Libraries: a brief view of the national picutre

Up to 523 libraries are due to close as part of cuts of 30-40% to councils' £1bn library budgets over the next four years. Almost a third of councils plan cuts of 20% or more to leisure facilities.
Redundancies: 4,000-6,000 library staff
Figures from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show a drop of almost 1,000 in paid library staff in 2009-10. So far, 50 jobs will go at Wirral council, 40 in Harrow, 12 in Hounslow, 17 in Wiltshire.
According to Cipfa, 45% of councils plan cuts of more than 10% to libraries and arts, museum and heritage services, and 28% plan similar cuts to leisure services. Twenty libraries could go in North Yorkshire, 20 in Leeds and 10 in Gloucestershire.
There are other, less spectacular, cuts. Library opening hours are being slashed to as little as three hours a week as councils look for ways to save money while avoiding unpopular closures. Almost five 500 libraries are currently threatened with the axe, with Hampstead Garden Suburb library in Barnet, north London, the latest confirmed casualty. But experts claim there is also a hidden cuts programme at work in many authorities, which will gut the service from the inside.
Total cuts in spend on libraries given as £350m

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