The following message has been received by Shirley Burnham, from Mike Chaney of Puddletown, with permission for it to be shared. He writes with regard to an article reporting the brilliant offer at Dorchester’s Library and Learning Centre – a co-located space, placing the library in a building alongside other services such as work club, Citizens Advice Bureau and Older People programmes amongst other things.

I saw the  Dorset Echo’s  puff for our new library (into which, I regret to tell you, I have yet to set my foot). It is a matter of some bitterness hereabouts as it was bought at the cost of nine little rural branch libraries, eight of which have had to survive only with volunteers: the other was lost. We fear there will be more such ‘pistols-to-the-head’ deals in the months to come.

The county is paying its share to the tune of some hundreds of thousands a year (figures plucked from my failing memory) out of the same fund that it tightened so drastically last year  –  with consequential loss of the nine rural libraries. And not paying with capital money either, but with revenue. It is not surprising that there is ill feeling.

It is a matter for some soul-searching among the volunteers, whose hard work encourages councillors to visit the ‘privilege’ of community status on yet more villages…so that they can save yet more money to spend on other things: vanity projects like new buildings.


The Library Campaign are happy to highlight this correspondence and in so doing hope to open up discussions on the subject.

We post links to news articles collated by Shirley Burnham.  Often the real story lies in the comments left on posts.

This email from Mike highlights many key issues that we hear of regularly – cuts to branches to preserve larger centres, co-location of services, the ‘privilege’ of volunteering in an attempt to protect much loved and used branch library services and questions relating to council spending.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Infoism : 21st July
Why I think we need to speak out against media assaults on public libraries

Spalding Guardian : 21st July
Council leaders bid to save libraries offer
Plans to reform Lincolnshire’s library service are in limbo ….

The Star : 21st July
D-Day for Sheffield library plans
But the results will not be publicly available until Wednesday as the council has told groups to keep the news confidential so staff can be briefed.

Public Libraries News : 20th July
Editorial | What’s the effect of volunteer libraries on the Summer Reading Challenge? 

Exeter Express & Echo : 19th July
Devonshire | Ottery fears for its library’s future

DAILY MAIL : 21st July
Councils cut services, not salaries: Two thirds have ignored Government’s pleas for pay restraint and reduced
spending on libraries or retirement homes instead

view through shelvingns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Today’s news items, with thanks to Shirley Burnham. 

Bournemouth Echo : 17th July
Fears Poole council will axe valuable mobile library service used by vulnerable residents

Redditch Advertiser : 17th July
Worcestershire | Wythall Library’s future looks to have been secured

Leon’s Library Blog : 17th July

And the rest are from LINCOLNSHIRE !

Save Lincs Libraries : 17th July
#LibraryJudicial Review WIN on two counts

BBC News : 17th July
Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigners win court battle

Audioboo fm : 17th July
Prime Minister David Cameron interviewed about Libraries and the Lincolnshire JR
1 minute “in”

Lincolnshire campaigners win judicial review

The Library Campaign : 17th July
Lincs library rescue could save libraries nationwide

KLIKent : 17th July
Lincolnshire – a warning for Kent County Council

Littlehampton Gazette : 17th July
Library campaigners win court fight
In their tens of thousands, they have refused to bow down to the arrogant & unyielding power of the country council

4NI : 17th July
Northern Ireland | High Court Rules Against Council’s Library Plan

Lincolnshire Echo : 17th June
Save Lincolnshire Libraries wins judicial review over plans for community run hubs

The Lincolnite : 17th June
High Court quashes council’s changes to Lincolnshire libraries

Stamford Mercury : 17th June
BREAKING NEWS: Campaigners win libraries review

Lincolnshire Echo : 17th June

Save Lincolnshire Libraries wins judicial review over plans for community run hubs

Boston Standard : 17th July
Cuts to library service to be reviewed following High Court ruling

Spalding Buardian : 17th July
‘Think again on library cuts’, says court

Grantham Journal : 17th July
High Court rules in favour of Save Lincolnshire Libraries

Campaigners leaving the High Court, London, at the end of the second day.
Campaigners leaving the High Court, London, at the end of the second day.

In two minutes flat this morning (17 July) a High Court judge brought a county’s library destruction plans to a screeching halt.

And, potentially, the court victory will stop many other such drastic plans in their tracks.IMG_0008

The Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign (in the person of local resident Simon Draper) had called a judicial review of Lincolnshire County Council’s widely-hated decision to close an astonishing 29 of its 44 libraries. That would leave just 15 attempting to provide the full service required by law – and 29 dumped on to reluctant local volunteers to run if they could.

