“If I were a librarian, I confess, I’d be putting the career-change plan into action just about now.”

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

  • AdvocacyThoughts of a wannabe librarian.  “As far as I can see, if you are committed to excellent standards of service in your library, you are an advocate (creating proxies).  If you have ‘librarian’ on your Twitter bio and have ever tweeted about libraries, librarians or related issues, you are an advocate.  If you tell your friend with an e-reader “hey, did you know you can get free ebooks at the library?”, you are an advocate.”
  • Amazon in talks to launch Digital-Book Library - Wall Street Journal.  “Amazon.com Inc. is talking with book publishers about launching a Netflix Inc.-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, according to people familiar with the matter. It’s unclear how much traction the proposal has, the people said. Several publishing executives said they aren’t enthusiastic about the idea because they believe it could …” [rest of library behind paywall]
  • Ebooks – Local Government Library Technology.  Summary of recent and relevant articles on ebooks and public libraries.
  • Given a choice between privatized libraries and no libraries, which would you choose?Southern California Public Radio (USA).  “California librarians are cheering AB 438 for making it more difficult to privatize libraries and have been making frequent trips to Sacramento to ask for more funds. How should California deal with its libraries? Do sacrifices need to be made?”
  • Is Amazon about to move into the book rental business?Guardian.  “According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com is talking to publishers about launching an ebook lending service. What will this mean for libraries?” … “Amazon is now “talking with book publishers about launching a Netflix Inc.-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content…Assuming Amazon can inveigle publishers into buying into the service (by no means a given), I can’t see how it won’t sound the final knell for bricks-and-mortar libraries – even academic ones.”
“Libraries are in trouble, but any fool can see it has nothing to do with ebooks, although perhaps you could send a link to this article to the government, as it would provide them with a convenient excuse.” Comment on article above.

“From a business standpoint, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to put libraries out of business. They’re community based and focused, so “attacking” them would cause an outcry and not do Amazon’s image any good.” Comment on article above

“My concern is that, given that libraries are struggling to survive anyway, if – if! – such a move came in, it could very easily act as the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Response from article writer.
  • Mysterious paper sculptures - Central Station.   Lists and shows all of the wonderful artworks that have mysteriously appeared in Scotland in defence of libraries and of books.  Worth looking at for the tremendous talent shown alone.

Changes

Liverpool – 29% (£2m) cut in libraries budget.  
Northamptonshire – Group: Save St James Library.   
Wakefield – 27 FTE posts may go.  

West Sussex - 15% cut in libraries budget.  Opening hours and/or staff may be cut

Local News

  • Brent – An evening with Jacqueline Wilson - Save Kensal Rise Library.  “Jacqueline Wilson, well loved author and former Children’s Laureate, comes to Kensal Green. Jacqueline will be reading from her work, answering questions and signing a limited number of books. Tickets for this event will be on sale from Wednesday 14th September at L’Angolo’s Deli on College Road, Queens Park books and selected local schools at a cost of £10, concessions £5.”
    • Preston Bibliotheque Campaign - Save Preston Libraries.   “Who said we’re running out of steam? After just a few months, Brent SOS Libraries has raised £22,000 – and counting. With special London tours, an exclusive film screening, and karaoke to come, there are plenty more ways to help.”
    • Queens Park Community School students: “Kensal Rise Library has brought everyone closer in our community” – Save Kensal Rise Library.   Article by local school students “We think that not only is it a place for studying, reading and researching, but that a library is somewhere for people to socialise and organise family events for children and adults. Although our generation is developing in the era of modern technology, it would be a shame to lose a comforting historic building and our local source of good old books – and new ones too!”
    • “The library that will not die”Politiken.DK (Denmark, Google Translation).  “”Many children come here to read their homework because there is too much noise at home. This is a safe place for them to be. Where will they go if the library closes? “He asks.”
  • Hampshire – New library charges introduced from 19 September - About My Area.   Charges introduced for children’s late fees, children’s reservations (10p), interlibrary renewals (£2.50), reading groups (£15), elderly people’s homes (£200 p.a.), DVD Club membership (2 DVDs at any one time £45 per year).  Music Club membership (2 CDs at any one time, £15).  
  • Liverpool – Library consultation results Childwall libraries and will soon be opening a new library on West Derby Road, replacing costly, older buildings.  However, we are facing huge financial challenges and difficult decisions need to be made, and we can’t make those decisions without hearing from those who will be directly affected.”

“Rejoicing in the redundancy of public servants”

Comment 

“Disgusted to see that the grubby little Bookseller article rejoicing in the redundancy of public servants is even given the light of day on this website.” (Comment by Anonymous)

This comment made me stop and think today.   It refers to an article by Desmond Clarke called “Few tears for departing MLA”.  Leaving aside the fact that this website includes all articles of interest on public libraries, regardless of what they say and the beliefs they endorse [I would include passionate defences of the MLA here too] there is perhaps a misconception here.  Desmond does not attack individuals in the quango, just the policies.  His main beef is about the lack of advocacy.  Amongst other things, Mr Clarke says that “The MLA‘s essential failure was that its board never developed and promoted 
a vision for public libraries in the 21st century which was widely
 understood and supported.”.   It is this tragedy of lack of vision – by the MLA or by anyone else – that is having such an impact today.
All would agree with Anonymous (the anonymity, incidentally, is not cowardice – it is sensible when the job market is such as it is) that we should not rejoice in the redundancy of public servants.  They did not have much say in the policies that their employer decided upon and had to work with them or be sacked.  I concede, though, that I did rejoice when the leader of the MLA left for New Zealand but this was for reasons outlined in the article at the time.  There are many people in the MLA who were serious advocates of public libraries and understood the problems well.  Everyone, including doubtless Desmond, genuinely wish them well for the future.  We must not forget that it is individuals, real human beings, that are suffering in this rush to the cheapest solution.  Like all public librarians, I understand all too deeply what the threat of unemployment feels like at the moment.  Let us all hope that the policies of the Arts Council (that is taking over library responsibilities from the MLA but with a reduced budget of £3 per year, not the MLA’s £13m) does not instruct them to assist in closing libraries that could be saved.  There are daily new reports of public librarians (today in Calderdale and Plymouth) being made redundant and no-one has any wish for any more.

