Archive for May, 2011

Ed is dead – but is also any hopes of legal action?

Over the last few weeks, campaigners up and down the country have been discovering that merely having a strong legal case to save libraries is not enough.  One has to have money as well. Legal Aid is not doing the job or is being withdrawn.  Brent campaigners are pleading for £5 donations and Isle of Wight campaigners are asking for any money at all.  Without the money – which can be in the tens of thousands of pounds – these legal challenges will fail. 

Today the headquarters of the DCMS, whose job it is to protect libraries and whose ministers have the legal duty to so, was petitioned by campaigners from Lewisham.  Ed Vaizey lived up to his nickname of “Evaizive” by failing to appear or, indeed, to do anything.  This prompted the campaigners to worry that “Ed is dead”.  With the law only being available to the very rich or to ministers who do not wish to act then hopes for legal success may also be dead.  Mr Vaizey appears satisfied that writing a couple of letters and having a few chats is the sum total of his library responsibilities.  Perhaps he knows that no-one can do anything about it as it looks like no-one can afford to sue him.

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 (for complete list by area see link on right)

News

Campaigners seek answers from EdBookSeller.  Lewisham campaigner – “We have asked to meet with [culture minister] Ed Vaizey but have had no answer. We think Ed is dead because he’s not answering anything.” – protesting outside DCMS HQ and Number Ten.
Country without librariesNew York Review of Books (USA).  Cuts in the USA suggest that significant areas may soonbe without any public libraries at all, with dire results for those who are not wealthy and well-educated.

From Demotivation.us

Fight goes on – Censored genius.  Some adult language from this librarian, translated here as “I’m the (expletive) librarian, mother(expletive), I am not any corporation’s bitch. And if I want books in the library, we’re having books. And DVDs. And econtent. And graphic novels. And pie.”.  Of course, the picture above has a naughty word but please consider this as exerting the rights for freedom of speech.
Library cuts damage the human psycheLondon Evening Standard. Mariella Frostrup defends libraries while opening a refurbished branch in Kensington & Chelsea.  “”A country that loses its cultural heart loses its heart altogether,” she added. “To ignore or downgrade cerebral pursuits whose benefits aren’t necessarily immediately financially obvious is like making the outside of your body look OK while eating fried food. It’s damaging to the human psyche. “
You and Yours – BBC Radio 4 –  Interviews with (1) Patricia Richardson protesting outside the DCMS, (2) Tim Coates – you can make savings by doing things better rather than closing libraries, it hard to run libraries at a profit as the service is free, even the 7 branches run by Laing are facing cuts, savings made in Lewisham giving libraries to Darren Taylor are surprisingly small – “why can’t we have a decently funded library”? (3) Darren Taylor (Eco Computer Systems) taking over three with some retired librarians, making money via recycled computer systems.

Changes to library services on tally page

– Essex – Possibility of community groups being involved in running some libraries
– Fife – £2m cut over three years.  Service may move to being run by a Trust.
Gloucestershire – Minchinhampton to stay open for one further year at reduced hours 
– North Ayrshire – Service may move to being run by a Trust

News by library authority

Cambridgeshire – Library closure: legal challenge idea welcomedHaverhill Echo.  Clare Library had 1500 signatures, campaigners suspect Government is deliberately downplaying the 1964 Act.
Essex – Harlow libraries to have opening hours slashedHarlow Star.  Five Harlow libraries to have hours cut by a combined 34 hours.  Central Library (currently open 7 days per week) will be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. 27,000 responded to consultation. “. Councillor says “We are still keen to work with other public sector organisations or community groups who may have suggestions for funding or in-kind support which may enable us to keep libraries open for longer and will continue to welcome any suggestions of this type.”
Fife – Councillors show support for putting cultural services under control of new trustCourier.  £2m saving over 3 years for libraries/museums/archives may lead to moving services to a trust in order to save tax.   
Gloucestershire – Library group gets more time for rescue plan This is Gloucestershire.  Minchinhamption to stay open for one year longer to allow time for community to take it over. FoGL worry the suggestion for proposed fees for using the library when divested  mean County Libraries set to become private reading clubs.
Isle of Wight – Friends and users of Isle of Wight libraries, your help is neededVentnor Blog.  Legal Aid has been removed from Isle of Wight campaigner despite her lawyers (Leigh Day) saying she has a strong claim.  Donations required.

Library campaigners outside DCMS HQ (courtesy of Richard Hawkins)

Milton Keynes – Tory group has three-fold planMilton Keynes Citizen.  “libraries, nurseries and city centre parking. These are the three objectives the Conservative party will be reviewing as quickly as possible.” Libraries one of the three things most mentioned on doorsteps during election campaign.
Warwickshire – Workshop on community library models to be held by WCCWhat’s in Kenilworth.  First ticket is free, further tickets cost £33. Workshop will include five representatives from existing voluntary libraries.

7000 name petition in Bolton, libraries on “You an Yours” on Wednesday

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.

News

BBC Radio 4 : Libraries Protest DCMS – 12 Noon Wednesday 18th May. BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’  will be covering the demonstration organised by Lewisham libraries campaigners which will take place at DCMS.  This coverage will be followed by discussion.
Boys “can’t read past 100th page”study saysBBC

“Much of the UK public library pain is mirrored in the USA, but whereas it seems to me that US cuts are being predominantly handled purely as a cash-crisis necessity, the UK’s cuts are being driven equally strongly by a centrally-held political agenda.” Branch libraries – missing in action? – Kestrel Info On A Wing (Canada). 