Mr Justice Collins today pronounced the decision ‘flawed’ on two grounds: (1) poor consultation and (2) failure to ‘properly deal with’an alternative plan [in this case, a bid by an experienced charitable body (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) to run the service, making all the budget cuts required but still saving all 44 libraries and more than 160

“These two tactics are among the most dangerous being employed by councils against common sense and common humanity,” said The Library Campaign (TLC), the national charity that supports library users.

The Library Campaign chair Laura Swaffield said: “If the judicial review outlaws these two nasty tricks, suddenly there’s hope for threatened library services everywhere.

“Time and again, The Library Campaign hears of councils carrying out skewed consultations designed to get the answer the council wants – and ignoring all opposition.

“Time and again, The Library Campaign hears of councils that are pig-headedly determined to wreck their library services – refusing any other ways to make savings.

“It’s theoretically possible that Lincs CC will appeal – but the judge made it clear that it would ‘have difficulty’s doing so. So – fingers crossed.

“Meanwhile, TLC is celebrating alongside Save Lincs Libraries. We are proud to have supported them.”

Laura added: “As so often, it is library users who have stood up to defend this vital public service. Not the professional bodies – and certainly not the libraries minister.

“Ed Vaizey’s policy basically seems to be sabotage – in particular, encouraging the growth of volunteer libraries at the expense of a proper service. The idea has never been researched. Now, we hope, it will be impossible to enforce this whole crazy idea against the wishes of communities.

Simon Draper and his wife, Timber, outside of Court 2.
Simon Draper and his wife, Timber, outside of Court 2.

by Laura Swaffield, Chair of The Library Campaign.

IMG_0008We were following Simon Draper, from Save Lincs Libraries, in his judicial review against the county’s utter determination to wreck its library service. Even though its entire population seems to disagree – strongly.

Listening to the to-and-fro showed me as never before how daft this plan is – if you can really call it a plan – and how utterly pig-headed is the county’s attitude.

At one point the urbane judge murmured: ‘I’ve never before come across a consultation exercise where everyone who responded said – “Don’t do it!”  That was after he had gently enquired whether anyone at all had approved of the plans.  ‘No, my lord,’ admitted the county’s hapless barrister. That, it seems, was not considered relevant by Lincs CC!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

A JR does not seek to establish whether a plan is daft, or damaging, or universally hated. It can only decide if the plan contravenes the law.

From the start, the judge, Mr Justice Collins, showed he was being totally scrupulous about that. He could only pronounce on the law.  Pursuing the law, however, gave us some of the most surreal exchanges of the whole affair.

The bit about the consultation was the best. Consultations, says the law, MUST be held at a ‘formative’ stage – when the plan can be reversed if people hate it.

The county’s barrister, Helen Mountfield QC, is by all accounts a decent and competent practitioner. But the things she found herself having to say!

The judge doggedly pursued the point that the county’s plan – as presented in the consultation document – was in fact a done deal. Anyone reading it, he insisted, would assume that – and would assume there was no point arguing about it.

Not so, said Helen. I’m not sure I quite followed her argument (it was hard to hear). But she seemed to say that in fact, large numbers of people had been able to find bits in the consultation form that enabled them to express their total opposition! So that meant that…er… The judge was not convinced by this strange argument.

Helen did, in fact, succeed in making it super-clear that Lincs CC was not willing to consider any alternative to its ruthless closure plan. They had worked on it for ages, she pleaded. They wanted to re-design the service at all costs. It was a ‘political’ decision, she said. The judge, unsurprisingly, didn’t seem to think any of this was relevant.

Lincs CC, it emerged, believes in the Big Society even if nobody else does. It was determined to give local communities the chance to ‘get involved’ in their libraries – by having to run them, whether they wanted to or not.

The county held on to this goal, even when it received a bid from GLL (the non-profit social enterprise that already successfully runs two library services). GLL said it could make the required savings while still keeping all the libraries open, improving the service, keeping on all the 160-plus staff faced with the sack under Lincs CC’s plan – oh, and ensuring community involvement in all the libraries.

This, the judge suggested, would be what all the Lincs campaigners wanted… He was right about that. But instead, Lincs CC preferred to sack all these staff and close 29 libraries, keeping only 15 able to offer the statutory service it is obliged by law to provide.

Its plan, it emerged, fully recognised that it was unlikely these 29 libraries would survive as volunteer enterprises. Hence statutory status for the lucky 15. This seems a pretty mad way to try to prove the Lincs CC plan was a good one – or that the consultation was genuine.

There was more. Did Lincs CC ask GLL for more information before it turned its bid down flat because… er… they wanted more information? No, they didn’t.

