Localism Bill a “One Way Ticket to Privatisation”

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK

Two stories stand out today.  The first is that Camden solicitors suggest that the Localism Bill, should it become law, will mean that all councils will need to consider privatisation as an option in running their libraries.  Labour councillors call this a “one way ticket” to privatised libraries, Conservative councillors described Labour as “closed minded”.  See the “Privatized and Volunteer Libraries” link on the right for more  information on the subject of privatised libraries.

The second story is that CILIP are expecting there to be more library closures announced after May 5th election.  This is undoubtably true.  It is sobering to think that a figure of 517 may be an underestimate for the number of libraries under threat.


Because even our libraries are cool: Shepard Fairey joins LA’s young literati in supporting the LAPL - LAistYoung professionals see public libraries as key to promote Los Angeles as an intellectual and literary centre. 
Cameron: we’re the people’s partyNorthern Echo.  David Cameron asked if cutting libraries was the “true face” of Conservatives – he replied deficit needs to be cut and council “waste” would pay for it.  Any cuts to front-line services are politically motivated to hurt Conservatives.
More library closures set for SummerBookSellerLikely to be more closures after May 5th elections. More library cuts expected in universities as tuition fees are introduced.

 ”We’ve had 500 in six months,” he said. “A lot of councils are waiting for the flak to die down from the first round, and think we will then all be used to the idea that libraries have to go.” He predicted a new wave of announcements over the summer, adding: “Brent and Lewisham [which are closing 11 libraries between them] seem to have got away with it. The secretary of state has been asked to intervene but has not yet produced a response. He is talking to people and taking evidence, but he’s just going through the motions.” Tim Coates

Public libraries feel strain of budget cutsDaily Herald.  72% of libraries reported cuts last year, 43% cut staff, 19 states cut funding, 17 states closed libraries.  Urban libraries affected the most.  7 in 10 libraries do not have enough computers to cope with demand. (USA).
Save our Libraries! – Women’s Weekly, 12th April p.20-21 (not available online).  Double page spread includes interview with Elaine Hoare (volunteer) at Chalfont St Giles, Heather Wright (campaigner for Goodmayes library) and Joephine Cox (author).

Changes to tally

Edinburgh – £602k cut (rather than previously reported £550k); may reduce opening hours.
Windsor and Maidenhead – Has 105-110 staff with 45-50 volunteers 

News by authority

Bolton – Campaigners out in force to save libraries – Bolton News. 50 protesters lobbied councillors before meeting.  600 signatures collected in two hours outside Harwood Library.  200 attended read-in at Astley Bridge last week.  Consultation ends 20th May.
Camden – Labour pledge not to sell off library service to private companies - Camden New Journal.  Labour would like to rule out privatisation but Localism Bill may soon make such a pledge illegal. LSSI asked to speak at meeting but were refused. Conservative group call opposition to privatisation “closed minded”.
Cumbria – Walney: Library supporter, 97, calls for library to stay – North West Evening Mail.  Loss of library will mean loss of community and lack of books for those who cannot travel.

“We believe that libraries and the staff who run them are vital, not just in this borough, but across the country and that Councils should not see them as an easy way to make savings. The use of volunteers is important but they should be used to enhance the library offering not to replace skilled librarians.” Cllr Simon Dudley, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, Windsor & Maidenhead Council.

Dorset – Weymouth: Councillors’ anger as five local libraries face losing their funds – View Online.  One library for 64k people, ten mile travel to nearest library.  Consultation described as a “sham and disgraceful”.  Poorer areas like Littlemoor will lose vital internet access and be unable to become volunteer-run.
Edinburgh – Turning page to a new chapter for city libraries - Edinburgh Evening News. Initiatives to stop decline in usage (down 6%) face problem of large budget cut which may reduce opening hours.  Library chief suggests online services may be the answer.
Enfield – Tories claim Enfield Festival cash better spent on adult services and libraries – Enfield Independent.  £200k multicultural Enfield Festival supported “in principle” but money needed elsewhere. 

“I am 100 per cent committed to Staffordshire’s libraries. I want to expand and develop the services that they offer residents which is why, when many areas are closing facilities, the county council is investing in libraries by providing technology such as Wifi. Libraries offer a full range of resources for the whole community. Our network of 43 libraries and the mobile library service provides a knowledge hub for people in all walks of life.”. Staffordshire – Libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood switch to WifiLichfield Blog.  

Sutton – Last chance to comment on future of Sutton librariesSutton Guardian. £935k cut consultation closes on April 23rd.  “Suggestions so far include introducing iPads into libraries to replace desktop PC’s; charging for the use of the computer suite; reviewing the DVD/CD hire service; making better use of volunteers and hosting children’s birthday parties”
Warwickshire – Thousands petition over library proposals – Warwickshire Direct.  6000 people have signed petitions during the consultation so far, which ends on June 9th.  The council refuses to say if the petitions are for or against council proposals.

Ebooks for Kindles to be loaned in US libraries

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (see tally link on right for full list)


Is the fate of libraries to die? A bleak prognosis - Under a Watling Street tree.  Libraries have “dumbed down”, lost their educational purpose and are therefore open to the threat of closures.
Jesse Jackson Jr: iPads are both the future and the harbinger of doom – Telegraph. “Here he is, decrying the loss of jobs such as those in ‘libraries, bookstores. Jobs that depend on paper. In the not-too-distant future, such jobs will not exist.”
Kindle teams with OverDrive to lend library booksPublishers Weekly.  200% increase 2009 to 2010 in public library ebook lending in USA and perhaps the same again this year. “Of course, not every title available for purchase in the Kindle will be available for lending. Major publishers like Macmillan and Simon & Schuster still do not sell e-books to libraries”

“The internet retail giant has linked up with Overdrive, which provides digital content to 11,000 US libraries and educational institutions, to create the Kindle Library Lending service. When the service launches later this year, customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app. The service also allows loaned Kindle e-books to be annotated on their e-reading device. The next time the e-book is checked out by the same user, their margin notes will have been saved and appear again. Amazon.com readies e-book lending service – Bookseller. See also Amazon Press Release.

