Librarues Weej

11th June 2018

Changes by local authority

National news

  • CBE for Strensall librarian – Press. “Caroline Brazier will step down as the British Library’s Chief Librarian at the end of this month. She was awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours in recognition of her work with books and printed matter over 35 years, 15 of them at the British Library.”
  • ‘He looks a bit like a bear’ Bernese Mountain Dog Oscar to help children learn to read – Express. “Pilot projects elsewhere in the UK have shown that pupils who are falling behind their peers can improve their skills by reading to dogs. The pets have proved to be an attentive audience with no fear of judgment, criticism or sniggering at those who are struggling to boost their confidence and reading ability.”
  • Library rights laws extended to cover e-books – Public Technology.net. “From 1 July, authors of e-books and e-audiobooks stocked in UK libraries will be eligible to receive remuneration paid at the same rate as for physical books. The first payments will be made in February 2020, when the British Library publishes its annual lending and payment statistics for the previous year.”
Libraries Week

Libraries Week

  • Libraries Week – “Libraries Week takes place between the 8–13 October to celebrate the nation’s much-loved libraries.  This year, with a focus on wellbeing, libraries across the country will showcase how they bring communities together, combat loneliness, provide a space for reading and creativity and support people with their mental health. It’s not just public libraries – libraries of all kinds in schools, workplaces and universities have amazing services that improve our wellbeing.”
  • Library Lion – Untied Artists. Contact if you’re a library service and can afford £100 per show (preferably 2 on one day for £200). Please send in interest before 8th July. “An interactive theatre show for 4-7 year olds. Performed in Libraries, Studio theatres, schools, village halls. Min Space required – 6m wide x 7m deep (to include audience). Running time 50mins. Audience capacity – 2 classes per show for schools. Up to 80 (children and adults) for family shows. Self contained tech, no power required.”
  • Public libraries: working in partnership to meet local needs – CILIP. “In a briefing for the event we set out the benefits of libraries and profile of library users, the impact of new technologies and funding pressures, examples of library partnerships and our work with the Society of Chief Librarians to provide ethical support for partnerships.”. Good overview / summary of the key points of the sector.
  • Single Sign On – Access to eResources for libraries – Libraries Taskforce. “Jisc and SCL have developed a really strong working relationship and, with the helpful cooperation of the LMS suppliers, it feels like there are more possibilities for Single Sign On than originally anticipated. The LMS suppliers and publishers like that there’s a central strategy for eResources – it saves them time and money developing different types of solutions for different authorities.”
  • Tory austerity strips more than 3,000 computers with internet from libraries – Mirror. “Tory austerity has seen more than 3,000 computers with internet access stripped from libraries, Labour reveals today. Hard-up families and the elderly are likely to be harder hit by the loss as they rely on publicly-available terminals and are less likely to have the world wide web at home.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • New Zealand – 1000 people apply for positions at Christchurch’s new central library – Press. “Demand for jobs at Christchurch’s new $92 million central library has surpassed expectations after 1000 people applied for 45 positions. Tūranga, the Christchurch Central Library, will employ 108 people or 85 full-time equivalents. Seventy-four of the positions would be new and 34 staff would transfer from the temporary Peterborough and Manchester streets libraries. “

