Good luck to Gloucestershire and Somerset campaigners on Wednesday morning.

433 libraries (344 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.


  • CALIX responses to library privatisation and LSSI Pacific Library Partnership (USA).  Fascinating exchanges on privatisation of libraries between LSSI employees and non-LSSI employeers.  For whatever reason, all non-LSSI remarks are negative, all LSSI employee remarks are positive.  Good to read to get some idea of the issues involved.
  • End of Borders and the future of booksBloomberg BusinessWeek (USA).   Half of Borders stores were profitable, right up to the moment they closed.  Borders made a lot of mistakes. 
  • February march planning meeting details confirmed – Library Campaign. “The planning meeting for the national demonstration to save libraries will be at 11 am on Saturday 19 November, in Room G16, Birkbeck College. Use the entrance in Torrington Square: Birkbeck College’s interactive map.  The meeting will end at 1 pm, to allow time for a lunch break before the meeting of the Library Campaign Executive Committee at 2pm. EC meetings are open, so do stay if you can.”
  • Number of children’s centres by local authority –  Department of Education.  124 less SureStart Centres in one year has implications for libraries, literacy, all sorts of things.
  • Public libraries: a briefing paper – Carnegie UK Trust.   “This short briefing paper sets out the history of the Trust’s involvement in public library provision, and outlines how the Trust may re-engage in the policy debate on access to knowledge and the future of the public library service in the UK and Ireland.”
  • Public library standards in Wales – Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog. The analysis of the last three years provided some very interesting findings. It appears that spending on staffing and materials is crucial in influencing how well a library service does overall in the standards. Well that’s obvious, you say. Possibly, but there were also additional qualifiers and deeper analysis that showed a more complex picture. It was agreed that social, economic and geographical factors can also play a part in how well a library service does in the standards, as well as the ‘culture’ of the local authority. It may not be a perfect model, but it’s a good set of indicators.”
  • Recession-proof library funding? We’ll drink to that – Bethlehem Patch (USA).  “Public libraries are among the unsung heroes of our age. At the Emmaus and Allentown libraries, I’ve joined scores of regulars and blackout refugees using the computers and Internet service for work, job hunts, school and leisure. These places virtually hum with activity.” … “If libraries had liquor licenses, they’d never have to worry about funding again! A round of gin and tonics and Proust for everyone! Alcohol might actually make some of us more ambitious readers — there are authors I’d hesitate to tackle without a glass of Chardonnay.”
  • Six amazing, and possibly unexpected, things about life as a cataloguer – High Visibility Cataloguing.  [Including the classic “Cataloguing is fun” claim – Ed.]
  • Urgent: Raid of Occupy Wall Street – Occupy Wall Street Library.  Last few hours of the Occupy Wall Street protest, from the perpective of the People’s Librarians. “This shouldn’t be happening to a library.”.  More from Library Bazaar with links to yet more.  “Matthew Battles, author of Library: An Unquiet History,  compares the libraries of the Occupy movement to the reading rooms of the Chartists of 19th-century Britain. A timely discussion given today’s removal of the Occupy Wall Street library.”


Greenwich Moving towards being run on a 15 year contract by GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) on top of leisure centres etc.

Local News

  • Birmingham – David Cameron visits Birmingham’s new library and science park with Dutch counterparts – Birmingham Mail.  “Then we moved onto the Library of Birmingham where both Mr Cameron and Mr Rutte were impressed by this incredible Anglo-Dutch project.” Dutch premier also present “As part of the tour of Aston Science Park, the two leaders were given a virtual tour of the new library before visiting the construction site.”.  [Unclear if drastic cuts to libraries in city mentioned during visit – Ed.]
  • Coventry – Fears for future of Coventry’s historic library building – Coventry Telegraph.   Concerns have been raised about the future of Coventry’s historic library buildings. They include landmark buildings at Earlsdon, Stoke and Foleshill built by the great industrial philanthropist Andrew Carnegie – one of the world’s richest men at the turn of the 20th century.”  Councillor said “said many library buildings were old or not suitable for modern facilities for families, with some requiring roof repairs, toilets and disabled facilities.”.  Locals not impressed – “Earlsdon library for example is not just a fine building, but a key piece of social history”
  • Croydon/Lambeth – Lambeth Council tells Croydon to “put down the gun” in library rowThis is Croydon Today.  “Cllr Steve Reed, the Labour leader of Lambeth Council, said: “It is clear that Croydon’s Conservatives have long been seeking a way to kill off the Upper Norwood Joint Library after years of failure to meet their funding obligations. Now, instead of coming clean about their true intentions, they have tried to create a smokescreen of false allegations to cover their decision.”
  • Essex – Libraries launch Youtube channel – This is Total Essex.  “Launching on Thursday, the Essex Libraries channel will feature “playlists” updating readers on the latest adult and young-adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as a “book of the month” recommendation.”
  • Gloucestershire – “Library loans plummet in county”: a responseFoGL.  “This comes as no surprise to us given that there was a 40% cut in the book budget in 2010 and a cut of 30% in the library budget overall. The county council administration is running down our libraries and using the subsequent decline in usage to justify yet more cuts.”  … “Councillor Noble goes on to champion an eBook service that does not even exist yet, and when it does, is not going to be compatible with the use of Kindles.”
    • Library loans plummet across the county – This is Gloucestershire.  Council says “popularity across the county is declining rapidly, with 25,000 fewer books being borrowed from Cheltenham town centre a year.” … “”People have more access to books and they are much cheaper to buy. We are also seeking to modernise our service by improving access to electronic library services and we will have a good collection of e-books available in the new year.”.  “Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries member John Holland, who was assistant head of Gloucestershire County Council’s library service until July 2010, said: “We are talking about a service that has been asset-stripped. They cut the service and then fewer books are taken out, so they use that to justify a further cut and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
  • Greenwich – Moves closer to hiving off libraries – 853.  “Tuesday’s cabinet meeting is likely to rubber-stamp a new contract for Greenwich Leisure Limited to carry on running its leisure centres, which includes provision for GLL to take on the borough’s libraries as well as its swimming baths and gyms.” … “But unions are nervous – while GLL is a social enterprise, they say there is little union recognition there, and they fear jobs could be put at risk. GLL was set up to take over Greenwich’s leisure centres during cuts in the early 1990s, and has expanded across London and beyond.”

 Lambeth – Libraries under attack once again – Lambeth Save Our Services.  
  • Newcastle – Genealogy service at Newcastle City Library – Chronicle.  “The city is to become one of only seven sites across England and Wales to offer a full set of records from the General Register Office (GRO).
  • Oxfordshire – Yet more places to look for savings – Question Everything.  “Now here is a mad idea: why don’t you use the five million and put those same lights in all the libraries? That way you could save money each year on the library budget and would be using the money in a way you suggested. This one off money would make savings each year and decrease the councils carbon output. The prices are only going to continue to rise so it is a very sound investment.” … “When the volunteer thing doesn’t work and you come to close my library down,  I will be the one handcuffed to the heating pipe in the toilet in our library. You send your boys down and try and move me.”.  Structure chart of library staff also appears to show quite a top-heavy management.

Replacing staff with volunteers isn’t what the big society is supposed to be. The big society stuff we already do and it will be lost because we will be too busy stacking the shelves and trying to teach the elderly how to use the stupidly expensive self service machines. “

  • West Sussex – Bid to save West Sussex libraries – Bognor Regis Observer.   “Axing a personalised library service to residential care homes and sheltered housing would be ‘another nail in the coffin’ for vulnerable people, it was warned this week. Members of the county council’s community services select committee called for a rethink on proposals to axe the service in order to save £75,000.”