Leadership role for The National Archives – BBC.  National Archives will take over from MLA, ignoring government committee advice to reconsider scrapping of MLA.
National Libraries Day could become week of events – BookSeller.  First planning meeting involving several national organisations to take place in May. 
Save our libraries – Digital DemocracyThe campaign is one of the top runners in this (similar to 38 Degrees) website.  You will need to log in to vote but the registration system is fairly easy.

 ”..if we allow digital material to replace imperfectly what has worked well before, we run a serious risk of creating a system that retards learning, by pulling away the foundations of what the Internet can offer. Zadie Smith may be wrong about the underlying factor in closing libraries, but in the end it’s a shame there aren’t more people fighting with her.”Stealing Libraries – Harvard Crimson.

Where is the Culture Select Committee? - Good Library Blog.  
Why does the Left hate technology? – Patriot Post (USA).  Jesse Jackson Jr has attacked ebooks/Ipad for stealing people’s job.  Deeply partisan article expands this example to argue that the Left is against technological progress.  Notable for image of a knitting frame being somehow “bludgeoned to death”. See this response.

Changes to tally by authority

Derbyshire – Some staff cuts.  Hours reductions are mainly two hours per library on one day.
Flintshire – Feasibility plan launched for new Saltney Library. 
Windsor and Maidenhead – New library to open at Boyn Grove, expanding Smiths Lane.  Staffing a combination of core paid staff with volunteers used to extend hours/services.

News by authority

Cumbria – MP launches fight to save libraries - North West Evening Mail.  Tim Farron MP.  Loss of mobile libraries a particular blow to those in the Lakes.
Cumbria – Your views on the “Cumbria Community Libraries” idea – Cumbria Council.  Interesting comments about the council’s idea to close 20 branches and replace them with 400 books each in local shops (400 books is roughly four “spinners” or that held in a keen readers’ house)
Cumbria – Campaign launched to keep Workington Library open - News & Star.  ““A lot of people use our library, I use it myself. It’s not just books, you can get films and all sorts and it’s a meeting place for a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise see each other. It’s also handy for all the local schools. We won’t sit back and watch it close.”

“In a county like ours, library services play a key role in our community. When I heard about the county council plans, I was shocked. Many residents use the library services. It is a chance to meet friends and catch up when the library van comes. These proposals will hit older people the hardest. I hope local residents join the campaign to save the services.” Tim Farron MP.

Derbyshire – Libraries feel full force of cutbacksDerbyshire Times.  Summary of libraries losing hours (mostly two hours on one day).  Cuts intended to avoid closing some libraries entirely.
Dorset – Call to support your local library - Bridport News.  Campaigner asking people to support proposal to cut hours in all libraries rather than closing 20.
Flintshire – Saltney library, pharmacy and police headquarters complex planned - Chester Chronicle. Corporate investment required. 
HarrowSelf-service machines go online in Harrow libraries - Harrow Observer.  Self-service machines installed in order to save enough money so no library will close. “Harrow’s modernisation project is in sharp contrast to neighbouring Brent’s own ‘libraries transformation’, which includes the closure of six branches.”
Isle of Wight – Council indemnify library user group against TUPE claims – Ventnor Blog.  Council has agreed to cover any TUPE claims against community group taking over closing Bembridge Library ans has agreed to do so in other closing libraries.
Isle of Wight – High Court paper filed against Council over libraries - Ventnor Blog.  Lack of Equality Impact Assessment by council is cited as major cause.  Council told campaigners to “do your own”.
Isle of WightLegal action to stop libraries’ closure to be launched - IWCP.  Legal action about to take place – if action successful, council will be forced to reopen any libraries it closes.
Lewisham – Lewisham campaigners’ questions for DCMS – Alan Gibbons.  Text of letter from campaigners to DCMS highlighting their concerns over the legality of Lewisham’s cuts.
Suffolk – Library “may not survive future cuts” - Newmarket Journal.  Mildenhall may be axed in 2012 so best to look for solution now – community use or moving it closer to the town centre are possibilities.
Windsor and Maidenhead – Borough bucks national trend: new library planned for Boyn Grove – Alan Gibbons.

Crucifying a library near you.

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (see tally link on right for full list)


Improving literacy through school librariesSign On San Diego (USA).  “We cannot afford to lose the academic enrichment that a library brings to a school community … let’s choose to be a literate society”.
Beyond the fragments – Public Finance.  Austerity is forcing sharing services between councils thus making councils less local.  Government is shifting the blame to councils for closing libraries etc while at the same time still subjecting them to “endless Whitehall diktats”.
Disintermediation and its discontents - Scholarly Kitchen.  Discussion about library purchasing, publishers and the lesson learnt by Britannica. “We have to stop talking to our customers”.
Librarians and Rome: Rules for the University of Gloucestershire c. 1943. – Johanna Bo Anderson’s Blog 

“However, people who don’t own those devices [eBooksare left behind. Underfunded schools, for example, barely have funds for printed books, much less e-books, e-readers or laptops, educators say. “I hate to see our increasingly divided culture leave the poor further behind by making texts available mostly in unaffordable and impractical formats,” says Denver School of the Arts literature teacher Gregg Painter.New way we read: ten ways digital books are changing our literary lives - Denver Post (USA).