Colorado libraries host immigrants working to become citizensDenver Post (USA).
Learning resources should not be concentrated solely on the youngGuardian.  “victories are very likely to be wiped out by public expenditure cuts (examples are pre-school provision, libraries and the arts).”
Local library campaignsUNISON.   “The effects of cuts across local government have been keenly felt by library services up and down the UK, with local authorities earmarking hundreds of libraries for closure and many more under threat from cuts to opening hours and staff pay and conditions.”…
Localism Bill – In pursuit of little platoons, Pickles uproots the stateGuardian.  “if the money doesn’t cover all that councils are obliged to do, this bill gives him the power to revoke any inconvenient duty on councils. Parliament has painstakingly passed laws obliging councils to do things we regard as essential to civilisation, but this gives ministers Henry VIII powers to strike any of them out at a stroke.”.  One of the statutes it may revokes if the 1964 Libraries Act.
New legislation could save libraries from the privatisation beastSEIU (USA).  California bill AB 438 would require public approval before council is allowed to privatise libraries.
Quercus publisher of the year at the BookSeller industry awardsBookSeller.  “The London Borough of Hillingdon Libraries was crowned Library Innovation of the Year for its library refurbishment programme, which was described by one judge as helping to make libraries “a better place to visit”.”
They don’t know what librarians do (yet again)Libraryinfonews.  Self-Service, Ebooks and the Internet are not making librarians redundant. 
World Book Night giveaway to be cut to 500,000 booksBookSeller.  5,000 out of 25,000 givers already signed up for 2012.  Audio and digital giveaways to be included. 

News by local authority

Bolton Save Bolton Libraries – Alan Gibbons.  7000-signature petition to be handed in on Friday as consultation ends on closing 9 libraries.  15000 names have now been added to all petitions.
Buckinghamshire – Books boost for Little Chalfont LibraryAmersham Advertiser. Skipton Building Society gives £1000 to volunteer-run library. 
Dorset – Campaigners argue that small libraries are cost effectiveDorset Echo.   Smaller libraries are seeing stronger usage trends than larger libraries, with increases/decreases better than in the biggest libraries like Dorchester or Weymouth.
Dorset – Report highlights Dorset villagers’ resilience to cutsDorset Echo.   Widespread reaction to greater than expected cuts split into protest and working out what is possible to do without government money.
Enfield – Jobs help on offer at revamped Ordnance Road LibraryEnfield Independent.  Refurbishment and expansion seems to lessen chances the library will be one of three closed later this year.
Leeds – Misuse of taxesYorkshire Evening Post (letters).  Mobile libraries ordered to replace closing libraries before consultation ends.  No cuts at HQ.  15 trade union officials paid for by council.
Leeds – Council urged to “think again” over Leeds library closure plans Guardian.  Decision to close 15 libraries to go before council on May 18th…”the news that the library is set to close is a huge blow for local residents. The library itself is one of the last public buildings left standing in Rawdon and to lose it forever would really damage the sense of community identity we have here.”
Southampton – Walkout will be “most severe” in Southampton’s memoryThis is Hampshire.  ““While I fully understand any reduction in wages will be difficult for our staff, this is the only way to protect our residents from losing their libraries, leisure centres, and Sure Start Centres.”

Changes to tally

Norfolk – 10% cut in hours in all libraries proposed

Sheffield – 3 (out of 4) mobiles to be closed, 33 library staff to be made redundant, reduced opening hours, £1.4m cut

News

Are volunteers happy to run libraries?Voices for the Library.   Councils asking communities to run libraries is the equivalent of blackmailing them.  The fact communities are willing to consider running them shows how important they are and how they should continue to be funded.

The report, Council spending: making it clear, shows some of the biggest cuts across the country will take place in education funding – down 11.4% – and cultural services, including libraries, which will be reduced by 10.2%. Environmental spending will fall by 3.72%.” Council spending cuts hitting North more than SouthPublicFinance. 

Libraries are in crisis, but literary culture is thrivingGuardian.   Reading groups doing well despite decline of libraries and may be in a small way a replacement for them.

Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cutsSocialist. Less staff and more work means less service.

Support your library, CWA tells authorsBookSeller.  “The Crime Writers Association (CWA) is asking each of its members to do at least three events a year for their local library as part of a campaign to support the public library service in the face of widespread cutbacks.”

Torture legal aid case is a triumph of the rule of lawGuardian.   The right for legal aid for “pure public interest cases” upheld in court. Witholding legal aid “the perfect cover for decision-makers to eliminate bothersome services such as legal aid, or aspects of the state that don’t fit within their own agendas such as libraries”

Which local politician is the most incompetent in terms of the public library service?Twtpoll. Mark Hawthorne (leader of Gloucestershire) storms home with 60% of the vote.

News by authority

Barnet – Campaigners plan a picnic protest while councillors are “hobnobbing”Barnet Today.  Protesters suspect council AGM will be celebratory banquet.  ““It seems they haven’t registered the fact they have made more than 100 people redundant, libraries are merging, the Church Farmhouse Museum has closed, Barnet Museum is fighting to stay open and lots of people are very concerned about privatisation.”

Brent – Save Our Six LibrariesBrent SOS Libraries.

Brent – £5 donations needed for library legal actionHarrow Observer.   Brent SOS Libraries set up to represent all threatened libraries.  £30,000 needed for judicial review, with Bindmans LLP acting on their behalf. Also covered by the BookSeller

Cambridgeshire – £36,000 to keep libary safeCambridge News.  Councillor says this much money would keep local library open, local observer says “I do understand the county’s position but I think they haven’t really got a clear idea about where the funding and provision for this library is going to come from.”

Cumbria – Campaigners fight to save Seaton LibraryTimes & Star.  Petition started by residential home manager – “She said that about 20 of the residents in the home, which is opposite the library, regularly used it. They said it meant everything to them.”. 

Dorset – Ad Lib urges Dorset Council to spend less on library booksDorset Echo.  Campaigners say service holds more books than it has shelves to put them on.  Council leader responds in same newspaper with Council chief says good stock turnover is essential to library users

Isle of Wight – Minister calls council in over library plansVentnorBlog.  Ed Vaizey calls in council to present their plans to DCMS officials.

Lambeth – This is not just about balancing the booksSouth London Press.   Council looks at usage of each branch.  Commission to look at libraries invited public responses.

Norfolk – Norfolk libraries’ opening hours cut plannedBBC.  10% cut is an option in consultation.

Northamptonshire – Group formed to fight closure of a Northampton LibraryNorthampton Chronicle.  Friend of St James’ Library group to be formed to fight potential closure of “least-used” library.

Northern Ireland – Libraries closure decision delayedMid-Ulster Mail.  Decision to be made in September.

North Yorkshire – Budget cuts deal could be lifeline for North Yorkshire librariesCraven Herald & Pioneer.  Massive response to public consultation means councillors will re-examine proposals to cut 24 libraries. Budget cut will still need to happen at same scale – cuts could be more evenly spread out. “I expect North Yorkshire was rather taken by surprise at how much feeling there was about the libraries.” says campaigner.  Decision next week.  More info on Public outcry could save libraries from the axeGazette & Herald.  

