News
  • Canadian authors rally to support striking librariansMarketwire.  “We’re supporting the library workers who help library users find the books and information they need, whether they are doing online research or writing a resume,” said Susan Swan, author of The Wives of Bath, and former Canadian Writers’ Union chair. “The Internet is a wonderful resource but it can’t replace the people who help others use it.” … “Toronto library employees have been on strike since March 18 in support of a new contract. The Toronto Public Library Board has demanded concessions from the 2,300 workers, including elimination of a key employment security clause which would open the door to library closures and further service cuts.”
  • Late? No, fine – Boston (USA).   “…the librarian waved him off, explaining that Gleason had stopped charging for overdue materials five months ago. Like many library patrons, Walsh was surprised. Aren’t overdue fines as integral to the fabric of the public library system as, say, Dewey decimal numbers or signs asking for quiet? But Carlisle is not alone in its decision to stop charging for late returns. Over the past few years, Massachusetts libraries have been increasingly hopping aboard the fine-free bandwagon, including institutions in Dover, Littleton, and Westford.” .. ““At the rate we were collecting fines, the management cost was greater than the revenue.”.  Money went to general council budget, not to library. People, especially children, put off by fines.  “After all, where else are you penalized for reading?”.  “here has been essentially no discernible difference in the amount of time that people keep materials since the library began its no-fines policy.” Pro-fines librarians says “they teach people accountability and responsibility.”
  • Let yapping dogs lieInformation Overlord.   Reviews the article by Tim Coates on his blog.  Points out several major inconsistencies with the facts in the posting (comments were reasonable not “yapping dog”, comments were not made by public librarians etc). While agreeing that “I would have to agree that there was always a feeling of Us and Them in relation to those at the coal face and those ‘professionals’ in county hall. We never felt we got the suppport we deserved from them when it was needed – especially if there was a complaint” but “But, by the same time, pretending that most of these people just sit on their arse all day doing bugger all is also I think a simplistic mistake.”
    “As you will know if you have been following our campaign. I am an academic librarian and we have had a lot of support from a very knowledgeable retired public librarian. But we are two of many, As the letter, says, our campaign was supported by 16,000 signature petition (gathered in just 3 weeks in the face of extreme winter weather). Our campaign has been strong because we have library users from all different backgrounds working tirelessly to save our libraries ( as DCMS will know from the hundreds of letters they received, and ignored, from library users in Gloucestershire). Librarian or library user, we have all taken the same stance as expressed in my letter (just look at the evidence from Gloucestershire sent to the CMS Select Committee for more!). I find it a bit odd that I am attacked for defending a library service just because I am a librarian. We are damned if we do, damned if we don’t!  I personally would like to see more librarians, alongside library users, fighting for the service. ” Johanna Anderson, Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.

  • Letter to campaigner – Alan Gibbons.   Response to Eoin Garland from government regarding unfair reliance on volunteers, fragmented approach to libraries, poor record of government on libraries. 
  • Libraries are not just buildings full of books – Unison “In Focus” magazine, p.13-14.  Article on the Speak Up for Libraries event, including quotes from several public librarians and Alan Gibbons.  A full response, no the normal form letter, but with no new real information.
Nicky Ginney on Libraries.  See also this recent

Changes

Calderdale –  1 mobile to close on 1st April, large number of opening hour reductions.

Local News

  • Calderdale – Library opening hours cut to save £150,000 – Halifax Courier.   Cuts in hours at “Brighouse, Elland, Hebden Bridge, King Cross, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden libraries will open for 37 hours a week; Rastrick Library for 30 hours; Beechwood Road, Hipperholme, Northowram and Skircoat libraries for 25 hours; and small changes will be made at Mixenden and Shelf libraries.”.  Mobile library will end, to be replaced by a “Home Library Service” for the housebound.
  • Isle of Man – Library loss can’t be understimated – Isle of Man.com.  “A Laxey woman dismayed at the planned loss of the mobile library says those who benefit most are least able to campaign against closure.”
  • North Somerset – It’s time take a stand for quality – This is Bristol.  New books which expand the mind seem rarely to be bought; the latest popular fiction is. I feel the Library Service has lost its soul and seeking justification for its existence, veers towards pop-marketing in imitation of the big bookshop chains, the fast food of the printed word.”. Also, letter is against just the free market providing books.
  • Portsmouth – Plans for Drayton library approved after 50 years – News.   “Following the launch last year of a popular library in Palmerston Road, Southsea, the city council is pushing ahead with plans to repeat its success in Drayton. Officers have identified the area as the only one in the city without a public library within a mile of residents’ homes and said calls for one began more than 50 years ago.” … “Both major political parties have taken credit for the idea”.
  • Suffolk – The Industrial and Provident Society: its role in Suffolk libaries, part 1 – Rosehill Readers.   “Organisational change on such a drastic scale will always damage or destroy efficiencies as well as inefficiencies; good ways of working as well as bad. Worse still, a new experimental structure like the IPS – particularly introduced in such a rush – is bound to create its own bureacracy.” … “Sucking nearly a third of the budget out of libraries will have drastic effects on the service regardless of how it is provided. The already diminished Bookfund will be first, staff will be next (and more painful). Anyone who tells you that you can hollow out the management and support staff of a previously lean, efficient library network and reduce funding by about a third and come out with an improved service is deluded.”
    • Where now for the IPS – James Hargrave’s Blog.   ” If it tries to create a complicated system of local devolution without first taking hold of the services and running and knowing them for itself I think it will fail. As ever the key to success is pragmatism.”