Let’s tell everyone by commenting on the excellent LibrariUS website… and get your friends in other countries to comment on it too.  It is only fitting that this is a global map as public libraries should be recognised for what they are – one of the wonders of the world.

By the way, it’s an American website but don’t let that put you off – although you may have to randomly click on state on the “Choose State or Province” choice, it won’t affect your positioning on the map.

519 libraries (445 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK


Bookseller Industry Awards 2011: Library innovation of the year –  BookSeller.  On the shortlist are Public Library Online, Hillingdon libraries, Space Station 2010 (Essex Libraries), London Libraries Consortium, New Writing North, Neilsen BookScan and Yate Library
Discussions “ongoing” over e-book lending – BookSeller.  “Constructive” discussions between libraries and publishers on allowing easing of e-book restrictions folllowing on from USA example.

“I don’t get it… In this day and age, why should people be able to read a book for free? Maybe it’s about time all lending was stopped and people who want to read are encouraged to pay for the book, it’s not as if books are now out of reach (in money terms) of most. Just a thought.” (comment from BookSeller)

Dollars, sense and public libraries: landmark study of the socio-economic value of Victorian public librariesPublic Libraries Victoria (Australia).  Libraries in Victoria “return $3.56 for every $1 spent”. 
Do we really need our libraries? – Creative Loafing (USA).  Another article arguing that because ebooks and the internet exist, all public libraries should be closed down.

Have librarians fallen out of love with books? Futurebook. “No Furniture So Charming” debate presented by many non-librarians. “Libraries are not in crisis, it is the commitment to libraries that is in crisis”.  “Librarians issued more books last year than were sold in book stores”.  Read comments too.

By encouraging reading, providing access to information and representing a focus for community activity, public library services contribute significantly to the national cultural landscape. They deserve statutory protection. There are no proposals to remove the duty on local authorities to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service.” Ed Vaizey, House of Commons – in response to Yvonne Forvargue MP asking if statutory commitment still safe – Hansard.

Librarians without borders on the ground in Guatemala – LISNews.  27 US librarians promoting literacy and libraries to eliminate “education disparities”. 

Changes to tally

Camden27 job losses in last 18 months  (17% of workforce), St Pancras and Camden Town libraries subject to possible property sale.
Somerset – (Plus 2 to total as previously listed as 9 under threat) 6 libraries under threat this year, five more in 2012. 20% opening hour cut proposed – some libraries to open later and close earlier, some will not open at all on certain days, for £205k saving, compulsory staff redundancies.

Libraries by authority

Birmingham – Bestselling author calls up Birmingham book clubBirmingham Mail. Katie Fforde joins 2000 strong monthly tele-book club for the elderly and housebound.
Camden – Save our libraries: Following meeting, Labour more upbeat but won’t sign up for no closure pledgeCamden New Journal.    Councillors distance authority from privatising libraries, talk about expanding children’s library services … but delete pledge to keep all libraries open. Scale of responses “so vast” that a radical rethink may occur.  Meeting turns into slanging match between parties. 
Doncaster – Meaningful consultation? Save Doncaster Libraries.  Council consultation process cost only £474 (sic), questionnaires only distributed to libraries and “hidden” online.
Dorset – Villages in fight to keep library open – Daily Echo.  2000 sign petition to save West Moors Library, Campaigners argue that a 1994 £64k bequest may mean money needs paying back if closed.
Ealing – Residents defend under-threat Ealing library – Ealing Gazette.  Northolt Leisure Centre Library (opened Jan 2010) under risk of closure – users say it is far away (two buses) from Central Ealing and “a life-line” but council thinks will raise income if sold.  “Looking increasingly strained, Councillor Bell said he would rather make cuts to leisure services than cut care packages for elderly and young people”.
Gloucestershire – Youngsters stage protest at loss of their “book bus” – Cotswold Journal.  Blockley will lose its fortnightly mobile library stop on July 14th.  Council will consult with users after decision to end service was made.

“The library service is very handy for Callum and his brother Jordan because I can’t drive and my wife’s at work until 6pm most nights. They love reading and it’s good for their school work.” (father on loss of mobile library service in Glos)

Isle of Wight – £700k a year to supervise PFI – IWCP.   13 HQ staff will monitor PFI contracts.  “Is it value for money to spend more than double the annual costs of the Island’s libraries and loos on monetary minders?”
Somerset – Proposals to cut opening hours of Somerset libraries – BBC.   Somerset revised proposals threaten 11 libraries over two years, plus mobiles and will result in deep opening hour cuts.  Comment from Friends of Somerset Libraries “deeply disappointed”.
Suffolk – Over 18000 sign libraries petition – EADT.   Only 3600 needed to force council debate. ““Our library in Leiston is at the heart of the community and serves people from children to pensioners. If it wasn’t worth fighting for I wouldn’t be here.”
Wiltshire – James Gray MP question to Ed Vaizey in parliament – Youtube. Wiltshire are expanding openeing hours.  “Effective stewardship” says Mr Vaizey.