In the first public move since taking over Laing’s library interests last month, Carillion have announced that there will be widespread redundancies in their libraries.  I understand that over 100 staff have been told that they are “at risk” and around one full time equivalent per branch will go (perhaps 30 in total). Carillion explain that the move is down to utilising new technology and streamlining back room functions while keeping disturbance to the public to a minimum. Others suspect that the move may be more because the new owners of the outsourced library services (with Croydon only passing its libraries to JLIS just three weeks before Carillion took over JLIS) are looking to make as much profit as possible.  The actual answer may of course be a combination of the two,

That will be of little comfort to those who lose their jobs.  Even less comfort will be got from the fact that this gaining from economies of scale (and, remember, Carillion has now merged four library authorities (Hounslow, Ealing, Croydon and Harrow – more even than the Tri-Borough) and cutting of the backroom services are exactly the agenda that national politicians, senior librarians and campaigners are following as well. When faced with a crisis in funding of this level and the need to keep branches open, backroom staff may find themselves truly friendless.



  • Campaigner meeting with Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group – Public Libraries News. Summary of meeting between Library campaigners, Justin Tomlinson MP (Chair fo APPG) and Helen Goodman MP (Shadow minister for libraries).  Little chance of any intervention by minister.  Further, deeper cuts expected in 2014.
  • Man (35) arrested in National Library theft – Independent (Eire). “A member of staff at the National Library has been arrested over the suspected theft of a large number of books and valuable artefacts. The 35-year-old man was detained after a tip-off from library bosses about texts and pamphlets that had gone missing over a period of time.”
  • U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies, 2012 – LRS (USA). 75% library websites are now mobile-friendly, more than half of libraries are on Facebook.


  • Innovation, Inspiration and Creativity Conference: Using Positive Disruption to improve libraries (I2C2) – 6th/7th March 2014 in Manchester. “We’ve now confirmed our Keynote Speakers – Brendan Dawes and Dave White, we’ve got Andy Priestner coming to do run Serious Play Lego workshops with us and plans for lots of other workshops, talks and activities. The full programme will be out mid-December as we’re firming it up over the next few weeks. There are a real mix of speakers, from academic libraries, public libraries, consultants and more … suitable for anyone interested in innovating to improve libraries, whatever the sector!”
  • Speak Up For Libraries – 23rd November in London. “A handful of places left at Saturday’s Speak Up For Libraries conference at CILIP HQ in London. Organised by Campaign for the Book, CILIP, Voices for the Library, The Library Campaign and UNISON. Format: not long speeches, but chance to network, workshop & debate with Brian Ashley of ACE, Phil Bradley of CILIP, Janene Cox of SCL, Yinnon Ezra of DCMS, and Heather Wakefield of UNISON. Aim: get some coherence, plan re what is really needed and start getting some action. £20 cost just covers food for the day. But book – or it will run out!

UK news by authority

  • Birmingham – Capita pockets £1.2m to create Library of Birmingham website – Birmingham Post. “Digital experts have been left stunned at the huge £1.2 million cost of the council’s new Library of Birmingham’s website – claiming it could have been delivered at a fraction of the cost. There was also criticism of the ongoing £190,000-a-year running cost of the site revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request from a city web designer. The website creation contract was pocketed by IT supplier Capita Service Birmingham without a competitive tender and launched to coincide with the opening of the £189 million Library of Birmingham, in Centenary Square, in September.” … “The huge outlay comes as the city’s 39 community libraries are under review as the council bids to cut the £50 million ‘controllable’ budget.”
  • Bradford – Silsden woman’s worries over ‘lifeline’ libraries service cuts – Keighley News. “A service that delivers books to Ailene Wade’s home and to several hundred others across the district faces closure as part of Bradford Council cuts” … ““It’s a vital link for people – that 20-minute-or-so visit may be the only social interaction they have,” … Councillor says “We don’t want to stop the home delivery service, but the savagery of government cuts imposed disproportionately on Bradford and Keighley forces us into this position”
  • Bristol – Mayor urged to think again over using part of Central Library as a primary school – Bristol Post. “Bristol’s only independent councillor has spoken out against the basement area of the Central Library being turned into a primary school. Jason Budd, who was elected in May, said the proposal to lease part of the Central Library to the Cathedral Free School would be “folly”.” … “this proposal threatens a key part of the heritage of our city and it is future generations not yet born who will suffer the consequences, all for the short term gain of 30 extra school places.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Read all about Wayne’s prize from library – Winsford Guardian. “Wayne Lea, 38, of Windsor Drive, made his way through Karl Pilkington’s An Idiot Abroad and the biography of Rob Brydon on his way to winning a crisp £50. Winsford Library’s Reading Rewards scheme challenged participants to cram in eight books before the end of October to stand a chance in the contest”
  • Croydon – Library staff handed redundancy warnings Carillion – Guardian series. “Staff have since been told there will be a ‘restructuring’ taking place and in a meeting this morning with Carillion bosses, staff were made aware that redundancies are possible. Carillion have today confirmed a restructure would be taking place and jobs would be at risk.”

