Six weeks to save the library sector

353 libraries plus 26 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
Being the list below represents around a third of  authorities in the UK, the final figure could be from 800 to 1000.


The BookSellers Association swung their support behind libraries today amid fears that there are only six weeks to save public libraries.  With up to 1000 going in 2011 and further funding cuts inevitable in the next three years after, there is a real possibility that only a rump of the current 4500 libraries could still be open by the time of the next General Election.  Also, council decisions are made in February … hence just six weeks to act (and there’s Christmas inbetween).  No pressure there then. Finally, Ed Vaizey also appears to have reinterpreted the 1964 Act.

Conwy – small libraries to go, protests begin – North Wales Weekly News
Croydon – libraries to be run by volunteers or to be moved into schools or closed – This is Croydon
Flintshire – petition launched to protect Queensferry – Flintshire Chronicle
Gloucestershire – Alison Weir says cuts are “cultural madness” – FoGL
Gloucestershire – Librarians being bullied – Alan Gibbons
Hounslow – cut in hours, possible closures, £869k p.a cut – Hounslow Chronicle
Islington – could be a trust? could merge? – Alan Gibbons
Kirklees – worry over library cuts – Mirfield Reporter
Leeds: Councillors agree to 10 week consultation – Guardian
London: 1 borough no closures, all the others no guarantees – Guardian
Merton – 2 libraries to have reduced hours – This local london
Oxfordshire – library is a lifeline – Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – e-petition to save libraries – Oxfordshire Council
Southwest – Lib Dems complain at draconian cuts – London Editor
Somerset – Consultation period only until 14th January – BookSeller
Somerset – “shameful” cuts, says authors – Alan Gibbons

Are local libraries still relevant? – 88.7% say yes at close of poll  – Guardian
Defining our professional future – CILIP
Ed Vaizey – narrow definition of “efficient” enrages campaigners – BookSeller
Libraries of the future – Culture Vulture
Six weeks to save the library sector – BookSeller

USA – Museums and Libraries Act passed – Library Journal

“If all these libraries are now closed … all will be gone in five year’s time”

Ed Vaizey talks; CILIP protests; Somerset propose 24 closures;

353 libraries plus 26 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
Being the list below represents around a third of  authorities in the UK, the final figure could be from 800 to 1000.

The figures have changed because:
– plus 20 and 4 mobiles – Somerset  – 20 (out of 34) will be offered to community groups. 4 (out of 6) mobile libraries will also go.  Most other libraries will have a 10% reduction in hours.
– plus 1 – North Lanarkshire – Whifflet Library was closed in March 2010.  Thanks to Chris Wilson for the tweet informing me.

 “The simple fact is that if all these libraries are now closed, then the rest will go, and the public-library service will be gone in five years’ time.” commented Christopher Hawtree, library campaigner and writer, in an email today.  This is in response to Ed Vaizey’s letter which has asked campaigners not to present the library service as in crisis. Devon joins Wirral, Hillingdon and Staffordshire as going on record saying no libraries will close, although Exeter will do without a new library and opening hours may be widely reduced.

Croydon – six libraries to close to save £700k p.a. – This is Croydon
Devon – none will close, opening hours may be reduced –  BBC
Devon – no new library for Exeter as plans quietly put away – This is Exeter
Dorset – up to 20 closures worry volunteers, plus £143k off bookfund – Bridport News
Dorset – Lyme Regis and Charmouth could go – View Online
Durham – library spending to be cut – BBC
Essex – Libraries could be transferred to a trust – Daily Gazette
Gloucestershire – Anthony Browne, children’s laureate, supports campaign – FoGL
Gloucestershire – “libraries are taking over my life” complains councillor pushing through closures – FoGL
Hillingdon – refurb seriously needed at Uxbridge – Uxbridge Gazette
Lewisham – author defends libraries – Voices for the Library
North Yorkshire – Easingwold campaign group – Facebook
Oxfordshire – anger growing at closures – Henley Standard
Renfrewshire – protest at relocating library – Paisley Daily Express
Somerset – 20 libraries (out of  34) and 4 mobiles (out of 6)  to go – Somerset Council
Wirral – big cut from government but libraries safe – Wirral Globe

CILIP – CILIP ask all MPs to monitor library cuts – CILIP.  Letter is here.
Philip Pullman and Kate Mosse meet Ed Vaizey for Campaign for the Book – Alan Gibbons
Ed Vaizey’s reply to Campaign for the Book Open Letter – Alan Gibbons
… and Alan Gibbon’s response to Ed Vaizey – Alan Gibbons
Pickles says cut back office functions before libraries – BookSeller

Conwy and Northants threaten 15 closures

332 libraries plus 22 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
Being the list below represents around a third of  authorities in the UK, the final figure could be from 800 to 1000.

