• Manchester/national Listen to BBC Radio Four “You and Yours” 12 noon Thursday12th July.  “The row that’s emerged over Manchester Central Library’s decision to dispose of more than a third of its books. Academics and writers have signed an open letter calling for the library to halt the process.” 
  • Surrey – Surrey Libraries Action Movement are organising a protest outside County Hall on 24th July, 1pm – 2pm.  This it timed to coincide with the council meeting to reconsider its plans to remove staff from ten libraries across Surrey and replace them with volunteers.  “Please would you encourage as many people as you can, to come along? We would urge anyone who is not happy about the councils plans to come along – whatever their viewpoint.  Bringing placards and banners would be really good; with slogans on, that give your message.”


“In the wider cultural sphere, on libraries, Ed Vaizey has queried the figure of 600 libraries under threat that I gave during Oral Questions last month, saying that this is simply a figure bandied around by the media. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals produced that figure. If I am at fault, it is in not realising quite how many libraries have already closed recently. Some of the 600 will be among the 122 that have closed in the single financial year 2011-12, according to the Public Libraries News website, which lists every single one of them. This independent website run by librarian Ian Anstice is certainly a much better source of information than the DCMS, which is not keeping a close enough eye on the situation, even though it is the Secretary of State who, under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, has the power to intervene. A library professional tells me that the figure of 600 threatened if the present cuts continue will soon be, in his words, “a gross underestimation”. For Ed Vaizey to say, as he did in his speech on 28 June at the Future of Library Services conference, that the libraries are “thriving” when many now have staff shortages and greatly reduced opening hours, suggests to me a Government in denial about the huge problems that libraries face.” Arts and Culture: Question for short debate – They Work for You.  “Viscount Clancarty [who has now become my favourite hereditary peer – Ian]

“The Government in its response to the debate does seem to be suggesting that the “600” is the worst case scenario. A considerable shift from Ed’s claim that public libraries are “thriving”. Desmond Clarke.

  • Digital by default and libraries – Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog.   “…for many UK government services there isn’t going to be an alternative – it’s digital or nothing. To me therefore, this isn’t ’digital by default’, it’s ‘digital only’.” … “The relevance for libraries is therefore about provision of equipment, Internet access and skills training. For those without personal computers or the Internet, the library is the place where they can access essential government services.”
  • Library mystery as outreach and instruction – Pumped Librarian (USA).  A great idea for getting students understanding libraries.  Probably of more use to school libraries.
  • Mark Steel: Sport for all … who can afford it? – Independent.   “So libraries are run down or shut, and will start charging with signs saying, “Five quid’s what we need or you do not read.” And intensive care units will be covered in posters saying, “A tenner plus tip or we rip out your drip.””
  • Mark Twain museum joins calls to save Kensal Rise library – Guardian.   “The library, which has become something of a figurehead for the hundreds of local branches facing closure around the UK … boss of Mark Twain museum “told the Guardian this week that he had written “to dozens of people” and had yet to receive any response. He drew a parallel between Kensal Green’s plight and the struggle for survival of the Mark Twain House and Museum itself, which was twice saved by community action and now enjoys “record visitation, a balanced budget and dozens of public programs that entertain and enlighten”.”

“What All Souls College stands to profit from the sale of the Kensal Rise Library building cannot be offset on anyone’s ledger sheet with the loss of the library to the community. Its social value and historicity far exceed any benefit that may be derived by pretty much any other use. I would strongly urge you and the regents of All Souls College to return the building to its former and intended purpose. I understand the building has monetary value to All Souls, but it has spiritual and social capital, as well. To quote Twain, “Spending one’s capital is feeding a dog on his own tail.”” Jacques Lamarre, Mark Twain House and Museum.

  • Mark Twain House and Museum lends its support to Kensal Rise Library campaign – Brent & Kilburn Times.  The battle to save Kensal Rise Library has gone global after an American museum penned a letter to Government ministers calling for them to reopen the branch.”
  • Public libraries to lead initiative to ensure public access to digital content – OCLC (USA).   “The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $99,957 grant to OCLC for a new initiative, “The Big Shift: Advancing Public Library Participation in Our Digital Future.” The purpose of the grant is to more fully understand the challenges that U.S. public libraries face in providing e-book content to borrowers, as they ensure that all Americans continue to have access to commercially produced content through their local public libraries, even as formats change.”

