Well, that’s a gruesome post heading, isn’t it?  It’s from the translation of a Swedish article about what is happening to UK libraries.  Kind of puts things in perspective.  News today includes Moray losing almost half of its libraries.  Suddenly, Scottish libraries don’t looks so comparatively secure as they did before.  It also includes libraries in Essex taking over as information points for Epping Forest District Council.  It is to be hoped that this move saves them from the library “slaughter”.


“If I, as a staunch supporter of public libraries and a person unfazed by using such services (unlike so many members of the public) is getting thoroughly exasperated, angry and totally disillusioned, just what hope is there for keeping and serving existing users, let alone attracting new and ‘timid’ users?  I can only conclude, with real regret, that some public library services are causing or, at the very least, hastening their own demise.” Carolyn Carter on lis-pub-libs.  Library enthusiast complains about a public library website which, she claims, has basic flaws and poor customer service.

  • Learn from the library slaughter   SvD Kultur (Sweden).  A Swedish view of what is happening in UK libraries.  “The most distressing, as always when library cuts comes up, the short-sightedness of reasoning. Not to realize that free public library is an essential part of a civilized society. To not see the connection between declining literacy and library cuts. To not see that in a modern society really can not afford to be without libraries.”

“It is easy to see the library cuts in the UK as a warning flag. But it is also important for those who like me think that libraries are important, to be inspired by the massive protests. One should not stand injustice. It’s time to gather arguments for us. One day we will need them, we also – perhaps more quickly than we think.”

  • Libraries under threat – ITV News / Meridian. Five minute video on “will libraries survive?”.  Kindles and cheap books mean libraries need to diversify – St Alban’s library is a church as well. Rhymetimes prove very popular, as are reading groups.  Also looks at teenage groups in the evening.  Annie Mauger (CILIP boss) is interviewed: with the first question being about the need for quiet about libraries.  Councils are “making very difficult choices in a difficult time … it’s really important that the Minister defines what the Act means”. Librarians are early adopters to change, two-thirds lend e-books.
  • Not Loving It: Young Students Forced to Go McDonalds for WiFi After Libraries Close – Color Lines (USA). “There’s about 15,000 Wi-Fi-enabled public libraries in the country but after they close many young people with homework have to go to businesses that have free internet access. McDonald’s restaurants are usually open late and the fast food chain has more than 12,000 Wi-Fi-equipped locations in the U.S., and for many black, Latino and rural children that’s where their connection to the Web lives.”


Local News

“As part of the arrangement, which came into effect at the end of January, people can call the council on dedicated phones in each library and access services, such as planning and housing, on library computers. The kiosk in Waltham Abbey Town Hall where cash payments can be made to the council is set to move to the town’s library in Sun Street later in the year.”

  • Hertfordshire – Get active and stay healthy at Hoddesdon Library – Hertfordshire Council. “The event, called ‘Keep Mind and Body Active’, is being held on 20 February between 10am and 3pm. Free activities on offer include baby massage, healthy eating practical cooking sessions, health checks (blood pressure, BMI, etc), exercise classes (yoga, pilates, etc), card and craft making, demonstrations of aids for people with impaired vision, and a history walk round Barclay Park.”
  • Moray – Warning of more cuts to come as council agrees budget – Moray Council. “Councillors today approved a raft of measures which will shave £7million from the budget for 2013-14 and which will see the removal of subsidised bus services, the closure of seven libraries, the removal of support for arts development  and a one-year reduction in roads maintenance.” May be more library cuts to come (“That may not be the end of reductions in that sector.”) and may move surviving libraries into a Leisure Trust.
  • Newport – Library closures “a sinful waste” – South Wales Argus / Letters. “I am now sad to hear of the closure of both Handpost and Maindee libraries. Both these outlets have given sterling service over the years and I cannot see any other provision in these areas. In particular, Maindee is the main hub of the area, located ideally on the main Chepstow Road. It is well-used and has new computers and such installed there. What a terrible loss the closures would be to these areas”
  • Oxfordshire – Police push for money to go to officers, not libraries – Oxford Mail. “Force chiefs said libraries should not get cash as part of “section 106” deals between developers and West Oxfordshire District Council. They want money to go on infrastructure improvements such as roads and employing extra police officers.”

“Judith Wardle, former co-ordinator of the Save Oxfordshire Libraries campaign, said: “I am puzzled as to why Thames Valley Police should single out libraries as not requiring developer money. Libraries are one essential element of community developments and there are places, including West Oxfordshire, where libraries are housed in very old buildings, and if there is the opportunity to use section 106 funds for enhancing library provision that is good for communities anywhere.””

  •  Sheffield – Thousands support Sheffield libraries petition – Sheffield Star. “The campaign has been backed by Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP Nick Clegg.He said: “The fact that so many people have responded to the campaign shows the strength of feeling. I know just how much the libraries in my constituency are valued.“While we all have to deal with less money, it doesn’t seem fair for them to suggest libraries should close instead of cutting back on Town Hall refurbishments, consultants and trade union officials.””

  • Tower Hamlets  – TEDxTalks / Youtube. Looks at the creation and implementation for Idea Stores.  Spent two years consulting with public first. This is an excellent talk.