396 libraries (307 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. 

This post brings Public Libraries News back up to date with all of the known media mentions of public libraries this week.  It includes some news from both before and after yesterdays posting “Bit by Bit“.  All of the other pages have now also up to date. There were no postings from Monday to Thursday due to myself and the family going on holiday. Ian A.


National: Lobby your MP to help public libraries, 13th March. Website: http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/ 


Surrey: Any donations to the legal action against cuts in Surrey will be gratefully received.


  • £230,000 grants for library projects – DCMS.   Grants “designed to test new approaches to library service delivery, looking at ways libraries can work together with arts and other cultural organisations.”
  • Arts Council and Local Government Association announce successful Libraries Development Initiative projects – ACE.   Lists organisations which have gained funding.
  • Brave New World? – BookSeller.   “So the coalition government has given the green light to local councils—which are struggling to balance their books in the face of the biggest public sector cuts in peacetime history—to hive off their public library services into the voluntary and community sectors. Many have already dipped their toes into these choppy waters. Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire were early adopters of this governance model, but others have followed in their footsteps—including Lewisham and Swindon, where usage and book loans have gone down dramatically since libraries were staffed by volunteers.”.  John Pateman criticises the increasing moves to replace skilled library staff with enthusiastic but often unsustainable and untrained volunteers.
  • Celebrating libraries and the people who love them –  “However you use your library, I want to hear from you! Celebrating libraries through the lovely people who use them. Please get in touch and let me know how, when and why you use your project.”
  • DJ Taylor: Top marks to our Schools Minister – Independent.   “Following the advice of the former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, he declared his intention to issue all children of primary school age with a library card and a map….. And how was Mr Gibb’s speech received? There were, of course, countless jokes about the library map being vital as there were so few libraries left.”
  • Illiteracy levels a tragedy, PM says – Perth Now (Australia).  Government “contributed $1.3 million to the campaign, which is also supported by Australian libraries, state governments and the private sector. It will involve children’s competitions, peer-to-peer book reviews, adult book clubs and workplace literacy programs, as well as a challenge on August 25 for Australians to read for one hour.”


Local News

  • Croydon – Upper Norwood Library campaigners hold day of protest – This is Croydon today.  strong feelings among library users who, on Saturday, took to the streets to express their anger. The group included actress Freya Copeland, who donned a burglar’s stripey jumper and swag bag to make her feelings clear over the council’s decision. Protest organiser Lou Garratt demanded a face-to-face meeting with council leader Mike Fisher, to give campaigners a chance to have their say. She said: “Councilor Fisher should come here and tell the children of the area why their library is closing.”
  • Gloucestershire – Library users not silent – This is Gloucestershire.  400 have so far responded to consultation.
  • Isle of Wight – Government committee explains why IW library campaigners not called to give evidence – Ventnor Blog.  Leader of Wight council will speak, defending his cuts and much criticised consultation process.  Committeee says “You will no doubt have noticed that this week the Committee heard evidence from three library campaigners who put across their views about closures, many of which echoed your comments below. The library campaigners were chosen from national campaign groups, as the Committee decided this would be fairer than trying to select specific witnesses from the many campaign groups across the country.”
  • Leicester – Charitable trust approach could save libraries – This is Leicestershire.   Letter suggests a trust could stop library closures. “Any library is an important community facility, much supported by local people and which should operate as a central meeting place with a cafe, information centre and internet access, plus, of course, a facility for lending books. The building could be leased to a local community group or charity which could fund-raise in the area and assemble volunteers to help with the various activities.”
  • Leicestershire – Pledge to share 20 books with your children – This is Leicestershire. It is estimated that in the 20 years of Bookstart, 30 million free books have been gifted. In Leicester last year 13,428 Bookstart packs/books were gifted through our partnership and 2,000 families borrowed early years books via the community book loan scheme.”
  • Middlesbrough – Libraries and community centres face demolition – Gazette.   “Grove Hill Library and the Grove Hill Youth and Community Centre will be demolished and the sites linked into the Grove Hill regeneration project.” … “Thorntree Library and Thorntree Youth Centre will be demolished with the sites being brought forward for development.”. 
  • Stoke on Trent – Council plans to combine libraries and services under one roof – This is Staffordshire.  Libraries likely to be merged with children’s centres.  “”We’ve been assured that any services put in with children’s centres will be appropriate. We would love something like a library. “I’m happy with the ideas at the moment, but we’ll see how it goes.”
  • Suffolk – Eight join board set up to run county libraries – Bury Free Press.   Backgrounds of members are of the new board are libraries (2), charities/volunteering (2), IT (1) and, surprisingly, finance (3).  
  • Surrey – Stephen Fry lends support to library campaign – Guardian series.  Campaign group says that the celebrity tweet has caused a big increase in interest: “”Our twitter has been inundated and our website has had thousands of hits in one morning. I’m surprised the website is coping to be honest.”