Big news today is that the much-delayed publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry into Library Closures will at last occur on Tuesday.  Since the Inquiry finished sitting, there has been a change of Culture Secretary and one of the most high-profile MPs on the Committee, Louise Mensch, has decided to leave parliament.  Presumably, therefor, the only reason the Committee felt the need to publish the results now is that, if they wait any longer, none of the relevant people would still be involved.  We will see if its conclusions have been worth waiting for (and the general atmosphere is, shall we say, pessimistic on this one) next week.

PUBLICATION OF REPORT: LIBRARY CLOSURES

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee will publish its report on Library Closures on Tuesday 6 November 2012 at 00.01 am (Third Report, Session 2012-13, HC 587).

 Embargoed copies will be sent out to witnesses from 9.00 am, Monday 5 November 2012. Interested parties should request copies from the committee at: cmscom@parliament.uk. Copies will be available on the committee’s website on the day of publication.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee Membership is as follows:  Mr John Whittingdale (Chair) (Con) (Maldon)Mr Ben Bradshaw (Lab) (Exeter)Angie Bray (Con) (Ealing Central and Acton)Conor Burns (Con) (Bournemouth West)Tracey Crouch (Con) (Chatham and Aylesford)Philip Davies (Con) (Shipley)Paul Farrelly (Lab) (Newcastle-under-Lyme)Steve Rotheram (Lab) (Liverpool, Walton)Mr Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) (Torbay)Jim Sheridan (Lab) (Paisley and Renfrewshire North)Mr Gerry Sutcliffe (Lab) (Bradford South)

“Laura Swaffield, Chair of The Library Campaign, says: ‘Library users are hoping for something to help halt the unthinking mass closures that risk creating a fragmented mess out of what used to be an expert, accessible service. But I’m not optimistic. The government has washed its hands of the whole problem. Nothing has changed that so far. But – we’re all meeting four days later to discuss what we do next.'” Library Campaign.

News

Get reading, get better, get libraries - Comedian Chris Corcoran on the benefits of libraries for health.

  • Libraries report out on 6th NovemberBookSeller.  “The Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s select committee will publish its reports on library closures next week after a series of delays. The report will be published on the committee’s website on Tuesday (6th November). The committee, chaired by Conservative MP John Whittingdale had hoped to release the report in October, but publication was repeatedly pushed back. The cross-party inquiry heard evidence this spring. It investigated how planned library closures in local authorities across the country were compatible with the Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964, and to what extent the DCMS should intervene with the decision-making process. Culture minister Ed Vaizey was among those giving evidence.”

“Public libraries don’t have individual brands. They share one incredibly potent brand. Take a peak in books on marketing strategy and you’ll see that many businesses are just starting to realize what you’ve known for ages: that in the long run, it’s more valuable to focus on people than products. While everyone else is scrambling to figure out how to do that (or more often, to bluff their way around doing that), libraries are delivering highly personalized benefits–inspirations–to thousands of people every day. Your brand lives in those people. You deserve to have the highest confidence in it. They do too.” Marketing libraries to an overloaded mind - Midair Ca (USA).

  • Reaching the public library market: Library Insider - PR by the book (USA). “Independent bookstores, once the key market for our books, are closing their doors at an alarming rate.  Book chains and big box discount stores primarily stock books by bestselling and “name” authors— forcing most of us to seek creative new markets for our books. One of the most overlooked avenues for reaching readers in today’s difficult market is the public library. Why the public library? Many authors scoff at the idea of promoting their books to libraries and believe sales to libraries hurt their overall sales figures. Yet, a recent Pew Internet Study revealed that nearly 60% of all library users go on to purchase books by an author they were first introduced to at the library. In addition, the library reaches an entire segment of the public who never enters bookstores or purchases books online. Library use skyrockets in tough economic times. Large library systems often purchase multiple copies. Library sales are final—no returns! Rather than thinking of libraries as a competing market, consider them another piece of your marketing plan along with bookstores, social media, etc.”
  • You don’t own it? - Metroland. E-books: “This issue is getting especially dicey with libraries that want to do what libraries should do with e-books: Lend them out. Publishers, who have always hated libraries, have no idea what to do. Remember, e-books are tethered, so a library can’t just go online and buy an e-book, because it can only be read on one device, or one owner’s devices. So publishers need to provide libraries e-books with looser controls, that can be moved across platforms, and shared with the public. Several publishers have simply refused to allow this and have kept their e-books off of the library’s digital shelves. Several provide e-books capable of being lent out, but gouge the libraries as much as 300 percent of their normal retail prices. One publisher doesn’t allow its e-books to work on certain devices it doesn’t like …”

Changes

Local News

  • Brent – Memory, Reason, Imaginatin: A community library for Kensal Rise - Friends of Kensal Rise Library.  Business plan/proposals from campaigners for using the library. Dependent on support from All Souls College, the building’s owners.
  • Essex – Library to close for improvements - Yellow Advertiser.  “Fryerns Library is to close for 11 days for improvement. When it reopens visitors will find self-service machines to check out, return or renew their books and other borrowed items. RFID machines take the routine work away from assistants, leaving them free to help customers use library facilities and deal with enquiries. “
  • Gloucestershire – Libraries run by communities in Gloucestershire to open - BBC.  “Berkeley, Bream, Brockworth, Lechlade and Mitcheldean libraries will be run by local people instead of the county council. Two years ago plans by the Conservative-led council to save £2.6m a year from the service were challenged in the courts and eventually scrapped.”
  • Leeds – Community prepares to take over much-loved library - Yorkshire Evening Post.  “Talk that it could close was greeted with dismay by local residents, who see the library as a vital part of village life. But now, 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.”
  • Sandwell – Have your say with library survey - Sandwell Council.  “The council’s library and information service is seeking views on how it can provide the best possible services for library users and their families.  The survey will run for a week from November 12. Visitors to any of Sandwell’s libraries will be asked to complete the short questionnaire. “
  • Sefton – Crunch Sefton library talks set for tonight - Southport Visiter.  “If the original decision is approved by the committee it will pave the way for consultation over the suggested library closures. Those libraries in the firing line include Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown. Since cabinet agreed to proceed with this option the plans have met with vehement opposition.”
  • Wokingham – Libraries will not be privatised - Get Wokingham.  “Libraries in Wokingham are safe from privatisation after council plans to outsource control to a private company folded last week. But the council’s executive made the call at its meeting last Thursday to close the book on its privatisation plans, although concerns still remain over the future of the libraries.”