Helen went round in circles trying to prove that GLL’s bid was not in the right form, or didn’t come at the right time, or something. That didn’t seem to work.

She did establish clearly, however, that Lincs CC had absolutely no intention of even considering any proposals except those from individual communities to run individual libraries.

If this is making a good case, the law must indeed be an ass.

Well, maybe it won’t turn out to be an ass.

The judge impressed us all. He was sharp, courteous, fully in command of the huge files of court material, displayed common sense – and occasionally made it easy to guess what he was really thinking…

He did, very conscientiously, pick holes in Save Lincs Libraries’ case. But on occasions, he was heard to use the word ‘nonsense’ – always when commenting on a Lincs CC argument.

Simon Draper and his wife, Timber, outside of Court 2.
Simon Draper and his wife, Timber, outside of Court 2.

To summarise…
Save Lincs Libraries, in the person of Simon Draper, had four grounds for contesting Lincs CC’s plan.

Ground no 1 was the inadequacy – one might say bloody-mindedness – of the consultation process. The decision had clearly been taken, irrevocably, before the consultation ever started. That’s against the law.

Given the Alice-in-Wonderland justifications provided by Lincs CC, it’s hard to believe the judge will find the consultation met the legal requirements.

Ground no 2 was about failure to prevent the harm the plan would do to many vulnerable people – old, disabled, young families etc etc (public bodies have a legal duty to pay attention to upholding equality).

There was some argument here whether this implies actually doing anything to mitigate inequality, once the matter has been considered.

And some glorious confusion about access mobiles, super-mobiles and ordinary mobiles. More surreality, courtesy of Lincs CC.

However, the judge made it pretty clear that this one won’t succeed.

Save Lincs Libraries’ lawyer, David Lawson, had only tried to argue a slightly obscure point about travelling times. In the end it didn’t wash. The law – as opposed to common sense – doesn’t provide clear arguments to pursue.

Shame. It’s a vital consideration, surely. But there you are.

Ground no 3 was Lincs CC’s refusal even to consider properly the attractive bid made by GLL. This one looks good. It was obvious that Lincs CC had been unreasonable – irrational, even.

Cross your fingers. It will be a huge gain for all of us if this JR finds that library services really must consider suggestions of alternative ways to make savings – ways that don’t involve mass
closures and/or dumping most of your service on to volunteers who hate the whole idea.

Ground no 4 was our old friend ‘comprehensive and efficient’. This is always a shaky one, due to the DCMS’s refusal to show any interest in the matter – let alone give any hint of what C &E might be accepted to mean.

You might think that it would be hard for Lincs CC to prove that 15 statutory libraries would provide as C & E a service as the 44 they currently have. But we’ll have to see.

The Library Campaign takes off its hat to Save Lincs Libraries. This JR was a brilliant effort.
It deserves to succeed. For the sake of library users everywhere.

Campaigners leaving the High Court, London, at the end of the second day.
Campaigners leaving the High Court, London, at the end of the second day.

Judgement expected by 31 July.

Helen Goodman MP became (Labour) Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport last autumn. She has now started consulting on public libraries. Unfortunately her questionnaire has been circulated only to library staff organisations (CILIP and Unison).

We think this is a serious mistake. She needs to know as soon as possible what library users and campaigners think. So here is her questionnaire : 6.14-Letter-on-Libraries-Helen-Goodman.pdf.

The deadline is unrealistically tight –30 June. But you might have time to send your thoughts (emails to

Meanwhile, we have asked Helen to arrange a proper consultation with library users and campaigners as soon as possible.

This open meeting followed the AGM.

Report by Laura Swaffield, Chair of The Library Campaign.

We had a wide range of people, from all over the country. The issue of volunteer libraries sparked some very hot debate.

But it’s clear to me that, whatever the disagreements, all present had a lot more in common than they had differences. Those who run volunteer libraries do not advocate the idea, and have campaigned hard against it.

All agreed that the whole network of libraries has become a catastrophic mess on minister Ed Vaizey’s watch.

People in all the political parties understand the value of public libraries. But none have any faith that their party will really take the issues on board.

There are hopes that the Sieghart report on public libraries (due at the end of the year) will come up with useful ideas. When it does, we’ll hold a wide consultation with the people who matter – library
users. If they support its proposals, we will campaign hard to get every political party to commit to it – before the general election.

But Sieghart can’t undo the damage that has already taken place. Nor can it counter the effects of continuing savage cuts to local authorities – unless all of them are made aware of the real costs of
wrecking their library services.

There’s widespread recognition, too, that many local councils are not playing fair. Consultations are skewed, and their findings ignored. Millions are wasted on vanity projects, consultants, uncontrolled
central service costs and high-paid senior posts.

