What is happening in the Brent judicial review will affect all of us.  It is, quite literally, unprecedented.  Although the details are different to other forthcoming reviews, it will doubtless be used as an example by barristers either way.  As such, the campaigners there deserve all our support.  If you can, attend.  If you can’t, then say a prayer or a thought for them.  It is all of our futures, whether we feel we have anything to do with libraries or not, on the line.
Not least of all, those who care in Wakefield must be feeling a chill.  The council there has announced it could be withdrawing funding from half its libraries.  There’s another judicial review waiting in the wings right there. In other news, the Arts Council has given £70,000 for the taking of photographs of the old and new Birmingham Library as “creative responses” to them.  This could easily have covered the cost of two legal challenges.  

Ed Vaizey Library Minister Tweet of the Day – “Today is 100th anniversary of Liver building, world’s first skyscraper”. 
407 libraries (331 buildings and 76 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.


“[Culture minister] Ed Vaizey and [culture secretary] Jeremy Hunt are pretending it’s not them closing libraries, it’s local authorities. That’s just passing the buck, that’s silly. If you bring in an austerity budget, don’t pretend it doesn’t have consequences.” Michael Rosen

  • Bit of reflectionWalk You Home.  Lauren Smith, member of Voices for the Library, announces her intention to stand for vice-presidency of CILIP. “With the benefit of being a sprightly young thing, I’ve been able to devote a lot of energy to the cause. I’d love more newcomers to the profession to consider what they can do in a way that fits with their lifestyles, skills and personalities, find out how they can get involved and play an active role in protecting and developing library and information services. I’ve been involved at a level that I certainly didn’t expect to be able to be a part of at so early a stage in my career. I hope this sends the message that it’s possible, valuable and of a significant degree of impact to get out there and do something, anything, to advocate for and promote the profession and the services we provide.”
  • Librarians need to persuade politicians across EuropeResearch Information.   “Over the past 15 years, libraries have grown rather than diminished in importance, he said. Two decades ago, they were considered out of date with, for example, Nicholas Negroponte creator of the famous MIT Media Lab, predicting that libraries would fall out of use. In fact, according to Leitner, the trend has gone in the opposite direction: ‘now, 15 years later, libraries are more important than ever. They have changed more than Negroponte could have imagined.’”
  • Obsolete telephone booths recycled as libraries – Treehugger. 
  • Summer Reading scheme “critical” for children’s literacyBookSeller.  “The Reading Agency director Miranda McKearney has called for the annual Summer Reading Challenge, which launches its 2011 run today (18th July), to be on every head teacher’s school improvement plan.”  Only 40% of England’s children enjoy reading according to 2009 study.  “Author Michael Rosen, a patron of the Summer Reading Challenge, said he wanted to see library cards issued to every child going to school. He said: “What sensible objection can there be? I see the lovely circus theme [of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge] up in the library and I know half the kids in my local school won’t know it’s for them because they don’t have a ticket.” 
  • Thor loves his library@YourLibrary (USA).  “Here is the moment as a library user where I think, “Hey, couldn’t you go to the library to send that email?” But of course I don’t expect that to happen.  It’s a summer blockbuster.  Do libraries go with summer blockbusters? Well, yes, as it turns out.  They do!”.  New blockbuster film “Thor” has character use his local public library for email and to take out a book.  


  • Durham – Minus one under threat – Barnards Castle Library safe , possibly some cuts in opening hours.
  • North Yorkshire – Campaign group Save Great Ayton Library.
  • Oxfordshire – Campaign group – Friends of Watlington Library
  • Wakefield – Plus ten under threat – 12 out of 25 threatenedThose not on list of “safe” libraries, though, are actually 13 – Ackworth, Altofts, Balne Lane, Crofton, Drury Lane, Havercroft, Kettlethorpe, Kinsley, Middlestown, Outwood, South Kirkby, Upton, Walton.  Voluntary redundancies for staff. 