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News 

Dewey Decimal Rap – Melvil.
  • Dog-eared paperback, newly endangered in an E-book Age –  New York Times (USA). Recession-minded readers who might have picked up a quick novel in the supermarket or drugstore are lately resisting the impulse purchase… while the publishing industry had expanded over all, publishers’ mass-market paperback sales had fallen 14 percent since 2008.”
 ““I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me. So I have a special place for every library, in my heart of hearts.” How libraries changed Maya Angelou’s life - Huffington Post.  

  • It’s about books, stupid - Good Library Blog.   Tim Coates has been in New York, librarians there shocked at UK situation.  US librarians after 2001 “decided to increase the book fund in community libraries, particularly the funds for buying books for children” as their main policy.  “By operating that policy, use of the public libraries, and ‘circulation’ – which is their word for book lending- have risen constantly. There have rarely been cuts and few closures. Even now, when the recesssion in New York is visible in the number of closed shops and business premises, the public libraries are clearly valued.”.  This compared to reduction in bookstock in the UK.
  • London Libraries Consortium now numbers 15 London boroughs and 3.6 million inhabitants as Merton joins – PR.com.  “Although we already use Axiell’s OpenGalaxy, procuring through the consortium means we will now benefit from free upgrades to new applications and tools which are currently chargeable, such as the 24*7 automated telephone renewals hotline and acquisitions module. We were required by our councillors to prove a very strong case for savings and return on investment and were able to develop a robust case.”
  • Loss and recovery: librarians bear witness to September 11th 2001 – Youtube.
  • SOS for English Libraries - Alan Gibbons.  Full English translation of Le Monde article.  

Changes

Local News

  • Aberdeen – Lord Provost launches Aberdeen City Libraries online digital archive – Aberdeen council.  “city’s new online home for thousands of historic photographs and records at the Central Library tomorrow [Sat, 10 Sept]. The ‘Silver City Vault’ makes the Aberdeen Local Studies archive available free to remote users for the very first time.”…” addition, the website contains over 40,000 index records for events like marriage notices and newspaper obituaries and more than 10,000 articles from local journals covering individuals, organisations and events.”
  • Bolton – MPs fight back over proposed library closures  – Bolton News.   “The town’s three MPs are writing to Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles to demand the £400,000 needed to save Bolton’s libraries.” … “Leaders from the three main political parties and the leader of the Save Bolton Libraries Campaign will debate the planned closures of five libraries in front of a “Question Time”-style audience.”
  • Bradford – Burley Library and store plans expected soon - Ilkley Gazette.   “Plans for a combined Co-op store and library building could be submitted in the next two to three weeks, a meeting of more than 200 Burley-in-Wharfedale residents was told this week.” … “The council’s principal libraries officer, Jackie Kitwood, assured residents the library was not under threat, and the council had no plans to close it.  But she said there was a £200,000 backlog of maintenance work, and the 1970s building was not “fit for purpose”.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Library process “like swimming through treacle”Bicester Advertiser and Review.  “Friends of Winslow Library are looking for volunteers to help on the group, and they particularly want to hear from people with professional skills or organisational experience.”  … ““BCC has only recently begun to define what support would be available if local residents want to take on the library and, of course, what it would cost. This process involves detailed discussions about ownership of the library buildings, the use of BCC staff librarians, IT, and reservation and management of the book stocks.”
  • Calderdale – Libraries on hit list again - Halifax Courier.   ““The council has already worked hard to make savings and this has been achieved through better technology, smarter working and keeping a close eye on the purse strings. But the reality is that we still need to make further savings across the service. The council will consider a number of options and we are keen to have people’s thoughts and ideas.”
    • Alan lends library group support - Todmorden News.   Friends of Todmorden Library – “Having decided to stage a festival, they wrote to Yorkshire-born Mr Bennett to tell him it was taking place and were delighted to receive a personalised doodle of himself, adorned with a “good luck” message, very shortly afterwards.”
  • InverclydePositive report about Inverclyde Libraries - Inverclyde Now.   Scottish Library and Information Council assesses libraries, with good results meaning eligibility for government grants.  “‘good’ for sufficiency, range and suitability of resources and staff interaction and support, and ‘very good’ for arrangements for access.”
  • Kingston – Hook Library – This is Local London.  “The budget for the Hook library has been increased by £38,800. The south of the borough neighbourhood committee has found £74,100 of savings out of its budget for August.” 
  • Plymouth – Academy uptake poses threat to city’s library service - This is Plymouth.   Schools Library Service under threat … “The service currently operates in 81 per cent of Plymouth schools but in the light of the rising number of academies, councillors expressed concern at the sustainability of the service.”
  • Suffolk – Mobile libraries come under scrutiny - Haverhill Echo.   “A six week consultation over the future of Suffolk County Council’s mobile library service, looking specifically at how users think savings can be made, was launched on Monday. Suffolk County Council currently spends £600,000 a year providing the service for around 7,000 customers. This equates to £7.70 per customer visit as opposed to £2.51 in the county’s built libraries.”
 “Rally outside shire hall warwick against library cuts in warwickshire, 8th october” Warwickshire  – Save SSLibrary (Twitter)

Date for your diary: National Libraries Day 4th February 2012

Comment

Some interesting news today from around the world, including contrasting views on privatisation from the USA and the UK.  In California, a bill which makes outsourcing libraries more difficult has passed the Senate, making it likely that it will become law.  By contrast, in Croydon – and to few people’s surprise – the decision to put the library service out to tender has been confirmed.  In Canada, the amazing pro-library campaign in Toronto has led to 47,000 signatures on a petition alreadyThis compares to a relatively pitiful 8,779 for the national UK libraries petition, due doubtless to the lack of any significant national media supportSomething big appears to be happening in Cambridgeshire about a u-turn in cuts that could help (or may not) reverse the 13 libraries under threat there.  Meanwhile, the date for the National Libraries Day in 2012 has been set for 4th February.  The 2011 day was a game-changer in many ways and we must all work hard for the one next year to be even better. 

