The decision by Random House to say that libraries “own” their e-books rather than lease them is an important one.  There’s a big difference between the two things, not least the power to cease permission to loan inherent in leasing.  For librarians, having only a short-term permission to loan an e-book title, somewhat sticks in the craw, especially with the possibility that it all could be (by Amazon?) snatched away. An “owned” e-book is a different beast because an owned e-book is an “immortal” book.  Well, not immortal, because the formats are changing so much.  But it’s a mind-boggling concept for libraries used to getting 20 or 50 issues out of a popular fiction book before it’s too grubby/tattered to use.  After all, an “owned” ebook is new forever.  The possibility of having e-books “donated” to the library by the public is also one that frankly makes my mind do somersaultsl. Another big thing this week is the ending of News Week as a printed publication because people just aren’t buying print news magazines any more. It all shows the need for a digital strategy more than ever, especially (as one interesting article points out) even those rows of library PCs are starting to look pretty out of date. The need for all interested parties to respond to the E-Lending Review as soon as possible is therefore fairly clear.


  • At Newsweek, ending print and a blend of two styles – New York Times (USA). “Newsweek buckled under the pressure afflicting the magazine industry in general and newsweeklies in particular, with their outdated print cycles that have been overtaken by the Internet.”.  Famous news magazine Newsweek ceases print publication.
  • E-books at Chicago public libraries nearly doubling in popularity – Chicago Sun-Times (USA).  “Chicago Public Library patrons are downloading nearly twice as many e-books, audio books, videos and music than they did a year ago, fueling the need to license more materials to satisfy demand, a top mayoral aide said Thursday. Library Commissioner Brian Bannon said items downloaded from the city’s website still represent only 3.2 percent of the 7.35 million items circulated through Sept. 30.”

“Chicago’s first library amnesty in 20 years returned 101,301 overdue items worth $2 million to the shelves and welcomed back 37,509 patrons who had “stopped coming” for fear of getting caught. Many of the scofflaws were children, making their return all the more gratifying and worth the $170,000 in fines waived. “It was a pretty extraordinary return on our investment,” Bannon said.”

  • E-lending enigma – BookSeller / Desmond Clarke. Overview of the challenges facing publishers and libraries over e-lending. “My own guess is that an eventual solution to providing a comprehensive, national e-book lending service will be based on a simple subscription model, with restrictions in terms of usage and proper controls to protect against piracy and other risks. The DCMS Inquiry provides a real opportunity to find a way to encourage and support literacy, reading,  education and the acquisition of knowledge, by allowing library users across  the country to *benefit* from the e-book revolution. We can all help by submitting  constructive proposals to by the 6th November.”
  • Empowering women and girls through ICT at libraries – Beyond Access.  “Many international organizations have established initiatives intended to help girls and women access technology and technology training. While many of these programs are critical pieces of the campaign to foster girls’ ICT skills, they often overlook and underuse a potentially valuable resource that could help scale and institutionalize women’s and girls’ access: Public libraries.In this month’s Issue Brief, Beyond Access examines the role-potential and real-that libraries play in promoting gender equity, with specific regard for access to ICT. “
  • Finland, where reading is a superpower – Publishing Perspectives. ““Books still have a strong position in Finnish society, and 77% of the population buys at least one book a year,” says Sakari Laiho, Director of the Finnish Publishers’ Association. Seventy-five percent of parents read aloud to their children, a practice proven to establish good reading habits early on. What’s more, writing is ranked among the most respected professions. “
  • Libraries need e-lending strategy, says minister – Public Service.  “Vaizey, who launched a review on e-lending systems in September, said a “clear strategy” was needed if “more libraries [were] to adopt e-lending across England” … “Challenged by Ed Miliband on library closures in February last year, David Cameron said libraries needed to “wake up to the world of new technology” if they were to succeed. “
  • Library spending cuts will harm literacy rates – Impact. “Libraries allow anyone access to books, from children’s fiction to classical literature. If the government restricts access to these resources, then reading and literature will hardly be successful in the struggle for the modern child’s attention when it is pitched against that of Xbox games and the internet. Most libraries run reading schemes, creative writing clubs and book clubs as ways of getting children interested in reading as an enjoyable pastime and method of learning. They incite children to read of their own accord. Without this support from the libraries for the primary schools, the government cannot rationally expect the child literacy rate to increase to the standard they expect – a standard which Sir Michael Wilshaw has called to be raised again.”
  • Marching for a future that works – Voices for the Library.  “Members of Voices for the Library, along with supporters of the Speak Up for Libraries alliance, library campaigners and supporters, will be joining the TUC demonstration in London on Saturday, A Future That Works. Library campaigners will also be represented at the Glasgow and Belfast marches. Why are we marching? Public libraries have a key part to play in getting people back to work and building a modern economy with jobs for all Libraries are under attack;  so are schools, hospitals, housing, transport, industry…everything that makes us a civilised nation””
  • Parents “shun bedtime reading” in favour of TV – Telegraph.  “A study commissioned by the publisher Pearson found that pupils aged 11 and under now spent three times as long “on screen” as they do buried in a book.Teachers warned that over-exposure to technology was damaging children’s attention spans – making it harder for them to meet the demands of secondary education.” … “Research published this summer found that many young people refused to pick up a book outside school for fear they would be labelled a “geek” in front of friends. “

