The MLA report visits to libraries has stayed broadly the same for two years and, indeed, was up .7% up 2010/11 compared to 2009/10. The Telegraph has an article on the shadow culture minister, Gloria De Piero, in which she tries to talk about libraries while the reporter emphasises her body. This “quality” newspaper should be ashamed of itself.  An organisation that has reason to be proud of itself is  UNISON which has produced a useful report on Trusts, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation also having a few words to say on the matter.  Both reports are oo late for some to read, with Falkirk libraries having changed ownership from a council to a trust today.
In other news, the strange prolonged process of closing a library is much in evidence, with delays in the Isle of Wight and Bolton, giving hope to 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.

“On its current trajectory there is a real danger that the community assets agenda will simply pass many communities by. A lack of investment at this critical point means the gulf between supply and demand is likely to widen. This is by no means a level playing field. Unless additional support and resources are afforded to struggling communities inequalities are likely to increase. Those unable to take advantage of the opportunities will simply get left behind. Communities need time to develop capacity and assemble resources. But in this brave new localist world is there anybody who is able to apply the brakes?Community ownership: assets or liabilities? Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

DCMS launches Facebook site … but something missing from the latest newsletter – Alan Gibbons. Legal injunction to suspend cuts to libraries in Gloucestershire not mentioned.
Gloria De Piero: I hate to sound like a politicianTelegraph.   “That’s why libraries are so important – they offer a unique way to help people help themselves, and now the Tory cuts to local government mean they are threatened across the country. Libraries are the hub of many communities; a day out, somewhere to take toddlers to look at picture books. My local library is full of people at the computer terminals drawing up their CVs and looking for jobs online. The Tories said frontline services wouldn’t be affected – what could be more frontline than the one place where people can get help to help themselves? …. Libraries, rather than self- promotion, have prompted her to appear in The Telegraph today, she says firmly. The Women’s Institute have also pledged to back the campaign to keep libraries open, so she is in good company.”

“When I go into a library, I don’t have to worry about who is holding whose copyrights, why this book didn’t sell enough to continue to be available in any marketplace, how many other stories there are out there that I am missing because the storytellers don’t have the money or the property rights to tell them. In the library, I am in a space beyond the marketplace, beyond consumption, beyond the money censors, beyond the noise. I am in a place where librarians have accumulated the knowledge and the stories important to me and my community.” Jeff Chang on Libraries and “Our Collective Imagination”Racialicious (USA).

Ladies of the WI join the ranks of the bolshy book borrowers – Left Foot Forward.  “All this builds towards the first National Libraries Day next February as community campaigners, social mobility advocates and now the ladies of the WI muster in defence of our public libraries. Councils across the country – of all political persuasions – take note: the bolshy book borrowers of Britain are on the march.”
Mutual Benefit: should mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises deliver public services? –  UNISON.  41 page analysis of Government claims for trusts and other mutuals. 

“39.7 per cent of adults had used a public library in the last year, a decrease from 2005/06 (48.2%). However the steady decline in library usage observed between 2005/06 and 2008/09 has now stabilised, with no significant change observed between 2008/09 (41.1%) and 2010/11 (39.7%)” Taking part: the national survey of culture, leisure and sport 2010/11 – DCMS. 

UNISON warns mutuals could create postcode lotteryUNISON.  “…warning that the Government’s push for mutuals to provide public services will lead to a postcode lottery of standards and safeguards. The union is calling for a serious investigation into how mutuals would work before they are put in place, after a motion was carried at its annual Local Government Conference (20 June).”
What constitutes excellence in the library profession?LibWig.   Short presentation.  People skills and lack of complacency rate highly.
Bolton – Decision on 28th July will then go out to public consultation. Astley Bridge, Breightmet, Bromley Cross, Castle Hill (Tonge Moor), Harwood, Heaton, High Street (Daubhill), Highfield (Farnworth), Oxford Grove (Halliwell).  
Isle of Wight –  Bembridge, Brighstone, East Cowes, Niton and Shanklin to be maintained until 31st July, possible September.
Local News
TOWN Hall bosses have insisted a decision over the future of nine libraries in Bolton is not “a fait accompli”.And they have revealed there will be a second public consultation to decide their fate, giving people another chance to save under-threat facilities.  More than 11,500 signatures on petitions against closure.
Dorset – Report to Cabinet July 2011Dorset Council.  Lists situation so far and proposals for the future of Dorset Libraries.
Falkirk – Trust takes charge of Falkirk’s leisure servicesFalkirk Herald.  “Officials stressed customers in the district’s sports centres, libraries, museums and tourist attractions will notice no difference.  Only the branding on buildings will change as the Falkirk Council logo is replaced with that of Falkirk Community Trust.”.  Expected £1m p.a. saving via Non-Domestic Rates and VAT tax avoidance. SNP calls it “privatisation”.
Gloucestershire – Community group speaks out on libraries – This is Glos.  “Mark Hawthorne also said repeatedly that community groups are ‘excited’ to be given the ‘opportunity’ to take on their libraries, and that these groups are ‘frustrated’ at the disruption that the legal challenge may cause to these plans. But this has not the case anywhere in the county. People have simply been faced with closure of their local library.”
Isle of Wight – Temporary reprieve for five Isle of Wight libraries – BookSeller.  Five libraries to stay open one more month to allow time for training of volunteers. Campaigners say extra month will allow time for legal action.  Also reported as Library negotiations to get more time (Isle of Wight County Press) and Extra time for island libraries (Isle of Wight Radio).
North Somerset – Villagers turn Blagdon phone box into libraryBBC.  Another library user, 10-year-old Catherine, is planning to borrow books by her favourite author, Louise Renninson, from the phone box.”It’s great, people can share their books with other people, like a swap-shop.”It’s really cool – it’s like the TARDIS.”
Redcar and Cleveland – Last-ditch plea to save Redcar Library is rejectedGazette.  ““one of the most significant post-war libraries nationally” because of its use of local steel and its multi-use layout.”.  Library will be demolished after appeal for Listed status denied.
Warwickshire – Residents come up with plan to save Coventry’s Binley Woods libraryCoventry Telegraph.  “Residents have set up their own steering group and submitted plans to the council to save the library in Monks Road.  They have made proposals for a more community-run library with new computer workshops and several other activities for the whole family.”