Arts Council England have announced that one in five of their staff will be made redundant.  I know that few library campaigners will shed a tear over this.  However, for me, I will for two reasons.  One is that they’re human beings too, trying their best under difficult circumstances.  The other is that this is going to greatly reduce the number of people looking after libraries, on top of the already great reductions caused in the recent move from the defunct MLA to ACE only a few months ago.  One can therefore take as one will the protestations from ACE that their service will not be worse, just different.

My thanks to Gary Archer, who sent me links to a couple of interesting articles to sending and receiving texts in libraries (like this).  So, it’s possible.  The reason it is not done so much is answered by another commenter, Alan Wylie, who points out that the money is barely there for the basic IT service, let alone option extras.  How Libraries are going to cope with the big increase in usage caused by the Government’s Digital by Default strategy next year is anyone’s guess.  Good news, though, from Harrow, who promise to fix/replace all their many broken library computers by April next year.

“Monday November 5 is deadline for booking the Speak Up for Libraries conference at CILIP HQ in London. £20 includes lunch/tea/coffee. So far we have a good mix of bookings from Unison/CILIP members and library users.

Talks/workshops include: Public Interest Lawyers (who have taken most of the cases against DCMS), Phil Bradley (CILIP President), Ian Anstice (www.publiclibrariesnews.com), Abby Barker (Voices for the Library), Hannah Bailey/Alan Wylie (Unison), Cllr Alan Waters (Deputy Leader, Norwich City Council). Celeb guests: Philip Ardagh, Alan Gibbons, Bali Rai. Topics include: current legal state of play, volunteers (eek!), is privatisation inevitable?

We need payment upfront please, as we are only just covering costs! www.speakupforlibraries.org/conference.asp or 020 8651 9552 or thelibrarycampaign@gmail.com”

News

  • Arts Council England to cut one fifth of staffBookSeller.  ACE “to restructure and cut staff by 21% as it seeks to reduce its administrative costs. Overall staff numbers will be cut from 559.5 full-time posts to 442. The number of executive directors will be reduced from eight to four. Within literature, the number of relationship managers will be cut from nine to eight.”
  • Arts Council England announces details of its new structure - ACE.  Property costs to be cut by half. “‘We are protecting the relationship management and the artistic and cultural expertise we know our colleagues in the sector value but we must be pragmatic. We’ll do less and we’ll do it differently – but we’ll do it well.’”
  • Closing date for library conference - BookSeller.  “The London-based conference will be held by a coalition of campaigners dedicated to protecting libraries and library staff. After lobbying Parliament in May, the conference will be the first large event staged by the group, and is open to all interested in the future of library resources in the UK. There will be a series of workshops and talks throughout the day, with an introductory talk from Phil Bradley, the president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and a “state of the nation” address from library campaigner Alan Gibbons. Guest speakers include authors Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai. Lunch and refreshments are included at the event which runs from 10am to 4.30pm at the CILIP offices in central London, and the cost of the day is £20.”
  • Digital bookmobile: promoting the rise of e-books – Austin Culture Map (USA).  “The colossal 18-wheeler cruises the country, visiting various public libraries and giving each the platform to promote their download services for e-books, audio books, music and video. Deemed a community outreach program, the Digital Bookmobile is described as “a high-tech update of the traditional bookmobile that has served communities for decades.” In otherwords, it’s furnished with broadband Internet-connected PCs, impressive high-definition monitors, premium sound systems and a variety of portable players.”

“That this House notes that one of the Government’s priorities is for all children to read daily for pleasure; believes that every school should have a well-stocked library; further notes that research shows that children who have access to a school library and who read for pleasure reach higher levels of attainment in all subjects; further notes that the best way to encourage children to read for pleasure is by free voluntary reading; and calls on the Government to continue to take all necessary steps to encourage school libraries.” Early Day Motion, Parliament.

  • Greenburgh residents seek refuge from Sandy at library - Greenbrugh Daily Voice.  “Though Greenburgh officials opened several emergency shelters throughout town, it was the Greenburgh Public Library where residents sought refuge from their dark homes Tuesday. After Hurricane Sandy left half of Greenburgh without power Monday night, thousands sought areas with working outlets to charge their phones and computers, receive Internet access or for just a warm, well-lit place to spend the day. Tuesday was the busiest Library Director Eugenie Contrata had ever seen the library since its opening in 2008, she said.”

