Some positive news today.  The good people of Cardiff have campaigned mightily to save seven threatened branches and the council has agreed to save them all, although it is unclear in what format. Meanwhile, in Scotland, West Dunbartonshire has not only backed down from closing Balloch Library but is going to buy it a new public toilet as well as spending a mighty £500k to improve Clydesbank Library. Meanwhile in Walsall, it has been announced that, while eight libraries will still be closed, it’s going to happen three or more months later than expected.  That last one provides a bit of a hint as to what may be going on – councils may not be keen on closures in May, what with the election and all. Indeed, the next few months may be glory days for saving threatened libraries as councils realise a closed local civic building is not a votewinner. But only if people campaign.


UK national news

  • Celebration and protest marks National Libraries Day – BookSeller. “Around 700 events took place to celebrate National Libraries Day on Saturday (7th February), 100 more than the previous year, according to CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, which now organises the day.” … “Some areas used National Libraries Day as a focal point for protests. In Cardiff, hundreds of people gathered outside the Central Library for a read-in to demonstrate against planned cuts, while protestors in Birmingham gathered to form a human chain hugging the cuts-threatened Library of Birmingham.”
  • Prison literacy drive sets goal for 2015 – Reading Agency (extract from press release). “The Reading Agency is aiming to get 10,000 prisoners participating in its 2015 Six Book Challenge reading for pleasure programme across the UK, it was announced yesterday. With support from organisations such as the Prison Radio Association, Quick Reads, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), Prison Reading Groups, the Shannon Trust Reading Plan and Give a Book, the Six Book Challenge will be used to increase literacy skills among prisoners, helping to reduce reoffending rates and increase their life chances upon release. That was the key message for guests at a special event for prison library staff and Six Book Challenge supporters at HMP Brixton in London yesterday (9 February). At least 110 libraries in prisons and YOIs have committed to running the Six Book Challenge in 2015”
  • Safer Internet Day: the role of library and information professionals – CILIP. “Libraries provide a place to learn how to stay safe online and professionally led library and information services play an important role in bridging the digital divide, and help to build people’s digital skills and confidence. “


  • Book giveaway at all Pima County Public Libraries – Tucson.com (USA). “In honor of Love of Reading Week, kids who visit a public library — there are 27 to choose from — can pick up a free, brand new book to take home and keep. Most of the books included in the giveaway are for kids in preschool through fifth grade, but there are selections for middle school aged kids, as well, said Melinda Cervantes, library executive director. The Friends of the Pima County Public Library provided funding to purchase nearly 8,000 books. “


  • Future of Local Libraries: Understanding & Adapting to Changing Times – Westminster Briefing. 19th March in London. “Join this Westminster Briefing event to discuss the future of local libraries, and understand what can be done to plan and prepare. We will consider the current & future policy regarding libraries, including the recent Independent Library Report for England, and tackling the digital challenge facing libraries. Discuss with peers about how you will be affected, and share understanding & best practice to take back to your area and implement with colleagues.”

UK local news by authority

“There are always going to be rich and poor but these things can be better or worse, and there are certain basic things that everybody should have. We all agree that every child should go to school– regardless of their parents’ income, that everyone should have health care. It is the same with libraries. Everyone should have access to books and the internet.” Ken Follett

