There’s something quite terrifying about having one’s figures checked by an independent group, not least when those figures were recently quoted on the front page of a national newspaper and in the inside pages of two more.  This was the case today when Full Fact, funded by three different foundations, gave my work a once over in How many public libraries have closed since 2011?  Thankfully, the article accepts the Public Libraries News figures.


It traces back the figure quoted by Dan Jarvis to this site – which I knew about – but also, more interestingly, Ed Vaizey (which I didn’t) as well, saying:

“the disparity between the figures of opposing MPs is more down to selective use of the same source rather than conflicting data or poor reporting.”

Interesting that Mr Vaizey, with a whole Government department behind him, uses my figures.  Perhaps I should expect an acknowledgement in any further estimates he makes.

Surprisingly, the estimate of the 600 figure from CILIP are described as “not a reliable or up-to-date statistic to use as a solid prediction of the scale of library closure between 2010 and 2014/15”, although there was a good reason for this figure at the time it was made in 2011. Unsurprisingly, the article concludes that the Minister for Libraries chose the best possible interpretation of the figures while the Shadow Minister for Libraries did the opposite.


  • Are libraries killing authors? – Do some damage (USA).  Article argues against theory that libraries cost profits to booksellers/publishers/authors.  Comments agree.
  • Arts Council England live chat and responsibility for libraries – Voices for the Library.  “Last week Alan Davey (Chief Executive of Arts Council England) took part in a live chat, during which he answered a number of questions related to the organisations responsibilities for libraries.” … ” it is welcoming to read Alan Davey’s commitment to libraries, and it’s also reassuring to hear that A.C.E. will still continue to employ staff to focus on libraries and museums. However, it’s not clear how many members of staff there are in comparison to previous M.L.A. staff numbers and how many of them have a specific focus on libraries.” but “it does feel as if libraries are the poor relation in this arts focused family.”
  • Do you have a great CILIP mentor? Nominate them for the first ever CILIP Mentor of the Year Award – CILIP.  “As the leading body for library and information professionals, CILIP knows how vital sage guidance, support and a critical friend can be to a person’s career, from applying for that all-important first job to those taking high-level, strategic decisions. As well as offering advice and support to all of its members, CILIP set-up its mentoring scheme to give professionals the chance to shape their sector and spread the wisdom of their experience.”
  • Doug Fishbone and friends adventureland golf – Grundy Art Gallery. The Closed Library Crazy Golf model gets another airing.  “Jonathan Allen’s boarded up library points to the irreplaceable loss of cultural services across the country through the current austerity measures we face.”
  • faceBook: a day in the life of a library – Blurberati.  Some great pictures.  “How do you use your library? That’s the question that Ann Schofield put to the patrons of a branch library in Cruddas Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. And the way she had people answer is one we quite approve of: having them hold their reasons up to the camera. Knowing that many people use the library for more than just books, she let those patrons hold up signs saying why they came (to use the Internet, read newspapers, attend jobs groups…). And we love the way photographer Keith Pattison captured each shot with tremendous warmth and humanity.”
  • Finch ReportResearch Information Network.   Government approves moves towards moving towards free provision of research publications.
  • Libraries We Love talks to Ian Anstice – Berkshire Blog.  [Yes, that’s me – Ian] talking about favourite books, libraries, technology and reading on the loo.
  • Role of libraries in communities: the global street concept and civil participation in societyEngaging Cities via Finding Heroes.  Quite a difficult to read (for me, anyway – it uses long words) piece which stresses, I think, the move of libraries towards IT provision and as ways of improving communities.
  • Six reasons a Scotsdale mom should love our local public libraries – Scottsdale Mom’s Blog (USA).  Reasons include storytime, librarians, DVDs and having to return items.
  • Summer Reading ChallengeArts Council England.   “As part of the London 2012 Festival, libraries throughout the south west are working with Arts Council England and The Reading Agency to encourage children to read over the summer holidays.80,000 children across the region are expected to take part in The Summer Reading Challenge” … “Highlights include a visit to Bath Central Library from Olympic gold medal winner Amy Williams. Meanwhile in Plymouth, children are being encouraged to enjoy the sounds of Ghananian drumming in workshops taking place as part of Plymouth’s link with Ghana.”
  • Ten brutal budget cuts – Daily Beast (USA).   Libraries come in at number five of ten of the worst cuts in the USA.  “Philadelphia’s budget crisis forced it to consider permanently closing its public library, the sixth largest in America, before finding enough funding to keep it open. The move would have given the City of Brotherly Love the dubious distinction of becoming the first major city in America to eliminate its public library. Nearby Camden, N.J., one of the poorest cities in the country, nearly shut down its entire library system this year as well.”