North Yorkshire – Library cuts idea rejectedPress.  Liberal councillor suggested spreading cuts more evenly throughout authority.  Voted down.

Oxfordshire – Summertown campaigners “prepared to buy library”Oxford Times.  Friends of Summertown Library are in the process of turning into a registered charity.  £7k already raised – group starting feasibility study to rebuild expanded library on same site.

Sheffield – Library vans hit by cutsSheffield Telegraph. 3 out of 4 mobile libraries and 33 staff to be axed, opening hours to be cut. Consultation is “nothing of the sort” says user.

Somerset – Porlock extraordinary meeting to discuss cutsSomerset County Gazette.   Parish gains £7k from rates from library building, may lose library, visitor information centre, museum and recreation ground.

Somerset – Opening hours at Burnham On Sea library to be cut by 20%Burnham on Sea.com.  7.6 hours less per week during least busy times.

Suffolk – New council leader Mark Bee pledges to work with communities over libraries Evening Star.  Some closures but on the other hand not many and new libraries could be created. However, no clear news yet and campaigners still worried.

“It’s not just a library, it’s the village heart”

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.

News

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. 

“We will not go gentle into that good night”

This quote is taken from Alan Gibbons’ “Campaign for the Book” Newsletter which details the many fights aganst library closures.   Second favourite quote is from Anthony Suarez – “The Library gives people the tools they need to move off the bread line and onto a bank line”.

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.

Changes to tally of authorities

Richmond –  No libraries to close, Whitton library enhanced (as Heathfield closed earlier this year).  Ham and Kew libraries may be co-located with other council services. Self-service in all libraries. Bookfund protected. More online services.

News

Campaign for the Book May NewsletterAlan Gibbons.  England is now internationally known for its library closures. “We can make the UK stand out for a reason other than library closures. Facing some of the most philistine cuts, we may yet prove to have one of the strongest reading cultures. We will not go gentle into that good night.”
Coalition branded anti-book by publishing industry magazine The BookSeller with library and arts funding cutsMirror.  ““Councils of all colours told me the only reason they are reducing library services is because of Government cuts. They are a disaster for those not on the internet at home who want to get back into work. And many mums tell me libraries are vital.” says Shadow Arts Minister Gloria De Piero.
Domesday lessons for the e-generationIndependent.  Problems with the Domesday Project disks shows up problems of digitising data and doing away with the printed version.
Keep libraries openFind the Future/Fund the Future (USA).  Campaign to save New York public libraries.  “”The Library gives people the tools they need to move off the bread line and onto a bank line.” Anthony Suarez.

Lost life of Eva BraunLibrary Tribe.  “In a library it is easy to walk in for a book on the Great Western Railway and walk out with a biography and a gluten free cook book as well, via the checkout desk (now fully computerised) of course. I dont know if this man had been looking for this book, but his body language, holding this book at arms length revealed something extra. It is a racy title.”

“Q. Do you agree with cutting library services in Oxfordshire?
A. What the County (council) is now proposing is significantly changed. They are looking for ways to keep libraries open and looking for ways to maintain them. Of course I have discussed it with Keith Mitchell, but it is his decision.They (Oxfordshire County Council) must make their decisions and an MP makes his decisions.” PM Cameron talks about his first year in chargeOxford Mail (and completely fails to answer the question).

Rally against debtOnly 350 turned up (1000 times less than the rally against cuts)  including infiltrators like this one with a “Libraries Suck” placard – shortly, of course, to be interrogated by the police.
The fightback: the challenge to Ed VaizeyLibraries for Life for Londoners.  “We meet on Wednesday 18th May 2011, at noon, adjacent to the DCMS building, to lobby that particular ministry and its ministers. It is time they came out of the bunker.”.  More info on Facebook
Top school ditches library for ebooksTimes (Behind paywall). Wellington college is throwing out 16,000 books to make way for iPads, meeting pods and feng shui pools.  The brainchild of Anthony Seldon, he describes the project as  “a hugely important philosophical statement about what we think education should be, not just at Wellington but everywhere”.  Additional comments from Peter Snow, broadcaster and former pupil;  the School Library Association;  and Annie Mauger, Chief Executive of CILIP.

News by authority

Bolton – “Planning the future” consultationBolton Council. There is also an online questionnaire. Residents have until midnight on Friday, May 20 to register their views via an online survey at bolton.gov.uk/libraries
Bolton – 4000 name petition in fight to save libraryBolton News.   Bromley Cross users are worries it will close.  ““Getting 4,000 signatures is enough to trigger a debate in the council chamber so the residents have done very well. I think there probably needs to be a wider debate on the libraries issues because there have been a lot of residents expressing concerns via petitions across the borough.”says councillor.
Buckinghamshire – Bourne End library boosts lending figuresBucks Free Press.  Library may close if it does not improve its usage.
Camden – Long-awaited results to libraries consultation publishedLondon 24.  6183 replied to consultation – one-third said they would volunteer to save libraries, 72% OK with volunteers saving libraries. No “no cuts” option given. 
Leeds – Drighlington Library’s last gasp reprieveMorley Observer and Advertiser.  Will stay open while talks continue on it being run by volunteers.
Richmond – Retaining all libraries, investing in technologyLibrary for life for Londoners.
Somerset – Campaigners “insulted” by council’s library cash offerThis is the West Country.  Watchet Library Friends says £5k offer “a drop in the ocean” compared to £20k annual running costs.

Save Suffolk Libraries – copyright free logos

Warwickshire – Charities lose out as Warwickshire libraries pulped for cash – Courier.  Discarded books sold to recycler, 20% of which are recycled, the rest pulped.

Brent campaigners NEED YOU

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.