  • Cardiff – Cardiff libraries are saved as people power wins the day – and the plan to axe funding for seven libraries is dropped  – Wales Online. “The seven Cardiff libraries under threat of closure have been reprieved, we can reveal. The decision by the city’s ruling Labour group follows a massive public campaign to save library services. It will be ratified by the authority’s cabinet and is expected to go through the budget setting full council meeting without opposition.” … “Coun Graham Hinchey, the council’s cabinet member for corporate services and performance, said a new unit would be set up to explore partnerships and other ways of “delivering library services”.”
  • Cardiff – Cardiff’s ‘strong message’ on National Libraries Day – BookSeller. “Library campaigners in Cardiff believe they “sent a strong message” to the city council with a National Libraries Day protest against planned cuts to the service. More than 200 people gathered outside the city’s Central Library on Saturday (7th February) to hold a mass “read-in”, with people reading passages of their favourite books and speaking about the importance of libraries in the city.”
  • Cardiff – Fighting talk – Jackie Morris. “The crowd grew. People with books. People of all ages, colours and heights. Most had books with them. Some had the most excellent banners and statements.” … “Librarie”s taught me to read. And because I can read I have a structure to frame my thoughts and can express them through words, writing in particular. I have a voice. Free at the point of use, a library is a treasure house. A local library, yes, but each and every local library forms part of a national treasure and as such should be funded nationally. We don’t fund defence county by county. Why do we fund libraries county by county? Only because then the anger at their decline is focussed away from the national government.”
  • Coventry – Read In – Save Coventry Libraries. Monday 23r February at 4.45.
  • Essex – Essex County Council offering library internship to young jobseekers – Harlow Star. “Young people on jobseekers benefits are being given a chance to begin a career as a librarian as part of an Essex County Council scheme. Applications are now open for the 30-hours a week paid internship within Essex libraries which is being run as part of a national scheme to help young people get jobs in the arts and creative industries.” … “The successful candidate will join professional teams to help improve services and learn how a modern library service works. They will also gain skills and experience in key areas of library service such as working on campaigns to improve customers’ digital skills and coordinating summer literature festivals”
  • Essex – The Open Book Project in Loughton needs public contributions for future projects – Guardian series. “People are being urged to help keep their library open by suggesting new uses and ideas for the public space. The Open Book Project has been collecting community ideas in Loughton library on Tuesdays and Thursdays since January 22, and a fresh appeal is now being made for more members of the public to contribute.”
  • Hampshire – Kingsclere library saved by volunteers – Basingstoke Gazette. “villagers are celebrating after a group of volunteers stepped forward to save their much-loved local library. As previously reported in The Gazette, residents were warned just weeks ago that the library would close in March unless new co-ordinators could be found to take responsibility for the facility … 25 volunteers have now been found to take over the running of the library, led by a committee of four volunteer co-ordinators. The parish council will support the library financially for the first year with a £3,000 grant, and charitable group The Headley Trust has pledged grants of between £2,250 and £2,750 for the following three years. Hampshire County Council estimated that it would save between £16,000 and £18,000 each year by transferring the library to a community group.”
  • Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire County Council Library Service presented with busiest self-service kiosk in Europe award – Bibliotheca. ” Hertfordshire Library Service has 87 Bibliotheca self-service kiosks installed across its 46 library branches “
  • Hertfordshire – Inspiring Libraries moves ahead – Council. “Hertfordshire County Council’s innovative ‘Inspiring Libraries’ strategy will be discussed at the Customer Service, Performance and Libraries Panel on Tuesday 10 February. The strategy, which was published in September last year, sets out a vision of the library at the heart of the community, ambitious in its use of digital technology and delivered in partnership with local residents, organisations and communities. Most importantly, it proposed retaining all of Hertfordshire’s 46 libraries. To do this, it proposed reorganising them into three distinct tiers and replacing the current mobile library service with an expanded Home Library Service for people with disabilities and mobility problems and carers. “

“• Buntingford Library should be redesignated as a Tier 2 Library. • All Tier 3 libraries should be managed in partnership with local communities, with seven larger Tier 3 libraries retaining an element of paid library staff. These are Bovingdon, Chorleywood, Goffs Oak, Kings Langley, London Colney, Sawbridgeworth and Woodhall. • The rationale for the proposal to withdraw the current mobile library service and replace it with an expanded Home Library Service should be noted but further work will be undertaken to develop and clarify alternative options for vulnerable and isolated people unable to visit their local library. A further paper on this will be presented to the Customer Service, Performance and Libraries Panel in May 2015, and a final decision on the future of the service will be taken at that point. “

““Handing our libraries to a trust is at best a risky experiment and, at worst, the start of cuts, closures and overuse of volunteers. The service is not broken. Many local people would be happy for KCC to keep all 99 libraries and for councillors to take pride in being responsible for the running of these vital centres of learning and enjoyment in communities across the county.” Kent campaigner

