News that catches my eye includes Ed Vaizey’s reluctance to support a public lending right for ebooks due to supposed opposition from publishers.  That Mr Ed has decided that the best policy is to do nothing will surprise no-one that has watched his inaction over library matters over the last couple of years.  Please see this post, if you have not already done so, for a move to formally complain about his passivity.  
A note should be made about the very long nature of today’s post.  The format is the same as before for the news for this weekend.  However, due to me being away for the fortnight beforehand, there has been a lot of news to catch up on.  This has been summarised by a friend, to which I owe her eternal thanks, and comes below the “normal post”.  The “changes” section of the normal post includes all those noted since the start of June.


  • Are midnight raids the way to deal with library disputes?Telegraph.  Joan Bakewell is outraged at the treatment of Kensal Rise library by Brent council.  “The dismantling of a library system that was one of the glories of Victorian enlightenment and the envy of the world is happening across the country. The Government holds up its hands in mock innocence, when it is its own policy towards funding that is driving councils to take such drastic action.”
the Kensal Rise story stands witness to our loss of values and our slow drift to being an uncaring and ignorant country.”
Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour) It is now increasingly accepted that part of the long-term future of book lending lies in e-books being available in all libraries. In order for our libraries to move into the 21st century, the tensions between the public lending rights scheme and e-books must be addressed. Will the Minister therefore tell the House why he has not moved to implement the extension of the public lending right to e-books, as mandated in section 43 of the Digital Economy Act 2010?

Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative) Part of the problem with e-books is that most publishers do not want e-books lent in libraries. I have had discussions with publishers on that on at least two occasions, and would happily discuss it jointly with publishers and the hon. Gentleman so he can hear their views first hand.”

“I suspect many publishers will dispute this view and if so, they should ensure that a more accurate picture is communicated to ministers and shadow ministers.” Desmond Clarke, retired publisher and active library campaigner.

  • Guest post #13 – Policymakers on employment, education and children “Take note!”, by Miranda McKearney – Envisioning the Library of the Future (Arts Council England). More young people use libraries than any other age group.  They are also volunteering in libraries, not as replacements for paid staffing, but in ways that boost the service.  “Policy makers take note: stop leaving libraries out of your thinking! If we want our young people to thrive, you must factor libraries into your planning. “
  • Libraries are for the people who want to use them – Good Library Blog.  Those in charge of public libraries, paid or political, should ask the public what they want and provide it.   What the public wants is “more books (newspaprers etc), longer opening hours, cleaner more attractive, more dignified buildings, silent space to work in, helpful, friendly, staff and equipment, like computers and printers, that work.”
  • Library neoliberalists have an ACE up their sleeve – Stop the privatization of public libraries.  Arts Council England criticised for relying too much on the received wisdom of senior library specialists and also not being against private funding of public libraries.

“Re: Wokingham Library Services.. Together with leading librarians in the Wokingham community we got together a powerful team and responded to the tender for the Wokingham Libraries, but as a new organisation we were unsuccessful. We did not have a financial history … or existing expertise. This was indeed very frustrating because we did have members of the local community behind us and the expertise. We genuinely had a plan to cut the IT bill by over 70% and enhance the services in Wokingham using proven web based technology. I would submit that the companies short-listed have big balance sheets, but do they really have the technical IT expertise to take advantage of the web to offer more services at reduced costs? I do not see any history to suggest that this is the case… I see the same group of big companies who have been supplying high cost services to the Councils at the taxpayers expense for years.”  David Johnston on the fate on an in-house library bid in Wokingham.


Local news

Summary from the last fourteen days

A public library campaigner has very kindly summarised the main library stories for the time that I was away in Florida.  I include the details here, along with my immense thanks.

14th June


Members of the public were offered an exclusive opportunity to talk to Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England, in a live chat online at midday on Thursday 14 June.  The ‘chat’ was brief – several questions submitted in advance were not answered – but a transcript of what transpired is published here:  – ACE.  On the same day, the importance of public libraries to the nation’s literacy was raised by Baroness Joan Bakewell in the House of Lords : – Press Association.  The literacy issue, by coincidence, was also the subject of a question to Liz Forgan :
ACE has invited Tenders in respect of : ‘Community Managed Libraries Research and Guidance’  – ACE.
Hannah Bailey (UNISON) joined the ACE conversation,  ‘Envisioning The Library of the Future’ with her guest post : ‘2022 A Tale of Two Libraries’  – ACE
Alan Wylie comments on ACE’s ‘Live Chat’ as follows – via email :
Well at least we know what the ACE vision for public libraries by 2022 is, privately financed and volunteer run!”
And from the front line :
In Surrey, libraries campaigners have recently been criticised by a councillor  – Get Surrey.  But  the County Council has admitted that volunteer-run libraries will not save any money at all

