Too many closures for the old map to cope.

369 libraries plus 29 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– plus two mobile libraries – Lancashire – which is also reducing staffing by 16%
– Poole has announced it will not close any libraries

You will notice that the map has changed a bit.  The comedian Mark Thomas tweeted about it, resulting in 30,000 people taking a look.  One felt so enraged by what he saw (the closures that is, hopefully not the amateur nature of the map) that he offered to help.  The aim is to put a blue pin on it for every threatened library closure.  This has meant some changes because Google Maps can only cope with around 200 pins. My thanks to our new cartographer and the many thousands out there campaigning to save public libraries.

Buckinghamshire – Use it or lose it at Burnham Library Maidenhead Advertiser
Buckinghamshire – Packed meeting on future of Stokenchurch Library – Bucks Free Press
Bury – Battle to save Unsworth Library – Manchester Evening News
Croydon – Resident’s Association fights to save library – This is Croydon Today
Doncaster – library “hit list” named – The Star
East Sussex – Self-Service coming in Uckfield and CrowboroughBBC
Gloucestershire – 10000 petition – Gazette
Gloucestershire – Updates consultation dates – FoGL
Gloucestershire – Why the Bucks volunteer-run library model is not for all – FoGL
Gloucestershire – Volunteers for Prestbury Library? – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – “With libraries closing down, unemployed people could volunteer at them” – This is Glos.
Gloucestershire – “the library cuts … go beyond necessity or common sense” Joanna Trollope in the Guardian
Gloucestershire – Your Library Needs You – Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
Isle of Wight – 100s attend protest meeting – Isle of Wight County Press
Isle of Wight – MP heckled – Isle of Wight Radio
Lancashire – To cut 2 mobile libraries, 16% staffing cut – Champion
North Yorkshire – library sees 30% increase in usage to be closed – Malton and Pickering Mercury
Oxfordshire – Library closures could be illegal – Oxford Times
Oxfordshire – Time to sit up and take notice – Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – Writer Peter Hitchens joins battle to save libraries – Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – Berinsfield Library protest meeting – Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – Marston Council fights to save closure – Oxford Mail
Poole – No library cuts – “In particular, we appreciate the vital community role performed by our libraries.” – BBC
Somerset – Ilminster residents urged to act – This is the West Country
Somerset – “Give Some Respect To Our Bibliotheque!” poetical demonstration at Glastonbury Library – Youtube
Somerset – Protest as Somerset tries to close Glastonbury Library (lots of images) – InTouchRadio
Somerset – letter to send to schools – Save Somerset Libraries via Alan Gibbons
Somerset – Sarah McIntyre gives support – Jabberworks
Swindon – Here’s one that was saved earlier – 24% increase in issues, 44% children’s – Friends of Old Town Library
Warrington – close libraries, spend on ipads for councillors – Express (NB the ipads are explained as a money-saving measure. I include this article as evidence of the importance placed on libraries)

BookTrust – time to close it down – Liberal Democrat Voice
Defending libraries – Times (letters) via Alan Gibbons
Interesting legal point – what does “efficient” mean? – Good Library Blog
Libraries – so what are our priorities? – Alan Gibbons
Libraries seen as easy touch – Guardian (full page article)
Library closures are a tragedy for our children – Readyforten
Mapped – UK library closures – Liverpool Echo
Mapped – London’s threatened libraries – Londonist
“Peter Barlow” against library closures – Mirror
Mapping library closures – Speak Before Thinking (from one of the collaborators on the map)

(USA) Libraries change lives for the better – Library Mix Archive

Closing a 2 year old library. Nearly 5000 names in Barnet.

369 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– plus one – Nottingham – Wilford Library closed in September 2010
– minus eight – Gloucestershire – minus 8, I inadvertently exaggerated these figures.  The real figure is, though, still a jaw-dropping (well, it would have been in 2009) 18 libraries under threat with another 8 having their hours reduced.

Another 5000 name petition surfaces, this time in Barnet. A library only refurbished (at the cost of over £1m) in 2009 is due to close in North Yorkshire. In other news, there appears to be a difference of opinion about Eric Pickles.

