Save Kensal Rise have now raised more than five thousand pounds more than their fundraising target of £70,000.  This does not mean their library is safe but it means they have a fighting chance.  Which is more than can be said for democracy in Cornwall, as the majority of Cornwall Council councillors have vote against privatising its services, including libraries, only to have their vote ignored by the Cabinet who are pressing ahead anyway.

In a move which raise a wry smile in the UK, it appears that people who work in Nigerian libraries but are not qualified face the danger of prosecution.  It is unlikely that the Government will follow this example. Speaking of this Government, Public Libraries News has been honoured by a mention in Parliament.  A mention, incidentally, that shows the Under Secretary of State with responsibility for libraries is aware of the existence of this website.  Bearing in mind what I occasionally say about him, I can only hope he is not a vindictive or violent man.

Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative)

“Data about the public library sector are published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Their annual statistics do not provide the number of openings or closures, or the number of libraries that have transferred from the public library service to community-management; but instead show the net figure of public libraries open in each year. Data showing the number of public libraries in each library authority in the UK can be found in CIPFA’s annual statistics, available in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Department supplements these data by monitoring proposals about changes to library services across England through information gathered via correspondence, media coverage and from relevant bodies such as Arts Council England. From this monitoring over the past year, the Department estimates that around 60 static libraries closed during 2011-12. During the calendar year to date, the Department also estimates that 40 new or significantly refurbished libraries have opened; full details can be seen in a recent letter to Public Libraries News, which can be found at the following link:”

in They Work For You 5/9/12.  For full information on new libraries etc see here.


  • Bright future for Scotland’s libraries – Scottish Library and Information Council (press release). “Statistics in the Scottish Household Survey show the percentage of adults in Scotland visiting libraries – including online – increased in 2011 compared to the previous 12 months. Libraries were also the most frequently attended type of cultural venue, with six in ten attendees visiting once a month or more.”

“Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “With four out of five adults using libraries in Scotland, they are an important part of our culture and education system.  I am very encouraged by this rise in library attendance, which comes as libraries expand the range of services being offered to communities to include more digital and learning provision.  “The Scottish Government’s Public Library Improvement Fund is designed to help local libraries to evaluate and improve the services they provide, and these reports show such a range of good practice which can be shared across Scotland.”

  • Finding freedom: libraries raise literacy rates in developing and transitioning countries – Beyond Access.  “On September 8, we celebrate the United Nations International Literacy Day to raise awareness of literacy issues and to demonstrate how public libraries are the existing institutions that help to advance the cause of literacy around the world.”  Two case studies are Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
  • Libraries more important than ever – Lianza (New Zealand). “the association was delighted the see the Local Government (Public Libraries) Amendment Bill drawn from the Parliamentary Ballot on August 30. “This is an opportunity to ensure that all New Zealand citizens have access to core public library services at no charge,” she said. The bill, being led by Labour MP Darien Fenton, would keep books, DVDs, music and internet use free of charge in public libraries.”
  • Nigeria: “Only certified librarians to get government contracts” – All Africa.  “She cautioned that non-librarians who attempt to practice librarianship in Nigeria would be prosecuted within the mandate of the council to ensure quality assurance in the profession. She said the council would also publish guidelines and minimum standards for the establishment of electronic libraries.” via Finding Heroes.
  • Oakland PD emails reveal Oakland’s determination to keep library vacant – Occuchier (USA). Last month, more than 100 police officers cleared an empty library that had been re-occupied as a library after having previously been used a “drug den”.  Scary look at how the US do things with some similarities to UK situation.
  • Sir Peter Bazalgette: Big Brother man becomes new Arts Council chairman– Telegraph.  Arts Council England is the body with some government funding and responsibility for Libraries. “The four-year appointment, which takes effect in February, was made by Jeremy Hunt, in his final act as Culture Secretary before he became Health Secretary today. ” … ““Sustaining our vigorous arts and cultural sector is admittedly a challenge but one I greatly look forward to,” he added. Alan Davey, the Arts Council chief executive welcomed the “excellent appointment”. He said: “Peter is a great philanthropic contributor to the arts; an enthusiast who has done amazing work with English National Opera and has helped the Arts Council over the years to develop our digital thinking.”


Local News

  • Barnet – Protesters committed to library on Friern Barnet site – Barnet Today. “Mr Byrne said the occupiers wanted to work with the community to run a new community library, and was hoping some might join their occupation of the building. He said: “Somebody needs to be in the building at all times. We can’t stay here all the time so we are hoping to bring in people from the community.” Martin Russo of the Save Friern Barnet Library group said members would be meeting with the protesters on Thursday evening.””
  • Activists to occupy Friern Barnet Library – BookSeller.  “An activist identified only as “Julien” told The Barnet and Whetstone Press: “We are members of the public, we are squatters, we are trying to do something for the community. We are talking now to the council, we are definitely going to open the library in Friern Barnet.”
  • Brent – Kensal Rise Library campaigners raise the £70,000 needed to keep crusade going– Brent and Kilburn Times.  “Margaret Bailey, a member of the FOKR campaign told the Times: “It has been overwhelming the support this campaign has had not just local, but from all over London, Engand and indeed the world. “Proof, if it was needed, that people do care about libraries and about their neighbourhoods and it shows what working together can do. “I am so very proud of this community, everyone is to be congratulated for their hard work and giving us their support.” If the proposal is successful, the money will be used for a year running costs, repairs and maintenance and to have a ‘stash’ in the bank to convince All Souls that we are serious, that we can do it.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Chalfont St Peter library to extend opening hoursBucks Advertiser.  ““From September 5, we will be open from 10am until 5pm on Wednesdays rather than 1pm until 5pm as we are currently. “So many people have come forward wanting to help out that we have been able to do this, so I hope that even more people will come and use the library.””
  • Cornwall – Wholescale privatisation at Cornwall Council hits a bump in the road – This is the West Country.  “A meeting yesterday heard a motion calling on Cornwall Council to scrap its decision to enter into a partnership with the private sector to deliver a range of support services.” … “Members had serious concerns about the potential risk and governance, as well as queries over the savings which would be generated and the number of new jobs created.”
  • Council to press ahead with privatising services despite councillors’ call to withdraw – This is Cornwall.  “CornwallL Council’s leading cabinet say they will press ahead with plans to join together with a private company to provide services ignoring the call from a majority of councillors urging the authority to withdraw … But today the council’s cabinet issued a statement indicating that it would carry on with plans to privatise services. Liberal Democrat councillors criticised the Conservative-led cabinet saying the decision to ignore yesterday’s vote was “arrogant”.”
  • Croydon – #Croydon gets funky” #youcouldnotmakeitup – ElizCro.  Croydon Council appear to be excluding youths from helping with youth events, notably MyVoice, and have, cringingly (if not meant ironically), described one event on Twitter as “a funky event for young people”.
  • Dumfries and Galloway – Rediscover: a celebration of literacy at your library – Cunnock Chronicle.  “On Saturday 8 September, for the very first time, every library in Dumfries and Galloway will be opening their doors and hosting a children’s event.  Libraries are taking part in REDISCOVER a celebration of literacy which takes place over the weekend of Saturday 8 September and Sunday 9 September 2012. Coordinated by Dumfries and Galloway Council there is storytelling, film making, poetry slams, music and much more happening in venues across our region.”
  • Thurrock – Roadshow to discuss future of libraries – Thurrock Gazette.  “It was agreed ‘no change’ is not an option and libraries should be integrated within community hubs to enable more effective use of resources. There was also broad agreement that libraries need significant refurbishments and much improved IT systems for Thurrock to have a 21st century service.”