Archive for September, 2012

Just so handy

News

  • ACE’s library survey open to all except those with no internet access - Alan Gibbons.  ACE spokesman admits “The online element, which opens this week, will reflect the questions that are being considered in the workshops about the purpose and values underpinning a public library service. This online debate is open to everyone but I agree will not be accessible for those who do not use the internet.”

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ACE consultation on libraries enters next phase while DCMS Inquiry delays results

The next phase of the Envisioning the library of the future consultation from Arts Council England has been launched. This stage looks at how people use libraries and what they want from them.  Unfortunately, it’s only available online which necessarily skews the results somewhat.  More worryingly, it’s almost impossible to spot on the Arts Council England website – in fact, I could not find it on there earlier and had to resort to using the direct link provided. In order to rectify this, albeit it in a tiny way, there is now an easy link to it on the Public Libraries News sidebar.  Assuming the reader can find the questionnaire, and have not been put off by the registration process (which is easy enough for experts but will doubtless turn away one or two less confident souls), the questions asked are:

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More details on e-lending review

News

  • Chief librarian moves in from England - Chronicle Journal (Canada). Well-known librarian John Pateman gains new job in Canada.  “Part of Pateman’s research has been in making libraries more accessible, both in terms of how they appear physically and what’s on the shelves. “Otherwise, you’re potentially missing out on 70-80 per cent of your population,” he said. “People get ideas of not going to libraries because they feel that they’re not brainy enough, or whatever.” … ““I’ve been doing this a long time, and every five or 10 years, someone will say it’s the end of the book,” he said. “But it never happens.”

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E-Lending: the end of the library?

Ed Vaizey will announce a review of library e-book lending tomorrow (Wednesday).  He has cross party support and, indeed, his shadow Dan Jarvis, claims it was his idea in the first place.

It’s clear that something needs to be done on this subject: some authorities have e-book lending while others don’t; Authors, unlike with printed books, don’t gain any money at all from e-book lending; the biggest e-book player, Amazon, doesn’t allow e-book lending at all, perhaps because of its own future plans.  The difficulty for the Government is making sure that all sides win, or at least don’t lose.  Libraries need e-books so as not to be increasingly irrelevant but, at the same time, a way needs to be found to ensure the buildings continue to be used.  Authors need to be paid.  Publishers worry that, faced with free borrowing, people won’t bother purchasing at all.

It’s a situation that requires the wisdom of Solomon and, possibly, the future of libraries depends on it.  But, at least, the subject is being addressed now and, for that, Ed gets a rare thumbs up from myself, even though he can’t resist putting the boot into library campaigners when he appeared on TV…

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Tough times

You know a job is tough when you can’t get someone in post to do it, especially when it’s during a recession, it’s been advertised for several months and the job carries a none-too-shabby salary.  The job in question is for a volunteer co-ordinator.  Why do they need one?  The service is expecting to cut £1m from its budget by removing paid staff and replacing them by volunteers or machines or – in the case of managers – not replacing them at all.

Meanwhile, over in Barnet, all surviving librarians (6, with 18.5 being lost) will be taken off the front line and apparently using them at least partially to train up cheaper staff and, of course, volunteers.  Good news then is left for Bradford which, after several months of having large parts of its Central Library being closed due to it being a fire hazard, has found the money to sort it out in the early part of next year.

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SpeakUp4Libs-logo

Speaking Up For Libraries

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Trashing libraries just a bit more

I hasten to say that this has nothing to do with the title today but, due to the very large amount of positive feedback I have received from my previous post outlining a vision for public libraries, I have made it into a web page here.  It now also contains further thoughts on the importance of the book and training.
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Cuts in hours hurts usage too

 

There are several options for library services when faced with cuts.  Closures and volunteers are the well-known ones.  Another one is cuts in hours.  Hertfordshire went down this route sufficiently long ago for their impact on usage to start to be recorded.  This quote below is from We Heart Libraries and I’d recommend reading their whole article.

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My vision for public libraries

The following is in response to an article by Tim Coates which asks what reason libraries have for existing.

“Hi Tim. It’s true that one cannot go along doing something simply because it has gone on before. My reasons for a public library service will be different to everyone else but I offer them up here for criticism:

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Summary of matters of concern

The following summary of current matters of concern by library campaigner Desmond Clarke deserves wider publication than just email.  I particularly like the line about the “”quiet diplomacy” promoted by the SCL is perceived to be almost silent”…

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