There are several options for library services when faced with cuts.  Closures and volunteers are the well-known ones.  Another one is cuts in hours.  Hertfordshire went down this route sufficiently long ago for their impact on usage to start to be recorded.  This quote below is from We Heart Libraries and I’d recommend reading their whole article.

“library opening hours only effectively fell by 25 per cent in 2011-12 compared with in 2010-11. Usage over that period was down by 18.8 per cent, compared with the previous year’s fall of only 4.4 per cent. This is almost triple the fall shown in the most recent national figures, which show a 6.7 per cent decline in national library use between 2006 and 2011.

The figures also reveal that the cost-cutting measures saved £1,716 per every 1,000 people in Hertfordshire – a percentage saving of 9.4 per cent overall. The report points out that a further saving will be made in 2012/13 when the “service transformation” is applied to a full year.

The report says: “The percentage drop in usage is less than the reduction in opening hours, indicating that many library users have adjusted their patterns of use around the new hours, whilst others appear to be making more use of online library services.”


  • Librarians are assets to schools, students – Lehighvalleylive (Letters). “Librarians are unsung heroes and educators of our children. Their wealth of knowledge and information cannot and should not be replaced by technology, teacher aides, parents or volunteers. Libraries hold our history, the importance of what happened good and bad, so we can learn how we deal with the present and the future. A computer cannot maintain all this for generations.”
  • Library closures: perverts with “fewer places to w**k”Poke.  If library closures are now so well known that dirty jokes are made about them then the situation is dire indeed.
  • Many people rely on the library just to survive – Voices for the Library.  “Bradley is currently completing a Duke of Edingburgh award at bronze level and volunteers at Batley Library and Information Centre … Libraries are an extremely important part of daily life for thousands of people. They rely on us for many reasons…”

“Hidden away in yesterday’s letter from Maria Miller confirming that there is no need for an Enquirey into Brent library services is the statement that the number of PCs in Brent libraries is not “a relevant matter under the 1964 Act”.  This is quite startling. During the High Court action, both the claimants and the Council regarded the provision of IT services in libraries as an intrinsic part of the library service.  The judge made no ruling on that as it was not brought up as a matter of dispute. The SoS now appears to be saying that not only ebooks are not part of the service, but also any electronically transmitted materials.  This is effectively legally defining libraries out of existence, and a far greater threat to public library services than any number of building closures. It underlines the need for a new legal definition to bring the 1964 Act into the modern age.” – Redefining Libraries – Jame’s Powney’s Blog

  • Women’s Library protests continue– BookSeller. “Protestors hoping to prevent The Women’s Library from moving from its East End home are planning another rally outside the building on Saturday (22nd September). The action follows another protest outside a meeting of London Metropolitan University earlier this month, which attempted to persuade the institution not to sell the library to the only bidder, the London School of Economics.”


Local news

  • Barnet – Friern Barnet Library: reoccupied and reopened – Worker’s Liberty. “Until they were sure what the occupiers were demanding of the council, and while they clarified their own legal position, SFBL held off endorsing the occupation or entering the property. Since the occupiers have made it clear that they consider themselves simply the “caretakers” of the library while the council and residents negotiate over its future, SFBL are now supporting the occupation.” … “An initial hearing on Tuesday 18 September postponed proceedings for 21 days to allow the occupiers to prepare their case. Library campaigners will be turning out in force to defend their library and make clear what they think of Barnet’s barbarous Tory Council. Whatever the outcome, it is likely that the occupation and the campaign that accompanies it will continue in earnest over the next few weeks.”
  • Bolton – Citizenship Test guide is number one borrowed book in Bolton – Bolton News.  “The council said one of the reasons the books may be popular at the Central Library is because it also hosts English language classes. Other books popular at the Central Library included the official DSA theory test, which was in second place, and popular because the library also hosts an online theory test simulation. In fourth place was Swedish crime thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which has also been made into a film in its native country and remade as a Hollywood blockbuster starring Daniel Craig. And month by month lending shows borrowing across all libraries has been dominated by children’s literature, prompted by the summer reading challenge, a national initiative which Bolton takes part in.”
  • Croydon – Closure of New Addington Library building not far off, says Cllr Sara Bashford– This is Croydon Today.  “”We will be moving the library into the Calat, that is the plan at the moment. To shut the current building which is quite old and getting to the end of its useful life. “There is some work being done in the Calat at the moment and there are plans to have adult education, job centre advice and the library in there so it all fits in nicely together. “The library will have all the same services as it does at the moment.” But when asked if the new building will house the same number of books as it does presently, Mrs Bashford said she could not make any promises.”
  • Durham – Campaigners aim to fight library cuts– Northern Echo.  “More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for longer opening hours at a town centre library, which will suffer due to county council budget cuts. Sedgefield Library’s opening hours will be cut from 39 per week to 20 in January, as Durham County Council strives to save £174m over the next four years.”

“”I have two young children and we visit the library at least two or three times a week, ” she said. “It is always busy, especially after school when all the children come along. “These are the hours we could lose when they reduce the opening times.”

  • Hertfordshire – Cuts to opening hours and mobile libraries: the consequences – We Heart Libraries.  “They show that, because the changes happened mid-year, library opening hours only effectively fell by 25 per cent in 2011-12 compared with in 2010-11. Usage over that period was down by 18.8 per cent, compared with the previous year’s fall of only 4.4 per cent. This is almost triple the fall shown in the most recent national figures, which show a 6.7 per cent decline in national library use between 2006 and 2011.”
  • Lancashire – Extended shelf-life for Chorley and Leyland libraries – Citizen.  “County library chiefs say the reorganisation, set to be confirmed by County Coun Mike Calvert, community services cabinet member, can be achieved without extra staffing costs. Councillors have been told that opening hours are one of the main issues raised by library staff during consultations. And there is an expectation for more to follow suit.”
  • Leicestershire – More cuts for library and museum service – Melton Times.  Further £500k cut for service.  Council is asking public to ask for options below:

“The key thing for people to understand is that it will require a combination of two or three options for us to make the savings.”

The options are:-

  • Community partnership – how can local communities become more inolved in running their local library or museum
  • Commissioning – outsourcing activities such as the summer reading challenge, informal help with IT and so on
  • Mobile library – Re-route the service so it delivers every three weeks rather than every two
  • Opening hours – Further reduce opening hours in major libraries and museums
  • Devolved delivery – transfer the library and museum service to an arms-length organisation such as a mutual or charity to run on behalf of the county council
  •  Share buildings – for example move services into a library or a library into another building.”
  • North Lincolnshire – New chapter opening for Broughton as library welcomes public from Friday – This is Scunthorpe.  “The new Broughton library will be opened by Councillor Ivan Glover, the Mayor of North Lincolnshire, on Friday (Sept 21). It has been created at the village hall, in the centre of the town.” … “A single storey extension was built on to the village hall to make room for the new library and community facility. There will be much more available at the new location, including a wide range of books for children and adults, including large print and audio; free wi-fi; computers for public use; a self-service kiosk; and events and activities throughout the year. Initially, it will be open 15 hours a week. But, with help from more volunteers, North Lincolnshire Council says it can extend the opening hours.”
  • Tameside – Fight Tameside library cuts – Socialist Party. One of the measures pursued by the council is an attack on an open source of knowledge, a place of employment and a vital hub utilised by numerous social groups within the community – from the young to the elderly and to those using the computers to search for jobs: libraries. ” … “Hundreds of signatures have been collected, with several copies of the Socialist sold and £170 raised in support of the Socialist Party’s campaigning work.”