• America’s public library crisis: who’s reading the books? – Daily Beast (USA).  Article argues that decline in book reading is making public libraries obsolescent.  “Walk into a library in any city and you’ll witness a death match between old and new, a clash deeper than the cracks in the Carrara marble. The preservation of the past bolted to the promise of the future has made libraries ground zero of a vanishing world. The problem is that libraries have tried to accommodate the transition, and spent enormous sums of money doing so, carpetbombing their legacies into oblivion. Libraries across the country have erected architectural trophies and put themselves out of business. Public libraries, whose books have been relegated to wallpaper, have never looked better.”
  • Confronting the biggest threat to the public library – Huffington Post (USA).  “Urban Librarians Unite and the Save NYC Libraries Campaign are seeding more than 1600 books all over the city in response to massive cuts proposed to the budgets of New York City Libraries.Each of the books is emblazoned with a bright yellow sticker which reads “When libraries close this could be your only access to free books.” They have a QR code and a link to petitions to save the three libraries.

“Google has not killed the library and ebooks won’t do it either. The biggest threat to the public library in American culture is limited hours. In the new budget reality if libraries are forced to dramatically decrease their hours then they will be drastically reduced in their ability to serve their public.”

  • Fifty Shades is too hot for libraries – Tonight (South Africa).  “The best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Gray has been banned from libraries across the United States by straight-laced librarians who argue that is does not conform to their standards.”
  • Future of library services – Neil Stewart Associates. The event is being sponsored by John Laing, a company with a vested interest in outsourcing libraries.
  • Kenilworth Library had “big” plans for summer reading – Cranford Chronicle (USA).   ““Dream Big- Read!” has been announced as the theme for the Kenilworth Public Library’s 2012 summer reading program. Registration for the library’s summer reading clubs for children and teens between the ages of 2 and 18 will begin on June 11. The first 250 children to register will receive a free summer reading goody bag that contains a calendar of events, program fliers and other items of interest to curious young minds.”.  Impressive series of events. 
  • Last truly democractic space: where nobody moves you along – Irish Times (Eire).   Writer gets moved along by security for leaning on a wall in a Dublin shopping centre: extolls virtues of public libraries where one can stay all day, by anyone.  “Today I believe public libraries are saving not just children but the sorts of people who previously rarely entered libraries but now seek sanctuary there every day. Libraries have become the most democratic, non-judgmental spaces we have.”

“Let politicians look at figures for mental health issues, let them look at suicide rates among the very demographics now starting to use libraries. It will show how little will be gained and how much lost by cutting library budgets any more than is utterly necessary. Kildare Village shopping outlet, is not a village. The phrase Dundrum Town Centre is an oxymoron. The true centres of our communities are public libraries, where everyone is equal and nobody moves you along.”

  • Love letter to libraries – Just Listen.   “Something different for this week’s Friday Fiction –  I read a really delightful book called ‘The Library Book’ which is a collection of short stories, articles & pieces written by some of my very favourite authors & writers, about how blooming marvelous libraries are.” … “My point is, free books. That’s my point. How can you argue with free books? The day the Tories start privatising the libraries is the day I give up hope on humanity. Free books people. For children, for adults, for everyone, you even get free internet these days. Go support your local library & look out for The Library Book whilst you’re there. Make the most of them whilst you still can.”

Left notice says “It’s not the time to spend money on hunches”
Right notice says “Madrid support us; We are also outraged”.

“24th of May, all the public workers of Madrid City Council went out to the main streets of the City to protest again the “cuts” of services, rights, and salaries, not just in libraries. Ana Botella and her team earn more money that the Spanish Prime Minister and his ministers but they don’t reduce their salaries, they prefer to reduce ours” (Email from Guadelupe Ucete Perez, a Madrid librarian)