Barnet – Petition of nearly 5000 not allowed in libraries – Hendon etc Times (the council is very grateful to the MLA for their positive views about the closures).
Brent – “Libraries Transformation Project” or “Closures Programme”? – Wembley Matters
Bury – The many reasons to save our local library – Prestwich and Whitefield GuideDevon – more on the increased mobile services – Devon council
Doncaster – “The End” 14 libraries get front page news – Save Doncaster Libraries
Doncaster – Bawtry Library on the list – This Is Retford
Gloucestershire – 10000 sign petition – The Forester
Gloucestershire – comedian Stewart Lee supports campaign – FoGL
Gloucestershire – Legal concerns over closures – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – Legal wrangle – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – Report on handing in the 10000 petition – FoGL
North Yorkshire – Kirkbymoorside Library opened in 2009 to be closed – Private Eye via Alan Gibbons ( this story refers)
Gloucestershire – A midnight storyteller says why she is supporting libraries – FoGL
Oxfordshire – Bookfeast charity in against library cuts – Oxford Times
Oxfordshire – Save Sonning Common – Alan Gibbons
Peterborough – Friends Group to be established – Evening Telegraph
Somerset – infomercial supporting libraries campaign – Glastonbury FM (no timing known)
Somerset – special town meeting to fight closure of Glastonbury – Southwest Business
Somerset – why is Somerset closing it’s libraries? – People’s Republic of South Devon
Somerset – “pathetic excuses” for closing libraries – Burnham on
Walsall – new Bloxwich library officially opened – This is Walsall
Database of articles showing the value of libraries – Libvalue
Endangered Shelf Life – Rebecca Front in the Guardian – 2006
“Eric Pickles is a clown”.  What sort of planet is this guy on? says Barnsley Chief Exec – BBC
Eric Pickles is the man who can – Good Library Blog
Four libraries and a funeral – Amy Plum’s Blog
Library closures herald more inequality – Proud to serve the Republic (TUC)
Public Libraries News gets a mention in the Guardian, albeit only online – Guardian

Over 370 library closures are right and justifiable, says boss of MLA.

376 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– plus one – Doncaster are closing 14, rather than the previously announced 13.
– some to close in Hull – no change to figure as unsure as to scope.
– plus two – Southampton have recently closed 2.

This is from the Times letters page today, from the person in charge of the MLA (the quango with some responsibility for libraries).  Due to the paywall, I cannot link directly but I think it presents another side of the argument. 

It is untrue that the Libraries Act is being ignored and an exaggeration to claim that “councils are ‘doing a Wirral’ with impunity” (letter, January 3).  The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council is aware of proposals for substantial changes to a wide range of local services, including public libraries.  The 1964 Act calls for a “comprehensive and efficient” service, so councils are right to rationalise costs and infrastructure while striving to improve delivery. 
Closures grab headlines, but can be justified, and new and refurbished libraries are opening, too.  In addition to reading books people want libraries to provide digital media and 24/7 access, factors that are certain to drive further change on the high street.  Councils invite us to advise them on sustainable strategies;  we have expert teams in the field and our website offers case studies, guidance and comparator data.
Libraries are community spaces, free for all to use and vital in many places, so local consultation is essential.  Final decisions can only be taken by councillors accountable locally, but under the Act these may be subject to independent scrutiny.
Chief Executive Officer, Museums
Libraries & Archives Council”

Unfortunately, the Times missed off his phone number 020 7273 1476 and email address (available at

Cambridgeshire – Cambridgeshire against the cuts
Croydon – protests at plans to close Norbury – This is Local London
Doncaster – Council confirm 14 libraries to close “”There has been absolutely no public consultation whatsoever.” – The Star (out of 26, and for the bibliographic services unit, archives and schools library service to move to the central library site).
Doncaster Council disgrace – Save Doncaster Libraries
Falkirk – Libraries to be transferred to a trust – BBC News
Gloucestershire – 10000 petition against closures – Cotsworld Journal. Petition covered on BBC Points West (link may not work in your area).
Gloucestershire – this is what a 10000 petition looks like – Flickr
Gloucestershire – thousands force debate – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire and Somerset – petition power – This is Somerset
Hertfordshire – I love my Herts libraries – Facebook
Lancashire – amnesty? – Pendle Today
Merton – volunteers to counter cuts in library opening – Wimbledon Guardian
Milton Keynes – Wot no books? Save Stony Stratford Library – About My Area
North Yorkshire – Andrew Jones MP against the closures – MP website
Richmond – Libraries mat be privatised, or be closed – Richmond and Twickenham Times
Somerset – Interview with library campaigners “if you’re getting rid of a hospital, you’re denying someone’s health: if you deny them a library, you’re denying someone’s knowledge” – BBC Radio Somerset (from 1.47)
Somerset – library consultation at Crewkerne – This is the West Country
Somerset – “don’t shut Highbridge Library” – Burham On
Southampton – 2 libraries to close/have closed – Daily Echo
Worcestershire – Pershore library could move out of town – Evesham Observer

