The item which most caught my eye today was the discovery that the LSSI chief who had said two years ago that “you come to us, you’re going to have to work” has just come back from a 112 day round-the-world cruise.  See more at Stop the Privatisation of Public Libraries who spotted Mr Pezzanite’s holiday blog post.  However, the thing I liked most while searching the library news today was this poster below ….
Superb Wootton Fields Library Group poster, produced by Korky Paul with permission of Oxford University Press.  See also BBC article.  Follow on Twitter at @woottonlibrary.  Sign petition here.


  • At the chalkface: Cautionary tale – SecEd.  A humorous summary of the early-morning clearance of Kensal Rise Library.  “Hurrah! The books were safe. Hurrah! But the Barbarians waited. And waited. And came back in middle of the night, while the books were sleeping. They broke the locks and smashed the doors and charged in with Mr Plod and his bloodhounds.”
    • Shameful tale that epitomises the cuts – SecEd.  “…this sad story, for me, is the epitome of thousands of other stories from across the country – vital services axed, government budget cuts blamed, local facilities “disappeared” overnight, residents’ views and wishes ignored and trampled upon. It is a depressingly common tale as ordinary people suffer disproportionately while politicians hide behind the false justification of austerity. “
  • G is for Google, H is for Harry, L is for Library … and then ideas about public libraries in a Google World – Librarians Matter (Australia).  Excellent 30 minute presentation including some interesting stuff.  “It’s best to do one thing really well” … “Public libraries should not be funded to serve everyone. Everyone should be welcome, but many users will use other information sources. We should focus on those who really need us – those without information access due to disability, illiteracy, poverty, discrimination or age.” … etc…

“Libraries are a necessary part of the fabric of a civilised society and, as such, are worth fighting for” Lindsey Davies in BookSeller article “Grounded in Libraries”, not yet available on line.

  • Man banned for sex act in Crawley Library – Argus.  “A man in his 30s caught pleasuring himself in the business section of Crawley Library in December 2010 received a one-year ban to go with his police caution for outraging public decency.”

“The speculation is that the next comprehensive spending review could result in a further cut as high as 20% on top of the existing 30%. Communities secretary Eric Pickles has got away for far too long with perpetuating the myth that sorting out the back office and sharing chief executives is going to deliver the required savings.”  Not out of the woods yet: looking ahead to the LGA conference – Guardian.

  • Most US readers unaware of e-books at libraries: poll – Reuters.  “Though Kindles and Nooks are becoming almost as common as books, more than half of all U.S. readers don’t know they can borrow e-books from their local library, a Pew Center poll showed on Friday.” … “On Thursday, book publisher Penguin agreed to digitally lend its books to the NYPL, joining Random House and Harper Collins to become only the third of the “ Big Six” (trade) publishers to lend e-books through public libraries.”
  • Soda ban, LA style – Los Angeles Times (USA).  “The Los Angeles Unified School District boldly and wisely banned sodas from school vending machines and cafeterias in 2002. But in an era in which people areexperiencing increases in obesity and diabetes, the city continues to peddle sugar-loaded drinks to Angelenos via vending machines in libraries and parks. Now Councilman Mitchell Englander wants to end such sales.” … “Public parks and libraries, like schools, should be refuges from the sugar-smack frenzy of the commercial world.”
  • To be or what: a lesson learned – College Park Patch (USA).  “From this special interaction with this librarian, a friendship with this special librarian was born. Sally was a great teacher, wonderful resource, and a supportive friend. I knew her for 40 years and things she taught me long ago I still use. She also taught me to love the library system and my love of the libraries, a gift I can never repay. When I think of the library, I think of her. Food for Thought”


