The following, taken from the Cipfa figures (based on returns from local authorities: they’re not independently audited) was put on Lis-pub-libs by Lionel Aldridge.  It is reproduced with his kind permission here.  


Static Libraries open 10+hrs wk








London             370             352





Metros             713             647





Unitary & Counties




























Northern Ireland














 “Mobile libraries are disappearing at a much more rapid rate (no doubt due to the relatively expensive nature of these services), roughly a third in 5 years. Many mobiles  visit the most isolated communities and many the most deprived. This decline is receiving little comment unfortunately as it tends to be 1 or 2 disappearing at a time when some metropolitan authorities and counties are in the process of seeking to lose 40%+ of their statics – usually by the voluntary euthanasia method (unlike for people this is likely to be a long drawn out death) .” Note that the figures improve slightly when allowances are made for the 10 authorities in England who submitted returns in 2007-8 but not 2012-13 (they had 15 mobiles then but probably don’t now) and similarly for Wales. In England the unitary and counties are combined as a number of counties now appear as unitary authorities.”  Lionel Aldridge




  • As New Services Track Habits, the E-Books Are Reading You – New York Times (USA)Scribd is just beginning to analyze the data from its subscribers. Some general insights: The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all.”
  • Children fall out of love with Harry Potter and Asterix – Telegraph. “An analysis of lending data from British libraries going back almost three decades reveals how children’s reading preferences have evolved, with many fondly-remembered favourites now left on the shelves. The study involves a comparison of the ten most borrowed children’s books and the ten most borrowed children’s authors each year, as far back as records began, in 1984/85.”
  • Cool Projects! Arizona St. University Students Transform “Retired” Food Trucks into Mobile Libraries – Libraries Journal (USA). “For many of us, food trucks conjure up images of mouth-watering tacos, burgers and fries. But three enterprising Arizona State University students see food trucks and envision e-readers, computers and books, instead. Enter BiblioTrucka, a cost-effective new-age mobile library conceived by the student trio to serve primarily low-income schools and communities lacking basic library resources. The ASU team hatched the idea of converting retired food trucks into libraries on wheel”
  • Families turn to libraries for unofficial day care – Mercury (USA). “Parents’ use of libraries as unofficial day cares has become a common theme nationwide, especially at libraries near schools. The post-recession economy is causing more children to be in libraries because parents’ budgets are tighter”
  • Unreturned Library Books Can Lead to Arrest in Texas – NBC (USA). “A Texas man who was arrested for failing to return an overdue library book ignited an online flurry of snarky comments and headlines about the Lone Star State extending its tough-on-crime bravado to books. But such cases aren’t unheard of, and many communities faced with shrinking budgets and rising costs have ordinances calling for fines or even arrest warrants when library property isn’t returned. In Texas alone, the issue has cost libraries an estimated $18 million.”

Local UK news by name of local authority

  • Anglesey – Council: Services under threat as belts must tighten – Daily Post. “In a plan which could seriously affect leisure and library provision, the authority proposes a 60% cut over the next five years in the amount it spends on such services.”
  • Bracknell Forest – Children enjoy the new reading area at revamped Sandhurst Library – Get Reading. “brightly coloured reading area” … “includes paintwork and a fresh carpet. There is a new front counter and a computer area.”
  • Carillion (Harrow/Ealing/Croydon/Hounslow) – Harrow braced for cuts in library staff under new manager – Get West London. “Tony Henderson, group media relations manager at Carillion said: “Announcements were made to staff on the November 20. The number of roles at risk will be confirmed during the consultation process. There are discussions with staff and their trade unions and no decisions have been made yet.” The announcement has sparked outrage from local trade union representatives, who have claimed they were not adequately consulted, and the Harrow branch of public sector UNISON claimed 29 posts would be lost.”
  • Ceredigion – Library closure to save £9,000 labelled ludicrous – Cambrian News. “A plan to close New Quay’s library would save less than the other coun-ty libraries currently spend on news-papers alone, figures have revealed. Councillors have labelled plans to close the facility “ludicrous” as the £9,000 a year it costs to run is a “drop in the ocean” compared to the millions Ceredigion needs to save in its budget.”
  • Clackmannanshire – Future of Clackmannanshire libraries discussed – Alloa Advertiser. ““Current low usage of assets combined with sharply declining demand necessitates a fundamental rethink on the nature and uses of our libraries. The status quo is not a realistic option.” It states there has been a 25 per cent reduction in the number of books issues in the last two years within public libraries.”

