The BookSeller has reported on the stakeholder meeting (covered here in the last but one post) and it makes some  subtly different changes, like the date of when 12% of libraries are likely to be “community supported” and what it actually means.  Otherwise, there’s an interesting conference in Edinburgh next year (the Edge) and the news that “free news” online may be on its way out will further support the argument for libraries.

“Twelve per cent of all libraries could have “significant” support from volunteers in the near-future, according to research commissioned by Arts Council England and the Local Government Association. In a “stakeholder forum” meeting with library campaigners, held on Monday (10th December), the Society of Chief Librarians shared the findings, which show 425 libraries are community supported, or are considering becoming so. This represents an increase of 150% from the current number of 170.” BookSeller – Twelve per cent of libraries soon to have “significant” community support.


  • The Edge Conference, includes The Digital – It’s time for the Future”,The Physical – Investing in Infrastructure” (“Many authorities are now recognising how they can effectively push the boundaries of public service delivery, create more cost effective estates, build stronger communities and promote economic vitality through their libraries.” and “The Social – Better Together” (“Experience and research show that the quantity and quality of social capital within a community plays a crucial role in our resilience and libraries are key to this.”)
  • Free online news era on its way out – CNN. Goodbye free news. “people — known as “reporters” — need to put food on the table. Newspapers and magazines are partially to blame for this state of affairs. For many years they gave away their wares to anyone with a modem, anxious to avoid being left out of the burgeoning world of online commerce. Readers thought nothing of subscribing to a paper that landed on their doorstep but balked at paying for news on their computer screens and mobile phones.”
  • Six questions with Ned Potter – 658.8 Practical Marketing for Public Libraries.  Some words of wisdom from the maestro of UK library marketing.
  • Social justice and the public library – Public Libraries Online. “What is social justice? John Vincent cites a definition of social justice as “every one of us having the chances and opportunities to make the most of our lives and use our talents to the full.” This fits right in with the mission of the public library, which, since at least the nineteenth century, has included the mission of serving the common person. “

“… We need to continue to invest in the development of innovative reading programmes in libraries: we believe that they have a vital role to play in their local communities, not least in helping to tackle the country’s literacy deficit of 5.1m people with low literacy skills in England alone. Professional library staff are central to the continuing success of national reading programmes such as the Summer Reading Challenge. We need to retain a skilled base in libraries if the service is to continue to thrive.” The Reading Agency on the 2011 Cipfa figures post on lis-pub-libs.

  • Twelve per cent of all libraries to be community-run by spring – BookSeller.  Reports on SCL “stakeholder” meeting held on Monday and reported on PLN yesterday.  Notes the surprisingly high proportion of libraries estimated to be volunteer-run next year [the suspicion is that this figure was meant to be for 2014].

“Libraries are more than the stock. Libraries are more than the figures walking in and out of the library. A library – properly and efficiently run by a professional librarian can enthuse and empower a community and can make a real difference to everyone that it touches, both physically and virtually. The more libraries are cut, the more communities are destroyed. So yes, the statistics are depressing, but what’s really depressing is the fact that the people who should care; local and national government all too often don’t, since they can’t take their eyes off the calculators.” UK library stats: depressing – Phil Bradley’s weblog.

  • Why should libraries have a special day – National Libraries Day.  My post on for National Libraries Day 2013.  “the reason I’m thinking of is that, tragically, so many people don’t really know about public libraries. They think that a library is just another building, that it’s just for the brainy or for the middle class or (hah!) just for those who cannot afford books. The real reason to celebrate libraries is to make such an impact on 9th February that those, of all ages, who need libraries, come in and use them … and those who hold the purse-strings understand the need to keep them around for National Libraries Day 2014.”
  • Wrong war over eBooks – Forbes (USA).  “In a society where bookstores disappear every day while the number of books available to read has swelled exponentially, libraries will play an ever more crucial role.  Even more than in the past, we will depend on libraries of the future to help discover and curate great books. ”  Big, long, and useful article on the subject.  Advocates a per-use charge for libraries for ebook lends.
  • Yorkshire libraries too makes for grim reading – Yorkshire Post. “Shadow culture minister and Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis said libraries across the region and beyond were under “extreme threat” and it was highly likely more would close. “The reality is that the money that comes to councils has been significantly and, I would say, unfairly reduced over a number of years and we know from the Autumn Statement it will continue to be reduced,” he said. “Local authorities have been forced to make some incredibly difficult decisions but I think it’s important that where they are able to preserve library services, they should do that. “Libraries are unique public spaces and, in terms of the money councils spend on them, it’s money well spent.””