Changes to tally

Camden – 25% cut, 40% cut in opening hours.  Libraries still under threat but may not close outright.  King’s Cross may be rebuilt in new Town hall complex, Crowndale Centre library may move to new Camden High Street site, Regent’s Park may become study centre with new library built instead, Local Studies Archive may close.  Decision in early June.
Croydon – Decision to close six libraries postponed until 2012. 23 library jobs lost April 2011. Another 26 likely to go in order to make £700k saving. 
Norfolk – 10% cut in hours in all libraries proposed
Sheffield – 3 (out of 4) mobiles to be closed, 33 library staff to be made redundant, reduced opening hours, £1.4m cut

News

Are volunteers happy to run libraries?Voices for the Library.   Councils asking communities to run libraries is the equivalent of blackmailing them.  The fact communities are willing to consider running them shows how important they are and how they should continue to be funded.
Can they sell the libraries?New Law Journal.  Literary and Scientific Institutions Act 1854 may prevent some library closures. 
Coalition government is “anti-book”Politics.  BookSeller shows government’s record on libraries, schools and literacy speaks volumes. 
Costing public library useVoices for the Library.  Family has added up cost of all of the books it has borrowed from public libraries – £150 per month.
Council outsourcing plans “will take time to implement”Odgers Berndtson.  U-turn in Suffolk suggests divesting libraries and other services may take five to ten years, rather than two.

The report, Council spending: making it clear, shows some of the biggest cuts across the country will take place in education funding – down 11.4% – and cultural services, including libraries, which will be reduced by 10.2%. Environmental spending will fall by 3.72%.” Council spending cuts hitting North more than SouthPublicFinance. 

Great to have a net champion, but let’s see more backing for a reading champion Alan Gibbons.  In 2000 the international reading rankings (PISA) placed the UK in seventh position. We have now soared…to 25th.”
Libraries are in crisis, but literary culture is thrivingGuardian.   Reading groups doing well despite decline of libraries and may be in a small way a replacement for them.
Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cutsSocialist. Less staff and more work means less service.
Red tape review threat to servicesGuardian.   “The only frontline services that the website states will be protected are libraries and child protection.”
Support your library, CWA tells authorsBookSeller.  “The Crime Writers Association (CWA) is asking each of its members to do at least three events a year for their local library as part of a campaign to support the public library service in the face of widespread cutbacks.”
Torture legal aid case is a triumph of the rule of lawGuardian.   The right for legal aid for “pure public interest cases” upheld in court. Witholding legal aid “the perfect cover for decision-makers to eliminate bothersome services such as legal aid, or aspects of the state that don’t fit within their own agendas such as libraries”
Volunteering plans “too ambitious” says Volunteering England policy managerThirdSector.   Worries (see comments) that “right to challenge” under Localism Bill would not be exercised by community groups but rather by private companies.
Which local politician is the most incompetent in terms of the public library service?Twtpoll. Mark Hawthorne (leader of Gloucestershire) storms home with 60% of the vote.

News by authority

Barnet – Save Our Friern Barnet Library

Barnet – Campaigners plan a picnic protest while councillors are “hobnobbing”Barnet Today.  Protesters suspect council AGM will be celebratory banquet.  ““It seems they haven’t registered the fact they have made more than 100 people redundant, libraries are merging, the Church Farmhouse Museum has closed, Barnet Museum is fighting to stay open and lots of people are very concerned about privatisation.”
Bradford – Mobile library to visit Denholme, Wrose, Heaton, Addingham and Wilsden libraries Advertiser.  As an alternative to the branch libraries closing in each one in June.


Brent – Save Our Six LibrariesBrent SOS Libraries.

Brent – £5 donations needed for library legal actionHarrow Observer.   Brent SOS Libraries set up to represent all threatened libraries.  £30,000 needed for judicial review, with Bindmans LLP acting on their behalf. Also covered by the BookSeller.
Brent – Mayor-making in Brent disrupted by anti-library cuts protestersHarrow Observer.  Councillors shocked that protesters upset “non-political” meeting, claim Lib Dem plot.
Cambridgeshire – £36,000 to keep libary safeCambridge News.  Councillor says this much money would keep local library open, local observer says “I do understand the county’s position but I think they haven’t really got a clear idea about where the funding and provision for this library is going to come from.”
Camden – “Friends” groups are poised to rescue threatened libraries from shutdowns Camden New Journal.   2500 out of 6000 responders to survey said would consider volunteering to save threatened libraries.
Croydon – Campaigner’s book buying to mark Norbury Library’s 80th anniversaryCroydon Guardian.   80 books will be bought to give to library as part of Save Norbury Library’s street party.

“The loss of highly qualified staff must have an impact. We have lost both staff numbers and qualified librarians at our library. The staff we have are wonderful but now work under such pressure as we seem to have dropped to only two staff on duty at any one time, and only one during breaks. We have a qualified librarian only one day a month now. Yes Sara, we have noticed!”  Comment below Croydon – Under threat Croydon library’s given 12 month reprieveCroydon Guardian.  Massive public response means libraries to kept open but 47 staff are in the process of being lost. Also reported in the BookSeller.

Cumbria – Campaigners fight to save Seaton LibraryTimes & Star.  Petition started by residential home manager – “She said that about 20 of the residents in the home, which is opposite the library, regularly used it. They said it meant everything to them.”.
Dorset – As Lib campaign: Library concessions “don’t go far enough” – Bridport News.  Divested libraries will have access to council network and some staff but will need a lot of volunteers.
Dorset – Ad Lib urges Dorset Council to spend less on library booksDorset Echo.  Campaigners say service holds more books than it has shelves to put them on.  Council leader responds in same newspaper with Council chief says good stock turnover is essential to library users
Gloucestershire – Mobile library services across the county are being withdrawn –  Hartpury residents are enraged by a letter from council leader Mark Hawthorne saying it would be cheaper for the council to buy books from Amazon and give them to Hartpury residents, than continue to run the mobile library service.”.  “Virtual” library service for the needy to be offered instead.
Isle of Wight – Minister calls council in over library plansVentnorBlog.  Ed Vaizey calls in council to present their plans to DCMS officials.
Lambeth – This is not just about balancing the booksSouth London Press.   Council looks at usage of each branch.  Commission to look at libraries invited public responses.
Leeds – Axe falls on 15 Leeds librariesYorkshire Evening Post.  Closed libraries will be “freed up assets” and allow 100,000 more hours of computer use, 41 more hours open and no permanent staff losses.
Leeds – Under threat library crisis talksYorkshire Evening Post.  Friends of Rawdon Library say “We know that libraries are evolving, but we want evolution not closure.”  

