For some time, volunteering has been made into a party political statement by the current government’s policies.  It’s interesting to see that in Trafford, the volunteering sector have revolted against the plans to replace paid staff with volunteers.  One wonders whether this could be the start of something big.

414 libraries (323 buildings and 91 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 are 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.


  • 10 ways to give the library for holidays – Books for Walls (USA).   Summary: Give library bags or wrap presents in your local libraries re-usable bags! Give a library card! Give a “Friends of the Library” Membership. Shop at library gift shops. Giving someone an eReader? Check to see if their local library has OverDrive.Giving books for Christmas? Stop by your library and get information on how to donate books.Donate books to a library in the name of a friend. Be sure to call you library and ask what books they need. Then put a bookplate with “Donated by: your friend’s name” …
  • High-profile authors sign up to Vaizey letter – BookSeller.   “Authors including Patrick Ness, Kate Mosse, Simon Singh, Mary Hoffman and Katherine Langrish, comedians Chris Addison and Marcus Brigstocke, library users, librarians and book trade professionals have all joined campaigners in signing up to a joint open letter urging culture minister Ed Vaizey to intervene over library closures.”


Leicester – £250k cut 2012 inc. reduced hours, transport, bookfund, three cheaper buildings.
Stoke on Trent – Co-location of libraries, reduced staffing.  

Local News

  • Calderdale – Fantastic new home for library and improved retail for Halifax – Courier.  Councillor says We are talking here about the opportunity to have a new state of the facility in which to house the library collection. The books and archives that make up the library will be preserved and placed in a new state of the art building that makes it easier to access them. Currently the library does not have full disabled access and wheel chair users are being excluded. Modern libraries are fantastic learning spaces where increased computer technology and open planning makes information more accessible. Halifax deserves to have a facility such as this. This fantastic new home for our library will be paid for not out of taxes but out of the sale of the Northgate House site. If we don’t sell the current site there will be no money to refurbish the current library.”.  Local worries that new library will be in worse place.
  • Dorset – Campaigners vow to carry on fighting for Corfe Castle library –  Daily Echo.  Library has funding withdrawn by council, locals need to volunteer in it or it will close.
  • Hertfordshire – SLS faces imminent closure – BookSeller.   “The unit is among the largest School Library Services in the country, and supports some 150 schools in Hertfordshire, including nearly half its primary schools and one-third of its secondary schools. It could close on 31st March 2012, with the decision by the Hertfordshire Local and Libraries Cabinet Panel likely to be rubber-stamped by the council on 19th December. A petition has been started on the Herts Council website to try to reverse the decision.”
  • Leicester  City Council sets out £600,000 of cuts to services – This is Leicestershire.   “”It’s a shame that libraries are going to be cut back – it seems like one of the staple council services. “But I suppose most people would prefer to see libraries lose funding than care for the elderly or the disabled.” … ” Cuts to library opening hours, reduced management costs, a reduction in the number of librarians by five and a trimmed book budget are all on the cards. A minibus service which regularly takes more than 250 old people to their library would be scrapped. Aylestone, St Matthew’s and Fosse libraries would be moved to buildings nearby and have a reduced book selection. These moves would save about £250,000 next year and more in subsequent years.”
  • North Yorkshire – Hunmanby library to close after volunteer plan fails – BBC.  “North Yorkshire County Council said it had no choice but to close Hunmanby library in 2012 and replace it with a mobile service.”…”He said: “We are stealing learning opportunities from our young people. Their parents are already facing tough times, our young people will loose out on opportunities for getting on in life if Hunmanby library is allowed to close.”
  • Oxfordshire – Volunteer solution keeps county’s libraries alive – Get Reading.  On Monday, Oxfordshire County Council gave the go-ahead to a new three-tier system in a bid to keep all its libraries open to try and claw back cash following Government cuts.”   
    • Spreadsheet of libraries shows which ones are statutory (“core) and non-statutory (“non-core”).  Those with 33% or 50% volunteer staffing are reported as being non-statutory.  This item does not have official confirmation as yet but comes from a reliable eyewitness source at a vital meeting.
  • Redbridge – Schoolkids can get homework help from online library – Guardian series.   “Redbridge Council’s virtual library offers free use of reference books and encyclopaedias to help check facts and do research for pupils aged from five to 18.”
  • Suffolk – Future of Suffolk’s library  service: our response – Rosehill Readers.   “Whilst Rosehill Readers are delighted that all branch libraries in Suffolk are remaining open, we remain doubtful over the level of service that they will be able to offer, and wonder if Suffolk County Council appreciate that ‘books and buildings’ do not constitute a library service.”  High-Risk model  chosen with funding for two years, despite public wishes.
  • Surrey – Library messages treated as junk mail by council – Get Surrey.  “An email sent on behalf of head of customer services Simon Pollock to all councillors, as well as chief executive David McNulty and other senior staff, said that future communications between the Surrey Library Action Group (SLAM) would now appear in their junk mailbox rather than their inboxes.”
  • Trafford – War of words: campaigners say no to library cutsMessenger. “The voluntary sector is refusing to co-operate with council plans to replace library staff with unpaid workers.”
    • Voluntary sector refuses to back Hale Library cuts – Messenger.   “Barbara Bleeker, chief officer for Trafford CVS said: “There’s a lot of anger about it because they are kicking people out of their jobs.“It’s job substitution and our national body will not let us do that sort of thing. “Volunteering is not about kicking people out of jobs and I don’t think any other volunteer centres in the country would get involved in something where they’re replacing paid workers with volunteers.””
    • Objectors will not co-operate with Trafford council’s cost-cutting plan – Manchester Evening News.   “own hall bosses have given the initial green light to cost-cutting measures that could lead to 103 jobs axed and libraries run by volunteers.”
  • Stoke on Trent – Children may share centre with addicts under city council cuts – This is Staffordshire.   “AMILIES fear libraries, children’s centres, alcohol services and needle exchanges could be forced to share buildings under radical plans to cut £1 million. Stoke-on-Trent City Council is consulting on plans to slash 10 managerial posts and have three teams in charge of running everything from libraries and children’s centres to youth offending services.”
  • Worcestershire – Libraries face moves and cuts to staff and opening hours – Shuttle.   “The council’s cabinet will tomorrow discuss proposals to move Stourport Library into the civic centre and Bewdley Library to the museum and guildhall complex site. The plan for Kidderminster Library is to integrate other services under the same roof. Furthermore, 28 to 30 full time equivalent library staff will be cut from across the county, equating to 712 staff hours.”