Libraries debated in Parliament, MLA in favour of closures

240 libraries plus 17 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed 

For the first time in a while, I can find no new cuts in library provision today.  News of note is that an MP spoke in the House of Commons about the Public Libraries and Museums Act and that the MLA has announced it welcomes significant library closures.

Wirral MP argues in Parliament  for amendment ot the Public Libraries and Museum Act – the Ayes have it – four Labour MPs (inc David Milliband) to propose Bill  – Alison McGovern MP
MLA comes out strongly in favour of closing libraries – BookSeller
Chief Exec of RSA pro giving libraries to volunteers – Walk You Home
List of predictable anti-library comments – Walk You Home
Gloucestershire – 4 Labour Councillors sign up against the cuts – Friends of Gloucestershire
Wandsworth – campaign to save York Gardens – Battersea Society
Lewisham – hundreds against the cuts – Guardian
Barnsley – storm of protest against cut at Darfield – South Yorkshire Times
Nottinghamshire – your chance to comment on the cuts – Nottinghamshire Council
Oxfordshire – library possibly run by volunteers, opposition “hopeless” – Banbury Cake
Libraries and Waterstones to work together -Bookseller
UK public libraries cost 0.084% of GDP – Use Libraries and Learn Stuff
Opponents of libraries focus too much on short-term economics – Library Workers for a Brighter Future
A great place to start your business – the library – EnterpriseQuest

Spending Cuts Gut Library Budgets in UK – Library Journal
2011 Crucial Library Trends – American Libraries
What Librarians Make – School Library Journal
Tired of books? Try model aeroplanes – Star Telegram

Large-scale closures may be illegal; Argyll announces 3

240 libraries plus 17 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed
Changes in the count today include 3 libraries and a mobile (at Argyll and Bute) and a renumbering of the North Somerset total (previously just 1) as 1 library closed and 2 libraries still seem to be endangered there.
Major news today is that large-scale closures (such as in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire) may be declared illegal.

Argyll and Bute – 3 libraries and a mobile library to close
North Somerset – Closures still on cards – Weston Mercury
Gloucestershire – Bid to have cuts declared illegal – This is Gloucestershire Ed Vaizey may intervene – Guardian. This would have a major impact on other proposed cuts if so – Glos, Bucks, Cornwall, Doncaster, Oxfordshire, Lewisham, Leeds, Isle of Wight and Birmingham are all in the same league when it comes to cuts.
Peterborough – 4 libraries to reduce in hours – Peterborough Council
Oxfordshire – Bampton not impressed by cuts – Witney Gazette.  Ditto in Wantage
Nottinghamshire – groups asked to help libraries – Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser
Birmingham – new library for urban village –  BBC
Hampshire – new improved Basingstoke Library – ahem – “Discovery Centre” – Basingstoke Gazette
MLA – I still see no Wirrals –
Buckinghamshire – Little Chalfont Library is a successful volunteer library – Buckinghamshire Advertiser
Buckinghamshire – 100 join group to save Great Missenden – Bucks Free Press
Tim Coates – It’s the Overhead, Stupid – Good Library Guide.
Brent – consultation on library cuts launched – Brent Council

Favourite article of the day – Frank Skinner becomes pro-library after visit “When I criticised local libraries I didn’t know exactly what I was attacking. At the same time, Angry of Hampstead, when he’s outraged at the idea of library closures, probably doesn’t know exactly what he’s defending. This was just one library but I think it’s indicative of how libraries are evolving. I’m going to have to ditch my literary elitism and just enjoy the book-swiping” – and wikiman blog

US – San Jose library website keeps it simple – Library Journal
No books in school library, lots of coffee though – Houston Press
Future of the book – American Libraries Magazine
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Libraries – Library Journal

Let CILIP know of cuts in your library service

235 libraries plus 16 mobiles currently under threat

CILIP will challenge library cuts if you let them know about them and if there are legal grounds. The list of library services below the News has been amended so that it shows cuts in terms of job cuts/bookfund/etc as well as library closures.

CILIP – let CILIP know of any cuts in your library service – and here is the form to do it – CILIP
Gloucestershire – library about to be cut gets increased funding – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – map of the proposed cuts – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries
Oxford – 500 protest over cuts, including libraries  – BBC
Oxfordshire – protests pointless says council leader– Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – Bookseller covers the cuts – Bookseller
Why we need professional librarians – Voices for the Library
North Yorkshire – Petition starts to save Eastfield – Scarborough Evening News
Public Libraries – back to the future? – Brave New World
LS2 Mobile – a library search app for your phone – TLC

235 libraries plus 16 mobiles currently under threat

On the (semi) positive side, the Wandsworth figure has changed – 1 library faced with closure (instead of previously reported 6), others will have reduced hours. On the debit side, Wigan announce some libraries will close, Stoke withdraw RNIB talking book service and the British Library loses 200 jobs.

