This website is moving...

Our new web home is

Our new email address is (but we'll still check the old address)

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting on 2nd February!

Public Meeting

We're holding a public meeting on Wednesday 2nd February, at 7:30pm, the Main Hall of St Edward's School.  (Thanks to the school for providing this venue.)
Entry to the hall is via the Woodstock Road entrance to the main St Edward's site.  It is marked 21 on the map here.  Disabled parking only.

The meeting will include:
* providing more information on the state of the campaign and the future of the library
* giving the opportunity for everyone to share their ideas
* establishing a Friends of Summertown Library group to organise things...

It will be chaired by Councillor John Goddard (who is supportive of Summertown Library), and will also be attended by Councillor Judith Heathcoat, County Council Cabinet member responsible for libraries.

Please let your friends, neighbours, colleagues etc know!  We look forward to seeing you there.

In the meantime, if you can't come to the meeting, please have your say by emailing, and/or by adding your comments below.

If you want a poster to advertise the meeting, please email us.

Update: You can now follow us on Twitter, too, at FoSummertownLib

Petitions, petitions...

Try to sign the petition at the County Council website here before it closes on 13th January. However, remember that this is on the County Council's website, so to keep in touch with this campaign you need to email (or keep checking back to this site).  We'll continue collecting petitions on paper until the end of January/beginning of February, so get in contact if you'd like a copy of the form for friends/neighbours/colleagues to sign.  Even if you get just half a dozen signatures, they are adding up quickly...

The campaign continues...

Happy new year!  Thank you for all your support.  A update on the campaign to so far to save Summertown Library...

1. At a meeting of this North Area Committee this evening (6th January), a hall packed with local residents were unanimous in their support for Summertown Library.  (That might sound like some sort of Soviet-era propaganda, but they really were unanimous!)  Among the speakers was popular local author Colin Dexter, author of the Inspector Morse novels.  The officer from the County Council sent along to try to explain the county administration's thinking was left in no doubt that Summertown Library is a cherished community facility.

2. At a meeting of Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet in December, a Summertown Reader explained how much the library is valued, and asked that the Council's leadership be more creative than simply closing the library.  (See the Oxford Times report here).

3.  Colin Dexter isn't the only well-known Oxford author to protest against the library closures, Philip Pullman, has been defending Oxfordshire's libraries (see the report here.)

4. An online version of the petition to save Summertown Library is hosted at the County Council website until 13th January, so sign here soon.  (Or you can email for a paper petition form to print out.)

5.  More things are brewing, so if you want to be updated on the campaign, please email  And if you have ideas, time, energy to share in the campaign, then that is even better!

6.  There's a public meeting against library cuts across Oxfordshire, at Oxford Town Hall on Thursday 20th January, at 7:30pm.

Update: Questions to the County Council

Thank you for the numerous positive responses that we've already had (and we've not even been online for a week...).

We have asked the County Council some specific questions about the proposals that they have already published on the future of Oxfordshire libraries. The proposals are here.  Our questions are below.  (These have gone to Mr John Jackson, the senior official responsible for libraries, Councillor Kenneth Mitchell, the Leader of the Council, and Councillor Judith Heathcoat, the Council Cabinet member responsible for libraries.)

We'll let you know when we have a response to the questions.  In the meantime, please carry on making your own representations (see how here), and spreading the word to your friends and neighbours and colleagues.

Initial questions on proposals for the future of Oxfordshire libraries
 [These are rather dry and technical, they're meant to supplement the wonderful inspiring stuff about the library that people have been writing already.]

1) The proposals refer to financial considerations up to the year 2015.  (a) Have you considered library use beyond that date?  (b) Are you making permanent strategic proposals about the library service based on no more than four years' forward planning?

2) What would be the financial saving to the County Council of closing Summertown Library?

3) The proposals do not include any suggestions about reducing library expenditure other than closing libraries.  What was the rationale for not proposing other measures to reduce library expenditure (such as, for instance, reducing opening hours)?

4) The proposals suggest extended electronic library services.  How will this benefit people who do not have access to the internet at home, including those who currently rely on Summertown Library for internet access?

5) Public transport link were a factor in formulating the proposals. (a) What public transport figures have been used?  (b) Is this based on current provision of public transport, or does it include potential public transport provision in the future?

6)  (a) What usage figures have been used in formulating the proposals?  (b) What are the usage figures for Summertow Library?  (c) How can these usage figures be made available to users of Summertown Library?

7) What was the rationale behind the welcome proposal to keep open Cowley Library, in contrast to the other suburban Oxford city libraries?

8) The Oxford Mail reports that the proposals are intended to save £2million over the four years 2011 to 2015.  Is this correct? 

Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing...

Oxfordshire County Council says that it needs to save £155million over the four years 2011-2015.  The proposal to close 20 libraries will save £2million over those four years -- this will meet less than 2% of the county's target, but it will permanently deprive tens of thousands of Oxfordshire's residents from library access: not just for four years, but for generations.

Details here.

Why is Summertown Library valuable?

Summertown Library serves thousands of households in Cutteslowe, Wolvercote, Summertown and north  Oxford.  Closing the library would remove a vital cultural and intellectual resource, and also a social facility which provides opportunites for people to use the internet, read the newspapers and find out about community groups.  For many people it is their main non-commercial connection to the area where they live.

This cut is very different to reducing spending on something for a temporary period - not so much tightening the County Council's belt as snapping it in half and throwing it away.  It is claimed that people in the area served by Summertown Library have easy access to Central Library, but this isn't the case, especially for older people and families with young children.

Why do you think Summertown Library is valuable?