“Ever since these proposals were first mooted, the people of both Scholes and Shadwell united in their determination to oppose the closures. The level of engagement from local residents on this issue has been nothing short of staggering and this clearly has had a huge bearing on the outcome of the consultation.” Leeds – Scholes and Shadwell libraries saved from the axeWetherby News.   Howeverm Shadwell likely to cease being council controlled in 2012.

Lewisham – Eco Computer Systems owner Darren Taylor vows to make Lewisham libraries betterNews Shopper.   One full-time librarian in each branch plus volunteers.  New Cross may be closed – New Cross Community Library Campaign group formed.
Norfolk – Norfolk libraries’ opening hours cut plannedBBC.  10% cut is an option in consultation.
Northamptonshire – Group formed to fight closure of a Northampton LibraryNorthampton Chronicle.  Friend of St James’ Library group to be formed to fight potential closure of “least-used” library.
Northern Ireland – Libraries closure decision delayedMid-Ulster Mail.  Decision to be made in September.
North Yorkshire – Budget cuts deal could be lifeline for North Yorkshire librariesCraven Herald & Pioneer.  Massive response to public consultation means councillors will re-examine proposals to cut 24 libraries. Budget cut will still need to happen at same scale – cuts could be more evenly spread out. “I expect North Yorkshire was rather taken by surprise at how much feeling there was about the libraries.” says campaigner.  Decision next week.  More info on Public outcry could save libraries from the axeGazette & Herald.  
North Yorkshire – Library cuts idea rejectedPress.  Liberal councillor suggested spreading cuts more evenly throughout authority.  Voted down.
Oxfordshire – Summertown campaigners “prepared to buy library”Oxford Times.  Friends of Summertown Library are in the process of turning into a registered charity.  £7k already raised – group starting feasibility study to rebuild expanded library on same site.
Sheffield – Library vans hit by cutsSheffield Telegraph. 3 out of 4 mobile libraries and 33 staff to be axed, opening hours to be cut. Consultation is “nothing of the sort” says user.
Somerset – Library to have its opening hours cut This is Somerset.  Frome’s hours to be cut in October. 
Somerset – Porlock extraordinary meeting to discuss cutsSomerset County Gazette.   Parish gains £7k from rates from library building, may lose library, visitor information centre, museum and recreation ground.
Somerset – Mixed news for Highbridge and Burnham’s librariesThis is the West Country.   7.5 hours less opening for Burnham, Highbridge to be “divested”
Somerset – Opening hours at Burnham On Sea library to be cut by 20%Burnham on Sea.com.  7.6 hours less per week during least busy times.
Somerset – Proposals for librariesView Online.   Lists cuts in hours in individual libraries and increased offer for volunteers taking over libraries.
Suffolk – New council leader Mark Bee pledges to work with communities over libraries Evening Star.  Some closures but on the other hand not many and new libraries could be created. However, no clear news yet and campaigners still worried.
Warwickshire – Library may move to stay afloat – Redditch Standard.  Studley Library may relocate as High Street library closes.  Locals want council-run public library but will run volunteer one if it closes, “strength of public feeling” means council looking at alternative venues and funding.

Changes to tally

Norfolk – 10% cut in hours in all libraries proposed
Sheffield – 3 (out of 4) mobiles to be closed, 33 library staff to be made redundant, reduced opening hours, £1.4m cut

News

Are volunteers happy to run libraries?Voices for the Library.   Councils asking communities to run libraries is the equivalent of blackmailing them.  The fact communities are willing to consider running them shows how important they are and how they should continue to be funded.

The report, Council spending: making it clear, shows some of the biggest cuts across the country will take place in education funding – down 11.4% – and cultural services, including libraries, which will be reduced by 10.2%. Environmental spending will fall by 3.72%.” Council spending cuts hitting North more than SouthPublicFinance. 

Libraries are in crisis, but literary culture is thrivingGuardian.   Reading groups doing well despite decline of libraries and may be in a small way a replacement for them.
Library cuts hit staff and users: time for action against the cutsSocialist. Less staff and more work means less service.
Support your library, CWA tells authorsBookSeller.  “The Crime Writers Association (CWA) is asking each of its members to do at least three events a year for their local library as part of a campaign to support the public library service in the face of widespread cutbacks.”
Torture legal aid case is a triumph of the rule of lawGuardian.   The right for legal aid for “pure public interest cases” upheld in court. Witholding legal aid “the perfect cover for decision-makers to eliminate bothersome services such as legal aid, or aspects of the state that don’t fit within their own agendas such as libraries”
Which local politician is the most incompetent in terms of the public library service?Twtpoll. Mark Hawthorne (leader of Gloucestershire) storms home with 60% of the vote.

News by authority

Barnet – Campaigners plan a picnic protest while councillors are “hobnobbing”Barnet Today.  Protesters suspect council AGM will be celebratory banquet.  ““It seems they haven’t registered the fact they have made more than 100 people redundant, libraries are merging, the Church Farmhouse Museum has closed, Barnet Museum is fighting to stay open and lots of people are very concerned about privatisation.”

Brent – Save Our Six LibrariesBrent SOS Libraries.

Brent – £5 donations needed for library legal actionHarrow Observer.   Brent SOS Libraries set up to represent all threatened libraries.  £30,000 needed for judicial review, with Bindmans LLP acting on their behalf. Also covered by the BookSeller
Cambridgeshire – £36,000 to keep libary safeCambridge News.  Councillor says this much money would keep local library open, local observer says “I do understand the county’s position but I think they haven’t really got a clear idea about where the funding and provision for this library is going to come from.”
Cumbria – Campaigners fight to save Seaton LibraryTimes & Star.  Petition started by residential home manager – “She said that about 20 of the residents in the home, which is opposite the library, regularly used it. They said it meant everything to them.”. 

Dorset – Ad Lib urges Dorset Council to spend less on library booksDorset Echo.  Campaigners say service holds more books than it has shelves to put them on.  Council leader responds in same newspaper with Council chief says good stock turnover is essential to library users
Isle of Wight – Minister calls council in over library plansVentnorBlog.  Ed Vaizey calls in council to present their plans to DCMS officials.

