509 libraries (436 buildings and 73 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  See link on right for full tally.

Roy Clare, ex-Rear Admiral and currently head of the MLA (Museums, Libraries and Archives Council), recently best known  for (a) defending library closures, (b) deriding library campaigners as “white and middle class” and (c) issuing an apology to a nine-year old girl he had made disparaging comments about in a widely shared email, has announced he is moving to New Zealand, leaving his post in May.

One of the major suppliers of books to libraries in the UK has announced profits have been hit by a 25% reduction in business from public libraries.  Twenty. Five. Percent.  That’s before the cuts this year have even taken effect.  Weirdly, at the same time, anti-public libraries spokesmen like Toby Young point to a decline in library use.  The Private Eye, in it’s excellent “Library News” column, points out that there just might be a causal connection between reducing funding to libraries and reducing use.  Clearly the people of Portishead think that properly funded libraries are worth going to – their new library opened yesterday with a queue outside.  Nor does there need to be a new library involved as Hillingdon’s record use has demonstrated.
The money also needs to spent properly and sometimes councils are their own worst enemy in this, as the £289k in public relations to go on the £189m Library of Birmingham show.  There is a third way between closing libraries and letting them out to volunteers.  Fund and manage them properly then the people will come. Even more than the 320 million who did last year.

Bertrams blames sales drop on libraries decline – BookSellerLibrary sales down 25%.
Library News – Private Eye (content not available online). The 3% drop in number of people using libraries since 2006 was used by Toby Young to claim libraries are becoming less popular but the real reason is lack of investment and closing them. Brent’s idea of a “virtual” library service to replace six closed libraries also noted with wry disapproval.
Campaigners say publishers are “not interested” in library fight – BookSeller “We’ll see 500 [go] this year, and we’ll see another 1,000 next year once councils see they can get away with it.” (Tim Coats).  The comments section is very interesting with one publisher saying the library sector has already been discounted by publishers (enlighteningly going on to say that “Publishers would show interest again if that was co- ordinated library policy”) and others expressing shock and horror at him, saying libraries are more than worth fighting for.
Ends – Good Library Blog. Roy Clare, head of the MLA, to leave in May.
London Book Fair: Libraries must digitise to stay relevant – BookSeller.  Recommends that libraries,  especially research libraries, digitise unique content as a way of boosting physical footfall to that material not yet digitised.
Ministers in office but not in power – City AM “Earlier this year, Library Systems and Services [LSSI], a US company, offered to run libraries for 35 per cent less than councils are spending. Book borrowing would remain free, while add-on services, such as coffee shops, IT and book stores would be used to generate revenues. Others have suggested purchasing second hand books. Yet many councils aren’t interested.”
News from CILIP April 2011 – CILIP.  Items include – Vote Local Vote Libraries, Open Letter to Michael Gove, training courses and blogs.
No furniture so charming – London Word Festival. “A night devoted to the architecture of knowledge and the future of book-borrowing” at Bethnal Green Library, 21st April. Tom Roper wonders why there appears to be no public librarians on the panel.

“Sure, you may not think libraries are that important when you have the whole of the world-wide web at your finger tips. But once paywalls are common place and ISPs are able to discriminate content, you may just realise what you’ve lost. And don’t be fooled into thinking this is a far-fetched fantasy. We are only a short step away from this eventuality. Information has been commodified, once there is money to be made it won’t remain free and open for long.” (Ian Clark, “Shut-Out”, ORGzine)

Zadie Smith loses battle to save London library – Guardian. “The author Zadie Smith‘s campaign to save a north-west London library opened by Mark Twain in 1900 has ended in failure after Brent council voted in favour of closing half the libraries in the borough.”

News by local authority
Birmingham – Chutzpah is getting a little priceyAlan GibbonsCouncil is apparently paying a PR firm £292k over three years to provide public relations support for the £189m Library of Birmingham project.
Brent – Campaigners to present petition tonight for debate on Preston LibraryHarrow Times. 6500 signature petition to force council debate. ““I think the consultation period was a sham as it presented it as a transformation project rather than highlighting the potential closures that would actually come out of it”. 
Buckinghamshire – Libraries will close unless volunteers come forward – Bucks HeraldWe know that some communities still have concerns about the new model and we will have to work hard to address them. We are not just dumping services on communities, we will give them support and help them to take over the running of libraries”
Buckinghamshire – Council responds to fears over Micklefield and Bourne End libraries – Bucks Free Press. A careful reading of this article (and comments) show that Buckinghamshire Council are not guaranteeing council control after the end of this financial year. 
Dorset – Lyme Regis: Lyme treated “unfairly” in library cuts – View Online.  Lyme Regis would only retain library if the town council pays for and manages it  Dorchester retains full library without any additional payment.
Gloucestershire – Lib Dem [Equalities] minister [Lynne Featherstone] says Brockworth library has bright future – This is Gloucestershire.  Recently refurbished library no longer being run by the council is a good thing as “it can become a thing which is not statutory, not just already there, but it’s there because people want it and people are prepared to run it”.

“This meeting urges Her Majesty’s government to maintain support for local libraries, as an essential education and information resource”. The resolution is one of six shortlisted by WI members nationwide to be taken forward as a national campaign and presented to central government. It has reached the final two of the shortlist, and will go up against a resolution on mega-farming at the national AGM in June” Council Leader Mark Hawthorne was to speak against the motion but instead sent a written statement. Gloucestershire – FoGL speak for libraries resolution at Gloucestershire WI – FoGL

Gloucestershire – When is a library not a library? – FoGL.  When it’s a mobile.  Gloucestershire Council claim no libraries need close, neglecting to mention its doomed five mobile libraries.

Not a Library – According to Gloucestershire Council

Lewisham – Lewisham’s library bidders meet the public – News Shopper – Breakdown of the four organisations who want to take over one or all of the closing libraries – (a) Lewisham Community Sports, (b) Eco Computer Systems, (b) Omega (New Testament Church of God) and (d) Family Services charity.
Lewisham – Sports group hopes to run doomed libraries – Mercury ““There would be fewer books than there are now, but there would still be a library service.”
North Somerset – Portishead: North Somerset town bucks national trend as library opens its doors – This is Somerset. “People were queuing outside the library at Horatio House, Portishead, when it opened its doors to the public for the first time at 11am.”
Surrey – Large turn-out from Stoneleigh library supporters – This is Local London. 120 at meeting to oppose closure.
Warwickshire – WCC Libraries business case application form: a Dragon’s Den pitch? – What’s In Kenilworth.  “So, what happens if take the dry throated walk up the stairs and make your pitch? You know you are holding the fate of your Community Library with you as you begin. The threat of closure looms over your village and this is the Once in a Lifetime Opportunity that Warwickshire County Council have promised….”.  Requirements include three-year financial projection.
Warwickshire – WCC Libraries FAQs for a Business Case: A franchise opportunity? – What’s In Kenilworth. “… imagine Tesco having to give away all food and drink and only being allowed to charge for CDs, DVDs and the odd cup of coffee. Simplistic, I know but that’s what we have here and County know it.”