“Tripped up on a small technical point”

433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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 

  • Close the Local Government Association down - Good Library Blog.  What always emerges from what they say is that ‘localism means leaving the local council free to do whatever it wants’ – but the truth, as library campaigners everywhere have learned, is that nothing is more hidden and evasive than the activity of a local council. They need much more central governnment scrutiny – not less.”.  Tim Coates is unimpressed by the LGA (see cartoon above).
  • Free libraries are one of the strengths of our nation – Syracuse (USA).   A pro-library article with truly scary anti-library comments below it.  “Yup-got a library right here at my computer. It’s time for that liberal tax sucking dinosaur to end.” etc.  Eugh. 
  • Many uses of technology at librariesOmaha (USA).  Surveys technological use in public libraries by users.  “We don’t always know how people use our computers or the difference it might make in their day or life, but we do know they depend on access to technology and the Internet at Omaha Public Library. Beyond that, they also rely on the staff — the people who are there to help. We are grateful to be able to help meet this need in our community and provide opportunities for people to succeed.”

Local News

  • Bradford – Petition calls on Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council to object to Co-op planIlkley Gazette.  “More than 600 people signed a Save Our Shops petition in response to plans to relocate a Co-operative convenience store to Burley-in-Wharfedale Library. Hundreds of Burley residents and visitors to the village signed copies of the petition, concerned that the bigger store could pose a “serious risk” to local shops.” … “Although the library is not currently at risk of closure, a Bradford Council libraries boss said there was a £200,000 backlog of maintenance work, and the 1970s building was not “fit for purpose”.”
  • Cumbria – Spotlight on the future of South Lakes libraries - Westmorland Gazette.  Council claims library usage has dropped [it has, but not as much as funding – Ed.] due to the internet.  Working group reporting in Spring on what to do.  Some libraries only open 11.5 hours per week. 
  • Gloucestershire – Volunteers running Prestbury Library hope to extend their opening hours - This is Glos.  “Chairman of the parish council, Councillor Malcolm Stennett, said more volunteers were needed if the library was to extend its opening hours. He said they hoped to open an extra day a week. He said: “We have agreed to maintain the grounds from January. From that date, we will take on the maintenance from the county council. Anybody who wants to join in will be more than welcome because we are looking at putting a team together. I believe it will be quite enjoyable for the residents.”.  Council claims decision unaffected by legal case, comments deny this and call on Leader to resign.
  • Oxfordshire – Libraries pay the price, but corporates escape – Oxford Mail.    Total cuts to libraries results in the same cut to council budget as the 12 extra new staff leader of council has appointed for his own team.  “The total salary for these staff; one HR policy manager, two business support officers, three policy and performance support officers, two senior policy and performance officers and one solicitor, will be £341,000 per year. This cancels out the savings from using volunteers and means that the hundreds of volunteers required to replace the front-line staff in the 21 libraries affected will in fact be purely helping Cllr Mitchell to increase his headquarters staff.”
  • Somerset – Victoria Rooms host benefit event for libraries campaign - This is the West Country.   “The Victoria Rooms in Milverton will host a benefit event for the Friends of Somerset Libraries campaign with a poet whose work is for ‘people who didn’t think they liked poetry’ on Saturday, November 26. Matt Harvey is host of BBC Radio 4’s Wondermentalist, a show which bills itself as a comedy-infused, musically-enhanced interactive poetry cabaret.” 


“Well done to Gloucester and Somerset. We are the support group for Atherton library. Our library is being made an Express Library and being located in a school academy which isn’t on a bus route so when members of the library can’t get to the library and the non academic pupils won’t use the library, the wmbc [Wigan Culture and Leisure Trust / Wigan Council] will close it becuase it won’t be used. The hidden agenda of Wigan Borough Council.  We will continue fighting for our library service and the decision for Gloucester and Somerset has given us new vigour to keep fighting.” Wigan – Comment on 16th November PLN posting.

    “Epic fail of epic epicness”

    Comment

    Interesting fact about Gloucestershire’s approach to library provision.  The council there was pushing through a cut of 43% of a library budget they had already cut 30% the year before. Little wonder that the council there can claim that library usage is declining… Boyd Tonkin from the Independent says it all:

    “Pro-cuts councillors there claim that “People have more access to books and they are much cheaper to buy”. They then point to a dip in usage: between 10 and 20 per cent across branches. Yet the county’s library service suffered 30 per cent cuts last year, and the book budget a whopping 40 per cent. You find this process replicated across the land. Loans and visits sometimes drop – although not everywhere, and certainly not for children – but generally less than by the level of cuts imposed. And in those areas where local-authority investment holds up – from Hillingdon to Blackpool – so does popularity.”

    433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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

    • ALA alarmed at seizure of Occupy Wall Street Libary, loss of irreplaceable material - American Libraries.  The dissolution of a library is unacceptable. Libraries serve as the cornerstone of our democracy and must be safeguarded. An informed public constitutes the very foundation of a democracy, and libraries ensure that everyone has free access to information.  The very existence of the People’s Library demonstrates that libraries are an organic part of all communities. Libraries serve the needs of community members and preserve the record of community history.  In the case of the People’s Library, this included irreplaceable records and material related to the occupation movement and the temporary community that it represented.”

    • Boyd Tonkin: A bookish battle won, but not a war - Independent.  “To close a library is a crime” Michael Morpurgo.  “Crucial to the judgment is the opinion that both councils failed to mount a “thorough information-gathering exercise” and then “properly analyse… the data”. Judge McKenna noted that the authorities had ignored their statutory duties to provide an equal service to all.”.  Hopes Glos/Somerset decision will act as a precedent for Brent appeal. “Loans and visits sometimes drop – although not everywhere, and certainly not for children – but generally less than by the level of cuts imposed. And in those areas where local-authority investment holds up – from Hillingdon to Blackpool – so does popularity.”. Jonathan Sumption QC of Supreme Court is trying to reduce power of judicial reviews and claims that ministerial overview is perfectly adequate [cue shocked gasps from anyone aware of record of Hunt/Vaizey – Ed.]

    • Looking and thinking ahead: libraries - Museums Insider.  “Despite this generally dispiriting news, there are some potential gaps in this emerging market that suppliers to the heritage sector should be aware of….” [Subscription only article]

    Local News

    • Calderdale – Open letter to Calderdale Council - Friends of Todmorden Library.  Given Calderdale’s decision to axe its book buying budget for all libraries in the area, it’s shocking and puzzling to read of plans for a ‘state of the art’ library in Halifax. Under normal circumstances a new library would be an exciting prospect. However, given the cutbacks libraries such as ours in Todmorden, are facing, how can this project be justified?”.  “Why should a town like Todmorden, where the library is so much at the heart of our community, have to do without new books when money is being ploughed into an unnecessary new building?”
    • Gloucestershire – High Court Victory: the reaction: wow! - FoGL.  Scores of messages of congratulations shown from throughout the country.
    • Hampshire – Small victory over hours - Gazette.   “The original plans meant the library in the Gill Nethercott Centre was due to have its opening hours cut by 28.3 per cent – a much higher figure than the average 7.5 per cent proposed for libraries across the county.But five weeks into a three-month consultation, in which there has been a lot of opposition, county chiefs have decided to permit another hour of opening. It still means the opening hours will go down from 26.5 a week to 20 – a percentage cut of 24.5 per cent.”
    • Kent – Shake-up of Kent’s libraries planned by county council - Kent Online.    “Shops, surgeries and schools could all have a role to play in Kent’s library service under a far-reaching shake-up”.  Aim to withdraw funding from many libraries, increase self-service.  “Asked about the prospect of campaigners challenging any cuts under legislation that requires councils to provide a library service, she added: “The legislation is flexible enough but we will only really know if there is a challenge.””.  “We’ve got away with closing them before”.
    • Oxfordshire – The epic failure of epic epicness - Question Everything. “If Keith and his Conservative colleagues vote this proposal through it will represent everything Tories say they are against. The back office cost of running the library will be the same as the front line if not higher. If a chain of retailers had 42 shops that cost them 4.5 million to run. You can be sure the costs of management, HR, IT etc in head office wouldn’t cost 4.5 million. But this is the library service if the proposal goes through” … “If OCC keep making efficiencies like this we will have to all join the party and start referring to each other as comrade.”
    • Warwickshire – Cuts to library hourse could be eased with staff sharing scheme - Courier.   “Staff would be trained in skills of both library personnel and one stop shop staff, who provide face-to-face services dealing with issues including bus passes, planning, benefits and council tax.”
      • Public vote will decide Warwickshire libraries opening timesKenilworth Weekly News.  “Cllr Colin Hayfield, who is responsible for libraries, said: “We have taken the decision that our customers will decide the opening hours of the libraries. I’d therefore encourage as many people as possible to engage with this consultation, either via the web, or by popping in to your local library and completing a survey.”
    • Worcestershire – Council’s bid to end dispute over future of library - Worcester News.  Town Council could buy Pershore Library in order to keep it in town centre.  County had wanted to close building.

    Historically, the “good guys” were not the ones throwing away books


    433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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.

    Somerset/Glos 

    • Campaigners urge councils to rethink closure plans - BookSeller.  Doncaster, Bolton and Isle of Wight groups are all hopeful ruling will assist their case to keep libraries open.
    • Council given “bloody nose” over library ruling - This is Glos.   Council claims nine out of ten libraries were on verge of being given to volunteers, with the perhaps surprising implication that the locals wanted to have to run their libraries and will be disappointed by the legal decision.  Cost of defeat to council was £100,000.  Brockworth Community Trust leader thinks volunteers could have improved on councils service but Brockworth Parish Council leader disagrees.
    • Court’s library decision gives campaigners hope - Bolton News.  “Council chief executive Sean Harriss said: “We keep in touch with the High Court rulings and our view is there is nothing in the latest rulings that change our confidence that our approach to libraries has been robust, appropriate and in line with all the relevant legislation.”
    “In February this year the Liberal Democrat group challenged the legality of the library closure programme in Gloucestershire at the Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee. We expressed concern about the fairness of the new library network based on geography rather than where people lived and where there was most need. Antonia Noble and Mark Hawthorne dismissed our concerns in a cavalier fashion, and their “yes men & women” on the Scrutiny Committee voted as told. The Chairman of the committee Rob Garnham refused to allow me to present statistical information proving the unfairness of the Libraries closure plan. Now Judge Martin McKenna has ruled against the county council, heads must roll and our libraries must be kept open.” GCC Opposition Leader: “Heads must roll” over unlawful library plans - FoGL.  