“I love the library” song – Bucky and the Band.  Other library songs here
Library Campaigns – are we all inside the same tent? Course – Walk You Home
Full details of the Library Campaigns course are here
Martha Lane Fox – Digital future for all, includling libraries – Guardian
(USA) Map of UK Library Closures – The “M” Word ( this one is in Germany.)
(USA) Libraries – A call to arms – Roly Poly

The need to campaign

373 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– plus one – Northern Ireland figure previously reported as 9, actual number is 10 – details here
It is interesting to see which are the most active areas in terms of campaigning.  They are not necessarily the ones with the most serious cuts.  Somerset and Gloucestershire both have very active campaigning groups and serious cuts envisaged … but I am not seeing so much for, say, Dorset or for Cornwall, both with major cuts coming.  Hopefully this is just due to lack of information on my part but, if not, Somerset and Gloucestershire stand more chance of saving their libraries.  But for want of a campaigner…

Bury – Save Unsworth Library – Facebook
Devon – new expanded mobile library services – This is the West Country
Doncaster – Read-In on 29th January – Facebook
Dorset – the “con” in “consultation” – Shirley Burnham’s Blog
Gloucestershire – More than 10,000 have signed petition – FoGL
Isle of Wight – Closure consultation begins today – Ventnor Blog and Isle of Wight Radio
Isle of Wight – “A fresh direction for the island’s libraries” consultation document (9 out of 11 to close) – Isle of Wight Council
Moray – no library closures but will turn to a Trust – Banffshire Journal
Northern Ireland – details of closures – Time Travel NI
North Yorkshire – Save North Yorkshire libraries – Undaimonia
Oxfordshire – public meeting held to discuss closure of Woodcote library, new group formed to help save it – Henley Standard
Oxfordshire – meeting to save Botley library – Oxford Times
Oxfordshire – closing facilities is “very tough” says council chief – Henley Standard
Salford – “There are some buildings we need to get rid of anyway” – Manchester Evening News
Somerset – Library closure roadshow begins – BBC
Somerset – Consultation over closure of Highbridge – Burnham On
Somerset – Consultation over closure of Ilminster and South Petherton – Yeovil Express
Warrington – More details on cuts, including ending of temporary contracts – Warrington Worldwide

BookTrust – How to put a value on its cost – Channel Four
Jedi Librarian – Why Star Wars library services are way behind the times – Libreaction
Public Library Closures Map gets 14 000 hits today, 14 000 yesterday – see link on right.
Training budgets are so 2010, darling! – SintoBlog
(USA) Can a book save your life? From a bullet? – Youtube

West Dunbartonshire to close 3; Radio 4 PM coverage

372 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– plus 3 since yesterday – informed that West Dunbarton are closing 3 (out of 10)

There was a segment on Radio 4 PM and a letter in the Times today about saving public libraries. Closer to home, the comedian Mark Thomas tweeted about the library cuts map (link on right) today which resulted in 14,000 people looking at it this afternoon and evening. Also today, news coming out of Gloucestershire is that they are going to more than double the 5000 names they aimed for in their petition. When people learn a library is in threat, they will try to protect it. The problem for library campaigners is in getting that message out there.

Cambridgeshire – closing libraries the least popular option of all unpopular options – Cambridge News
Isle of Wight – campaigning group – Save the Libraries on the Isle of Wight
Oxfordshire – letters pages raging over library closures, volunteers may work in affluent areas – Guardian
Somerset – consultation on Wednesday – Yeovil Express
Somerset – BBC Somerset Radio interview with Save Somerset Libraries – BBC (at 55 minutes)
Somerset – Steve Barlow speaks about “bloodbath” library closures – BBC Radio 4 PM (at 28:36)
Swansea – “it’s going to be a tough year” for some libraries – This is South Wales
West Dunbartonshire – 3 libraries under threat of closure – West Dunbartonshire Council.