The trend is to pick off the most vulnerable small libraries – the very ones that are most needed, and least likely to survive without council support.

The true agenda, in many cases, is to ignore all viable alternatives and enforce a chain of volunteer libraries that are pretty certain to fail. At that point, the council can claim that it did its best – and
can now sell off the buildings. As it always intended.

Another trend to watch is rocketing charges. Charges for internet use have long been creeping in, and one council is now charging £10 for inter-library loans.

Everyone agreed that public libraries should be publicly-funded and professionally staffed. That applied to all who run volunteer libraries. None had done so until they had campaigned long and hard
for a proper service to be retained by their council.

Unsurprisingly, the one area of disagreement was about the quality of volunteer libraries and their chances of survival. Is a volunteer library better than none? And anyway, do all council services offer
all that a good public library should?

Above all, comes the dilemma – if decent, competent people offer to help their local community, the answer will likely be: “Thanks, chum. Now we can close down even more public services and spend your money on things you don’t want.” Cynical public service cuts are poisoning
the well of civic goodwill.

It’s significant that Arts Council England and the DCMS were barely mentioned. The former does nothing relevant, the latter is positively hostile. Neither engages with library users.

So, plenty to campaign for. much work to do. Library users and campaigners will have to pool their resources and do the research and campaigning that’s really needed. And they need to pull in information from library users everywhere on what is really going on.

A long list of ideas was put together. We want feedback on what to prioritise. And more suggestions.

* Research – do volunteer libraries really save money? what are their problems? Identify whether (and where) posts have been created to recruit and oversee volunteers – and their associated costs.

* Research – which professional posts have been deleted to make savings in the back office and front line?

* Advice/toolkits on campaigning, understanding local authority budgets, spotting excessive and unnecessary spending.

* Publicity material for councillors and the general public on what public libraries offer and why they matter.

* Direct attack on the DCMS for not doing its job of defining – and ensuring – a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service for ‘all persons desiring to make use thereof’, as stipulated by the 1964 Act.

* Proper analysis of CIPFA figures to see what works, how good services operate, how poor services match up.

* Amass information on dodgy consultation by local authorities. Campaign for enforceable standards.

* Checklist of all that a public library service should offer – so both volunteer and public libraries can tick off what they have, identify gaps and keep alive awareness of libraries’ full potential.

* Campaign to reinstate clear standards for public libraries in England.

* Campaign for all libraries to be restored to the public service.




by the Chair, Laura Swaffield

Thanks given to those who have helped in our work this year:

Unison for support in distributing the magazine – with no prior information as to its content.

Trustees, in particular: Geof Dron for much FOI correspondence (see below); Ian Stringer for information, advice and magazine articles; Alan Wylie for much background work and untiring use of social media.

[In explicably I omitted TLC Secretary Elizabeth Ash, who has worked long and tirelessly on essential administration (including sorting out thorny inherited problems), managed and improved the website and given us much publicity via social media. I apologise wholeheartedly!] 

The following Trustees were re-elected en bloc:
Elizabeth Ash
Geof Dron
Kathleen Frenchman
Bob Goodrick
Ian Stringer
Laura Swaffield
Alan Templeton
Martin Wright

TLC is now working on a clearer ethos for the Charity, with a view to introducing an improved election process as soon as possible.


There was not time to give the full report given here. An abbreviated version was delivered at the AGM.

Much has been achieved this year. Much more could be done with more helpers on board. 

Our website has been revamped, with a better design, new areas for library campaigners’ views, the only national list of library groups and campaigns and daily digests of library articles in the news, collated by one of our members (and national library campaigner) Shirley Burnham.

Apart from numerous press releases, information given to journalists and researchers, interviews on local radio and a recent interview on Radio 4’s You and Yours…

A quote from The Library Campaign took up the whole front page of The Bookseller (21 February 2014), widely read in the library world. (Followed by more from us inside the magazine).

Another publicity success was our press release last July, in conjunction with other campaigners, which got major cover in the Guardian, the Independent, The Bookseller, CILIP Update and elsewhere. Its main point – that 1,000 libraries are likely to be lost by 2016 – was widely quoted, and is still being quoted this month.

All this is evidence that we are increasingly successful in publicising library campaigners’ concerns. As so often – locally and nationally – it is only library users who are speaking out for libraries and librarians. The national bodies are largely silent.

We have sent evidence on: extension of PLR rights to audio- and e-books (DCMS consultation), digital access (Cabinet Office team), the work of Arts Council England (Parliamentary select committee), the abolition of the statutory Advisory Committee on Libraries (DCMS consultation), and the Sieghart independent inquiry on public libraries.