Public library useALA (USA).  Fact Sheet showing current state of play for public libraries in the USA.  82% offer wifi, three-fifths of Americans own a library card. Children account for a third of use.
Whither the dream of the universal library? - Guardian. Copyright concerns are preventing the digitisation of all printed works.  


Changes to tally

Walsall - Libraries may be privatised.

News by Authority

Derbyshire – Library opening hours slashed – Derbyshire Times. 30 libraries will have reduced hours. £1.76m cut.
Enfield – Fight begins against possible Enfield library closuresEnfield Independent. “Hands off Libraries” petitions started by Nick De Bois MP (Conservative).
Enfield – “No library short-listed to close” says Councillor Bambos Charalambous – Enfield Independent.  Councillor in charge of libraries suggested no library in particular is highlighted to close in seeming contradiction to the words and actions of others in the Council.  One of the libraries highlighted for closure, Ordance Road, would be controversial as it is currently undergoing refurbishment, due to reopen April 26.

Gloucestershire – Rev. Keith Hebdem “We need to continue to speak truth to power” – FoGL. Matson vicar organised vigil with line ““Were you there when they crucified our library?”. Council has given up on volunteers running it and suggest people go to nearest other library “20 minutes away by car”.
Lewisham – Battle lines are drawn over libraries’ future – South London Press. Campaigners presented case to DCMS last week, the council defended them to the DCMS, and community groups put forward their case for taking over the libraries, due to closed on May 28th.
Lewisham – Would you borrow a book from these people? – Brockley Central. Interesting comments. 
Liverpool – Central Library transformation makes progress – Liverpool Echo. £50m project, the new features will include a “Discovery” zone for children, modern IT facilities and a rooftop terrace cafe.
Suffolk – Promise of big changes at county councilEADT.  New council leader seems to be aiming to tone down the radical divestment strategy of predecessor.
Walsall – Walsall council staff may be moved to private firms – Express & Star. Education and Roads already contracted out. “We need to look at outsourcing jobs. Let’s take libraries for instance, there may be someone who comes to us and says ‘we will run your libraries for you’.”

Court Case against Government dropped.

Reassurances have been given by the DCMS that they will step in and call public inquiries into library closures if necessary.  Alan Gibbons and the Campaign Against the Book have therefore dropped their moves towards a judicial inquiry.  See Alan’s article here.

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (see tally link on right for full list)


Five myths about the Information Age - Chronicle of Higher Education (USA)Debunks several myths like “the book is dead” (more print books are published every year than in the previous year), Google estimates 88% of books not available online and … libraries are not obsolete.
Labour councils “sitting on cash” as services are cutDaily Telegraph (front page)Much debate between Labour and Conservatives on who is sitting on the most money and why the other side should spend it on things like libraries.
Lending to Learning: The development and extension of public libraries - Ronan O’Beirne.  Details of new book. “the public library [should be] not simply as a national institution steeped in tradition, or as a purposeless place providing little more than popular glossy magazine titles, but as a learning space. Or, more correctly, a space owned by and dedicated to learners.” Radio interview with author (and a interviewer knowledgeable about libraries) on Bradford Commumity Broadcasting about the book and the future of libraries is here. 
Libraries: the alternative approach of Brent and BucksConservativeHome.  Compares Brent’s decision to close 6 of its 12 libraries with Buckinghamshire’s more Big Society approach to closing 16 out of 23.  
Library War - LISNewsPoster notes debate between lovers of Ebooks and lovers of printed books. (USA) 
Time libraries were shelved? - Silicon (Peter Cochrane’s Blog).  Writer no longer uses paper books, that there is no further point in them or encyclopaedias, that libraries should be closed because other services are more necessary but he does not wish to enter the libraries debate. See response by Alan Gibbons.

What’s the key to a good job interview? – Wikiman.  How to get a job in libraries.

What does it mean, the children ask, borrow a book?
Why borrow when you can buy everything – print on demand –
from a warehouse the size of the amazon rainforest
or download to read later?  They laugh when we say we
used to walk to a building where you could ‘borrow’ books.
The brown packages tumble through the letterbox:
as if they’d ever give them back!  The boy skims through
a billion pages.  The girl fondles her kindle like a wounded pet.
They look up at us and smile, their eyes shining pixels:
what does it mean, the last library has shut tight?
We try to explain.  Date stamps flicker on their lashes. 
Borrow – A Poem by Rosie Miles (Voices for the Library)

Changes to Tally

Bromley – Council has £33m cash reserves
Gloucestershire – Consultation on opening hours until 30th April. 
Lambeth – Council has £93.7m cash reserves.
Liverpool – Council has £121.7m cash reserves according to Conservatives (£16m according to council)
Manchester – Council has £95.2m cash reserves
Nottingham – Council has £50.7m cash reserves.

News by authority

Brent – Councillors told to resign after library axe voteHarrow Observer.  Councillor says “There are more things to consider than just what people said in the consultation”.  Six libraries to close while £100m spent on new town hall.
Croydon – Bashford refuses to answer key questions on librariesInside Croydon. Council is strongly suspected of having already decided to close libraries and transfer them to volunteers. Despite consultation, one councillor has already said “Three libraries are looking at going, Sanderstead being one of them.”
Ealing – Anger over Hanwell Library proposals – Ealing Today.  LibDem councillor calls consultation loaded and points out excludes those who are not online. Hanwell costs £82k p.a to run.  Packed meeting included two former labout councillors and that council “clearly needs to look elsewhere to find these savings.”

