Library Closures Hit Summertown: Information, a Meeting, and a Petition

The Summertown Library on South Parade, Oxford, is threatened with closure in response to the reduction in funding levels available to the Oxford Council.  Summertown’s Libary is only one of 20 of the county’s 43 libaries that are planned to be cut. The Summertown Library is in the ‘Grade II-listed Bury Knowle House … overlooking Bury Knowle Park’ (Walker 2011). A number of writers have questioned these cuts to libraries, including Peter Hitchens, Philip Pullman, and Colin Dexter (Walker 2011).

Summertown Library

There has been vocal opposition to the closure from Summertown’s library users, as reported in ‘Summertown library users react to the cuts’, BBC Oxford, 26 November 2011. There is something you can do, as an online petition has been created. A blog by Oxford Save Our Services is useful to read. See: ‘Online petition against Summertown library closure’, Oxford Save Our Services at: This site informed the public of an online petition to keep Summertown library open (petition has now closed: see post below). It also features short videos regarding opposition to cuts in services.

Summertown Library and Garden

Victoria Road News and Views would also like to hear your thoughts on the library closure, what can be done, and how library services could be provided in the future without the Summertown Library.

In addition, a public meeting is scheduled on 2 February at 7.30pm, in the Main Hall of St Edward’s School, entry via the Woodstock Road entrance to the main site. The meeting will be a source of information as well as an opportunity to be present at the beginning of a ‘Friends of Summertown Library‘ group.


Chris Walker, ‘Journalist and Author is Backing Libraries Battle’, Oxford Times, Thursday, 13 January 2001: 7.


  1. vrgblog said

    Not sure how to email you directly, but people on Victoria Road may want to know about the campaign to save Summertown Library from closure. More details here, or email

    From Summertown Reader

  2. vrgblog said

    Note to savesummertownlibrary at

    Thank you very much for organising a public meeting to help save our local public library. Like many others we are stunned by the decision to close this much used facility.

    We hope you don’t mind if we jot down a few thoughts here about possible ways of proceeding. In order to be able to act quickly we do not just need general support but information about how much it costs to run the library. The reason the County Council wants to close it seems to be purely financial. Savings could well be made by using some volunteers but we shall always need professional librarians. Opening hours could also be cut. Should we try and raise money? If we can show we can raise a good proportion of the capital needed the local authority would need to rethink its plans. Then we would be given the opportunity to raise more funds and perhaps the county council might add some funding?
    We hope to be at your meeting.
    Best wishes
    Bob and Jelly

  3. Janet Rodgers said

    The petition closed on the 13th January with 1542 votes, far ahead of the other libraries on the list.

    I support Bob and Jelly’s comments about showing we are able and willing to support our own library, with volunteer time and money, and with negotiating shorter opening hours. Because we have a well-known neighbourhood group, could we approach the city about this?

    Janet, No 67

    • Paul Lewis said

      I am in broad agreement with the comments above. I certainly think that we should show strong opposition to the proposal that funding for local libraries in Oxfordshire should be withdrawn and in particular the Summertown library which is so well used. However, we must remember that the Council is making choices about their funding and the library is a soft target. We should urge them to look elsewhere for savings – cutting out waste, executive salaries etc before we offer to bail them out with volunteers and fund-raising. But if push comes to shove I would support these moves and offer my help.

  4. vrgblog said

    A reminder: the ‘Save Summertown Library’ Public Meeting will be held on 2nd February at 7.30pm in the Main Hall, St. Edward’s School, (via Woodstock Road entrance).

  5. Hello all,
    Thanks for your comments, and to all of those who came to the meeting. If you contact us directly then we can be in touch. Membership of the Friends of Summertown is free, and open to any Oxfordshire resident aged 18 or over.

    One other thing: a lovely photograph of the building, does whoever took it mind if we use it on our website? (We’ll be happy to give credit, of course).


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