    • GCC still don’t get it! - FoGL.   “We hoped that the judgement could mark a fresh start, but Cllr. Hawthorne’s worrying statements question whether he can be trusted with the future of any of our public services. Nonetheless, FoGL wish to extend the olive branch, and invite Cllr. Hawthorne to attend an extraordinary meeting with library users (details to be announced shortly), where we hope a constructive dialogue can begin.”
    • Gloucestershire Libraries: Mark Hawthorne and FoGL - This is Glos. Hawthorne: big cuts need to be made to protect social care, took equalities very seriously so loss was “big society”, it’s disappointing for local communities that they will not be forced to take over the running of otherwise closing libraries.  Has not fully decided what Council will do but “whatever we do, we will do with a completely open mind once again”.  FoGL says Council is ignoring real meaning of ruling “He claims GCC were ‘tripped up on a technicality’, which Public Interest Lawyers say ‘ignores both the letter and spirit of the ruling’.”
    “We understand the council faces a tough financial climate. But such savage cuts to a well-used and cheap service was never the answer – particularly as the service has already absorbed significant cuts, and was one of the most poorly funded library services in the country.” FoGL

    • LGA spokesperson dismisses High Court ruling as ‘a technicality’ on national television – retraction requested by FoGL – FoGL.  It’s not a technicality, it’s a substantive error of law.  Judge also said councils guilty of “bad government”.  “He also did not rule that the Act did not give the Secretary of State the power to intervene, but he deferred the decision to the secretary of state.” … “It may have been wise for you to get legal advice on your interpretation of what happened”.  [This regards slot on BBC One Breakfast at c.7.45am]
    • Guest post from Revd Dr Keith Hebdon: One battle won but the struggle goes on - FoGL.  “And the people who have suffered under the ongoing uncertainty are many. Librarians who no longer feel valued and experience or fear job loss. Library users have been badly let down. And local community groups who have worked hard to save the libraries in one form or another while trying to maintain hard-won trust among one another.” … “‘Saving’ a library is not the same as shifting responsibility for the library onto the voluntary sector.” … “Our libraries are no less under threat than they were before the judge ruled in favour of the campaign. Sadly Antonia Noble has been quietly asset stripping our library service – books have been sold off for a pound while stocks have not been replenished; redundancies have been encouraged without new appointments.”

     Watchet Library and many others are savedCelebrations at Watchet West Somerset on 17 November 2011. The BBC broadcast their coverage the same evening in the local news programme which lasted 54 seconds! Hopefully a longer version will be on BBC1 on Sunday 20 November in the Politics Show. See the whole interview and event here!” [If in hurry, watch from around 9 minutes on] 

    News

    • Death of the public library? Why yours might be next to close – Huffington Post (USA).  “Libraries are essential public goods. Like our public parks and museums, libraries are free, non-commercial gathering places for everyone, regardless of income. Yet our nation’s public libraries appear to be under threat. This page is dedicated to understanding why this is the case, and following what people on all sides are doing about it. Read more here.
      • Why it’s time to speak up for our libraries - Huffington Post.   “In a new Huffington Post series called Libraries In Crisis, we’ll be looking at how today’s libraries are about more than books. We’ll show how they can be a community resource where reliable information and guidance is provided, free of bias and commercial influence. This occasional series will look at the economic reasons for the current situation, and its consequences throughout the country. It will showcase models for library evolution, and hear from prominent voices about what makes a viable and vital library system. 
      • Library budget cuts threaten community services across the country – Huffington Post.   Sign says “Free coffee, internet, notary, phone, smiles, restrooms and ideas” to all who enter.”. Excellent in-depth article on the situation in the USA and the factors affecting their funding problems. 
    “Libraries are being closed to save money, but there doesn’t seem to be much thought given to those who can’t afford to buy books, or that several major towns don’t have much in the way of a decent bookshop. No, we live in a world where the internet is sexy and the local library isn’t, so the answer to all our prayers is online. “
    • Future of libraries and bookstores lies in their own past - Big Think.  “So who is left to suggest the latest hidden gem to us? Librarians and booksellers. And I don’t mean those half-time employees at the counter who work there to pay the bills but the person who chose this profession by conviction. Today, you would probably call them geeks.”
    “I believe that the experience tied to the physical space and the people who meet there is much stronger that we think. To give another example: just because there are supermarkets does not mean that farmer’s market died. Sure, they had a hard time during the transition period but today they are coming back strong. Therefore, there is no doubt that in the coming years we will see a tough time for libraries and bookstores but in the end there is going to be a renaissance.”

    • Public Library Journal - CILIP / Public Libraries Group.  Ever-increasing funding problems have, unfortunately, had a significant impact on PLG’s ability to finance the production of the journal: it is no longer something which the group can afford to sustain.  This decision was reached with great reluctance and after much consideration was given to alternatives.  We would like to thank the editorial board for their dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm: without them, PLJ would not have been the success it was.”
    • Rethinking libraries: How do we ensure that the essential core of libraries remain intact? - Information World Review.  Technology is the key to maintaining relevant.  USA ahead of UK in providing e-books.
    • Terence Blacker: Dangerous weapons that are … books - Independent.  “Destroying a community’s access to books is a blow against independence of thought”.  New York police destroy Occupy Wall Street’s library was a reminder about how important books are. “Who would have thought that in 2011 it would be necessary to point out that, in a divided, alienated society, where standards of literacy are scandalously low and escape from poverty and hopelessness is more difficult than ever, books are more than just another public service?” … “Whether in a tent or a council building, libraries offer a vital alternative to the status quo. Perhaps that is why government, councils and the police are so oddly relaxed about their destruction.”
    “The Libraries minister, Ed Vaizey, was full of warm words and promises while in opposition but has been utterly indifferent in office, seemingly invisible whenever decisions are needed.”
    • Will public libraries be the downfall of David Cameron? - Good Library Blog.   “This morning 3 national papers have stories about libraries and 5 out of the 12 top industry stories in The Bookseller are about libraries.  There can hardly be a clearer and more obvious manifestation of the incompetence of Government than its handling of the simple straightforward matter of public libraries. Yet if one were to endeavour to trip over a daisy in the garden one could hardly be more spectacularly idiotic and useless than Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey.”

    Local News

    • Brent – Tina turns to libraries - Information World Review.  Tina = “There is no alternative”.  Brent council did not pretend they wanted to keep the libraries open: they wanted them closed and moved instantly to close them as soon as the courts agreed they could.  Boarding up noted by other councils as a way to stifle protest.  Anger of users in Brent likely to spread nationally. “s it a case of there is no alternative (Tina) to the programme of closures? Brent claimed that the money to maintain the service wasn’t there but political point scoring over ‘Tory cuts’ may have taken precedence over any serious consideration of other options. By contrast the nearby borough of Hillingdon is halfway through a six-year programme of refurbishing its 17 libraries and claims those upgraded have seen user numbers rise by 50%.”
      • Campaigners hope for decision on libraries before Christmas - Harrow Times.   Disco dance to be held to raise money for campaigners.  Hopeful Glos/Somerset decision will help them.
      • Brent “Will go to Supreme Court to shut libraries” – London Evening Standard.   Lib Dem opposition claims.  “Paul Lorber, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, claimed the council was “determined” to defend the decision to close half the borough’s libraries. Brent has spent about £160,000 on legal costs and a further £285,000 on making staff from the six closed libraries redundant.”
    • Hampshire – County council rethink on library closures - Hampshire Chronicle.   “But just five weeks into a three-month consultation, library bosses have acknowledged proposed cuts might cause problems in Alresford, Eastleigh, Totton, Whitchurch and Leigh Park, but say the total number of hours will still be reduced by eight per cent.”
    • Kent – Libraries: “We’ve got away with closing them before” – Infoism.  “This morning, Kent County Council discussed their recent library report (see B3) which gives a vague indication of what lies ahead for the service.  Paul Francis, the KM Group Political Editor, was there and tweeted live from the meeting.  Much of what was tweeted was highly alarming and should be cause for concern for the residents of Kent, not least because their views on the future of the service appear to be secondary to that of the councillors.”.  Head of Kent Libraries keen on “trying out” volunteer run libraries and increasing self-service, “We could be challenged and are prepared to be challenged” she says.
    “We’ve closed libraries before without an outcry says Cllr Jean Law”

    • Kirklees – Why libraries must stay at the heart of our community - Huddersfield Daily Examiner.   Beautiful letter about impact libraries can have on children joining them. Then goes on to modern experiences.  Send to a councillor near you.
    • Lambeth – Public to have say over library’s future - South London Press. Durning Library would need £750k to make safe, nearly £3m to bring up to modern standards.  Council consulting on decision to move branch.  “Liberal Democrat councillor for Prince’s ward, Peter Truesdale, warned: “Any attempts to move it from Kennington Cross will go down like a cup of old sick.” [Now there’s a delightful phrase – Ed.]
    • North Yorkshire – Councillor against new move on library - Mercury series.  Green Party councillor for the Hertford Ward Nick Harvey has urged for a re-think after the decision, which would likely see the library squashed into the community centre. Cllr Harvey believes those plans would be unworkable. He is so incensed by the decision he has now hired a double decker bus to take residents to a consultation meeting over plans to stop funding local libraries.”
    • Surrey – Protesters to make some noise over plans – Get Surrey.  “Sophie Roger, treasurer of the [Hersham] Friends, explained that the library had been refurbished last year and was doing well. She said the facility had been under threat a number of times during the past 15 years. “This is a plot to shut down libraries, it is not about handing power over to the communities,” she said. “We just have to make a big noise.“I have worked with the librarians in Hersham, it is a difficult job. It requires a lot of knowledge and experience. “Suggesting that they can be casually replaced by volunteers is an insult.” … “The protest march will start at 3.30pm at four points in the village – Bell Farm School, Burhill School, Cardinal Newman School and the scout hut in Burwood Close – and end at the library at 4pm. The theme of the march is Samba Carnival atmosphere and people are encouraged to take along whistles, drums, bells, trumpets and placards.”
    • Waltham Forest – Public meeting to establish community library – Guardian series.   South Chingford Library and Harrow Green Library to close on 2nd December.  Volunteers aim for new library at Chingford Mount instead.  “Around 150 residents have already expressed an interest in volunteering but Cllr Hemsted said more were needed” [! – Ed.].  Volunteers not allowed to use ex-stock.

