Campaigns

Somerset are planning 20 closures.

A petition has been submitted to Somerset County Council’s e-petition scheme but they can take up to 20 days to approve this. In the meantime there is an online version here (in a new window) The organiser ask that the petition and notice is given out to as many people and places as possible? Try the local hair dressers, pub, village shop, cafe, village hall or community centre, local GP – anywhere where people congregate. (Unfortunately libraries are not allowed to display petitions).
Completed sheets can be sent to the address on the bottom of the form.

5,000 signatures is the minimum they want but they would like to see many more than that. The public consultation exercise currently under way ends 14th January. They can keep going beyond that but the petition needs to be ready for 16th February when a full council meeting is due to take place to confirm the new year’s budget.

London Borough of Brent wants to close 6 libraries, including Kensal Rise Library (opened by Mark Twain).

The Kensal Rise Library Users Group is holding a public meeting at 7pm on Thursday 2nd December at the library to discuss what the community might do to stop this happening. Contact Kensal Rise Library Users if you are interested and want to join the campaign.

  • The DCMS has published a consultation paper (in a new window) as a result of their year long ‘review. Consultation closes on 26 January 2010. Once again there are comments on the Bookseller and Alan Gibbons sites (see below) and a Campaign Press Release.
  • The Wirral report (in a new window) is available. However as the Council has withdrawn closure plans the Minister is to take no action. The Campaign has issued a Press Release and you can also read comments on the Bookseller (in a new window) and Alan Gibbons (in a new window) websites
  • Swindon Council have published recommendations on the future of the Old Town library. They propose to retain only one member of staff at Old Town and provide two work-experience helpers who will have Aspergers Syndrome. Local campaigners are, of course, delighted that closure is not a prospect but sorry that for the sake of less than £11,000 per year, a highly valued staff member will be removed. They still hope that the Council will reconsider. And of course if the Council had listened to local campaigners and users from the beginning they could have avoided a lot of fuss. All the info you might wish to see is available on the following link (in a new window)But also here (in a new window)in a slightly less bureaucratic form. Recommendations in full are at the first link.
  • In the Wirral the oral hearings of the DCMS inquiry conducted by former Merton local authority Chief Executive Sue Charteris have taken place. Read a report here More on the background to the inquiry at the DCMS site (in a new window)
  • UNISON, the union which organises most public library staff launched a campaign to support and defend/ develop public libraries at an event in Parliament today (15 Dec 2008)see the report on which the campaign will be based here (in a new window)
  • Calderdale Council has reined in proposals to demolish Calderdale Central Library to make way for retail development. The building houses the lending library, reference library, local history, community meeting rooms and state of the art Archive facilities. The Council’s plan was to move the library and the adjacent council offices to another location. However, it is likely that the alternative accommodation would not be sufficient to house all of the functions that are currently in the Central Library.

The current Library and Archives are purpose-built, well-used and centrally accessible. The move and fragmentation of such a valuable resource is naturally being opposed. Recently (07/07/09) the council has started a consultation on several diffent options. More here (in a new window)

  • Good news – the proposal to close Bancroft local history library & archive in Tower Hamlets has been withdrawn. more here (in a new window)
  • Following the Doncaster Council cuts and changes in its library service Alan Gibbons is setting up the ‘Campaign for the Book’. Much more on the blog (in a new window)which also contains detail and news on the Doncaster proposals. In brief the authority needs to cut £ ½ M from their budget and are reducing library opening hours. Saturday opening is reduced to 9-12 and there will be no late night opening. Front-line staff are at risk of their jobs being down-graded with the possible loss of 18 jobs. The UNISON branch is balloting for industrial action.
  • RNIB Right to read campaign (in a new window)
  • The St James Street Library Campaign in Waltham Forest are holding a PUBLIC RALLY TO DEFEND LIBRARIES! This Saturday, 7th June 2008. 12 noon, Walthamstow Town Square. Rally, free book swap, speakers, & family fun

The St James St Campaign say “We need your help to show Waltham Forest council that people won’t put up with library staff being cut further, victmised, and libraries being shut without consultation. There is a crucial cabinet decision in a couple of weeks, so we really hope you can come this Saturday, for one big push to get the council to listen. Please come along to show support and sign our petition to make the council: · Protect all our local libraries, librarians and books, NOT downgrade, cut or carelessly destroy them · Retain professional library staff, NOT cut, victimize or threaten them for standing up for our libraries · Re-open St James St Library, NOT sell it off · Listen to residents and library staff, NOT over-priced private consultants telling it how to cut our services.”

For more go to the St James Street website (in a new window).

      • The local paper in Enfield is reporting the decision to close Weir Hall library and the possible closure of Millfield Theatre. The library which is being closed is a well used library in a very deprived part of Enfield. It is close to a number of schools and is well used by the pupils of those schools. Not much goes on in Weir Hall so the library stands out as a beacon of excellence. Whether it be for enjoyment or learning. Local Councillor Chris Bond says “It is a tragedy that it should close. My colleague George Savva has started a petition opposing its closure. If you click on the link (in a new window)it will take you straight to the site. Thanks for reading this and a double thanks if you sign the petition. Maybe you may wish to click this onto friends and family if you agree with me that this is an outrageous proposal.” Chris Bond’s phone number is 02083511356.
      • Dudley’s determination to close 5 libraries remains. As a result of a public meeting took place in Wall Heath a Friends of Wall Heath Library group was set up with Liberal Democrat Councillor Dave Lavender as its Chair and Brian Hall as Secretary. They have been maintaining a vigorous campaign to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the cabinet member for libraries, Conservative Cllr Michael Evans. They also recorded numerous interviews for BBC Radio WM – Brian, the Chair and numerous users including some children. There appear to be similar campaigns for both Quarry Bank Library and Woodside Library which are also under threat.
      • Staffordshire County Council are apparently reducing opening hours but details are sparse – the Staffordshire official website is particularly opaque! Anyone with more information is invited to contact the Campaign.
      • Conwy Council is proposing to close 6 of 13 branches. The Council has so far refused to disclose the report which apparently led to this. The Conwy Library Action Group (CLAG)is promoting petitions in support of each branch. You can contact CLAG through Christopher Draper on 01492 547590.
      • In Hampshire strikes by library staff are taking place in protest at changes to the structure and plans to delete librarians’ posts. As in a number of other shire counties these are portrayed as making the service better but appear to achieve the aim of saving money at least as well.
      • And not far away in Southampton, television’s Bremner, Bird and Fortune have to come to the aid of threatened Cobbett Road branch. Press coverage (in a new window)
      • In Moray library closures were on the cards. The official consultation is at http://www.moray.gov.uk/downloads/file50048.pdf (in a new window) and there is some press coverage (in a new window)too. Now (August) it seems the politicians may have relented.
      • In Kent there are proposals to sack 77 librarians. More details at the Kent Library Campaign (in a new window)
      • Upper Norwood, a unique service funded by Lambeth and Croydon boroughs has seen the latter threaten to reduce its contribution. See the link on the what’s new page of this site for news of the campaign to stop this. Local MP Tessa Jowell seems to be offering support – intertsing given her role as the relevant cabinet minister!
      • In Essex four mobile libraries are to be scrapped and most stops will only get fortnightly visits from one of the remaining ten vehicles instead of the current weekly rota. It should be noted that this is an improvement from the original proposal to get rid of six vehicles. 16 librarians’ jobs are also to go.

The Library Campaign would love to hear about the details of these local campaigns and will put links from this site to local campign web pages if asked.

Related pages: Local Groups

Author: Andrew Coburn