In Brent, the Shadow Culture Minister, Dan Jarvis, intervened on behalf of Kensal Rise Library – Dan Jarvis MP.  But omitted to mention the other closed libraries in the Borough.  Unfortunately Mr Jarvis did not address the context of this closure, by acknowledging that Brent is but one example of the degredation of the library service, nationally.   Kensal Rise Library’s future is still unclear :
Two branch libraries are threatened in Rotherham :

swingeing cuts to library staff are to be made in North Somerset : – This Is Bristol.  Concerns about co-locating disparate services with libraries have been also hit the headlines :  In Lincolnshire, a Skegness councillor has vowed he will ‘lock himself to the railings’ of the town’s library, if proposed changes to services threaten its future  In Sutton, there is controversy about a making space for a ‘prayer room’ in the central library :  and in Hampshire, residents’ anger has been ignited by a proposal to move the register office into their library  – Daily Echo.  The ‘running down’ of local library services is featured in the Shields Gazette :
13th June
For young readers, the book’s the thing whatever technology may bring
Local News
Daily Echo : 13th June
Hampshire | Plans to move register office to library
Town councillor Mike Wenman said:  “I cannot think of a more inappropriate location for the register office than Romsey Library!  Firstly, the library has limited space and is fully utilised with its existing function.  Second, a library atmosphere, particularly that in Romsey where accent has been given to supporting families with young children, is hardly conducive for registering births, deaths and marriages.”

Kidderminster Shuttle : 13th June
Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery protest outside town hall

Kidderminster Shuttle : 13th June
Planning committee ‘objects’ to Kidderminster Library gallery changes
Wyre Forest District Council’s planning committee has voted to object to a change of use by Worcestershire County Council  for Kidderminster Library’s top-floor gallery.
12th June
THE GUARDIAN : 12th June
Country dancing and learning support: the new face of the council library
Scoop – Parliament : 12th June
New Zealand Labour Party | We must protect free access to public libraries
“I urge the Government to support this legislation to ensure that the role that public libraries play in our communities will be maintained for all New Zealanders, and to ensure that public library services do not fall victim to the Government’s proposals for tightening council services.” 
This Is Bristol : 12th June
North Somerset | Library staff set to lose jobs as council cuts keep coming
Local News
Shields Gazette : 12th June
‘Running down’ of library services condemned
Preston Library Campaign : 12th June
Brent begs and bribes people to use libraries 
Preston Library Campaign : 12th June
The Great Library Clean-Up
Kirkintilloch Herald : 12th June
11th June
THE GUARDIAN : 11th June
Why is the public committed to unfit, outdated public sector buildings?
For Info : some background – David Moses OBE
A library in every school, please 
You might, therefore, be surprised to learn that many schools do not have a library or a librarian – which seems a contradiction in terms. How can you have an organisation whose raison d’ être is learning if it has no library? It’s like a restaurant without a kitchen or a zoo without any animals.
This Is Scunthorpe : 11th June
Thriller writer to open new chapter in Brigg library history tomorrow
Originally housed in the Buttercross, Brigg Library moved to a converted former school in Princes Street before swtiching to Old Courts Road.  The library will now re-open at its new location, The Angel. 
Local News
Kensal Rise Library campaigners petition All Souls
10th June
Good Library Blog : 10th June
How decisions about public libraries are made
In the Know Question | Where can I join a book club in north London?
Local News : 10th June
All Souls owned library in potential reprieve
Huddersfield Examiner : 10th June
9th June
ACE : Envisioning The Library of the Future – Guest Post 12 : 9th June
Hannah Bailey, UNSION | 2022: A tale of two libraries?
Local News
Huddersfield Examiner : 9th June
Letter | Safeguarding council services comes first
Sadly Clr Sokhal seems more concerned to tell us about the manoeuvring to gain advantage in the council than with the issues that matter to the ordinary people of Kirklees.  He claims the Local Development Framework and the proposal for volunteer libraries are just red herrings.  (see letter from Clr Sokhal and 2 other related Letters under heading: 8th June)
Brent & Kilburn Times : 9th June
The Royal Society of Literature slams Brent Council over dawn raid on Kensal Rise Library
8th June
News : 8th June
ACE | Tender
Community Managed Libraries Research and Guidance
Arts Council England are working with the Local Government Association (LGA), the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to create
a new information and support resource for officers and service planners who are considering creating community supported or community managed libraries in their areas
 Hereford Times : 8th June
Hay Festival – Michael Morpurgo
Children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, author of War Horse and champion of the rights of the young, was speaking to a captive audience at Hay Literary Festival when he criticised the Government’s proposals to close libraries.
Local News
Huddersfield Examiner : 8th June
Letter | Councillor Mohan Sokhal – Labour Group Business Manager
“The future of libraries and abolition of the local development plan are red herrings.”
Huddersfield Examiner : 8th June
Letter | Honley library
I find it disappointing that despite what seem to be clear signals from Honley residents in respect of the future of the village library, Kirklees Council-produced notices are appearing in the village requesting residents to indicate their various attitudes to involvement as volunteers.
Huddersfield Examiner : 6th June
Letter | Volunteering is a stepping stone to library closures
Inside Croydon : 8th June
Norwood councillor calls on Pollard to hold talks on library
A South Norwood councillor has described Croydon’s decision to abandon its legal agreement with Lambeth over the Upper Norwood Joint Library as “consistently wrong”, accusing Tim Pollard, the Conservatives’ deputy leader on the council, of not acting “in the interests of the library, its staff or the local community”.
Fenland Citizen : 8th June
New improved library system for Cambridgeshire
Residents using Cambridgeshire Libraries will soon benefit from a new improved IT system.  The system, being installed in the coming weeks, has been jointly purchased with Suffolk County Council saving Council Tax payers money.
Wembley Matters : 8th June
Library campaigners Executive presentations
Save Kensal Rise Library : 8th June
Royal Society of Literature writes to All Souls College, Oxford: Save Kensal Rise Library
London Evening Standard : 8th June
Last-ditch plea to Oxford college in fight for library
Preston Library Campaign : 8th June
Open letter to Jeremy Hunt. We await his courteous reply
7th June
Camden New Journal : 7th June
The story’s not over yet!  Sir Derek Jacobi urges readers to fight on to save their libraries
Alan Gibbons Blog : 7th June
Campaign For the Book June Newsletter