“We were able to speak up for everyone in Gloucestershire being affected by the slashing of library services and to whom the county council will not listen, including the 10 communities that will no longer have public libraries and the users of the mobile library services which are being completely axed. It’s such a shame that we have had to travel all the way to Westminster and to central government to make our voices heard, as this is exactly the kind of open and honest discussion we have been trying to have with GCC for months, but to no avail.” Gloucestershire – Library campaigners put their case to government officialsTewkesbury Admag.

Gloucestershire – Library users consulted on opening hours – Tewkesbury AdMag. “Gloucestershire County Council has used statistics on individual library use to suggest opening hours, but says no decisions have been taken and people are being asked to give their views on what suits them”
Leicestershire – Library self-service machines a huge success! - InLoughborough. 85% of issues through self-service machines saving £330k in staffing costs.
Oxfordshire – Benson: Campaign group launched to save library from chop – Henley Standard.  Benson Library’s usage is growing, 40% of its usage is by children and it has won awards for good service.
Suffolk – Lollipop patrols saved by new county council leader – EADT.  Hopeful signs that new council Leader will review decision to close 29 out of 44 libraries.
Suffolk – Stradbroke Parish Council’s response to Suffolk Library Consultation – James Hargrave’s Blog.  Parish Council would prefer to keep library as is, however being Suffolk are determined to close, parish council will take over role with funding by Suffolk for one year.
Wirral – Woman who led Wirral libraries inquiry to speak at New Brighton conference – Wirral News.  Sue Charteris will be speaking in her capacity as co-founder of “Shared Intelligance” at the Reader Organisation’s Reading for Wellbeing Conference at the Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton on May 17

Nick Clegg, “you have no credibility on this issue whatsover”.

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (See “Tally” link on right for full breakdown).


Nick Clegg has said that it is not the Lib Dems closing libraries.  For this, Alan Gibbons calls him the world’s biggest hypocrite.  Library campaigner Shirley Burnham‘s response is well worth reprinting in full

“The Liberal Democrat Party included nothing about public libraries in its 2010 manifesto, in spite of being cognisant of the threat to the service and in touch with the best minds in the country on the issue well before its publication. Contact with library experts was strictly confidential whilst Lib Dem shadow ministers attempted to draft a policy for public libraries. No-one has to date broken that confidentiality. Now, reading Nick Clegg’s protestations about Libraries, I am angry…. So, I confirm that, when it mattered and when they had opportunity, the Lib Dems performance was abysmal. Subsequently they chose to ally themselves with the Tories who seem hell bent on overseeing the destruction of this great institution, wholly against the public will.

Making political speeches about Libraries now, Mr Clegg, does not convince this former member of your Party. Please take the Culture Minister and Secretary of State by the lapels and insist that they undertake their statutory duties. Failing that, you have no credibility on this issue whatsoever.” 
(S) shows article added on Sunday

Beast’s business model and what it means for your library – Privatisation Beast (USA) Review of doctoral thesis on the LSSI business model (S)
Clegg tells Lib Dems: Take fight to Tories – Sky News “Speaking in his Sheffield consituency, Mr Clegg attacked cuts made by both Tory and Labour councils to libraries and Sure Start children’s centres across the country. He said: “If you value these services, my message to you is very clear: Lib-Dems are with you.”
Ebooks pass another milestone – Guardian.  Ebook sales in the USA have now overtaken paperback sales in terms of value (not in terms of absolute number) after a 203% increase compared to the same time last year.
Ed Miliband slams Nick Clegg over Lib Dems’ string of broken promises - Mirror.
It is the fate of libraries to die - Financial Times.  [There is a certain irony that this article is found behind a paywall].  Article argues that libraries are luxuries that can no longer be afforded.
Lib Dems go on offensive ahead of council elections – Independent.
Manifestos – Stage one accomplished - Posterous.  Summary of how libraries have been put on the political agenda in Scotland.
Tigers, poets and superheroes - Voices for the Library. Highlights library initiatives including Kirklees housebound borrowers special event, Chris Manby author visit, Swansea Easter events including a superhero party, Edinburgh “Tiger Tales” with event held at Edinburgh Zoo.

Changes by Authority

Enfield – 3 out of 16 under threat (Ordnance Road Library,Enfield Highway Library,Bullsmoor Library) under threat. £578k cut 2011, £300k 2012 and 2013. If massive opposition, libraries could stay open but staffed with volunteers.  Decision to be made in “Summer”.
Portsmouth£650k cut – proposal is for Central Library closed every Friday, whole service cutting 22 full-time equivalent posts. 
Swindon£45k external consultancy report on the future management of its libraries includes June decision on privatisation. (S)

News by Authority

Croydon – Bradmore Green Library is the favourite of users, according to consultation - This is Croydon Today (S).  Smaller libraries attact more “favourite” ticks than Central library.
Croydon – Survey finds threatened libraries more popular than Croydon’s central library – This is Croydon Today (S).
Cumbria – Libraries at risk in council shake-up – Whitehaven NewsCouncil says closing 20 libraries and putting 400 (sic) books into pubs shows they’re thinking differently. Family Centre deputy chief executive disagrees.

“Officers at Cumbria County Council want to close 20 public libraries and move them into village shops, post offices and pubs – which are closing even faster than libraries because they’re not seen as cool either. It’s not to save money, they say. Library closures and reduction in book stocks are for… er, I’m not sure they explained that fully but it’s for reasons of coolness, is my guess. Council officers who are not at all keen on libraries are clearly cooler than those of us who are. They must by iOfficers.” Cumbria – Where is the romance, the community in a Kindle, an Ipad? - News and Star. 