Lambeth – This is not just about balancing the booksSouth London Press.   Council looks at usage of each branch.  Commission to look at libraries invited public responses.
Norfolk – Norfolk libraries’ opening hours cut plannedBBC.  10% cut is an option in consultation.
Northamptonshire – Group formed to fight closure of a Northampton LibraryNorthampton Chronicle.  Friend of St James’ Library group to be formed to fight potential closure of “least-used” library.
Northern Ireland – Libraries closure decision delayedMid-Ulster Mail.  Decision to be made in September.
North Yorkshire – Budget cuts deal could be lifeline for North Yorkshire librariesCraven Herald & Pioneer.  Massive response to public consultation means councillors will re-examine proposals to cut 24 libraries. Budget cut will still need to happen at same scale – cuts could be more evenly spread out. “I expect North Yorkshire was rather taken by surprise at how much feeling there was about the libraries.” says campaigner.  Decision next week.  More info on Public outcry could save libraries from the axeGazette & Herald.  
North Yorkshire – Library cuts idea rejectedPress.  Liberal councillor suggested spreading cuts more evenly throughout authority.  Voted down.

Oxfordshire – Summertown campaigners “prepared to buy library”Oxford Times.  Friends of Summertown Library are in the process of turning into a registered charity.  £7k already raised – group starting feasibility study to rebuild expanded library on same site.
Sheffield – Library vans hit by cutsSheffield Telegraph. 3 out of 4 mobile libraries and 33 staff to be axed, opening hours to be cut. Consultation is “nothing of the sort” says user.
Somerset – Porlock extraordinary meeting to discuss cutsSomerset County Gazette.   Parish gains £7k from rates from library building, may lose library, visitor information centre, museum and recreation ground.
Somerset – Opening hours at Burnham On Sea library to be cut by 20%Burnham on Sea.com.  7.6 hours less per week during least busy times.
Suffolk – New council leader Mark Bee pledges to work with communities over libraries Evening Star.  Some closures but on the other hand not many and new libraries could be created. However, no clear news yet and campaigners still worried.

Battles won but the war continues

The Guardian has an article today saying “library closure battles won, but war continues”.  There have been some great successes in saving libraries, very much due to local users forcefully letting councils know how important their libraries are.  Where thousands of names on petitions have failed, where marches through the centres of towns have failed, in many places legal action is now being taken. Faced with this mobilisation by their electorate, some councils have been revising their plans.  At the very least, few councillors can now think that closing a library is an easy option.

The Guardian article then goes on to say the war is not won.  The campaign to save libraries is a marathon and not a sprint.  One can see weaknesses and worries, the chief being with the Government.  Jeremy Hunt, Ed Vaizey, the DCMS and the MLA (whose chief exec is currently packing bags for a new life in New Zealand) are being lethargic in taking any action, if at all, with two letters and a few meetings with campaigners and councils being its sum total so far.  The Big Society and a dislike for the State is biasing their position with public libraries, with volunteer-run libraries dangerously blurring the definition of a “closed” library.  The Government over the next few months will have to show whether it is serious in intervening or not if legal action by local campaigners fails.  It may or may not, we shall see. We will also see whether the proposed scrapping of essential legislation like the Public Libraries and Museums Act and the Equalities Act will take place or not.  If they do, legal action will become very difficult.

This run up from the announcement of library closures to May 5th may then (remembering please that using a Churchillian quote does not mean one is comparing anyone to the Nazis) be seen not as the end, or even the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning.  At least, it is not the worst one.

448 libraries (383 buildings and 65 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK.  For cuts in each authority, see “tally” link on right. 

News

Battle to save 360 librariesDaily Express.  Well-funded libraries can improve children’s test scores by up to 13%.  “the positive impact of a “robust” library system was almost seven per cent greater than the negative impact of an impoverished childhood”. Statistics produced by Mansfield University with a summary of the impact of school library provision
Library closure battles won, but war continuesGuardian. “Councils will be looking closely at how the situation develops this year to see if they can get away with further cuts later on – perhaps hoping that people will simply get used to the idea that libraries are closing and come to think of it as inevitable.”, “words have not been followed by decisive action” by government to help libraries. Save Our Libraries day to be in 2012 and, with threats continuing, “for the foreseeable future”.

From Letters of Note

Row over government reading lists for five-year olds – Telegraph.  Set texts on curriculum for five to eleven years may be introduced.  Authors not impressed. Also covered in the Guardian.
“Triumph” for North Yorkshire library campaign, but more protest in LewishamBookSeller.  24 libraries apparently saved in North Yorkshire but Lewisham worries about computer company taking over three threatened libraries. 

Changes to library cuts list 

Cambridgeshire – Libraries may be run by a charitable trust, 13 smaller libraries to be run by volunteers “directed” by a central librarian at a cost of £20,000 each to local community.
Croydon – Qualified librarians removed at Sanderstead Library.
Leeds – 17 libraries (Allerton Bywater, Armley Heights, Belle Isle, Broad Lane, Cow Close, Drilington (2012), Holbeck, Ireland Wood, Kirkstall, Lofthouse, Osmondthorpe, Rawdon, Richmond Hill, Shadwell (2012) Swarcliffe, Swillington and Swinnow) under threat to save £625k (previously listed as 20). Branches to be replaced by expanded mobile service. 25 other libraries to have extended hours.  All permanent staff to be retained, 
Newham – Foreign language newspapers removed from all libraries.

News by authority

Brent – Alan Bennett joins campaign against against library closureGuardian.  Alan Bennett will be speaking at Kensal Rise library on 24th May in order to help raise £30,000 for legal challenge.  Campaigners say plan for community run library ignored by council.  Also covered by Bookseller and  London  Evening Standard
Brent – Legal action over Brent library closuresBookSeller.   Bindmans law firm lodging complaint as council decision made before consultation ended.
Brent – Cllr James Powney in hiding over library cutsSave Kensal Rise Library. 
Cambridgeshire – Community news: Linton Parish CouncilHaverhill Echo.  Concern at parish council meeting of losing library staff in moved towards volunteers.