The figures have changed because:
Plus 7 – Conwy may close 7 out of 12.
Plus 8 – Northamptonshire  has announced 8 possible closures (out of 38) plus 2 mobiles

Mr Pickles is quoted today as saying: “Before we see libraries cut and all these kinds of things, I want to see councils merge their back office functions ….I would like to see them sharing chief executives, their legal department, their accounts department, their payroll, their IT, their planning, their education support functions.  And when they have done all that, if they feel they have to close libraries, they should talk to me again.”

Buckinghamshire – Volunteer run libraries, computers paid for by council – Bucks Free Press
Conwy – 7 (out of 12) under threat – BBC
Dundee – libraries to become a Trust – Press and Journal
Gloucestershire – more consultation dates announced – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries
Lewisham – protests at cuts – BBC
Liverpool – “libraries will shut” says Leader – Liverpool Confidential
Northamptonshire – 8 (out of 38) under threat – Northampton Chronicle. Full details here
Wandsworth – 100 demo to protest at closure of York Gardens Library – Local Guardian

Eric Pickles wants libraries cut only as last resort – Birmingham Mail and also Yorkshire Post
Religious groups may take over libraries – Open Democracy
Cuts to libraries disproportionate to council cuts – BookSeller
Sit-in at Vodaphone shop planned to protest at library closures – LWFABF (NB: no advocacy of illegal action is in any way implied by the posting of this item).
What price a book? – LoveYourPolitics
Cuts to council budgets – interactive map – Guardian
What do the public want from libraries? – MLA

Croydon to close half of libraries, Staffordshire close none.

317 libraries plus 20 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed (List below “News”)
The figures have changed because:
– plus six – Croydon has announced it is closing 6 out of its 12 libraries. This is on top of the local studies library already reported.

Libraries were mentioned on most national media (television and radio) today as the core central funding for each council was announces.  Libraries were repeatedly cited as examples of services to be cut.  The Times has the headline “Apocalypse Now” and chose to use a library as a main photograph.

Staffordshire joins the tiny club (Hillingdon and Wirral are the two other members I am aware of – anyone know any other council in this category?) of councils which have gone on record saying they will not close any libraries.


Buckinghamshire – Campaign to save South Petherton – This Is The West Country
Buckinghamshire – library closures not illegal – Bucks Free Press
Cambridgeshire – a case of staff levels being “frozen”? – Cambridge News
Croydon – 6 libraries (out of 12)  to close – Croydon Guardian
Doncaster – Petition to go to Hunt – Doncaster Star
Gloucestershire – council leader slow-hand-clapped by 500 at public meeting – Friends of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – Joanna Trollope supports libraries, council spokesman says cuts unavoidable – BBC
Gloucestershire – details of consultation times and dates – Friends of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – 2000 sign petition to save Bishop’s Cleeve library –  This is Gloucestershire
Hampshire – culture/libraries boss takes voluntary redundancy – Basingstoke Gazette. In his time, he had questioned buying fiction for libraries as “most people buy books”.
Oxfordshire – campaigns to fight “savage” library closures – Henley Standard
Staffordshire – all 43 branches are safe – Lichfield Blog. Council statement here
Walthamstow – St James Street Library RIP – Youtube (old video, but interesting)
Walthamstow – Campaign for Lea Bridge – Youtube (old video, but interesting)
Wigan – defence of libraries begins – Wigan Today
Worcesteshire – libraries not a priority – Worcester News
Libraries must still be run by librarians says LGA – Public Service
‘Apocalypse now’ for Libraries, Social Care and Bin Collections – Times (Behind a paywall – article has a big picture of a library as an example).
USA – libraries meet the needs of users in recession – NJ.Com
Jeremy Hunt in favour of volunteers in libraries, does not mention them replacing staff – Guardian
“Take to the barricades” – Alan Gibbons
Poorest areas will take the biggest cuts – Guardian
Front-line cuts such as to libraries are chosen instead of “vested interests” in councils – Telegraph
KPMG say libraries are soft targets for cuts – Reuters

Gloucestershire – Joanna Trollope supports libraries, council spokesman says cuts unavoidable – BBC
Gloucestershire – details of consultation times and dates – Friends of Gloucestershire
Walthamstow – St James Street Library RIP – Youtube (old video, but interesting)
Walthamstow – Campaign for Lea Bridge – Youtube (old video, but interesting)

