The Labour Party and the Conservatives have been engaged in a spat for a little while about the numbers of libraries closed, under threat and being built. The figures from Public Libraries News was one of the weapons in that battle for those closed or under threat but, until today, there has not been a listing for those new libraries being built. This changed when Conservative Home published an article claiming that Conservatives are opening lots of new libraries (see Conservative councils are opening new libraries). Using the details from this page and from a very helpful reply to my email to the DCMS, this blog now has a dedicated page to listing such matters.

The first thing to say is that the new list is not comprehensive or fully accurate. It just appears to be more comprehensive than anything else out there. It can be more so with your help of course. Have a look and let me know of any errors or omissions. That aside, the list shows 21 new buildings in 2012 and 10 new libraries in 2011. Not bad for the years with the deepest cuts in public service in history, although perhaps rather small numbers compared to the over four and a half thousand existing branches or, more tellingly, the 168 withdrawn from council control over the same period.

The way the facts about libraries have been used – first by Ed Vaizey to absurdly claim that libraries are in the best of health then by Dan Jarvis to claim it is all the Conservatives fault and finally by ConservativeHome to claim that libraries are safe with them – has been likened by more than one campaigner as a political football. Where will libraries be kicked next?


  • Public libraries of New Zealand: A strategic framework 2012-17 – Local Government New Zealand. An inspiring and positive document from the other side of the world, literally and figuratively showing the difference between our two countries. Interesting also that it emphasises the value of public libraries in education.

Bilbary Advert

Bilbary – This button will be appearing on the Kensal Rise Library campaign website shortly. Coming to a library near you soon?

  • This picture is worth 1,000 words – The “M” Word (USA). “Look at this new infographic that’s just out from It was created in conjunction with the ALA and the IMLS. It tells so many stories about today’s libraries, including both their successes and their needs. I hope you’ll share it widely—on your library’s website, with your Friends and Trustees, your local and state associations, your city and county managers, and other stakeholders and voters. You can find the original here.”

Local News

  • Brent – Children petition Tesco to help save their local library – Save Kensal Rise Library. Appeal to Tesco, who are opening their third store with in a mile of the library, to help support the campaigners. “Every little helps”.
  • Worcestershire – Still time for residents to have their say on Catshill Library – Bromsgrove Advertiser. “Townsfolk are being encouraged to take part in the consultation, which is part of a countrywide review of libraries which seeks to save £1.8 million – 28 per cent – from the service’s current budget. The approach so far has been to share some library buildings with other services, work closer with partners on the running and delivery of services, and to see where local people could get more involved.”