The website is British, run by Ian Anstice, a librarian currently based in the Northwest of England.

Non-urgent enquiries

Please email if you would like to contact me or have a question about public libraries, have news or corrections. Please note that I work full-time and so cannot easily be contacted in working hours.  I normally check at lunchtime and in the evening.
Facebook: Public Libraries News
Twitter: @publiclibnews

Urgent/Media enquiries

Please do not try to contact me by phone in working hours (largely 9 to 5 weekdays).  I check emails and texts at lunchtimes and will call back if I can.

I am sorry but due to work and home commitments, I cannot normally take phone calls in the first instance – please email or tweet first.

If this is your first article on public libraries, especially if you are American, have a look at this article for how to avoid common misconceptions.

  • #1 written by Angus
    about 3 years ago

    Hi there, I’m a student at Goldsmiths’ College and myself and a group are currently in the editing process of a short doc which looks at a volunteer run library in New Cross, London.

    I was wondering if you have any photos or videos which you could send me to help with the edit, or know who might be able to. Specifically photos from this post.



  • #2 written by Sylvia Thompson
    about 3 years ago

    Hi, I am a memeber of the Birkdale Library Action Group (BLAG) in Southport, Merseyside. Sefton Borough Council voted to close our well-used library later this year. We have however been given until 9th May to write a Business Plan that will indicate how savings can be made to be considered by the Council. We have always wanted to work with a paid librarian plus volunteers. The Unions are saying there are legal issues to replacing paid staff with volunteers. This has never been our intention, we are trying to save jobs. A local Councillor and some members of BLAG are to arrange a meeting with local Union representatives. As we are new to all this, and feel overwhelmed at times, I wonder if you could advise as to how I find out how other libraries overcame this problem. There is a lot of information, but it is difficult to find where to look for this specific information. I hope all this makes sense.
    Kind regards

  • #3 written by Gary Archer
    about 3 years ago

    You may have supplied the data or seen already, but from today’s Private Eye (Thatcher souvenir issue)
    Number Crunching
    1- Thatcher memorial library which supporters plan to spend £15M establishing
    273 – Public libraries currently estimated to be at risk of closure, in addition to the 326 which have already closed as a result of coalition cuts
    Gary Archer

  • #4 written by Glyn Sutcliffe
    about 3 years ago

    My website concerning Library changes in Calderdale and Halifax.

    Glyn Sutcliffe

    • #5 written by Ian Anstice
      about 3 years ago

      Thanks, Glyn, I have added to post tonight and put on the list page under Calderdale.

  • #6 written by Sarah Heseltine
    about 1 year ago

    My name is Sarah Heseltine. I am the UNISON convenor for libraries in Coventry. We have a petition up and running against the closure of all libraries in Coventry. Would you be interested in sharing it? The link is;
    Thanks very much

  • #7 written by John Robinson
    about 1 year ago


    I’m trying to find some technical information re libraries and their catchment areas re local population.

    I’m involved with a local campaign to try and move a small branch library 0.2 miles to a bigger building where the library facilities could be vastly improved.

    What is the normal way to calculate how many people a library serves ? With our campaign I’ve looked at a map and I believe a move would actually mean the branch library would be closer to more people – but I want to show this using accepted statistical methods.


  • #8 written by Oxfordshire Anon
    about 8 months ago

    A number of public libraries in Oxfordshire have partnership agreements with the County. The purpose of the agreement is, broadly, to set out who is responsible for different aspects related to the operation of the library. Where costs are involved these are identified.

    The County has been very clear that, if volunteers are not present when expected then a library may not be able to open. If a friends group organises the volunteers it could be sanctioned for failing to meet the terms of the partnership agreement.

    As of last week Library Managers have been told that they cannot call in a temporary/casual member of the library service staff to provide cover due to illness. In that scenario the library will simply remain shut.

    Very unclear as to where that leaves the County in terms of keeping its side of the bargain. Not at all good for borrowers and likely to cause a headache for the friends groups that need to coordinate their volunteers.

  • #9 written by Christine Fishwick
    about 3 months ago

    Hello, on 29th June 2016, Darlington Borough Council called time on Crown Street Library, a beautiful library building constructed in 1885 by Arthur and Joseph Pease, a well renowned Quaker family, on behalf of their beloved brother Edward who sadly passed away in 1880. Edward had bequeathed the sum of £10,000 in his will to build a library to educate the poor people of the town, and stated in a covenant, which has been lost by the Council in 1974, that the land which he owned and passed later to the Corporation, that it be used as a library forever. It is the only library in Darlington with a population of almost 100,000 people apart from the small library at Cockerton Village, which has been reprieved until next March. I like John Robinson, who previously messaged you, would like to know the ratio of population to a library? At the moment we have a figure of 7th?, and when the Council installs the reduced service into the Dolphin Leisure Centre, I understand that we will be the lowest in the country? It seems like an unstoppable trend sweeping our country – another reason for isolation breeding ignorance once again.

    • #10 written by Ian Anstice
      about 3 months ago

      Hi Christine, sorry to hear about Crown Street Library. The ratio of people to one library widely varies depending on what the authority can afford and their strategy. Crewe has only one library (now co-located with a leisure centre) but has 84,000 population. It’s interesting to note that Crewe has had only one library since at least the 1970s so it wasn’t due to recent cuts.

      • #11 written by yvonne richardson
        about 2 months ago

        Hi Ian! I take your point about Crewe. However in the CIPFA stats I suspect it would come under Cheshire’s provision, or West Cheshire or whatever the funding authority is? Darlington is a Unitary Authority, so this is how the number of libraries provided for our town is poor compared with other funding authorities.

  • #12 written by marilyn shaw
    about 3 months ago

    I agree I worked in Mauchline library east Ayrshire for over 35 years, it has been moved to a room in the burns museum no bigger than a kitchen, 3 people in it and it is full, I think they would have been better putting the mobile in the car park once a week as it has a better choice of books etc. The old library has been lying empty since beginning of December last year. We have also lost hurl ford, Kilmaurs and catrine last year and more closing next year

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