    Kidnapping books

    433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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.

    Gloucestershire and Somerset Judgement

    Coverage on Points West this evening (17th) and likely to be on Politics Show on Sunday 20th, although it is unclear as to whether this will be the regional or national edition.

    “130.
    The real question on this aspect of the case, it seems to me, is whether there was a conscious directing of the mind by the decision makers to their obligations under the legislation and in particular to the need to exercise the duty to have due regard in substance and with rigour and based on sufficient information, appropriately analysed.
    131.
    In my judgment, on the preponderance of the evidence, no such due regard was had in substance. In order to discharge their respective duties, GCC and SCC should have undertaken a sufficiently thorough information gathering exercise and then properly analysed that information. In this case I conclude that both GCC and SCC failed to comply with that obligation, accepting as I do the substance of the Claimants’ criticisms made of their respective information gathering and analysis to which I have referred above. The Queen on the application of Kirsty Green -v- Gloucestershire County Council and others - Judiciary of England and Wales.

    “Judge Martin McKenna ruled that, as the closures would hurt disadvantaged groups such as the elderly and the disabled, which is contrary to the conditions laid down in equalities legislation, the councils would just have to scrap their plans and think again. And he also made it crystal clear – as he quashed the closure decisions and told the councils to pay campaigners’ legal costs – that he was sending a message to other local authorities intent on restructuring their library services. The councils had claimed “hyperbole, exaggeration and hysteria” on the part of the campaigners. But Judge McKenna, reflecting on how the case had been conducted, described the campaigners’ approach as “perfectly reasonable” and “proportionate” even in the areas where their legal claim had not been successful… a clear line has now been drawn on equalities law, and up and down the country, local authorities will now be closeted in urgent meetings with their legal advisers to review their library plans” Campaign against library closures has scored a vital victory - Guardian. 

    • DMBC must take equalities duties seriously - Save Doncaster Libraries.  The council should not force its own citizens to take it to court for failing to address their needs and legal rights. The council knows that these library cuts will impact those most in need – young people, the elderly, unemployed, the poor and those unable to travel, for example – so why is it taking such a risk? The council must scrap its volunteer plans and take responsibility for the provision of a library service across the whole borough, not just the lucky half. The law takes public sector equality duties seriously – DMBC can’t afford not to.”
    • Donaldson: Gloucs/Somerset ruling “best news all year” - BookSeller.  In a statement given to Somerset group Watchet Library Friends, Donaldson hailed the ruling “a triumph for the all those committed campaigners, for libraries, and for common sense”. But she added: “While it is admirable that the residents of Gloucestershire and Somerset were determined, organised and brave enough to go down the route of litigation, it is shameful that they had to do so. This costly process could have been avoided if the councils had listened to the arguments and above all if the government had fulfilled its statutory requirement to superintend library services.”
    • Dorset library campaigners cheered by Somerset court statement - Dorset Echo.  “In Dorset there is no current legal action by campaigning group AdLib but a spokesman said it was still considering it after seeking detailed legal advice. Graham Lee, the chairman of AdLib, said the judge’s decision that Somerset County Council needed to pay more attention to the needs of dependent people meant that the decision to cease funding to nine libraries in Dorset was ‘rushed and ill-considered’.He said: “The parts of Dorset where most of the threatened nine libraries are located is much more rural than many parts of Somerset.” 
    “The authority said extra research would now be done into how closures could affect vulnerable people. Council chief Peter Bungard said the judgement had shown that community-run libraries were perfectly legitimate. “We had a fantastic response from the community on all 10 libraries that we were asking them to run,” said Mr Bungard. “We have had some brilliant offers, which in all honesty could be better services that we could ever afford to run, and I really do want those community groups to stay around.” Gloucestershire Council “committed to library plan” - BBC. No real acceptance by Council that they did anything wrong. Council Leader Mark Hawthorneays that £2m would still need to be cut.  “”Some people might disagree with me and think that I should be cutting social services to protect libraries but I don’t think that is right and I am willing to stand by that.”” 

    • Landmark victory in Gloucestershire libraries battle - This is Glos.  “Gloucestershire County Council is now expected to draw up a fresh plan for library cuts. But it is understood the council will proceed with its plan and any consultation is likely to lead to a similar or identical scheme. Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries (FOGL) member John Holland said: “Quite frankly, the people have been treated with disdain by the county council. The proposals were deeply flawed and from the beginning many of us told the council they were likely to be breaking the law.” … “The decision will come as a hammer blow to the Conservative administration, which had insisted its plans were legal, despite repeated warnings from opponents.”
    “But, despite the judgement, Councillor Mark Hawthorne (C, Moreland) said the council’s plan for community-run libraries was still “sound”. He said: “The most important thing here is that the judge said there is nothing wrong with our plans to transfer some libraries over to communities. We are very disappointed for the community groups who are lined up to take over their services, but our promise to them is that we will continue to work with them on delivering successful community-run services.” [NB. none of these community groups want to run libraries in preference to the Council.  To an uneducated ear, that does not necessarily feel like being sued, Cllr Hawthorne may here sound suspiciously like a man in denial – Ed.]

    • Library cuts stopped in their tracks - Counterfire.  Gloucestershire and Somerset Councils may well take the case to the Court of Appeals but for the time being this is an anti-cuts victory that has the potential to scupper the destructive plans of Councils across the UK.”
    • Save Bolton Libraries Campaign Statement – via Alan Gibbons.  “We welcome yesterday’s High Court ruling that planned library closures in Gloucestershire and Somerset are unlawful and call upon Bolton Council to reconsider its own planned closure of one third of our library network … We have made a strong case to Bolton council that older people, families with children and disabled people will all be adversely affected by these closures, especially where they do not have a car, or access to the internet at home, and we still do not feel these concerns have been properly addressed.”

    Other News

    • Daunt: Booksellers face same “crisis” as libraries - BookSeller. “Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s “Four Thought” last night (16th November), Daunt said both bookshops and libraries have an important role to play in tackling illiteracy in the country. He said the benefit of libraries was “inestimable” in comparison to the “tiny amount” of money that would be saved by local councils closing them down. He said: “We are facing a particular and rather dramatic moment of crisis which we share with our fellow purveyors of the written word, librarians, for quite different reasons but coincidentally at precisely the same moment.” Radio interview here. “James Daunt argues libraries and bookshops should be vital social and cultural spaces.”
    “”It seems to me a point of national scandal that element of our community is being imperilled and I think all of us should encourage our political masters, in whom obviously the decision ultimately resides, to recognise that this is a tiny cost to keep this inestimable benefit within our communities….You can be part of an ecosystem which has digital, which has this very impersonal internet offer which is highly efficient if you know what you want—bang it can give it to you, but it doesn’t give you discovery of a physical bookshop or [the] physical interaction a library gives you.”

    • Election EhustingsCILIP.  Now on Youtube, edited so one can play answers to specific questions.  The one on librarians being at least partly to blame for closures due to keeping a low profile is here.
    • Middle classes love libraries, says Dame Joan Bakewell – Telegraph.  “The baroness told neighbours she was a regular library user and her two children and six grandchildren had also signed up as members of Chalk Farm library. “It is crystallising part of this community, which is really not just about buying, shopping and eating, eating, eating,” she added.”It is about the people who live here and I will be appealing to everyone to do everything they can to help.”
    • Questions for political parties with responses - Lianza (NZ).  The professional library organisation in New Zealand wrote asking questions of all poltical parties prior to the general election there.  Here are the questions and responses.  All parties replied. 
    • Surefire, can’t fail way to prove your library’s relevance - 21st Century Library Blog (USA).  Forget quantitative or anecdotal, go straight for qualitative day one 9am.  “The only way to collect these data is to get up-close and personal with your customers, constituents, partners, stakeholders. You should be already, but in order to prove your value to the community – it is essential.” 
    • Why the NYPD are kidnapping books - New Statesman.   “It would appear that the New York Police Department has finally jumped the shark. One day after the eviction of Occupy Wall Street, the image that has shocked the world most profoundly — and I mean image in a purely theoretical sense, since a solid wall of state heavies, now part-financed by JP Morgan Chase, stopped the press getting near enough to take photos — was of police and sanitation workers tearing up the tent of the encampment’s extensive library, and reportedly tossing the books into dumpster trucks. I mean, books.”

     Local news

    • Bolton – January start for book collections - Bolton News.  Neighbourhood book collections, which are to replace five closing libraries in Bolton, will start as early as January. Bolton Council has said no libraries will be closed until their corresponding collections are up and running.”. 300 books for each collection point, self service other than one visit per week.  79% of online poll don’t think scheme will work.  Council wishes to charge rent, and repair costs, to any volunteers who wish to run endangered libraries.
    • Brent – Classical concert for libaries -  Save Kensal Rise Libraries.  28th November.  “Each Razumovsky member may be king of their chosen instrument, but they scale the heavens as a team. England’s sport teams could learn a great deal” The Times. TICKETS: £10 (£5 unwaged/children) from Queens Park Books Salusbury Rd, L’Angolo’s deli College Rd, Minkie’s deli Chamberlayne Rd, The Pop Up Library, Kensal Rise Library Piazza. Refreshments thanks to Mionetto Prosecco”
    • Buckinghamshire – Cafes bid to help preserve Great Missenden Library – Bucks Advertiser.  Local cafe wants to be based in threatened local library in mutually beneficial relationship.  Great Missenden is likely to become volunteer-run but will be bigger than any previous Bucks example, hoping to retain some paid staff.
    • Bury – £17.7m savings to be made before 2015 – Guide.  £540k cut to libraries. “The draft programme of savings is now subject to a 12-week consultation before the budget is set in February. More than 3,500 people took part in a Choices consultation to identify their most important priorities.”
    • Hammersmith and Fulham – Barons Court Library to house Citizens Advice Bureau – Chronicle. £400k to upgrade/add a CAB to previously endangered branch.  “Initially the council was set to shut Barons Court Library last year, but abandoned plans after an outcry from residents and civic groups.  Welcoming the decision, chairman of the Hammersmith Society, Melanie Whitlock, said: “We welcome any money being spent on a listed building provided that core library services are being preserved. There’s no reason not to have other services provided in the same building, as long as the provision of books is protected.”.  However, fears that books will be shoehorned into corner.
    • Kirklees – Council plan casts doubt on future of village libraries - Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  Several smaller libraries feared under threat.  “A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “At this time of year the council embarks on the process of setting the budget for the coming year as part of the three-year budget plan to balance the books. “The financial situation having not improved, there is a continuing need for us to achieve efficiencies from across the whole range of services and councillors will have some difficult decisions to make. As part of last year’s budget settlement, there was all-party agreement to continue to fund the library service whilst requiring officers to review provision.”
    • Leeds – Village will decide library’s fate - Morley Observer and Advertiser.   “Following public consultation, it was said that Drighlington Library would stay open to allow talks over the possibility of it being run by the community. A steering group, The Friends of Drighlington Community, has now been formed and two meetings will be held this week where everyone will be welcome to given their views.”
    “We have asked people around the village what they want to see at the library and they have said everything from coffee mornings to a computer club. But to make it a success, we need the community’s help. We would need staff – from people working on the counter to cleaners – even if people can only spare an hour or so a week, even a month, it will all help.”

