422 libraries (330 buildings and 92 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.


“About a fifth of children said they had never been to a book shop or a library. But the survey also showed that reading any type of material, for example magazines, outside class at least once a month was also associated with greater reading attainment.”

  • Almost 4m children in Britain do not own a book, poll finds – Guardian. “The charity said the findings were very worrying because book ownership was linked to children’s future success in life. Children who read well can often overcome other hurdles that lock their peers into a cycle of disadvantage, it said.”
  • New Lakeshore Library to open this month with untraditional style – Nola (USA).   New building opens in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  This one does without (gasp) Dewey.
  • We’re still in love with books – Chronicle of Higher Education (USA).  “Contrary to many futuristic projections—even from bibliophiles who, as a group, enjoy melancholy reveries—the recent technological revolution has only deepened the affection that many scholars have for books and libraries, and highlighted the need for the preservation, study, and cherishing of both.”

Local News

  • Gloucestershire – County Council leaders consult human rights experts over library closures – Gazette.  Gloucestershire County Council is currently reviewing its position with regard to libraries and a new consultation and equalities assessment will be carried out in the near future. In the meantime the authority has said it will continue working with community groups who are keen to take over library services themselves.” 
  • Leicestershire – Fines waived in bid to get library items back across Leicestershire – This is Leicestershire.   “Sometime in 1998, the children’s book Old Hat, New Hat was taken out of a county library – and 13 years later it still has not been returned. It is one of 161,225 overdue books, DVDs and CDs missing from Leicester and Leicestershire’s libraries.” … “City library members who have not used the service in the past 12 months can return overdue items without facing charges. An earlier city amnesty, held in October, saw £11,200 of fines wiped clean during the seven-day period.”
  • Oxfordshire – Compromises on library staff – BookSeller.   “The scheme marks a concession from the council’s earlier proposal, put out to consultation in May, which had proposed that 16 libraries be staffed by only one third council employees. Local campaigner Neil Clark said he welcomed the change. “These are trained librarians. It’s not the sort of work that can easily be taken on by volunteers,” he commented. However fellow campaigner Julia Drown labelled the compromise as just “crumbs”.”
  • Southwark – In pictures:  Southwark’s new £14m “super library” – BBC.   Everyone can salivate at these pictures, me included.
  • Swindon – Banned from library at tender age of 12 – Swindon Advertiser.  “ALMOST 50 unruly children have been banned from libraries and leisure centres in the town in the past three years.” … “One incident, which happened in a North Swindon library last year, was so bad that the police were called and the three culprits, aged between 14 and 16, were given life-long bans. But, the true picture could actually be much worse as some libraries work with Wiltshire Police to contribute evidence to enable anti-social behaviour orders, which includes being banned from the library, but these are not recorded by the council.”
  • Torfaen – Libraries fortnight is a great success – Free Press.   Hundreds of new joiners and many different events to won the right ot be part of the Olympics 2012 Inspire program. “Councillor Lewis Jones, Torfaen Council’s deputy leader, said: “Libraries Fortnight was a huge success and we had a superb response from Torfaen citizens who came out in force to support the diverse programme of events which really showcased the broad range of services on offer in our libraries.”
  • Wokingham – Campaigners win pledge to review library “privatisation” – Henley Standard.  “It was agreed that a review would be held after the competitive dialogue process has taken place to take account of public feeling.” … “A decision will be made in the new year whether to proceed with an invitation to tender. The tendering process would take several months. The successful bidder for the contract would be paid annually and its performance would be reviewed regularly.”

“However, any private company to come in on a contract with the council would be looking to make a profit and if it hasn’t the control to close libraries then it will look for other ways to save money. This, I suspect, will mean reducing opening hours, increasing fines and fees and cutting staff wages or staff themselves. Any of these would result in an inferior service. If a company finds that a profit is impossible to make, it will walk away from the contract, leaving the council with an extra financial burden to take over it again.”