485 libraries (426 buildings and 59 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)

Western Isles – opening hours reductions.

Darlington – £250k cut off libraries budget

The “You and Yours phone in” on Radio Four (tomorrow, Tuesday 12 Noon) will feature a discussion about public libraries with Annie Mauger, the president of the library professional association CILIP. CILIP have produced a report stating that Westminster is failing libraries, that fully 20% (600) could close and that charging for libraries (being proposed for volunteer-run libraries) is unlawful under the Act.  CILIP also produce a pile of reasons why closing libraries is a poor idea, such as this report released on Saturday.   Perhaps Vince Cable will get on board after his joining the library campaign in Richmond?
Tim Coates on the MLA
I have recently received this email from well-known library campaigner Tim Coates on the MLA.  He has given me permission to publish it.  The role of the MLA is especially important as the Minister for Libraries Ed Vaizey has said that he will not legally intervene to overturn closures (as is his power under the 1964 Libraries and Museums Act) until after he has consulted with them.  I would be happy to publish a (similarly brief) response from the MLA.

“My impression is that everywhere we have been involved the MLA have been advising councils to close libraries.   They appear to be more interested in how to handle the closures in such a way that such action will somehow lie within the law and they are handing out tens of thousands of pounds to consultants to confirm this view. 

Roy Clare has often said that he thinks there are too many libraries and both he and the Minister say that closures do not contravene either the letter or intention of the law. They cite ‘movements of population’ as an Open Sesame to shut buildings  -as if the British population lived on a moving caravan site .- where the law clearly says that libraries should be comprehensive and efficient for those who wish to use them..  Every newspaper I open tells me that those who wish to use libraries want them to be open and well stocked.
Even councils which fought off closures last year are asking for help because after their long struggle to keep libraries the MLA are now seeming to be telling them how they can close them without falling foul of the law.  Of course the council officials latch on to this. 

My deduction is that the MLA are pushing down the hill the snowball we are trying so hard to roll up it and that they see their role as working for councils rather than for local people. My view is also that during the months since May, when it was so important to get these matters right, the MLA, LGA and DCMS have totally funked the questions about budgets and efficiency, even though the DCLG and Eric Pickles have asked everyone to look at these so closely.” 

Local News – this is representative and not comprehensive – (S) shows items added on Sunday evening
Hounslow – wonderful support for Brentford Library Read-In, inc MP Mary Macleod – Hounslow Chronicle
National News
500 plus messages of support for libraries – Voices for the Library
Alan Moore shares the importance of libraries “If my work means anything to anyone out there then should not thank me for it, they should thank the institution of libraries that created me” – Bleeding Cool
Library helped me believe in myself – Voices for the Library
Make way for the new in the book world – Guardian (see comments section too)
Public libraries being failed by Westminster, set of actions for Jeremy Hunt – CILIP (estimates 20% of libraries – 600 – could close: charging by any library is an unlawful act)
Read-Ins to stop closures – Herald Scotland
Why libraries must be saved – Mirror “Libraries make the world fairer. They are the place where a child with no books at home can go to discover, learn and dream.” (Tony Parsons)