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day. 

News

“We are not a soft touch. Let’s remember why libraries matter. The National Literacy Trust says that a child who visits a library is twice as likely to read well as one who does not. South Korea is top of the international reading rankings. It is opening 180 libraries. We are 25th. We are closing 400. Libraries are places where you can read fiction, non fiction and poetry, access ICT, take part in local history, join a reading group, attend a story telling session, get help doing research, read a newspaper for free and access all kinds of services. They are free at the point of use.” Campaign for the Book Newsletter – The date is set, start your preparations for National Libraries Day- Alan Gibbons.

  • Crimes behind closed doorsIndependent (Boyd Tonkin).  My own crazy idea of the week would yoke local bookshops and branch libraries together in a joint stand against their various crises of survival. Why not place indie bookshops within, or next to, libraries? Since both locations now enhance their offer to users – from music and stationery to coffee for the former, or the latter’s strength in online information – the conflict of interest might not be as glaring as it first appears. In areas of dearth, “reading hubs” that twin-tracked public service and private purchase might flourish more than rival sites.”
  • “Culture can help to overcome crisis” says minister - News.pl (Poland).  “according to the culture minister, the Wroclaw Congress should bring about concrete decisions that should be implemented throughout the whole of the European Union, such as greater access to culture as well as subsidies for public libraries.”
  • Don’t mess with the library: Overdue books land Iowa man in jail - ABC (USA).   “Anspach, 28, checked out some 27 items, including books and other media worth $770.67, from the Newton Public Library earlier this year. The library attempted to contact him with phone calls and certified mail about the overdue books, but Anspach allegedly never responded.”
  • Few tears for departing MLABookSeller.  “Few
 will mourn the loss of a quango which delivered little strategically for the 
library sector despite a stream of initiatives such as Blueprint for 
Excellence, Framework for the Future and the two-year Library Modernisation
 Review…the MLA’s essential failure was that its board never developed and promoted 
a vision for public libraries in the 21st century which was widely
 understood and supported…Any hope of a 
radical transformation of public libraries has long been superseded by 
demands for extensive job cuts…”.  Fears Arts Council will have same lack of success unless it broadens its base – “The people who use libraries have been ignored to date. It is now 
essential that they be listened to.
”. 
  • “My library matters to me” Contest - Our Public Library (Canada).  “Each participating author will accompany a small group of contest winners to a Toronto literary site (such as a location in one of their books) followed by lunch with their group at one of the author’s favourite Toronto restaurants.”. [At the time of writing there was  46,977 signatures on Toronto petition compared to less than 9,000 for the national UK one.]
  • National Libraries Day set for 4th February - BookSeller.   “Author Alan Gibbons of Campaign for the Book, a prime mover behind the initiative, said planning was now underway for the “positive and celebratory” day in 2012 which is set to feature “Libraries Open Late” with extended hours, a library membership campaign, and events held leading up to the day and on the day itself.  ” …”Protest has made it hard to push through the most direct and swingeing cuts but the hydra of volunteer community libraries, closures, book fund cuts, staff redundancies and opening hour cuts is still writhing and twisting in area after area.”
  • Patrons picket to save Detroit library branch - Detroit News (USA).   “library commissioner Jonathan Kinloch said a final decision hasn’t been made and that getting community feedback is part of the process. “The Chase community has made a hell of a statement today with their turnout,”

Local News

  • Bristol – Jeffrey Archer launches Bristol’s Big Read – (Press release).  To celebrate the paperback launch of Jeffrey Archer’s Number One bestseller, Only Time Will Tell, Pan Macmillan have joined forces with Bristol Libraries, Reading Partners, Destination Bristol and Cyprus Well to launch Bristol’s Big Read. The aim of the project is to engage with local people, encourage them to read and discuss Only Time Will Tell and inspire them to explore their city.
  • Cambridgeshire – U-turn on cutbacks in CambridgeshireCambrdige News.    “Some of the most savage public sector cuts planned in Cambridgeshire, including raids on road maintenance and adult social care funding, could be dropped.”.  This includes a reassessment of the library review.  
  • Croydon – Library bids backed - This is Croydon Today.  “It is looking almost certain that an outside organisation will take over the running of Croydon’s libraries. Work has been completed on analysing initial bids to run the service and Councillor Sara Bashford, the council’s cabinet member for culture and sport, said: “The recommendation going to cabinet will be to go out to tender.”
  • Devon – New Cullompton Library is openThis Is The WestCountry.  “AN ambitious £3million ‘Devon Centre’ in Cullompton welcomed its first official visitors this week. The centre, called The Hayridge, has replaced two Devon County Council buildings in the town – the library and the adult learning centre.”.  Library four times size of previous, co-located with council information services.”The scheme also includes a cafe, courtyard garden and facility for people with mobility difficulties.”
  • Wakefield – Library closures put before the public - Yorkshire Post.   “A council spokesman said: “Since 1992 more than four out of every 10 library users have stopped going into the district’s libraries and new technology means that people may want to reserve and read books online, rather than visit their local library.””.  13 out of 26 libraries are threatened. 