Doncaster – MP Rosie Winterton lends her support to Save Doncaster Libraries – Save Doncaster Libraries.  Labour Chief Whip/MP Doncaster Central.
Doncaster – Naming and shaming library cutters - Save Doncaster Libraries.  Two conservatives who voted for library closures, despite being told not to by their party whip are shown. (S)
Enfield – Libraries under threat again as budget cuts bite – North London newspapers. ““This is very worrying, especially in an age where we are trying to promote education and when there are so many changes coming in. People need their libraries, and not just for books – they are learning resource centres and have internet access for those who don’t have it at home. We would be in favour of having volunteers staffing the library if it means they can stay open.”
Hertfordshire – Bushey Library to close for three month refurbishment - Watford Observer. More computers, wifi, events space, larger children’s area. (S)
Portsmouth – Readers in protest against council plans to slash library staff - News. ‘I have a learning disability and the library has been a great place for me to come. It has so much more information than anywhere else and it’s very wrong to cut back library services.’
Surrey – Library closing? Borrow a phone book - This is Surrey Today. Telephone box still in use has shelf added with donated books – “Writing on the shelf says “You’re welcome to take me, but make sure to replace me” (S)
Swindon – Council meeting 14th April - Save Old Town Library Campaign.  Swindon’s libraries may be privatised. (S)

Ninja Librarians

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  See link on right for full tally by authority.


The Independent notes that “”Please keep the noise down” isn’t an ideal protest chant. Then again, perhaps libraries aren’t quite as quiet as we all thought.”.  One can speak and enjoy oneself in all the best libraries I know.  Raising the anger of the people who use libraries has never been considered a high-risk occupation.  Unless, that is, one is a councillor and the elections are looking.  Have a look at the CILIP and Voices for the Library campaigns to confirm this. Rumours of a deathly silent ninja librarians militant wing remain, however, despite some video evidence that includes some swearing, unconfirmed.


Fantastic Bounce and Rhyme – Voices for the Library. Special half hour sessions for babies with singing, finger rhymes and lullabies moves a mum to tears.
How Libraries shaped my motherhood – Offbeat Mama (USA)


National Libraries Week 2011 begins with John Grisham as Honorary Chair – Examiner (USA) “The American Library Association has sponsored National Library Week since it was first established in 1958. The event aims at promoting the use of libraries and increasing public support for their offerings”
Shhhh, 2011 London Word Festival is back with a library theme … Independent.
Tell us once - Idea.  Government/local government initiative where a bereavement is communicated to one service (e.g. libraries) which then informs all other services.

Durham - Barnard’s Castle library may be closed in 2012, along with other branch and mobile libraries.  Bookfund cut this year, with some reductions in opening hours proposed.
Leicestershire - Online questionnaire consulting on cuts to libraries 11 April to 20 June. Council aims to close libraries at least busy times rather than closing some entirely.  38 libraries may reduce from 20 hours per week to 13 hours per week. Summary of proposals.

News by authority
Cumbria – Fight to save your librariesTimes & Star.  Residents say threatened libraries are well used with one doing mums & tot group, reading club, coffee mornings, craft fair. Long journeys to open libraries.  Council promoting 400 (sic) book “library link”. “Declining” usage figures for threatened libraries cover period of major flooding which council admits “distorted the pattern”.  Despite this, two of the threatened libraries saw uage increasing in this period.  See Alan Gibbons’ comments on Cumbria cutting hours.
Durham – Library “hub” may be created in village hall - Teesdale Mercury“Book point” in Mickleton village hall proposed where one could ask for book online or by phone, as a three-month trial following on from the Future Libraries Programme.
Ealing – Ealing residents express anger over proposed library closures - Ealing Times. 120 attended meeting.  Councillor seemed interested only in volunteers rather than the council continuing to run library.

“We have been told we are asking overly specific questions at parish council meetings, been dealt with with contempt when we made our statement after submitting our 15,000 signature strong petition at a full council meeting. We were placed on the agenda AFTER the council voted in the library plans when they had promised to take our comments into consideration – (to this day the council refuse to provide an explanation for this).  ALL of the Conservatives voted in the plans despite fierce opposition from their constituents……..the list goes on. “ Gloucestershire – Library users being frozen out of negotiations on the future of their own libraries - FoGL

FoGL – Concerned

Gloucestershire – I call this disgraceful behaviourAlan GibbonsLeader of Council refuses to talk to any pro-library campaigner while judicial review is under way, regardless of if they are connected with it or not.
Gloucestershire – FoGL meet with DCMS officials over concerns around GCC’s library plans - FoGL. Campaign group has one hour meeting with DCMS.
Leicestershire – County wants feedback on cuts to libraries and museums – BBC.
Leicestershire – Have your say on library and museum hours – inLoughborough
Sheffield – Libraries Uncut – Library Workers for a Brighter Future. A “People’s Library” will be opening in the town on 30th April.
Somerset – Staplehay phone box becomes a library - Somerset County Gazette. Parish council sets up informal book exchange.  ““At a time when county libraries are reducing their hours of access to the public, we have a new facility that will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Suffolk – Thurston: Village unveils bid to save library from axe - EADT. Parish council may cover costs with library staffed by volunteers.

Universities of the common man

517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  See link on right for full tally.


