List of withdrawn libraries


This page lists all libraries that have been reported as having been taken out of local council control since April 2011.  This may mean that the library is closed or that the library has been taken over by volunteers.  It also includes mobile libraries.  The overall word for libraries are no longer directly operated by the council is heavily politicised.  Local councils prefer to use the positive-sounding words “divested” or “community library” while campaigners prefer to use more negative words such as “abandoned”, “DIY” or “volunteer-run”.  The catch-all word that is used by Public Libraries News is “withdrawn from direct council control” or “withdrawn” for short.

Information for this page is taken from news reports and information submitted by library authorities and library users.  It cannot claim to be fully accurate or comprehensive.  Please inform Public Libraries News via if you have know of any inaccuracies or omissions.

12 libraries withdrawn from 1st April 2014

2 libraries and 8 mobile libraries closed

4 libraries transferred to volunteers


67 libraries withdrawn from 1st April 2013

13 Mobile Libraries closed

  • Aberdeen – 1.
  • Bath and Northeast Somerset - 1 – Article – June 2013.
  • Brighton and Hove – 1 - Article. 2013.
  • Gloucestershire – 3Article - At least 3 out of 6.
  • Luton – 1 - Article.
  • Nottingham – 1 - Article – April 2013.
  • Suffolk – 3 - Article – Out of 6.
  • Warwickshire – 2 - Article.  Out of 5.  November 2013.

36 Libraries closed

18 Changed to volunteer-run/social enterprises

64 Libraries withdrawn from 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013 noted 

6 Mobile libraries closed 

  • Bristol -  1 - From 1st April 2012.
  • Calderdale – 1  Article.  From 1st April 2012.
  • Middlesbrough – 1 - Article. 2012.
  • Sheffield 3 - (Source: email from Council (17/8/12)

19 Libraries closed

39 Changed to volunteer-run/social enterprises

130 libraries withdrawn from 1st April 2011 to 31st March 2012

22 Changed to volunteer-run

4 to be run by social enterprises

1 paid for by parish council

  • Wiltshire – 1 – Aldbourne – ArticleLibrary Website – Parish council ran poll, 2 out of 3 who voted agreed to pay extra £7 on council tax to pay for salaried librarian (£5k p.a.)

55 mobile libraries closed

  • Bexley – 1 mobile withdrawn Oct 2011.
  • Blackburn with Darwen – at least one mobile withdrawn in 2011 – Article.
  • Central BedfordshireArticle – Council’s sole mobile library is stopped.
  • EalingArticle – One mobile lost.
  • GloucestershireArticle – Homelink mobile serving elderly people’s homes stopped.
  • HampshireArticle – 13 mobiles cease, four survive.
  • HerefordshireArticle – 2 mobiles withdrawn.
  • Lambeth – 2 mobiles appear to be withdrawn.
  • Lancashire1 mobile appears to have been withdrawn.
  • Manchester - 4 mobiles - Article - Date of ending unclear but from context appears to be October 2011.
  • Middlesbrough – 1 mobile appears to have been withdrawn: Library list now shows no mention of mobile library which was posted as under threat in 2011.  It is therefore assumed to be closed.
  • Northamptonshire2 (out of 4) withdrawn.
  • Nottinghamshire4 (out of 7) withdrawn.   There now (Mar 2012) appears to be just three routes.
  • North YorkshireArticle10 out of 11 ceased.
  • Sefton – 1 mobile ends – Article.
  • ShropshireArticle – Weekly mobile stops changed to fortnightly. 2 mobiles stopped.
  • Stoke on TrentArticle – 1 mobile withdrawn.
  • SurreyArticle – 5 mobiles withdrawn.
  • Vale of Glamorgan – 1 mobile withdrawn June 2011.
  • West SussexArticle - 1 out of 3 mobiles closed.

48 library buildings closed

  • #1 written by Anthony Melling
    about 5 months ago

    I am a trustee of a volunteer run charity called Book-Cycle, we primarily send free books to schools and orphanages around the world and plant trees across the U.K. We have also reopened two former libraries as Free Bookshops, where the customer donates whatever they wish for up to 3 books, trees or packets of seeds per day. The donations are enough to cover the utilities and running costs as well as generating funds to send books abroad and plant trees. Last year we helped open over 70 libraries in rural Ghana as well as plant fruit trees with many of the local schools near Wigan.

    We are certainly not in favour of libraries closing, but where their fate is sealed our method seems to have taken on well. Not only do we offer a wider selection of books, as the interests and passions of local people circulate through a central hub but they are run by the community for the community.

    Book-Cycle is not the only alternative to a closing library but if you feel that this might be a way forward for your group then i would be happy to offer any advice i can.

    or visit

    The bottom two are the facebook groups for the two reopened libraries.



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