SOS bibliothèques anglaises

Comment

Le Monde have written a special report on cuts in British public libraries.  It focuses mainly on the current crisis in Brent where 6 out of 12 branches are under threat if the courts decide that the cuts are legal.  The article is obviously not an easy one for a non-French speaker like myself to read but an idea can perhaps be gained in the following, doubtless poorly translated (Google Translate and guesswork can only do so much) below.  Perhaps the main fact is that Le Monde consider the cuts to UK public libraries so important in the first place.

“Of the twelve libraries in the district (290,000 inhabitants), half will disappear - in the name of the recession and budget cuts. Between six hundred and one thousand of these establishments – as dear to the heart as the indestructible British Fish and Chips –  are threatened, by 2012, across the country. In total, about 10% of libraries in the United Kingdom are promised to be scrapped. Including that of Preston.” ..


“… The elected (Labour) council voted as one man in favor of these drastic cuts. This, they told their flocks, was a strategic choice: either keep a small number of libraries, improving them, or face the burden of maintaining these expensive sites which will be less attended. As a bonus, the icing on the cake, a huge library, called the New Civic Center Library, will be built next to the Wembley Stadium. The flock, ungratefully, did not applaud. Six thousand of them have even signed a petition protesting against the closures. “If Preston goes, I’ll be devastated. This is the only cool place and free neighborhood,” Melvin Storm Hacker, fourteen, fan of science books.  He cannot take the underground for half an hour to go elsewhere. Especially as transport is expensive. Sitting in a corner of the library, his friends agree. They do not know eachother well and they have different political views. But all are part of the SOS Brent Libraries”, which decided - it’s a first - to attack the city fathers at the district court. The High Court‘s verdict is expected in early October.”


Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

  • Ebook services in public libraries - Reading Sight.  This summer, RNIB asked members of a National Library Service focus group to help with a survey of ebook services from public libraries. RNIB wanted to get a better idea of how many libraries provide ebooks and how accessible those services are. The survey was undertaken during Make a Noise in Libraries Fortnight (6-19 June) and shows that many libraries do not offer or plan to offer ebooks because the cost is too high.” 
“We have no plans at present to establish a national digital library service. However, local authorities continue to provide remote access for their users to catalogues, e-books and online reference resources and the UK remains a partner in Europeana—the European Digital Library network which provides access, through its website, to objects from cultural institutions within the European Union.” Ed Vaizey, House of Commons, 7th September 2011.

 

  • Negative reception for Government’s library blueprint - Literacy Trust.  Libraries should be run by the private sector with self-service borrowing points in shops and village halls, according to the report from the Future Libraries Programme.” … “But librarian group Voices for the Library have lambasted the report’s recommendations, saying they will do “serious damage to our public library network, and be counterproductive to efforts to modernise libraries and meet the needs of the UK public”. … Arts Council going ahead with Future Libraries Programme.
  • Pedal-powered mobile libraryEnvironmental Transport Association.  “With 400 libraries around the country under threat of closure, might cash-strapped councils be about to take a leaf out of the Institute of Green Mobility’s book?”
  • SOS bibliothèques anglaises – Le Monde (France). 
  • Swiss flash mob demands new libraryLibrary Co-op.  Swiss campaign for a better library – not due to any cuts, they just want a better one.  And why not?
“David Cameron and George Osborne come from the kind of families that have their own libraries. How can we expect them to give a tinker’s toss about those for whom without public libraries, the tiger would never come to tea?Tails of the unexpected - Canning Circus.  


Changes

Conwy – Mobile routes extended.  Public consultation on mobile library provision in 2012.  

Local News

  • Barnet – Plans to axe librarie are in: unless campaigners can offer an alternative ending - Barnet Today.  “The authority plans to merge Friern Barnet and North Finchleyartsdepot in Tally Ho Corner, while ending the lease of Hampstead Garden Suburb and seeking an alternative community site nearby.” but there will be a gap in provision, unless volunteers step in.
  • Bolton – Wordsmiths join forces for librariesBolton News.  Playwright Les Smith, Ruth Hamilton and Alan Gibbons to speak at libraries protest event this evening.  Save Bolton Libraries campaigner says “We hope to stimulate a lively discussion on how we can save our threatened libraries, as well as provide an update on the campaign so far.”
  • Bradford – Agreement signed over Addingham community library - Craven Herald and Pioneer.   Service level agreement signed between council and volunteers.  “This is a milestone for the group. We are now one step nearer our goal of saving the library, the next step is for us to get residents views of what they want from our library and when they want it to open.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Volunteers set to take on Gerrards Cross library - Guardian series. “Gerrards Cross Library is set to be taken on by volunteers over the coming months, after a council approved their takeover plans. A new committee, headed up by parish councillor Mike Lawson, has recruited 70 volunteers and plans to develop the library into a ‘one stop shop’ for village information.”… “the committee will look to obtain charity status and will encourage sponsorship and donations to help fund the library”
  • Conwy – Mobile library routes to be extended - North Wales Weekly News.   “Cllr Goronwy Edwards said: “We’re hoping that by showcasing the mobile library service to the wider community we will encourage more people to get involved in next year’s review of routes.”
  • Halton – Council department spending goes over budget despite cuts - Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News.   “The report also said delays to the restructure of the borough’s libraries had also had an impact”
  • Merton – Merton joins the London Libraries Consortium, 15 London boroughs now members - Booktrade.info.   “…we are not well funded and we will gain cost reductions by joining the London Libraries Consortium. The partnership element where we share good practice with other Boroughs on a regular basis will also be invaluable as we make ongoing service improvements from cross-Borough shared services to innovative customer service initiatives.”
“Latest news @WoburnSandsLibr has been given 3 years funding” Milton Keynes – SaveSSLibrary.

