Sorry to see Coventry being the next library service to take massive cuts to its service provision. Suggesting closing all the libraries and moving what can be salvaged into five council “hubs” is a new one on me.  Normally, at least a few of the larger buildings are left.  The concerns here are manifold: how much of the new “hub” would actually be for the library, the cost involved in setting up all of these new places and what happens to the old, often beloved, library buildings.  The biggest concern, of course, is that there’s only going to be five libraries in the whole city: Helen Skelton in the Telegraph points out that this could be the first generation of children in the UK who do not grow up with widespread access to free books and, by the sound of it, those who cannot afford transport in Coventry will shortly be agreeing.

Also, sorry to see Falkirk losing its school library service (SLS).  A good SLS can be a fantastic value multiplier for schools who not only gain from bulk discount and frequent exchanges of stock but also expert advice as well.  Indeed, a SLS can be self-financing, as schools pay in to support a service which is of such obvious use to them.  I do hope Falkirk Council have considered that option before they decided just to delete a line in the budget which may have such an impact on the literacy, and life outcomes, of so many children.



  • Academics stop books being cool by ‘banging on’, Helen Skelton says – Telegraph. “She added she was “very worried” about the closure of public libraries, warning this generation of children could be the first in decades to grow up without widespread access to free books” … “Patterson said: “Right now we need places where kids can go and talk about books – and libraries are those places. Children have a fundamental right to libraries in schools and a right to access to books that will interest them.” “
  • Alternative New Year Public Libraries Honours List – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. A look at public library campaigners who should be receiving the honour, if they will accept it.  [I’m on the list and I’d love an Honour please: my ego and my wife would love it in equal measure – Ed.]
  • Electionwatch – CILIP. “In the run up to the General Election we are campaigning to highlight the importance of libraries, information and knowledge. We will write to all the main parties, map manifestos, publish election commentary and debate, and provide a range of resources to help members lobby effectively in their own constituencies. This is a new area of the website and we will add more information, downloads and resources between now and May 2015.”
  • Libraries: time to get political – Medley of Extemporanea. “Sadly there still exists the antiquated and naive view that libraries are only required for people who want to borrow a book. This is utter nonsense and deserves to be challenged. That is as narrow a view as suggesting that trains are only for delivering people to work … Right from their inception that is not what libraries were for – they were for educating the people and providing information for those who would not have otherwise had access to it. I’m guessing that not all of the political parties are that keen on providing information to the masses and educating adults for free, because I can’t think of any other reason why they would not be supporting libraries and the professionals who run them.”
  • Paying the cost of austerity in the Black Country and Staffordshire – Express and Star. ““Some families in Walsall cannot even afford a computer or the internet, so children go to libraries after school. How will we raise standards and aspirations if we deny people, especially children, access to knowledge?” … “Dudley Council wants people to organise their own litter picks. The council, as well as Wolverhampton City Council and Staffordshire County Council, wants volunteers to help run libraries. Sandwell Council is looking at the same thing, reviewing the future use of five libraries that could either shut, be moved or downscaled this year.”


  • A Demand-side Open Government Planning Model for Public Libraries – UpNext (USA). “Public libraries are the best-positioned community anchors to address the demand-side of open government. In addition, with a bit more strategic vision and planning, they can play a key role in helping ensure that open government activities align with community aspirations and that citizens have the capabilities to contribute to the opening of government in useful and meaningful ways.”
  • EU Privacy Mandate growing teeth? BIC’s response to EN16570 & 16571 – Changing Libraries (EU inc. UK). “EN 16571 applies to any business using RFID but singles out libraries for special attention its Project Editor having a special interest in the sector having previously been PE for a number of other standards, most notably the somewhat over-engineered ISO 28560. Some of the requirements of EN 16571 would have profound implications for libraries. The need to label every single item that contains an RFID tag for example. Signing up to complete a PIS might therefore commit a library to more expenditure than simply buying the software.”
  • Struggling to put books on the shelves – Halifax Media (Canada). “Shiny new libraries, especially of the flagship variety, appear not just in downtown Halifax, but also in Antigonish, New Glasgow, and many other Nova Scotia towns. But all is not well in library land. Insufficient operational funding is making it more and more difficult to keep the shelves stocked, or to pay the workers who stock those shelves. Over the last decade provincial funding has remained mostly stagnant, while costs continue to rise and demand escalates. Some regions have even seen their funding reduced.”

UK local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Perilous times for the Library of Birmingham and all public libraries – Shakespeare Institute Library. ” if I lived in a rural area or in one of the poorer parts of our large cities it turns out that I might not have that luxury. Shocking that access to public libraries is now becoming a luxury rather than a civic right. I firmly believe in the ideology behind public libraries as places where education is free and accessible to all.”