Local News

“Friern Barnet won’t be the same any more”
  • Camden – Cut opening hours and all the libraries will be savedLondon 24.  “Belsize Park and Hampstead campaigners are calling on Camden council to abandon plans to shut three libraries and instead reduce all Camden library opening hours by 45 per cent.”
  • Camden – Cuts in my ‘hood: how will Camden suffer?London Evening Standard.  List of cuts in Camden, starting with Libraries.  “Bennett is doubtless right that libraries are a good thing but in truth they can be expensive and inefficient. There was much anguish in the local papers when it was announced that the mobile library van was to be abolished, though the cost of the service, it turns out, works out at £24.53 per customer visit and only four of the people who use it are registered disabled. It would be cheaper to give the regular users vouchers to order their books on Amazon.”
  • Cornwall – One Stop Shops to move into libraries – This is the West Country.   “Council cabinet support member, Steve Double, said: “We recognise that libraries play a very important role at the heart of their communities. By bringing libraries and one stop shops together where possible we can ensure that we keep our libraries open in Cornwall at the same time as providing our customers with a more efficient and effective way of using the various services we offer”.  Council also talking to CAB, Disability Cornwall, Volunteer Cornwall, Carrick Housing alongside police and credit unions.
  • Croydon – Cllr Maggie Mansell speaks out on Croydon librariesSanderstead Library Campaign.   “Our concerns are that the overheads are high including an IT system, renegotiated by the Tories; there is no service specification, no business model, no option appraisal; there are efficiency savings to be made but we want Croydon to have the benefit, not another council or a private company.”
  • Durham – Charity steps in to help libraryTeesdale Mercury.  Barnards Castle Library under threat ” But The Friends of Barnard Castle Library has been created to raise funds so the library can offer activities and events. The Friends will also be able to represent library users and provide feedback on library services.”
  • Isle of Wight – Library judicial review leave hearing given date – Ventnor Blog.  Request for judicial review will be heard on 26th July.  “VentnorBlog asked the IW council six days ago how much they had budgeted to fight the action. They still haven’t replied.”.  There is also a funding appeal for the legal challenge.
  • Lewisham – Time for a heated debate?Alan Gibbons.  Lewisham Library Campaigners not impressed by “waffle” of “Love Your Libraries” Unison document. Campaigners feel Unison has not supported campaign and that communities should be suffering equally. “We thought we were all in this together, so we should all have taken a hit. Not just certain communities.”
  • North Yorkshire – Deadline appeal over libraries decisionGazette & Herald.   8 libraries have only a short time to work out how to run their service with volunteers.  Lib Dems want another six months for communities to plan.
  • North Yorkshire – Meeting to save under threat Great Ayton Library – Gazette.  Great Ayton will need to be run by volunteers or it will close. 
  • Oxfordshire – “Libraries must change to survive” – Henley Standard.  “Cllr Ducker, who represents Goring, said libraries should offer more services and recruit volunteers from the community to staff them…“There will still be a centre where you can go and hire [sic] a book but it will be run by volunteers. I think they will have to introduce coffee shops. A library will have to be a bit more commercial.”
  • Oxfordshire – Public meeting on threat to libraryHenley Standard.  Watlington Library meeting – council is cutting two-thirds of funding and will need volunteers, building was refurbished at cost of £700,000 in 2010. “The library’s Friends group said visits to the new-look facility have risen by more than 70 per cent and the number of issues has increased by more than 50 per cent.”
  • Surrey – Campaigners set to protest against library plansElmbridge Today. “But library workers users and friends will lobby a meeting of the county council’s decision-making cabinet on July 26 with the message that communities need council libraries. The lobby has been organised jointly between the Friends of Surrey Libraries and Surrey County Unison.”
  • Wakefield – Plans to cut cash to 12 libraries – BBC.  “Councillors will consider ending financial support for the sites and instead allow community and volunteer groups to take over the running.”.  “The report states: “(Libraries are) only being used at the highest levels by 8% of the people who live in the area and in some areas as few as 1% of the local population,” it said.”.