The Greens have become the latest political part to plan closing a library.  The mobile library in Brighton is soon to finish, to be replaced by a home delivery system supported by volunteers.  Elsewhere, cuts affect libraries in Sandwell and a library is likely to transfer to a community centre in Cheshire West and Chester.  The occupation of Friern Barnet Library by squatters has been the inspiration of several articles of different viewpoints.


  • 11 amazing librarian tattoos – Mental Floss.  A card catalogue down the arm, siginicant dewey numbers on one’s back …
  • Boyd Tonkin: Public-spirited squatters in my first library open a new chapter of action – Independent.  “The council, which had treated the cogent but polite arguments of local users with brusque scorn, quickly agreed to negotiate with the occupiers, although all it offered was the same unsuitable building in a nearby park that campaigners had rejected before. There’s a delicious irony to this occupation in that local Conservative MP Mike Freer led the parliamentary process that has, from this month, criminalised squatting in residential properties. The library remains a public building. So Barnet can’t call the cops. They will, however, start eviction proceedings.”

“Miller must grasp that the political shading of pro-library activism varies from place to place. Pretty often, it attracts voters who might not think of themselves as the Coalition’s sworn enemies. If this unknown quantity wishes to make a mark, she might choose to wield her statutory powers to review some closures. There are, she will know, few readers who would enjoy a story entitled “The Clone of Hunt”

  • Let’s not play librarians– ElizCro. “It is sad that in our desire to save libraries we have seen communities, though reluctant, pushed to run their library, endeavouring to keep doors open and the service ticking over, in the hope that a professional service will be reinstated sometime in the future. This often comes with huge responsibilities to fundraise to meet on-going costs and the thorny issue of sufficient volunteers to man them. Many see this as unsustainable, also giving the council permission to lay the blame on the community, should the arrangement fail. The next year or so will be very telling on this front. Of greater concern are those jumping in eagerly to run libraries, openly expressing the view that they can do a better job than professional librarians and experienced trained staff. This, I really cannot understand.” … “Before anyone screams that I am anti volunteer, I’ve spent years of my life volunteering but I have never undertaken anything that undermined some else’s employment or profession.”
  • Libraries and the demographic shift – Huffington Post.  “The American dream has become a reality for diverse patrons at 100 public libraries in 28 states since January 2007, as adult English-language learners participated in American Dream Starts @ your library programs. Through the generous support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, thousands of adult learners attended English, Job training, citizenship, and GED preparation programs.” (USA)
  • Literary Angels socialises books – Idealog (New Zealand) via Finding Heroes.  Facebook-based group aims to recommend books to people [hang on, don’t librarians do that? – Ian.]
  • No more big stick: chief executives share lessons on leadershipGuardian. Laing on taking over Hounslow libraries: “using solutions-focused coaching since 2008 as part of its contract to run libraries and parks in the London borough of Hounslow. “With over 300 staff moving from a charitable trust to a private sector employer delivering key frontline public services, developing a common language and a focus on solutions rather than problems has generated significant improvement in management and staff effectiveness,” he said, and had contributed to the overall lower cost of running the service.”
  • NY Library to adopt ad-supported toilet paper – Library Journal (USA). Library director says she “was surprised to see articles on her toilet paper selection, of all things, spread across the news media: they have appeared as far afield as NPR and New Delhi television. “We did a magnificent renovation here, and we do all these programs, and we get all this publicity because of toilet paper,” she said. “But they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.””
  • Squatters can occupy a part of society’s architecture tooGuardian.  “But this is just one library. Of the 4,612 in the country, 270 are now closed or due to be closed as a result of public sector cuts. I have been a squatter for nearly 23 years and see no reason why we can’t seek more reasonable solutions like this occupation for the nearly one million empty buildings in the UK. What we have here is a prime example of the positive contribution squatters can make to the community.”


