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All change: responses to the public libraries crisis in England 2010 to 2013


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Includes reductions in usage, closure of libraries, protests, campaigns, co-location, outsourcing and the Government response. Produced for the Assocation de Bibliothecaires Francais conference in Lyons, June 2013.

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All change: responses to the public libraries crisis in England 2010 to 2013

  1. 1. 44%Visits drop andfrom 340 million 2005/6 to 315 million2010/11300 less libraries1999/00 to 2010/11Decline before 2010fewer borrowers 2000/1 to 2010/11
  2. 2. 146 librariesclosed 2010/11201 closed2011/12Source: Cipfa293 under threatout of surviving4265 in May 2013Source: PLN
  3. 3. 28% cut to overall council budgetsover 2011/15Source: BBC 2010Another 10% cutexpected 2015/16Source: LGA 2013The biggest cuts to peace timecouncil budgets in modernhistory
  4. 4. Local protestsSpontaneousBig petitionsDemonstrationsAll ages andpolitical viewsImpact onelections?
  5. 5. Local protests
  6. 6. National protestsVoices for the Librarylibrarian group but otherwiseindividual librarians silent forfear of being disciplinedCILIP speaks out but chieflibrarians implementing cutsare also senior members of itUNISON trade union fightingcuts everywhereWI limited impact so farSpeak Up for librariesumbrella group
  7. 7. “Hollowing out”Shorter opening hours(third less in Hertfordshire, no protests)Less booksLess staffVicious circle of decline“We’re not closing them”
  8. 8. Volunteers“In some areas if people don’twant to safeguard them it willbe very difficult, it wouldperhaps suggest that theydon’t want their libraries asmuch as we thought.”Nick Harris, Head of Culture, SouthendCouncil, May 2013
  9. 9. VolunteersBradford volunteers oneyear after taking over theirlibrary5% nowSome kind of volunteer involvement170Volunteer-run libraries by end of 201212% soonin “near future”All figures from Arts Council England,2012
  10. 10. Legal1964 Public Libraries and Museums Actsays library provision must be“comprehensive and efficient”No clear definition and No court victoriesusing the ActDCMS refuse to intervene in eachand every case. Councils learn tobe more cautious, sometimes.3 campaign “victories”2011/2 3 campaign groups win. 1 councilstops closures, 2 others change thingsslightly and go ahead anyway.All others fail.
  11. 11. GovernmentEd VaizeyMinister withresponsibility forlibrariesTwo letters written to local authorities to beaware of legal responsibilitiesNo interventions of any kind£6 million over two years for Arts projects ( libraries budget of c. £1 billionProviding better data so library services canbe comparedReport by end of 2013Libraries are“thriving”
  12. 12. Big spending on big librariesBirmingham£188mStarted January 2010Manchester£170mStarted January 2010£50mStarted Summer 2010Liverpool112 other libraries new or refurbished2011 to 2013inc. Hive £60m and Canada Water£14m (started 2009)
  13. 13. Co-locationsSharing the building with other services or providers in order to save costs or toboost the usage of both.Arts, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, community centres,council services “one stop shops” / customer contactcentres, dance, day care centre/flats for those withlearning difficulties, florist, health, housing, housingoffice, leisure centres, Mental health services, museums,older people’s housing, parish councils, pharmacy,police, post office, registration of births, marriages anddeaths, retail, theatre, unemployment advice/training,volunteering, schools, tourist information, universities.
  14. 14. Costs c. £6,000 for each machineReplaces from one half to one paid person per libraryExtend services or cut staff?Popularity with users is questionableeverywhere?
  15. 15. “Non-Profit” organisations running libraries on behalf ofthe council, normally with leisure centres too.The private company Laing has succeededin winning the contracts in four authorities,GLL two, LSSI none.
  16. 16. Merging library services“Tri-Borough”3 councils combine£1.2 million saving151 Authorities36 jobs cut as servicesmerged
  17. 17. Linking with government“National Offers”1. Health“Books on Prescription”2. Reading“Summer Reading Challenge”3. Information
  18. 18. Linking with government“National Offers”4. Digital: Government Services will all be onlineincluding benefits. All libraries have computers, unlike asixth of UK households.All unemployed need to frequently register onlineE-Books are having significant impact on usage.National strategy being formed
  19. 19. ConclusionWhat we are looking atnow is theof libraries underconditions of great stressQuestions?For details of the owners of images please contact Ian Anstice at