Global Reach

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NORTHERN IRELAND

Seven libraries in Belfast won a last-minute reprieve February I when the Belfast Education and Library Board reversed its decision to close them because of underfunding and overspending. The board said it decided to hold off because a new ministry-level policy on Irish libraries is expected soon. However, the policy did not deter the North Eastern library board, which has announced plans to ax 12 branches in the Ballymena area.--Belfast Telegraph, Feb. 2, 16.

SCOTLAND

Thanks in part to a [pounds sterling]17.7-million ($33.2-million) grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Library in Edinburgh has purchased the literary archives of the John Murray publishing house, founded in London in 1768. Hailed as the most historically significant literary archive to become available in the past 100 years, the collection contains some 150,000 letters by such authors as Lord Byron, Charles Darwin, Jane Austen, Benjamin Disraeli, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edith Wharton.--The Scotsman, Jan. 27.

WALES

The University of Wales at Bangor plans to lay off eight of its 12 librarians because it claims the internet has replaced their skills. A consultation document issued by UWB in January proposes to save [pounds sterling]300,000 ($563,500) by letting students do their own Google searches instead of providing library reference services. The Association of University Teachers, concerned that the model will be copied elsewhere, has launched a campaign to save the librarians.--The Guardian, Feb. 16.

MEXICO

Toyota Motor Company has donated $50,000 to enhance the libraries of elementary schools in the Tijuana area. The gift accompanied the February 1 inauguration of a new truck assembly plant at Tecate.--Associated Press, Feb. 1.

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JAPAN

The village of Nango, which each July hosts the Nango Summer Jazz Festival, the biggest outdoor concert on the island of Honshu, opened its first public library in February. …