The Leader of Lincolnshire council has claimed that all councils who try to reform their public library service have judicial reviews raised against them.  He then went on to say that those who dare to try to obtain judicial reviews should pay for them themselves. Let’s look at the truth and implications behind the words. There have been seven applications for judicial review so far but there are 151 library authorities in England alone … so that’s hardly “all” then. One must also question the word “reform” – thirty out of forty-five libraries will be closed or passed to volunteers, expressly because of the need to cut £2 million from a £6 million budget.  So we’re not talking “reform” here: we’re talking a response to cuts of one-third. Finally, the application for judicial review may need up to £25,000 in legal aid – so what the Leader is effectively saying is that only rich people should be able to challenge the legality of local council decisions.  The Leader may have no problem with that but public libraries are famously for all groups, notably those without a few tens of thousands of pounds to spare … so his response should anger everyone who cares for public libraries and thus also care to keep the power to question those in authority who cut them so drastically.


  • Scottish Borders – Libraries/museums/halls to be transferred to new Trust to save £276k.


International news

  • Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World – Virtual Dave … Real Blog (USA). “In Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World, David Lankes, winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, walks you through what to expect out of your library. Lankes argues that, to thrive, communities need libraries that go beyond bricks and mortar, and beyond books and literature. We need to expect more out of our libraries. They should be places of learning and advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development. Expect More is a rallying call to communities to raise the bar, and their expectations, for great libraries.” [This book is now free to download – Ed.]
  • Israel donates Anne Frank books to Tokyo libraries – AP (Israel / Japan). “The Israeli Embassy is donating 300 books after the recent vandalism of a similar number of such books in their collections. More than 300 books related to Anne Frank, including copies of “The Dairy of a Young Girl,” have been found damaged in Tokyo libraries. Suginami was particularly hard hit with 121 books vandalized”
  • This Human of New York Takes His Libraries Seriously – Atlantic (USA). “Meet Matthew Zadrozny. He loves the New York Public Library. On Saturday, he spent five hours handing out flyers on the street and talking to people about the library—specifically, the NYPL’s plan to renovate the main branch and sell two other branches, which Zadrozny thinks will be “a disaster.” He was recruiting participants for the “work-in” protests he’s started organizing on behalf of the grassroots Committee to Save the New York Public Library.” … Photographed on popular website, his image has now gone viral: “”I’m not sure I’m ever going to live down the photograph,” he says. He probably has nothing to worry about, though. One needn’t look very far down the line of over 8,000 comments posted on Facebook to find flattering compliments, statements of solidarity, and even marriage proposals directed at Zadrozny. He just earned a ton of admirers and multiple tons of allies in his fight to stop the NYPL’s “Central Library Plan.”


  • Future of Local Libraries and Cultural Services – Public Policy Exchange. 3rd June 2014 in London. “This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, government departments, the library sector, shared services teams and other key partners to examine the Government’s latest policy initiatives and explore how libraries can remain a vital local resource in the 21st Century – innovating and adapting to deliver a whole range of services. “

UK local news by authority

  • Harrow – Libraries get computer upgrade – Harrow Times. “The 82 Public network computers in Harrow libraries have now been updated with new software and upgraded internet speed.   There are also new printers and scanners installed by Cultural Community Solutions which runs library services on behalf of Harrow Borough council”
  • Lincolnshire – If campaigners want to go to court to save libraries, they should pay for it Facebook. Copy of newspaper article where leader of council says that “every single council” which has tried to “reform its library service” has faced judicial review [this is demonstrably untrue – see this page – Ed.] and that campaigners should pay the £25,000 the application for judicial review will cost themselves.  This has not gone down well with campaigners.
  • Scottish Borders – Trust could protect services for future – Selkirk Weekend Advertiser. “Councillors are today (Thursday) expected to agree to the establishment of a trust to run the authority’s cultural services by October 2015. The move could avoid the closure of some libraries, museums and halls currently under the council’s control. In a bid to find savings of £406,000, a review of the council’s cultural services found the creation of a trust and transfer of property, staff and services could save £276,000.” … “Transferring combined libraries and contact centres to a trust has been examined separately, with no business case found for them to be transferred, with additional issues around data protection also proving a stumbling block. It has been estimated that the cost of establishing a trust to run the various services would be around £70,000.” see also Scottish Borders Council approves cultural services trust move – BBC. “A further report will be brought back later this year, with implementation of the move timetabled for October 2015.”