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Barnet’s youth assembly wants better libraries Times Series. “Barnet’s youth assembly backed the provision of more study spaces and communal areas in libraries and called for restrictions on the times during which youngsters can use them to be scrapped. The assembly, which currently has 39 members, was set up three years ago to promote change on issues that affect young people. Its motion to improve libraries was passed with eight votes in favour, none against and one abstention.”
  • Brent – Malorees School and Kensal Rise Library fundraisers join forces for Blenheim Palace Triathlon – Kilburn Times. “More than 60 Malorees Infant & Junior School parents and children, Kensal Rise Library fundraisers and a team from Orchard House School in Acton joined forces to make up the largest group at the Blenheim Palace Triathlon. The team drummed up more than £14,000 for Malorees, with the Kensal Rise crew raising nearly £2,000 as they seek to complete the fitting of the renovated library on Bathurst Gardens.”
  • Derby – End of an era as Derby’s first public library closes after 139 years – Derby Telegraph. “The iconic building in The Wardwick which opened almost 139 years ago to house Derby’s first free library will close its doors to users for the last time on Saturday afternoon. Central Library is closing as part of an overhaul of library services in the city to save Derby City Council in the region of £700,000 a year.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council wants to spend an extra £1M+ on the Carnegie book-ish gym at Herne Hill – Brixton Buzz. “Lambeth Council is proposing to spend an extra £1,073,000 on the Carnegie book-ish gym at Herne Hill. This is in addition to the £1,255,130 that has been spent [pdf] on digging out a basement in the Grade II listed building for a ‘healthy living centre.’” 
  • Leicester – Rushey Mead library closure put on hold at 11th hour – Leicestershire Live. “Leicester City Council was poised to start work on Monday relocating Rushey Mead’s library service from its current building, in Lockerbie Avenue, to a nearby recreation centre in a move designed to save £14,000 a year. The council made the decision to shut the existing library in January 2017, but campaigners have never accepted it.”
  • Lincolnshire – Former Allington village surgery transformed into library – Grantham Journal. “The Old Surgery, which was based in an annexe on the side of Allington Village Hall, closed two years ago after opening in 1986 and serving residents in the village for 30 years. Determined to see the room be put to good use again, the village hall management committee asked local residents about what they would like the room to be used for. Chairman David Smedley said: “We lost the pre-school and toddler group at the same time that the doctors’ surgery closed.We tried to re-let the room but to no avail. We didn’t want it to remain empty for much longer so we distributed leaflets to all the local residents to ask for their ideas. “The majority of responses that we received said that they would like to see it turned into a community library.”
  • Lincolnshire – More flexibility with library expansion – Spalding Today. “Donington’s volunteer-run library is likely to expand, opening up a back room. Coun Jane King said the room – which has a kitchen – will lend more flexibility to the current services on offer. She said the expansion could create dedicated space for children’s crafts, such as painting and working with clay, be the base for PCSO Colin Abbotts when he holds his police surgery and also be hired out to groups, generating income for the library.”
  • Northamptonshire – Under threat libraries in Northants valued at more than £3m – Northants Telegraph. “The authority owns 12 of the 21 libraries it proposes to close and could bank the millions if campaign groups currently fighting to buy and save the libraries cannot find the funds. The under-threat libraries which are owned by NCC are: Abington, Desborough, Earls Barton, Higham Ferrers, Irchester, Long Buckby, Middleton Cheney, Raunds, Roade, Rothwell, Thrapston and Wollaston. A Freedom of Information request by campaigner Marion Collyer from Deanshanger library has revealed the value of the assets.”
  • North Tyneside – Libraries: We share the concerns – News Guardian / Letters. “It’s important that people of all ages have good access to libraries, and to have them all shut on Saturday afternoons is dreadful. When the council’s budget was being discussed earlier this year Conservatives proposed that there should be no reduction in library hours, that weekly bin collections should be kept, and that council tax should not rise.”
  • Somerset – Last chance to have your say: Highbridge Library consultation to end – Burnham on Sea.com.
  • Suffolk – New figures reveal rapid rise in digital borrowing in Suffolk’s libraries – EADT. “More than half a million digital items have been borrowed from Suffolk’s libraries in just four years – illustrating a rapid rise in interest in internet borrowing for reading and listening.” … “Suffolk Libraries now has 12 libraries with iPads available for lending and two libraries with iPads to use in the library. The devices have been borrowed 450 times.”
  • Wigan – Uncertain future for Atherton library building – Leigh Journal. “Wigan Council said a decision has not been made on what will happen to Atherton’s York Street library building once a new facility opens later this year. The old Atherton Town Hall building on Bolton Road is in the process of being refurbished and turned into a Life Centre which will provide health, employment and customer services to residents.”
  • Worcestershire – Labour leader slams county over planned closure of school library service – Redditch Standard. “Leader of the Labour Group Robin Lunn (Redditch North), said: “This is a declaration of guilt by the County Council. “Rather than closing the service and impacting those children who most need it, a greater link should have been forged with schools and a greater understanding of why the county services were no longer being used should have been sought.” 
The new name and logo for the Society of Chief Librarians.

Goodbye Society of Chief Librarians, Hello Libraries Connected: An interview with Isobel Hunter

I am delighted that the new CEO of the Society of Chief Librarians, Isobel Hunter, agreed to be interviewed. She very kindly opened up questioning to anyone and so the questions below are a mixture of mine and those received on Twitter and via email. The interview is tied in with the announcement that the SCL is now renamed “Libraries Connect“. This is to modernise and also to reflect its new role. Do have a read. The normal news bulletin is below the interview.

