withdraw the service will therefore be made when local people have had the opportunity to experience the community-managed service and a mobile library service.”.  [Therefore, service will be withdrawn if volunteers are a success – Ian.]
  • Gloucestershire – Cabinet Meeting 5 April 2012 – FoGL.   “…the agenda item for libraries is:“to take a decision as to the future Library Strategy for Gloucestershire, taking into account inter alia the feedback from the consultation on the draft Strategy and having due regard to the statutory equality needs” The meeting will be open to the public so if you are able to attend, contact Shire Hall about ticket arrangements (Tel: 01452 425000)”
  • Isle of Man – Working group to assess library options – Isle of   “Now a Council of Ministers working party has been formed to examine options to keep the libraries open. That could be with support from local commissioners, with ratepayers footing part of the bill.”
  • Isle of Wight – Friends of the IW Library Service statement – via Alan Gibbons.   “Tomorrow 20th Mar 2012, the Ian Mac phone in program on Vectis Radio, the Isle of Wight on-line radio station from 12.00 to 13.00 will feature Keith Fagan, he will be answering questions on the reasons why he felt he could no longer remain a member of the Ethical Standards Committee, a long time and much respected independent member (2005 – 2012). After watching the live coverage of Cllr Pugh giving his evidence to the DCMS Select Committee, Keith felt that he had been placed in a totally untenable position as he knew that Cllr Pugh’ submissions could, at best, be considered misleading and by remaining silent he would be seen to condone Councillor Pugh’s evidence.”.  Statement asks for people to phone into radio programme and notes that several members of the Select Committee may be listening. Details to contact are: Vectis Radio (online Internet radio station) Tuesday 20th March,  12noon to 1pm, the Ian Mac programme Phone 01983 527444 or 01983 898548.
  • Kent – Developer must give £500k for new primary school in Sherwood – This is Kent. “More than £13,600 would be used to pay for additional library stock, extended hours and more staff at Tunbridge Wells library” 
  • Oxfordshire – Painting go faster stripes on the titanic – Question Everything.   “OCC (Oxfordshire County Council) have introduced e-books with a initial spend of £43,560 and a annual cost of £35,598 while cutting 25% out of the library budget partially by withdrawing up to 50% of staff funding rural libraries (and one city). They are also spending £150,074 (estimate) putting wifi in every one of the libraries.70 people have written and asked for e-books, anecdotally they say lots of people have asked verbally too. 70 out of 680,000.” … “They would saved lots of money if they had put the ebooks/audio books/wifi on the back burner for a few years until things settle down and all the major parties can get their heads together and agree on proper standards, it can them be available to all rather than to select devices. This isn’t the public sector way though, evidence of effectiveness, demand or need mean nothing. Its new and shiny therefore we must have it now.”
  • Suffolk – Libraries: what a week! – Rosehill Readers.   Events include Aldeburgh manager resigning over libraries policy, collapse of Ipswich Library Co-op and Speak Up for Libraries.
  • Surrey – Libraries row goes to High Court – Eagle Radio.  “Chairman of SLAM: “I’m sorry it has gone to Judicial Review, I’m sorry it has gone to court. There would have been occasions previously, where there could have been negotiations between us. Not just us, but all the people concerned to come out with a more effective solution.I think it is a great pity it has gone this far, but we felt we had no choice.”
  • Warwickshire – New library times for Wolston and Rugby – Coventry Telegraph.   “Nearly 1,000 people responded to a questionnaire asking for preferences for opening hours at Wolston and Rugby libraries. Wolston will now be open Monday to Wednesday 2.30-5pm and Thursday to Saturday from 10.30am-1pm. It will be closed on Sunday. Rugby will be open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-5pm, Tuesday from 10am-7pm, Saturday from 9am-6pm and Sunday from 12-4pm.”