“Improvements included in the strategy are: the introduction of ebooks, moving to a new library management system called Evergreen, launch of a new library website Clackmannanshire Digital Library and the relaunch of the Speirs Centre in May 2014. There will also be the introduction of Wi-Fi, self issue kiosks, further digitisation of local archives, local history, local newspaper and museum collection within ClacksPast, the launch of a new Local and Family History Centre and more.”

  • Hertfordshire – Don’t miss out on chance to have your say on libraries – Hemel Today. “A final call has been made for people to have their say in the public consultation on the future shape of libraries in Hertfordshire. Already more than 11,000 people have completed questionnaires to give their views on what sort of library service they would like to see in the future.” Not enough respondents from 16-14 age group – more sought.
  • Manchester – Children bitten by reading bug as shark book tops libraries most borrowed list – Manchester Evening News. “Nick Sharratt’s A Shark in the Dark! came out on top in a list of the most issued books from  five  libraries in central Manchester, having been borrowed on 140 occasions between October 2012 and November 2013.” … “Of the top 10 most borrowed books only one, Information Technology: Level 3, BTEC National, by Karen Anderson, was not a children’s book.”
  • North Yorkshire – Arts Council grant will pay for artist-in-residence at Ingleton Library – Craven Herald. “Ingleton Library is to get an artist-in-residence, thanks to a £100,000 grant from Arts Council England. As part of a three-year Creative Residencies Programme, 24 artists from different creative backgrounds will be based in eight libraries”
  • North Yorkshire – Library branches out after obtaining Fair Trade status – Northern Echo. “Northallerton library has set up a gift shop with a difference after acquiring official Fair Trade status. And now visitors can enjoy browsing not only through shelves of books, but also through speciality goods at the new Fair Trade and Remarkable Gift Shop in the library foyer.”
  • Portsmouth – Library cafe tenders go out – News. “management of two library cafes in Portsmouth has gone out for tender. The city council has shut ones it runs at Portsmouth Central Library and Southsea Library while it finds new operators for them. The move is part of a bid to save money and the cafes are expected to reopen in early January.” … “The cafe has been a major draw for visitors”.

  • Sheffield – Totley Library Rally.
  • Sheffield – Head of libraries closes book on career – Star. “Andrew Milroy, who was based in an office in Central Library in the city centre, retired this month. The 59-year-old, who lives in Woodhouse, first began helping city residents get access to books when he was in his 20s. He helped councillors with the current library review, which is asking communities to take over the running of 16 services in the city.”
  • Sheffield – Petitions to save libraries – Star. “Residents campaigning to save their libraries have handed in petitions with more than 5,000 signatures – which is set to trigger a debate at next month’s full meeting of Sheffield Council.”.

“The fact these two petitions alone have gathered more than 5,000 signatures demonstrates the strength of feeling and the importance of local libraries.” Cllr Colin Ross

  • Sheffield – Volunteers looking to run libraries – Yorkshire Post. “Sheffield City Council confirmed a number of groups have been on a fact-finding mission to Wakefield over the weekend to see how this can be done.” … “The council is keeping 12 libraries open but is also hoping five more can be retained by becoming community-led”
  • South Tyneside – User numbers soaring at our libraries – Shields Gazette. “Visitor numbers are up for 2013, despite a common belief that libraries are on the decline. Book fans of all ages in South Tyneside have been using libraries for more than borrowing books. They’ve also been going along to enjoy special events, daily and weekly social groups, workshops and lots of other activities. Visitor numbers have risen 7.5 per cent on last year, with 865,350 visitors using the South Tyneside Libraries Service.” … “South Tyneside Council also announced plans for two new libraries to be built in South Shields and Hebburn as part of the borough’s regeneration programme.”
  • Stoke – Meir and Trentham libraries still face closure – Sentinel. “The buildings currently housing Meir and Trentham libraries are set to be sold off as Stoke-on-Trent City Council looks to raise £55 million to pay for its Central Business District move to Hanley.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – To the people of Penarth – Penarth Times / Letters. “THIS is just to advise you that the petitions signed by yourselves have been collected and personally handed in to the Consultation, Corporate and Customer Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Barry on December 12, 2013. There were 1855 signatures with many views and opinions that I hope will be taken on board by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.”