Jeremy Hunt in favour of volunteers in libraries, does not mention them replacing staff – Guardian
“Take to the barricades” – Alan Gibbons

Aberdeenshire – some
Angus – 4 libraries closed this year (April) to be possibly replaced by a mobile
Argyll and Bute – 3 libraries and mobile library.
Barking and Dagenham – 5
Barnet – some – public consultation here
Barnsley – up to 8
Bedfordshire – 1 mobile to go
Birmingham – 40
Bolton – Up to 8
Brent – 6 (out of 12)
Bristol – some may be staffed by volunteers
Buckinghamshire – up to 14 to close or be staffed by volunteers
Cambridgeshire – some
Camden – several plus one mobile library (£2 million cut)
Central Bedfordshire – one mobile library to go
Cornwall – up to 23
Croydon – 1 (local studies)
Devon – (mobile stops cut)
Doncaster – 13, (may also be taken out of council control)
Dorset – up to 20 (out of 34) to close or be given to community groups
Dumfries – 7
Flintshire – 5 and at least one mobile
Gloucestershire – Up to 25 and 6 mobiles  – 11 to close or go to volunteers. 7 to close if they don’t find a partner.  A further 11 reduced to 3.5 hours a week (this is just a small figure I include them under “closed”), 6 mobile libraries to go. 
Hampshire – (58 FTE jobs to go) (and mobile library review)(libraries merged with IT/property etc)
Harrow – (34 FTE to go)
Hartlepool – 1 confirmed to close (another to merge with community centre, all library’s hours cut)
Hertfordshire – (opening hours to be cut by one third – from 2236 hours down to 1575) – At least one library (Borehamwood)  faces a 40% cut
Highland – (Wick Library to close and merge with school library)
Hounslow – (12 FTE to go, 1 IT skills suite closed)
Isle of Wight – up to 10 (out of 11)
Kirklees – at least 1
Leeds – Up to 20 (out of 52)
Leicestershire – all libraries could be privatised, put to trust or shared (merge of lending/reference- 14 FTE jobs lost)
Lewisham – 5
Milton Keynes – 2
Newport – 7
Northumberland – some 
North Norfolk – some (c. £1m reduction)
North Somerset – 1 closed, 2 proposed. Weston Mercury update
North Yorkshire – 24 to close or be staffed by volunteers, 9 mobiles to go off road.
Nottingham – (80 FTE jobs to go, 75% off bookfund, 30 libraries have less opening hours)
Oldham – (increase in volunteers, merging, cuts)
Oxfordshire – 20 – list of those under threat here
Redbridge – 5 out of 12 may close, another may relocate.
Renfrewshire – (2 libraries to move into smaller sites in community centres)
Richmond – 1
Rochdale – (some library managers to to go in first phase of cuts)
Sefton – 3
Sheffield – (30% cut expected)
Shropshire – 1 (reference library to merge with central library)
Somerset – several. 7 libraries have reduced opening hours until decision made/jobs freeze.
Stoke – 2 and 1 mobile library, (ends RNIB service)
Suffolk – up to 2
Tower Hamlets – (staff made to reapply for their own jobs -23 library staff replaced)
Wakefield – “several”
Walsall – at least 8 (30 FTE). More details here 
Wandsworth – 1 plus reduction in hours in others
Warrington – 2 and 1 mobile library
West Sussex Some (5 FTE lost, some librarians pay reduced to library assistant)
Wigan – Up to 15 out of 17  (£1.1m cut off £4m budget)
Wiltshire – (26 FTE posts to go inc. 9 out of 13 community librarians)

800 to 1000 libraries may be under threat.

311 libraries plus 20 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed.

Being the list below of individual authorities represents around one-third of those in the UK, that could mean perhaps 800 to 1000 libraries could be under threat when all budget proposals are announced*.  Tim Coates today announced he was in “despair” at this news. CILIP have been active behind the scenes and have promised action in the next week to publicise the plight of public libraries. Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for libraries has written this week to each council to remind them that libraries are a statutory service. 

Most councils decide their budgets for 2011/12 in February so, if you too are concerned by a proposed cut in funding for libraries in your authority, there is not much time left to let your councillor/MP/Minister know.

*Thanks to Desmond Clarke for pointing this out.