We have written several times to libraries minister Ed Vaizey: chiefly about his neglect of the problems of volunteer libraries, while recklessly encouraging all comers to set them up. We also complained to the Parliamentary select committee pointing out that his promised report on library closures (delivered in January) avoided the issue completely.

We have briefed Helen Goodman MP, the new shadow minister for libraries. We are now chasing her up about her failure to include library users/campaigners in her consultation on libraries.

We have briefed the All-Party Parliamentary Group on libraries.

Trustee Geof Dron has sent a stream of painstaking Freedom of Information queries to the DCMS, ACE, the DCLG, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education… mostly uncovering a blend of confusion and inaction.

We placed a prominent advert on public libraries’ plight in Total Politics, a magazine sent to all UK MPs, MEPs, council leaders etc.

We regularly meet the Society of Chief Librarians.

We are working with Campaign for the Book (Alan Gibbons), CILIP, Unison and Voices for the Library as Speak Up for Libraries. A successful national conference was run last year.

We have given advice to individuals on a number of topics including: campaigning for the endangered home library service in Bristol, the ongoing campaigns in Sheffield and Lincolnshire, sources of funding, information on library design, the campaign by Rhydyfelin Library Support Group in Wales and the serious problems faced by a volunteer library elsewhere.

We are the main sponsor of the Kickstarter-funded project by librarians to produce publicity on the value of public libraries. We have donated £1,000 to Save Lincolnshire Libraries’ appeal to fund a judicial review.  

We have supported, the only national information source on public library issues (another vital resource not provided nationally).

Finally, of course, we publish the only national magazine solely devoted to public libraries.

All this happens against a background that has never looked more grim. Where good work is being done, it is un-coordinated and patchily funded. There is much frustration at the muddle and waste.

Official national bodies do little or nothing to address the real agenda (in the case of the DCMS the neglect amounts to outright sabotage). And there is quite a gulf between their world and the real world in local libraries.

Also very clear is the failure of so many councils to realise what a fantastic – cheap – resource they have in their libraries. Worse, many refuse point-blank to listen when their own residents tell them the facts. Consultation is often a farce. Alternative ideas are rejected without consideration. And there seems no way to enforce decent practice here.

And, more than ever, we know that libraries’ plight is just one sign of political ill-will towards the whole concept of public service and public good. The Library Campaign takes no party political stance. Unfortunately, we do not need to. All the major parties seem wedded to a daft economic view that worships ‘the market’, sees public services as a cost instead of an investment, and is happy to see the death of vital public services nationwide.

The Prime Minister has cheerfully announced that a much smaller state is to be permanent policy. Even when the dodgy excuse of ‘austerity’ no longer applies.

Reluctant ‘volunteers’ must take on the running of just about everything that makes for a civil society, while the financial sector swallows billions to support its greedy, incompetent and sometimes criminal practices.

The Library Campaign is working harder than ever.

We have to.


 Every membership of The Library Campaign helps to further our work, adds another piece to the jigsaw and gives a further voice to library users. 

Elizabeth Ash uses the membership database, for example, to monitor what is going on locally and to meet requests from the media for contacts with local campaigns and groups, often at short notice. This all helps to highlight the real situation.

We now send out two copies of the magazine to members. We know that several, as intended, pass on the extra copy or place it in public places.

Members are also needed to contribute to our expanded website – for instance, the new Your Views section (the first post, by a library worker on the imposition of self-serve kiosks, attracted much attention). We are building up a bank of free images to show on our website.

Much work has gone on to reconstruct and expand our list of Friends and campaign groups. It is the only such list available. But it requires constant updating. If you know of a group not listed, please let us know. Similarly, please let us know if you spot an error or dead link.


You can join us by taking up membership

You can follow us and engage on social media:

If you are on Twitter, follow The Library Campaign at @LibraryCampaign.

On Facebook, find us at The Library Campaign 

It’s a great way to keep in touch with current news.

 The more members we have involved, the more we can achieve as a charity. A strong and active membership helps The Library Campaign to better represent the views of the various campaigners and friends of libraries groups.


The meeting was followed by an open meeting, where issues and priorities were discussed. We want your views. to find out more click here: TLC Open Meeting – views sought



It can be easy to forget that the local studies service should be considered part of the “comprehensive and efficient” service required by statute because many local authorities choose not to manage it through the library structure.

