418 libraries (336 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.


“I think they just didn’t think,” she said. “As (Doug Ford) said), he’d close a library in a heartbeat…. Well if you’re going to close something in a heartbeat it means you haven’t thought through the issue. I think if they had thought it through they wouldn’t have done it – they got caught out by something they hadn’t thought through, they hadn’t thought about the public support for the libraries. Because I guess they don’t go to them.” Atwood takes leading role in library cuts debate – Inside Toronto (Canada). 

  • Katharine Whitehorn experience – Guardian.  You probably know the conversation: about a library closing, or whether my bookshop people are as charming as yours; then someone will say in superior tones that surely it’s all easier and cheaper online…”.  Libraries are more social than Amazon.
  • Michael Porter (Library Renewal)This Week in Libraries (Netherlands).  “Michael has travelled for 4 years all across the USA visiting libraries and helping them to get online so he really knows libraries in all sizes and shapes and has seen the changes that took place. He has worked with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with OCLC and on Webjuncyion. We are now standing at the crossroads. There lies an enormous chance for a Library renaissance as the world may never have seen before. Michael and a group of great minds are discussing this and thinking of how this library can look like and what services it should offer and how it can bring people together.”
  • Public libraries: a long overdue argument – What’s Next: Top Trends.   “Whether or not we will want libraries in the future I cannot say, but I can categorically state we will need them, because libraries aren’t just about the books they contain. Moreover, it is a big mistake, in my view, to confuse the future of books or publishing with the future of public libraries. They are not the same thing.”…”I’d say the answer to this is that public libraries are important because of a word that’s been largely ignored or forgotten and that word is Public.”


Local News

  • Bolton – Area forums money could save libraries under threat – Bolton News.   Conservatives also want libraries to be run by charitable trusts and volunteers to work alongside libraries. 
  • Bradford – Addingham library agreement set for signaturesIlkey Gazette.  Volunteers hope to run library – which would otherwise have closed – from 1st October, already undergoing CRB checks.  
  • Brighton & Hove – Shake-up promised for 16 Brighton and Hove librariesBrighton and Hove News.   “Library users across Brighton and Hove are being promised more services and a better experience.  All 16 libraries in the city are to offer refreshments, have more modern computers and take action to tackle noise nuisance. The main Jubilee Library in Brighton is even to have free wifi.” … ““We think libraries are a crucial, core council service. So we’ll be actively pursuing opportunities for refurbishment or redevelopment of libraries.”
  • Dorset – County fight to save libraries takes to the internetBridport News.   “The Women’s Institute has now launched an online petition calling on the government to ‘honour its commitment to act as a champion of the library service’. The Friends of Charmouth Library are signing the petition and are encouraging others to do the same.” … ““If the WI e-petition gets 100,000 signatures, the issue must be considered for parliamentary debate so the Secretary of State will no longer be able to hide behind excuses.”
  • Lewisham – Reality of Lewisham’s independent libraries – Studio Living.   Crofton Library, now known as Crofton Community Hub, after being given to Eco Computer Systems, refused to allow a local Literary Festival to put a poster up without being charged.  Further investigation shows that the policy on this was still not clear at the time of asking.  The owner of the company running the library has since decided that local posters can be put up for free. 

Local community will be free. We do have to make money, and you are right that this is not the right way. Could you promote how people can drop their old computers and books into the library, because this is what pays for all the costs of the libraries. We have had over 160 children doing the summer reading challenge over the holidays, and we have been training seniors on how to use computers. At Sydenham we moved loads of the shelving to accommodate an art exhibition.” Darren Taylor, new owner of Crofton Library.

“We the undersigned petition Surrey County Council to withdraw their current proposals for changes to the library service and undertake a full, open, public consultation on the future of Surrey libraries. We are NOT in favour of the Surrey County Council proposal to completely withdraw paid professional staff from any of our libraries. We believe the council should continue to provide management and paid professional staff in every library. We do not believe that we were sufficiently consulted with regarding these proposals and call for their withdrawal whilst a full, open, public consultation takes place on the future of Surrey’s libraries.” Surrey – PetitionSurrey Libraries Action Movement. 

  • York – Readers run up £50k in library fines – Press.   “There are record attendances at the York and Acomb Explore centres and we are responding to what people want, while, unlike most councils, we have closed no libraries. But to keep up that standard of service, we have to encourage the timely return of books.”