  • Somerset – Watchet Library Friends raise over £500 for legal battle - This is the West Country.  “A group trying to save Watchet Library has raised more than £500 following a coffee morning. Watchet Library Friends (WLF) is raising £9,000 for the Friends of Somerset Libraries legal fund and is now trying to raise the last £1,000 towards the target.”
  • Surrey – Molesey library set to be removed from “at-risk” list - Elmbridge Today.  “Molesey library looks set to be removed from a list of facilities that could be closed unless volunteers agree to run them.”.
  • Waltham Forest – Church submits library rescue plan - Guardian series.   Church steps in – “We like the idea of the community coming together to fight for something. But we don’t think it provides a long-term solution because once volunteer numbers dry up the life of the library will dry up.”.  Worries council is deliberately favouring the more prosperous southern part of the borough.

A room with books in

The difference between a library with
paid staff and a library without? -
With acknowledgement to Alan Gibbons

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

  • Council’s take heed of residents’ views, study revealsPR Week.   Survey shows just under half of respondents think council takes heed of resident’s views [which makes the headline somewhat suspect], up one per cent form last year.  “LG Insight chairman Neil Wholey explained this may be due to the current period of consultation occurring in many councils as they weigh up which services to cut.”
  • England’s libraries and the funding crisisAmerican Libraries (USA).  Phil Bradley summarises the situation so far. 
  • H.E.B. kicks off literacy campaign - Victoria Advocate (USA).   Grocery chain partnering with schools and libraries to boost reading.  “She highlighted the correlation between poverty and reading proficiency, decreased educational attainment and high school drop-out rates, noting that nearly one-third of Texas first graders are living in poverty.”
  • Library outsourcing bill leaves out Riverside County, backer says - Press-Enterprise.   “In 1997, Riverside County became the first in the country to contract with a private company to provide library services. Today, Maryland-based Library Systems and Services LLC runs 35 library branches and two bookmobiles in the county.”
  • Riots: one law for rich, one for the poor - Socialist Worker.  ““They’re not smashing up and setting fire to libraries—instead they’re shutting them down with the stroke of a pen,”
  • Small but powerful guide to winning support for your rural library - ALA (USA).   “The newly-updated Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library provides tips and tools you can use from the ALA Committee on Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds, the Association for Rural & Small Libraries and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.”

Changes

Salford – Working Class Movement Library under threat. 

Local News

  • Bury – Race online to your local Bury Library - About My Area.  “The Get You Started sessions help people get to grips with a computer, vital in a country where nearly 30% of households do not have access to the internet at home.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester - Ellesmere Port library reopens Monday 19th September - Cheshire West and Chester Council.   “The refurbishment has included the installation of self-service book issue and return, self-serve Peoples Network and remodelling of the entrance area. There has also been a layout change, wi-fi installation, improved toilet facilities, complete redecoration, carpeting and improved ventilation.”
“I fear for the sadness of my little boy should his beloved Balby library close. We spent about 2 1/2 hours there today. He would play with the toys then take a break and select a number books for me to read to him then play again using what I had just read as inspiration for his games. It filled me with Joy and also great Sadness when he said ‘ I really like the library’…”  Doncaster library user – Walk You Home. 

  • Doncaster – Real alternative to library closures - Save Doncaster Libraries.  “The Cabinet may decide to remove funding from libraries where they think the community has a chance of keeping the library open – we would strongly urge the council not to do this, because volunteer libraries are unsustainable and nowhere near enough planning has been done to ascertain if the libraries would even last a few months outside of council control. If they fail before March 2012, any efforts to find money to save them in the next financial year would be pointless.”… Labour Group (many of whom campaigned to keep libraries open) and others could find enough money.
“RT @streathamlib: Public consultation on Lambeth Libraries – TONIGHT @ 6pm Woodlawns (a terrific #assettransfer project)” Lambeth – Asset Transfer Unit (Twitter).

  • Lambeth – Libraries: Let us know what you think - Lambeth council.  “Lambeth is starting a discussion with people in the borough on what they want from their library service. All your ideas will be fed into the Library Commission. This is a group of councillors and independent people with an interest in libraries. They will use your comments and ideas in order to draw up a set of proposals.”
  • Salford – Working Class Movement Library in pictures - Guardian.  “The venerable archive in Salford is under threat after the local council reduced its funding. The library’s collection of books, trades union documents and other artefacts dates back to the 1780s.”.
  • Shropshire – Something very sad about sale of reference books - Shropshire Star (Letters).   “Our libraries were stocked by highly skilled librarians and committees who catered for a wide taste. We’ve lost something very special with this sale. I’ve gained some very interesting books.”
  • Suffolk – Consultation - Suffolk Council.  Consultation started 6th September.  
  • Surrey – More Surrey libraries could close to save council money - BBC. “Opposition councillors have said the council has “put a gun against the head” of communities by forcing them to volunteer or lose their libraries.” … Council will pay for most things apart from staff.  “”What we’re trying to do is actually take away the whole concept that library buildings are just for libraries.””
    • Nineteen libraries now under threat in SurreyBookSeller.  “”Surrey Conservatives have finally come clean about their plans to force even more local communities to take over the council’s responsibilities. These local communities have a gun against their head, either take over running the library or Conservative SCC will close it.”
    • Plan to keep all Surrey’s libraries open set for decisionSurrey Council.  “If the plans are agreed the county council will continue to support the community-run libraries. For example, where volunteers want to extend opening hours the county council will cover additional running costs such as utilities. Self service desks will also be provided as well as training for volunteers.”
    • Surrey community “has gun to its head”  on libraries, says opposition groupGuardian series.  ““The report highlights that there are many unresolved issues in the county’s proposals, as a result communities can’t complete business plans when they don’t know the financial basis upon which they will be operating.”… “I went to Peru and was able to go to an internet cafe there. If the library closes, it will mean the Peruvian jungle has better internet access than Hersham.”.  Identical article also in Surrey Comet.
    • Further 9 libraries at risk - Eagle Radio.  Lib Dem “”The running of the Libraries is the County Council’s responsibility, and I think the county council needs to continue to take that responsibility on itself. It shouldn’t be palming them off onto local communities, libraries should be run by professionals who are properly trained.”
  • York – Libraries to get new role as “hubs for community” - Yorkshire Post.   “Streamlining” to save libraries.  “… several posts are expected to be lost as part of the restructuring. However, it is hoped compulsory redundancies will be avoided because some staff are considering handing in their notice voluntarily.”