Councils are ignoring the legal protection of libraries, Ed Vaizey is being very coy – Times (letters, behind paywall)
Campaign for the Book January Newsletter – Alan Gibbons
How to do a Read-In – Walk You Home
(USA) Libraries, a priceless resource – NorthWest Journal
(USA) Libraries are screwed – Ebooks have changed everything – Go To Hellman
(USA) Maximise your job seeking mojo at the library – At Your Library

A Devil Of A Dilemma

369 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)

There is a devil of a dilemma for those who wish to save libraries after withdrawal has been cut – whether to “help out” or not.  Many authorities (such as Gloucestershire) are saying that the local library will only survive if a community group takes it over, with minimal council support. Those who love libraries may quite rightly be tempted to do so.  However, if they do before all other options are taken, then it will only encourage yet more branches to be effectively privatised in this ways.  Libraries will become just another charity shop. However, the council may well close the library anyway if groups don’t step up to the mark. The unwillingness of charities to take over wildlife preserves without full remuneration may be an argument in favour of not helping.  Call their bluff and, perhaps, the council will back down.  Or perhaps they won’t.  It’s a terrible problem and one which campaigners up and down the country are facing.  Right now.

Birmingham – libraries are the single most important resource for the disadvantaged – Birmingham Mail
Dorset – use of 250 volunteers attacked – Bournemouth Echo
Gloucestershire – 10000 views of website since August – Friends of Gloucestershire Library
Gloucestershire – UK Uncut protest in Stroud includes libraries – UK Uncut
Kent – UNISON attacks 83 FTE posts being removed, replaced by self-service – Your Canterbury

Booktust – Letter saying authors cannot protect scheme due to self-interest gets savaged in comments – Guardian
National Read In – Facebook Event
“Remember the good times? Didn’t there used to be a library there?” – Guardian
Wildlife Preserves – if community groups don’t do it for free, Government may back down – a lesson for libraries? – Independent

(USA) Libraries mission has changed – Charleston City Paper

Happy New Year?

369 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– Blackburn with Darwen – reduced opening hours (hours not part of headline count)
– Sandwell – some libraries may be closed (not added to count as numbers unclear)

37 separate articles in the press, local and national, since the last post.  The plus side to this is that libraries have probably never received this much attention.  The down side – well, the down side is fairly obvious. Still, today, New Year’s Day, let us focus on the bright side.  There’s a lot of love out there for libraries.  Here’s to the harnessing of it in 2011.

Blackburn with Darwen – libraries to have reduced opening hours – Lancashire Telegraph
Buckinghamshire – Govt spending cut in line with council plans so more volunteer libraries – Bucks Advertiser
Buckinghamshire – Winslow library – second meeting announced – Buckingham Today
Bury – Saddened by loss of Unsworth – Bury Times
Croydon – libraries moved to different department – This is Croydon Today
Dorset – Charmouth faces closure – View Online
Gloucestershire – 4000 sign petition, and rising – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – instead of a library, have some books in a doctor’s waiting room – Stroud News & Journal
Gloucestershire – sign up to campaign or lose libraries forever – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – petition to save Hester’s Way – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – (long) list of media coverage so far – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries
Herefordshire – misjudging the volunteer role – Kidderminster Shuttle
Isle of Wight – Closures plan in detail – Ventnor Blog
Isle of Wight – Save the libraires by paying fee? – Isle of Wight County Press
Lancashire – fines amnesty for returned books – Burnley Citizen
Middlesbrough – young people like libraries, will be consulted on cuts – Gazette Live
North Yorkshire – fight to save Ryedale libraries – Gazette & Herald
North Yorkshire – Friends of Easingwold Library
Nottingham – concerned over future of Booktrust – My Nottingham
Nottinghamshire – opening hours cuts affect least affluent areas the worst – Eastwood Advertiser
Oxfordshire – Philip Pullman and Colin Dexter call closures “Shameful” – Oxford Mail
Sandwell – some libraries may be closed –  Halesowen News
Sheffield – Central Library plans in spotlight – Sheffield Telegraph
Somerset – 5000 petition being collected – This is Somerset
Somerset – Glastonbury closure unfair – This is Somerset
Somerset – Ilminster closure being fought – View Online
Somerset – MP Tessa Munt waiting for answers about libraries – This is Somerset
Somerset – have say on libraries closures – This is Somerset
Somerset – Stand up for Shepton group warns about vital library meeting – StandUp4Shepton
Stoke on Trent – “Talking Tots” owner wants libraries to be saved – This is Staffordshire

Democracy’s failures – resources in common like libraries are being forced into the free market – Guardian
Ed Vaizey – no hidden agenda, volunteers are for expanding hours – Witney Gazette
Letter attacking North Yorkshire closures – Times (behind paywall) 1st Jan – link to most are here
Libraries important in areas of social deprivation – Voices for the Library
Our society is not big enough for Cameron – Independent
Several letters in support of libraries – Times (behind paywall) 31st Dec
TUC – it’s going to be a horrible year with cuts in “high profile services such as libraries will cause widespread anger” – Politics

(USA) Library Renewal – a new group fighting for libraries in the online age

A Return to Private Libraries?