“Pearson today launched a national “Enjoy Reading” campaign aimed at encouraging children to develop an early love of reading. This includes giving away 1.4m books to families with reception age children, developing e-books that pupils can read on screen and creating a new “digital searchcloud” to help them identify their favourite texts.”

  • PLR should remain with government, survey finds – BookSeller.  “A huge majority of respondents to the government’s consultation on the future of Public Lending Right (PLR) do not want to see its functions passed to another body. Just over a thousand individuals and organisations sent in responses to the consultation, with 948 saying they did not think the administration of lending rights, currently handled by the PLR Registrar, should be controlled by another body. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has proposed a move in order to make savings, with their preferred option being that the British Library take control of the system.” … “The results also show that of those who think the functions should not be transferred, 85% comment that the current service is “excellent”, “effective” and “efficient”. Many also cast doubt on the suitability of the British Library to absorb the role, without prior experience or specialism in the area.”
  • Publishers agree Kindle lending “experiment” – BookSeller.  “In the UK Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press, Icon Books and Michael O’Mara are among those with titles listed, along with a number of self-published writers. Andrew Furlow, sales and marketing director for Icon Books—which has six titles in the lending scheme, including its Christmas 2011 hit The Etymologicon—said: “We have submitted a selection of titles for lending for a period to experiment with them and see how it goes.” … “Other publishers have suggested that the remuneration of the wholesale price of a book every time one is leant out, coupled with poor promotional opportunities within the lending service, has meant there were few advantages to the scheme.”
  • Random House says libraries own their own e-books – Library Journal (USA).  Major publishing house declares that libraries own the e-book rather than leasing, meaning that the title can be moved across platforms, is immortal and cannot be remotely deleted.   This protects libraries from scenarios like “what would happen if Amazon were to purchase OverDrive, and then shut it down”.  It also seems to allow resale of donated e-books.  Ramifications not yet clear.

“Deian Hopkin reminded us that public libraries have their origins in the education of the poor, who could not afford to buy books. Carnegie libraries across Wales remind us of that time. Today, people on low incomes are as excluded from digital resources as they were from books a century ago.  41% of people from lower socio-economic groups have access to the internet he reminded us. Rather than being a reason for closing libraries, the digital age is a very powerful reason for keeping them open. This is not to say that libraries are ok as they are – they clearly need to change to embrace digital media. A row of outdated PCs that are only available for 30 minute, pre-booked slots, and which restrict access to certain sites and prohibit use of memory sticks to save files is pretty standard in libraries. But this is woefully inadequate, especially as the focus shifts to mobile devices like phones and tablets – always-on, in-your-pocket, mini-computers. Deian Hopkin suggested that libraries need to re-invent themselves as “ideas shops”, integral to the community. While it’s easy to see how this can be done in cities, e.g. in partnership with developers, he acknowledged it was much more challenging in less populated places.” What will be the death of the public library? – Bevan Foundation (Wales).