    • Middlesbrough – Pupils launch campaign to save Marton Library - Gazette.  “Marton Library is earmarked for closure by the council under plans unveiled by mayor Ray Mallon to reduce its annual budget. The children of the school’s own council are now writing to Mr Mallon and council officers to highlight their concerns. Chairman of the school council 11-year-old James Wood said: “The library is so important to us. Lots of the children at school go there to get books to read and help with homework and projects.”
    • Oxfordshire – Save the back offices at all costs - Question Everything.   Oxfordshire is surrounded by other Conservative-run councils so the defence of the back office to the expense of branch libraries is not political.  Big savings can be made by merging behind the scenes officers/management but is not doing so.  Suspicion council is protecting its own officers and also keen to promote Big Society libraries even if other ways are there to save the money.
    • North Yorkshire – Libraries to lose 36 jobs - Whitby Gazette.   One-fifth of library workforce to be cut. “County councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive members for libraries, said: “We have listened to what people have said about how they want to become involved in the provision of this service, we have examined the proposals they have put forward for achieving those aims and I’m delighted to say that the result is a set of proposals designed to ensure a viable and sustainable future for our libraries.””
    • Surrey – Concerns raised over future of Hersham Library - Elmbridge Today.   “However, in the village itself, there are fears that volunteers will be asked to take control of the facility and that it may even close if nobody comes forward. The friends of Hersham Library have now organised a protest march on November 23. A public meeting is also being held on November 30 to discuss the library and its future. Local resident Roy Green said: “This is the third time in 25 years that we have had this problem in Hersham and had to fight to keep Hersham Library open. “It is a vital asset and a community centre. We are very proud of the staff we have got there. Some of the staff have been there for more than 23 years.”.  Estimates 100 volunteers needed to keep branch open.
    • Wokingham – Libraries’ future to be debated - Get Wokingham.  “The council’s executive approved proposals in June this year to seek a private organisation to take over the running of the libraries in a bid to save £170,000 a year. But the move prompted a huge backlash from library users and a campaign and petition were launched by Liberal Democrats Anthony Vick and Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey.”
    “We are currently in a competitive dialogue process with potential library partners and cannot discuss details of these discussions. But many exciting and innovative ideas have come forward that could build on what is offered at our libraries.”  UllaKarin Clark, Councillor, Wokingham.

    Glos/Somerset Legal Challenge Special

    Comment 

    The campaigners from Somerset and Gloucestershire have won and so the 21 threatened libraries in those counties will stay open. Where the Councils did not win was over giving sufficient regard to equalities legislation.  It was found that both made decisions to close libraries without sufficient information gathering, analysis or concern for the vulnerable (for instance single mothers, elderly and the disabled). In Somerset, this means the closure of eleven libraries is “unlawful and can be challenged”.  In Gloucestershire, the desire of the council to withdraw funding from ten libraries, giving libraries such as Hester’s Way (in one of the most depressed areas of the county) and Churchdown to volunteers instead, has been rebuffed. 
    In theory, therefore, the councils should apologise and get on with their business.  However, this does not appear to be the case.   Indeed, the leader of Gloucestershire council has already indicated that this is what he intends to do, although the leader of Somerset is taking more time to consider their position.  In a worrying sign, James Goudie QC, appearing for the councils, claimed the victory was an “own goal” and in a statement that comes across as dangerously close to vengeful and vindictive, he “warned the library campaigners that the victory could turn out to be an “own goal” – and even more “draconian” reductions in library services could be introduced. He said that, when the local authorities came to reconsider their decisions, it was at least “highly likely” they would make the same decisions again. He said: “They might actually be more draconian from the point of view of those challenging libraries’ closures than the decisions made months ago. There is no reason to suppose they are are going to practically benefit, given that the financial constraints have obviously not eased.”
    This battle is won therefore for the campaigners, and well they deserve the victory, but the war itself is not.  One of the key things that will help defend matters is, crucially, the intervention of the Secretary of State in defining once and for all what a “comprehensive and efficient” library provision actually means.  Sadly the uninterested Jeremy Hunt, and his silent deputy Ed Vaizey, give no indication that they are willing to do this and so this battle may just be a blip in the ongoing dismantling of the widespread local provision of libraries.
    For now, though, that is a problem for the future.  This is the first time in British legal history that a council has lost a court case over public libraries.  It has, whether Somerset or Glos, Doncaster or Dorset, Brent or Croydon like it or not, set a precedent to say that councils need to be properly think out the cuts.  It has also sent the message that you don’t mess with those who care for their local libraries.  Well done to all concerned.

    [NB.  This article has been substantially changed on Thursday 17th November due to key errors being made in the analysis of the legal case yesterday.  My apologies to all of the campaigners concerned.  Ian.]

    433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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.

    The Legal Challenge

    • Campaigners score victory at High Court - CILIP Update.  Long article.
    • Channel Four News - Three minute segment on the decision.  Cllr Hawthorne calls it a “small technical point” that his council was breaking the law and was found guilty of “bad government”
    • CILIP response to the Gloucestershire and Somerset libraries judicial review - CILIP.  Congratulates the campaigners, that all communities and minorities need to be considered before cuts are forced through, that cuts to library services should be “proportionate” to other services and that there should be a national vision for libraries underpinned by proper standards.
    • Councillors at the most dangerous when wounded - Alan Gibbons.   [Council] “statements wilfully misinterpret what the judge said. The judge said: “the decisions under challenge were not just unlawful but bad government” hence the total quashing of the library plans and telling them they have to start again.  It was VERY serious that they lost on this point.  The judge said it was a “substantive error of law” and a “substantial breach”. Expect the wounded beast to bite back. Campaigners will have to be ready  to fight on. They have right on their side.
    • Court rulest library closures unlawful - Guardian.   Calls decision a “surprise”.  “To the gasps and muted exclamations of the campaigners sitting at the back of the court, he ordered the councils to revisit their plans. Failure to do so, he said, would send the wrong message to other councils.”
    “The message is expected to be heard most clearly in Brent, north-west London, where campaigners are fighting to save six libraries. Having had their judicial review rejected by a high court judge, they have taken their battle to the court of appeal and are now awaiting a decision.”

    • High Court Judge rules GCC’s library cuts unlawful - FoGL.  Official statement from the Gloucestershire campaigners points out that the failure really lies at the door of the DCMS and the shamefully silent Ed Vaizey.
    • Judge rules County Council library closures “unlawful” - This is the West Country.  In an interesting use of logic, the council QC asked judge not to quash decision because this would just cause “further delay” and “uncertainty” to the employees that would otherwise lose their jobs and to the locals who would lose the service.
    • Library campaigners win legal challenge - Channel Four News.   “The judge is considering what “relief” should be granted to the claimants in the light of his ruling. Lawyers hailed the decision as “a victory for campaigners whose opposition to the councils’ library cuts had been ignored”.
    • Library closures can be challenged, judge rules - BBC.  In an interesting definition of the word “comprehensive”, the Council lawyers said this did not mean libraries for the whole county.  Lawyer called smaller libraries “the icing on the cake” which did not affect the underlying core service.
    • Library closures challenge allowed - Independent – “Judge McKenna, sitting as a deputy High Court judge, told a court packed with campaigners he had concluded that both claims succeeded. He stressed that they had succeeded on “only one of three grounds”.
    • MP welcomes court’s decision over “unlawful” closure plans – This is the West Country.   LibDem MP David Laws says “Mr Laws said: “Today’s announcement is to be welcomed and is a huge boost to the people of South Petherton and elsewhere in Somerset who rely on and value libraries. “Our local libraries are an important public service, particularly for those who don’t have access to transport.“This is a real blow to Conservative controlled Somerset County Council. The council will need to reconsider its plans and consult more widely with local library users.”Mr Laws added: “We now need to talk to the council so that we have a proper consideration of what could be done to keep South Petherton Library open.” 
    “It has been brought to our attention that Cllr Hawthorne has told the press that the council “lost on a small technical point”. This is absolutely NOT the case. The judge said “the decisions under challenge were not just unlawful but bad government” hence the total quashing of the library plans and telling them they have to start again.  It was VERY serious that they lost on this point.  The judge said it was a “substantive error of law” and a “substantial breach” FoGL

    “Gloucestershire residents should never have had to go through this stressful, upsetting and expensive process and serious questions now also need to be answered by the secretary of state Ed Vaizey. It is Mr Vaizey’s duty to intervene when authorities are not meeting their obligations to provide a library service available to all who wish to use it. Why were Gloucestershire County Council allowed to continue down this destructive path? In opposition Mr Vaizey was a vocal critic of library closures yet our many pleas for help have been ignored whilst library users were left to fight this alone – it is clear that he left his convictions at the door on entering office.”

