This line is taken from a poem on the Friends of Benson Library website.  It sums up the tragedy of closing smaller libraries.  Their usage may be smaller than the big “central” ones but they are no less loved.  Perhaps they are even more loved.  The Envisioners agree with this, identifying three key pillars of the local community – the school, the church and, yes, the library.  Villages and small towns are feeling pain and trauma at the potential loss of one-third of their support, sometimes decided with what seems like too much haste or consulation. Perhaps the poetic quote can be extended. If libraries are the village heart then closing one unnecessarily is like doing a heart bypass operation, without anaesthetic.

451 libraries (383 buildings and 68 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK – see tally by local authority link on right for the full picture.


Future of public librariesEnvisioners.  Presentation to Society of Chief Librarians from 1st July last year.  Three pillars of local community is (1) schools (2) libraries and (3) churches so… take the lead, do and not be done to.  Libraries are a “pleasantly mad place”.
Future of the librarySeth’s Blog.  “Librarians that are arguing and lobbying for clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point. They are defending library as warehouse as opposed to fighting for the future, which is librarian as producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario.” … “We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.”
Random launches libraries “buddying” schemeBookSeller.  This is to promoter the publishers’ books and help promote libraries at the same time.
Why we need public libraries and Charge net usersYorkshire Evening Post.  Ten reasons for public libraries inc saving money, literacy, services for children, services for grandparents, online resources, book group, authors, librarian skills, job hunting, equality.

Changes to tally

City of London –  Guildhall Library will remain open on Saturdays, City Business Library will close on Saturdays. London Metropolitan Archives to open four days per week but will open until 7.30 Tuesday to Thursday to compensate.

News by authority

Brent – Alan Bennett joins Brent libraries fundraiserLondonist.  “Campaigners are gearing up for a legal challenge to the decision. This is going to cost some cash, so they’ve organised a fundraiser with Alan Bennett for 24th May. That’s Alan freaking Bennett: Beyond the Fringe, chronicler of the people, author of some of the best plays we’ve ever seen at the National Theatre.”
City of London – User consultation results – City of London. Guildhall Library will remain open on Saturdays, City Business Library will close on Saturdays.
Doncaster – Doncaster council workers balloted for strike action BBC.  1300 jobs to go this year.  “Unison cites the loss of the warden service for elderly residents and the mooted closure of libraries and home care services as evidence cuts were negatively affecting the community.”
Leicestershire – Anger as library opening hours to be slashedBurton Mail.  Measham Library may reduce from 20 hours per week to 13. Final decision in July.
Lewisham – Campaigner plan more protests over Lewisham library closuresNews Shopper.   Protest at Lewisham Town Hall and then moving on to DCMS.

The Heart of the Village

Benson library is situated in Castle Square

Perhaps you’ve been in, or driven by there?

It has been lending books for forty years

But now it’s the subject of our worst fears.
A decision was made to have funding withdrawn

A decision met by the villagers scorn

‘Please don’t close our library’ a unanimous cry

And here are some of the reasons why….
Start of poem by Jane Bolderston from  Oxfordshire – 
Friends of Benson Library campaign website.  

Oxfordshire – Library fightHenley Standard. Friends of Benson Library will formally launch campaign on Saturday.  
Sheffield – Libraries consultation 2011Sheffield City Council.