My goodness, Zadie Smith has stirred things up.  She did a five-minute slot on Radio Four in defence of libraries this morning and all hell breaks loose at the Telegraph.  No less than four articles about (well, against) it.  The BBC is accused of showing great pro-library bias and Zadie Smith is accused of being very anti-Conservative (doubtless very true) and wanting everyone else but her to pay for libraries.  One worry is that at least one of the Telegraph articles, by Daniel Knowles, is actually pro-library but sees no problem in charging for their use. That would be against the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, although it’s equally stressful to note that the Government is at the moment reviewing that law. The other worry for those who want public libraries to stay in public hands is, of course, that the BBC will now stay clear of libraries, or praise Big Society ones, for fear of accusations of breaking their impartiality. 

“I got the new ‘Big Society Cluedo’. Much the same only it doesn’t have a library…” Jeremy Corbyn MP 

495 libraries (428 buildings and 67 mobiles) currently under threat or recently closed/left council control out of 4517 in the UK (see link on right for full list of situation by authority)

Changes/Additions to list  
Brent – Cut to libraries budget is £1m
Dorset – Documents on proposed cuts
Harrow£1.1m saving expected from installation of self-service in all libraries
Hillingdon – Hayes library closed (to be replaced by new library in leisure centre so this not added to figure of closures)
Leicestershire – 40% budget (£4m) cut over four years; opening hours cut (Wigston down from four days to two, Wigston record office hours cut by one day per week.
Sutton – “The future of libraries in Sutton” consultation website, until 22nd April.

National News
BBC criticised for bias over Zadie Smith’s R4 broadcast – TelegraphThe BBC has been accused of bias after it invited Zadie Smith, the author, to read out a five-minute lecture attacking library closures”
Cash for Quatrains – Bookseller (Poetry Society future in doubt as Arts Council funding ceases)
Has the BBC given up all pretence of political impartiality? – Telegraph (on the BBC giving time to Zadie Smith, 400 enraged anti-BBC comments)
How have the cuts affected libraries, swimming pools and parks – Guardian.
Jeremy Hunt has not borrowed a library book in a decade – Financial Times
Libraries: gateways to other lives – New Statesman “”I know I would never have seen a single university carrel if I had not grown up living a 100 yards from the library in Willesden Green. Local libraries are gateways not only to other libraries, but to other lives.”  Critique also of Mr Bailey’s response.
No reason to abolish MLA say MPs – M&H
Why should special librarians defend public librarian? – Organising Chaos
Zadie Smith: In defence of libraries – BBC (also see Shaun Bailey, “Big Society” ambassador on same page who says “people are voting with their feet” and not using libraries).
Zadie Smith joins campaign to save her [Kensal Rise] local library – Guardian “”I can see that if you went to Eton or Harrow, like so many of the present government, it is hard to see how important it is to have a local library”
Zadie Smith and the great Tory library conspirary – Telegraph
Zadie Smith’s anger at shameful library cuts – London Evening Standard
Zadie Smith likes libraries. So she thinks everyone else should pay for them – Telegraph “As an astute observer remarked a couple of weeks ago, we are currently in the process of “firing libraries” ten at a time at Gaddafi’s forces in Libya.”

Local News
Barnet – Resident’s association will support residents in battle to save [Hampstead Garden Suburb] library – Barnet Times
Brent – Campaigners hand in 6000 petition – BookSeller (in support of Preston Road Library) “The leader of the council [councillor Ann John] gives as a reason for these closures that she herself ‘did not grow up near a library’ and that people can ‘buy books for 60p’ and ‘browse in charity shops’ instead, and that ‘everyone has computers’ and Kindles”.
Dorset – West Dorset: Have your say on proposed cuts – Bridport News“It was quite clear from the meeting that nobody there was pre-disposed to take over the libraries from the county council.”
Durham – Council forks out £1.6m on consultants in three months – Teesdale Mercury (£1.5m cut to libraries budget in Durham this year)
Ealing – Series of meetings coming up – Ealing Today
Gloucestershire – Friends of Gloucestershire libraries to meet with DCMS officials – FoGL
Gwent – Gwent libraries, museums get £450k boost – Campaign “Risca, Blackwood and Chepstow libraries will share a total of £364,771 to modernise their buildings.”
Harrow – Self-service terminals to reduce cost of libraries – Harrow Observer “Harrow Council claim the refit to all 11 libraries in the borough will allow them to reduce running costs by £1.1million”
Hillingdon – Campaign launched to save Hayes Library – Uzbridge Gazette
Hillingdon – Council to sell off Hayes Old Library, MP accuses council of betraying community – John McDonnell MP “Hayes Library in Golden Crescent is one of the oldest community buildings in Hayes and is a local heritage site. Now closed because a new library has been opened, local residents had been assured by the Council that the building would be retained for local community use. It has now been revealed that a report is going to Hillingdon’s next Cabinet Meeting to sell off the building to the highest bidder.”
Lambeth – Our voices united: Brixton Library – Youtube
Leicestershire – Libraries and museums face opening times cut –  This is Leicestershire “”By closing them at their least busy times, we can cut costs and keep them open at the most popular times. This reflects the public’s desire to get value for money from these services.”
Leicestershire – Spending cuts threat to libraries’ opening hours – Burton Mail
Suffolk – April 2nd [protest] details – Rosehill Readers
Suffolk – Things have to change – Public Service (glowing interview with Andrea Hill, Suffolk chief, previously under fire for high salary / council-paid personal trainer / council-paid PR photoshoots / spending £520k on “gagging orders” on leaving staff  / wishing to close 29 out of 44 libraries)
Surrey – Volunteers come to the rescue of Surrey libraries – This is Local London (Ewell Court and Stoneleigh libraries have got 30 volunteers in respones to council’s “run them yourselves or close” ultimatum.)
Sutton – Sutton bookshare is not a library [written by its designer] – Adrian Short “But it’s my view that the scale and nature of Sutton Bookshare makes it a useful supplement for the library service but not a substitute for any part of it. My hope is that Bookshare becomes a useful thing in its own right. It’s more like a club than a public service”
Warwickshire – Have say on threatened libraries in Nuneaton and Bedworth – Coventry Telegraph