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Ever wondered what your chief librarian is thinking?

Editorial

To many of us not in the highest tiers of public  library management, the two day long SCL seminar, held this week in Warwick, maintains only a slight fascination, if we are aware of it at all. But the programme shows as well as anything what things chief librarians are interested in and the trends to watch. This year, also, will see the official launch of the new SCL logo and name, and it’ll be fascinating to see what reaction there is to that. Here are the things I’ve gleaned from the programme;

– The progress of the  Libraries Opportunities for Everyone Fund (LOFIE) programmes are, quite rightly being shared. There seems to be more sharing of the results of innovation than before, generally, in libraries, which is good.

– It looks like the libraries minister Michael Ellis is actually physically turning up. His presence has hardly been noticed in the sector since his appointment, apart from one phoned-in script-reading video message at a volunteer library seminar a month or two ago. I reckon it’s 50:50 if he’ll cancel, though (and not just because his train will probably be late).

– The digital side is being emphasised, although the benefits of reading (not “books”) is featured in some sessions.

– EU libraries are mentioned. The loss of EU membership is going to have an impact on public libraries but, as with everything else about the issue, exactly how is unclear.

– Volunteer (“community managed”) libraries get a session, although considering how big a part of the sector they are now (over 500 branches) this is hardly surprising. Similarly, the same can be said about staffless libraries, whose presence is increasingly being felt.

– Health and wellbeing is big. Very big. Huge.

But, really, do have a read for yourself, especially if you want to get a view for what’s big and trending with chief librarians at the moment.

Changes

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Summer is almost here

Editorial

Good to see the Summer Reading Challenge is expected to go strong this year too. It’s the biggest promotion by far that libraries are involved with and hopefully will continue to be successful. I’d also love for me to be able to say next year that there’s at least another national promotion that can challenge it in terms of scale – because we need national promotions for adults and, above all, for non-users. In the meantime, though, have a read of Philip Pullman.

Changes by local authority

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It should be you: apply for the Library of the Year

Editorial

You know how it is. Some other place, shinier and bigger than yours, wins an award. That’s how it goes. Well, I’ve seen a fair few libraries and there’s some brilliant ones out there who have never had recognition, and some are small and far from shiny. They just do brilliant work, over and above what is needed, every day , meeting the needs of their communities and going the extra mile. Some are pretty darn imaginative about it too. So it’s great to see the relaunch of the Library of the Year award into something more inclusive and open. Any size library can apply and any number can do so from any one library service. So ignore that inner voice that says your library is not as good as that big one you’ve heard about. Concentrate on the brilliance of yours and apply. it’s only 300 words and getting a great mix of libraries, large and small, old as well as new, in the final ten will done wonders to help show the variety of the great things libraries do. Apply before 15th June.

Changes

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No longer just a bossy inter-lending service: The British Library in 2018

Editorial

Congratulations to LIz Jolly who becomes the chief librarian at the British Library shortly. I don’t often mention the BL, which to some extent is a worrying sign, either for me for missing it or for the BL for not doing enough. Having said that, the BL has definitely upped its game with public libraries noticeably over the last few years. Once upon a time only known in public library circles for its harsh and bossy attitude when it came to inter-lending books, the national library is now branching out into business outlets in various libraries and has recently put its toe in the water with screenings of readings in a a limited number of libraries. It’s unclear why they’re limited – the joy of digital technology is that the same thing is freely replicable an infinite number of times – but it’s better than the nothing we had before and hopefully one day they’ll cease the artificial limit, which is on offer to only a few chosen (it’s not clear how) library services. The recent Harry Potter tour is also to be welcomed as is an increasing involvement in discussions on public libraries at national level. However, to too many of us, the British Library remains a distant establishment. It’s still more a London Library With Good Intentions than something which, hand on heart, feels national to those of us in the majority who do not live in the capital. I hope Liz, who I have respect for, and others there continue and expand on the good work begun. And, perhaps, the days of prohibitive high late charges and bossy inter-lending notes will be forgotten, as will the attitude that we (mistakenly or not) assumed came with it.