Local News

  • Brent – Axed Cricklewood Library opens its doors for viewings by potential buyers – Brent and Kilburn Times.  “Viewings have been held of Cricklewood’s disused library as campaigners who hope to run a ‘community hub’ in the space were given the chance to look round the building this morning (Thursday).”  All Souls College is selling off building, which reverted back to it after Brent Council controversially vacated it.
  • Bury – Library Service Review Consultation – Your Bury (Bury Council).   £540k cut by 2015.  [Council informs me via email that “The information relating to libraries being transferred to a trust/ private company/ charity and house bound service closure relate to proposals put forward by the previous council administration and are now out of date”].
  • Cornwall – Privatisation planned for Cornwall libraries – BookSeller.  The authority has been in negotiation with British Telecom and IT company CSC about taking joint control of services such as libraries, payroll, and benefit payments.” … “Unison spokesman Stuart Roden said: “We don’t see how it’s possible to protect and create jobs, make savings of 20 per cent-plus, improve services and make a profit for the shareholders of private companies. The whole thing does not stack up.””
  • Libraries among £5m part-privatisation – This is Cornwall. “Jim Currie, Cabinet member for corporate resources, spoke out against the deal, saying: “It’s impossible not to notice the vast number of ends that have not been tied off. “We’re initiating something where we don’t know what the outcome is going to be.” David Biggs, chairman of the panel that has scrutinised the project so far, told the meeting: “You now take a leap of faith.””
  • Derby – Diggers herald Chaddesden library’s next chapter – This is Derbyshire.   “Diggers have moved in to the prepare the ground for Chaddesden’s long-awaited new library. Derby City Council pledged to spend more than £1 million to replace the library in Chaddesden Park back in 2008.” … “Rows over its position and changes in political administration have delayed the progress.”
  • Doncaster – Legal review rules in favour of library closureLocalGov.  Mayor says “This was never a decision that was taken lightly but it was necessary in order to make the required savings. Over 300 volunteers have signed up and pledged their time to volunteer in our libraries for free and keep them open for the communities. I am delighted with the success they have become.”
    • Doncaster Mayor on Radio blames Labour – BBC Radio Sheffield (1:10:00).  Mayoral comment on the judicial review, in which he patronises appellant Carol Buck and blames Labour.
    • Did we say 2-tier? We meant 3-tier: Judicial Review lost – Save Doncaster Libraries.  “Save Doncaster Libraries is a non-partisan group made up of support from people of all political viewpoints, and those for whom this is the only issue on which they have any strong opinion. Carol Buck is a very strong, independently-minded woman who also felt strongly and was prepared to put herself on the line to represent the group within Court, to the benefit of thousands of Doncaster Residents. Carol Buck is no pawn and is NOT being used for political gain by any party.”
  • Durham – Have your say on Durham libraries hours – Northern Echo.  “A council which is slashing hours at 38 libraries says it wants the public’s views on when the facilities should be open. Facing cuts of nearly £190m, Durham County Council’s Labour cabinet last month agreed to reduce opening times to 36 hours a week at 11 town centre libraries and 20 hours a week at 27 community branches.”
  • Halton – Libraries join TolkienRuncorn and Widnes Weekly News.   “The Reading Agency looked for reading groups to join the online Hobbit community and Halton libraries is one of the five groups chosen alongside Houghton Regis, Lancashire and Doncaster libraries, and the specialist Myth And Magic Tolkien Reading And Language Fellowship Group.”
  • Lambeth – Clapham Library by Studio Egret West – De Zeen.  Superb photos of a superb new library, paid for by developers.
  • Suffolk – Future of all of Suffolk’s libraries is not secure – Rosehill Readers.  30% cut: “We’ve seen a hollowing-out of the service from the centre including cuts to the back-office “stock team”. Managers have resigned from their posts and not been replaced and there’s been a noticeable reduction in the quality of the service. What will happen when the budget is cut even further?”. No guarantee of further funding.  Council accepts IPS is risky model, volunteers have not come forward in many branches.  “Is the IPS a cheaper option? How can we know? It was estimated that the IPS would cost around £650,000 to set up. And, we know that the County Council (taxpayers) have also paid for the legal costs of the IPS.”