Michael Moore on libraries…

Narrator: Michael Moore holds a special place in his heart for public libraries.

MM: As a kid there just really wasn’t a more exciting place to be than to walk into a library.  Just to have everything there.  Every aspect of the world, of life, or whatever was on those shelves.

Narrator: Moore says he was a regular at the Davidson and Flint locations when he was growing up…

MM:  My mother taught me to read and to write before I went to kindergarten and that happened because she took us to the library all the time.

Narrator:  Because of those fond memories, Moore is helping out libraries across the nation by donating 50% of his royalties from booksignings of his latest book “Here comes trouble” to local libraries and in his old stomping grounds he is donating 2000 books to be used as a fundraiser… Moore says his passion for political activism began in those early days of learning about the world from the books on the shelves of libraries.

MM:  I’m very grateful for the role that libraries have played in my upbringing.

Transcription from a TV interview.

423 libraries (333 buildings and 90 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.



  • Do Manchester City fans moan about the banking crisis?Dale & Co.  The truth is Man City could be top of the table as they are right now with one less highly-paid player, two less players, maybe five or more less players. They would still be a brilliant team if they sold one of their underused stars and used the money to rebuild a Manchester school. Let’s start a ‘sell a player, save a library’ campaign across the Premiership. Tottenham could rebuild riot-busted areas in Haringey by offering Luka Modric up, Liverpool can have public service pensions all for the price of, I don’t know, let’s say Glen Johnson and call it quits. With a bit more sense with the chequebook, football could save the whole world.”

“Let’s start a ‘sell a player, save a library’ campaign across the Premiership”

  • How will we read: in public libraries? – Huffington Post (USA). Overview of major issues facing public libraries in a  detailed and well-informed article.
  • Huffpo: Helping or hurting – Hack Library School (USA).  “Yes, libraries are fighting an uphill battle in terms of funding and many libraries are facing many barriers to staying open. But calling the site “Libraries in Crisis” makes it sound like the whole industry is doomed. Which it’s not.” … “I hope that this page has a long shelf life on the Huffington Post, but only if it evolves. I understand that stories of library closures are much sexier than the latest controversies with Overdrive, but if we want to see the libraries as a national tradition continue, we need to step away from the extremism and start proving what we are capable of. Let’s see some library success stories on this page, too.”
  • Library closures in Gloucestershire and Somerset “unlawful” says High CourtEgov Monitor.   “The councils were not given permission to appeal however they could take the case further by applying directly to the Court of Appeals.  This is an interesting decision because Brent Council in London recently won its battle on library closures against campaigners.  It is quite clear that the councils would seek higher judicial intervention in the matter.” [Somerset leader seemed to rule this out on TV but may of course change his mind – Ed.]. 
  • Michael Moore donates 2000 books for library fundraiser – miinbcnews (USA).   50% of royalties from latest book will be donated to public libraries, 2000 books for his childhood library.
  • More than just fiction? It’s unbelievable! – Voices for the Library.   The common slogan “libraries are more than just books” is a terrible one – they’re about more than just fiction.  Non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, internet are all useful for the community.  “Children’s reading shifts as they grow. Little ones love stories; that’s a given. Later there is more of a mix. Research by Birmingham Libraries showed that children reached the tipping point around 8-9 years when hobbies and homework drew them closer to non-fiction. Young people urgently need info’- not just study but for their diverse and pressured personal and social lives.”
  • Why Penguin is worried about the role of Amazon’s Kindle in libraries – Christian Science Monitor (USA).   “”We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers,” Penguin Group said in a statement Monday. “However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.” … “And publishers view e-books in libraries as more threatening to sales than physical books. Libraries stock multiple physical copies of popular titles and as they wear out, purchase new copies. Of course, that’s not the case with e-books.”.  Random House and Bloomsbury are the only major publishers still to allow Amazon Kindle library use.


Local News

  • Calderdale – We strongly oppose move of the library: Civic Trust – Halifax Courier.  “Halifax Civic Trust remains strongly opposed to the loss of the current library. It is a popular facility in a modern, airy, attractive building, well situated at the heart of the town centre.An extraordinarily high proportion of the local population and many others numbering in total over 16,000, have specifically expressed their desire that the library should stay where it is.”.  Long and detailed rejection of proposal to move library. 
  • Darlington – Is the writing on the wall for public libraries? – Northern Echo.   Article on threatened Cockerton Library – a queue outside it when it opened, all the computers in constant use.  Crown Street Library may move to town hall or sports complex.  Excellent article also including interview with a CILIP spokesman and a foray into Somerset and other authorities.

