517 libraries (443 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK

Two stories stand out today.  The first is that Camden solicitors suggest that the Localism Bill, should it become law, will mean that all councils will need to consider privatisation as an option in running their libraries.  Labour councillors call this a “one way ticket” to privatised libraries, Conservative councillors described Labour as “closed minded”.  See the “Privatized and Volunteer Libraries” link on the right for more  information on the subject of privatised libraries.

The second story is that CILIP are expecting there to be more library closures announced after May 5th election.  This is undoubtably true.  It is sobering to think that a figure of 517 may be an underestimate for the number of libraries under threat.


Because even our libraries are cool: Shepard Fairey joins LA’s young literati in supporting the LAPL – LAistYoung professionals see public libraries as key to promote Los Angeles as an intellectual and literary centre. 
Cameron: we’re the people’s partyNorthern Echo.  David Cameron asked if cutting libraries was the “true face” of Conservatives – he replied deficit needs to be cut and council “waste” would pay for it.  Any cuts to front-line services are politically motivated to hurt Conservatives.
More library closures set for SummerBookSellerLikely to be more closures after May 5th elections. More library cuts expected in universities as tuition fees are introduced.

 “We’ve had 500 in six months,” he said. “A lot of councils are waiting for the flak to die down from the first round, and think we will then all be used to the idea that libraries have to go.” He predicted a new wave of announcements over the summer, adding: “Brent and Lewisham [which are closing 11 libraries between them] seem to have got away with it. The secretary of state has been asked to intervene but has not yet produced a response. He is talking to people and taking evidence, but he’s just going through the motions.” Tim Coates

Public libraries feel strain of budget cutsDaily Herald.  72% of libraries reported cuts last year, 43% cut staff, 19 states cut funding, 17 states closed libraries.  Urban libraries affected the most.  7 in 10 libraries do not have enough computers to cope with demand. (USA).
Save our Libraries! – Women’s Weekly, 12th April p.20-21 (not available online).  Double page spread includes interview with Elaine Hoare (volunteer) at Chalfont St Giles, Heather Wright (campaigner for Goodmayes library) and Joephine Cox (author).

Changes to tally

Edinburgh – £602k cut (rather than previously reported £550k); may reduce opening hours.
Windsor and Maidenhead – Has 105-110 staff with 45-50 volunteers 

News by authority

Bolton – Campaigners out in force to save libraries – Bolton News. 50 protesters lobbied councillors before meeting.  600 signatures collected in two hours outside Harwood Library.  200 attended read-in at Astley Bridge last week.  Consultation ends 20th May.
Camden – Labour pledge not to sell off library service to private companies – Camden New Journal.  Labour would like to rule out privatisation but Localism Bill may soon make such a pledge illegal. LSSI asked to speak at meeting but were refused. Conservative group call opposition to privatisation “closed minded”.
Cumbria – Walney: Library supporter, 97, calls for library to stay – North West Evening Mail.  Loss of library will mean loss of community and lack of books for those who cannot travel.

“We believe that libraries and the staff who run them are vital, not just in this borough, but across the country and that Councils should not see them as an easy way to make savings. The use of volunteers is important but they should be used to enhance the library offering not to replace skilled librarians.” Cllr Simon Dudley, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, Windsor & Maidenhead Council.

Dorset – Weymouth: Councillors’ anger as five local libraries face losing their funds – View Online.  One library for 64k people, ten mile travel to nearest library.  Consultation described as a “sham and disgraceful”.  Poorer areas like Littlemoor will lose vital internet access and be unable to become volunteer-run.
Edinburgh – Turning page to a new chapter for city libraries – Edinburgh Evening News. Initiatives to stop decline in usage (down 6%) face problem of large budget cut which may reduce opening hours.  Library chief suggests online services may be the answer.
Enfield – Tories claim Enfield Festival cash better spent on adult services and libraries – Enfield Independent.  £200k multicultural Enfield Festival supported “in principle” but money needed elsewhere. 

“I am 100 per cent committed to Staffordshire’s libraries. I want to expand and develop the services that they offer residents which is why, when many areas are closing facilities, the county council is investing in libraries by providing technology such as Wifi. Libraries offer a full range of resources for the whole community. Our network of 43 libraries and the mobile library service provides a knowledge hub for people in all walks of life.”. Staffordshire – Libraries in Lichfield and Burntwood switch to WifiLichfield Blog.  

Sutton – Last chance to comment on future of Sutton librariesSutton Guardian. £935k cut consultation closes on April 23rd.  “Suggestions so far include introducing iPads into libraries to replace desktop PC’s; charging for the use of the computer suite; reviewing the DVD/CD hire service; making better use of volunteers and hosting children’s birthday parties”
Warwickshire – Thousands petition over library proposals – Warwickshire Direct.  6000 people have signed petitions during the consultation so far, which ends on June 9th.  The council refuses to say if the petitions are for or against council proposals.