Local news

  • Leeds – Last chapter for library as closure gets the go-ahead – Yorkshire Evening Post.   Council confirms closure of Cow Close library.  “A report to the board said that despite a “use it or lose” campaign run by councillors for Farnley and Wortley, borrowing from the library had continued to decline. According to council figures, the number of books borrowed during 2011-12 was 6,856 – down from 7,344 in 2010-11. Cow Close issued less than nine items per hour compared to the average figure for libraries across the city of 53.”
  • Manchester – Central Library book pulping: text of letter of protest – Guardian.   Letter signed Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Wilson and Melvin Burgess printed inc.  “Despite early assurances that there would be little, if any, loss of books beyond normal “weeding” practice, it is now admitted by the library service that 210,000 reference books, formerly stored in the famous stacks, are to be removed. Other sources suggest that the original estimate was as high as 500,000. This destruction has been going on behind closed doors for over 18 months already. No one seems to know how much, or what, has already been lost.”
    • Authors and poets call halt to book pulping at Manchester Central Library – Guardian.   “Campaigners describe the pulping of at least 210,000 non-fiction books as “cultural vandalism on an industrial scale”. They point out that the book collections are as important as the fabric of the building. The letter describes the collection stored in the stacks under the library as an invaluable resource not just for the north-west but for the whole country, rivalled only by the British Library in Camden, north London.”

Jeanette Winterson, the newly appointed professor of creative writing at Manchester University, said: “The library uses public money and is a public resource. There needs to be proper public engagement on what archive material is kept. And there is no reason why material that can’t be kept on site can’t be catalogued and warehoused elsewhere. There are plenty of retired librarians and archivists who could be happily employed to do this work. The burning of the books is not a solution.”

“While it is correct that some of the items which have been amassed over time will not be returning, these are obsolete items, such as outdated reference books, duplicates, such as paperbacks we have in hardback, or books in such poor condition it would not be viable to repair them. The idea that the library will be saying goodbye to valuable stock is just plain wrong.” Neil MacInnes, Manchester Libraries chief.

  • Surrey – One simple question – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.  “The outcome of the Judicial Review gave SCC an opportunity to take a step back, review its policy and make some adjustments that would make the policy more agreeable to Surrey residents. But instead of taking that opportunity, SCC has got hung up on trying to overcome a perceived “technicality”, only consulting with the minimum number of people to satisfy the “technicality”, and only on questions that it feels the High Court judgment demands.” … Accuses Surrey of being “too clever by half” and suggests a solution, “one simple question”.
  • Wolverhampton – Families unite over threat to Wolverhampton libraries – Express & Star.  Numerous quotes from library users describing their feelings at the proposed closure/relocation of nine libraries and seven community centres into “Community Hubs”. ““It will be a disaster if the library closes,” the retired finance adminstrator and grandmother-of-four said. “It’s the only community facility we have in Finchfield. It’s a very busy library. People are always coming in and out.”.

“Community Hub libraries will help promote the independence, health, leisure and learning opportunities available through local organisations such as the Adult Education Service. They will assist in members of the public accessing the full range of Council Services and support the Personalisation Agenda. They will also promote the quality of life of vulnerable service users not only by providing them with information but also by providing space for statutory, voluntary and community groups to promote their social inclusion services and activities.”  Community Hubs: Proposals for Consultation – Wolverhampton Council.

    • Council chiefs hit back on Wolverhampton libraries – Express & Star.  “Leisure bosses said around £3 million would be invested in creating new one-stop buildings offering a range of different services under one roof. But the plans have caused outrage among residents.” … “Under the plans, over the next five years, 12 smaller “community hubs” providing library, community centres and youth services would be created, along with three larger community service hubs.”
  • Worcestershire – Cut backs could see residents running their local library – Bromsgrove Advertiser.   “New proposals could see Catshill residents running the local library, from the local middle school. The idea, which would see people supported by library staff, is being proposed as part of the latest money saving scheme by Worcestershire County Council.” … “Councillor John Campion, the county council’s cabinet member for localism and communities, said: “Catshill is the most under-used library in the county and in the context of the current financial situation we have to be clear with people that we simply can’t do nothing and continue to run it as it is.”.  Three month consultation starts next week.