I noticed the above quote on Twitter today.  I fear it may be true but, like all good things, the price will be worth it.  It’s the price of not paying it that is not.
395 libraries (319 buildings and 76 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.


  • Attracting and retaining volunteersCreating Capacity.  Course advertised to librarians.
  • Could we replace libraries with book swapping clubs?Guardian.  Lottery-funded NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)’s Philip Colligan says “Anyone who has worked in a council knows that you need to tread carefully when it comes to libraries, or indeed any of the universal services that most taxpayers take for granted. The frequency of bin collections, charges for leisure facilities, library opening hours and street cleaning standards are all issues that excite the passions of the public, and which politicians and managers misjudge at their peril.”.  Example is Sutton Bookshare, [specifically described by its creator as not a replacement for libraries]
  • Keeping reading on track Libraryinfonews.  “I’m irritated at the thought of video or other bits of media distracting from reading. And those experimental texts that ask readers to choose how the story progresses seem, to me, simply bizarre.” 
  • Library tribeVoices for the Library.  “My name is Tony Smith and I have recently started to document my local library in a photographic project I call ‘Library Tribe’. It started as a reaction to the closure of my local branch library, which was only a couple of streets walk away. I had taken an image in there just over a year ago. The building also doubled up as my local polling station and that is where I last cast my vote in the May 2010 parliamentary elections. I don’t recall being asked to vote on losing my library at the time.”
  • Tale of two librariesChB:PhD.  In Denmark, threatened library went almost completely self-service for 18 hours per day, 7 days per week.  CCTV and cardswipe to allow access and security.
  • Welcome privatized libraries with cautionSignal (USA).  “It is not enough to have a large amount of the current best-sellers. There is a need for a broad base of special-interest materials to meet the needs of those of us who are not part of the pop-book culture, but read to learn and broaden our knowledge bases”
  • With cuts like these it’s as if the Government doesn’t believe its own policies – London Evening Standard.  Member of PM’s inner circle, Phillip Blond, says “It’s almost as if the Government doesn’t believe in its own policies. Libraries and children’s centres are closing before the right to challenge [local council spending decisions] and the right to take over [public buildings] has come in. I’d have given it more time. I would not have front-loaded local authority cuts in order to allow these new models to come in.”

Changes to service

Bromley – Large scale reductions in opening hours. 

Local News

“It takes 3-4  years to train a librarian, and for someone to just go in and say we’ ll  take your book and we’ll stamp it…..you need to know a lot more than that and I feel quite strongly that the people who are trained librarians must feel very sore at all the time that they have spent in training to think that someone is going to volunteer to come and run the library…you’ve got to know what you are doing. It is not just scanning the barcode on books..I don’t think volunteers can be the answer  Gloucestershire – The WI get it, why doesn’t the secretary of state?BBC Radio Gloucestershire, 19:50 to 25:30.

  • Lewisham – Campaigner’s letterAlan Gibbons. “As a final punch line, thus far, no librarians in the Lewisham service seem to have been made redundant. They are too busy training volunteers! Thus there is no saving on salaries yet and neither is procedure being followed, e.g. TUPE or the Data Protection Act.”
  • Somerset – Burnham MP attacks plans for “massive cuts” to mobile librariesBurnham on Sea. Tessa Munt MP describes 25% cut in library services as “way more than is necessary” as government funding of Somerset has actually gone up by £20m.