Library staff should come as Standard.

Comment 

Bad news for Surrey as 8 more now join its list of 16 libraries previously threatened with loss of paid staff.  Elsewhere, Cambridgeshire are joining the strange new phenomenon of calling a library which offers a qualified librarian behind the counter as a “Library Extra”.  Librarians are not “Extras”.  Paid staff are not luxuries. Librarians and other paid staff should come as Standard. 

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

  • 20 coolest iPad ideas for your library - Online College (USA).  Ebook lending, iPad lending, iPads for individual staff, all sorts of ideas.
  • Carol Ann Duffy: texting and Twitter “help students perfect poetry” – Daily Telegraph.  “She also criticised the coalition government over its spending cuts that has threatened thousands of libraries. It’s awful. I hope when this temporary coalition is not in office that it might be reversed by another government,” she said.” 
  • Child of the Library: Stories - (USA).   “Do you have a story to tell about what libraries mean to you, and meant to you growing up?”
  • City Hall seems to be changing history - Lori Rivas.   Santa Clarita claims decision to privatise was properly consulted on, opposition point out documents showing it was a “done deal” beforehand.  Vote on making privatisation of libraries more difficult goes to California Assembly on Wednesday.
  • Maryland company builds library empire - Washington Times.   LSSI says it does not approach councils for business and that it keeps 95% of all staff it takes over, at same or increased salary (however, these salaries, unlike in councils, are not made public)…”even though you’re not employed by the city, you still represent the city.”  LSSI saves money by centralising behind-the-scenes tasks like Personnel. Books and other items remain property of council.  Fargo and Jersey City have cancelled contracts early with LSSI due to higher than expected costs.  
  • Public Libraries and Value - Libcroft.   “there is a value equation in my head about sourcing books. Library books are cheaper in money-currency but Amazon books are cheaper in time-currency, and currently time-currency is, on the scale of book buying, more valuable to me.”…”Let’s say that, for whatever reason, I become cash-poor. Suddenly the public library appears far more attractive”.  [Therefore, rich people (e.g. a lot of the decision-makers don’t see the value of libraries – Ed.]
  • UK internet access 2011: a place for libraries - Phil Bradley’s Weblog.   “I think librarians need to become more militant, perhaps more egotistical but above all, more confident that they/we actually DO know better than IT”

Changes

Northamptonshire – All six qualified librarians at school library service made redundant.
Surrey – 8 may more libraries under threat – 19 may now be withdrawn from council.  New additions are Ash, Caterham Hill, Frimley Green, Hersham, Horsley, Knaphill, Lightwater, Shepperton & West Byfleet.   
York – Voluntary redundancies sought. Some libraries to be expanded.  

Local News

  • Bolton – Disappointed with Labour’s attitude over library closures - Bolton News.   “In this debate, the Conservatives were correctly drawing attention to the extent to which Labour proposals hit the poorest areas hardest while Labour members, in effect, continually repeated Margaret Thatcher’s mantra: “There is no alternative”.” … “There is no point in Labour councillors talking the talk on combating inequality if they choose to implement proposals such as this on library closures which impose cuts hardest on the poorest.”
  • Cambridgeshire – New chapter drafted on future of libraries - Cambridge News.  Council describes branches who have librarians and a full range or resources as “Extra”.  Other less lucky areas will have “branches christened “public services compact” in locations such as schools and leisure centres, and others known as “public services access” in post offices, doctors’ surgeries and cafés. These would offer books and services, and customers would be able to order in more specialist materials”.  Lib Dems say “The Conservatives are demanding huge savings from the at-risk libraries, which could still be forced to close before alternative provision or “community hubs” can be found.”
  • Croydon – Breakdown of responses to library questionnaire - What Do They Know? –  Freedom of Information request for details of 412 responses (out of around 5500 in total) regarding outsourcing turned down as it would take too much time.
  • Gloucestershire – Self service kiosks to be installed at Quedgeley Library -  Stroud News and Journal. “Quedgeley Library will be closed from 12th–17th September for the improvements to take place.”
  • Isle of Wight – Libraries to get online databases - IWCP.   “The new data lines — computer links to facilities such as book databases, broadband, virus protection, firewalls and web filtering —will be available for the libraries from next Friday, September 16. The council will also pay for the equipment for at least a year. No internet access will be available in the five community libraries while the upgraded data lines are installed, although it is available in the six council-run libraries.”
  • Kent – No public interest: KCC’s original library plans stay under wraps – Kent Online.   Council plans for withdrawing from up to 50 branches are withheld from the public using grounds strongly questioned.
  • North Yorkshire – Campaigners step up fight to save library - Northern Echo.   “Campaigners battling to save a closure-threatened library have begun a week of events aimed at furthering their cause.”.  Including human chain. Council says money should go to children’s care instead and volunteers can step in.
    • Worries on new library proposals - Mercury series.   Hunmanby Library may be moved to co-location but ““I’m concerned we are going to have two competing areas and our priority has got to be for the community centre.”
  • Surrey – County Council abandon PVR study - SLAM.   8 more libraries now under threat.  Survey deciding on which to withdraw from was statistically flawed.  “Surrey County Council wish to wash their hands of almost all the small libraries in Surrey and this is their third attempt.  Their first two attempts failed because there was a public outcry by the people of Surrey, so this time they invented a cheap and error ridden “number cruncher” to fool us into believing they were doing it mathematically.”
  • York – Row over proposed library shake-up - Press.   “City of York Council is looking at turning three more libraries into Explore centres by expanding an initiative already used in the city centre and Acomb.”