Local News

  • Carmarthenshire – “Use it or lose it” warning as library visited once a week – This is South Wales.  The community council took on the running of the library last year, after Carmarthenshire Council decided to close a number of community libraries.” Llannon library run by volunteers see only one user per week … “the biggest problem was a lack of use, stemming from the small range of books there. “People have moved to other libraries, like in Cross Hands, where there’s a bigger range of books,”
  • Croydon – Book Token and council’s fake library claims exposed – Inside Croydon.  “… the release of council documents which show there was never the “overwhelming desire” from  the public for the privatisation of Croydon’s libraries, as Bashford claimed 12 months ago … Not a single response from the Croydon consultation suggested that the council should outsource our libraries – handing over the management of the borough’s library service to an outside organisation.”

“This evidence confirms that the consultation was a sham,” said Elizabeth Ash, a Sanderstead resident and leading figure in the national save libraries network.  “It is absolutely appalling that residents have been duped into believing that Croydon Council is acting on their views. To consult but ignore the comments and ideas offered and then fabricate the findings is a total betrayal of residents’ trust,” Ash said.”

  • Derbyshire – Marking 75 years of town’s “cheap” library – Ripley and Heanor News.  “Seventy-five years later and despite the dawn of TV, internet and dwindling funding for local councils, the library is still going strong and staff are celebrating its landmark birthday this week with a packed programme of events, including a behind the scenes tour of the mid-nineteenth century building.”
  • Isle of Man – Library to host Isle of Man author’s book launch –  “The Henry Bloom Noble Library is to host the launch of Safe House, Isle of Man-based author Chris Ewan’s latest crime novel.”
  • Manchester – Town Hall admits: we are not keeping a list of library books we throw out – Manchester Evening News.   “A Freedom of Information request submitted by the M.E.N has now revealed that the process – which has led to accusations of ‘cultural violence’ on the part of the council – is not being documented … The request revealed that 87,046 items have already been shed from the collection. The council is working with a book company to find new homes for as many books as possible. Unwanted items will be pulped for recycling.” … “The Manchester Evening News has come in to see the process and has seen examples of the items which are being withdrawn. These are duplicates where we own multiple copies or numerous editions of the same reference works published over the years, outdated reference books or items which are in such poor condition it would not be cost effective to repair them. All rare, valuable, historic and local history items are being kept.”
  • Radio 4 | You and Yours : tomorrow, 12th July – Andrew Biswell speaks up against destruction of stock at Manchester Central Library
  • South Ayrshire – Council scoops national first with e-magazine service – About My Area. “Magazines such as Marie Claire, Top Gear, Hello!,Total Film, Lonely Planet, Good Food, New Scientist and BBC History – plus many more – will now be will be available free, with unlimited access, to any South Ayrshire Library member. The exciting innovation reinforces the Council’s commitment to offering a 24 library hour service and to make it easier than ever for customers to access the library service at a time and place to suit them.” … In addition “Literally delivering the complete library service to your pocket, the new App – which also allows access to the Council’s e-book service – enables users to access the full library catalogue, reserve or renew books, book a computer and more.”
“One of the most exciting aspects of the App is that it also allows users to scan the barcode of any book, anywhere in the world – to check if South Ayrshire Libraries have a copy – and allows you to reserve it, there and then.”
  • Surrey – Libraries get Surrey dancing – Surrey News.   ” free dance activities at county libraries to celebrate Big Dance Week (7-14 July), which is part of the London 2012 festival. A vast range of activities is available for all the family including; dance films, Zumba workshops, creative seated dance and for younger family members, Humpty Dumpty: A Wibbly Wobbly World of Words.”.  All events free.
  • Wakefield – E petition to help save village library – Wakefield Express.  “Wakefield Council will meet at the end of the month to determine the future of Crofton Community library. The library – which serves 6,000 people and four schools – could be axed as part of a council savings review of more than half a million pounds.”

“We hope the councillors are right and lets hope for a bright future for the library, which occupies the site of the School which educated the likes of the Bronte Sisters.”

  • Save Crofton Library – GoPetition.  “Crofton Community Library is one of the most cost effective, well loved and well run Local Libraries in the UK and occupies a part of the building in Crofton Academy which serves not only the Community of 6,000 but also 4 local schools, the Academy, a Junior School, and 2 Infant Schools in Crofton. Most residents of Crofton are unaware of the threat hanging over their Library despite a supposed consultation of the community and there has been no publicity by the Council in the local media.”
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the M.E.N has now revealed that the process – which has led to accusations of ‘cultural violence’ on the part of the council – is not being documented.Read more at: