16 September 2011 – WI BIRTHDAY LIBRARY ACTION DAY  – “The 16 September 2011 marks the 96th anniversary of the first WI meeting.   Many members have already started to take action on the Love Your Libraries campaign and as a next step, in recognition of the continued importance of the WI’s early vision to widen educational opportunities and the long-standing commitment of WI members to promote libraries, we are asking members to celebrate this year’s WI birthday by taking the simple step of borrowing a book from your local library”- Women’s Institute

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. 


  • At last, Tony Blair is talking sense about alienated youth – Guardian. “Likewise, the endless twaddle that the commentariat trundles out about libraries. Again, the focus is on the working-class child who is just waiting to be borne off on a shining chariot marked: “In reading lies knowledge. In knowledge lies wisdom.” Often, this admirable and idealised prodigy turns out to have been based on the writer himself. I loved going to the library as a child too, and I’m grateful to my mother for taking me. But I’d be wary of lionising anything just because it was a helpful addition to a stable, loving, working-class upbringing, 40 years ago. There’s something self-regarding about these misty-eyed arguments….”
    • Alan Gibbon comment – “…Wailing that times are tough and saying that we can’t do everything is counter productive. Acting as a liberal Trojan horse and justifying back door attacks on libraries and book gifting is dangerous. Deborah Orr makes some valid points in this article but could end up demoralising the very people who care most about literacy as a vehicle for social change. She can do better.”
  • Edinburgh Book Festival sculptures are a “whodunnit?”  BBC.  “It also contains a teabag full of letters, an unmarked book – and has a label marked “in support of libraries, books, words, ideas and festivals. Over the past year similar sculptures have been left at the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre but their creator remains a mystery.”
  • GCSEs: sloppy grammar will cost pupils one in ten marks – Telegraph. 
  • Karin Slaighter writes story to help save librariesHuffington Post (USA).  “An outspoken library advocate, the author wrote a piece last year in the Atlanta Journal Constitution stating that “the funding of American libraries should be a matter of national security.”
  • Libraries are for everyoneAlan Gibbons.  Emphasises DCMS report says libraries serve all classes and age groups, to great customer satisfaction, despite poor funding.  “To sum up, libraries are as relevant and necessary as they ever were. They could be greater if they were properly led and not served up the dog’s breakfast of the Future Libraries Programme. The principles on which they were built are unimpeachable.”
  • New city librarian aims to deliver “great customer experiences”Seattle Times (USA).   “But the primary reason libraries are still important is their role as a central reference point, Turner said, and not just for term-paper writers who want to know the color of Helen of Troy’s hair or who fought in the War of the Roses. One recently widowed man came in for help with his checkbook because his wife had always handled their finances, said Andra Addison, library communications director.”
  • Take a leaf out of New York’s book: Invest in your libraries, don’t close themLondon Evening Standard.  “Christopher Platt, director of collections and circulation operations at New York Public Library, which operates 100 libraries, spoke as the Evening Standard’s Save Our Libraries campaign is getting behind Londoners fighting to keep their local branches open in the face of public spending cuts.”
  • Library cuts will be devastating for childrenLondon Evening Standard.  “Hundreds of residents have signed a petition calling on Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look into the closures, which parents said would have a “devastating” effect on children, particularly those who have no other access to books.” 


Local News

  • Suffolk – Aldeburgh: group outline library vision – EADT.  “Clive Fox, chairman of the steering group, said: “At the heart of our proposal was the strongly held view that the way forward must be through genuine partnerships between the county as statutory library authority and local people, who should be trusted to know best what they need and how to achieve it.”