The big news is that the court case to decide the legality of the cuts in Gloucestershire (10 libraries and 6 mobiles) and Somerset (6 libraries) is to be heard this Tuesday.  This follows on from the Brent court case, whose result will be known in October.  The importance of these cases, and of libraries, can be seen in another item: that two-thirds of all books read in the UK come from public libraries.  Two-thirds.  With figures like that, campaigners are quite right not to let libraries go gently into that good night.

432 libraries (346 buildings and 86 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. 

  • About two thirds of reading in this country is of books from public libraries – Good Library Blog.  The figures are pretty plain.  About 230m books are sold each year (from books shops, Amazon, mail order etc) . About half of these are read – the rest are gifts of one kind or another and aren’t generally read through. (These figures are widely recognised in the book trade- they are supported by statistics and surveys). 310m books are issued from public libraries – nearly all of which are read. (these figures come the national CIPFA survey data). So, without over complicating the analysis it is pretty safe to say that betwen 60 and 70% of the books that are being read, today, come from a library.”
  • Add to my library vol.IIChristina Mitrentse – Artwork about libraries
  • Advocacy: “Everyone is an advocate” – Lianza (New Zealand).    “Advocacy is about making sure that libraries are valued, supported and connected to their stakeholders and communities because libraries can be taken for granted.”
  • Hard-pressed councils set to miss cuts target by over £50m – Yorkshire Post.  “In the past six months a total of 16 libraries, one leisure centre, two swimming pools, four tourist information centres and two homeless hostels have closed across Yorkshire.”
  • High Court trial of library closures in Gloucestershire and Somerset gets underway -Public Interest Lawyers.  A three-day High Court hearing to examine the legality of massive cuts to library provision in Gloucestershire and Somerset will commence on Tuesday 27 September 2011 at the Civil Justice Centre in Birmingham (10.30am)…”Whatever the ‘Big Society’ is, it should not be a fig leaf for excessive and ill-conceived cuts or the surrendering of cherished public services. These cuts will disenfranchise the elderly, the vulnerable and those living in isolated communities. We are confident that the High Court will require a fundamental re-think of the Councils’ plans.”
  • Library vandals unleash water from fire sprinkler – Yakima Herald (USA).  “Vandalism in the men’s restroom at the downtown Yakima Valley Library Friday afternoon set off a fire sprinkler, releasing about 200 gallons of water, according to a news release today from the Yakima Fire Department. “
  • Most annoying thing about my job: librarians tell all – LISNews (USA).  List includes lack of support from management, unclear rules, people assuming one has few qualifications.  “I have found that my library fills what would be an incredible void in our community. I acknowledge that we are not a perfect organization; however, where every other bureaucracy in our city has told you “No,” we are the organization that says, “Yes. We can help you.””
  • Their Library: Emmy the Great – Clash Music.  “The songwriter has a real depth to her lyrics, which go beyond the surface level introspection employed by so many acoustic-clad troubadours. Returning with her second album – an analysis of religious thought and mythology – Emmy The Great had obviously been making frequent use of her library card.”  … “Did you make good use of your library card as a child / teenager? Yes. The library near my parents’ house has the most amazing Point Horror and Point Romance collection. Still does – same books. And the library at my school was the known place to go fool around, because it was dark and had a lot of corners.”


Cumbria – Music CDs now free for visually impaired
Isle of Wight – Bembridge, Brighstone, East Cowes, Niton and Shanklin will be run by volunteers from October.
Northamptonshire – Free use of computers on Fridays, in conjunction with Job Clubs.  
Oxfordshire – Campaign group:  Friends of Neithrop Library formed.   
Stockton – Stockton Library reopens in November after £1.9m refurbishment, to include co-location with other council services. 

Local News

  • Bristol –Reading Challenge has a happy ending as children collect prizes – This is Bristol.  “More than 4,000 children and young people took part in 40 special events, workshops and activities under the summer reading scheme.  Over half of those taking part in the scheme completed the Circus Stars challenge and received a medal to reward their achievement. Medal winners were entered into a free prize draw, with the chance to win book tokens, books and other educational prizes.”
    • City Council hopes to create a new library on Gloucester Road – Redland People.  “Barely a month goes by when we’re not hearing about the closure of community facilities, from youth centres to police stations and schools to libraries. But Bristol Council looks set to buck that worrying trend and actually opening a new library.” … “The Bristol North Pool development is a classic example of how – in the current economic climate – the public sector is having to step in and take a leading pro-active funding approach. Previously, developers looked to banks and financial institutions to provide sensible funding packages, now the economics of borrowing just don’t add up” 
  • Calderdale – Have a say on library serviceHalifax Courier.   “The council is looking for members of the public to pass on their views and ideas for the region’s libraries. The session is part of a consultation process set up by Calderdale Council in its review of services. Wider efficiency measures are being cited as the motivation behind the review as the council is increasingly under pressure to cut costs following the recession.”
  • Cumbria – Cumbrian man wins fight to end CD charge at county libraries – News and Star.   “Bosses at Cumbria County Council have introduced a new concession on CDs at the county’s libraries following a campaign by 53-year-old Tim Wilson, from Queen Street, Maryport.”
  • Isle of Wight – Volunteers step in to run Isle of Wight libraries – BBC.  “The libraries in Bembridge, Brighstone, East Cowes, Niton and Shanklin will be community-run from October.”
    • Freehold or leasehold transfers for loos and libraries still not finalisedVentnor Blog.  “Draft agreements have been provided to each community group and agreement on terms is being negotiated with each group. In order to ensure continuity of the library service Tenancies at Will are be used to enable the community groups to take occupation of the buildings. Cllr Bacon pointed out that the process had been far more costly than predicted and asked whether lessons had been learnt to avoid this happening in the future.”
  • Manchester – New chapter: £170m revamp of Manchester’s Central Library takes shape – Manchester Evening News.   “The ambitious project, due for completion in 2013, will open up the historic gem and expose parts of the building, opened by George V in 1934, that have been hidden from public view for years….It will make the library a destination. When people step inside they will get that ‘wow factor’ from the sense of space we are creating”
  • North Somerset – United against “unfair” public spending cuts – Mercury.   “A selection of speakers representing teachers, libraries, the criminal service and transport said the most vulnerable members of society would be at risk if the draft proposal is carried out.”… “libraries, youth centres and bus services could be lost unless volunteers take over running them.”
  • Northamptonshire – Visit your local library and change your lifeAbout My Area.   “New Change! zones are being launched in Northamptonshire County Council libraries next week (Monday 26th September).  Change! zones are a new collection of books covering everything from job seeking, skills improvement, business start up, volunteering opportunities, financial information and building confidence.”
  • Oxfordshire – Friends support library’s futureBanbury Guardian.   “Earlier this year the library, in Woodgreen Avenue, Banbury, was upgraded from a community library to a core library to protect it from funding cuts, but users are keen to take a proactive approach to ensure it is well-used. They hope this will prevent it being targeted by any future cuts.”  Friends of Neithrop Library formed.  
  • South Tyneside – Libraries lift ban on “too controversial” books – Shields Gazette.   “The series of books, taken off library shelves across the world for various reasons, go on display at The Central Library in South Shields and Jarrow Library from today. The event is part of the annual Banned Books week.”
  • Stockton – Stockton Library £1.9m refurb running “on schedule” – BBC.  “Councillor Ken Dixon said: “We are on track to reopen on 1 November, with work on schedule and on budget. He said: “Once the refurbishment is complete, residents will be able to call into one central point to access various council services, pay their bills as well as visit the new cafe and library facilities.”