Islington Council have said that they may have to close all libraries in 2014 if the cuts continue.  The spokesman did not appear aware that libraries were a statutory requirement.  However, she can be forgiven for this being that the legal nature of libraries has been downplayed or just plain avoided in cuts up and down the country.  It only appears to be public protest that has an impact on proposed closure plans.  Sheffield have also signalled that they may cut everything but statutory services, with 14 already under threat.

News

  • “Bleak 2013″ predicted as 300 libraries could be lost – BookSeller.  Phil Bradley (CILIP president) says “”There will continue to be undue pressure placed on public library services throughout the rest of the year with them closing, reducing their opening hours and losing staff, despite the best efforts of campaign groups. Consequently people will visit libraries less, footfall and book borrowing will decline and this will be seen as a justification that the community didn’t need their library after all.”” Janene Cox (SCL) says there is likely to be an “acceleration of different service models emerging – co-locations, community managed libraries, social enterprises, mutuals etc.” and sees health information as a way forward.  Desmond Clarke pessimistic but says e-lending may become a major thing for libraries, Alan Gibbons predicts Ed Vaizey will continue to wash his hands of the problems.

Civic participation through public libraries – Beyond Access / Youtube. “Libraries are well positioned to engage all citizens to become interested in issues that affect their lives. Libraries provide a vital link between citizens and government. This short video takes a look at how public libraries around the world are providing opportunities for greater civic participation.”

  • Council spending cuts: the north loses to the south – Guardian / Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog. “The communities secretary told the Commons in December: “Concerns that the poorest councils or those in the north would suffer disproportionately are well wide of the mark. The spending power for places in the north compares well to those in the south”. Newcastle, however, points out that its cash cut is almost three times higher, and its percentage cut is more than twice as high as Wokingham’s. Over the two years from April, it calculates that in spending power terms it will lose £174 per dwelling, more than the national average of £125, and far higher than the £59 faced by Wokingham.”
  • London public library executive blasts plan to end Sunday service at central branch – IFPress (Canada).  Some great arguments for libraries in this piece on a Canadian town whose council is seeking to cut its hours.
  • Mobile libraries help Haitians overcome major earthquake – Global Voices (Haiti).  ” Libraries Without Borders is launching mobile libraries to circulate through the country’s capital supplying books and, in doing so, offering a means of access to information and knowledge. Operating in countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia, projects like these are carried out in developing countries and those left at risk from disasters and conflicts.”

“more attention should be given to nourishing the mind as a second measure to help victims cope with catastrophe and move forward. Books and expression help sustain intellectual stimulation and promote self-worth and resilience in times of crisis. Through books, computers or training, access to information and cultural resources empowers individuals and gives them the tools to reconstruct what has been lost.”

  • Texas public libraries: economic benefits and return on investment report released – Library Journal (USA). “Did you know that for every $1.00 invested in public libraries around the state, Texans receive  $4.42 worth of library services and value in return?  Or that Texas public libraries provide over $2.4 billion dollars in economic benefit statewide?  Get more useful facts and information from the recently-completed study Texas Public Libraries: Economic Benefits and Return on Investment.
  • Voices for the Library twitter takeover – Voices for the Library. “What do Librarians actually do? As part of National Libraries Day, we want to celebrate librarians of all shapes and sizes. A librarian a day will take over our sister account to @ukpling and share their experiences of working in the library and information profession.”

