424 libraries (338 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.


  • Killing LibrarianshipVirtual Dave.  “What might kill our profession is not ebooks, Amazon or Google, but a lack of imagination. We must envision a bright future for librarians and the communities they serve, then fight to make that vision a reality. We need a new activist librarianship focused on solving the grand challenges of our communities. Without action we will kill librarianship.”
  • Paraxis library storiesVoices for the Library. Points out excellent pro-library website … they show the range of feelings about libraries and the value people place on them. The Paraxis editors are obviously well aware of cuts being made to library services and comment that ”The tragedy and disgrace of our generation is that we are in danger of leaving a poorer cultural inheritance than the one we inherited.
  • Public library e-petition: 10,000 signatures strong – Wordshore.   “It isn’t going to suddenly change the public library threat situation but it will raise awareness. It’s positive, and has cost nothing except a small amount of time and taxpayers money to set up and for people to sign. And a lot of people signing other e-petitions will have come across it, just by flicking through the website.” … To get to a 100,000 figure petition will need support of a national newspaper, or major celebrities, or capitalise on a reactionary feeling.  These possibilities then analysed.  “Will the e-petition get to 100,000 signatures before the deadline? Don’t know – but it needs that big acceleration to stand a chance. Anyway – looking at many of the other popular petitions, surely we can do better as a country than just wanting people to be hung, deprived of benefits, or punished for simply not being as well-off as us?”
  • Time to rise up, citizens, and save your libraries – Waikato Times.   “We are now familiar with the hue and cry that went up like a lion’s roar from British citizens throughout that nation when the Tory government announced its plans to close more than 400 public libraries throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. People rose up as one to save their local public libraries. “We Shall Meet Them In The Foyers.” And they orchestrated this most effectively through social media networking tools: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and so on. Of the thousands of tweets gleaned through the “Support Your Public Library Campaign” in the UK one example will suffice; “Libraries are important because, as a child, some of my best friends lived within the pages of a book.”
Dear Shirley
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding my Labour Party Conference Speech. Unfortunately due to tight time constraints Shadow Cabinet speeches are limited to 7 minutes at Labour Party Conference and as such it can be challenging to cover all of the ground in broad portfolios such as the Culture, Media and Sport brief. It is extremely important that the Labour Party has a clear and progressive vision and policies for the nations libraries and that is an important element of my brief. I have been working with my Shadow Minister with responsibility for libraries, Gloria de Piero MP, to challenge the Government to recognise the effect their decision to cut Local Authority Grants is having on library services. To this end we launched a campaign website on libraries late last year and have supported over 800 people to voice their concern at the Government’s policies on libraries.                                                                           
In addition to my main conference speech I spoke at a number of other fringe meetings including a New Local Government Network event where I focused on the importance of libraries as universal services and argued that instead of putting over 428 libraries at risk  the Government should be focused on working with Local Authorities to create a modern and sustainable library system.
Thank you again for contacting me.
Yours sincerely
Ivan Lewis MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Doncaster –   9 under threat (previously listed as 12) according to plans to be approved in October 2011.  Bawtry, Intake and Warmsworth, Moorends, Rossington, Stainforth and Scawthorpe = to be volunteer-run.  Balby, Bessacarr, Edenthorpe, Wheatley and Sprotbrough = to be moved to different buildings.  Carcroft and Denaby = to be replaced by a mobile library.
Local News
  • Birmingham – Views from within the library – Rewriting the book, Library of Birmingham.   A look at the current state of construction of the new megalibrary, from a competition winner.
  • Bolton – Save Bolton Libraries statement – via Alan Gibbons. “We call upon everyone with a concern for the future of our libraries to demonstrate at 9.15am next Wednesday12th October outside the Town Hall when the Council’s Executive meet to make their final decision. It is not too late for them to change their minds and protect these valuable front line public services.”
  • Brent – Council “wasted £70,000 in legal fees it could have spent on books” – London Evening Standard.  Brent council today said that it was “regrettable” that it had been forced to spend so much money on legal fees but that it had taken “every step” to keep costs down. The Labour leader said: “Our Libraries Improvement Programme is designed to increase investment in Brent’s libraries by around £200,000 a year, so our libraries can open at weekends and in the evening, have more and better books, and a greater range of services.”
