Two very important documents have come to light today.  The first is by the MLA and appears to have been published, quietly, on 29th May.  Called “Community Managed Libraries” it is a must-read for all interested in the current cuts to public libraries.  It details the current volunteer-run library scene and the pros and cons (not, interestingly, as comprehensive as the page on this site) of the model.  Far more interestingly, it examines those libraries currently being considered for “divesting” to the community and analyses which ones would stay statutory.  That is, it examines whether the council could claim that they are still meeting their duties in those communities under the 1964 Act.  It’s last paragraph may spread a feel of dread (or, depending on one’s point of view and/or situation, conceivably, of hope) to those currently using libraries:

“The benefits (and issues) inherent in community management and support of libraries are clear from the evidence; the door is open for local authorities not simply to transfer libraries to community management to ensure efficiencies, but to work with communities to transition the process in a thoughtful and strategic manner to create shared benefits for local government, but also local community, and local user.”

The second document is also well-researched and professional, but in all other ways is very different. It comes from UNISON.  Called “Love Your Libraries” it is also an essential read for library users, staff and campaigners.

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.


Cash-strapped councils likely to recruite fewer graduates and school-leavers – Wales Online.  In some authorities, workers have accepted pay cuts as an alternative to redundancy, while “non-statutory” services like libraries and leisure centres are facing the real possibility of closure.”
Community Managed LibrariesMLA.  Complete report on the current situation regarding volunteer-run libraries in the UK.  Essential reading for all library campaigners and those with a viewpoint on library cuts and closures.

“…if Ed Vaizey is passionate about libraries and his government is working behind the scenes to save them, then that must be the best kept secret in the country.  I have seen leakier super-injunctions.” Edited speech by Patrick Ness.

Love your libraries: Campaign pack for libraries – UNISON.  “This short information pack is designed for use in local branches and provides information on the key issues affecting
library services as well as guidance on how to mount a successful campaign in your area.”
Love your libraries campaign – WI.  Actions for members include joining library, sign the petition, write to councillors.

“Ness, who described himself as a “child that libraries built”, praised the work of librarians. “Librarians open up the world,” he said. “Knowledge is useless if you don’t even know where to begin to look. How much more can you discover when someone can point you in the right direction, when someone can maybe even give you a treasure map, to places you may not have even thought you were allowed to go? This is what librarians do.” Patrick Ness accepts Carnegie medal with fierce defence of libraries – Guardian.

Time to throw the book at Ed Vaizey – Independent (John Walsh).  “It’s a shame. Ed Vaizey could easily have been the champion of library users. If only he had grown some bollocks at the Culture ministry, spoken out and not been stifled by civil servants. Instead he is ineffectual and impotent in office, a former can-do idealist, a man who body-swerves confrontations and decisions: Mr Evazey.”

 Display at UNISON conference. The vast majority of comments (on the pink hearts)
concerned issues of community, equal access, civilisation and education for all.
Changes to libraries
Herefordshire – 2 (out of 2) mobile libraries to close, final decision to be made June 30th.  
Local News

Blackpool – Mereside and Boundary libraries saved for 12 monthsBBC. “Councillor Graham Cain, cabinet member for tourism and culture said: “We have been engaging with the residents and listening to what they want from the council. Libraries are a vital link with the community. We have got some people that rely on them.”

Bradford – Denholme and Addingham libraries get stay of execution, but Wilsden and Heaton to close – Telegraph & Argus.  Three may be run by volunteers, two others may close at end of June.
Brent – Residents raise money towards legal challenge to save six libraries from closure in Brent – Harrow Times.  £400 raised on libraries stall.  “It is a disgrace that the council refuses to listen to their views and instead uses taxpayers’ money on expensive lawyers to justify the closure of six popular community libraries across Brent.”
Camden – Our libraries must be run by Camden, insists Alan BennettCamden New Journal.  “I’m not a campaigner and I’m no tubthumper, but it’s something I’m very passionate about. Everybody should do something to support the campaign to save our library, and other libraries in other less fortunate places.”
Cumbria – Campaigners bid to save two Cumbrian librariesNews & Star.   “Pupils and teachers from the school took to the streets of Whitehaven yesterday to demonstrate against the plans. They chanted and marched with ‘Save Our Library’ placards from Whitehaven harbourside to Copeland Council’s offices, where they presented a petition to Mayor John Jackson.”
Dorset – Lyme Regis and Chssrmouth: Ray of hope for library rescue bid – Bridport News.  “It remains hard for those of us who care about keeping our libraries to understand how Conservative councillors are so obdurate in their support for closures, even when there is a viable alternative which their own advisory committee, the Policy Development Panel, has devised.” 
Gloucestershire – Court halts library cuts – Tewkesbury AdMag. “We wanted an independent review before the proposals were pushed through and warned the council several times that they would force an expensive legal challenge if they did not hold one. It is a pity that they can afford to fight this and not fund our libraries.”  
“Precise figures are hard to come by but at least one source has mentioned over 40. However, the leadership is in retreat after a Conserative group meeting held this week saw backbenchers express their horror at the scale of the possible cuts and demanded a re-think. Sources say that many county councillors were aghast at the proposals, not least because some of those identified for closure were in Kent’s Conservative heartlands. Others pointed out that they had made various election commitments that local libraries in their areas would be safeguarded.” Kent – Rare Conservative retreat over library closures plans: how a retreat happened – Kent Online.