Book spend cut “easiest” way to save library revenue – BookSeller. “”It’s not going to hit the headlines, and it’s not immediately obvious. It’s about two years down the line before it makes an impact. But it results in a slow death for library services as fewer people use the service.” says chief of Warwickshire Libraries (Ayub Khan). Warwickshire has 16 libraries under threat.
Man with a vision for the future of the public library – Yorkshire Post. Ronan O’Beirne, “Rather than looking at the number of books lent out – a service whose days may be numbered – he argues that we should consider libraries as the social glue of community and culture, each one a hub of informal learning for the wider community.”
MLA Chief heads for New Zealand – BookSeller. “Roy Clare’s move comes as the MLA’s transfer of key responsibilities to Arts Council England is confirmed for 1st October. Corporate services director Paul Lander will take charge of the body in the last months as it moves towards closure.”
National Library Week 2011: The importance of libraries in genealogical research – Archive 
Public libraries open door for e-books - Guardian. A quarter of public libraries offer ebooks. Phil Bradley from CILIP surveys the issues and the public library response.

“the same city council that can’t spare Ms. Smith’s libraries plans to spend a total of £100 million on a new nine-story civic center—which will include a new super-library. The council insists the project will save taxpayers £4 million per year, by allowing it to vacate current council buildings. No information yet on how much the council could save by simply moving to cheaper office space, instead of constructing what it aims to be “the greenest building in the U.K.” Forgoing the new center’s wedding garden, winter garden, terrace, and charging points for electric cars might also leave a little more cash for libraries.Zadie Smith’s libraries – Wall Street Journal.

Changes by authority

Bromley, Bexley - Suggested merger of two councils’ library services may save Bromley £880k – £340k from staff losses, £90k from merging Penge and Anerley libraries.
Buckinghamshire - Burnham Library under threat in 2012
Derbyshire - 1 mobile library to close (longer wait between visits”, £1.76m cut, 30 out of 45 libraries will see cuts of between one and five hours, 11 will not change, 4 will increase opening hours
North Ayrshire – some under threat (previously marked as safe in 2011) with civil servants/councillors deciding the fate of each one.  £50k consultants report ignored.
Walsall - 6 (out of 16) under threat; consultation ended; results from consultation will lead to a decision in the Summer.

News by authority

Brent – Two defining coaltion reforms clash - Spectator. “The various big society groups in Brent lament their powerlessness and are considering calling on the Culture Secretary to intervene under the 1964 Libraries Act. But, as a wasteful Labour council is busy taking responsibility for unpopular cuts, the coalition may not intervene. Also, the government has welcomed previous council rationalisations as localism in action; it is unlikely to turn on Brent to score cheap points, no matter how tempting in the run up to elections next month. However, the big society will struggle to bloom if the government privileges councils above it.”
Bromley – Residents rally to save Bromley’s libraries - Bromley Times 241200 name petition to save Burnt Ash library.  Trades union has handed in 3000 name petition.
Buckinghamshire – Burnham library supporters fight for its futureMaidenhead Advertiser. Big Lottery funding means Burnham Library not included in previous council countywide library closures.  Fear for 2012.
Cumbria – 18 rural libraries in Cumbria face the axeWestmorland Gazette. “Bosses said libraries which opened fewer than 20 hours a week, including Sedbergh, Shap and Askam-in-Furness, might close to fund hi-tech enhancements, such as free Skype points, at major centres”.  Rural areas get book ordering service (some in pubs) instead.

“Closing these libraries would be a huge mistake.They are the universities of the common man and once closed will never be reopened.” (Taffy Thomas, national storyteller laureate)

Derbyshire – Plans to cut opening hours of libraries look set for approval despite concerns of union – This is Derbyshire. “The union Unison says it fears the moves may lead to job losses and could be the first step towards library closures.”
Dorset – Support community libraries: Ad Lib campaigner urges users to help facilities at risk - Dorset Echo. Public urged to support small cuts in larger libraries to prevent closures of smaller ones that could result in some areas being 14 miles away from a library.
Ealing – Ealing Council leader faces critics over libraries - Ealing Gazette. “I feel as if I am being forced into making these decisions. I would not choose to close libraries, I spent a lot of time there studying for my A-levels and later taking my children there.”
Gloucestershire – County Council to face Whitehall meeting on library cuts – Wilts & Glos Standard. “We are pleased that DCMS policy officials have agreed to meet with us, and can only hope that they and the Minister listen to our concerns, unlike our elected representatives within the GCC administration.” (FoGL)
Gloucestershire – Blockley: Library cuts protest - Tewkesbury AdMag. “Children in the village who regularly use the library are to hand over letters expressing their sadness and disappointment that Gloucestershire County Council is axing the service to save money.”
Lewisham – Will Lewisham bidders focus on library service? - Voices for the Library. “…it is worrying that none of these proposals are coming from organisations that have an emphasis or background in providing library services. Have they involved experts in their discussions?”
North Ayrshire – Future of facilities to be decided one at a time – Ardrossan Herald. “the future of North Ayrshire’s libraries and community centres is to be decided on an individual basis by individual working groups of councillors and civil servants.”
Surrey – Byfleet: Library figures taken to taskSurrey Herald .  Use of library underestimated by council due to six weeks closure not being taken into account (!). “The library is very much a hub for a lot of things. It’s not something that Byfleet wants to lose.”
Walsall – Two thousand have their say on future plans for 16 libraries - Walsall Online. Information from 2152 responses will be used to work out plans for the borough’s libraries, of which 6 were feared to be under threat.
Warwickshire – Warwickshire library cuts in spotlight at roadshow – Coventry Telegraph. “Sixteen Warwickshire libraries have been identified as no longer sustainable in their current form, alongside other cost-cutting measures including reduced opening hours, reductions in the workforce and mobile library fleet, and cutting the number of public computers.”

