Music libraries update: December 2014

Music library consultations and latest news, how to get involved and the future.


There is a library consultation which does not even refer to the music library currently open in Bristol. Please do respond and try and raise the topic of the music library somewhere – it's not easy. You may therefore also want to write to Kate Murray – Head of Libraries, – directly about the music library.


In Birmingham, the budget consultation which threatens the entire library system, and the brand new Central Library building, including sweeping away the music library service, has now closed. However, there is much lobbying activity going on because the budget will not actually be set until February, so you can get involved by signing the local petition or writing to your MP to add his/her name to this Early Day Motion. You can also join the Friends of the Library of Birmingham on Facebook.


The consultation has now closed in Somerset. We are awaiting the resulting report and recommendations to Somerset County Council cabinet on Monday 23 February. Check the council website for the paperwork which will be published on 13 February and please consider attending. Don't forget to connect with the Friends of Yeovil Performing Arts Library on Facebook and Twitter (@FriendsofYPAL).

Leicester There's an update meeting of the Scrutiny committee in Leicester on Monday 26 January at 4pm in the Town Hall which you may wish to attend - papers for it are published on the Council website.

The future

We are of course supporting and promoting any local campaigns to influence decisions on individual libraries, and making submissions ourselves in all the cases above, and others, as well as offering to work with local authorities to help devise solutions (and please do volunteer our services for that). But ultimately: where are we going with this?

We could decide to take Making Music down the road of mounting the barricades and creating a massive public stir on individual libraries locally, or nationally. However, we have concluded that pitting us, in terms of local authority support and funding, against housing, social services, general libraries etc. is not necessarily going to help the cause or lead to a practical and useful outcome for groups in the long term - how would it play in the local press to close a library site or a community centre in order to continue funding the music library?

So we have decided that it is better for members in the long term if we cooperate with local authorities and help them discover, develop, invent new systems which can be sustained in the future and which can continue – albeit at a higher cost and possibly less conveniently – to provide local music groups with the music they need to keep going and flourishing.

As ever, we are keen to hear your comments - email me on