Save Sanderstead Library – worried about volunteers

Croydon – Save Sanderstead Library Campaign Group launched!Save Sanderstead Library.  “We are a campaign group consisting of local residents with a commitment to saving Sanderstead Library in Croydon. We believe that we need to maintain a professional service at our much loved and well used community library.” Sanderstead has lost its qualified librarians.
Devon – Devon library public consultation endsBBC.  7000 people have had their say.
Dorset – Ad Lib appeal to complete library questionnairesDorset Echo.  “The nationwide referendum on how we should run our parliamentary elections may not have caught the attention of everyone in Dorset but everyone here has the chance to vote on a matter that really has been making headlines – the fate of the county’s village and small town libraries.” Campaigners suggest voting for Option Two.
Dorset – Library fight taken to the topSalisbury Journal.  West Moors users presented case to Dorset’s full council, 2000 signed petition to save its library. Bequest makes case for closing library questionable. 
Gloucestershire – Confirmation of extension of library service in Minchinhampton until April 2012Friends of Minchinhampton Library.  Branch will have £10,000 grant from council to supply 10 hours staffing per week (5 if no volunteer forthcoming) 
Gloucestershire – Legal challenge launched to stop library closuresWilts & Glos Standard.
Isle of Wight – Anti-cuts campaigners spread the messageIWCP.  “We are starting see the effects of those cuts now — tourist information centres are closed and libraries have reduced their opening hours — so it’s important to keep the anti-cuts message in the public eye.”
Kensington and Chelsea – Tri-borough plans to be ready by June – Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle.   “The plans so far also include sharing the management of libraries, which will save £1.4m, along with corporate services.”
Kensington and Chelsea – Library restored to former glory – Kensington an Chelsea Chronicle£250k refurbishment completed at Notting Hill. “”We know how important libraries are to our community and the important role they play in giving everyone access to information from borrowing books to searching the internet.” 
Leeds – 15 Leeds library buildings face closure Guardian. 4300 responses to consultation, 82% agreeing to the plan.  To be debated by council next week.  Also covered by the BBC and Yorkshire Post.
Lewisham – More protest as Lewisham libraries decision looms – News Shopper.  Bidding process described by campaigners as “a load of old rubbish”.  Only one bid “fairly acceptable”.
Newham – Newham’s libraries remove foreign language newspapersBBC.  Mayor says move will “encourage people to speak and learn English”.

“Libraries are not just about books. They are bedrocks. They are arts centres, information and advice points and internet cafés. They provide opportunities for social interaction, for the elderly and the young, and act as welcome and orientation for new residents. But where the cuts will really hurt is the rural areas; not least the mobile library service which truly acts as more than just a place to exchange your weekly romance novel – it’s a point of contact, communication and often a support service all in one.” North Yorkshire – A crime against the libraries that save lives – Yorkshire Post. 

Oxfordshire – Librarian speaks for first time about closure threatHenley Standard.   Librarian from threatened Sonning Common stresses need for public to campaign against closure.
Slough – Heart of Slough’s library is named thanks to competition winner’s ideaMaidenhead Advertiser.   New library will be called “the Curve”.
Staffordshire – Council launches wi-fi at librariesGuardian – Following increased usage in pilot library, wi-fi will be installed in all libraries.
Suffolk – Village libraries offered reprieve after consultationHaverhill Echo.  Kedington and Clare libraries saved.  Comments – still unclear as to how 30% cut will be made.
Suffolk – Suffolk Council halts outsourcing core services for “reflection” and sends Chief Executive on extended leaveeGov Monitor.  Andrea Hill not expected back by many.
Suffolk – County to start library company?Bury Free Press.  “The county is planning to set up a not-for-profit community interest company to oversee the running of libraries at arms length from costly local authority bureaucracy.”

 

Surrey – Council launches e-library mobile app – Guardian.  Users can order and download any of 600 titles from their mobile. 
Warrington – Library TribeFlickr.  Pictures of library users created after local library closed.

Please can Nick Clegg insist on closing public libraries?

I saw this headline on Twitter today. Well, given how successful his initiatives have been so far, it just might be worth a go. Attempts at humour aside, the destruction in the Liberal Democrat vote will not have much impact on public library closures.  They controlled far too few councils for that.  In the few they did control, their record was not superb.  Two come to mind. In Newcastle, they are not exactly closing eight while Hull are closing two libraries and encouraging voluntary redundancies for qualified staff.  In both, Labour will now take over.  What will have an impact on saving libraries is local people making their voice heard on the matter, as has been so well shown this week in North Yorkshire and Suffolk. 

451 libraries (386 buildings and 65 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK
News
All hail to the public libraryOn the Commons (USA).  Fort Worth library has removed “public” from it’s logo to “move with the times” – article examines retreat from the state in US libraries via Walk You Home.
Future of library services in the Big SocietyNeil Stewart Associates (Conference).  Keynote address to be made by Ed Vaizey.
My library, my friendGuardian.  The children’s section of Anna-Marie Julyan’s local library was important to her and she wants to know other reader’s experiences.
On the campaign trail …Thoughts of a wannabe librarian.   Voices for the Library campaigner explains why he does it.

“Although the prospect of a “charity, social enterprise or mutual” running and operating your local library or health centre may not be as objectionable as a profit-hungry public limited company, it’s privatisation all the same. And behind it is the same old neoliberal dogma which says that state or local authority provision of public services is inherently undesirable and needs to be ended.” Privatised Britain is not a fait accompliGuardian.