    • “Vaizey ignored us”, say library campaigners – BookSeller.  Peter Murphy, speaking for Somerset campaigners, highlighted the financial struggle to raise the £9,000 needed as community contribution to the legal fight and warned that under the “Big Society” vulnerable individuals were in danger of being disenfranchised. Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers, representing the campaigners, said the judgement was “a vindication for library campaigners in Somerset and Gloucestershire and nationally, and for the rule of law” and said it “behoves the culture minister to step in” and bring about “a proper reappraisal of library provision in this country”.A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said today: “We note the judgment in the Somerset and Gloucester libraries judicial review and are considering its implications.”
    • Victory - Campaign for the Book.   “This is a famous victory for the doughty campaigners in both counties and should give councils elsewhere pause for thought in their often reckless closure programmes.” … ” These two councils and others have ruthlessly ignored reasoned argument that the destruction of a large proportion of the public library service is a very short sighted course when the UK languishes in 25th place in PISA international reading rankings and citizens have so few local resources to promote community pride and cohesion. Did Department of Culture Media and Sport Ministers not notice that up to eighty per cent of convicted rioters were on special needs registers?” … “Today has been a famous victory. For it to impact on the fight to defend the library service, we will all have to redouble our efforts. We will not go gentle into that good night. We will resist. With sufficient stamina, imagination, persistence and will we can win.”
    • Victory for Gloucestershire and Somerset - Voices for the Library.  “a quashing order means that the campaigners have put a halt to the council’s current plans for libraries – both local authorities’ plans will have to be rethought. We would like to congratulate both Gloucestershire and Somerset campaigners and their lawyers on their success. We know it has been a long battle and their determination has paid off.”
    • Victory for Gloucestershire library campaigners - This is Gloucestershire.  “The decision means Shire Hall must reconsider its decision to hand facilities to volunteers. It means that the Conservative administration must continue to pay for libraries including Hester’s Way and Churchdown.”
    “Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The most important thing here is that the judge that there is nothing wrong with our plans to transfer some libraries over to communities. “We very disappointed for the community groups who are lined up to take over their services, but our promise to them is that we will continue to work with them on delivering successful community run services. In line with the judge’s ruling, we will be taking this decision again with an open mind but we are confident that our police on community run libraries is sound.”

    “After the decision Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries released the following statement: We are delighted with the outcome of the judicial review. This outcome follows the proper scrutiny of Gloucestershire County Council’s library plans in court; scrutiny which was never allowed under the councils own processes. The judge’s decision to rule in the claimant’s favour on equality grounds is a real vindication of our campaign, which has long argued that the removal of public library services from the most disadvantaged, deprived and vulnerable members of our community is grossly unfair. We are also pleased to learn that the council have been denied permission to appeal the decision.”

    “Danielle Carey, of Public Interest Lawyers, who represented the residents, said: “Today’s High Court ruling sends a clear message not only to Gloucestershire and Somerset councils but to every council in the country, that catering for the needs of the vulnerable must be at the heart of every decision to cut important services such as libraries.”

    • Warning as court stops library cutsRutland and Stamford Mercury.   “The judge declared the decisions were “not merely unlawful decisions, but in substance ‘bad government’, and it is important to the rule of law to give due respect to these issues of equality”.

    Reaction from Ad Lib, Dorset campaign group (Press Release)

    Other News

    • Fight to secure future of Yorkshire drama library - The Stage.  Drama and music groups in Yorkshire are campaigning to save a library service housing more than 90,000 play texts and 500,000 pieces of music that is under threat”. Yorkshire Libraries and Information Music and Drama Service.  Council asking for other people to run service, on either a voluntary or commercial basis.
    • Hands off our libraries - Yorkshire Post.   “Recently I posed to my MP the question – libraries or Libya? At a cost of £2bn, war won. As always, the money is there. It is a question of what our money is being spent on.”
    • Kindle lending experience from a patron’s perspective “a wolf in book’s clothing” – Librarian.net. “while the process to obtain the book wasn’t too difficult, the process to actually get RID of the book once returned [without a lot of pesky “hey maybe you should BUY this” cajoling] was actually fairly difficult. The default settings are, not surprisingly, strongly urging that the patron purchase (not renewal, not some sort of overdue notification) the book that they have just “returned.””.
    “My first experience at “borrowing a Kindle book from the library” has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It did not feel like borrowing a book from a library. It felt like a salesperson had sold me a book with a “no-risk free home trial” and was pestering me to buy it at the end of the trial period.”

    • Libya welcomes banned books – Star. “Libya marked the end of the Gadhafi-era blacklist Monday with a ceremonial unbanning of books in the former regime’s most storied public library. Many of Libya’s emerging political hopefuls joined militia leaders and returning expat exiles at the Italianate Royal Palace for a sunset event that was equal parts a celebration of free thought and bitter lament for its cost.”
    “This is a major moment for us because this is where we reclaim our intellectual freedom. We say goodbye to an era where free thinking was forbidden, where ideas were dangerous” 

    • Rethinking libraries? Axiell Symposium – Policy Review TV.  Excellent reviews and slides of of conference.  The Anythink video and slides in particular show what can be done with investment and strong ideas/leadership.
    • State of seized library - Occupy Wall Street Library.   Heartrending pictures of damaged books and computers.  ““Many books destroyed. Most equipment -and structures missing. . . most of library is missing (all of the reference section btw), damaged or destroyed.” … ““A lot is destroyed . . . more may (or may not) be coming out of their giant trashpile at back of building.” But it’s obvious to me that by recklessly throwing the contents of the park into dumpsters, the NYPD and DSNY working under Bloomberg’s orders destroyed what we built. And that their claim that the library was “safely stored” was a lie.”.  Many books, autographed by their authors, missing.  Lawsuit may be filed as property appears to have been seized and damaged without proper legalities, allegedly.
      • People’s Library and the future of OWS - AlJazeera. “The library, which took weeks to establish, reflected the uniqueness and power of the still young 99 per cent movement. “From the very beginning, the OWS encampments were not just gestures of protest thinly focused on making statements about the ills of society, but were efforts to build community where people were knowledgeable and participated in informed dialogue. The libraries, at least in Zuccotti and in Los Angeles, have been central. Here in LA a graduate student made her entire personal library available to occupiers. These libraries have contemporary theory, classical literature, incisive analyses, and all sorts of books that have been marginalised from the mainstream media and culture. But when the history of this period will be written, these are the books that will be remembered.”
    “As soon as he heard about the library, his thoughts turned to Heinrich Heine, the great 19th century German poet and critic, who exclaimed in his Almansor the famous words: “Where they burn books, they’ll ultimately burn people too”. Of course, New York City isn’t burning books, but for Aloni, carting them away in garbage trucks is not that far removed. “When they disrespect books, they disrespect humankind, and when they destroy books, they destroy the spirit of humanity. The library was great because people gave more than they took. OWS was not just a place for activism, but also a place for education and rethinking; not for just blathering on when you don’t know, but being humble and willing to learn. By taking out the library, they’ve tried to stop that crucial process.” 

      Changes

      Dorset – Campaign group: Charmouth Village Library
      Lambeth –  West Norwood, Minet, Carnegie, Durning and South Lambeth under threat as future depends on volunteers. Waterloo Library could be relocated, current site sold to developers.

      Local News

      • Dorset – Charmouth: Library fight will continue say AdLib campaigners - Bridport News.  “A highly-charged Dorset County Council meeting saw councillors vote for a second time to take away core funding from nine of the county’s 34 libraries. Campaigners say they will take the issue to the Secretary of State.”… “The vote was split down party lines with 25 Conservative councillors voting against the motion to keep the libraries funded and 14 Lib Dem and Labour councillors voting for it. Three councillors abstained from voting, including Marshwood Vale member Col Geoff Brierley, who is also a member of the Friends of Charmouth Library.”  Council says them withdrawing from running the libraries gives villagers “a great opportunity” (sic).  Three year support package from council to volunteers, no guarantee of funding after that. 
      • Hampshire – Library plans to be looked at again - This is Hampshire.  “Hampshire County Council is proposing to close two libraries and slash opening hours at 36 others as part of controversial plans to save £2.4m. But just five weeks into a three-month consultation, library bosses have acknowledged proposed cuts might cause problems in Alresford, Eastleigh, Totton, Whitchurch and Leigh Park but say the total number of hours will still be reduced by eight per cent.”.  Council is changing opening hour cuts proposals due to feedback.
      • Lambeth – Library reforms to go before council - Guardian series.  “Under the plans, Brixton and Streatham libraries will be open seven days a week fully equipped with the latest IT and a full range of specialist library staff. West Norwood, Minet, Carnegie, Durning and South Lambeth libraries will all remain open and be developed into community libraries, run in partnership with the residents who will decide how they are managed, how budgets are spent.”

      In a superb response to a freedom of information request, the University says “Far from having a policy on masturbation or outlawing the practice, as the bogus notice alleged, the University encourages the study of it, academically at least. Among the titles in the University Library is “Solitary Sex : A Cultural History of Masturbation” by Thomas Walter Laqueur, pub Zone Books, New York, 2003.”
      • Waltham Forest – Leytonstone: Community library “can’t use branch’s books” - Guardian series. ” Residents living by Harrow Green Library in Leytonstone are currently in negotiations with the council to set up their own facility in the same building after it shuts on Friday December 2. But they are furious to learn that the council will not let them use the branch’s current stock of books as they had hoped. The authority says the resources will be redistributed and that no decision has been made on whether to let campaigners use the building.”  Some items will be provided but exactly what has not yet been finalised.
      “If Waltham Forest council is willing to let volunteers run the library, why is it removing the books? This looks bad. In 2007, after an investigation by the WF Guardian, the council were forced to admit they had sent nearly a quarter of a million books to Edmonton incinerator. These were destroyed without an attempt at selling or giving them away.   The council said some books were destroyed because they hadn’t been borrowed in the past three years. But St James Street Library Campaign found out that they had been boxed up in storage for more than three years, so no one had a chance to borrow them!”