Bury Free Press : 7th June
Libraries takeover booked
Suffolk Libraries Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) will take over day-to-day running on Wednesday August 1. The County Council retains its statutory responsibility for library services and will continue to be accountable for ensuring a county-wide network is provided.
Local News
Save Kensal Rise Library : 7th June
Richmond & Twickenham Times : 7th June
Changes to library service caused staff to leave, critics claim
This Is Surrey : 7th June
Surrey County Council: Volunteer-run libraries won’t save cash
“Residents have put a lot of time and effort into setting up volunteering groups to run their library because they believed the council’s costsaving claims, and believed the council when it said there was no alternative. The council has let those people down badly and they deserve an apology. This is now a policy with no justification. The council can afford paid and professional staff in each of the libraries.”
Northern Echo : 7th June
Author’s words of praise for library’s savioursMs Gregory, who has taught at Durham University and Teeside University, and now lives on the North York Moors, said: “I have not seen a community library like this before, but I think it must be the way forward for others in danger of closure.”
6th JuneNews

Information Twist : 6th June
Response To My Letter Re. CILIP Volunteer Policy
Voices for the Library : 6th June
The London Libraries Change Programme
Hay Festival 2012: Life Changing Literature – David Lammy
Libraries are the universities of the masses – we can’t lose them
Policy Network : 6th June    
Lambeth | Britain’s First Co-operative Council 
Hands-on localism championed by a Labour-led London council could help reshape the settlement between citizens and the state.
htttp:// Socialist Website : 6th June
UK: Brent Council conducts night-time raid to force library closure
Opposition to library closures must not continue to be diverted into a fight over spreading cuts more evenly, or fire-fighting individual instances. Placing the burden of running costs onto an increasingly impoverished population cannot be the basis for defending the libraries, or any other social provision.


South Yorkshire Times : 6th June

Library open after refurb
Mexborough Library – one of the borough’s remaining council-run branches – has been reopened after a major refurbishment
The council stopped running 14 of its 26 libraries earlier this year in a move to save it around £1.2 million a year. This included Denaby Library, which remains closed. News

Ham & High : 6th June
New chapter for Belsize Library as it is reopened by the community
Belsize library is initially reopening as a reading space, and will begin lending books again in around six weeks.

Policy Network : 6th June

Lambeth | Britain’s First Co-operative Council 

Hands-on localism championed by a Labour-led London council could help reshape the settlement between citizens and the state.

5th June


This Is South Devon : 5th June
Torbay | No late opening at libraries to hit working residents
The new timetable for Bay libraries will begin in July and will mean none stay open later than 6pm.  Brixham (pictured) and Churston libraries will close at 1pm three days a week. Paignton will close at 1pm one day a week and Torquay two days a week.
Opening hours cut and staff hours reduced.

4th June

General News

Newstrack : 4th June
Bolivia to set up 12,000 new libraries–Bolivia-to-set-up-12-000-new-libraries-.html

#ACElivechat : 4th June
Question submitted by Shirley Burnham to Liz Forgan, Chair ACE


Teesdale Mercury : 4th June
Barnard Castle | Outsourcing library on hold – but chiefs identify other cuts
Outsourcing to a charitable trust delayed until further clarification available from central government,4160.html

Spalding Guardian : 4th June
Long Sutton, Lincolnshire | Call to fight library move plan
Coun Brewis told the meeting: “The loss of what is the flagship library – certainly at this end of the county – I think would be a criminal act.”  Proposed move of the town’s library to Market House.