Local Studies Collections obviously benefit from having very close links with archive services, and users often benefit from both collections being available on the same site. Most users do not differentiate between archives and printed sources, they just want the material whatever its format. Both services can benefit from the different skills of library staff and archivists. There is also a strong case for the service to be linked with museums, making a combined heritage service, they share similar problems of preservation and conservation of materials, as well as some of the problems of cataloguing and providing access. All this makes a heritage management structure, separate from the general library structure, seem logical. But it also serves to divorce the local studies service from the library service which enjoys some protection in times of economic pressure by virtue of its statutory status. We must remember museums are not a statutory service and the legal basis for the archives service is restricted to the local authority’s obligations to preserve its own records.

Users expect a local studies service to exist. They are generally very popular, experiencing increasing use and having a high profile – local studies libraries appear frequently on the popular BBC TV programme Who do you think you are. The Arts Council research documents for Envisioning the library of the future show that users value libraries’ role in local and family history. Local studies libraries are heavily used by family historians but experience shows school children, academics and local historians form an important additional core of users. The most popular online sources provided by the general library service also tend to be those which appeal to family and local historians. Nor should we forget that the local studies service contributes to the local authority’s wider agenda, with the important so-called “soft outcomes” of developing local identity and a commitment to a local community.

CILIP in its paper What makes a good library service lists “promotion and support of study of local history” and notes the importance of specialist staff. It is important to realise that the knowledge and enthusiasm of local studies specialists is vital to proper access to the collections.

The Arts Council Library of the future report of May 2013 emphasises community engagement, development of digital services and learning, all areas where local studies is very strong. Most places have very active local and family history societies who have close links with their local studies libraries and are very involved with developing the service. And many older users of the internet and other new technologies have come to it through an interest in family history. The research documents for Envisioning the library of the future include several references to a local history project in Peterborough as evidence of innovation in the library world. In The library of the future, the Arts Council response to the research, high priority is given to the role of libraries in helping “us understand ourselves, our place in the world, and the heritage of the communities in which we live.”

The Bookmark your library website (provided by the Arts Council, Society of Chief Librarians, Reading Agency etc) gives very welcome prominence to opportunities for family history study in libraries, but it concentrates on electronic sources not the wealth of printed material about the lives of our ancestors in local studies collections. There is no similar prominence given to local history study.

So the traditional interpretation of a library service, the expectations of users, the need for the local authority to develop local identity, CILIP, the Arts Council and, to some extent, Bookmark your library all argue for local studies to be an important part of the library service. There are no library standards now so it is difficult to know if the government considers local studies libraries to be part of a comprehensive and efficient service (insofar as it still exists).

Although the evidence seems to suggest that local studies is still considered as part of the core service library campaigners need to be aware of the pitfalls, as well as the advantages, of divorcing the service, sometimes physically as well as through management structures, from the rest of the library service.

One of the great strengths of the library service is the treasure house of printed material recording the history of each area. Many items were donated by people who wished them to be permanently preserved and made freely available. Let’s hope we are not the generation which erodes rather than develops the legacy with which we have been entrusted.

Written by Alice Lock. view through shelving

Book a FREE place to attend The Library Campaign’s AGM and the open discussion that follows to explore the issues surrounding libraries and to help help shape the future direction and priorities of The Library Campaign.


Everyone is welcome.
You need not be a member of The Library Campaign to attend, although only members can vote at the AGM. And we always welcome new members to support our work!

It’s simple to book. Booking helps us to cater for numbers and ensures that you are kept in the loop for any updates. You do not print out your ticket. 



Full details can be downloaded here, along with a map and travel information here, but the programme for the day is as follows:

2pm – tea, coffee, biscuits and networking

2.45pm – 3pm AGM
This is a chance for members and non-members alike to gain an insight to The Library Campaign’s work – and its potential to do more…

1. Welcome and apologies for absence
2. Approval of minutes of the AGM Meeting 29 June 2013
3. Annual report for the year ending 31st March 2014
4. Annual accounts for the year ending 31st March 2014
5. Election of Executive Committee

3pm – 4.30pm Discussion – HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER?

o The Library Campaign does all it can to raise awareness of public library issues, and to represent and support local campaign/Friends groups (many of whom do not choose to take up membership).

o Local groups do impressive work – research, publicity, innovative ideas, monitoring the quality of local services, campaigning against cuts.

o Then there are valuable online resources – again, all provided by volunteers

We have invited a wide range of representatives to help us – and you – get some answers to questions such as:

o What more could The Library Campaign do for you?
o How can The Library Campaign increase membership, and encourage more people to help expand our work?
o What are the central issues we need to concentrate on?
o What can we ALL do to co-ordinate and share resources, ideas and support?