Birmingham – Tower Hill library may close, protests begin – Walsall Advertiser
Doncaster – reaction to the cuts – Save Doncaster Libraries
Dorset – Public consultation on closure of 20 (out of 34) libraries – Dorset Echo
Gloucestershire – campaign to save Matson Library – This is Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – local council meetings fail to sell the message of closures – Friends of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire – deathblow to libraries? – Ruscombe Green
Gloucestershire – messages of support for libraries, inc. video – Friends of Gloucestershire
Highland – Wick Library to close, new one in school outside of town centre – John O’Groats Journal
Leicestershire – privatisation for libraries and/or co-location – Lutterworth Mail
Leicestershire – Concern at cuts – BBC
North Yorkshire – Gargrave and Grassington could be community-run, only big towns to have a library – Craven Herald and Pioneer
Oxfordshire – the news on libraries is awful so how bad will cuts be for other services? – Oxford Mail
Oxfordshire – more cuts to be announced (goodbye Oxford Literary Festival?) – BBC
Oxfordshire – Campaigners, including MP and Phllip Pullman, protest at cuts – Oxford Mail
Sandwell – doing well – Halesownen News (yippee!)
Wandsworth – your chance to take part in consultation – Wandsworth Council
Warrington – Phone Box as Library – Warrington Guardian
West Sussex – Cuts to libraries to be discussed next week – Argus.  This article suggests at least some libraries will be either closed or given to volunteers – Chichester Observer.
Wigan – did you know our library is in danger of closing? – Standish Talk

MLA “It’s not the libraries that matter” Future Libraries Programme Newsletter – MLA
Tim Coates despairs – Good Library Blog
Reading Agency shows power of youth volunteering in libraries – Alan Gibbons
Arts Council (soon to be responsible for libraries) under fire – London Evening Standard
Plea for councillors not to cave into “middle class lobbyists” in favour of libraries – Public Finance
Councils to be told how much their funding will be cut early next week – Daily Telegraph – libraries mentioned several times in article as amongst those services most likely to close.
Eric Pickles seems more concerned about Winterval than the cuts – Guardian
Localism Bill – closed library? community groups may get first right of refusal on the building – BBC
Choose a library for the Guardian to look at and, possibly, save – Guardian – A significant proportion of the comments after the article are in favour of closing libraries.
Kate Mosse in defence of libraries – Guardian

Dismantling of library system continues – Doncaster/Dorset/Cambs etc

311 libraries plus 20 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed. 

The figure has gone up by 10 librraies and 1 mobile since yesterday. This is because:

– Minus 3 – Cornwall looks to be 23 under pressure rather than 26 previously calculated.
– Plus 1 mobile – Flintshire previous figure was 5 libraries, at least one mobile added as under threat
– Plus 3 – Dorset – Previous figure was 17, BBC report 20 could go.
– Plus 10 – Doncaster – previous figure was 3, Alan Gibbons suggests rumours it is 13.

Cambridgeshire – some libraries to close as part of £161m cuts – Cambridge News
Cornwall – 23 (out of 32)  to close, inc poss Newquay – This is Cornwall
Doncaster – rumours that 13 libraries may close – Alan Gibbons
Doncaster – disconcerting news from the MP – Save Doncaster Libraries
Dorset – halving of libraries as 900 jobs go – Dorset Echo
Dorset – 20 libraries could go – BBC
Flintshire – more on the cuts – Flintshire Chronicle
Hampshire – Libraries merge with other services – Get Hampshire 
Leicestershire – Libraries could be privatised, put in trusts or shared – Harborough Mail
Lewisham – local groups urged to run 5 libraries or they will close – East London Times
North Yorkshire – 125 forms to save libraries so far in newspaper campaign – Scarborough Evening News
Torbay – £200k could be cut from libraries – This is South Devon

MLA – Arts Council “pleased” to take over but with 25% off – Guardian.  Also in BookSeller and BBC
Kate Mosse on Libraries – BookSeller

Dorset could close up to 17; Flintshire 5; Suffolk 2 – Figure now over 300

301 libraries plus 19 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed.

Reason for the change in figures today (from 279 libraries and 19 mobiles yesterday)
– Plus 17 – Dorset – this authority had already announced “some” branches were under threat but has now said up to half of its 34 branches are to close or taken over by community groups.
– Plus 5 – Flintshire – this is an entirely new figure.
– Minus 2 – Hartlepool – Up to 3 had been earmarked for closure but the actual cut is 1 (plus a merger with a communty centre and a reduction in hours in all branches)
– Plus 2 – Suffolk – this is a new figure – “one or two” to close.