Local news

  • Aberdeenshire – Stamp of approval for shire libraries – Ellon Times.  “Aberdeenshire Council’s libraries are celebrating after being given the stamp of approval by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). The council service was officially deemed excellent by the independent advisory body last week, following a visit by representatives of SLIC to assess the quality of library provision.”
  • Birmingham – Theatre: Rob Joiner’s Birmingham library experience inspires play – Birmingham Mail.  “As an assistant at Birmingham’s Central Library, Rob Joiner meets lots of very different people. So when he decided to put pen to paper for the play Without a Hand to Hold he took inspiration from the hundreds of strangers who cross the door of the city’s landmark building. “Because the library is a free service you do get a lot of people who come in who exist on the margins of society,” he says.”
  • Brent – Butt: a seventh library would undermine Transformation Project – Wembley Matters.   “In his  interview Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council,says that  if the freehold of the Kensal Rise building remained with Brent Council, despite being run by volunteers,  as the campaigners had requested,  it would be a problem. It would be adding a seventh library to the six remaining in Brent and open the way for Preston and other campaigners to make a similar request. .He goes on to say that as the Libraries Transformation Project is based on six libraries this would undermine the  whole Project.”
  • Croydon – Our library’s a bestseller – This is Croydon Today. Upper Norwood Library: “A total of 60 youngsters from the school in Chevening Road, Upper Norwood, visited the Westow Hill facility.”
    • Illegal behaviour suggested at volative Upper Norwood Library meeting – Croydon Guardian.   Campaigner “said the appointment of non-local councillors to the committee in 2010/11 began the dispute and was against an agreement signed by both councils in 2006. He said the decision to dissolve the joint board is illegal and can only be done the secretary of state, and called on the dispute to be taken to an independent arbiter.”
    • Pollard agrees to extend consultation at Question Time event – Inside Croydon.   “The deputy leader of the Conservative group that controls Croydon Council has given an undertaking that the consultation period for the Upper Norwood Joint Library will be extended.”
  • Ealing – Cuts in Ealing library hours announced – Ealing Times.    “After a hard-fought campaign last year, which attracted support from thousands of residents, the council agreed to keep all of the borough’s community libraries open. However, following a review, it has decided to close libraries when they are least busy, as a way of contributing to the £428,000 savings needed by the service this year.”
  • Islington – Council slammed for “caring more about poo than books” over library cuts – Islington Gazette.  11% average cut to libraries, with up to one quarter in some branches. “This is in a bid to save around £200,000 over two years – less than the £240,000 being paid for a crackdown on dog mess lasting just three months.” … “Islington will be spared the closures seen in boroughs like Camden and Brent, but seven of its 10 branches will be shut two days midweek, while four will close a further half day. Libraries will be twinned, so at least one of two will be open Monday to Saturday, although the twinned buildings are up to 1.5 miles apart – and West Library, in Bridgeman Road, Barnsbury, will be matched with a children’s library, Lewis Carroll in Copenhagen Street, Islington.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Rise of the Kindle was the biggest story of last year –  This is Nottingham.  “Notts County Council introduced an eBook library borrowing service last year, with around 1,000 works available. Nick London, team manager for library resources at the council, which is also providing the service for people using libraries run by Nottingham City Council, said there had been a demand for books in the new format.”
  • Sefton – Save Southport’s libraries – Kew Focus (Liberal Democrats).  Consultation: “no apologies for my repetition, the decision makers are the Bootle Labour Cabinet.Please make sure that the views of Southport residents are included.”.    
  • Shropshire – Save Oswestry Library – iPetitions.  “I strongly oppose the idea that the entrance to my Library could now be over-crowded every day with people using the ‘Council office’. As everybody is aware Libraries are a place of sanctuary and quiet, but with now more than 57 cases last year of verbal abuse reported against council officers at Shropshire council reception desks, the peace and quiet will disappear. Do we really want this in an environment where children & adults come to learn and take advantage of this fantastic facility?”
  • Telford – Libraries avoid closure axe but face hours cut – Shropshire Star.   “Parish councils in Great Dawley, Stirchley & Brookside and Hadley & Leegomery have committed cash or agreed to share costs to keep their local services running. But the libraries have not escaped entirely. Telford & Wrekin Council has identified 20 per cent savings by reducing opening hours and sharing overhead costs.”
  • Warwickshire – Baddesley Ensor community library in official opening – BBC.   “The Baddesley Ensor library is one of 16 which are to remain open with community groups running them …The county council has contributed £10,500 to the new community facility, which is staffed by volunteers. Books and DVDs have been provided by the council, which will also refresh them.”