Faced with considerable opposition, Bristol has partially backed down on cutting its libraries. It had aimed to close seven (out of 27) branches but now will close “only” one and reduce the hours of the others down to 20 hours per week or more.  The cut will be £500k (which is surely serious enough)  instead of £1.1m, although it is unclear how the remainder will be found.  What is clear, though, is that the council backed down only due to considerable public pressure and that pressure would not have been found if people did not really appreciate their local libraries.



  • David Byrne: come borrow a book from my Meltdown library – Guardian. “Southbank Centre, where I will be curating the Meltdown festival next month, is more than the three main concert venues. There are lounges, event rooms, restaurants, a ballroom area and a library. And not just any library. The Poetry Library, opened by TS Eliot in 1953, is the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world.” … “But I love a library. The idea of reading books for free didn’t kill the publishing business, on the contrary, it created nations of literate and passionate readers.”


  • All Those techies Who Predicted the Demise of the Public Library Were Wrong – AlterNet (USA). “The following was written by author Wayne Wiegand as a compliment to his new book, Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library (Oxford University Press, 2015)” … “Although in the 1980s many evangelists of information technology predicted the demise of public libraries by the turn of the century, they’ve been proven wrong. In 2012 (latest year for which we have statistics) the U.S had more public libraries than ever–17,219, including branches and bookmobiles. While the number of visits declined slightly in 2012 from 1.52 to 1.5 billion (the recession forced libraries to reduce hours by 2%; more patrons were downloading library e-books from home computers), the decade nonetheless showed a 21% increase. That same year 93 million Americans attended a public library program, a one-year increase of 4% and an eight-year increase of 38%; 65 million attendees were children, a nearly 4% increase from the previous year and a 24% increase from the previous decade ..”

“Americans love their public libraries, but why? Historical research shows reasons fit into three broad categories—for the useful information they make accessible; for the public spaces they provide that help construct community; and for the transformative potential that reading, viewing, and listening to the commonplace stories that public libraries provide in a variety of textual forms.”

  • Why people still use public libraries – Daily Trust (Nigeria). “Nigerians make use of public libraries for varied reasons. Bookshelf finds out why.” : reading books, meeting space, studying, quiet, online access.

Local news by authority

“Free Job Clubs are thriving in three libraries to date with more to be rolled out in partnership with Skills & Learning tutors. At West Howe Library the Job Club is run jointly with the local Community Enterprise. All Bournemouth libraries have free public Wi-Fi , and we have also upgraded the broadband speed and capacity for the PCs. Printers, PCs and scanners have recently been replaced with new equipment. The focus was on enhancing public facilities, and works were done out of public opening hours to avoid downtime. The library service continues to support local writers and poets including the first Poet Laureate for Bournemouth. For example, Boscombe Library was the venue for a recent 16 week programme of CPD for writers; the Council website provides an online Poetry Wall, and the Bournemouth Library hosts the ‘Celebrating Local Writers’ collection.” Bournemouth – Email from Bournemouth Libraries