If you have problems booking or have queries please contact the Secretary, Elizabeth Ash, on 020 8651 9552 or via email to

Public Libraries News : 20th May
Editorial | “For all persons desiring to make use thereof”

Islington Gazette : 21st May
Islington and Camden council chiefs accused of cover-up over plans to merge legal departments
Islington’s libraries and leisure centres, especially those near to the border with Camden, could be at risk of closure if the councils decided to share services.

Kent Online : 21st May
Kent County Council could hand libraries over to charitable trust to save money, says Cllr Mike Hill 

Burton Mail : 21st May
Leicestershire | People urged to speak out on library changes
Measham Library, in High Street, is one of 36 of the ‘least used’ libraries in Leicestershire that could close if Leicestershire County Council cannot find volunteers to run it as a ‘community hub’.

BBC News : 21st May
New Quay council anger over Tregaron library funding
The library in New Quay will be taken over by the town council next month and run by volunteers.  Meanwhile the county council will continue to fund a reduced service at Tregaron library.

library photo

ALMA-UK : 14th April
ALMA-UK announces publication of new research on the Economic Value of Libraries and
launch of the Economic Value of Libraries Toolkit

Public Net : 14th May
Universal Credit: Trials to support vulnerable claimants to start
Theoretically claimants can use facilities in libraries to submit claims, but they don’t visit libraries and they need support to cope with the technology and with the benefit processes.

Wales Online : 14th May
Library protesters take their fight to the Senedd
Rhydyfelin campaigners are now working with Michael Imperato, of Welsh law firm Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, to begin legal proceedings against RCT Council.

North Devon Gazette : 14th May
Your North Devon library – ‘use it or lose it’

Inside Croydon : 13th May
Let’s make our libraries the cornerstones of our communities
Something has gone terribly wrong at Croydon libraries.

Suffolk Libraries : 14th May
Stradbroke Library Post Office gets the green light!
Alison Wheeler, General Manager of Suffolk Libraries, said: “We believe that we might be the first library service in the country to be running a post office which is very exciting!”


The Library Campaign : 13th May
Local Elections – Speak Up for Libraries

Join the library, borrow books and make government sit up and take notice
Crime writer Ann Cleeves urges action

Cleeves: ‘Libraries need qualified staff’

Public Libraries News : 12th May
Editorial “Under Pressure” report from the LGA

Slide Share : 11th May
Volunteers in UK public libraries
Ian Anstice’s presentation on the impact of volunteers on UK public libraries over the last three years 2010-14. Produced for the Association de Bibliothecaires Francais conference in Paris June 2014.

Mid Devon Gazette: 13th May
‘We have to fight to save services’
District Councillor Linda Holloway, speaking at Cullompton’s annual parish meeting on Thursday, said that people assumed wrongly that the town library would be spared from cuts because it was new and a large ‘hub’ but she feared this may not be the case.

Don’t be a loan
How libraries and bookshops can work together

SUFL colour banner PNG


The Speak Up for Libraries alliance* is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in local elections.

This is a once-in-four-years chance to make sure local councils understand that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for their work – and deeply valued by local residents.

Already, many library services are threatened by deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning branches over to be run by volunteers.

Yet the unprecedented cuts to government grant that local authorities are facing mean that libraries, despite being a statutory service that councils must provide, are once more in danger of being seen as soft targets for savings. Such cuts often save little but do great damage.

If people wait another four years, their own library could go. Nationally a postcode lottery will become a reality with only some communities benefiting from the presence of a professionally run library.

Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to learning, reading, information and enjoyment.

Libraries are a trusted public space, a place for everyone.

They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combating the digital divide.

Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking local politicians, and the government, to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

Speak up for Libraries is asking local councillors to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election;

• Acknowledge that libraries are important to people – especially when times are hard for individuals and communities
• Give a commitment to engage with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.
• Ensure library services are properly resourced and staffed. A commitment to a service that is publicly funded, managed and run by paid professional staff.
• Recognise that properly funded library services contribute to the health and well-being of communities and so complement the work of other public services.

And lobby the Government to:

• Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service.

• Enforce the commitment in law to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.

SUFL colour banner PNG

• Speak Up For Libraries is an alliance of individual campaigners and national organisations: Elizabeth Ash, Campaign for the Book, CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals), The Library Campaign, Unison, Voices for the Library.
• Local Elections – This year there will be Council elections on 22 May for the London Boroughs (32), all Metropolitan Boroughs (36) and a number of unitary authorities (20). There are no local elections in Scotland or Wales or for County Councils in England. The local elections in District Councils are not relevant as they are not responsible for public library services
• Library closures:
– Public Library Statistics produced by CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) show that there was a net loss of 212 libraries or mobile libraries in the UK in 2011/12 and 71 libraries (including mobile libraries) in 2012/13.
– Public Library News estimate that in 2013/14 493 libraries (including mobile libraries) in the UK were closed, or planned to be closed, or became community managed libraries managed by volunteers.
– Since April 2014, Public Library News report that 78 libraries (including mobile libraries) are threatened with closure and 5 libraries to become community managed libraries run by volunteers