      Glos and Somerset, fingers crossed

      Good luck to Gloucestershire and Somerset campaigners on Wednesday morning.
      433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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

      • CALIX responses to library privatisation and LSSI - Pacific Library Partnership (USA).  Fascinating exchanges on privatisation of libraries between LSSI employees and non-LSSI employeers.  For whatever reason, all non-LSSI remarks are negative, all LSSI employee remarks are positive.  Good to read to get some idea of the issues involved.
      • End of Borders and the future of booksBloomberg BusinessWeek (USA).   Half of Borders stores were profitable, right up to the moment they closed.  Borders made a lot of mistakes. 
      • February march planning meeting details confirmed - Library Campaign. “The planning meeting for the national demonstration to save libraries will be at 11 am on Saturday 19 November, in Room G16, Birkbeck College. Use the entrance in Torrington Square: Birkbeck College’s interactive map.  The meeting will end at 1 pm, to allow time for a lunch break before the meeting of the Library Campaign Executive Committee at 2pm. EC meetings are open, so do stay if you can.”
      • Number of children’s centres by local authority -  Department of Education.  124 less SureStart Centres in one year has implications for libraries, literacy, all sorts of things.
      • Public libraries: a briefing paper - Carnegie UK Trust.   “This short briefing paper sets out the history of the Trust’s involvement in public library provision, and outlines how the Trust may re-engage in the policy debate on access to knowledge and the future of the public library service in the UK and Ireland.”
      • Public library standards in Wales - Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog. The analysis of the last three years provided some very interesting findings. It appears that spending on staffing and materials is crucial in influencing how well a library service does overall in the standards. Well that’s obvious, you say. Possibly, but there were also additional qualifiers and deeper analysis that showed a more complex picture. It was agreed that social, economic and geographical factors can also play a part in how well a library service does in the standards, as well as the ‘culture’ of the local authority. It may not be a perfect model, but it’s a good set of indicators.”
      • Recession-proof library funding? We’ll drink to that - Bethlehem Patch (USA).  “Public libraries are among the unsung heroes of our age. At the Emmaus and Allentown libraries, I’ve joined scores of regulars and blackout refugees using the computers and Internet service for work, job hunts, school and leisure. These places virtually hum with activity.” … “If libraries had liquor licenses, they’d never have to worry about funding again! A round of gin and tonics and Proust for everyone! Alcohol might actually make some of us more ambitious readers — there are authors I’d hesitate to tackle without a glass of Chardonnay.”
      • Six amazing, and possibly unexpected, things about life as a cataloguer – High Visibility Cataloguing.  [Including the classic “Cataloguing is fun” claim – Ed.]
      • Urgent: Raid of Occupy Wall Street - Occupy Wall Street Library.  Last few hours of the Occupy Wall Street protest, from the perpective of the People’s Librarians. “This shouldn’t be happening to a library.”.  More from Library Bazaar with links to yet more.  “Matthew Battles, author of Library: An Unquiet History,  compares the libraries of the Occupy movement to the reading rooms of the Chartists of 19th-century Britain. A timely discussion given today’s removal of the Occupy Wall Street library.”


      Changes

      Greenwich - Moving towards being run on a 15 year contract by GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) on top of leisure centres etc.

      Local News

      • Birmingham – David Cameron visits Birmingham’s new library and science park with Dutch counterparts – Birmingham Mail.  “Then we moved onto the Library of Birmingham where both Mr Cameron and Mr Rutte were impressed by this incredible Anglo-Dutch project.” Dutch premier also present “As part of the tour of Aston Science Park, the two leaders were given a virtual tour of the new library before visiting the construction site.”.  [Unclear if drastic cuts to libraries in city mentioned during visit - Ed.]
      • Coventry – Fears for future of Coventry’s historic library building - Coventry Telegraph.   Concerns have been raised about the future of Coventry’s historic library buildings. They include landmark buildings at Earlsdon, Stoke and Foleshill built by the great industrial philanthropist Andrew Carnegie – one of the world’s richest men at the turn of the 20th century.”  Councillor said “said many library buildings were old or not suitable for modern facilities for families, with some requiring roof repairs, toilets and disabled facilities.”.  Locals not impressed – “Earlsdon library for example is not just a fine building, but a key piece of social history”
      • Croydon/Lambeth – Lambeth Council tells Croydon to “put down the gun” in library rowThis is Croydon Today.  “Cllr Steve Reed, the Labour leader of Lambeth Council, said: “It is clear that Croydon’s Conservatives have long been seeking a way to kill off the Upper Norwood Joint Library after years of failure to meet their funding obligations. Now, instead of coming clean about their true intentions, they have tried to create a smokescreen of false allegations to cover their decision.”
      • Essex – Libraries launch Youtube channel - This is Total Essex.  “Launching on Thursday, the Essex Libraries channel will feature “playlists” updating readers on the latest adult and young-adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as a “book of the month” recommendation.”
      • Gloucestershire – “Library loans plummet in county”: a responseFoGL.  “This comes as no surprise to us given that there was a 40% cut in the book budget in 2010 and a cut of 30% in the library budget overall. The county council administration is running down our libraries and using the subsequent decline in usage to justify yet more cuts.”  … “Councillor Noble goes on to champion an eBook service that does not even exist yet, and when it does, is not going to be compatible with the use of Kindles.”
        • Library loans plummet across the county - This is Gloucestershire.  Council says “popularity across the county is declining rapidly, with 25,000 fewer books being borrowed from Cheltenham town centre a year.” … “”People have more access to books and they are much cheaper to buy. We are also seeking to modernise our service by improving access to electronic library services and we will have a good collection of e-books available in the new year.”.  “Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries member John Holland, who was assistant head of Gloucestershire County Council’s library service until July 2010, said: “We are talking about a service that has been asset-stripped. They cut the service and then fewer books are taken out, so they use that to justify a further cut and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
      • Greenwich – Moves closer to hiving off libraries - 853.  “Tuesday’s cabinet meeting is likely to rubber-stamp a new contract for Greenwich Leisure Limited to carry on running its leisure centres, which includes provision for GLL to take on the borough’s libraries as well as its swimming baths and gyms.” … “But unions are nervous – while GLL is a social enterprise, they say there is little union recognition there, and they fear jobs could be put at risk. GLL was set up to take over Greenwich’s leisure centres during cuts in the early 1990s, and has expanded across London and beyond.”

       Lambeth – Libraries under attack once again - Lambeth Save Our Services.  
      • Newcastle – Genealogy service at Newcastle City Library – Chronicle.  “The city is to become one of only seven sites across England and Wales to offer a full set of records from the General Register Office (GRO).
      • Oxfordshire – Yet more places to look for savings - Question Everything.  “Now here is a mad idea: why don’t you use the five million and put those same lights in all the libraries? That way you could save money each year on the library budget and would be using the money in a way you suggested. This one off money would make savings each year and decrease the councils carbon output. The prices are only going to continue to rise so it is a very sound investment.” … “When the volunteer thing doesn’t work and you come to close my library down,  I will be the one handcuffed to the heating pipe in the toilet in our library. You send your boys down and try and move me.”.  Structure chart of library staff also appears to show quite a top-heavy management.
      Replacing staff with volunteers isn’t what the big society is supposed to be. The big society stuff we already do and it will be lost because we will be too busy stacking the shelves and trying to teach the elderly how to use the stupidly expensive self service machines. “

      • West Sussex – Bid to save West Sussex libraries - Bognor Regis Observer.   “Axing a personalised library service to residential care homes and sheltered housing would be ‘another nail in the coffin’ for vulnerable people, it was warned this week. Members of the county council’s community services select committee called for a rethink on proposals to axe the service in order to save £75,000.”
       

      The light under the bushel

      Comment

      A few copies of the librarians’ magazine Update came through the letterbox today, with myself mentioned twice.  The first time was a three page article I wrote for the magazine on privatisation (which I hope to publish here soon) and the second was on the “Media Watching” back page where I am described as clever and as an “one man news machine and must-follow commentator”.  This follows on from Boyd Tonkin, the literary editor of the Independent, calling Public Libraries News “a really essential resource for anyone interested in the future of public libraries” a little while ago. 
      Now, all of the previous paragraph comes across as boasting to me.  It’s not what I like to do but this, of course, is the root of the problem.  I’m a librarian.  We don’t boast much.  No-one else knew the Boyd Tonkin quote until now because I have told no-one (well, one other person) about the email he sent me a couple of months ago.  Libraries too often don’t tell people of the wonderful things they do and thus why we should be listened to.  Librarians, and their users, need to learn to change their ways.  Those working in libraries and those who love libraries need to start really seriously pushing all the great things libraries do to anyone who will listen and especially (hello Minister) those who will not.  So, say it loud and say it proud, libraries are brilliant and the light being hidden under their bushel is a hundred-gigawatt laserbeam of community wonderfullness that can burn you if you dare try to put it out.
      The lawyers have just confirmed that the hearing to hand down the verdict of the judicial review on the closing of libraries in Gloucestershire and Somerset is scheduled for Wednesday 16th November at 10.30 am in the Royal Courts of Justice, London. In other news, please don’t miss the excoriating attack on the cuts to Birmingham Libraries by its ex head of service.
      433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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

      • Anti-cuts legislation: court politics - Guardian (Editorial)Includes libraries in longer piece.  “And care is only one of several shredded services which are occupying the courts: at the end of last week, the court of appeal was considering claims that Brent council had overstepped the law in choosing to close six libraries.” … “There will be general sympathy, too, for the endangered Brent libraries, as indeed there will be for all manner of other threatened services which wind up in the courts. But in a world where a pound spent on one service is inescapably a pound not spent on another, it is worth pausing to consider the unspecified yet inevitable price paid elsewher… ”
      • Libraries face a digital future - Guardian.   Books are on the way out so libraries should embrace the digital as fast as possible, whether they like it or not.  Public libraries should move towards ebooks, “hyper-local journalism”, electronic publishing like the Future Libraries Programme says it should.
       
      • Pew Research Center unveils new initiative on libraries in digital age - Information Today (USA).  “The Pew Research Center announced plans to study how the role of public libraries is changing in the digital age and how library patrons’ needs and expectations are shifting. The new research is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a 3-year, $1.4 million investment”.
      • Public library, completely reimaginedMindShift (USA). One fo the possibly futures for Public libraries is turning into 3D Printer “maker spaces” or “fablabs” (fabrication laboratories). 
      • Public library to reopen at last - All Africa (Namibia).  Windhoek library will reopen in January after being closed for three years. “”Things just didn’t go the way they were supposed to go” a staff member said. Cupido on Friday said that the lack of public outrage about the situation was a possible sign that Namibians “have given up on public activism”. “Nobody is upset about it. Nobody is upset about anything.” He said the lack of a public library in a society which is already struggling with literacy rates could mean the beginning of “a long goodbye to education”.”

      Changes

      Birmingham – Children’s mobile closed, nearly all senior and middle management made redundant, “BookStart” librarian redundant
      Blackpool - £1m investment plus £2m from Big Lottery Fund.
      Lambeth –  West Norwood, Minet, Carnegie, Durning and South Lambeth libraries will be run in collaboration with volunteers.
      West Sussex - 20,000 books per year will be bought, increase in charges.

