524 libraries (463 buildings and 61 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK

Information on 173 authorities listed out of 206 in UK, 134 of those are on record as (at least) considering closing libraries or making significant cuts (list below news), 57 on record as not closing libraries in 2011/2 (list at bottom)
Legal challenges being prepared/under way in Brent, Gloucestershire, Lewisham and Somerset.  In addition, a judical review has been called about the Culture Secretary’s failure to comply with his legal duties at a national level.

Your Help Is Needed (taken from Voices For The Library)

“Voices for the Library have been asked to gather as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that local authorities are breaching their legal duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” public library service.

Campaign for the Book organiser Alan Gibbons said “I have asked Leigh Day solicitors to pursue the Campaign’s concerns over the possibility of a large scale withdrawal of funds from public libraries. I think it is vital that the Courts examine the legality of the Secretary of State’s approach on the provision of libraries in England and Wales. He has a duty to ensure that councils provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service. I believe that he is failing in that duty.”

The Campaign for the Book is an umbrella body that attempts to raise the profile of reading for pleasure and supports libraries and librarians. Richard Stein and Rosa Curling of Leigh Day & Co Solicitors, who are acting for Campaign for the Book said “The duties under the 1964 Act require the Secretary of State to investigate and compel, if necessary, local authorities, to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service in their area. The current cuts to public libraries across the country demonstrate that he is failing to do this.”

We need as much information as possible from all over the country to show the court that the proposed closures are resulting in a less than comprehensive and efficient library service. Some examples of what information would be useful are:

  • Library reviews undertaken by the council
  • Statements from the council announcing closures
  • Minutes from Overview and Scrutiny Committees, Cabinet Meetings or Council Meetings
  • Letters from local campaign groups
  • Letters from residents
  • Information about literacy rates, deprivation statistics, demographics
  • Evidence that the council has failed to conduct an Equalities Impact Assessment or looked into local public transport networks

Please send any information to librariesact@voicesforthelibrary.org.uk – we will organise this information by library authority and send it on to Leigh Day.”

Known changes to info on authorities/library funding/opening since last posting
Islington – consultation proposal (£430k/7.5% cut on 2011/12) (type in “library” then choose “5”)

Local News – all news is representative and not comprehensive
Birmingham – Plans to demolish Central Library move closer – Birmingham Post
Bolton – 600-name petition to back fight for Astley Bridge Library – This is Lancashire
Camden – children are joined by writers, actors and politicians at Highgate Library as they fight to prevent closure – Camden New Journal
Camden – Save Camden libraries petition – Petition.co.uk
Cornwall – New library opens in phonebox – BBC
Cornwall – Redruth Library to close one day per week – Packet
Flintshire – Headteacher delighted Queensferry library saved – Flintshire Chronicle “One of the main factors which led to the library being saved was a petition of more than 1,000 names which had been co-ordinated by Queensferry councillor David Wisinger.”
Isle of Wight – Bembridge village out to rescue its library – IWCP