Changes

Local News

  • Barnet – The People’s Library: “the Council’s position has changed” says officer – Broken Barnet. “the council’s focus is on eviction, and marketing. Any obligation to the consideration of community bids is secondary, and theoretical.” … “erbal agreements, agreements made by staff not authorised to negotiate, implied agreements, misunderstandings: all of these factors have ensured that hopes by campaigners that their reasoning was having some effect turned out to be false.”
  • Barnsley – Village library could be moved to social clubChronicle. “The library at Monk Bretton could be moved into a former social club, once it has been refurbished.   The library, on Lamb Lane, is in need of expensive repairs and is not easy for disabled visitors to use.  The council is proposing to retain the library service, but not in the existing building and a consultation with local people about the proposals has been held.”
  • Bolton – Children’s author slams axing of town’s libraries – Bolton News. “children’s author and libraries campaigner Alan Gibbons has condemned Bolton Council’s decision to axe libraries — calling it a “huge mistake”. Libraries improve the economy via literacy and through social equality.
  • Brent – Library closures “cost almost same as savings” – BBC. “Bob Blackman, Conservative MP for Harrow East, made the claim in the House of Commons earlier … “The council attempted to save nearly £1m by saving the branch libraries, however what they’ve done of course is they’ve had to mothball them and its cost them half-a-million pounds. Equally, £120,000 has been spent on legal fees.””
  • Buckinghamshire – Stokenchurch take over their library – Mix 96. “The new Stokenchurch Community Library gets its official launch today (Saturday) when Aylesbury MP David Lidington cuts the ribbon at 10am, and County Council Vice Chairman Carl Etholen officially hands over the keys. The library, one of 14 around Buckinghamshire that the County Council is encouraging local communities to run, now has 30 trained volunteers ready to serve library users.”
  • Croydon/Lambeth – Upper Norwood Library – 100 Books. “What a lovely 30mins spent with the 3yr old. We came back home and spread our treasures out on the table. Dinner was narrated by myself trying to get my mouth round Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh Say Can You Say’ (interesting tongue twisters-try it people) 3 yr old goes to bed with all her books packed in her red treasure bag. Tucked safely at the foot of her bed- ‘they are special’ she whispers to me. Yes, my darling they are, and so is UN Library……………..PS Look at there Supernatural section, happy days”
  • Gateshead – Propinquity of its ultimate regrettable termination – Question Everything.  Gateshead says that they lack the resources to share services with Newcastle. Council says “It was concluded that the areas of service that could be considered for sharing were not feasible owing to the very limited capacity that now exists in these areas across both Councils. “.  Blogger says “It is more clear than ever that the Tories are closing libraries by stealth by handing them to volunteers and Labour are openly closing them but blaming the evil coalition for making them do something they claim they don’t want to do.”
  • Islington – Warning over possible cuts to libraries and youth clubs if government presses ahead with cuts programme – Islington Tribune. “chiefs have issued a bleak warning that libraries, children’s centres and youth clubs would have to be abandoned completely if the government presses ahead with its cuts programme. Islington Council has already lost a third of its budget – a massive £100million – which it is having to cut over the four-year lifetime of the current council administration, which was elected in 2010.”

“The government has said there will be a further 23 per cent cut in 2015. That’s £30m. We don’t want to see that. It would mean that we would just have to stop doing certain things. There are things we have to do by law, such as social services and schools. But there are other things we do that we decide to do, such as run libraries, children’s centres, youth clubs and offer help with employment. All of that is at risk.”

  • Newcastle – Lee Hall’s Speech 9th of January – Save Newcatle Libraries.  Complete speech. “Listen, I’m going to be unashamedly Old Labour here. This is about Class. This is about middle class people taking away the access to knowledge and culture from those people who can least afford to get it in any other way.”

“We do not have a right to stand by and let them do this. These things have been fought for tooth and nail for generations and generations. By little pit laddies in the dark and all those generations of people who were exploited by commerce, who were deprived the right to read and learn and share the very basic things of life that are just normal for the rich and cultured. Culture and learning are for everyone. It’s absolutely fundamental that we don’t give it away.”

  • Sheffield – Half of Sheffield’s libraries face closures – BookSeller. “Half of Sheffield’s public libraries are facing threat of closure this year as the council struggles with £50 million budget cuts. Up to 14 of the city’s 27 libraries are set to close unless the council finds help from community groups and social enterprises  in running them. The mobile library service in the city is also under threat.”
  • Deepest council cuts ever for Sheffield – Star. ““The proposals will have a massive impact on services the council provides – everything will change. “By the end of the decade, we will have nothing left other than statutory services and waste collection.””
  • Library closures loom as council appeals for volunteers – Postcode Gazette. “Half the city’s public libraries – 14 of them – will close this year, unless community groups and social enterprises step in and help to run them. … “Council Leader Julie Dore announced “a call to action” appealing for Sheffield voluntary organisations to become actively involved in helping run library facilities. The council is looking to reduce spending on libraries from £6.4 million to £4.8 million “as soon as is practically possible”””