Devon – mobile stops cut “arbitrarily” – 
Dorset – Up to 17 out of 34 libraries to close or be given away – Bournemouth Echo
Flintshire – 5 to go – Leader
Gloucestershire – Campaign group to save libraries – Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard
Gloucestershire – situation report on libraries petition – Friends of Glos Libraries
Gloucestershire – Joanna Trollope supports campaign to save libraries – Friends of Glos Libraries
Gloucestershire – Historical Society to take over Wotton-Under-Edge – Gazette
Gloucestershire – Petition to save Longlevens – This is Gloucestershire
Hartlepool – 1 closure, 1 merge, all opening hours cut – Hartlepool Mail
Lancashire – your chance to suggest cuts – Lancashire Telegraph
Leeds – “cuts like the 1930s” – Guardian
Leeds – plans to close up to 20 to go to public consultation – Guardian
Lewisham – decision to close 5 libraries delayed until January – Guardian
Northumberland – some libraries may go – Journal Live
North Somerset – “If people are prepared to jump up and down about a library then they should be prepared to help run this service too” – Weston Mercury
Suffolk – “1 or 2” libraries to close – BBC Suffolk
Wirral – libraries are great but all are closed on Wednesday – Wirral Globe

Australia – Open Letter to Jeremy Hunt from Australian Libraries – New Technology Interest Group’s Blog
Vftl – David McMenemy Guest Blog – Voices for the Library

Shropshire closing ref library? Figure now 279 libraries under threat

279 libraries plus 19 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed.

Reasons for increases to figure.
– Plus 7 and 2 mobiles – Gloucestershire.  Figure increased due to comment from a Glos campaigner (on 6 Dec news – see below) who has kindly clarified I was using optimistic (!) figures.  Figure now 25 libraries and 6 mobiles if one includes those reduced to a pitiful 3.5 hours per week.
– Plus 8 – Figure increased by 8 as Walsall cuts noticed and included (thanks to Library Watch). Walsall are putting all their libraries under review, with the worst 8 closing.
– Plus 1 -Shropshire is considering merging it’s reference library with Shrewsbury public library – I am including this as a loss as up to 10FTE could go.

Barking and Dagenham – petition to save Chadwell Heath –
Barking and Dagenham – Facebook group to save Chadwell Heath – Facebook
Gloucestershire – protesters demand apology – Gloucestershire Echo. Comment by campaigner here. Fascinating fight in the comments with an anti-library commenter.
Hampshire – Libraries chief retires, dept to merge – BookSeller
Leicestershire – smaller libraries could be run by community groups – inLoughborough
Oxfordshire – cuts driven by ideology – Oxford Times
Shropshire – Reference Library may merge with Shrewsbury Library – Shropshire Star
Wandsworth – meeting at York Gardens – Battersea People
Wiltshire – protests at move out of town of Melksham Library – This is Wiltshire

Big Books charity in libraries – Guardian
INDIA – and we thought we had problems, over 3000 libraries closed – Times of India
US – Small is all, who runs the USA’s 9214 libraries? – American Libraries
US – Big Tent Librarianship – Library Journal

Wigan says only 2 out of 16 libraries safe: Redbridge announce 5 closures.

263 libraries plus 17 mobiles currently under threat or recently closed.

Wigan has put out a public consultation that says only 2 of its 17 libraries are safe from closure.   It is unlikely Wigan will close all of these but it is possible so the figure stands as 15 out of 17 under threat. I had previously put the figure for Wigan as 6 so the total has increased by nine.   The London borough of Redbridge has announced five of its 12 libraries, relocating a sixth.

Gloucestershire – Lib Dems against the closures – Friends of Glos Libraries
Kent – traditional library may change forever – This is Kent
Lewisham – appeal to volunteers for  5 libraries, two more London authorities due to do the same – LocalGov
Milton Keynes – town council pr proposed closure of Stony Straford library – AboutMyArea
North Tyneside – Budget cuts mean libraries at risk – Chronicle Live
Oxfordshire – don’t close my children’s library – Henley Standard
Oxfordshire – anger growing at proposed closure of libraries – Henley Standard
Oxfordshire – Labout group against the closures – Oxford Mail
Redbridge – 6 out of 12 libraries may close – Wanstead and Woodford Guardian
Wigan – 15 out of 17 libraries under threat as public consultation begins – Wigan and Leisure Culture Trust

Professional vs. Non-Professional as Rome burns – Good Library Blog
Alan Gibbons – 1000 petition to Ed Vaizey – Guardian. See also The BookSeller
In praise of libraries – Paul on Books
Are you sick about hearing about libraries yet? – Book Maven
Can librarians protest against cuts in their own authority? – Sintoblog
For love of libraries – Sue Hyams