399 libraries (309 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.

National: Lobby your MP to help public libraries, 13th March. Website: http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/ 
A video which may have a lot of lessons, although some of them painful
(and some may not be relevant), for libraries facing cuts in the UK.  
Ways around a crisis included job cuts, wifi, wifi,
 iphone app, email newsletter, web2.0, loaned ebooks, volunteer-run
summer classes for kids, local business partnerships
  • Join library cult – Library Cult (USA).  “Hypathia, Casanova, Mao Zedong, David Hume, John Dee, Benjamin Franklin, Giacomo Casanova, J. Edgar Hoover. Why were these people librarians? Did it have something to do with their rise to power, their worldly success?”. 
  • Public Library Standards – Good Library Blog.   Suggestions for library standards that would improve libraries are “1. Every library should have more books available than it did this time last year 2. Every library should be open longer hours than it was last year 3. Every library should be clean, with its windows washed and its light fittings working 4. Every public computer in a library should work properly 5. Every library should provide some private space for quiet study.” 
  • Rewriting the book: public libraries for a new age – Information Today.   [A piece which is unfortunately very heavy on jargon and so immediately biases me against it, for which I apologise in advance.  When translated, it appears to say, amongst other things, that public libraries will move away from the lending of books towards helping people with computers and council queries – Ed.]. 

Your help needed

Doncaster And Surrey– Help fund the legal challenges. 

Local News

  • Croydon – Upper Norwood Library – Croydon Council.  A suspiciously downbeat description of Upper Norwood Library by Croydon Council which is seeking to withdraw its funding for it.  The “consulation” link simply reloads the same page. “Upper Norwood Joint Library is jointly owned by Croydon and Lambeth Councils, situated within the borough of Lambeth. Up until recently it had been funded and managed by a joint committee of councillors from Lambeth and Croydon. The library still has its own membership procedures and circulation system and doesn’t accept Croydon or Lambeth library membership cards or accept/renew returned books or other items from Croydon or Lambeth libraries. See details below to contact the library for full details of joining/membership procedures and more information about all if its services.”.
    • Pay fines for sake of library’s future – This is Croydon Today.  “users owe the borough’s 13 libraries almost £100,000 in penalties, with more than £45,000 owed to Central Library alone. But a council spokesman this week insisted no libraries were under threat of closure. A total of 38,766 items are currently overdue with £96,307.93 owed across all libraries. The figures also show the longest overdue item is DVD Some Like It Hot which has been due back for nearly six years.”
  • Doncaster – We need your money.  And further information regarding DMBC’s true efforts – Save Doncaster Libraries.   “Edenthorpe are also realistic in their estimation regarding number of volunteers needed.  As they state Bawtry have over 70, this is close to sufficient it seems, Edenthorpe has thus far a generous estimate of one quarter of this, another threatened branch (Wheatley) has had merely 5 people come forward.  No doubt the Mayor will see this as proof of a community not wanting its library, in fact it is proof of what we at SDL have been saying all along – the majority of communities within Doncaster do not have the infrastructure to enable a library staffed by volunteers.”
  • Edinburgh – Libraries under threat, say campaigners – Ekklesia.   “Edinburgh East Save Our Services says: “Though it has been pretty much unreported in the media, there have been big cutbacks in staffing over the last few months and now there is a ‘consultation’ over opening hours – which does not appear to be all that it seems.”The consultation leaflets talk about providing ‘a library service that meets the needs of its customers’. However, says Ms Menzies, “when you look closely at the suggested new opening hours and compare them with the previous ones, they typically represent a 20% cut.”
  • Gloucestershire – Library budget cuts are double the amount admitted by GCC: letter to the press – FoGL.   “According to its own figures, Gloucestershire County Council is currently planning cuts to its Library Service of £1.8 million representing 25.7% of its budget, although £1 million of those savings were made last year (2011-12) mainly through the redundancy of qualified librarians. The council calls these savings “meeting the challenge”. This is bad enough. What the council won’t admit is that, prior to this £1.8 million cut, it has already taken a further similar amount  (£1,737,902) in cuts from the library service in the previous 3 years (2008-10). I have obtained these figures from CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, whose responsibility it is to compile figures on local government spending. This makes the total library cuts over £3.5 million.”
  • Isle of Man – Alan Bennett backs Isle of Man library campaign – BBC.   Campaigner says “”If we lose the libraries we are potentially going to end up with less Alan Bennetts in the future. Our libraries provide a vital link to the elderly, housebound, disabled and least privileged in Manx society, they need books and they need free books.”

“An interview I did for Camden New Journal … says all I want to say about libraries – and which applies equally to the Isle of Man as to NW1. All good wishes and with every support, Alan Bennett.” Support for saving libraries campaign – Isle of Man Today.  

  • Kent – Bereaved families in Kent suffer registrar delays – BBC.  Moving the registration of deaths into libraries has caused long delays and some distress.  “In January, Kent County Council (KCC) switched from registering deaths at register offices to local libraries, causing long waits for appointments.”.  January is the busiest month for Registrars and not all of the staff had been trained.
  • Oxfordshire – Libraries joining Ebook revolution – Oxford Times.  “Although Oxfordshire County Council’s decision has been welcomed by some, others have raised concerns libraries could suffer as a result. An array of 1,558 fiction and non-fiction titles are on offer and can be downloaded for free by library users. Oxford author Philip Pullman last night gave the scheme a cautious welcome. The His Dark Materials author said: “If it means more books are available to more people then I think that’s a good thing.” But voicing his fears about the impact of eBooks on publishing, he added: “It’s something that authors, publishers and agents are very worried about at the moment.“The whole question is very, very tangled.””
  • Surrey – Fundraising campaign to block Surrey libraries plan – BBC.   “The campaign has so far raised £5,000 and SLAM has appealed to the local community to help reach the £18,000 target within the remaining two weeks. It will be setting up stalls in towns including Weybridge, Woking, Guilford and Epsom, on 10 March. The Conservative-run council agreed in September to devolve responsibilities to groups of volunteers at 10 libraries – Bagshot, Bramley, Byfleet, Ewell Court, Lingfield, New Haw, Stoneleigh, Tattenhams, Virginia Water and Warlingham.”
  • Wokingham – Four bidders chosen as “privatisation” of libraries draws near – Henley Standard.   ““If we decide that none of the tenderers provides enough of our specification it will be a question of who has offered the nearest match to that specification.  We will look at how believable the tender is as it is not an impossibility for someone to try to do it as a loss leader. Our officers are quite good at spotting that. Cllr Baker said in the best case scenario the successful bidder would take over the service from the end of October.”