      Local News

      • Birmingham – City Council’s library cuts: from world class to mediocrity –  Voices for the Library.  Open letter from John Dolan OBE, ex Head of Birmingham’s libraries to the council.  Long list of problems with the deep cuts announced to library service.  
      • Blackpool – Bucks library trend with £3m upgrade – Guardian.   “The decision by Blackpool council to plough £1m into its central library, with another £2m from the Big Lottery Fund, has been hailed as a triumph and another chapter in the seaside town’s cultural revival.” … “The Grade II-listed Carnegie library, on the edge of the town and opposite a job centre, is flooded with light and colour. Eight modern coloured glass windows are the focal point of the refurbishment, with a colour palette inspired by seaside hues of beach huts and sweets. The 100-year-old library’s rather dour former entrance has been repositioned and opened up and the bookshelves on the ground floor significantly lowered to create a sense of space.”
      • Bradford – Wrose Community Association and Wrose Parish Council will run facility – Telegraph & Argus.   “Wrose library was earmarked for closure by Bradford Council to make savings of £70,000. But now community groups have agreed to fund the running of the library, in Wrose Road, and staff it with 12 volunteers.”.  Video here. “If we didn’t volunteer, it would definitely close”. 
      • Brent – Libraries judgement expected in weeks - BookSeller.   “Lords Justices Pill, Richards and Davis said they were “going to take time for our decision”, after hearing Dinah Rose QC, representing Brent residents, claim that the council had fallen foul of the Equality Act by failing to appreciate the likely impact of its plans on the local Asian community. Rose also claimed the council was unfair to community groups who put forward proposals to save the threatened libraries.”
      • Coventry – Author Josephine Cox opens Allesley Park Library - Coventry Telegraph.   “The new library opened its doors to the public in July to replace a mobile service and attracted 6,753 visitors in August, compared to just 605 to the mobile library 12 months earlier.”
      • Enfield – “No desire” for library closures, public tells Enfield Council – Enfield Independent.  “After receiving around 1,500 responses from Enfield library users, [Councillor Charalambous] he said: “What I picked up was there is no desire for there to be much change to the library service at the moment. My personal view is we shouldn’t propose any change.”… “A cut of £1.5m to the libraries budget has been pencilled in for the next four years, but Cllr Charalambous said that may be absorbed by making better use of the libraries or by passing the cuts on to other areas of the budget.”
      • Isle of Man – Bookworms celebrate opening of new library at Murray’s Road school - Isle of Man.com.   “”When I was at primary school we had a school library and it was ok but we also had a brilliant town library and it was there that I fell in love with books and telling stories.”
      • Lambeth – Community to be at the heart of Lambeth Libraries, Commission proposes - Lambeth Council.   “West Norwood, Minet, Carnegie, Durning and South Lambeth libraries will all remain open and be developed into ‘Community Libraries’, run in partnership with the local
        community who be given the power to decide how they are managed, how budgets are spent, and what services the libraries should provide.” … “The Commissioners recommend that rather than closing libraries, necessary savings will be made by remodelling staff structures, cutting waste, and introducing more self service technology.”
      • North Yorkshire – Teeside village turns to tax increase to save libraryBookSeller.   “Great Ayton library is one of eight facing possible closure, with the council deciding they will be turned over to the community to run and to fund. The proposal for a £20 tax increase in the parish precept has been made in a questionnaire going to over 2,000 households in the village, according to a local news report, with more than 80% of respondents in favour of the scheme.”
      • Suffolk – Passing the buck - BookSeller (John Pateman).  “Public library services can only be made “profitable” by significantly cutting their three main areas of expenditure: staffing, buildings and bookfund. Any reductions in these areas will inevitably lead to a lower quality of service and poorer performance. Rather than making these reductions themselves, and facing the public’s anger, councils are offloading the problem—and decision making—onto third parties. But the outcome will be the same: fewer public libraries offering a poorer service.”.  Strong parallels between privatising the NHS and privatising libraries.
      • West Sussex – Cuts planned for library service – Crawley Observer.   “Council plans to reduce by 20,000 the number of books it buys for the county’s libraries in an attempt to save £200,000.”.  ““For customers this is more realistic than expecting libraries to be run wholly by volunteers, which communities told us they didn’t like. We are still looking at the details of how things will work, but we have avoided any change to the opening hours.”
      • Wokingham – Petition forces debate on library sell off - Get Wokingham.  “The first debate to be triggered by a public petition in the history of Wokingham Borough Council will be held this week to discuss the future of the borough’s libraries.”.  2374 sign petition against privatisation.  Council claims libraries are not being privatised – just that a private company will take them over and run them.

      The War on Libraries so far

      Comment 
      Sometimes it is useful to take a step back from the fray in order to get a sense of perspective.  This chance was given to me when I was asked by a new website, BookByte, to do a summary of the extraordinary events in public libraries over the last year for them.  So, here it is, heavily summarised so as to be manageable.
      War is declared (October 2010 to December 2011)
      The new Coalition Government’s comprehensive spending review meant that councils had to cut their budgets like never before.  In this situation, libraries were uniquely vulnerable for a number of reasons:
      So, councils up and down the country (notably Gloucestershire, Somerset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, Brent, Suffolk but so many others) announced deep cuts to library budgets and to buildings. 

      War is joined (Early  2011)

      Then all hell broke loose.  Councillors, who by their nature are generally the opposite of library users in terms of demographic, being themselves often time-poor but money-rich, were not likely to be users themselves and so were shocked by the strength of feeling shown by library users.  There were protests galore, marches in market towns that had not seen popular protest since mediaeval times. Campaign groups sprang up everywhere, made up of people from all backgrounds and political beliefs.  Petitions of a size unheard of were handed into councils.  A hastily announced and completely uncoordinated day of protest led to hundreds of events and massive (for libraries) media coverage.

      In some councils, this was enough to change minds.  Many councils who had initially thought of closing libraries, notably the prime minister’s own county of Oxfordshire, backed away.  In some others, such as Suffolk, leaders fell.  Few branches have, to date, actually been closed.  However…

      War becomes Phoney War (2011)

      People protest about black and white, about open or closed.  So, faced with not understanding the value of libraries and still needing to cut funding, councils became smarter.  They concentrated on the grey. So different tactics were used:

      This has been a lot harder to fight.  The subject of volunteering is particularly divisive as in other sectors they are seen as an uniquely good thing.  People don’t march for three less hours on a Friday.  Many Conservative voters don’t have any problems with privatisation.
      So, what we are seeing instead, in many places is a hollowing out of public libraries.  The buildings are being left standing but they are increasingly shells, with less in them to attract the user.  So, library usage declines.  So, there may be less protest next year.
      When the real war begins.
      433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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

      • Clive Thompson on why kids can’t search - Wired. “students aren’t assessing information sources on their own merit—they’re putting too much trust in the machine.”.  Students are never taught how to judge information. “Librarians are our national leaders in this fight; they’re the main ones trying to teach search skills to kids today”
      • If politicians won’t pay for libraries, don’t assume that publishers will – Good Library Blog.  In which Tim Coates points out something that is obvious: universal free downloadable library ebooks would destroy the book market and so it ain’t going to happen – unless something like Public Lending Right was extended to ebooks, which is unlikely as it would cost money.  “Publishers will not make ebooks freely available – why should they? At present 80% of publishers both here and in the US are refusing to supply the public library service through the various models that are currently available. Why should they give away content so that two thirds of reading can be free and authors of the works are not paid ?” 
      • My thoughts on #savelibraries - Monsieurledan.com.  The author’s local library is underused. From this basis, he suggests libraries go online, acting as archives for all locally produced digital content.  However, he admits he has no idea where the funding would come from.
      • On National Gaming Day, libraries encourage children to put down book, pick up joystick – Press of Atlantic City (USA).  “I practically grew up in the library myself, so it is a little odd for me to see people playing video games in library. But with the way CDs and movies have been brought in over the years, I guess it was bound to happen,” said Woerner, 29, of Forked River. “My daughter is in enjoying this. But she is absolutely leaving here with books.”

      Local News

      Brent appeal decision in “only a few” weeks

      Comment

      News has filtered out about yesterday’s Appeal over the closures of half of Brent’s libraries.  Disappointingly, the judgement in the case could take a month or so.  The articles linked give a good view of what went on.  It appears that given the previous judgement’s view that a decision over breaking the 1964 Act can only be made by the Secretary of State, the barrister had concentrated instead on the closures insufficiently taking into account equalities legislation.  The main points of appeal were:

        • Asians indirectly disciminated against.  Ealing Road library now overcrowded due to closures.
        • Less than expected feedback to consultation from Asians.
        • Equalities Impact Assessment done at last moment. Long report but entirely based on the presumption of no indrect discrimination so avoided issue of Asian use.
      • Brent – Council discriminated against Asians when it closed six libraries, court hears - Brent and Kilburn Times.  “twenty eight per cent of Brent’s borough is Asian, but 46 per cent of active borrowers at its libraries are Asian. The reasons why Asians were particularly heavy users of libraries were never considered or investigated,” she said. Ms Dinah Rose presented two maps before the three judges, Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Davies, which were printed off the council’s own website.”

      Brent appeal concluded yesterday afternoon; the judges said they would “take their time” to consider it before giving their decision. Likely to be a few – but only few – weeks. (Twitter)

      • I spy … an update on the Appeal – Preston Library Campaign.  “We have a new barrister – Dinah Rose – and she was very impressive.  She opened the case yesterday with the complicated indirect discrimination point – but she explained it so well that I think all 50 or so supporters – (the court was packed and folding chairs had to be brought it!) may now be able to explain it to someone else.” … “In fact the Asian community have been disproportionately affected because a new witness statement showed that Ealing Road library is now overcrowded, with children (mostly Asian) sitting on the floor to do their homework and great pressure on the computers.”
      “Brent conceded that it wasn’t considered at all, but argued that giving no regard to it could nevertheless amount to “due regard” under the legislation.

        433 libraries (344 buildings and 89 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.
        Things you can do today

        News

        • Awaiting a library revolution - Business Standard (India).  “Not having created physical, brick-and-mortar libraries, we might leapfrog to the next stage anyway. Given the country’s relative ease with new technologies, the high levels of mobile penetration and the market for devices like the iPad and the Galaxy Tab, that also work as e-readers, expect digital libraries to start changing the way Indians read and think about books.”
        • Librarian’s words are binding - Los Angeles Times (USA).  “A New Orleans librarian says that even in the Internet age, libraries perform a vital service to society.” … “I even got married in a library. And it’s no fun watching the profession and the institution take hits these days, with libraries shut or scaled back and in some cases privatized. Meanwhile, I’m struck by the number of people who see no tragedy in this and think society no longer has much use for libraries.” … “More than 1 million Californians visited a library on a single day in October 2010,”
        • Perkins - Good Library Blog.  Tim Coates, well known library consultant and ex chief of Waterstones, appears (article is written entirely about a cat) to be announcing he is moving to the USA.  “The Good Library Guide Blog is very proud to announce that Perkins has a new job. She is to be the library cat of a famous and prestigious library in California.”  

