National Libraries Day may be changed so it becomes National Libraries Week.  It may also be moved from February to June/July.  Please see more here.  The day has been a tremendous success over the last couple of years and it is important that this is right.

The Guardian reports on the squatters taking over Friern Barnet Library.  What with the Council seeking to use the squatters for the purpose of opening a volunteer-run library elsewhere and the locals being happy about the Library (sort of) reopening, this looks like the Most Popular Squat of the Month UK.  Meanwhile, it looks like Solihull will be reducing opening hours in many of its libraries soon.  There’s an awful story about a library in India with some fantastic rare books simply rotting away due to lack of money.  There’s also another, equally awful in its own way, story from the subcontinent about a large new town with no parks and no libraries and the way that it may be ffecting on quality of life and/or house prices.


  • Donaldson warning to new culture secretary – BookSeller.  “Donaldson was writing as she prepares for a six-week tour of UK libraries, when she will be acting out stories with visiting schoolchildren, as well as aiming to “draw attention to the erosion of the library service which is happening in so many local authorities”.  Also mentions extension of deadline to respond to the “minded not to intervene” DCMS letter to three of the authorities which have closed the most branches.

FOGLibraries Cheltenham MP @martinchelt has secured a debate in Parliament about Gloucestershire Library cuts This should take place tomorrow [Wednesday] evening “

    • No parks or public libraries in Malkajgiri– Hindu (India).  ““The main problem is official apathy and lack of imagination on their part. If there is no space left for building parks, how about providing libraries or other such public amenities instead?,” M. Sheshagiri, another resident questions. People still flock to this area as accommodation is cheaper here and with a little attention from the authorities this area can regain its lost allure, he maintains.”
    • Reading Agency given £127,000 to boost volunteering in libraries– Third Sector.  “The reading charity The Reading Agency has been given £127,000 from the Cabinet Office’s £20m Social Action Fund to create volunteering opportunities in libraries for young people. The funding will go towards creating a new Youth Innovation Network, which will offer volunteering opportunities for people aged 11 to 25 in libraries in England. The Reading Agency will run the scheme in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians.”

  • Squatters reopen Friern Barnet Library after council closes service – Guardian. “A group of eight squatters entered the north London library last week, through an open window. Since the law changed on 1 September making it a criminal offence to squat residential properties, they have turned to commercial properties to find a bed for the night. The occupation has the blessing of many local residents who are delighted to see the locked doors of the library flung open once again. It’s the first time that squatters have morphed into “community librarians” by occupying and reopening a public lending resource in this way. Book loans will be manually recorded and stamped.”

“Mike Gee, a local resident campaigning to reopen Friern Barnet library, is very supportive of the squatters for achieving what local residents, 7,000 of whom have signed a petition protesting about the closure, have so far failed to do. “One action is worth 1,000 words,” he said. “I fully endorse what the squatters have done but I am concerned about the situation. Does the council pay a librarian to do an honest day’s work or does the council chief executive, who is on 10 times a librarian’s salary, get volunteers to do the job for free?”

  • We want to make National Libraries Day bigger and better: what do you think? – National Libraries Day.  “A popular idea has been to extend National Libraries Day to National Libraries Week. This would allow those libraries that do not open at the weekend, such as school and higher education libraries, to get involved and to celebrate all the wonderful work that they do.” … “Some loved having it in February as a chance to begin the year with a celebration. Others worried that attendance would be higher in the summer months. One early suggestion has been to move the event to June or July to accommodate this. June or July would also allow for the much-loved Libraries Change Lives Award to act as a sort of ‘closing ceremony’ for the celebrations. Over the past 21 years the Libraries Change Lives Award has highlighted to the public, press and politicians the amazing work going on in a diverse range of settings, from working with dementia patients, to providing musical inspiration to school children. We know that Libraries Change Lives, this is a chance to show how.”
  • Who will save the Hardayal Public library? – Twitter Storify (India).  Amazing photographs of India Library which has 17th Century UK books in it, as well as a load of other treasures, that are just wasting away due to lack of money.  Staff there not paid for four months but still working.


Local News

  • Barnet – Squatters reopen Friern Barnet Library – Barnet and Whetstone Press.  “Activist Pete Phoenix, 41, said the library’s success would depend on the involvement of the community, with volunteers being asked to contribute both books and time. He said: “It is up to everyone in Barnet. If they want a community library they will have to come in and make that happen. If they stand on the sidelines it may close in a few weeks. But if they come in and get involved we will prove that this is a workable model.”

“Everyone has been incredible,” said Mr Phoenix. “It is probably one of the biggest levels of support of a community squat action for many years and hopefully we are going to focus that support into co-operation by the council and the community and see this place used.”

  • Bedford – Library queues could be a thing of the past – Bedfordshire on Sunday.  “Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Where we have introduced self-service terminals at libraries in the borough, people have told us that it makes their visit even more enjoyable as they can spend more time viewing the books, rather than having to wait in queues to get served. This time-saving technology is a quick way of issuing, discharging and renewing items yourself, which people may find much more convenient.” Bedford Borough Council says it is investing in modernising library facilities in a two year ‘Invest to Save’ modernisation project.”
  • Bolton – No inquiry into axed libraries– Bolton News.  “Bolton was one of several author-ities in the UK to close libraries, and the government had been urged to hold an inquiry into some of the decisions. But this week Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said, in a letter to the council, he would not be looking into the Bolton closures. The letter also revealed that, according to the council’s own figures, more than one in 10 people in Bolton have stopped using a library since the closures.”
  • Croydon/Lambeth – Joint statement from Labour leaders on UNJL – Putting Croydon First. “Labour believes the local communities fight to save UNJL can not be allowed to fail. That is why despite the draconian cuts in funding to be implemented by Croydon’s Tory Council, Labour in both Lambeth and Croydon are committed to the long term future of  UNJL, in terms of both financial support and ensuring a smooth transition to a community led library.. “
  • Kirklees – Council seeks views on libraries – Mirfield Reporter.  “Kirklees Council is being tight-lipped about exactly what changes may be in the pipeline. The council is advertising a series of open days in Kirklees libraries, where people can share their views to help ‘shape the future’ of the service.”
  • Sheffield – Parson Cross library users reminded about consultation – Postcode Gazette.  “Library users are now being asked what times they would prefer libraries to be open, what they think of the quality of facilities currently on offer at their library and other potential uses in the future. “
  • Solihull – Decision on Solihull libraries’ opening hours – Birmingham Mail.  “The council carried out a 12-week consultation from December 2011 to February 2012 to seek people’s views on when they do and do not want to use the libraries. Using this feedback, the council is proposing a revised set of opening hours so that the ten branch libraries are only open when people are actually using and want to use them.”