World’s best librariesBeyond the margins.  “I have a theory about libraries. I think they make people happy and thoughtful. Kind. Appreciative. You’re in the presence of so much, given free.” Favourite libraries listed, none of them are – shamefully for the UK – in this country.
Change to tally
News by authority
Birmingham – Andre proves popular when it comes to personality plauditsWalsall Online. The “face” of Birmingham Library wins Mr Personality award.
Camden – Library campaigners invoke spirit of Bill BuddCamden New Journal.  Facebook campaign invokes spirit of deceased pro-library councillor  ” “Bill Budd was the brave Labour councillor who defied the whip back in 1998 to vote against Library closures. It was his vote that saved the day and the first time in 35 years he voted against the party. Camden library lovers salute Bill.” Ham & High also reports the news.
Gloucestershire – Libraries are not essential This is Gloucestershire.  Libraries are not essential as everyone can buy books/internet these days.  The implication being everyone that matters.  See comments.
Gloucestershire – Residents give views on future of library and youth services in Hester’s WayThis is Gloucestershire.  In a complicated deal, the library is to be given to a charity to rent out to a housing association in the hope that that will pay for another building to be a library in the day and a youth centre at night.  Library is in “a deprived area without a parish council” so £20,000 grant for four years also given.
Leeds – Future of Leeds libraries set to be decidedGuardian.  Decision on future of 20 libraries to be made on 18th May. 
Lewisham – Protesters take fight to the top to stop closure of five librariesLondon Evening Standard. Demonstration by Lewisham and Brent campaigners outside DCMS offices.
North Yorkshire – U-turn over North Yorkshire librariesGazetter & Herald.   “Public outcry” caused change to closures plan.
Peterborough – Union fears over volunteersPeterborough Today.  Trusts ask for library volunteers.
Suffolk – U-turn plan on libraries – Diss Express.  ““We’re cautiously optimistic at this stage as budget cuts could mean that the level of service we end up with bears no resemblance to the current one.”
Suffolk – Suffolk’s council’s Andrea Hill on leave for inquiryBBC.  Controversial chief exec ordered on to extended leave while whistle-blowing complaints investigated.  
Surrey – Calls for Surrey to “tear up” library closure studySurrey Herald.  Byfleet Library’s official usage did not take into account closure for refurbishment, library has several doors but only front door counted. Formal complaint to Information Commissioner due to failure to answer request.

“There are so many reasons for keeping a library open and no reason at all for closing one.”

North Yorkshire have withdrawn their radical plans to close 33 libraries due to public protest.  This comes just two days after Suffolk withdrew their plans to 29 libraries, again due to campaigning.  Heavy, possibly unprecedented, budget cuts appear set to ontinue to in those authorities.
451 libraries (386 buildings and 65 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4517 in the UK
News
“Books are absolutely critical to everything public libraries do”Futurebook. Edinburgh libraries are installing “Download Stations”. “Recent debates about libraries have focused on books and digital as if they are somehow different. But an e-book is just as much of a book as a printed book, and if publishers and libraries can reach agreement over how digital loans work, then public libraries can offer a fantastic shop window to published content and continue to serve their communities with free reading material.”
Closure of local libraries – WI.  This is one of two resolutions shortlisted for the 2011 AGM.  If passed, it will become the basis of WI campaigning and awareness raising activities for 2011/12.  To read, click on link 2011 Resolution Briefings Note on right of page.
E-Readers fail at educationFast Company.  Our brains may be better at learning through books than e-books – “cognitive mapping” is better with print books.
Literacy in the Big SocietyNational Literacy Trust. “The vital work of the National Literacy Trust needs to make the most of every opportunity we are offered. This must include engaging with Big Society”.
Petition protesting HarperCollins’s ebook circulation policy takes off Library Journal.  Petition against Rupert Murdoch’s self-destructing ebooks has now hit nearly 60,000.  
Publishers “have nothing to fear from Hargreaves”: Vaizey –  BookSeller. Libraries Minister says it may be an idea for public libraries to lend out e-readers (not just e-books). ““I personally wish all of us had been more engaged with local authorities over libraries many years before . . . We have really first class library services in local councils, but we also have mediocre and poor ones. We can benefit from taking a long term attitude to change.”.  
Changes to tally
Walsall – Libraries “safe for this financial year” but some are under threat in 2012.  Previously 6 out of 16 under threat.
News by authority
Dorset – County council given “red alert” over failing projects –  Daily Echo.  Plans to close 20 libraries are lagging behind other cuts.  “The council hoped to realise savings of £417,300 in the current financial year by “reconfiguring” the library service. But a public outcry over plans to close 20 libraries if local groups fail to accept an offer of “community take over” has forced the council to hold a public consultation, which will not end until June 13.”
Dorset – Think again on libraries say councillors – View Online. Longest debate of the year by Weymouth and Portland Council ends with recommendation to Dorset Council to refuse all closures and to reduce hours only as a last resort – “In my view it would be criminal to lose library services and it is crucial that the county council explore all options to continue services.”
Dorset – Library campaigners welcome concessions but want moreBridport News.  “we are still of the view that Lyme Regis should remain as part of the core library network and should be funded by Dorset County Council. We still see no reason why Lyme residents should pay for their own library service when it will remain fully funded for other communities.”.  Charmouth campaigners also unhappy.
Picture from Hanwell Library Petition
Ealing – Thousands speak out over council’s library plansEaling Gazette.  3000 online responses, written responses still being counted, yet more have signed petitions to save their local or all five libraries under threat.  Threatened Northfields has just been refurbished. Theme of Hanwell Carnival on June 18 is to be Save Hanwell Library.  “We want children to dress up as their favourite books for the carnival, their favourite characters or wherever their imagination takes them.” 
Ealing – Leader of Ealing council’s Tories makes residents vowEaling Gazette. Councillor believes library cuts are a good example of what the council has done wrong.
Gloucestershire – Berkeley community set to take on threatened library – Gazette.  Locals, including ex-librarian, set up Community Library committee to keep Berkeley Library running after the council withdraws funding. 
Lambeth – Uncertain future for Waterloo Library as Lambeth considers cuts – LondonSE1.  Friends group to have meetings at library to discuss its threatened future.
Lewisham – Council report on libraries in New Cross, Sydenham, Grove Park, Crofton Park and BlackheathNews Shopper.  Transfer of four libraries to charities and one library closure to be confirmed at May 11 council meeting.
North Yorkshire – Public outcry forces North Yorkshire County Council to reconsider plans – Northern EchoPlan to close 20 libraries shelved – plan is now to spread cuts amongst all libraries. 
Somerset – £30,000 for Somerset’s threatened libraries but opening hours slashedYeovil Express.  £5,000 one-off grants for groups taking over closed libraries – 6 libraries to close this year, 5 next year, 20% cuts for all others.   
Suffolk – U-turn threatens chief executiveGuardian.  Andrea Hill, the enthusiastic implementer and cheerleader for the virtual council model (which involved 29 libraries being threatened) is increasingly herself under threat due to a change in councillor leadership caused by widespread public protest.  Her position is not helped by various scandals about her high expenses and salary.  Rumours on Twitter are that she has either left the council or is enforced leave.
Walsall – Hundreds voice their opinion to Parliament over library’s futureWalsall Online.  Valeria Vaz MP presented 1,000 signature petition to save Pleck Library petition in House of Commons.