Local News

  • Aberdeen – Book lovers’s anger at plans – Press and Journal.  ” “I think closing as many as eight libraries in Aberdeen is quite dreadful. It would be doing the city a dis-service. A lot of older people use libraries as meeting places, to read the papers and to take out books and to take away the service would be a huge mistake.”
  • Eight Aberdeen libraries under threat as council cuts costs– BBC.  “The controversial proposals were first discussed, and then later rejected, by the Scottish National Party administration last February. The new Labour-led council has decided to revisit the plans which could help Aberdeen Council save thousands of pounds.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Mobile library facing axe – Argus.  “A mobile library service is to be axed despite a well-supported campaign to keep it. Brighton and Hove City Council have announced they are looking to replace the mobile library vehicle with a personalised door-to-door “books-on-wheels” delivery service. Council officials said they lacked sufficient funds and had been unsuccessful in finding local partners to help run the mobile library service.” … “The council is proposing a full-time home delivery library officer to visit residents unable to get to libraries and deliver books to their doorstep and give home tuition in Internet, email and social media skills. The home delivery service will have a budget of £25,000 per year and would require the assistance of volunteers.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Hoole Library may relocate – Chester Chronicle. “A crucial meeting was last night due to decide whether Hoole Library moves into the heart of the community but staffed mainly by volunteers. Existing Hoole Road premises are so fragile that a storm, heavy snowfall or vandalism could close the aging wooden building. Last night the trust which runs Hoole Community Centre was debating whether to pursue Cheshire West and Chester Council’s desire to locate the library in the centre, based mainly on a self-service principle but with the support of local volunteers.”

“The library service would be looking for the community to provide volunteers to work in the library. It does happen all over the country but as far as CWaC is concerned it’s a first.”

  • Liverpool – New lease of life for vacant buildings – Liverpool Council.  “Woolton, Edge Hill and Great Homer Street libraries were closed earlier this year” – Woolton taken over by “Young People’s Opportunities Service”, Edge Hill by “Liverpool Carnival Company” and Great Homer Street will be demolished.

“Closing the three libraries was a difficult decision, but in these times of huge financial challenges, it simply wasn’t feasible for us to invest vast amounts of money to bring each of them up to the standard of a 21st century library. “Empty buildings are always unwanted in our neighbourhoods, so it’s great news that these groups have come forward to not only utilise the venue, but also to bring a valuable, new resource to our communities.”

  • Sandwell – Libraries face jobs axe in cut to budget – Express and Star.  “Borough library budgets have already been slashed by almost £900,000 in the past two years, but Sandwell Council must save a further £488,000 over the next two years.” … “So far, savings to library costs have been mainly made through reducing staffing levels, driven largely by the investment in self-service, more efficient timetabling and a leaner management structure. But now the council is being asked to look at other ways to cut down on costs. Options to be considered include replacing static libraries with ‘express’ libraries or reducing opening hours.
  • Thurrock – Yobs ride through Corringham library on scooters – Basildon Recorder.  “Corringham Library suffered when youngsters started going inside on scooters, threatening staff and damaging property. Security staff left after pupils went back to school, but Danni Tate, chairman of Corringham Community Forum, fears the same harassment could happen again at every half-term and school holiday.” … “Ms Tate said during the height of the trouble, library staff were forced to barricade the doors to prevent abusive youths going inside. “
  • Warwickshire – Library survives as a dance school – BBC.  “”We do dance classes here five days a week. “It can get a little bit noisy but the locals don’t seem to mind. “I was looking to re-locate in the Dordon area and I heard its library was up for closure, so I approached the volunteers here at the library. “The money from the rental that I pay goes to sustaining the library.” Many of the dancers choose to do their homework in the library before their class starts, including tap dancer Jade McCarthy.” [NB. This is not unique – Winsford Libraryhas two dance floors – Ian] … “Sixty people have already lost their jobs as part of £2m worth of savings. Binley Woods library is now up for sale and the parish council is struggling to find the funds to try to buy it. Paul Salisbury, chairman of Binley Woods Parish Council, said: “The parish council have got a certain amount of money but they haven’t got enough to pay £125,000-£150,000 that Warwickshire County Council are looking for, and so we need some help with funding.”
  • West Sussex – £90,000 grant for a Sussex First World War project – County Times.  ” grant of almost £90,000 to launch a project charting the impact of the First World War on residents. The grant comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and coincides with the approaching centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.”
  • Wolverhampton – Community Hubs consultation dates – WV11.  “Unfortunately there have been a lot of unfounded rumours flying around and Express & Star headlines such as “Wolverhampton Libraries Facing Closure” do not help matters. Non of the Libraries, Community Centres or Youth Centres in Wednesfield are facing closure under the new proposals. Wednesfield & Long Knowle will remain largely unaffected with new joined entrances being proposed. In Ashmore Park the proposals are to relocate the Library and Community Centre to the current Youth Centre site. This would see extensive work to make the site fit for purpose as a Community Hub.”