Changes by local authority

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Answers on visas, Welsh libraries funding and your chance to question the new SCL Chief Exec

Editorial

I always find, as a librarian, the best way to find an answer to a question is to ask an expert. So, due to the various expressed uncertainties about the public library scheme, I emailed Isobel Hunter, the new Chief Executive of the Society of Chief Librarians. She kindly quickly answered them and the details are below. Following on form this, she has also agreed to answer more general questions, which I’m working on now. But it seems to me some of you may have questions too. So if you want me to ask any, email me at ianlibrarian@live.co.uk. and let me know if you want it confidential or not. If there’s too many questions, I’ll try to work out questions that cover themes.

In other news, the Welsh Government has just announced funding that will help several libraries. Great to see. It’s worth pointing out that, scaled up to England’s size, that would be a very impressive £23m. Come on, Libraries Minister, make it happen.

Changes by local authorities

A short interview with Isobel Hunter, the new SCL chief executive, about the new Visa programme.

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Visa applicants and libraries

Editorial

The Society of Chief Librarians has been subcontracted by French company Sopra Steria to provide assistance for visa applicants from October 2018. The SCL press release says its for 56 library services, although other news reports, including Sopra Steria, say 56 libraries, which is quite a difference. The process seems quite involved, with the need to submit “biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures and their supporting evidence at a single appointment”. My twitter feed, naturally full of library campaigners, is raising lots of questions about neutrality, training, confidentiality, work time and if library staff would be obliged to report anyone who it turned out was in the country illegally. I’m sure all of this has been thought out and so I have emailed the new Chief Exec Isobel Hunter to ask these questions and look forward to an answer. For the SCL, the reasons for taking on the contract are fairly clear – raising profile, and income, from amongst the government.  I just hope, though,  no-one from the government has looked at the SCL website recently, which is still leading on news from 2016 and promotes five (not six) Universal Offers. I hope the website will be overhauled soon with the forthcoming name change for the organisation.

Changes

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An Ode to Libraries in Finland

Editorial

That’s it, I want to work in Finland. OK, I don’t speak Finnish and can’t stand cold or dark nights but, darn it, just look at how they treat libraries over there. as important learning and education centres, with over three times more spent on libraries per head than in the UK. And that new library, the beautifully named “Ode”, looks rather nice too.

OK, deep breath, back to the UK. Well, looking on the bright side, at least most of us don’t work in Northants. The council there is asking towns and parishes to not only take over running public libraries but to pay full whack for the privilege. This includes buying the building which, in one case, the parish council gave to Northants in the first place. Unsurprisingly, some councils are complaining about this treatment and refusing to take them over. Across the border in Wales, Cardiff are implementing cuts to their libraries by co-locating services. That doesn’t sound so bad but I’ve seen what has happened to Cardiff Central where a proud and well-equipped central library has been replaced with crammed in sections between various other council services, with the added presence of suspicious security guards. Let’s hope the city approaches the other libraries differently.

Changes

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Right time, right place: StoryHouse, Chester

Volunteer libraries looking fragile, staffless concerns … and some much-needed research

Editorial

Two volunteer libraries in two weeks have announced they can’t go on due to lack of finance. This is in addition to the three in Lincolnshire that folded due to the charity that ran them closing down, and which have now temporarily been taken over by GLL. While still only small numbers, this is as many volunteer branches getting into trouble in a month as I can recall in the last five years. Indeed, the resilience of these branches has been most impressive up to now. However, as councils provide less and less support to community groups, and indeed sometimes none at all, we can expect these five no to be the last, and possibly a harbinger of things to come. After all, something for nothing is rarely a viable business strategy,

The Telegraph has written a piece critical of staffless libraries and an Observer journalist has tweeted what a “sham” they are. The conversion of UK libraries to “open” technology is picking up pace and now rivals the adoption rate of any country in the world. It remains to be seen as to if such a negative response is indicative of a genuine problem for councils or it’s similar to the initial criticism of self-service machines, now generally adopted in the country. I suspect, like self-service, it depends on why it has been adopted. If it’s to blatantly replace paid staff and to give a paper provision that is deeply inferior in practice, then may will feel the rotten eggs deserve to be thrown. If it is genuinely an extension of the service then the adoption is to be welcomes. Sadly, in many library authorities, it is too often the former.

Finally, it’s great to see some academic research come out on the impact of cuts to library services. Few studies have been done on this subject and some that have been are too obviously biased. So it is to be welcomed and, I hope, used.

Changes

The Write Time, Write Place programme of creative writing workshops for beginners in Libraries 

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