Continuing what is definitely a Bad News Week, Bolton have confirmed they wish to go ahead with closing five libraries.  There is an interesting article in the Local Government Chronicle that may give some councils pause for thought in the national head-long rush against free access to books, suggesting that divesting/dumping libraries onto volunteers may create a long term risk to their reputation.
405 libraries (325 buildings and 80 mobiles) currently under threat or closed/left council control since 1/4/11 out of c.4612 in the UK, complete list below. 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. 
  • Local libraries – community risk or reward?Local Government Chronicle. Councils are under pressure to close libraries, one of the best ways to do this is to pass them to volunteers – but the council will suffer a long-term risk to its reputation if this is not managed well or the volunteers run into trouble.
  • Once upon a time in librarylandThere she goes (Australia, blog) –  Summarises situation campaiging to save libraries in Victoria.
  • Santa Clarita Library opens its doors to LSSI as Toronto gears up for an outsourcing fightLibrary Journal (USA).   “The number of professional librarians at Santa Clarita has been reduced from 14 to nine. Overall, LSSI has budgeted for 59 positions, or about 48-50 FTEs for the three branches, compared to the 99 positions that the county had budgeted for in FY10, or about 60 FTEs… The library workforce is no longer represented by a union… Ebook availability is more constrained under the new system…when asked to disclose salaries, for example, the company declined to release any information… 

Bolton – 5 Heaton, Astley Bridge, Highfield, Oxford Grove, Castle Hill.  Bromley Cross hours reduced to 26.5 hpw, Blackrod to 24.5.  13 out of 100 FTE staff to go. 

Local News

  • Bolton – Five libraries under threat have been revealedBolton News.  “This option, which council leader Cllr Cliff Morris has said is the fairest and the one which will ensure the authority meets its obligations under the Public Libraries Act 1964, will see neighbourhood collection points set up in areas where libraries are to close, the remaining 10 libraries offer a “tiered” service with various opening hours to meet user demand.”… “The facilities in Bromley Cross and Blackrod libraries would see their hours reduced to 24 per week, from 26.5 and 24.5 respectively.”… “A 12-week open consultation period has resulted in 3,284 individual responses that have directly informed how the savings could be made.”
  • Stoke on Trent – Residents want to set up town council to resurrect Fenton Library –  This is Staffordshire.  “Campaigners hoping to reopen Fenton Library believe setting up a local authority in the town will help secure funding to resurrect the venue.” 100 residents met to discuss revival. … “”My four-year-old, Saxon, cried when they closed the library and before I came to the meeting he said to me ‘ask the men to open it again’.”
  • Surrey – Protesters hope for 11th-hour reprieve for librariesSurrey Herald.  “more than 100 protesters descended on County Hall in Kingston on Tuesday to show their support for the 11 Surrey libraries at risk of closure.”.  One library, Virginia Water, has decided to run library with volunteers rather than fight the cuts.
  • Torfaen – Pontypool library reopens after £300,000 revamp – Free Press.  Made possibly by Welsh Assembly grant.
  • Wakefield – Libraries’ future is still uncertainExpress series.  “Paul Franklin, headteacher at Upton Primary School, said he was disgusted at the decision. He said: “I am shocked and appalled. The library has always been an inextricable link between the school – it is a huge resource to us. Reading forms the basis of all learning and it will be detrimental to children’s education if that facility is taken away. It will catastrophic for the school as well as the local community.”