“We should be building up the Library, making much more of this unique and important municipal resource, not cutting it back.  And I must stress as I close that it would be especially perverse, even criminal, to make such devastating and swingeing cuts when the Library’s spectacular new building offers the best ever opportunity to rediscover and renew its inspiring legacy for today. “

  • Brighton and Hove – Museum to charge £5 to non-resident visitors – Brighton and Hove Independent. “Free use of library computers will also be limited to one hour, with a £1 an hour charge thereafter. A proposed charge for the popular Baby Boogie sessions at the city’s libraries has been scrapped, and replaced with a call for donations at a suggested rate of £1 per child. Child’s craft activities, however, will be charged at a minimum of £1 per participant, and book groups will have to stump up £30 a year.”
  • Cardiff – Three Cardiff libraries faced with closure had almost 250,000 visitors last year – Wales Online. “Some 246,342 visitors went through the doors of Rumney, Rhiwbina and Whitchurch libraries between January and October last year, or 810 people between them per day. Whitchurch recorded an increase in the number of people visiting in the first ten months of 2014 compared to the whole of 2013. As part of proposals by Cardiff council, libraries across the city could be closed to save more than £1.4m.”
  • Coventry – ‘Save our library’ campaign launched in Earlsdon as anger grows over plans which could close 17 Coventry libraries – Coventry Telegraph. “Coventry City Council leaders face resistance to plans which could see every library in the city closed down in a bid to save money. Labour Coun Damian Gannon, cabinet member for finance, has already warned the council is looking at shrinking all council service centres into just five hubs across the city – including the city’s 17 libraries. He argues the changes, part of a scheme known as City Centre First, are needed and could save up to £5million as the council prepares for an estimated £65million budget shortfall by 2017. But now a campaign, led by Conservative Earlsdon Coun Ken Taylor, has been launched in a bid to save Earlsdon Library from closure. He has been joined by Tory colleagues Coun Allan Andrews and Coun Michael Hammon to launch a pre-emptive petition to show the council that the local community wants to retain its library.”
  • Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Council to axe 1,200 jobs – Scotsman. “UP TO 1,200 jobs could go at Edinburgh City Council as part of plans to make £138 million savings. The council, which employs about 18,500 staff, aims to address a budget gap of £67m over the next three years and has announced a reorganisation of the way it operates.”
  • Falkirk – Falkirk looks to scrap school library service – BookSeller. “The council said it was looking to make savings of £325,000, or the salaries of 10 full-time employees. “By reorganizing our current provision and resources we could provide a decentralised service within each of our secondary schools which would also serve all cluster schools,” it said. But Yvonne Manning, manager of the Falkirk SLS, said the proposed cuts would wipe out the whole service. “I do understand that cuts need to be made, I expected a reduction of some kid, but it was a shock to find that they wanted to stop the service,” she told The Bookseller.”
  • Haringey – Cuts to Haringey Libraries including Marcus Garvey Library (with petition) – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “I’ve been spending a lot of time helping to fight library cuts and closures in other parts of the UK (and appearing on C4 news, giving interviews to RTTV et al, writing articles for the Guardian and Informed, giving evidence to the Sieghart Inquiry, etc etc) and have taken my eye off my own manor, Haringey. And in that time it seems that Cllr Adam Jogee, the Cabinet Advisor on libraries, and his council colleagues have been making big statements about not closing libraries but at the same time proposing cutting budgets, staff and floorspace, naughty naughty
  • Leicestershire – Council’s plans for local library are outrageous – Leicester Mercury. “Braunstone Town Library is included and we are gravely concerned that it will be “moth-balled” or threatened with closure unless our town council can find acceptable conditions within a county council partnership agreement. It is clear that, despite the partnership recommendations for so-called “community libraries”, we can only expect a greatly reduced service in Braunstone Town. The impact will be even more severe through the council decision to make experienced staff redundant and insistence that replacement by volunteers will not impair service.”
  • Leicestershire – Deadline to register library interest on the horizon – Loughborough Echo. “Communities are being encouraged to register their interest in running libraries in Leicestershire before Friday, January 16. The county council wants to hear from groups who want to run any of the 36 community libraries, with support from the authority. Anyone interested should visit www.leics.gov.uk/haveyoursay/futurelibraries  for an information pack.”
  • Leicestershire – Mobile libraries could face cuts in North West Leicestershire – Burton Mail. “The council’s six library vehicles currently serve more than 300 communities in the county, stopping at around 500 places lending books to approximately 3,800 people. Currently, the service operates once a fortnight but under the new plan it will cut down to every three weeks or even as little as once per month.”
  • Lincolnshire – Fears raised Spilsby Library could be facing its final chapter – Skegness Standard. “Spilsby Library was earmarked to be run by the community as part of a £2 million cost saving programme put forward by Lincolnshire County County in 2013. The library at West End Villas had been scheduled to close and potentially relocate to the town’s Lincolnshire Co-op store in Post Office Lane.”
  • Newport – Stewart Lee backs campaign to save Welsh writer Arthur Machen’s books and papers – ITV. “Machen was born in Caerleon in 1863. A collection of his work and papers – the only one in the UK – is kept at the central library in nearby Newport. But the building faces closure as Newport City Council tries to cut £10million from its budget”
  • Nottinghamshire – Fingers crossed for new Retford tourist information centre – Retford Times. “Similar volunteer-led, independent facilities such as libraries have flourished in other towns and cities around the country and Retford also has the knowledge base, enthusiasm and community spirit to do the same.”
  • Southampton – 1.5K sign to save Cobbett Road Library – Bitterne Park Info. “As previously reported, Cobbett Road is one of five city libraries earmarked by the council for closure or ‘community-led initiatives’. But support group Friends of Cobbett Road Library (FOCRL) have argued that the choice doesn’t have to be between ‘volunteer run’ or ‘closure’, and that running a library on a voluntary basis would be a “quantum leap” from where they are now.”
  • Stockton – New library and plaque opened in Norton, Stockton – Northern Echo. “It had been closed since April. The library will now offer improved services including better IT facilities and a self-service option along with new book stocks. New shelving and furniture, improved lighting and dedicated meeting and community health rooms have also been part of the upgrade.”