  • Bristol – Fresh proposals for the future of Bristol’s library service have been revealed – Bristol Council. ““Our network of libraries is vitally important to the city, but we must make sure we continue to improve and modernise the service, to best serve the people of Bristol. There are a number of innovative proposals, including smart card access to allow greater community access and improve usage across the city.”
  • Bristol – Plans to close seven Bristol libraries revised – BBC. “Six of seven libraries in Bristol which were to be closed to save money could remain open, it has been revealed. Bristol City Council wanted to save £1.1m from its 2016-17 library budget, but following protests Mayor George Ferguson has made “fresh proposals”. Now six libraries could remain open, with reduced staff and opening hours, with just Eastville library facing closure or relocation. Mr Ferguson said it was “positive” but “no decision has yet been made”.” … “Assistant Mayor Daniella Radice said the response from a recent consultation on the future of the city’s library service had indicated users wanted to keep all 27 open.” See also Under-threat Bristol libraries saved but opening hours face cut – Bristol Post.
  • Cardiff – Roath library campaigners ask again for the building to be saved as councillors discuss its future – Wales Online. “Members of the Save Roath Library group waited outside Cardiff’s City Hall on Thursday as a meeting of Cardiff council’s Cabinet was held inside. They carried messages such as ‘I love libraries’ and ‘Give us back our 10,000 books’ as councillors discussed the future of Roath Library inside. It came after revelations that 10,000 books from the library had been destroyed by Cardiff council after being damaged when a ceiling collapsed. Many people also left messages at the entrance of Roath library. One read: “State Policy: Neglect, Dismantle, Sell.” … “Coun Bradbury said the preferred option was for a community group to take over the building but that they would consider any offer, even from a private company.”
  • Central Bedfordshire – Mobile library service ‘at risk’ 
in consultation – Biggleswade Today. £37k cut. “There were 241 regular users of the service in 2014/15. The Council needs to develop capacity to meet the increasing need for the Housebound Service in line with the growing and ageing population. Its’ preferred option is to stop providing the mobile library vehicle ‘walk-on’ service and focus on providing book bundles.” Consultation.
  • Fife – New chapter in Fife library library row – Courier. “Fife Council has been accused of using Fife Cultural Trust as a “front” in the row over library closures … a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament has hit out at the local authority’s lack of transparency over what he called the “lifeline” libraries afford the most vulnerable in society. Backing a campaign to save the libraries, Lewis Akers said: “The consultation from the start has been flawed.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire libraries given date of when they will open as community hubsLincolnshire Echo. “Ermine Library is set to be the first of the Lincoln libraries to close and reopen as a community hub.” … “Some of the other libraries to open as community hubs in the near future are reported to be Sutton-on-Sea, on July 27, and Birchwood, on August 17. In July last year, a High Court judge threw out the council’s original libraries plan, which included turning 30 libraries into community-hubs.” [NB: “community hub” in this case means volunteer-run and staffed – Ed.]
  • Liverpool – Sefton Park library’s crime section left empty after ‘mass borrowing’ – Liverpool Echo. “Lovers of ‘crime’ novels were faced with a mystery at a Liverpool library after all the genre’s books “disappeared” from the shelves. The crime books vanished from the shelves after Sefton Park library’s ‘Crime Section’ was targeted in “a mass borrowing” by members of the Save Liverpool Libraries campaign. Campaigners say the wanted to highlight the wait to hear what the council plans for the city’s libraries. But Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson hit back at the campaigners. He said: “It is a shame they didn’t check out some Economic books and learnt about the devastating impact of losing 58% of funding from Government on services such as social care. I pledged to keep all the libraries open and they are all still open.””
  • Poole – Axed mobile library leaves residents ‘with no alternative’ – Bournemouth Echo. “axing of Poole’s mobile library has been described as a “very sad day” by a councillor whose Merley residents are among those to be left without any alternative provision. Cllr David Brown, who fought to retain the vehicle which costs taxpayers £50,000 a year, said it visited three stops in Merley every fortnight and two sheltered housing complexes.”
  • Surrey – New library and community centre opens in Cobham – Surrey News (Council webpage). “Cobham Library has reopened in a spacious new building which also offers a range of community services. The revamped library is part of the new Cedar Centre in Cedar Road – a busy community hub which also boasts a children’s centre, meeting spaces, information drop-in sessions and coffee facilities.” … “Surrey County Council runs the centre in conjunction with a not-for-profit group made up of members of the community, helping ensure that services offered are responsive to local needs. The council operates the library but leases the rest of the building to Cobham Cedar Centre Limited, an innovative social enterprise run ‘by the community for the community’” … “‘The way people use libraries is changing which is why it’s so important we continue to adapt and improve our library service, while the social enterprise which runs the community hub at the Cedar Centre is a great example of the community pulling together to help shape local services.’
  • Wrexham – Record Breaking Attempt at Wrexham Library – Wrexham.com. “To encourage the children who attend our record breaking attempt children will be offered the chance to meet other successful record breakers in Wrexham Library on Monday 20th July from 11.00am – 11.30am. Sasha Kenny a Guinness World Record holder of Hoolanation, is confirmed to be a guest in attendance during the event.”