Goodbye Roy Clare, A Third Way

509 libraries (436 buildings and 73 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  See link on right for full tally.

Roy Clare, ex-Rear Admiral and currently head of the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council), recently best known  for (a) defending library closures, (b) deriding library campaigners as “white and middle class” and (c) issuing an apology to a nine-year old girl he had made disparaging comments about in a widely shared email, has announced he is moving to New Zealand, leaving his post in May.

One of the major suppliers of books to libraries in the UK has announced profits have been hit by a 25% reduction in business from public libraries.  Twenty. Five. Percent.  That’s before the cuts this year have even taken effect.  Weirdly, at the same time, anti-public libraries spokesmen like Toby Young point to a decline in library use.  The Private Eye, in it’s excellent “Library News” column, points out that there just might be a causal connection between reducing funding to libraries and reducing use.  Clearly the people of Portishead think that properly funded libraries are worth going to – their new library opened yesterday with a queue outside.  Nor does there need to be a new library involved as Hillingdon’s record use has demonstrated.
The money also needs to spent properly and sometimes councils are their own worst enemy in this, as the £289k in public relations to go on the £189m Library of Birmingham show.  There is a third way between closing libraries and letting them out to volunteers.  Fund and manage them properly then the people will come. Even more than the 320 million who did last year.

Bertrams blames sales drop on libraries decline – BookSellerLibrary sales down 25%.
Library News – Private Eye (content not available online). The 3% drop in number of people using libraries since 2006 was used by Toby Young to claim libraries are becoming less popular but the real reason is lack of investment and closing them. Brent’s idea of a “virtual” library service to replace six closed libraries also noted with wry disapproval.
Campaigners say publishers are “not interested” in library fight – BookSeller “We’ll see 500 [go] this year, and we’ll see another 1,000 next year once councils see they can get away with it.” (Tim Coats).  The comments section is very interesting with one publisher saying the library sector has already been discounted by publishers (enlighteningly going on to say that “Publishers would show interest again if that was co- ordinated library policy”) and others expressing shock and horror at him, saying libraries are more than worth fighting for.
Ends - Good Library Blog. Roy Clare, head of the MLA, to leave in May.
London Book Fair: Libraries must digitise to stay relevant - BookSeller.  Recommends that libraries,  especially research libraries, digitise unique content as a way of boosting physical footfall to that material not yet digitised.
Ministers in office but not in power – City AM “Earlier this year, Library Systems and Services [LSSI], a US company, offered to run libraries for 35 per cent less than councils are spending. Book borrowing would remain free, while add-on services, such as coffee shops, IT and book stores would be used to generate revenues. Others have suggested purchasing second hand books. Yet many councils aren’t interested.”
News from CILIP April 2011 – CILIP.  Items include – Vote Local Vote Libraries, Open Letter to Michael Gove, training courses and blogs.
No furniture so charming – London Word Festival. “A night devoted to the architecture of knowledge and the future of book-borrowing” at Bethnal Green Library, 21st April. Tom Roper wonders why there appears to be no public librarians on the panel.

“Sure, you may not think libraries are that important when you have the whole of the world-wide web at your finger tips. But once paywalls are common place and ISPs are able to discriminate content, you may just realise what you’ve lost. And don’t be fooled into thinking this is a far-fetched fantasy. We are only a short step away from this eventuality. Information has been commodified, once there is money to be made it won’t remain free and open for long.” (Ian Clark, “Shut-Out”, ORGzine)

Zadie Smith loses battle to save London library – Guardian. “The author Zadie Smith‘s campaign to save a north-west London library opened by Mark Twain in 1900 has ended in failure after Brent council voted in favour of closing half the libraries in the borough.”

News by local authority
Birmingham – Chutzpah is getting a little priceyAlan GibbonsCouncil is apparently paying a PR firm £292k over three years to provide public relations support for the £189m Library of Birmingham project.
Brent – Campaigners to present petition tonight for debate on Preston LibraryHarrow Times. 6500 signature petition to force council debate. ““I think the consultation period was a sham as it presented it as a transformation project rather than highlighting the potential closures that would actually come out of it”. 
Buckinghamshire – Libraries will close unless volunteers come forward - Bucks HeraldWe know that some communities still have concerns about the new model and we will have to work hard to address them. We are not just dumping services on communities, we will give them support and help them to take over the running of libraries”
Buckinghamshire – Council responds to fears over Micklefield and Bourne End libraries – Bucks Free Press. A careful reading of this article (and comments) show that Buckinghamshire Council are not guaranteeing council control after the end of this financial year. 
Dorset – Lyme Regis: Lyme treated “unfairly” in library cuts – View Online.  Lyme Regis would only retain library if the town council pays for and manages it  Dorchester retains full library without any additional payment.
Gloucestershire – Lib Dem [Equalities] minister [Lynne Featherstone] says Brockworth library has bright future - This is Gloucestershire.  Recently refurbished library no longer being run by the council is a good thing as “it can become a thing which is not statutory, not just already there, but it’s there because people want it and people are prepared to run it”.

“This meeting urges Her Majesty’s government to maintain support for local libraries, as an essential education and information resource”. The resolution is one of six shortlisted by WI members nationwide to be taken forward as a national campaign and presented to central government. It has reached the final two of the shortlist, and will go up against a resolution on mega-farming at the national AGM in June” Council Leader Mark Hawthorne was to speak against the motion but instead sent a written statement. Gloucestershire – FoGL speak for libraries resolution at Gloucestershire WI – FoGL

Gloucestershire – When is a library not a library? – FoGL.  When it’s a mobile.  Gloucestershire Council claim no libraries need close, neglecting to mention its doomed five mobile libraries.