This Is Staffordshire : 4th June
Stoke-on-Trent | Centres could face closure
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is looking to sell off dozens of buildings  ….. It is reviewing buildings like libraries, children’s centres and local centres with a view to bringing more services under one roof in ‘locality hubs’ in the north, centre and south of the city.
The city council intends to sell off dozens of buildings, including libraries, to establish ‘locality hubs’

Other Local News

Bradford Telegraph & Argus : 4th June
Launch marks new chapter for Wrose library
The library has been run since January by a group of volunteers, but now Wrose Community Association has signed the lease for the library building, owned by the Co-op, to take full control.

3rd June


‘Read the next chapter… after a short commercial break’
The future is advertising in your books, to the outward dismay of most readers, and certain dismay of publishers, whose standard contracts with authors include a guarantee not to run adverts against their works.

Local News

This Is Local London : 3rd June
‘No cost saving’ in Surrey library plan

The Star : 3rd June
Spruced-up South Yorkshire library reopens its doors
A Doncaster library – one of the borough’s remaining council-run branches – has reopened after a major refurbishment.   ….. The council stopped running 14 of its libraries earlier this year. Two closed and 12 are now run by volunteers from with the communities they service.

2nd June


Kensal Rise library offered lifeline after council’s night-time book clearance

Alan Gibbons Blog : 2nd June
Kensal Rise: a kind of solution?

New York Review of Books : 2nd June
Zadie Smith | The North West London Blues

Hay Festival 2012: Michael Morpurgo on closing libraries

Other Local News

Isle of Man Today : 2nd June
News on fate of libraries
Education chiefs hope they will soon be able to reveal more details of a bid by the Manx Educational Foundation to save the Family and Mobile Libraries.

1st June


Dan Jarvis MP : 1st June
Jarvis Welcomes Brent Council Agreement on Kensal Rise Library

Reference stock destroyed at refurbished Manchester library

Arts Council England : 1st June
Join our live chat with Dame Liz Forgan, Chair, Arts Council England, on 14 JuneWe are offering members of the public an exclusive opportunity to talk to Dame Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England, in a live chat online at midday on Thursday 14 June.  Whether you are actively engaged in the arts or an active observer, if you have a burning question you’d like to ask our Chair, now’s your chance.  Further details on how to take part will be announced soon on our website, but in the meantime you can submit your questions to Liz in advance via Facebook and Twitter. Participants are encouraged to use the #ACElivechat hashtag.

Good Library Blog : 31st May
The Fault Line in Local Government

Dan Jarvis MP : 1st June
Jarvis Welcomes Brent Council Agreement on Kensal Rise Library
A ‘package’ of support may be in the pipeline for Kensal Rise library

38 Degrees : 30th May
Manchester Central Library is pulping hundreds of thousands of books …
Local News

Times Series : 1st June
Labour party wins Brunswick Park by-election
“I will work hard to try and deliver the pledges I made in this election, including better road safety measures on our local streets, to protect Osidge Library from this Conservative council’s attacks and support residents to get Friern Barnet Library re-opened.”

London Evening Standard : 1st June
Hounslow | All aboard the double-decker library bus
A London primary school is so crowded it is using an old double- decker bus as a library.”

31st May


Joan Bakewell | Are midnight raids the way to deal with library disputes?
The stealthy closure at Kensal Rise is a sign of our drift to being an ignorant country.

A plea to restore Kensal Rise library to usLand was donated in 1900 with a proviso it be used for a library – the council’s 2am raid is a shameful attempt to break the deal

Kensal Rise library: Oxford college regrets clearance
All Souls College describes removal of books from library as ‘distressing’ but says it is powerless to intervene.

The Punch : 30th May
Australia | There’s less joy in a book with no cover
I was quite saddened to see that an Adelaide high school had hawked its entire library collection  – 10,000 books – to charity.


BBC News : 31st May
Northampton | Wootton Fields public library under threat
A new location has not yet been chosen for the new library. In the meantime the council has proposed having a mobile library at the site.  Campaigners against the plan have said the service is well used.

Other Local News

Camden New Journal : 31st May
Belsize Library set to issue first cards for members, as Edith Bowman
and Michael Palin back Keats branch fund-raising event

New library cards are set to be issued to members of Camden’s third community-run library to open this year.

Preston Library Campaign : 29th May
Shocking cost of Kilburn Library refurbishment
…. it is clear that Brent is NOT facing the budgetary pressures it has been pleading in court.