Comment on the blogs at the “Envisioning the library of the future” website or tweet your views with the hashtag #acelibraries if you wish your views to be included in this stage of the Arts Council England consultation on the future of public libraries.

The Surrey Library Action Movement report that the result of the judicial review seems very likely to be handed down next week.  They still need £6000 to pay for legal costs, refundable if the case is won.

News

  • Are privatised public libraries so bad? – Atlantic Cities (USA). Santa Clarita has received no complaints since it was privatised … “Hours have increased. The library is now open on Sundays. There are 77 new computers, a new book collection dedicated to homeschooling parents and more children’s programs. Santa Clarita is even installing a fancy laptop dispenser, where patrons can swipe their card to check out a laptop to use anywhere in the system. Visits are up; a new facility is in the works.” … “The city thought they could run their system for $5.1 million a year; LSSI gets $3.8 million. This savings means the city has been able to budget $4.8 million a year for libraries, with the extra $1 million going to buying new books and a new, LEED-certified building. The bulk of the lower costs, both for the city and LSSI, comes from cutting the benefits previously afforded to librarians.”. [An apparently well researched article that looks at both sides, although more slanted towards LSSI than is normal, make sure also to read the comments – Ian] 
  • Greek tragedy the fight for libraries – CILIP Update.  Repeated library consultations with little effect is compared to a curse of perpetual punishment.  “‘What we do not have is an indication of when the action is going to come. We’re having all these consultations and people are exhausted with them. I had one campaigner tell me that she just banged her head on the table when she heard that we were having another one.”  But this is ACE’s first go at a consultation so “It is only fair to give it a chance and see what plans it will come up with for the future. The best way to ensure the most positive outcome libraries, staff and users is to be part of the conversation.”  The ACE website is here.
  • Library reports – Good Library Blog.  Lists all the reports and consultations that have gone on over the last few years.  Notes that were 24 reports 1998-2008 and lists them.  Also notes and lists that there were 10 reports in two months in 2009.

Changes

Local News

  • Brent – Want to use a Brent library computer? Forget it – Preston Library Campaign. Article points out the absurdity of advertising that you can use a library computer on the website – presumably because if someone is using the website, they already have a computer. “Try it yourself on the Brent Council website. It’s part of a game I call: “I lost my library and nothing is replacing it.””
  • Calderdale – Less time to visit the area’s libraries – Todmorden News.   Cuts listed.  “The council says the priority is to keep the open hours convenient for people and the adjustments are based on a thorough analysis of customer needs and usage patterns at each library.”
  • Carmarthenshire – “We have to act now to save library” – This is South Wales.  Kidwelly: “It is urgent that the town council meets to consider the future of the library and take whatever action is needed to save this vital social and educational facility for the town,” Mr Huws said. “It is equally urgent that people write in, telephone, e-mail and call into the council offices to demand that the town council safeguards the home of the library.” 
  • Central Bedfordshire – Way forward for Central Bedfordshire Libraries – About My Area.   15 year plan announced, with cuts in staffing and increase in self-service.  “”We do realise however that libraries will need to become more efficient to meet savings targets and modernise to meet the future needs of residents.  We believe that this strategy sets out how we can successfully achieve this.”
  • Denbighshire – £300,000 grant could transform town library – Journal.  “Prestatyn Library, on Nant Hall Road, may be in line for a major revamp or even a relocation Denbighshire County Council welcomed news of the CyMAL funding package, which could help provide a new library.”. Library has been closed since November for “essential maintenance works”.
  • Doncaster – High hopes for future of community library – Epworth Bells.  Balloons and bunting heralded a new chapter for Warmsworth Library after Doncaster Council funding cuts left 14 libraries across the borough in danger of closure. Library volunteer and former Doncaster councillor Georgina Mullis has been a key player in fighting for the library to stay open under the Warmsworth Community Partnership.”
  • Inverclyde – Books on Prescription to help young people – Inverclyde Now.   “a partnership arrangement between Inverclyde Community Health and Care Partnership and Inverclyde Libraries. Any young person who is suffering from mild depression, stress, anxiety, phobias and eating disorders, will be offered a “book prescription” by their doctor, which enables them to collect a specially recommended title from their local library. An approved list of almost 40 titles has been chosen”
  • North Somerset – Council responds to library views – Mercury.   “following a two-month consultation which yielded 1,960 responses, the authority has balanced the books while increasing the proposed opening times to just one hour less than the current situation. This includes scrapping proposals for lunchtime closures in Worle. The budget savings will be made by cutting staff numbers, which has already begun by not filling vacant positions. It is hoped some staff may take voluntary redundancy or be deployed elsewhere.”
  • Suffolk – New library boss for Suffolk – Haverhill Echo.   “Speaking about the challenges ahead, Shona said: “The people I’m working with in the IPS and library service share a very strong and very clear aim – to do what’s best for the future of the service.”
“After the hollowing-out at the centre of the Suffolk library service in recent months and the current headlong charge over the cliff of the external Industrial & Provident Society, it is interesting to ask just how ‘professional’ the library service actually is. Taking it from the end of June 2012 (when the Suffolk library service is supposed to be handed over to the IPS), of the 496 Suffolk libraries staff members reported to be TUPEd over to the IPS, we count only seven professional librarians left in the whole workforce. This isn’t counting two branch managers who we think have library qualifications.” The Industrial and Provident Society: its role in Suffolk libraries, Part 2Rosehill Readers.

  • Surrey  – An update on the legal and financial situation – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.  “It now looks very much like the Judgment from the Judicial Review is going to be handed down next week. The result may be clear; it may be nuanced.  Whatever the result, the detail and justification of the Review is likely to be as important and instructive, not just for the Surrey campaign and Council but for the broader crisis in the national library service and other campaigners and Councils throughout the country. “.  £6000 is still needed by campaigners to pay legal costs, refundable if they win.
  • Trafford – Library staff plans given go-ahead after rethink – Manchester Evening News.  £85k less will be cut from budget – Five full-time library staff, rather than one each, will stay in post at Old Trafford and Hale after 2400 name petition.  Mobile library, though, will go, despite 900 name petition.  
  • Waltham Forest – Ex-librarian to challenge council cuts as GLA candidate – Guardian series.  “Nancy Taaffe worked at Wood Street Library in Wood Street, Walthamstow, until January last year when, she claims, the library was closed for two days a week and 24 staff lost their jobs.”.  2 libraries closed.  “The council says it has had to make difficult decisions following an unprecedented fall in government funding. It insists its shake-up of the library service will improve efficiency levels.”