“I would be devastated. It would be a big loss. You only have to look at the number of people in here. However, you can’t blame the council because they’re being forced into it. They have to make cuts. You can only blame the Government.”

  • Edinburgh – Libraries told to balance the books by making cuts – Scotsman.   £550k cut – Most libraries will have reduced hours, Sunday opening ended (in all six libraries currently open then), Thursday evening opening ended but Saturday morning and afternoon opening extended to all libraries.  Increased focus on ebooks and internet.  Council initially intended to cut budget more but decided no to close any libraries.
  • Isle of Wight – Library campaigners seek more legal advice – Isle of Wight Radio.   “… ampaigners in other parts of the country, including Gloucestershire & Somerset, have won similar claims. Campaigners on the Island say they’re now seeking more legal advice and are still hopeful that they can reverse the Isle of Wight Council’s cuts to libraries in light of the decisions made elsewhere.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library service merger plan approved – BBC.  36 out of 177 posts to go.  “”We’ve found a lot of people are very keen on the library service, we’ve had no shortage of volunteers to run libraries,” says assistant director of library services.
    • Libraries to remain open – Harrogate News.   “Under the proposals, North Yorkshire’s existing 42 branch libraries would be retained with the exception of Malton and Norton libraries. The proposals envisage the creation of a new branch convenient for both communities. The 41 libraries would be run either by the county council’s library service, or by volunteers from the local communities, or by a combination of both.”

“Resolved: That this Assembly welcomes the decision by the board of Libraries NI to initiate a review of eight of the 10 rural libraries that were originally earmarked for closure; expresses great concern about the reduction in the opening hours of small community libraries which will curtail their ability to deliver an efficient and effective service; and calls on the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to take action to ensure that the excellent service provided by these libraries is maintained. Northern Ireland – Libraries: private member’s business – Northern Ireland Assembly. 

  • Northumberland – Huge response to library van questionnaireMorpeth Herald.   Largely a reprint of yesterday’s article.  1400 responses, mobile library service will be rejigged but one of the four mobiles will be withdrawn.
    • Northumberland – mylibraryNorthumberland Libraries.  Most impressive front end to a library catalogue yet seen, showing off bestsellers to best advantage.  “Mobile library review” also prominently shown on front page of council website, which makes a refreshing change from the many hidden away “consultations” too often seen.
  • Southwark – First look inside London’s £14m super-library – London Evening Standard.  “Canada Water Library is set to buck the trend with 40,000 books, a café, meeting rooms, evening class space and wi-fi facilities.”… “”It’s an incredible, breathtaking use of space, both inside and out, and has all that you could need under one roof … we aim to put Southwark on the map as a forward-thinking, pioneering borough with libraries right at our heart.”
  • Swansea – Spreading the word on how much city library now offers – This is South Wales.   “”Some people spend all day here,” she says. “It’s a lovely atmosphere and a great location. They will browse the books, read magazines, go on the computers and maybe have some lunch in the café or go for a walk along the front and come back in. It’s more of a destination rather than a place where you just nip in and out. It can be the start or the end to a family day out.”
  • Wandsworth – Christmas Fayre at York GardensSave York Gardens.   “We are lining up an exciting range of stallholders and it promises to be a great family afternoon out.  If you’d like to take a stall, or would like to see a particular business there, please let us know… Stalls cost £55 with all proceeds going to the Friends of York Gardens.  These funds will help us to meet our challenging fundraising target of £70,000/year, needed to keep the library and community centre open.”
  • Warwickshire – Libraries’ opening hours change brings over 1,000 responses – Coventry Telegraph.  700 online and 500 written responses in first week of consultation.  Public given choice of two sets of opening hours for all but the two largest libraries (both options appear to be reductions with the same number of hours).

“I knew that volunteering in libraries was an emotive subject and was under no illusions that there would be some resistance. What I was not prepared for was to hear from my father that he had been accosted by someone who made it very clear that I was not welcome. In the circumstances it was understandable; it transpired that this person was a library assistant and I can’t blame them for being concerned because the people who recruited me didn’t quite know what they wanted me to do so staff had no idea what I was there for and were wary of my arrival. I had work to do! … Oh and for those of you who might like to know there is a certain library assistant who now always greets me with a smile (they make a pretty good cuppa too!).” Nought to volunteer manager in six monthsi-volunteer.

  • Wigan – Users double in five years – Wigan Today.   Number of computer users has doubled.  Quasi supermarket branding to be implemented with Library Centrals, Local Libraries (35 to 40 hours opening), Library Express (highly limited) and Library Direct (online).