• Local government funding and expenditure:

– There was a 33% real term cut to government funding of local government in England between 2011-2015 (Comprehensive Spending Review 20112-2015)
– A further 10% cut to Government’s Core Funding of local government in England planned in 2015/2016 (Spending Review 2016-2016)
– Additional funding cuts are widely expected in 2016-2018

In a press release issued by the Local Government Association on announcement of the 2015/2016 Spending review, Sir Merrick Cockell, Local Government Association Chairman is quoted as saying:,

“,,,the fact remains that some councils will simply not have enough money to meet all their statutory responsibilities. Services such as culture and leisure facilities, school support, road maintenance and growth-related programmes will bear the brunt of these cuts”

Twitter @SpeakUp4Libs

Download a PDF here:  SUFL local election press release

The Library Campaign submitted evidence to the DCMS/DCLG commissioned Sieghart inquiry:

In brief, we said that:
(1) The libraries minister is not doing his job, and is now sabotaging libraries through his inaction.
(2) The basic problems have been obvious for years. The cuts have now created an emergency.
(3) Those responsible for libraries have ignored this. The only relevant work is being done by library users and other non-official groups in their spare time.
(4) Some local authorities perform far better than others. Urgent research is needed to find out how. Councils should be encouraged – or obliged – to adopt efficiencies and avoid closures.
(5) Local branches are vital.
(6) Volunteer-run libraries are not the answer. Even those who run them have been blackmailed into doing so, and want a proper service instead.
(7) Much could still be done to ease the immediate problems, without any major reorganisation. We have 10 URGENT proposals.

Read the full submission here.

Good morning Peckam! by andobrien
Good morning Peckam! by andobrien on Instagram

Huddersfield Examiner : 3rd May
Kirklees Idea for community trust to run Kirkburton and Shepley libraries
A report that included the claim that, “Kirklees has a statutory duty to provide just one library in the borough…”

Portsmouth News : 2nd May
Hampshire | Libraries in county set for scrutiny by team
A report says nothing is ‘off limits’ to the team.

Grimsby Telegraph : 3rd May
North East Lincolnshire leisure boss will depart earlier than anticipated

Good morning Peckam! by andobrien

 If you have a library image you are happy for us to share, please let us know. Images can be sent to

Libraries for Life for Londoners held a public meeting and provided the following information:


On Saturday 26th April, there’s a special get-together for anyone supporting public libraries in London. Meet, network, share problems and ideas. And hear from 2 London library heads of service who know
the issues from the inside. Tea/coffee/biscuits and equipment to make a presentation if you want to.
Drop in any time 1.30-4pm.
Venue: Room 416, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX.

Did you attend? 


Philip Pullman leads authors condemning inadequate prison libraries
Society of Authors’ letter charges justice minister Chris Grayling with failure to fulfil statutory responsibilities

Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog : 1st May
New standards for Welsh public libraries

BBC News : 1st May
Lincolnshire pushes ahead with library changes despite review

Horncastle News : 1st May
Plans for 30 community hubs meet County Council criteria

If it was a ‘tough choice’ to cut my job, then come and tell the children why
Enfield children’s librarian explains how it feels that his job is being cut

Hastings Observer : 1st May
East Sussex | Views sought for proposed changes to mobile libraries

And don’t forget to send us your library images to illustrate our posts. Here’s one sent to us of Muswell Hill’s Children’s LibraryAnimal Encounters - Muswell Hill with captions

THE GUARDIAN : 23rd April
Visiting libraries makes us as happy as a £1,359 pay rise
In other words, the DCMS either commissioned a valid, useful study that proves its ongoing policies are immoral, or it has pissed a lot of dwindling funds up the wall. Could someone commission research into the answer please? I think we should find out.

Frequent library visits equates to £1,359 pay rise
with a link to the Report

About My Area : 23rd April
New Charity Created To Support Northants Libraries

Exmouth Journal : 23rd April
Devon Budleigh Salterton town council calls on public to save library 

Exeter Express & Echo : 23rd April
Drop-in sessions to be held in under threat Exeter libraries
“If we cannot find volunteers to run it, the county council will close the facility, despite it having nearly 3,000 regular users. This is one of the most contentious suggested library closures in the county.” 

Save Lincolnshire Libraries : 23rd April
Save Lincs Library Campaigner meets Karl McCartney MP

Kilburn Library

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