  • Kirklees – Save Mirfield Library! #Mirfield  View from the Citadel. Reasons to save library include “It’s about the only civic building left in the town. It acts as a hub for commemorations and festivities. It’s a great place to take children to discover and choose books. Yes, proper books. While we’re on the topic of books. Yes you can take out books – and lots more besides. It provides services and support for people who don’t always have internet access (for example) at home. It employs dedicated, helpful and passionate people. It has a great reading room upstairs to do research, reading and writing (I wrote a lot of the Hopfield Tales up there). Or just soak up the relaxing atmosphere in there. Libraries are a cornerstone of civilisation. Okay, I’m over-egging the pudding a bit here, but I mean it.”
  • Kirklees – We can save local libraries, say Kirklees Conservatives – and relocating Huddersfield’s Central Library is key – Examiner.  Conservative leader says “The shortfall in what the council spends now and what the Labour administration has put forward is £5.8m against £3.9m. “We believe we can keep the libraries and the mobile service open by identifying two things: firstly, the relocation of Huddersfield Central Library, which at present takes up 27% of the whole libraries budget. “That singe library is absorbing much of the budget and we believe it can be relocated within the town centre and be far less expensive to run.” see also Conservatives pledge to keep all libraries open – Dewsbury Reporter.
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library handover ‘exceptional’, says shadow minister – BBC. “Labour’s Mr Bryant said he did not know of anywhere in the country that had done anything quite like it.”
  • North Yorkshire – North Yorkshire’s second library consultation ends – BBC. “The county’s library budget is being almost halved in 10 years, from £7.8m in 2010 to £4.2m by 2020. Currently nine of the county’s 42 libraries are run by community groups but under new proposals, many more libraries would be community-run. North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) said more than 7,000 people had taken part in the consultation.” see also Over 7,500 people have their say on a new chapter for libraries – Yorkshire Post.
  • Southampton – Campaign to save Southampton libraries – Southern Daily Echo. “More than 1,000 people visited libraries across the city at the weekend, delighting the campaigners who say it shows strong public support for keeping them. Five are in jeopardy as the city council seeks to save money, including three smaller ones in Millbrook, Thornhill and Weston. At the threatened Cobbett Road library 540 people visited in just three hours, far more than usual, including scores of children who met best-selling children’s author Ali Sparkes.”
  • Thurrock – Community and politicians join forces in “Save our libraries” campaign – Your Thurrock. “Over in Corringham, community champion, Julia Sorrels-Wilde was out with hard working Ukip councillor, Roy Jones as well as community pastor at St Margaret’s church in Stanford, Maureen McPherson and numerous volunteers whilst Labour candidate for Stanford West, Ella Vine was also out in King Street and surrounding areas campaigning.”
  • Walsall – Campaigners show support for under-threat Walsall library – Express and Star. “Around 300 people came to the library in Blackwood Road to mark National Libraries Day. Walsall Council, which has to save £86m over the next four years, is still ploughing ahead with plans to close eight libraries, including Streetly, despite thousands of users signing petitions against the move. Linda McManus, who is part of the Save Streetly Library community campaign group, which has around 750 supporters, said the event on Saturday was held to celebrate the community facility and the good work the librarians do.” … The planned closure date of five libraries – Pheasey, Beechdale, Walsall Wood, Walsall South and Streetly – has been deferred by three months. They will now close on July 1. Three others, in Rushall, New Invention and Blakenall, after that.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire Council withdraws library closure proposals – CILIPS. “After considering the outcome of a public consultation into cutting libraries and staff in West Dunbartonshire, the Council has withdrawn closure plans. Instead,  The Council set a one year budget which includes £500k to refurbish Clydebank Library and £20k to install a public WC in Balloch Library.  Free wi-fi is also due to be installed in all branches over the next couple of months
  • Windsor and Maidenhead – Sophie, Countess of Wessex to officially open library – Maidenhead Advertiser. “As well as opening the Boyn Grove Library in Courthouse Road, Her Royal Highness, will also visit the sensory room, which is used by people with learning disabilities and elderly residents with dementia.” “I am delighted that the library has already proved so popular with the local community,” said Cllr Eileen Quick, cabinet member for leisure and libraries. “It’s now a vital part of their lives and a real asset to the Royal Borough. “We are very honoured that HRH The Countess of Wessex will be coming to see it and officially open it.” The library first opened it’s doors in April with over 31,000 residents living within one mile of the centre benefiting from it’s facilities.”