Suffolk could close 3 mobiles, Wiltshire first volunteer library starts

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

422 libraries (337 buildings and 85 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

Award-winning Alan Bennett on how we need to safeguard our libraries for future generations – Mirror.  “Municipal authorities of all parties point to splendid new and scheduled central libraries as if this discharges them of their obligations. It doesn’t. For a child, a library needs to be round the corner.
And if we lose local libraries it is children who will suffer.”

  • I love libraries because of the serendipitous searching experience … – Voices for the Library (Tumblr). “Essentially, I’d be lost without my local library.” 
  • Poems are the original text messages: Carol Ann Duffy on how to get children reading more poetryManchester Evening News.  Interview with Poet Laureate.  “Carol Ann Duffy is very cross. The Poet Laureate is angry about the threat to many of our libraries. “It’s awful,” she says. “I hope when this temporary coalition is not in office that it might be reversed by another government.” …”Carol Ann’s spent the last year joining protests against library closures. She believes libraries are an effective way of introducing young people to the world of reading and writing, something she is passionate about.  And for the Poet Laureate, it’s personal. She says without access to a library when she was younger she wouldn’t be where she is today.”

Changes

Local News

Book Desertification

Comment 

The Telegraph has printed an article in which it points out the danger of whole areas of the country being without a bookshop, or a library, in the near future.  The decline in the independent bookshop, the end of Borders and the worries over Waterstones mean that the public library may be the only place in which to browse a physical book.  Online, the future is equally as bleak, with Amazon seeming to dominate the market which could lead to an effective monopoly on printed book provision in the UK.  The picture is little better with e-books, where a lawsuit reports suspiciously similar (and high) prices between Amazon and Apple. Yet another reason to save the public library near you.

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

419 libraries (337 buildings and 82 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

“Speaking of libraries, a little reported section of the recent DCMS study, This Cultural and Sporting Life: The Taking Part 2010/11 Adult and Child Report – buried among “Attitudes to the Olympic Games”, “Digital engagement” and “The Big Society” – shows that people (three-quarters of children and two-fifths of adults) do use libraries, that their use has not declined in the past two years, and there is less of a difference in use of libraries between rich and poor areas than in any other cultural sector. The Government is just going to have to think of some other excuse for closing them all down, then.” Between the covers - Independent.  

  • How Twitter and Facebook helped Bing Thom design a public library - Fastcodesign.  Canadian library designed in record time due to use of social media for public consultation.  ““Surrey used to be the joke of Vancouver. Well, it’s not going to be a joke. People are starting to see that it’s the future.””
  • Internet and supermarkets kill off 2,000 bookshops – Telegraph.   “Campaigners warned yesterday that the loss of bookshops, coupled with threats to close thousands of libraries as part of council cuts, will lead to “book deserts” across large areas of the country.”.  CILIP says cutting libraries can lead to anti-social behaviour.  Waterstones stops its 3 for 2 offer, independent bookshops likely to (mostly) close.
  • Karin Slaughter and Lotte Sluyser – This Week in Libraries. “World famous best seller writer Karin Slaughter and Lotte Sluyser, a driving force for libraries in the Netherlands. Lotte is the Director of the Public Library of Haarlem.”
  • Library media box and other vending machines - Swiss Army Librarian.  Shows several different types with pros and cons. Anything we can do to make library services available outside the library’s building and operating hours – in a variety of ways to meet a variety of patron needs – is a good thing.”
  • Porn in US Libraries - RT (USA)Russian TV channel emphasises supposed porn aspect of US libraries caused by constitutional freedom of free speech. Includes several viewpoints but emphasising shock at such liberty.
“Kids who read become students who do well in school. Students who do well in school go to college. College students graduate to good jobs and pay higher taxes. Libraries don’t service only Democrats or Republicans. They don’t judge by class, race or religion. They service everyone in their community, no matter their circumstances. Rich or poor; no one is denied. Libraries are not simply part of our guarantee to the pursuit of happiness. They are a civil right, the foundation upon which time and time again the American dream has been built. If we lose our libraries, we risk losing our communities, our families and ourselves.” Save the Libraries (USA) Letter of advocacy by Karin Slaughter.

  • Why we love libraries (and we bet you do too)Shine. Reasons – quietness, free items, librarian advice, meet people, universal, connect to past, ownership of library card, rainy afternoons, answer questions, “the magic”.
  • World of Julia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate – Telegraph. “A lot of local councillors seem scared of not being voted in at the next election if the libraries close – it is brilliant that protests are having such an effect. As Children’s Laureate I am planning a big libraries tour next year to do sessions dramatising picture books with local schoolchildren. I want to illustrate the things that can and do happen in libraries; I don’t want to just swan in like the Queen.”

Changes

Local News

  • Bath and North East SomersetLibrary survey starts – BBC. ““We’re not in the same situation as many other councils who are looking at drastic cuts and closing libraries. We’re looking to make sure that the library service we’ve got is what people actually need and what they want.””
“This is an empty alternative that will in no way meet the range of needs that local people have.  Although this is part of the Council’s preferred cost saving ‘Option One’, they have not said how much the new service will cost to set up, what the ongoing rental, staffing and transport costs will be, or indeed how the service will be staffed. Will it be by volunteers, or by existing community centre staff? This is a shambles of a proposal. Local people need a proper library service, not a small pile of books in the corner of a community centre.” Bolton – A library is more than a pile of books in the corner of a community centre – Alan Gibbons.  Quote from Bolton campaigner Ian McHugh  regarding council suggestions for “taster” collections to replace closed libraries.

