415 libraries (333 buildings and 82 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. 


  • Book sniffer and Chris Mould take a trip to the LibraryBook Sniffer.  Library campaigning through the medium of dogs and dog-related books.  Seriously.
  • Digital libraries vision “bland and unchallenging”UKauthorITy.  …Liz McGettigan, libraries and information services manager at Edinburgh City council, said that while this vision “partly acknowledges the social and information role of libraries which is now as key as the book lending elements,” on the whole “it is a very bland document and not remotely innovative or challenging enough … There is no acknowledgement of a sense of place and local history, no attempt to portray a real vision of a library of the future.“.
  • Government blamed after “bored” teenager resorts to picking up a book – NewsThump. “I’ve said all along that unless the government spends millions on youth centres equipped with computer games and pool tables, then a whole generation could be lost to the libraries.”
  • L’Angleterre met la hache dans les bibliothèques [“England puts the axe into its libraries”] – Le Devoir.  Article (in French) says that major cuts that caused the riots also affect libraries and questions the potential success of the recent LGA report.  Cuts in libraries are not helping, especially as many are already operating with minimal resources.
  • Library lottery plan holds communities to ransom – UNISON.   “The plans will create a postcode lottery, with some communities doing without libraries altogether if groups fail to rise to the challenge. If contracts with charities also fail, private companies are ready to come in and clean up.”… “”More than 30,000 children are leaving primary school with a reading age of seven or below – libraries are key to improving literacy, especially in deprived areas.”
  • Public sector workers need “discipline and fear” says Oliver LetwinGuardian.  Government coalition chief thinks excellence will be achieved by scaring staff into it.  “Letwin was speaking at the launch of a liberal thinktank’s report at the London headquarters of KPMG, one of the biggest recipients of government cash, which won the first contract for NHS commissioning following the decision to scrap primary care trusts and further open the health service to private companies.”
  • Riots updated: Sennett, Rykwert, Till, De Botton, Tavernor and more on why Britain is burningArchitect’s Journal.  “Spaces for young people and public facilities in general (nurseries, libraries, green open spaces…) are definitely not a focus in the schemes we have been reviewing over the last few years.”
  • Successfully spreading the online campaigning messageVoices for the Library.   Group highlighted as leaders in online campaigning – “You can help us achieve this by continuing to highlight the dreadful cuts that are happening to public libraries in this country – share campaigning links via Facebook and Twitter; share images via Flickr, Photobucket and Youtube; or simply just talk to someone face-to-face about it. It all really does help to spread the word.”
  • Three Rs: Reading, wRiting and Rioting – Walk You Home.  “… I’m certainly not suggesting that if you chuck a few library buildings into places where people are looting and burning, that suddenly you’ve solved all of society’s problems, but I do think that libraries and librarians have a role to play as part of a much bigger picture.”.  Libraries improve literacy, literacy improves life chances…and several other pertinent points. 


Hampshire – Introducing children’s fines (5p per book per day up to 40p max). 
Powys – Below average assessment, inc. bookstock.
West Sussex – Angmering Library possibly to be run with volunteers and extra payments by parish council. 

Local news

  • Barnet – Council claimes library report “along same lines” as its policyTimes series.  Councillor says ““I am delighted that the MLA is running along the same lines and recognizes that the proposals we are making show how we can improve the service at a time of austerity.” [Barnet wishes to close 2 and sell off the buildings of a further 4, moving libraries into shared or cheaper buildings].
  • Birmingham – What a valuable community resourceVoices for the Library.  The situation in Sutton Coldfield and in other libraries in the authority.
  • Brent – Warned not to close libraries “by stealth”BookSeller.  “I am concerned that Labour [who dominate the council] may try to pre-empt the judge’s decision by reducing opening hours and failing to re-stock or fully staff the threatened libraries. This is not acceptable,” he warned. “It is still not too late for Labour councillors to abandon their half-baked plan to shut half of Brent’s libraries.” says Lib Dem group leader.
  • Calderdale – These are our assets, not the councillorsHalifax Courier.  “So the council has been urged to sell off more of its assets. I have news, our worthy councillors do not own these assets, they are managing them on behalf of the public of Calderdale. These assets:- museums, swimming pools, libraries, car parks, etc, should be made best use of for the benefit of the public.”
  • Conwy – Colwym Bay bookshop to open doors as a library – North Wales Weekly News.   Swanlake Bookshop in Hawarden to offer free loan of books in return for membership fee.  “She also criticised the government’s “negative approach in supporting local libraries. I also want to motivate young people to engage their mind in a meaningful activity as part of a preventative measure against harmful thoughts and activities, such as the current riots in the country.”
  • Croydon – Residents comment disregarded and many denied a say on librariesSanderstead Library Campaign Group.   Council refuses to give full results of consultation, disregarded question which allowed answer “do nothing”, cross-part commission on libraries refused, many residents still not aware of “market testing” (preliminary move to privatisation) of libraries, no update to campaigners or residents groups.
  • Hampshire – County Councils’ library service to find children over late booksThis is Hampshire.  “Book borrowers face a raft of new and increased charges from next month in an attempt to rake in an extra £30,000.”  Lib Dem opposition councillor says ““Charging late fees for children is a reading tax. This all covers up the more amazing fact that the county has lost 30,000 books in recent years. The council should concentrate on tracking down these rather than discouraging children reading.” 
  • Hertfordshire – Ex-library worker hits out at County Hall’s “appalling” job cuts strategy – Mercury.  Staff made redundant after months of uncertainty, left feeling like “hey were something undesirable on the bottom of someone’s shoe.” and sick that council chief calls refraining increasing her £203,000 salary this year “real leadership”.  Lower-ranking staff cut more deeply than senior.  
  • Powys – Library spending “not high enough” says report County Times.  ““It is evident that the authority recognises its areas of weakness,” said the Welsh Public Library Standards assessment for 2010-11, “but financial constraints are increasingly becoming a factor in forward planning.”
  • Surrey – On borrowed time – Surrey Downs (page 41).  Reduction in libraries (some of them well-used) will have disproportionate effect on those without transport and will also affect childrens’ literacy.  Swish marketing campaign – similar to cinemas in the 1980s – could reverse decline.
  • Waltham Forest – Chingford: community library proposedGuardian series.   500 petition to save South Chingford.  Branch may move into nearby (also soon to be closed) Waltham Forest Direct shop, to be run by volunteers.  Council calls it “library of the future”, would need up to 200 (sic) volunteers to work.
  • West Sussex – Vote: Should Angmering save library from closure – Littlehampton Gazette.  Survey shows people willing to pay more in parish council tax in order to pay for library. “Discussions are likely to involve the parish ploughing money into keeping the library open, and even the possibility of the building, which also houses a children and family centre, being sold to the parish council, which would move its offices there and develop a village “hub”.”