“There are a few places left for this training day taking place here at the Free Word Centre next week. The cost is £195 per person and includes a free pack of Six Book Challenge materials to cater for 50 participants. Follow this link http://readingagency.org.uk/adults/tips/001-training/six-book-challenge-training.html for further details about the training day and contact me directly for a booking form. For further information about running the Six Book Challenge http://readingagency.org.uk/adults/practitioners-guides/six-book-challenge.html

  • Tales from a haunted library - American Libraries.  “Since the 1950s, the library has experienced paranormal activity that includes early morning noises and voices that ask question after question in 20-second intervals—What is your name? What year is it? What am I doing here?—sometimes followed by flashes of light.”

Changes

Local News

  • Anglesey – Libraries spared - North Wales Chronicle.  “a recommendation made by the panel has decided to “maintain and support the library service in its current configuration”, and resolved to limit the libraries’ budget reduction to just 2%.”
  • Central Bedfordshire – Flitwick Library gears up for upgrade - About My Area.  “In the next two years the council is investing £850,000 to improve the service. This will include updating buildings and installing new self-service technology, developing the online library and piloting library access points in rural communities.”
  • Ealing – Temporary fond farewell to Hanwell Library - Ealing Gazette.  “Hundreds turned out to give a fond, albeit temporary, farewell to Hanwell Library before it closes for nearly £1 million of renovation work. Ealing Council teamed up with Hanwell Community Forum Library Action to hold a day full of act” … “Children and grown-ups took fairy dust and sprinkled it around the library to wish it, and everyone working on the refurbishment project, all the best. The grand reopening of the fully refurbished building is scheduled for May 2013.”
  • Gloucestershire – Concerns over Tuffley Library future - This is Gloucestershire.  Concerns “have been raised over the future of Tuffley Library after it closed on two separate occasions because of a lack of staffing.” … “”When Tuffley was originally earmarked for closure, they laid off the staff but had to take them back on again, after it was reprieved, on short-term contracts. I don’t understand why they did not keep them on. The library has been closed twice in October and it is a worry.” … Staff sickness blamed.
  • Harrow – Faulty computers will be upgraded by March, says Harrow Council - Harrow Times.  “Portfolio holder for cultural services, Councillor David Perry, said upgrades will begin soon and will be completed by March. He added: “The IT problems in our libraries are well documented, and I am pleased that the council listened to our residents and agreed an upgrade in January this year. “This upgrade will see brand new computers in all of our libraries, an updated computer management system, a modern day People’s Network and most importantly we are installing Wi-Fi free of charge in all libraries for the very first time.”
  • Isle of Wight – Self-service kiosks go into remaining council libraries - On the Wight.  “The easy to use equipment allows library users to check books, CDs or DVDs in and out and pay hire charges or fines using debit cards or cash including notes, similar to self-service machines in supermarkets.”
  • Leeds – Community prepares to take charge of much-loved library - Yorkshire Evening Post.  “a group of volunteers is poised to take over the running of the facility, which is on Moorland Road. The library’s last day as a purely council-run enterprise was last Saturday. It will re-open under the control of the Friends of Drighlington Community group on Monday, November 12. Members of the group are now planning a busy programme of fundraising to help with the cost of keeping the library going.”
  • North Lanarkshire – Mum leads calls for school libraries to be saved from council cuts - STV.  “A mum whose son suffers from Cerebral Palsy has spoken of her anger and fear that his school library could close. Clare Wilson, whose son John attends Cumbernauld High School, says the library service is vital for her family, not only in terms of learning, but socially too, as they deal with John’s condition. But proposed cuts to North Lanarkshire’s Educational Resource Service (ERS) as the local authority tries to save £73m worth of savings could see the service in Cumbernauld – and across the district – phased out entirely in just three years.”7
  • Perth and Kinross – First e-books borrowed from Perth and Kinross libraries - BBC.  “The e-books are being funded by the Crockart Foundation, a trust set up to benefit local people through libraries.” … “”This is the kind of modern service that our library customers expect us to be providing. All existing and new members of our libraries will be able to use the new e-book service. “There will be no charges for overdue books. Once your borrowing time is up the book will simply disappear from your device, so you don’t have to remember to take your library books back.”
  • Surrey – Lingfield Guest House and Library campaigners win trust battle - This is Surrey Today.  “After a stalemate that has lasted more than 18 months, Surrey County Council leader David Hodge finally signed off on a plan to restructure the building’s trust arrangement, allowing local groups to have more input on how the small community building is run. The site will also receive £50,000 to improve facilities.”
  • Wakefield – Takeover opens new chapter for two libraries - Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express.  “Libraries at Havercroft and Kinsley were earmarked to close, but after months of uncertainly, both are set to relaunch later this month at their respective learning centres. Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre will open its library service on Tuesday, November 27 followed by Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Learning and Community Centre on Friday, November 30.”