In a week, three different London boroughs have signalled they will probably be privatising their libraries.  They join a fourth, Hounslow, who have had Laing running their libraries for a couple of years.  The manager of Wokingham Libraries welcomes private companies as an exciting new development while, more soberly, pointing out that the alternative would be library closures and that no-one’s job is safe anyway, even in the council.  Such are the times we live in.
452 libraries (383 buildings and 69 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”)
10 technologies that revolutionised libraries worldwide – Online College.  “Libraries form an essential component of human society — they educate, they enlighten, they entertain. But, most importantly, they bring together members of the community in order to keep intellectualism and innovation flowing. And in order to stay relevant, libraries have to open themselves up to emergent technologies, discovering creative ways to apply them in the service of the people. Plenty more than these 10 exist of course, but this list seeks to capture some of the more notable ones throughout all of recorded history — regardless of whether or not they have fallen out of fashion.”
Birmingham City council’s outsources of services a worrying trend – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  “Those libraries that are still open might only stock books in Vietnamese because of an ordering mistake by head of department in Ho Chi Minh City. Never mind. It will just prove people aren’t borrowing like they used to so more libraries can be closed with a clear conscience, saving even more money and sacking even more staff. Birmingham, what have you started?”
Council wants to book outsiders to run libraries – This is Croydon Today [warning – link broken wen checked] “Too cash-strapped to run its libraries itself, Croydon Council is setting about finding outsiders to do the job at reduced price.  Councillor Sara Bashford, cabinet member for culture and sport, announced on Wednesday that subject to cabinet approval on June 13, a “market testing” exercise would be launched in conjunction with Wandsworth to guage interest in running library services in both boroughs.”
Prisons must by law have libraries – so why don’t schools? – London Evening Standard.  “”All that’s needed is the imagination to connect the officials responsible for schools with those responsible for libraries.” (Michael Rosen)
Pullman’s plea to save libraries – Wales Online.  The measuring everything by cost “approach is tearing apart the invisible bonds of duty and loyalty, belonging and togetherness in the name of an ideology that nothing is more important than money,” said Pullman.
UN declares internet access a human right – Atlantic Wire. It does not say “free”.
Changes to library service
Calderdale Charged introduced for computer use after first hour.
Camden – plus 2 threatened  – Belsize, Chalk Farm and Health libraries to be given to volunteers.  Opening hours of all libraries to be cut by 10%.  £2 million cut.
Croydon – Will be privatised in joint tendering process with Wandsworth.
Waltham Forest – plus 2 threatened – South Chingford and Leytonstone Harrow Green libraries to be closed.  £1m cut (20%) over 2 years.  North Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone libraries to have hours cut to 30 hours per week.
Wandsworth  – Will be privatised in joint tendering process with Croydon. 
Local News
Barnet – Friern Barnet Library.  See also
Camden – Library closure a sham says users – London 24.  ““Without using any four letter words, this report is a mish-mash without any real thought behind it, apart from saving the senior officers’ posts. We have a different attitude to the library service. It’s a service for the community which supports literacy in a city which is very deficient in that.” Report produced on Friday, will be voted on on Wednesday.
Cheshire EastNew opening hours for Middlewich Library – Guardian series.  Opening hours extended. 
Milton Keynes – Inviting ideas on libraries – About my area. Consultation on significant cuts.
Waltham Forest – Library closures proposed – This is Local London.  “”Even without the financial pressures that the council faces, this is a timely point at which to review the services provided by libraries to ensure they are modern, relevant, and provide the kind of services that people need.”
Warwickshire – Residents step up library fight – Cotswold Journal.   Shipston to reduce from 30 to 20 hours.  “It doesn’t make sense to offer this extended service then cut the hours of staff. The building will still be there, and the rent and the rates will still be the same.”
Wokingham – Staff fear for jobs as library is privatised to prevent closureHenley Standard.  Library manage argues that jobs would be as secure at a private company as at the council, libraries would be closed otherwise. See also  Private firm could run Wokingham library service – Get Reading.