Local News

  • Barnet – “Easy Council” faces legal battle over mass sell-off – Morning Star.  “Public Interest Lawyers, acting on behalf of resident Susan Sullivan, notified Tory Barnet Council on Friday of her intention to seek judicial review of the contentious outsourcing programme. Ms Sullivan alleges the council is acting unlawfully, both in terms of the process it has adopted and the substance of its proposals.”
  • Bradford – Council to review future of library services – Telegraph and Argus.  “The future of library services across Bradford is under review in the face of an “avalanche of cuts” from the Government, a senior councillor warned today. Bradford Council, which last month revealed plans to save £44,000 by cutting library opening hours, is also carrying out a study of all sites in the district as it looks at ways to save cash.”
  • Brent – Kensal Rise Library listed as “community asset” by Brent Council – Brent and Kilburn Times. “A former library under threat of being sold to developers has been listed as a ‘community asset’ by Brent Council, a move which could scupper or stall any potential sale. “

“In fact, Kensal Rise Library is already considered a special resource, and is also listed as a Non-Designated Heritage Asset in Brent, more commonly referred to as “Locally Listed”. Being Locally Listed does not afford the same protection as English Heritage Listing, but it does require extra care and consideration by the Planners in regard to changes to the building, including change of use (i.e. from community use to residential use) …. now that the Kensal Rise Library has been added to the “List of Assets of Community Value”, we can prepare a bid (to buy) the building and try to keep it as a community resource. This is an important decision for the community and one that will be need to be thoughtfully considered and discussed in days to come.” Save Kensal Rise press release via email

  • Library building protected as community asset – Harrow Observer.  “Councillor Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “The new legislation  gives communities the opportunity to come together and seek to protect land and buildings they consider to be of value for future generations. I have said since becoming Leader that it is important that communities have a voice in these issues. In this instance the criteria of the legislation was met so we have listed the Kensal Rise Building.” All Souls can appeal against the decision. The college was contacted for a comment.”
  • Cornwall – Council privatisation “middle way” agreed – BBC.  A “deal, known as BT light, which leaves customer-facing services such as libraries under council control was agreed.” … “t means that libraries, benefits and council tax collection; procurement, which is the buying of services and goods; One Stop Shops, which offer advice on council services; would continue to be run by the council.”.  Council concerned that less savings will be made with less outsourcing and that it “may mean reduced levels of provision in the future” on council services such as libraries where there had already been cuts. “
  • Croydon – Reporters ejected from meeting after protest by council chief – Guardian / Greenslade Blog. “Croydon Guardian assistant editor Matt Watts said the chief executive of a council “should be publicly accountable. He is paid a large salary and the public should be able to hold him to account.” A spokesman from Croydon council said the WCCF meeting did not count as being “public” and was not therefore open to the press.”
  • Hertfordshire – Flagship library poised to re-open – Hertfordshire Council. “The library will re-open its doors to the public on Monday 17 December after a major programme of improvements. The library which originally opened in the 1970s, now boasts:  • a relocated fully accessible entrance at the front of the building • automated rear entrance • a new public lift to the upper floor • a stunning helix staircase
    • modern, well furnished community meeting rooms • a revamped Local Studies area • new baby change and toilet facilities • attractive teenage space  • a bright, children’s area with sofas to encourage parent and child book sharing • improved computer, study, and wi-fi facilities • eco-friendly lighting and heating systems • increased opening hours (9am-7pm Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat, 1pm-5pm Sun) The upper floor has been opened out to provide significant extra public space to house the central reference and information library, which has relocated from the Central Resources Library at New Barnfield.”
  • Redcar and Cleveland – Free internet access at Redcar and Cleveland libraries – Northern Echo. “With welfare reform changes set to come into force, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has lifted all charges for people wanting to get online in its 13 libraries. People had previously paid charges of £1 for an hour, £3 for three months’ or £10 for a year’s unlimited use.”
  • Worcestershire – Kidderminster Library gallery campaigners fight on despite vote defeat – Shuttle.  ““What it’s done is completely alienate the arts community and the wider community of Wyre Forest.” He added: “We are now considering our options. We’re not ruling anything out, including taking legal action.””