369 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
– North Ayrshire is added to the list as “some” are reported almost certainly to close.  See article and council document linked below.  As no number is given, the headline total number of UK libraries under threat is unchanged.

The Telegraph has noticed public libraries over the last couple of days – and it does not especially like them.  See yesterday’s article against the decision to publicly fund BookStart or today’s one which starts off against the British Library and ends up seeming to suggest that all libraries would be better if privately run.  The example used is the £500 per year members-only London Library.

Buckinghamshire – 11 to be staffed by volunteers or closed – Bucks Free Press
Devon – Book stock being auctioned off – This is Exeter
Darlington – consultation over the future of libraries – BBC
Flintshire – overspend means money cut for schools and libraries – Flintshire Chronicle
Gloucestershire – Joanne Trollope pledges support, also children’s laureate Anthony Browne – Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard
North Ayrshire – Some “almost certain” to close – Largs and Millport Weekly News
North Ayrshire – Review of libraries – North Ayrshire Council
North Yorkshire – local councillors fight closures – Gazette & Herald
Redbridge – council workers suggest selling off libraries (and the mayor’s jaguar) – Local Guardian
Sefton – Two mums form coalition against cuts, library closures the “most worrying” – Formby Times
Wigan – consultation (only 2 out of 17 libraries start off as safe) – Wigan Council

Councils “looking to volunteers” to staff libraries – over 50 local newspapers, apparently all stemming from the same GMB press release.
Government runs libraries badly – Daily Telegraph

There are more UK libraries closing than there are days in the year

369 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
Changes to the running total are –
Plus 3 – Bexley – “People are still waiting to hear details of other cuts such as the identity of the three libraries whose futures may be under threat”
Plus 1 – Renfrewshire – Lochwinnoch library is to be closed then merged with community centre.

As the numbers of libraries under threat grow, so too do the number of campaigns.  The Telegraph today complains about the effectiveness of the campaign to save BookStart. A new video here and a new website there are signs that the Big Society does work and it is mobilising itself in order to stop closures.  These campaigns are not political and they are not organised by external agitators.  They are spontaneous responses by local people to the removal of a resource that they value and that helps make society, big or not, function.

Bexley – three libraries threatened – News Shopper
Cambridgeshire – Over 5600 complete libraries consultation (28% volunteer to help)Cambs Council
Darlington – users surveyed on future of libraries – BBC
Durham – libraries “most at risk” – Teesdale Mercury
Gloucestershire – Petition date drawing near a close – FoGL
Gloucestershire – author Alice Jolly lends support – FoGL
Hampshire – MP welcomes Localism Bill as volunteers could save libraries etc – This is Hampshire
Isle of Wight – Save the Libraries on the Isle of Wight – Save The Libraries
Leeds – closing up to 20 libraries will produce eight benefits for city – Leeds Council
Middlesbrough – choose the budget as libraries etc face uncertain future – Gazette Live
North Yorkshire – councillor campaigns for Barlby Library – Selby Times
Renfrewshire – Alasdair Gray and others campaign to stop merging Lochwinnoch library with community centre – Youtube
Somerset – Keeping Somerset’s libraries open – To Know We Are Not Alone
Somerset – Consultation “Any communities that do not take that option would see their library close” – Somerset Council

BookStart – the chattering classes get their way, reprieve is “sign of weakness” – Telegraph
3 million children have no internet access at home – Guardian

The British Library embodies our civilization

365 libraries plus 27 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)

Birmingham – new central library is “less about books” – Times (behind paywall)
Oxfordshire – Meeting to save Grove Road Library – Henley Standard
Oxfordshire – Grove Road Christmas cheer – Henley Standard

BookTrust – children’s free books are saved – Express and Press Association
A solitary piece against BookTrust funding from the Express
British Library embodies our civilization – yet the library service is facing vandalism – Guardian
Cuts that smack more of desperation than strategy – Independent
National Read-In Public Event – Facebook