National library leadership please

Comment

The lack of advocacy or leadership for libraries by librarians, on a regional or national level (with the exception of, in the case of advocacy,  Voices for the Library, in which I must declare an interest being I am a member of its team) is one of the most striking facets of the current crisis. The following is reprinted here, with permission, from the highly experienced John Dolan.  It first appeared on the LIS-PUB-LIBS librarian discussion site and is part of a longer thread on national reference resources.
While we are rightly preoccupied with the threats of library closures we are missing the bigger threat posed by current policy; localism without coordination denies people the huge opportunity that comes from national collaboration. National leadership does not deny local choice. Rather it offers the choice of resources that no localism could possibly afford to deliver. This is basic economics, not ideology. Compare health, schools, universities, forests, police etc etc
It is a shortcoming currently that almost all external advocacy for public libraries has come from the literature/fiction community, notwithstanding the WI! Library leaders and DCMS must earn support among colleagues in education, lifelong learning, citizenship and community action, the voluntary sector and the wider arts and cultural communities to raise awareness of the library as a place of learning and discovery that does not come only from borrowing fiction.


John Dolan made these comments purely as an individual.  It is not meant to represent the views of any organisation that he is currently involved with on either an official or unofficial basis

419 libraries (337 buildings and 82 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

News

 
  • Councils told: end diversity quiz – Press Association.   “Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will issue new guidelines for local authorities removing the requirement for them to undertake “intrusive lifestyle and diversity” surveys.” … “That includes revelations last month that libraries in Islington, north London, were asking people registering to borrow books if they had cancer, HIV, or diabetes and whether they were transgender.” [This shows that the Government can move amazingly quickly when it wants to, the almost complete lack of reaction to the cuts in libraries by them is thus even more worrying – Ed.)
    • Councils told to drop personal questionnaires - BBC.   “The Department for Communities and Local Government said that its one-page statutory guidance replaces “the 56 pages of John Prescott’s so-called ‘Best Value’ guidance”.
  • Death of books has been greatly exaggeratedGuardian. Printed book sales have gone up in the last decade and it’s still early to tell what effect e-books will have.  Online sales have boosted booksales but  “Let’s not be naive. Any retail channel that ends up being dominated by one player will end up squeezing its producers; just ask a farmer. But Amazon is, right now, giving people what they want: competitive pricing, rapid delivery, massive choice, good customer service. And it’s selling books. A lot of books.”
  • Will community ownership be at home in the new world of localism? - Joseph Rowntree Foundation.   Similar Scottish legislation to the Localism Bill has seen only nine purchases in six years.”In England and Wales, too, the scale of community asset ownership is small and is likely to remain so in the near future, especially as many organisations seek to consolidate what they have before risking new investments. But the Localism Bill’s best service could be to send out an important and powerful signal about our future – a future where our stake in society is no longer limited to what we can own as individuals, what we buy from corporations or what we expect the state to do on our behalf.”

Changes

Local news

  • Brent  – DCMS still in libraries dialogue with Brent Council - Wembley Matters.   Standard pro-forma letter reply to website, largely seen before.  Unique words are “DCMS officials have met with officers from Brent Council and are in the process of considering all the relevant evidence and all the issues. The Department will continue to maintain dialogue with the local authority. Once all the relevant issues have been considered, the Secretary of State will decide whether or not to intervene, or whether further actions on the part of Brent Council are required.”
  • Central Bedfordshire – No plans for library closures - Biggleswade Today.  Fears by campaigners that volunteers will be used instead.  Council says “We are currently working to develop proposals to improve the quality and range of services that the library can provide, and the public will have the opportunity to comment on these options later in the autumn.””
  • Devon – Protest campaign launched against Colyton library cuts - Midweek Herald.   Library reduced to 10 hours per week.  Campaigner “disappointed” by cuts and worried the one member of staff would be overwhelmed by customers in reduced opening hours.  Suggests that council should use the 40 volunteers already signed up and “willing to do any type of work” – council considering use of volunteers in 2012.
  • Manchester – Important changes to Manchester Library Services. What’s happening? - Manchester City Council. Complete list of cuts, with supporting papers.
  • Newham – Save our language papersGoPetition.  “We believe LBN’s argument is not supported by mainstream thought or research that recognises the beneficial and complex role mother-tongue/second-language skills play in learning English as a foreign language. Neither does it address the broader value of preserving and respecting other cultures within a diverse and evolving borough.”
  • Norfolk – Lynn’s Heritage Open Day allows a new look at historic town library - Lynn News.  Potted history of library since its opening by Andrew Carnegie himself in 1905.
  • Northamptonshire – Public phase of library consultation begins – About My Area.  “”This review sets out a plan where instead of closing libraries or reducing opening hours, we diversify the way libraries are funded.  We intend to review how we are doing in Summer 2013 as a mid-point but if progress is not on track we will have to consider closures once again.”
    • My Library, My Community survey - Northamptonshire Council.   “We cannot afford to continue to fund the service completely ourselves. That is where you come in.” … “We intend to increase people who contribute time to the service from 400 to 1600 over the next four years” … “People have said they don’t mind paying for the service. How much would you be willing to give?”  [This would be illegal under the 1964 Act – Ed.]
  • Northern Ireland  – Disappointment as Belfast Central Library refused £20m - BBC.   Exterior already upgraded but expected interior improvement cancelled due to budget cuts. 
  • Swindon – Library celebrates 40th birthdaySwindon Advertiser.  ““We are hoping to get a self-service machine installed and longer opening hours which is good news. Unlike other councils which are closing libraries we are bucking the trend.””