As the policy states, SCL supports volunteering. In some cases local policy will mean that this can result in job substitution.Tony Durcan of the Society of Chief Librarians on its volunteering policy.  See SCL on volunteers replacing staff – Question Everything

The above quotation, elaborating on the SCL policy on volunteers, clearly states (rather than skirting around the issue) for the first time that the SCL accepts direct substitution of paid members of staff by volunteers in certain circumstances.  Its doing so will shock very few people who have had an awareness of what has been happening in library authorities over the last couple of years.  I would recommend everyone in the profession who thinks they have job security (can there be anyone like that?) to read the complete article here. An explanation of why it is different to the recently adopted policy of CILIP, which is clearly against substitution, can be found in a comment on  this previous Public Libraries News blog post:

“Surely what everyone is saying in the volunteer run library piece is quite logical. But the missing part of the picture is that a lot of Councils are saying there is not enough money to maintain the public library service at existing levels. Then the choice tends to be between (1) cutting book funds (2) reducing opening hours (2) closing some branches (3) trying something different e.g. co-location of services, community run libraries. Option (3) might be the least worst option.

Also isn’t the difference between CILIP and SCL volunteer polices also quite logical. CILIP isn’t responsible for delivering library services so they can take an idealistic stance which is no doubt popular with their members. SCL have to deal with the real world of delivering library services with limited budgets – at least in England!” – librariesmatter

The most senior librarians, on other words, despite whatever private views they may hold, are being forced to consider every alternative open to them given the gigantic cuts to their service being forced upon them.



  • Book lovers make mini public libraries out of trees – Grist (Germany/USA).  Bookcrossing: ” In the last 30 days, 6,688 used books have been released into the world in Germany alone. The United States released the second-highest number of books, 5,323. Our most active bookcrossing state is Minnesota.”
  • Donaldson library tour dates revealed – BookSeller.  “The Gruffalo author will visit 35 libraries from Thurso to Cardiff on a six-week trip beginning on 10th September, with further visits to Northern Ireland planned for next year.” … “she will also visit bookshops to emphasise the links between bookshops, libraries and schools, and promoting a new website encouraging teachers to use picture books as a springboard for drama in the classroom.” Schedule here.

“This tour is my way of celebrating libraries, to highlight all that they do and offer – from lively baby and toddler Rhymetimes and book club discussions to calm spaces for study and contemplation – and to protest against the cuts and closures which are threatening so many of them.” Julia Donaldson

  • Ebooks and libraries – Diane Rehm Show (USA).  “In the past year, libraries have seen a sharp growth in e-book borrowing. That trend is transforming the relationship between libraries and publishers. Libraries need to offer electronic books to remain relevant today. But some publishers worry lending e-books will lead to piracy and loss of sales. Two of the big six publishers license their e-books to libraries. Others are exploring pilot programs or have declined to participate. Many library patrons are frustrated with the limited availability of titles and long waiting lists. And some buy a copy of the e-book anyway. Guest host, Frank Sesno, and his guests discuss the challenges of e-booking lending at the library.”
  • Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s spell can’t save historic Kensal Rise library – Telegraph (Mandrake).  “The Royal Society of Literature, of which the Labour-supporting Rowling is a leading member, said it was “appalled” that Kensal Rise Library had been stripped of its books by Brent council in May.However, Mandrake can disclose that the elegant library, whose opening was attended by Mark Twain in 1900, has now been quietly put on the market with Cluttons.”

“Denis MacShane, the Labour MP, says: “The decision is a symbol of cultural philistinism. It is sad to see this wonderful coalition of writers and artists has been unsuccessful in their campaign.”

