Two very interesting articles today from unexpected sources.  Firstly, the Express reports on the possibilities of privatised libraries under a heading that fears a new “barbarism”.  Interestingly, the private library company in question is apparently based above a lettings agency and is registered to a semi-detached house in Liverpool.  Secondly, the Trading Director of Oxfam, no less, attacks the idea of volunteer-run libraries insisting that they should be well-financed and staffed by at least of core of paid workers (Politics Show South England 41:00 to 50).  If this keeps up, I am expecting a statement by Ed Vaizey announcing he is taking his responsibilties as seriously as he wanted his predecessor to and will be intervening in several library-cutting authorities by the end of the week.  Well, I’m a dad and it is Father’s Day… (S)

393 libraries (319 buildings and 74 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK (for the complete list by area see the page “Tally by local authority”). Librarian professional body CILIP forecasts 600 libraries under threat (inc. 20% of English libraries).  The Public Libraries News figure is obtained from counting up all reports about public libraries in the media each day.

(S) marks updates added on Sunday.


As US firm seeks to run beloved institutions, are we at risk of “barbarism”?Express.  LSSI’s interest in UK libraries is noted, as is it’s current tiny presence in the UK (apparently it’s office is above a shop).  While fears about it are noted, some campaigners argue it could keep open some libraries under threat. (S)
At least ten arrested in Friday afternoon library cut protest in Oakland – Contra Costa Times (USA).  “The demonstration opposed Oakland library cuts and other austerity measures and began around 4 p.m. It was uneventful at first, but when the protesters moved to the street, blocking traffic, and refused police orders to disperse, at least 10 were arrested on suspicion of offenses ranging from failure to disperse to battery on a police officer.”
Localism Bill House of Lords.  Attempt by three peers to exclude the Libraries Act from the Bill.
Running to spread word on literacyNorthern Echo.   “For the past four years, thousands of youngsters in Darlington have been rewarded by Miss Youldon’s enthusiasm through her role as Bookstart co-ordinator and community engagement officer for children aged up to seven at the town’s Crown Street library.” “There has been lots in the press about libraries. I thought it was interesting that we are looking at closing libraries in our country, when in the Third World they want to set up libraries.”
This week in librariesTWIL (a half-hour TV show on libraries no less, based in the Netherlands but in English).  Interview with Justin Hoenke (Teen Librarian, Portland, USA).
Volunteer use “not right approach” to spending cuts”BBC.   Trading Director of Oxfam says depending on volunteers alone ro run libraries is wrong.  Rather, any volunteers should be additional and complementary to a well-funded library service with a paid staff. (S)
West London councils combine library forces – Londonist.  “Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils have announced plans to combine library services, in a move they say will secure the future of all libraries in the area and one that will presumably send Eric Pickles into paroxysms of joy.” Article worries that the councils in question will be closing libraries despite combining services (S)

Changes to services

Cheshire West and Chester – Libraries may move to becoming a community interest company, charitable trust or other charitable organisation.

Local News

Camden – Gran outraged at anti-Semitc book found in at Kilburn Library – London24.  ‘Are Jews Responsible for 9/11’ book on shelves.  “As a Jew I found it exceptionally offensive, but in this instance the complaint by Gillian actually changed Camden policy. Senior librarians will monitor book orders very closely.”(S)
Cheshire West and Chester – Union fears over plan to outsource more servicesChester Chronicle.  UNISON: “From our point of view it means dealing with another employer who might seek to change our members terms and conditions or, as with Connexions, they might turn around and say we have not got the money to do things so we will have to make cuts.”
Croydon – Libraries under threat of LSSI takeover – Sanderstead Library Campaign.  Regarding Express article “Learning of dealings with LSSI being made so swiftly will only serve to raise residents’ suspicion and concerns in Croydon.” (S)
Ealing – Hanwell, Northfields, Northolt and Perivale library buildings “stay open” – BBC.  Decision on 5th July.  “Ms Brown said she suspected the mobile service had received little support during a recent consultation because it was mostly web-based and so was not completed by many elderly people.”
Gloucestershire – High Court injunction on library closure plans – This is Glos.  Cllr Mark Hawthorne blames campaigners for the cost of questioning the legality of his plans to withdraw funding for 10 libraries.
Gloucestershire – Mark Hawthorne costing taxpayers thousands – Thoughts of a [wannabe] librarian.  “arguably the most incompetent council leader in the country”, “Yes, it is costly and frustrating for taxpayers Mark.  Which begs the question, why did your council embark on a disgraceful consultation that took little noticed of the needs and requirements of the local community?”
Hackney – Support our libraries, stop these unnecessary cutsHackney Unison.   Members to strike over reduction in numbers (25% of staff to be lost), cuts in wages (£2000 plus), loss of paid breaks. Investment could save money eg. stop the theft of DVDs.
Hampshire – New county library service set to start – News.   1200 stops cut to 365 stops, which be withdrawn if there are fewer people than 10 per stop in one year.
Isle of Wight – Library protesters at ministryIWCP.  “accused the Isle of Wight Council of failing to consult properly, unfairly discounting a 9,000-name petition and encouraging parish and town councils to break double taxation rules over library funding.”
North Yorkshire – Libraries saved as vans face axeRipon Gazette.  
Suffolk – Not for profit company may help run libraries – Bury Free Press.   “The main proposal we’ll be putting to cabinet in July is to have a social enterprise, an arms length, not for profit company. We feel that’s the best vehicle to assist people to take forward their ideas – and there are some great ideas.”
Waltham Forest – Library closure consultation begins – This is Local London. “The authority says that the proposal to shut the South Chingford branch in Hall Lane and Harrow Green library in Leytonstone is the most efficient way of cutting £1million from the service’s annual budget.” Consultation until 9 September.
Wokingham – Library outrage sparks petition – Reading Chronicle.  Protester says “I am appalled by the thought of companies making a profit out of libraries. Libraries should be for the benefit of residents, not city sharks.”.  Council responds “This plan means we will be able to save money and give a better service, so I do not know what the petition is campaigning to save the libraries from. We are still providing the service that the residents want, but it is nonsense to think that all of the services have to be run directly by the council at Shute End.”(S)