         

          “A massive national campaign has begun to save one of the UK’s best music and drama collection of manuscripts. Based in Wakefield, the Yorkshire Libraries and Information (YLI) Music and Drama service is set to close March next year. The protest is led by Making Music an organisation that supports voluntary & amateur music groups in the country.”
          • Will your town’s library soon be privatized? - Blog for Iowa (USA).  “In many towns libraries are the hub for the elderly and the local school kids and for other groups. They often add that ambiance that makes a town more attractive to new citizens and a reason that old citizens do not move. Yet when faced with budget crises ambiance is at the bottom of the totem pole when looking at reasons to save a service.” 

          Changes

          CamdenCampaign groups: Friends of Chalk Farm Library (Facebook).
          Southampton – Council aims to privatise/outsource all services including libraries by 2015.  

          Local News

          • Calderdale – Library cuts under scrutiny – Brighouse Echo.  “Around 2,000 people have had their say over plans to reduce Calderdale library services. During a consultation period, people across Calderdale had the chance to come up with suggestions for saving money in libraries. The full results will be published later this month.”
          • Camden – Dame Joan Bakewell speaks out on “myths” about library users as she joins the fight for Chalk Farm Library – Camden New Journal.  “The 80-year-old journalist and television presenter said: “It is a myth that middle-class people don’t use the library – it is just not true. We love libraries and people in this community love this library in this building.”.  Campaigners “are setting up a small library management group that plans to take on a 20-year lease of the building from Camden at a “peppercorn” rent.  Plans for the new library include IT facilities with wifi access and training space for small exhibitions and talks by authors and a drop-in centre with coffee and newspapers.”
            • Chalk Farm Library UpdatePrimrose Hill Community Association.  Cost to run library independently would be around £75,000 per year.  Group aims to raise £1.2 million and live off the interest. “Over the next four weeks, volunteers from our team will be knocking on all doors in Primrose Hill. The campaign leaflet offers more information and we’ll be asking if you could pledge a contribution – small or large. If between us we raise enough promises by the end of November, the Community Association will enter into negotiations with Camden. If we can’t, the project dies.” 
          • Croydon/Lambeth – Croydon offer three options for future of Upper Norwood Joint Library – Croydon Guardian.  Article describes background then fails to describe what the three options may be, although none include partnership but two (only two) ensure library stays open.
          • Hertfordshire – Shhhh! Silence over Hertford Library asking price – Mercury.   A council spokesman told the Mercury that the authority was not prepared to release the value of the library so as not to prejudice the views of the market because it has a duty to get the best price.” … New Hertford Library due to officially open in January. … “Julie Goodwin, who owns health shop Natural Health in Old Cross, said: “A lot of people come to this side of town for the library, so there’s going to be less footfall when it goes as there will be less reason to come.””
          • North Yorkshire – Great Ayton villagers in favour of tax to save their library - Gazette Live.  “More than 2,000 households in Great Ayton received a questionnaire in July proposing an increase in the Parish Precept of £20 on an average Band D property as a way to save the village library. The results have shown 85-90% of residents who returned the survey agree to the increase.” … “After a long fight the Save Great Ayton Library Group (SGALG) believes that now, the only way the facility could be saved is by an increase in the parish precept.”
          • South Ayrshire – Council library service achieves worldwide first - Ayrshire Scotland Business News.  “The e-book, ‘The Record of the Ayrshire Militia 1802-1883’, is now available for sale on Amazon, making South Ayrshire’s local history information accessible to a global audience for generations to come.”
          • Southampton – Council cuts: the frenetic dash towards privatisation - Guardian.  “The ultimate aim of all this heady ambition, says the report, is to turn the authority into a “commissioning council” by 2015. This means the council will outsource the provision of all its services to the private and voluntary sector. The remaining rump of the council will draw up, issue and monitor service contracts and provide political and strategic oversight.”
          • Suffolk – Library stocks up on “human” books - Suffolk Free Press.   “The facility in Head Lane was visited by five different experts last month, during a “human library” event. Around 120 pupils from Great Cornard Upper School were given advice about safety and well-being, including alcohol awareness, sexual health and drugs.”
          • Sunderland – Read all about it! Sunderland kids love libraries - Sunderland Echo.   “The survey into the reading habits of children in Sunderland, conducted by the Northern Children’s Book Festival, NCBF, found libraries and books remain as popular as ever. It revealed 98 per cent of children in the city use their school library to borrow books and 60 per cent of the youngsters use their local library outside of school on a regular basis.”
          • Surrey – Woking town centre revamp moves to next stage - Get Surrey.   “Hoardings are set to be installed around the closed Woking Library as the latest stage of the town centre renovation work begins.” … “It is anticipated that the refurbished Woking Library and the Peacocks Centre’s restaurant will be open to the public by next spring, with negotiations at an advanced stage with a “popular national restaurant operator” to fill the space.”
          • West Sussex – Libraries in West Sussex will stay open but with less stock - This is Sussex.  “”We are looking to reduce paid staff in smaller libraries and work with communities to find volunteers to offer support. For customers, this is more realistic than expecting libraries to be run wholly by volunteers, which communities told us they didn’t like.”
          “Efforts should be made to protect libraries – they are an extremely important educational and social tool. If the county council is having to make savings then it should look at itself first of all.”

          Brent judgement could take a month.
          - Asians indirectly disciminated against.  Ealing Road library now overcrowded due to closures.
          - Less than expected feedback to consultation from Asians.
          - Equalities Impact Assessment done at last moment. Long report but entirely based on the presumption of no indrect discrimination so avoided issue of Asian use.

          Brent – Council discriminated against Asians when it closed six libraries, court hears - Brent and Kilburn Times.  “twenty eight per cent of Brent’s borough is Asian, but 46 per cent of active borrowers at its libraries are Asian. The reasons why Asians were particularly heavy users of libraries were never considered or investigated,” she said. Ms Dinah Rose presented two maps before the three judges, Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Davies, which were printed off the council’s own website.”

          Brent appeal concluded yesterday afternoon; the judges said they would “take their time” to consider it before giving their decision. Likely to be a few – but only few – weeks. (Twitter)

          I spy … an update on the Appeal – Preston Library Campaign.  “We have a new barrister – Dinah Rose – and she was very impressive.  She opened the case yesterday with the complicated indirect discrimination point – but she explained it so well that I think all 50 or so supporters – (the court was packed and folding chairs had to be brought it!) may now be able to explain it to someone else.” … “In fact the Asian community have been disproportionately affected because a new witness statement showed that Ealing Road library is now overcrowded, with children (mostly Asian) sitting on the floor to do their homework and great pressure on the computers.”

          “Brent conceded that it wasn’t considered at all, but argued that giving no regard to it could nevertheless amount to “due regard” under the legislation.

          Council failed to investigate whether library closures indirectly discriminated against Brent Asians, QC claims - Wembley Matters.  

          News

          Librarian’s words are binding - Los Angeles Times (USA).  “A New Orleans librarian says that even in the Internet age, libraries perform a vital service to society.” … “I even got married in a library. And it’s no fun watching the profession and the institution take hits these days, with libraries shut or scaled back and in some cases privatized. Meanwhile, I’m struck by the number of people who see no tragedy in this and think society no longer has much use for libraries.” … “More than 1 million Californians visited a library on a single day in October 2010,”
          Perkins - Good Library Blog.  Tim Coates, well known library consultant and ex chief of Waterstones, appears (article is written entirely about a cat) to be announcing he is moving to the USA.  “The Good Library Guide Blog is very proud to announce that Perkins has a new job. She is to be the library cat of a famous and presitgious library in California.”
          Will your town’s library soon be privatized? - Blog for Iowa (USA).  “In many towns libraries are the hub for the elderly and the local school kids and for other groups. They often add that ambiance that makes a town more attractive to new citizens and a reason that old citizens do not move. Yet when faced with budget crises ambiance is at the bottom of the totem pole when looking at reasons to save a service.”

          Local News

          Calderdale – Library cuts under scrutiny – Brighouse Echo.  “Around 2,000 people have had their say over plans to reduce Calderdale library services. During a consultation period, people across Calderdale had the chance to come up with suggestions for saving money in libraries. The full results will be published later this month.”
          Croydon/Lambeth – Croydon offer three options for future of Upper Norwood Joint Library – Croydon Guardian.  Article describes background then fails to describe what the three options may be, although none include partnership but two (only two) ensure library stays open.
          Hertfordshire – Shhhh! Silence over Hertford Library asking price – Mercury.   A council spokesman told the Mercury that the authority was not prepared to release the value of the library so as not to prejudice the views of the market because it has a duty to get the best price.” … New Hertford Library due to officially open in January. … “Julie Goodwin, who owns health shop Natural Health in Old Cross, said: “A lot of people come to this side of town for the library, so there’s going to be less footfall when it goes as there will be less reason to come.””
          North Yorkshire – Great Ayton villagers in favour of tax to save their library - Gazette Live.  “
          More than 2,000 households in Great Ayton received a questionnaire in July proposing an increase in the Parish Precept of £20 on an average Band D property as a way to save the village library. The results have shown 85-90% of residents who returned the survey agree to the increase.” … “After a long fight the Save Great Ayton Library Group (SGALG) believes that now, the only way the facility could be saved is by an increase in the parish precept.”
          South Ayrshire – Council library service achieves worldwide first - Ayrshire Scotland Business News.  “The e-book, ‘The Record of the Ayrshire Militia 1802-1883’, is now available for sale on Amazon, making South Ayrshire’s local history information accessible to a global audience for generations to come.”

          Surrey – Woking town centre revamp moves to next stage - Get Surrey.   “Hoardings are set to be installed around the closed Woking Library as the latest stage of the town centre renovation work begins.” … “It is anticipated that the refurbished Woking Library and the Peacocks Centre’s restaurant will be open to the public by next spring, with negotiations at an advanced stage with a “popular national restaurant operator” to fill the space.”