  • How libraries empower women, strengthen healthcare and bridge the Education Gap – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (USA).  “More than 230,000 public libraries exist in developing and transitioning countries right now. But why is that important? Because public libraries are a trusted information resource at the heart of communities.  And it’s no longer possible to talk about development without talking about information. As that community hub, libraries are being applied in unique ways to improve lives and communities.” … “Libraries just make sense”.
  • Impact of public libraries of the Gates Foundations, Part 1 – Examiner (USA).  Looks at the history and impact of the philanthropists so far.
  • Kansas libraries offering specialty baking pans – KWCH (USA). “You may think libraries are just for books, but in Kansas they’re seeing a renewed interest in an old topic,  cake pans.  Dozens of libraries have hundreds of specialty baking molds and more and more Kansans are checking them out. “We have 75 circulating cake pans in our collection,” said Carla Heideman, Interim Director of the Andover Public Library.  “Everything from Barney to Barbie.” Includes video


Local News

  • Bracknell Forest – Libraries get £30,000 of new computers – Get Bracknell. “She also revealed a £500,000 refurbishment of Bracknell Library is due to start on Monday, September 3. The plans will convert the library’s dormant basement area into a room with coffee facilities and a laptop area. Two new lifts and a staircase will also be installed as the library expands.”
  • Brent – Kensal Rise Library “still available” – BookSeller.  “The owner of the Kensal Rise Library building has said it is still open to proposals to turn it into a community-run library, despite it being put on the open market. All Souls College, Oxford, which owns the historic building, has listed the property with Cluttons on an “all enquiries” basis.”

“NEED £36,000 by END NEXT WK for COMMUNITY BID to AllSouls. HELP RESTORE @SaveKRLibrary

  • Essex – “We want a u-turn on toddler group cutbacks” – Brentwood Weekly News.  “A campaign has been started to try to reinstate a weekly toddler group which has been cut back to save cash. Essex County Council has cut back the popular group, for working parents with young children, switching it from weekly to monthly.”
  • Lambeth – Funding for Streatham Library roof a possibility – Guardian series.  “The council is discussing plans to pay £400,000 to carry out repairs at the library on Streatham High Road, a source said. The new funding comes as a campaign continues against a proposal to move the library from the iconic Tate building. ” … ” Earlier this year it appears that funding was diverted from Brixton and Streatham libraries to the new library in Clapham.”
  • Oxfordshire – Library talks get under way– Oxford Mail.  “Meetings between the county council’s library service manager and groups of “friends” of the libraries have started taking place. The talks will eventually lead in a shift in the balance of staffing in certain facilities by April 2015, with volunteers playing a bigger role to save money.”
  • North Tyneside – Mobile service replaces North Shields library – Chronicle series.  “The decision to close Coast Road Library in North Shields was made in March following a consultation programme. The library, which was the smallest in the borough, had the lowest usage figures with 121 people borrowing items in the past 12 months.”

“The library is loved by those who do use it and we’ll be asking them to record their thoughts in a special Book of Memories.”

  • Torbay – Torquay Library to close for a week – This is South Devon.  “”The upcoming building works are part of our ongoing improvements and will allow the lending staff and reference team to be located together, as opposed to opposite ends of the library as they are now. This will allow our customers to receive a first class service, no matter what their enquiry, from one location.”
  • Wakefield – Community groups asked to take on Wakefield’s libraries – BookSeller.  “Community groups in West Yorkshire are banding together in an attempt to take over libraries around Wakefield, with council proposing to cut funding from 12 of them. The libraries have been earmarked as the council looks to make £800,000-worth of savings in its library service, according to local news reports. Wakefield Council will maintain 14 other libraries in the area.”
  • Library grants up for grabs  – Pontefract and Castleford Express.  “The Save Ackworth Library Group – which pledged in May to fight Wakefield Council’s proposals to close the village library – hopes to merge with supporters in nearby Upton and North Elmsall to access the council’s community libraries grant scheme.”
  • Wolverhampton – Community Hubs Mythbusters – Finchfield Estate Community Hub.  A critical look at the council’s claims that “community hub” libraries will update the service. £600k cut to library staffing, £225k cut to stockfund. “It will not be possible to deliver the same level of service in the face of the Council’s proposed cuts”

“The city’s librarians consistently deliver an outstanding level of service. They are highly skilled and seen by library users as an essential part of the service. Our campaign group has received numerous examples from library users describing the caring, community-minded approach of branch librarians.  Libraries are seen as safe places and the library staff are trusted. How will cutting £600 000 from the staff budget improve services?”