In a “ruthless Cameron reshuffle to the right“,  Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State with ultimate responsibility for Libraries has now moved on to the Department of Health.  He said and did almost the absolute minimum on the subject of libraries over a period of unprecedented cuts, closures, hollowing out and deprofessionalisation.

His replacement, former advertising executive Maria Miller is likely to do no more and be no better.  Her parliamentary record shows almost no interest in Culture, Media or Sport and none about libraries.  It also shows her to be very definitely not a moderate or “left-wing” Conservative.  She is the one who is behind getting rid of Remploy factories. She has blamed unemployment on people’s unwillingness to work and was working on the removal of the Independent Living Fund for the disabled on the eve of her move.

Unsubstantiated rumours are circulating that Maria may be but a caretaker and that the tales of the DCMS being likely to be abolished are still true but will be delayed a short while.  Certainly, Maria’s appointment makes little sense in terms of her interests.  However, no-one said that one had to be good or skilled at a job in government in order to do it.


  • Cultural quangos “lead to worsening conditions” for staff in museums and libraries – Scotsman.  “More than two thirds of Scotland’s councils have launched arms length bodies to run cultural and leisure services in an attempt to save money and improve efficiency. However, a leader of the biggest union for council staff in Scotland claimed that employees in libraries and museums now had worse working conditions due to the transfer of powers from local authorities to the quangos.”.  Trusts themselves suggest people feel more “empowered” with them.
  • Libraries are a vital sanctuary: British Children’s Laureate – Reuters.  “Public libraries are treasure troves for the imagination and resources that pay for themselves many times over by educating and enriching, so closing them to trim budgets is self-defeating, British Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson said.”

“Donaldson, author of over 150 books including “The Gruffalo”, said that savings accrued from closing down branches would be outweighed by much larger costs incurred from higher crime that these facilities help to reduce. “Something like 50 percent of prisoners are illiterate, so it doesn’t make sense to be shutting down the places which are stimulating and encouraging a love of books,” she said. “It’s a false economy.I want to celebrate libraries. They are places in which you can develop your imagination, free yourself from circumstances.”

Local News

Save Kensal Rise Lib@SaveKRLibrary We are up to 55K in pledges to #savekensalriselibrary Please make a pledge at We need 70K by Friday #savelibraries

  • Isle of Wight – Gov minister “not minded to direct a local inquiry” over Island libraries – On the Wight.  Ed Vaizey’s letter discussed.  Comments are not sympathetic to him.
  • Campaigner’s call after library cuts latest – Isle of Wight County Press.  “Leading libraries campaigner Dave Quigley said today (Tuesday): “We have spoken to campaigners in Bolton and understand that the three councils with the highest percentage of library cuts have all received almost identical letters.” He urged people to contact the Secretary of State. He added that they hoped to receive a copy of a select committee’s report into library cuts, including those on the Isle of Wight, later this month.”
  • Liverpool – Library restoration – ITV News Granada.  “The £50 million restoration of Liverpool central library is a step closer to completion. So far work has included demolishing the 1950s Brown Library and the 1978 extension. Today a huge class dome roof which overlooks the city will be finished.”.  Some excellent visualizations of the completed building.
  • Nottinghamshire – Libraries set for £11.6m cash injection – This is Nottinghamshire.  “Projects such as the £5.2 million overhaul of West Bridgford Library and Young People’s Centre are already under way, but now details have emerged of other schemes in the pipeline between 2014 and 2023. A long-term £3.3 million programme will be presented to the county council’s culture committee today, outlining where the money will be spent.”

“The council said it is bucking the nationwide trend of axing staff and cutting funding, and is committed to ensuring its libraries remain at the heart of communities.”

  • Sheffield – Be part of Sheffield City Council’s book review – Postcode Gazette.  “The libraries review consultation was launched on the 13 August 2012 by Sheffield City Council and will look at reshaping Sheffield’s library services to make them fit for what local people require whilst providing the city with affordable services. “
  • York – Second revamp of York’s central library planned – Press.  “The scheme would see the refurbishment and extension of the first floor of the York Explore centre in Museum Street, and follows the facelift carried out on the ground floor of the Grade II-listed building in 2009, when the library was also renamed. “