Not a Library – According to Gloucestershire Council

Lewisham – Lewisham’s library bidders meet the public – News Shopper – Breakdown of the four organisations who want to take over one or all of the closing libraries – (a) Lewisham Community Sports, (b) Eco Computer Systems, (b) Omega (New Testament Church of God) and (d) Family Services charity.
Lewisham – Sports group hopes to run doomed libraries – Mercury ““There would be fewer books than there are now, but there would still be a library service.”
North Somerset – Portishead: North Somerset town bucks national trend as library opens its doors - This is Somerset. “People were queuing outside the library at Horatio House, Portishead, when it opened its doors to the public for the first time at 11am.”
Surrey – Large turn-out from Stoneleigh library supporters – This is Local London. 120 at meeting to oppose closure.
Warwickshire – WCC Libraries business case application form: a Dragon’s Den pitch? - What’s In Kenilworth.  “So, what happens if take the dry throated walk up the stairs and make your pitch? You know you are holding the fate of your Community Library with you as you begin. The threat of closure looms over your village and this is the Once in a Lifetime Opportunity that Warwickshire County Council have promised….”.  Requirements include three-year financial projection.
Warwickshire – WCC Libraries FAQs for a Business Case: A franchise opportunity? – What’s In Kenilworth. “… imagine Tesco having to give away all food and drink and only being allowed to charge for CDs, DVDs and the odd cup of coffee. Simplistic, I know but that’s what we have here and County know it.”

16 Volunteers for each redundant library worker

509 libraries (436 buildings and 73 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  See link on right for full tally.

A Buckinghamshire newspaper reports that 60 part-time library staff may be made redundant in their plans to cut 18 libraries (14 this year, 2 in 2012, plus 2 mobile libraries)In the same article it suggests that 1000 people are interested in volunteering in the county’s libraries.  That’s sixteen volunteers per newly jobless library worker. It’s a cruel statistic that takes no account of the good motives of the volunteer. But it is how it feels to many working in libraries. The first question asked across the counter these days is “are you closing?”. A further statement sometimes heard is “I’ll volunteer to work here if you do”.  This does not encourage the library worker, it shocks and demoralizes them. It may do so at first due to feeling hurt that their skills and often lifelong commitment to the job can be so brushed over. However, the point here, the big ultimate ironic point here, is that committed library users across the country are inadvertently making it easier for councils to close libraries.  After all, councils (today Warwickshire, yesterday Cumbria) can say they’re not closing them. They’re “divesting” them to community groups.   The Big Society is stealing library jobs and, in so many places, stealing libraries.

5 Live and the Cuts – BBC Radio 5 Live “Whatever your opinion of the timing and necessity of the cuts, you’ll find that a lot of things you take for granted, whether or not you use them, might not exist any more.
For me, it’s a small, unassuming building in Brent in north west London.When I was growing up, I practically lived in Preston Library”
Buying a Kindle is like burning books – Telegraph
Council reserve cash reignites debate about politically motivated cuts – eGov
Save Libraries Day and CILIP’s media presence – View from the Hill (see comments too)
Support from broadcaster Jenni Trent Hughes - Voices for the Library

Buckinghamshire – 60 part-time jobs at risk, compulsory redundances “a very last resort”
Warwickshire2 (out of 5) mobile libraries to be cut.

News by Authority
Bradford – “Eat-in” to be staged at Ilkley library to encourage Bradford to rethink cuts – Telegraph & ArgusLocal author Martyn Bedford will lead protest where people eat their lunch and borrow as many books as possible.
Brent – Battle begins, as Brent councillors declare: we are unelectable - Save Kensal Rise Library. Council is spending £100m on new town hall.
Brent – Half of Brent’s libraries to close as residents protest - Willesden & Brent Times
Brent – Brent axes six libraries to save £1m – London Evening Standard “even though a public consultation found that 82 per cent of residents opposed the move”

“The most high-profile casualty was Kensal Rise library, whose supporters include authors Philip Pullman and Zadie Smith. Pullman said: “It’s a sad day for Brent that the council has not been persuaded despite all the arguments put forward.” Anti-poverty campaigner Sam Roddick, who founded Coco de Mer, said: “Cutting the libraries is cutting the poor from the little they have. It will damn our country into the kind of poverty you see in third world countries.” 

Buckinghamshire – Shake-up of libraries in Bucks planned - Maidenhead Advertiser “Community status could see the facilities affected, ‘sharing premises with other local businesses and organisations, increasing community volunteering and fundraising, and self-managed’.
Buckinghamshire – Sixty jobs at risk in Buckinghamshire library cuts plan – Bucks Free Press, 1000 people have expressed an interest in volunteering
Ealing – Northfields Library latest – Ealing Today
Leicestershire – Libraries public consultation on opening hours – Leicestershire Council

Lewisham – Proposals for Lewisham libraries Crofton Park, Grove Park, New Cross and Sydenham on view to public – News Shopper (These libraries and Blackheath to be dropped from council control and offered to community groups).
Warwickshire – [Jeremy Wright] MP: Warwickshire County Council must help library volunteers more – Coventry Telegraph
Warwickshire – Facing the Challenge, Business case forms/faqs, consultation questionnaire - Warwickshire County Council

Worcestershire – Town council considers plan to buy library - Worcester News “Residents and town councillors are considering making an offer to buy their library in a bid to stop it getting moved to another location”