Things you can do today:
436 libraries (347 buildings and 89 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.


  • 6 reasons we’re in another “Book-burning” (USA).  Many libraries inc. British Library are withdrawing large numbers of books, when Borders went bankrupt they pulped the books rather than giving them away. Some books being thrown away are from 1700s and valuable.  It’s cheaper to dump books than give them away.  Destroying books is done secretly (but discussed on librarian sites such as this one with comments such as “I sure hope the patrons don’t find out”) to avoid public protest.  Weeding is done due to need to create space. University libraries need funds to pay for (ever more expensive) subscriptions so cannot spend money to expand storage.  Ebooks give an excuse to close libraries so even more will be dumped soon.
  • As libraries close, is that the end of the stories?Telegraph.  Article points out Kensal Rise was built by philanthropy and public donation, not taxation.  Suspects Labour-run Brent Council is making political capital from closures while Conservative-run Hillingdon Council has successful libraries and no cuts. Oxfordshire, Isle of Wight and Doncaster are making big cuts but allowing volunteers to run threatened libraries, concentrating on lending books other than the other things like “help on immigration” that council-run libraries do.  Interesting comments.
  • Letters to the editorIndependent.   Ex-Brent teacher is disgusted by the library closures.  ” I am devastated, disgusted and disillusioned by such thoughtless disregard for the love of the written word. My own rural library is currently under threat. So both for nine-year-olds and those almost 70 years old, the Philistines are at the gate.”
  • Public bookshelves spread across Germany – Associated Press.  “Take a book, leave a book. In the birthplace of the printing press, public bookshelves are popping up across the nation on street corners, city squares and suburban supermarkets.” … “The public book shelves, which are usually financed by donations and cared for by local volunteer groups, have popped up independently of each other in many cities across Germany including Berlin, Hannover and Bonn, and also in suburbs and villages.”.  Only problem has been ensuring propaganda (such as flooding of shelves with religious books) is kept to minimum.
  • Shout about: get involvedCILIP.  Campaign resources being developed to protect school libraries.
  • So what are the Culture Ministers for precisely? – Alan Gibbons.  “The judge in the Brent case, Mr Justice Ouseley, has stated clearly that it is up to the Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to rule on the library closures in this north London borough and, by extension, elsewhere.
    So why the deafening silence? Even in political terms you might expect Tory ministers to make an example of Labour councillors even if Tory councillors elsewhere are behaving in much the same way.” … “the ministers abdicate all responsibility for superintending the public library service.
    Shame on them.”
  • To all the ones that went before – Everything stops for tea.  “As a proud Librarian, after the events of the last few days, I’m veering between wanting to pack it all in and wanting to chain myself to Kensal Rise with the rest of the protesters. I’ve seen my three year degree and eleven subsequent years of experience dismissed with a soundbite. I’ve watched children stand in front of a Library founded by Mark Twain to stop it being boarded up”. Thanks library campaigners for efforts then encourages action by all.  “Get angry!! Anyone out there reading this, consider this a call to arms. Go to your Library! Take your children and your granddad!”…”Sometimes saying thank you is not enough. Sometimes we have to stand shoulder to shoulder. See you at the Library.”


Islington£650k (10%) cut, council denies there will be largescale redundancies, sold libraries or big bookfund cut.
Wandsworth – York Gardens Library reopening as the Big Society Library on 1st November.
Wokingham – Campaign group: Save Our Libraries. 

Local News

  • Barnet – Day of celebration for Friern Barnet Library – Barnet Today.  Members of the Save Friern Barnet campaign are offering residents to take a “leaf” out of their books and support the library in Friern Barnet Road which is expected to close, alongside orth Finchley library, and merged into a landmark arts and cultural library at artsdepot.”
  • Birmingham – Handsworth Against The Cuts: Library cuts, petition, next meetingBirmingham Against the Cuts.   “Staff shortages” cause early closures and lunch-time closures at Handsworth Library, presumably due to the recent “massive round of voluntary redundancies” there.  “We want to show support for our library service and ask the council to ensure that a full service can be maintained for local residents by stopping and reversing the cuts.”. Petition launched on 15th October.
  • Brent – Latest campaign updateSave Kensal Rise Library.   “As you may know our legal team are in the process of lodging an application to  appeal the decision handed down by Justice Ousley on Thursday. We should know the result of this application by next week (possibly Tuesday). We would like to maintain a presence outside the library until then, not only to prevent Brent boarding up the library but also because our presence is sending out a powerful message.‬”

  • Croydon – Fight for libraries continues: Croydon and UNJL – Sanderstead Library Campaign Group. Regarding Upper Norword Joint Library – “Two letters appeared in last week’s Croydon Advertiser. Councillor Wayne Lawlor’s letter makes the case that the appointment of Conservative Councillors is a betrayal of the wishes of local people, residents who elected Labour councillors as their representatives. This is followed by a letter from Mike Warwick, Crystal Palace Community Association (CPCA), that sets out clear concerns regarding the stance taken by Croydon’s Conservative-led Council and the possible motives behind this.”. £129,000 p.a. Conservative councillor insists on sitting on committee although he is not from a local ward, defying 2006 agreement. Articles conjecture that Croydon are deliberately trying to destroy the governance of the library in order to withdraw funding from it and/or privatise it.
  • Islington – Council denies planning huge cuts to its library serviceIslington Gazette.  “Cuts are inevitable as we have to make £100million in savings, but while we are cutting an average of 30 per cent across the council, the library service will only be cut by 10 per cent.”.  However, opening hours will be cut by (roughly) one day per week per library.
  • Wandsworth – Preparing to reopen as the Big Society LibrarySave York Gardens.  “We’ve just confirmed the reopening date for York Gardens Library and Community Centre as the 1st November. There’ll be a small event that evening to mark it’s reopening and any supporters of the library will be welcome to come along. Most importantly, from then on we hope that many people in the community will continue to support us by coming in to borrow books, use the community rooms, join in activities and sign up as volunteers.”