Local News

  • Barnet – Where “library is a dirty word” – Voices for the Library.  A look at the cuts in Barnet.
  • Brent – Spirit of saving libraries is very much alive – Harrow Observer.  “a celebratory event in Brent on Saturday – exactly one year on from the date when readers lost their troves and communities lost a place to gather – reminded people the spirit of the campaign is still very much alive.”
  • Croydon/Lambeth – Redundancy costs could burden Upper Norwood library trust – Inside Croydon.  “The cost of redundancies for the full staff group would be in the region of £100,000 plus and in this circumstance, it is unlikely that support to share the cost would be given by Lambeth.” … “no preparatory work had yet been done over the employment rights of Upper Norwood librarians. “My understanding is there will be something in a cabinet paper that’s being put together,” Hollands said, with barely six months until Croydon expects a community trust to take charge of the much-admired local amenity.”
  • Gloucestershire – Drive for library ebook service ignoring thousands, campaigners claim – This is Gloucestershire.  “Members of Friends of Gloucestershire Library have questioned Shire Hall about the number of people signing up to the new e-book system. They believe it is being used to mask the cuts in funding being made across the county. And they fear the move to online services will leave many people without access to library facilities.”  Council says “”This year the council has provided an injection of additional money to the stock fund. We are planning to spend £70,000 on ebooks and eAudio.”
  • Isle of Wight – Friends of Isle of Wight groups have their say – On the Wight.  “Readers will remember that back in September Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey, said that he was ‘not minded to direct a local inquiry over Island libraries.” … “Friends of the Isle of Wight Libraries made their submission this week and were happy to share it with On The Wight readers.”
  • Lambeth – Streatham Library no longer in danger of being moved completely – Guardian series.  “Plans to close a much-loved and historic library appear to have been shelved, the Friends of Steatham Library Group announced today. A proposal to move Streatham Library out of the historic Tate building had sparked concern among library users and residents. But the only options listed in the council’s latest review document were improving the existing building and looking into sharing facilities between there and premises in nearby Gracefield Gardens run by the council and primary care trust.” … “The Streatham Library Options Appraisal said the project involves the investment of £1m by March, from the council and Outer London Fund. Cllr Sally Prentice, Cabinet Member for Culture on Lambeth Council, said: “Working with local people has been key to developing proposals for and protecting each of our libraries.”

“What has come across is that people value the Library as an important civic space. “

“I am pleased to hear that Nottinghamshire County Council is committed to keeping libraries open, as it realises that once a library closes within a community, it is difficult to reopen again. It is also good to visit a library such as Mansfield and see the recent investment which has gone into this building. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting with children from the local school and we had a fun morning of activities.” Julia Donaldson.

  • Sefton – Ainsdale will not give up on library battle without a fight – Southport Visiter.  “Campaign groups are now increasing their efforts to save libraries across the borough as the plans go to public consultation. In Ainsdale, where 59,637 people visited the library between 2011/12, Cllr Haydn Preece is among those encouraging people to protest the plans. Cllr Preece, a founder member of Friends of Ainsdale Library, said: “We need people power to show how wrong this decision is. I recognise the financial pressures the council faces but surely a compromise is possible. Could the library stay open with volunteer involvement? Could we keep the library but with reduced opening hours?”

“Judy Wilson at The Chocolate Box newsagents added: “We filled in loads of petition sheets. The library could just open a few days a week, older people use it a lot for company, and kids go there. Not everyone has a computer at home.”

  • Sheffield – Highfield library to close for five months – Postcode Gazette.  “Highfield Library on London Road is due to close on Monday and re-open in March 2013 due to refurbishment Improvements include complete remodeling of the adult and children’s library, installation of a lift, additional computers for the People’s Network, a public toilet and a community space that allows for the provision of light refreshments. “
  • West SussexHelp libraries with their next chapter – Mid Sussex Times.  “Do use your local library? If so, West Sussex County Council would like to hear from you. Officers at the library service would like to know your views on future services and how they might be shaped. You can call 01243 777100 for a paper copy of the survey, which is also available in your local library.”  Advert includes QR code link direct to consultation.
  • Worcestershire – Hive draws inspiration for town library – Evesham Observer.  “”It was great to visit The Hive and see for ourselves what a brilliant and state-of-the-art building it is,” Mr Tucker said. “We had a good look around the building and considered ideas which we could corporate into Pershore Library. “We were very impressed with the high technology available there and we need to make sure Pershore Library is up to date with the latest technologies and make it a 21st century building with state-of-the-art learning systems.” Funding for the revamp will come from the town council’s own budget, a loan and from external grants. Worcestershire County Council will also pay £10,000 a year in rent in a deal which will help it save part of the £1.8 million it needs to slash from its libraries and learning service.