The difference between a library with
paid staff and a library without? –
With acknowledgement to Alan Gibbons

Please sign the national petition in support of public libraries.

430 libraries (345 buildings and 85 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.


  • Council’s take heed of residents’ views, study revealsPR Week.   Survey shows just under half of respondents think council takes heed of resident’s views [which makes the headline somewhat suspect], up one per cent form last year.  “LG Insight chairman Neil Wholey explained this may be due to the current period of consultation occurring in many councils as they weigh up which services to cut.”
  • England’s libraries and the funding crisisAmerican Libraries (USA).  Phil Bradley summarises the situation so far. 
  • H.E.B. kicks off literacy campaign – Victoria Advocate (USA).   Grocery chain partnering with schools and libraries to boost reading.  “She highlighted the correlation between poverty and reading proficiency, decreased educational attainment and high school drop-out rates, noting that nearly one-third of Texas first graders are living in poverty.”
  • Library outsourcing bill leaves out Riverside County, backer says – Press-Enterprise.   “In 1997, Riverside County became the first in the country to contract with a private company to provide library services. Today, Maryland-based Library Systems and Services LLC runs 35 library branches and two bookmobiles in the county.”
  • Riots: one law for rich, one for the poor – Socialist Worker.  ““They’re not smashing up and setting fire to libraries—instead they’re shutting them down with the stroke of a pen,”
  • Small but powerful guide to winning support for your rural library – ALA (USA).   “The newly-updated Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library provides tips and tools you can use from the ALA Committee on Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds, the Association for Rural & Small Libraries and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.”


Salford – Working Class Movement Library under threat. 

Local News

  • Bury – Race online to your local Bury Library – About My Area.  “The Get You Started sessions help people get to grips with a computer, vital in a country where nearly 30% of households do not have access to the internet at home.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester Ellesmere Port library reopens Monday 19th September – Cheshire West and Chester Council.   “The refurbishment has included the installation of self-service book issue and return, self-serve Peoples Network and remodelling of the entrance area. There has also been a layout change, wi-fi installation, improved toilet facilities, complete redecoration, carpeting and improved ventilation.”
“I fear for the sadness of my little boy should his beloved Balby library close. We spent about 2 1/2 hours there today. He would play with the toys then take a break and select a number books for me to read to him then play again using what I had just read as inspiration for his games. It filled me with Joy and also great Sadness when he said ‘ I really like the library’…”  Doncaster library user – Walk You Home. 

  • Doncaster – Real alternative to library closures – Save Doncaster Libraries.  “The Cabinet may decide to remove funding from libraries where they think the community has a chance of keeping the library open – we would strongly urge the council not to do this, because volunteer libraries are unsustainable and nowhere near enough planning has been done to ascertain if the libraries would even last a few months outside of council control. If they fail before March 2012, any efforts to find money to save them in the next financial year would be pointless.”… Labour Group (many of whom campaigned to keep libraries open) and others could find enough money.

“RT @streathamlib: Public consultation on Lambeth Libraries – TONIGHT @ 6pm Woodlawns (a terrific #assettransfer project)” Lambeth – Asset Transfer Unit (Twitter).

  • Lambeth – Libraries: Let us know what you think – Lambeth council.  “Lambeth is starting a discussion with people in the borough on what they want from their library service. All your ideas will be fed into the Library Commission. This is a group of councillors and independent people with an interest in libraries. They will use your comments and ideas in order to draw up a set of proposals.”
  • Salford – Working Class Movement Library in pictures – Guardian.  “The venerable archive in Salford is under threat after the local council reduced its funding. The library’s collection of books, trades union documents and other artefacts dates back to the 1780s.”.
  • Shropshire – Something very sad about sale of reference books – Shropshire Star (Letters).   “Our libraries were stocked by highly skilled librarians and committees who catered for a wide taste. We’ve lost something very special with this sale. I’ve gained some very interesting books.”
  • Suffolk – Consultation – Suffolk Council.  Consultation started 6th September.  
  • Surrey – More Surrey libraries could close to save council money – BBC. “Opposition councillors have said the council has “put a gun against the head” of communities by forcing them to volunteer or lose their libraries.” … Council will pay for most things apart from staff.  “”What we’re trying to do is actually take away the whole concept that library buildings are just for libraries.””
    • Nineteen libraries now under threat in SurreyBookSeller.  “”Surrey Conservatives have finally come clean about their plans to force even more local communities to take over the council’s responsibilities. These local communities have a gun against their head, either take over running the library or Conservative SCC will close it.”
    • Plan to keep all Surrey’s libraries open set for decisionSurrey Council.  “If the plans are agreed the county council will continue to support the community-run libraries. For example, where volunteers want to extend opening hours the county council will cover additional running costs such as utilities. Self service desks will also be provided as well as training for volunteers.”
    • Surrey community “has gun to its head”  on libraries, says opposition groupGuardian series.  ““The report highlights that there are many unresolved issues in the county’s proposals, as a result communities can’t complete business plans when they don’t know the financial basis upon which they will be operating.”… “I went to Peru and was able to go to an internet cafe there. If the library closes, it will mean the Peruvian jungle has better internet access than Hersham.”.  Identical article also in Surrey Comet.
    • Further 9 libraries at risk – Eagle Radio.  Lib Dem “”The running of the Libraries is the County Council’s responsibility, and I think the county council needs to continue to take that responsibility on itself. It shouldn’t be palming them off onto local communities, libraries should be run by professionals who are properly trained.”
  • York – Libraries to get new role as “hubs for community” – Yorkshire Post.   “Streamlining” to save libraries.  “… several posts are expected to be lost as part of the restructuring. However, it is hoped compulsory redundancies will be avoided because some staff are considering handing in their notice voluntarily.”