British Library – 200 jobs to go – Library workers for a brighter future
Wigan – some libraries will close, not Leigh – This is Lancashire
Stoke – ends RNIB talking books service  – BBC
Oxfordshire – more on the cuts – Oxford Mail
Wakefield – more on the cuts, looking for volunteers – Hemsworth and South Emsall Express

Tim Coates wants books in libraries, CILIP thinks libraries are about Web 2.0? – Article and Comments on “The real argument about libraries” – Good Library Blog
Without Libraries, we will lose a mark of our civilization – Guardian Online. Some scarily anti-library commments, though.
Devon – free CDs, reduced charges, for carers – Mid Devon Star
Gloucestershire – Matson residents fear the closures – This is Gloucestershire
Oxfordshire – Summertown users react to cuts – BBC
Wandsworth – Battersea residents angered – This is Local London
Halton – Widnes and Runcorn to go self-service – Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News
Edinburgh – new library to be built – Edinburgh Outlook
Artist’s impression of new Canterbury Library – flickr
Torfaen – work starts on revamp of Pontypool Library – Free Press

USA – book vending machines – Stamford Advocate

Edinburgh – new library to be built – Edinburgh Outlook

31 more libraries, 9 more mobiles added to “under threat” list

240 libraries plus 16 mobiles currently under threat

New entries today are Oxfordshire (20 out of 43 libraries).  I have added two authorities where cuts were previously announced but missed from the list – Doncaster (3) – thanks to “savedoncasterlibraries” for the heads up – Bolton (up to 8) – discovered from a link found in the Doncaster article. I have amended the figure for North Yorkshire due to news article here which describes 24 library closures (already listed) plus 9 mobile libraries (not already listed). News from Bristol suggests “volunteers could be asked to run libraries”.

News from 25th and 26th Nov

Oxfordshire 20 out of 43 to close – BBC
Massive cutbacks to libraries begin – BookSeller
Sutton – Outsourcing favoured over closing – Your Local Guardian
Nottingham – 30 libraries to reduce hours – Volunteers Wanted – This is Retford
North Yorkshire – More on the closures – Malton Mercury
Bristol – Volunteers could run libraries – This is Bristol
Tony Horne column derides libraries – Newcastle Chronicle

Barking and Dagenham – In defence of Chadwell Heath – Voices for the Library
Library cuts threaten UK’s cultural heritage – Guardian
Hounslow – Rumours of Feltham Library closures rubbished – Hounslow Chronicle
Leeds – Councillors defend Rawdon Library from closure – Wharfedale Observer
Hertfordshire – Lib Dems launch campaign to defend against 30% cut in opening – sixtofix
Warrington – In defence of Grappenhall – Warrington Guardian
Are libraries out of date? – BBC
Kathy Lette defends libraries on Question Time – BBC (43:32)
Why not volunteers? – Library Workers for a Brighter Future

Surrey – 3000 sign petition to stop move of library – BBC

209 libraries currently under threat

Libraries currently under threat = 209 plus 7 mobile libraries
Following a suggestion by Tim Coates, the figure includes all libraries that are current under threat. Complete list is under news, with links.  I have taken the worst case scenario when numbers are known but not included a figure if it is just known that a number are under threat but no number is given.

Today’s News
West Midlands – 14 council library services likely to merge in order to cut costs, commenters fear Greater Birmingham – Express & Star
Isle of Wight – more on the dramatic cuts – Isle of Wight Radio
Wirral – “no libraries will close on our watch” – Wirral Globe
Leeds – FOI request shows reason for library closure on shaky ground – Voices for the Library
Hillingdon – record visitor numbers after investment, guarantees of no cuts – Hillingdon and Uxbridge Times

171 libraries under threat.

Libraries under threat count = 171 plus three mobile library services. 

Figure concentrates on libraries whose closures or transfer to volunteers have been announced since 20th October.  40 are, for instance, under threat in Birmingham but this is not included on the list as it was announced earlier in the year. I have also not included libraries where the figure is not clear – however, I am taking the worst case scenario in those cases where numbers have been announced so this will probably balance things out. Another exclusion are those with reductions in staff, opening hours, bookfund etc – there are a lot of these and it runs the risk of losing the impact of the running total.

All figures are taken from articles on the blog – google within the blog for the relevant articles. 

This is as comprehensive list as one man on one PC, with poor mathematical skills and with a very depressing (since 20.10.10) hobby can achieve.  Please feel free to contact me with amendments.

Uklibrarywatch have a comprehensive list of the fate facing UK libraries.


Jersey – standards may drop – BBC
Isle of Wight – Up to 10 libraries to close, service only has 11 to begin with –

In our defence

Arts Council to take over MLA role for libraries – BookSeller. DCMS articleLeeds – campaign in defence of York Road Library –
Libraries Quiz – Guardian
Gloucestershire – article in defence of libraries – cuts include withdrawing whole mobile library service, 7 libraries reduced to 3 hours per week, including this leads to 18 library closures – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – author joins fight – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – 1000 march – Socialist Party
Gloucestershire – campaign on the radio – Friends of Gloucestershire
North Yorkshire – in defence of the 24 libraries – Northern Echo
Campaign for the Book newsletter –
Librarians “gagged” – Johanna Bo Anderson’s blog
Ebooks in libraries – Gone Digital

USA – when librarians d’t answer the question, users quit – Library Journal
The most beautiful libraries in the US, allegedly – Flavorwire

c.153 closures – Harrogate announces 3

3 more libraries in danger today – 153 libraries in danger of closing or being given to community groups since 20th October.

New Cuts
Hartlepool – 3 out of 7 libraries could go – Hartlepool Mail

In Our Defence
Buckinghamshire – “get act together” to save library – Bucks Free Press
Gloucester –  protests make front page – flickr. “Gobsmacked” library users – This is Gloucestershire
Leeds – challenges to plans to close 20 libraries – Yorkshire Evening Post
Authors defend libraries – Guardian
It’s the books, stupid, says MLA survey – Bookseller.  MLA report suggests that it could also be the coffee. Tim Coates shows schadenfreude at the news, librarians express disgust.
Why can’t librarians campaign for libraries – Undaimonia

Does reading a book make us happier? – BBC

US – an interactive library wall – Billings Gazette
Books as a means of healing – American Libraries