428 libraries (339 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.

Things you can do today


Defending my library Curator.  “Every time we move, and are confronted with the effort and expense of moving so much paper, my wife asks the quite fair question, “Do you really want to keep all these books?” Since I am a keeper of books both professionally as well as personally, I consider this to be a serious and profound question….”

“I salute everyone who’s come here today, everyone who’s protesting and demonstrating to save this library or that one, everyone who’s devising a way of preserving one of the greatest and the best gifts any society has ever given its seekers after truth, its children, its old people, everyone who is looking for help better to enjoy life or better to endure it: there’s nothing more valuable in the war against stupidity than the public library. These are hard times, but you are each guarding a beacon, and based on what I’ve heard today, I have every confidence that you won’t let that beacon go out.” Full text of Philip Pullman’s speech – Voices for the Library.  Text also published as “Consider the context” by the BookSeller.

  • Philip Pullman declares war against “stupidity” of library closures Guardian.  “Philip Pullman has lambasted Brent council for its comment that closing half of its libraries would help it fulfil “exciting plans to improve libraries”, describing the statement as a “masterpiece” which “ought to be quoted in every anthology of political bullshit from here to eternity” … nationally, “”the war we’re fighting is not against this party or that one, this flag or another flag, our parents or our MP or anyone else in particular: it’s against stupidity. And stupidity is not to be underestimated.” … “Beware of anyone who tries to make books harder to get at. And that is exactly what these closures are going to do – oh, not intentionally, except in a few cases; very few people are stupid intentionally; but that will be the effect. Books will be harder to get at. Stupidity will gain a little ground.”
    • Pullman calls library fight “war against stupidity” – BookSeller.  “Volunteer-run libraries were a key issues of the day, with a show of hands revealing not a single delegate actively in favour of them compared to a local authority run service. Instead campaigners, including Laura Collignon of the Save Kensal Rise Library campaign, talked of it as a “backs against the wall” alternative to outright closures. Applause greeted a speaker from the floor who termed volunteer-run libraries “the slow death of the library service”.
  • Specious argument that does the library user a disservice – Shirley Burnham, Friends of Old Town Library.  “‘Google’ is not a library :  Faced with tens of thousands of soundbites, the surfer, be he child or adult, must make wholly intuitive decisions about the bias and accuracy of the data retrieved.  He is forced to trade conjecture for confirmed facts and soundbites for the rigorous research, scholarship and attribution found in physical books.    Without recourse to books in libraries — because technophiles are removing these — getting to the truth will become harder and harder.  “

Local News

  • Brent – Teather calls for “grown up conversation” on libraries – Harrow Observer.Ms Teather, who is also Children and Families minister, said: “Everyone I talk to in Brent wants the libraries to stay open and I hope that the Labour Council can take this opportunity to reflect on their actions, see sense and start talking to local people.”
    • Closed libraries sorely missed over half-term – Harrow Observer.  “”Preston Library users continue to have a presence outside the library day and night, to prevent the destruction of the library. “In the meantime children in our community are suffering in particular in half-term week, as there have been no alternatives provided. So we can’t even borrow books to keep our children occupied.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Johnny Ball opens first of volunteer run librariesBucks Free Press.  Farnham Common Library has become the first community partnership to open since Buckinghamshire County Council slashed nearly £700,000 from the budget for the learning services.” … jointly opened with Leader of the council.  “Plans include expanding the book selection, improving opening hours and putting on events and activities to bring the community together.”
  • Croydon – Sanderstead Library has celebrated its 75th anniversaryCroydon Guardian.   “The library was under threat of closure at the start of the year, as Croydon Council looked to slash its budget, but following a campaign to keep it, the service was saved.”
  • East Sussex – Friends of Seaford Library hold AGM – Sussex Express.   “The Friends stressed they were only consulted about what new features should be added to the library, such as an improved children’s area and cafe.”
  • Edinburgh – Library trail invites budding sleuths to solve mystery – STV Edinburgh.   “Now fans can be in the chance with winning Young Sherlock books, key rings and DVDs as well as an iPod Touch as part of a competition marking the new release. Entrants are encouraged to visit their local library to get hold of a special code from its ‘gatekeeper’ (or librarian) for the [Young Sherlock website]( where they can see if they’ve won.”
  • Kensington and Chelsea – Bloomsbury Season at Kensington Library – BookSeller.   “The events are part of the partnership scheme Bloomsbury is running with Kensington and Chelsea library service on the instigation of chief executive Nigel Newton, with a sustained series of activities designed to bring people into their libraries. An event is also being held this week (27th October) with author Richard van Emden.”
  • Suffolk – County Council leader on outsourcing services – BBC News.   “EasyCouncil” idea did not work as would need to do it too quickly, failing to win public support.  Choice is between making things more efficient oneself or paying someone else to do it.  CBI etc advising but clearly have a vested interest in boosting outsourcing.  “If nothing else, Suffolk has asked the big question … just how much faith should councils really place on outsourcing?”
  • Surrey – Stoneleigh library appeals for volunteers as take over precautions begin – Your Local Guardian.   ““If every volunteer does three hours every two weeks then we need 80 people.”
  • Warwickshire – Local library to close despite valiant fight – This is Tamworth.  “Despite tremendous efforts by local residents to save it, Kingsbury Library is to close on March 31 next year. … Dordon Library will be run by ‘The Friends of Dordon Library’, with the current building being shared with a local dance school. Baddesley Library will be sold and the service relocated to the village hall to be managed by Baddesley Ensor Parish Council.”