I have been asked by Wokingham Council to point out that, contrary to the message from the media reports which I have linked to previously, the library service is not definitely being privatised. Rather…

“What we have agreed is to use a European process called “Competitive Dialogue”. What this is is to ask interested parties to suggest ways of improving our library service within a given framework (including libraries cannot close). At the end of the response period the replies will be analysed and used to produce 2 key documents 1) Requirements Specification and 2) Business Case. Those documents will be reviewed and if not acceptable by the Executive then nothing will change. If they are then, and only then, will the normal tendering process start with a view to outsourcing the operation only (i.e. all assets will be retained by the Council).” (Cllr Keith Baker, Wokingham Council)

I take from this that, of course, it may be privatised but the deal is not yet done and other alternatives are still on the table.

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.


Age of uncertainty – Independent. “Later learning enriches the lives of thousands of elderly people. But widespread library closures could spell an end to many of these study groups”.  The U3A “requires nothing from the public sector except a level of infrastructure, and in particular, good public libraries everywhere. Taking that away is appallingly short-sighted and, even in economic terms, it will cost more in the long term.”

Free libraries from governmentOrange County Register (USA).   Pro-privatisation piece following on from California bill making it harder to privatise libraries “This also is just more state meddling in local matters. AB438 also is part of the ongoing effort of the Democratic majority to protect government union jobs from being privatized – even at the expense of strained local budgets.”
The #savelibraries chat I had with Ed Vaizey at the Children’s Laureate announcement – @MarDixon.  ” Well actually I just blocked the door but it worked.  I asked him why he didn’t ever tweet me back.  He knew then who I was because at first he got defensive(ish) and asked if I have read his report.” 
Three London Tory councils say libraries will not close – BBC. “27.5 full-time jobs cut from a workforce of 259, with annual savings of £1m”.
Use every trick in the book to save at your local libraryIndependent (Eire).  “The number of visits increased by 13% between 2007 and 2009, and statistics from individual library services suggest that this increase has been maintained. The number of books being borrowed has also increased,”

“Why I need my library”


Pembrokeshire CDs withdrawn.
Warrington – Photocopiers withdrawn in all libraries except Central.

Local News

Camden – Future of libraries under question – Highgate People.  “The survey found that many residents use more than one library across Camden and do not feel tied to a local library.  People under 45 were more likely to prefer fewer libraries across the borough offering better services, with older residents feeling that a local library service is important. Overall, 57% of people who responded to the survey would prefer to keep all 13 of Camden’s libraries open with reduced opening hours.”
Camden – Hand-over could be shelved: four Tory councillors force “call-in” of strategy – Camden New Journal.  ““There is a little hope the call-in will allow Camden to reconsider its decision. All things are possible but Camden does not appear minded to be sensible. Councillors have not thought things through.”
Gloucestershire – Enjoy pampering to support libraryThis is Glos. “”It’s just turned out to be a good way of raising money, which we will need when we take on the running of the library.”
Isle of Wight – Library supporters ask council decision to be reviewed by Ethics CommitteeFriends of the IW Library Service. At last nights full council meeting, the ruling Tory group, following their usual non-democratic procedures refused to allow Cllr Jonathan Bacon (Ind) to ask a question about libraries.  In view of this and several other matters we are  asking the Ethical Standards Committee to investigate the IW Council.   Rather than just one or two of us signing the letter we are seeking signatures from Islanders in the form of a petition
North Yorkshire – County Council backs fair solution to libraries’ future – North Yorks Council. Examples of successful community libraries include “a pub in Hudswell”.
North Yorkshire – Mobile library stops at budget “crossroads” – Whitby Gazette.   “We are being told that they are going to make everyone redundant and get volunteers to staff it, but that’s totally wrong.”
North Yorkshire – More time for libraries plan to be finalisedScarborough Evening News. 
Suffolk – Campaigners fight on against divestment – Tendance Coatesy.  Council still cutting budget, seeking other organisations to run libraries, wishing to avoid running libraries directly.
Surrey – Save Surrey LibrariesSave our services in Surrey. “This is only the beginning – if these closures go ahead without serious public and staff opposition then there will be a Phase 2 and Phase 3 until no more libraries are run directly by the public sector.” 
Warrington – Photocopiers axed in libraries – This is Cheshire. Photocopiers no longer profitable.  “Visitors can use scanners on computers to make any copies of documents in the future”
Warwickshire – Residents plan to run library – Rugby and Lutterworth Observer.  Robin Aird, chairman of Dunchurch Parish Council, said: “There has been a lot of support from the community. We had a very good turn out for the meetings held in the village and we received over 1,400 signatures on the petition. We are very hopeful that the county council will support our plan.”
Warwickshire – We need our books, say Whitnash library users – Courier.  “We all know that cuts have to be made and the money has to come from somewhere, but over a quarter of a million pounds was spent refurbishing this building just a couple of years ago. Fifteen hours a week amounts to semi-closure. Where’s the economic sense in that?” 
West Sussex – Big changes afoot for Horsham district’s libraries – West Sussex County Times.  “Libraries are one of the most wonderful things local government has done for 100 years, and they should not be put at risk.” – looking at co-location, increasing income.
Worcestershire – Council libraries close? – Evesham Journal.  “concerns about potential library closures has prompted people to flock to the buildings.” 4 libraries may go. Kathy Kirk of the council said: “It’s great to see so many people taking an interest.”