  • Croydon – Uncertainty over library funding – This is Croydon Today.   “Strong hints have been dropped by Croydon Council leader, Mike Fisher, that the council will look long and hard at whether to continue to jointly fund Upper Norwood Library with neighbouring Lambeth.” … “According to Mr Fisher over that time Croydon has had no input into how the £180,000 it gives the library is being spent or how it is run. The problem arises from Mr Fisher’s decision to have only Conservative cabinet members as Croydon representatives.”
  • Doncaster – Council plans to transfer 12 libraries – BBC.    “Under the proposals Bawtry, Intake and Warmsworth library are expected to continue as community-led enterprises within the existing buildings. Balby, Bessacarr, Edenthorpe, Wheatley and Sprotbrough will be operated along the same lines but run from different locations. Four libraries – Moorends, Rossington, Stainforth and Scawthorpe – would community-led self-service operations. An enhanced mobile and outreach service could be provided to Carcroft and Denaby in November if plans are approved.”  … “”I don’t want to sound cynical or negative but I don’t think it will work,” said Ms Smith. “Doncaster is in no position to start having volunteer run libraries. It doesn’t have the capacity. It doesn’t have the staff structure existing to support that so I’d be very surprised if it succeeded.”
    • Pickles and Porkie Pies – Save Doncaster Libraries.   Video of Eric Pickles saying Labour voted for library closures.  “Here’s a fact check, Eric… Not one of the Cabinet members is a member of the Labour Group. The head of the council is the Mayor, who is a member of the English Democrat party. His Cabinet is made up of Independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat members because there are no other English Democrat councillors in the borough.” 
  • Gloucestershire – High Court hearing into proposed library closures in Gloucestershire concludes – Gazette.   Summary of last week’s court proceedings.
  • Hertfordshire – Libraries could be opened up to outside groups – Watford Observer. “Proposals up for discussion at county hall this week could see volunteer and community groups invited to use library buildings for meetings and projects. If it gets the go-ahead the move could also lead to extended library services for borrowers, officers said.”
  • North Yorkshire – Harrogate Library gets a Royal opening – Harrogate News.   “Harrogate’s historic central library was officially reopened today following a £3.4 million refurbishment. HRH The Duke of Gloucester peformed the opening ceremony at the state-of-the-art centre, which has undergone a complete transformation thanks to the Big Lottery and North Yorkshire County Council.” … “The renovation of the library – one of the original Carnegie libraries, dating from 1906 – was completed last summer, and the building opened its door to visitors last October. Since then, there has been a 44% increase in visitors, an 80% increase in new members, and a 53% increase in book borrowing.”
  • Surrey – Protests held against plans for volunteer-led libraries in Epsom and Ewell – Guardian series.   “Dozens turned out at the weekend to protest against plans by Surrey County Council to put 10 libraries across the county in the hands of volunteers. Demonstrations were held at Ewell Court library, Woking public library and County Hall following a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 27, where Conservative councillors approved plans to get volunteers to run libraries in place of professional staff, in a bid to save £300,000.”   
    • End of an era as mobile library service shut down – This is Surrey Today. “Surrey’s mobile library service came to an end on Friday after more than 50 years. The county’s five book-packed vans have been doing their rounds at hundreds of stops across the county for the final time, with users wishing them a teary goodbye.” … “”I can’t really describe how I feel today, it’s just devastating. I can get to the library in Redhill at the moment but I won’t always be able to. And I will only be able to carry one book at a time.” 
  • Waltham Forest – Libraries set to close – Guardian series.   “Plans to close libraries in Chingford and Leytonstone look set to be approved next week – despite opposition from more than 7,000 residents.” … “officers have also recommended that the cabinet support proposals to convert the former Waltham Forest Direct shop in Chingford Mount Road into a volunteer-run library. But this is only on the condition that it does not cost any money to the taxpayer.”  See comments. 
  • Warwickshire – Plans for community library get going – Courier. Kineton: “The village’s parish council has resolved to submit a business plan for the project, which will be staffed by volunteers and managed by two parish council members and two volunteers, to Warwickshire County Council, which currently runs the service.” … “Operating costs, which could be up to £3,300, will be met by the parish council. The village’s Heart Start group has agreed to assist with the cost of insurance cover for the Heart Start equipment, which will be based at the library for easy access to residents.”
  • Wokingham – Libraries sell off plan to be reviewed -Get Wokingham.   “Controversial plans to put the management of the borough’s libraries out to tender will be reviewed in a full council debate after a petition with 2,374 signatures opposing the decision was handed to the council.”.  Council determined to continue though – ““Unlike other authorities we have opened a new library and a new children’s centre recently. We could not have done that if we stay in the past and do nothing to change the way we provide our services.”