Cultural Community Solutions has announced details of proposed library restructure. As a result of significant developments in the way that local library services are now managed, Cultural Community Solutions has today (20th November) announced proposals for a new integrated staffing structure. This will enable  us to continue to deliver high quality library services across four London boroughs and ensure a sustainable future for the libraries. The proposed changes will take advantage of new technology and ways of working and will focus on streamlining back room functions.

The new structure will protect opening hours and frontline roles as well as creating a number of new positions to focus on the delivery of community outreach and engagement to ensure the library services are accessible to all our communities. Regrettably these proposed changes will put a number of jobs at risk, but we are making every effort to ensure that these losses will be no more than one full time post per library. We will also explore opportunities for redeployment across our wider business. We have now started a period of consultation with all affected staff and their recognised unions.” Carillion press release

  • Croydon – Carillion threaten Library staff with redundancies – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “Cuts will be made, staff will be lost, the services will ultimately be hollowed out, staff motivation and morale shattered and users served up a sham 2nd class service all in the name of the market and neoliberalism.”
  • Lincolnshire – Deepings library campaigners to hold protest vigil – Stamford Mercury. “The protest event will take place outside the library building in High Street, Market Deeping, at 6.15pm ahead of the revised proposal on the library service being published on Friday.”
  • Lincolnshire – Independents’ alternative plan – This is Lincolnshire. “A seven-strong group of Lincolnshire independent councillors claim communities would not have expressed an interest in running local libraries if they had not been forced to act by the threat of closure. Members argue that those communities which have not entered the process are concerned about the sustainability of volunteers, the costs involved and putting people out of work. The group used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain current library budget figures for 2013/14 and examples include £27,760 for Boultham Library and £34,686 for Birchwood.”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries Consultation #EpicFail – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. A look at the suggested weaknesses and biases in the consultation.
  • Lincolnshire – Schools hand in last anti-libraries closures petition – Lincolnite. “School pupils, head teachers, parents and library users met today to hand in a 762-strong petition to Lincolnshire County Council, with the hopes to retain funding for the county’s libraries. Representatives from Ling Moor, Fosse Way and South Hykeham primary schools made the appeal on November 20, ahead of a formal meeting set to take place on November 22, to discuss revised library plans.
  • Lincolnshire – Threatened libraries likely to be staffed by volunteers in Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire Echo. “Save Lincolnshire Libraries spokesman Wendy Wainwright said that, pending full details, it remains a case of “wait and see”. She said: “They want everything to be volunteer-run and because we know what they actually want to do it will be interesting to see what they come back with. “There’s a huge difference between a voluntary group running libraries and a network of libraries with professional people running it.” … “So far there have been 42 expressions of interest in running services. Of these, 24 existing libraries – including Boultham and Birchwood, in Lincoln, and Nettleham – have each received one or more initial bids. And seven have come from communities that don’t have existing libraries, for example Navenby, currently served by a mobile van.”
  • Liverpool – Central Library to host first gig – Click Liverpool. “London band Wolf Alice are set to play on Saturday December 7 after donning the stage at Lancaster library. Libraries are becoming increasingly popular with bands after the likes of Florence & The Machine and Plan B have gigged in them. … Several gigs are taking place across the country as part of a national initiative – Get it Loud In Libraries”
  • Luton – The shelf life of Luton’s three public libraries – Luton Today. A brief history of Luton’s public libraries.
  • Monmouthshire – Usk Library ‘not closing’ deputy leader – Free Press. The “deputy leader of Monmouthshire council attempted to assure over 70 people that Usk library will not close or have its hours reduced. Councillor Bob Greenland was speaking at Usk Memorial Hall on Thursday night to discuss the future of the library. Closing Usk and Gilwern libraries is one of 37 ideas the council believes could go towards bridging next year’s financial gap, a move which could save £180,000.”  Council wants Usk to be  volunteer-run.

