Lewisham Council have closed New Cross Library a day early in order to avoid a planned demonstration.  Children who came to take out books and students who came to study were met with a shuttered facade.  Over the course of the day, the front of library was covered with protesting notes like the one above.  Heartbreaking.  A group of volunteers wish to reopen the library but, faced with a bill for rent alone of £16,000 per year, they face an uphill struggle.

Meanwhile, 150 people formed a human chain around near-namesake Bromley Cross Library in Bolton as a protest against plans to close it.  The circling vulture of library closures moves on to another target.

467 libraries (399 buildings and 68 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”)


Councils spend £100m on taxpayer-funded credit cards – Telegraph.  “The revelations are likely to spark public fury at a time when councils are axing more than 170,000 jobs, closing libraries and cutting spending on care for the elderly. Council tax has more than doubled over the past decade as local authorities have insisted they are cash-strapped.”
Finding inspiration and companionship at the library NYPL (USA)
National Libraries Day – Voices for the Library.
Pint of bitter and a juicy murder story, please, librarian – Independent.   “Chris White, from the Local Government Association, said: “The definition of a library does not have to be confined to a municipal building full of books. Opening up libraries in shops, sports centres, village halls and even down at the local pub means that far more people can benefit from the library service councils provide.”.  Very strong pro-library comments show what people think about this line of argument.
Top children’s author Philip Ardagh from Tunbridge Wells slams cuts to children’s library service – Your Canterbury.  “”I appreciate money is tight for everyone but it’s a false economy to make cuts to school libraries because it will have a negative effect on the rest of a child’s life.
A well-stocked library with a professional librarian is such an important service. Volunteers and teachers do the best job they can but they can’t provide the same kind of knowledge as the experts.”
Towards a 21st century library service – GEER,  
Why can’t intelligent writers talk sense about politics? Independent. Christina Patterson completely misses the point of Alan Bennett’s comment about closing libraries being “child abuse”, repeating claims libraries are (a) empty (strange so many are protesting then) and (b) full of middle class people (why is that a bad thing?) and (c) better to close than cancer treatment units (reducing the argument to absurdity, this is the rightwing equivalent of comparing cutters to Hitler).

News by area

Bolton – Closing this library is not okay in our book – Bolton News.   150-strong human chain around Bromley Cross Library organised by 65-year old Janet Allison. 4000 (30% of total population of area) have signed petition to save it. Letter also covers same story – Join library and save it!.
Cambridgeshire – Yaxley residents unite in bid to save libraryEvening Telegraph.  Large crowd of 100 upset by cuts in opening hours, danger to service and to library staff jobs.
Central Bedfordshire – Shhh it’s time for the Big Library Debate – About My Area.  Consultation launched on future of councils’ libraries.
Doncaster – Bawtry: Library support team to meet – Star.  Bawtry is on closure list, steering committee established to run it with volunteers.
Essex – County Hall cuts opening hours at 51 of its librariesBrentwood Weekly News.  27000 responded to consultation and (unsurprisingly) chose less opening hours rather than closures.  Council is using this as justification to cut hours and hopes volunteers will help.
Isle of Wight – Latest – Alan Gibbons.  DCMS talkling to Isle of Wight council about closures.  Campaigner may get to talk to Ed Vaizey, pro-library councillors not allowed though.
Lewisham – Action at New Cross Library on Saturday 28th May – LACA.  Council permanently closes library one day early in order to avoid protest. 
Lewisham – A “big society” vision for New Cross library – East London Times.  New Cross People Library’s Committee has 20 volunteers and is looking for more, in order to reopen but rent would be £16,000 per year.  Also covered in Transpontine.

Oxfordshire – Libraries latest: huge u-turn by council – Oxford Mail – “Council leader Keith Mitchell said that protests against the county’s original scheme to cut funding to 20 of 43 libraries showed the public cared more about the facilities than services for the old and vulnerable”. Comment from same paper says “Let us be clear: this is a victory of people power through a campaign given star quality (and therefore the oxygen of publicity) by authors Philip Pullman and Colin Dexter”
Oxfordshire – Campaigners cautiously optimistic – Oxford Mail.  
Suffolk – Library consultation methodology FOI wikiSuffolk.  Consultation questions and how the answers will be analysed.
Warwickshire – Community library groups are frustrated: help them understand? – What’s in Kenilworth.   Hidden costs of running a library is putting off volunteers. 
Wokingham – Privatisation plans for Wokingham borough libraries approved Reading Chronicle.