495 libraries (428 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK.  Complete list in link on righthand side.

It is the first of its kind I’m aware of.  A parish council in Wiltshire has voted to increase tax by £7 per person in order to pay for a properly staffed library.  Voters decided with a ration of 2 to 1 to voluntarily raise taxes to keep the paid librarian rather than closing it down or staffing it with volunteers. 

The DCMS have summoned Gloucestershire and Lewisham councils for meetings, presumably over their cuts to their library services and possibly due to the legal challenges to both.  That the DCMS is also undergoing a judicial review into whether it has been doing its job properly may or may not be related.

In other news, the libraries minister Ed Vaizey is in talks to secretly censor the internet. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day (nor to my knowledge is anything else in this blog, although it is sometimes hard to judge these days).

Flintshire – £300k extra money for Buckley
Gloucestershire – council summoned to DCMS to explain their actions.
Lewisham – council summoned to DCMS to explain their actions.
Nottingham – 13 libraries to have reduced hours; Bulwell and St. Ann’s Library to move into “Joint Service Centres” in 2012
Sefton – Aintree to be closed twice a week (Thu and Sun), Meadows Library to be closed on Sundays; opening hours scaled back to 2001 levels; voluntary redundancy for staff.
Solihull and Warwickshire – Mobile library services merge saving £100k (no job losses)
Wiltshire – Aldbourne Library will remain staffed due to increase in parish council tax.

National News
Arts cuts are an act of unthinking vandalism – Guardian “The cuts to ACE cannot be seen in isolation from the removal of public funding for humanities tuition in higher education; the absence of arts subjects from the English baccalaureate; the unstable situation among local authorities, some of which are bravely protecting cultural provision while all too many are cutting it off; the starvation of libraries. Music tuition risks transforming into a privilege for the well-off few, rather than the many, as music services lose funds.”
Arts Cuts – GuardianOf all the cuts, those to libraries and the arts are particularly heartbreaking. It’s in places such as libraries and theatres that people learn to think of new ideas, and to dream of different ways of living.” (David Peace)
Britain’s back-room negotiations to establish a national, extrajudicial internet censorship regime – Boing Boing (Ed Vaizey takes us “one step further to dictatorship”)
From the archives: the 1991 Derbyshire inquiry – Alan Gibbons
Libraries, bias and the BBC – Undaimonia Library activists are not in opposition to the Government or any political party: they are in opposition to anyone who would close functional library services.”
Most councils to cut Sure Start and libraries spending – LGC (paywall) “Some 83% of respondents said they were planning to make savings from library services …”
Place of the cure of the soul – Voices For The Library “It took so many of us to build, so few to tear it down.”
These gung ho cuts mar all that is best in Britain – London Evening Standard “They go at it with disarming geniality, they talk excitedly of creative destruction, but their relish for the project cannot excuse a demoralised NHS, a chaotic education system, shuttered libraries and – small beer though it may seem to be – the needless dismemberment of an arts scene that costs so little and offers so much.”
Two councils summoned to DCMS – Alan Gibbons
You’re invited to #libchat – Pixel & Page

Local News
Cardiff – Librarian prepares to celebrate 40 years among Cardiff’s books – Your Cardiff
Dorset – Libraries fight: county council invites people to have their say – Dorset Echo
Dorset – Libraries fight: why the council is in their bad books – Dorset Echo ““Unless you look carefully you’d think that the council’s proposal that communities should take over their library buildings is an act of generosity.”
Flintshire -Buckley library to get £300k investment boost – Flintshire Chronicle
Flintshire – Anger over “slap in the face” as Flintshire library gets cash – Leader
Gloucestershire – Culture Minister offers Gloucestershire library campaigners meeting – Cotswold Journal
Isle of Wight – Opening times shake up for island libraries – Isle of Wight Gazette
Leicestershire – Spending cuts threat to libraries’ opening hours – Burton Mail
Manchester – Front line in the cuts blame game – Channel 4 FactCheck Blog “So as Mr Shapps rather surprisingly admitted to me, deprived areas will inevitably suffer most from the spending cuts the government has put in place as it tries to stop the country going bust. It’s all very well for ministers to praise their Conservative colleagues in Trafford. But efficient as they may be, they’re also blessed with a financial cushion denied their poorer neighbours across the border.”
Middlesbrough – Cuts not fair, says Middlesbrough mayor – Gazette “The cuts will undoubtedly impact on the services the council can provide and, while we have to look at what is affordable, those who suggest we should close all our libraries, sports centres and mima need to think again. Such a policy will not encourage people to visit or settle in the town and will lead to people moving elsewhere.”
Nottingham – New [worse] opening hours at city libraries – My Nottingham
Sefton – Maghull and Aintree Library opening hours to be cut back – Maghull and Aintree Star “If the proposed hours will keep our library open then I will be very happy as this library is the lifeline for people like myself who cannot travel far and meet people.”
Suffolk – Vocal protesters stage demo to support library service – Newmarket Journal
Surrey – Passes at libraries for Surrey bus users – Surrey Comet
Warwickshire – Mobile libraries service merges – Coventry Telegraph
Warwickshire – Cabinet minutes published – Warwickshire Council
Wiltshire – Aldbourne voters back library cash – This is Wiltshire “Of the 386, 283 supported the parish council paying towards the cost of keeping the service run by librarian Trish Rushen, rather than let it be run by volunteers.” £7 extra voted onto council tax bill to avoid using volunteers.