““Usk only has a library. We have nothing else for you to cut.””

  • Moray – Campaigners vow to save remaining libraries – Scotsman. “The Save of our Libraries Moray group today confirmed that they are considering continuing with a legal challenge against the council, despite yesterday’s decision by the administration to reprieve three libraries from the threat of closure but to press ahead with controversial plans to axe the libraries at Hopeman, Findochty, Portknockie and Rothes. Alistair Jeffs, the chairman of the protest group, described the outcome of Wednesday’s council meeting as only a “partial victory.”
  • Moray – Labour lament failed libraries bid as campaigners fight on – Inside Moray. “Labour proposed an amendment to the administration plan that three libraries remain open while four should be closed as detailed in the previously rejected Equalities Impact Assessment … However, both that and the SNP motion to retain all seven libraries permanently were defeated by 13 votes to 12.”
  • Moray – Libraries vote leaves Independents and Tories floundering – Moray SNP. “Following the decision Richard Lochhead MSP said:  The Independent and Tory Councillors have been left floundering by resolute opposition from a community campaign full of passion and unity of purpose. “The communities should be commended for their efforts and I also commend the SNP Council Group who have firmly supported Moray’s libraries from February when the closures were first proposed. The failure of the Council’s Administration to listen to their communities has been breathtaking and even now there is no apology for acting so wrongly.”
  • Moray – Libraries: Three reprieved but four to close – BBC. “Councillors in Moray have voted to retain three libraries that were earmarked for closure, but four others will shut. Members voted 13 to 12 to reprieve Cullen, Burghead and Dufftown but to close Hopeman, Portknockie, Findochty and Rothes. Campaigners had pointed to warnings by council officials that vulnerable groups would be adversely affected by closing the libraries.”
  • Sheffiled – Library funds row rages on – Star. “No decisions over funding for independently-run libraries will be made until next year, according to council chiefs. Campaigners have heaped pressure on Sheffield Council to commit to funding for volunteer groups at closure-threatened libraries after a leaked document revealed officers believed they lack ‘real chance’ of staying open without public funding. In the draft report, officers described council support for covering bills and other costs at the 11 venues facing withdrawal of public cash as being ‘essential to ensure libraries have a real chance’.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Fears grow for the future of Penarth Library – Wales Online. “A “fundamental review” has been launched of the library service in the Vale of Glamorgan as councillors battle to trim £165,000 from its budget over the next four years. A public consultation is also under way. The consultation will take in voluntary groups, individuals and community councils. Although no specific decisions have been made, many in Penarth suspect that the town library could be closed.”.

“It is not only the financial challenges we are facing. The internet is changing the way many people use libraries. As part of the review we will be looking at some of the innovations introduced elsewhere to see if they would work here in the Vale to provide modern, affordable services.”

  • Wakefield – Grand opening for new £1.4m library – Pontefract and Castleford Express. “… the new community hub, which has undergone a £1.4m transformation to include a library across two floors and a museum space.” … “There are 30,000 books in the new library, 20 computers, and free wi-fi, while the museumshowcases the town’s heritage across four displays.”
  • Warwickshire – Mobile Library Service Reconfiguration Agreed By Cabinet – About My Area. “The changes are part of the savings plan agreed for the libraries service, which has had to make £2m savings since 2011, and will save a further £95,000 by the end of March 2014. The mobile library service currently operates with a fleet of five vehicles.  The council has been examining proposals to operate it with a reduced fleet of three.”.  Reasoning behind cuts to mobile stops explained.