A media double-whammy today as the media had the National Libraries Day story to run with as well as the release of the Public Lending Right figures.  The two in combination probably meant public libraries had more national media coverage today than at any point in the last year.

National Libraries Day News

  • Boyd Tonkin: Squatting public property helped to save my first library. Don’t make it a crime – Independent. “As local authorities present an upbeat view of what the jargon now terms their “offer” to citizens, campaigners against shutdowns will highlight the harm done by cuts already made or those due to take effect.”.  Looks at the success of the Friern Barnet squatters.  “I never thought I would find myself endorsing again that old mantra of every droning student-union bore: “direct action”. But, guess what? It worked – without any damage or disruption, and in the best of causes. Which branch will be next?”
  • Celebrate the Unique Value of the Public Library Service – Society of Chief Librarians. “SCL President, Janene Cox, said: ‘Last week we launched the Universal Offers and there has been a huge amount of very positive publicity welcoming this initiative. National Libraries Day is an opportunity to celebrate the difference that a thriving Public Library Service makes to communities and individuals lives. It enables us, as Library staff, to join with communities and really highlight the areas of our local service that we are most proud of.’”
  • Gaby Roslin: Why parents need Britain’s local libraries to be saved – Telegraph. “Libraries should be treasured as places where all parents can expose their children to the world of books, and not closed down, argues Gaby Roslin, ahead of National Libraries Day tomorrow.”

“I’m lucky: I can buy my children a lot of the books they want. I never got around to building proper bookshelves for either of my girls, so all of the books just lay around their respective bedrooms; surrounding them in a world of magical stories and imagination. But I still feel the need to take my children to the library. I absolutely must take them. Not just for the books, but because it’s the heart of the community.” Gaby Roslin

  • Public Libraries Manifesto for National Libraries Day 2013 – Stop the Privatisation of Public Libraries. “very basic and crucial”
  • Private libraries have good story to sell – Financial Times.  Private libraries are booming e.g. Bromley House Library and the London Library.  Newcastle’s private library is enjoying its highest membership since 1952. Charges are around £100 per year, offering lots of events.  The other factor [apart, presumably, from adequate funding] is their focus on books.  Also looks at volunteer-run libraries.
  • Reading Agency celebrates National Libraries Day – BookSeller. “The literacy charity has encouraged authors including Stephen Fry, Jacqueline Wilson, Andy McNab, Peter James and Malorie Blackman to use social media to promote their local branches, tweeting mini-love letters to the libraries throughout the day. Members of the public are encouraged to join in on Twitter using the hashtag #lovelibraries.”.  Summer \Reading Challenge this year will have the theme of “Creepy House”.
  • Tomorrow is libraries day – IWR.  “Rachel Whitbread from Brighton and Hove City Council Libraries, said: “National Libraries Day is a great opportunity to illustrate what our libraries have to offer and the important role they play in our communities … Software company Lorensbergs which is promoting the day said that the role of libraries transcends the rise of the digital versus the physical world with our libraries’ providing a gateway to digital access and learning within our communities. So go visit a library.”

Public Lending Right figures

  • British Libraries Are Fighting Back! And It’s Children Who Are Leading the Charge – Huffington Post UK / Hilary Robinson. “At a time when the future of libraries for many communities has been under threat this surely underlines the vital role that the resource makes in terms of encouraging a love of reading. But it also underlines another essential purpose – the much needed lifeline that the Public Lending Right Scheme itself provides for authors and illustrators.” … “Long may libraries continue, long may the PLR scheme continue and long may its administration stay with Dr Jim Parker and his small, efficient team in Stockton.”
  • Children boost PLR library stats – BookSeller. “The results echo figures previously given out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), which show a decline in adult book borrowing, but an upturn in the number of children’s books borrowed. They are also in line with Nielsen BookScan’s library data LibScan, which showed children’s performing strongly.”

“Libraries outside of statutory control, which includes many volunteer-run libraries, do not pay PLR, while there is no PLR paid for e-book loans either. Parker said: “We are watching what happens with community libraries and e-books. At the moment, both are on a fairly small scale, so the impact is not large. But if they expand, we will look to see that authors get their fair share.” Dr Jim Parker, Public Lending Right registrar.

  • Is it the end of the book as libraries close and e-books take over? – Telegraph.  “In the last year the number of old-fashioned books borrowed from libraries has gone down by almost 13 million to 287.5 million. At the same time the number of e-books taken out of libraries has more than doubled from 208,000 in 2010/11 to 563,007 in 2011/12.” … “According to Bookseller magazine, e-book sales could have been as high as £300m in 2012. This equates to 30 per cent of total trade in volume and value.”

“Libraries have transformed. They are no longer warehouse of books. They are bringing reading alive, which is why it is so important to protect them.” Miranda McKearney

  • James Patterson tops library lending chart – BBC.
  • Lending, right? – BookSeller / Editorial. Excellent pro-library piece. “More books get borrowed from libraries in a year than are bought in bookshops, but more importantly libraries underpin the nation’s literary health in ways we cannot count. Books or authors that do well in libraries do not necessarily do as well through booksellers—the two worlds are distinct and mutually beneficial.” … “The least the Sieghart Review into e-book lending could do is make sure these payments are extended to e-book loans; the least the present government could do is make sure the current management of PLR is maintained, wherever it is housed.”

“Libraries deliver at the micro-level despite the challenges they face from above, and it is vital we recognise this. Worrying about libraries is not the same as running them down. The government said last week that the library service was “not in crisis”. The rest of us need not be so myopic.” Philip Jones


  • Fiction prescription: why libraries make you happy – Guardian. “The recent announcement that GPs may send patients with depression away with the suggestion that they read a “mood-enhancing” book will have entranced some but left others bristling. Is the NHS really so broken that they are sending people off to libraries? Or are the libraries so broken that the government is attempting to inject some energy from the already beleaguered service provided by our hard-working GPs?”
  • Law of inverse relevance Question Everything. It’s now over three years since the last meeting of the Advisory Council on Libraries and their disappearance is being felt with no-one replacing them as advisors to the Minister.  See Advisory Council on Libraries (What Do They Know) for some fascinating minutes of the last minutes of the ACL before its current abolition/abeyance.
  • Libraries: assets or liabilities – Civica. “Come to an interactive conference, organised jointly by RedQuadrant and Civica, to hear how Suffolk Council successfully took on this challenge, the wider council view and how new technologies can help.” … “the journey of change, the new and exciting freedoms, the risks and the opportunities against the background of grass-roots membership and ideological campaigning”
  • Library booking new opportunity: birthday parties – Cleveland Daily Banner (USA). “Parks created a layout of the services offered and what the library would charge for a birthday party package. Potential birthday themes include, but are not limited too: “Tiaras and Tutus,” “Whodunnit” and “Build a B-day.” A motion was made by the board for Parks to continue research and building the project.”
  • NYPL knock it out of the park, again, because they had strategy – Library Marketing Toolkit. “The latest triumph comes as part of National Library Card Sign-up Month, run every September by the ALA.Times are tough and marketing budgets non-existent, so of course they used social media – NYPL have a reach of more than 550,000 people via Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest etc.”

Local news

  • Surrey – Bagshot Library staff ‘snatched’ for rota system – Get Surrey. “Bagshot’s two permanent members of staff were moved last Friday (February 1) having been given just a week’s notice of the decision. Robert Balcombe, one of six trustees at the library, said while the pair had not lost their jobs, they had been “snatched away” from the library they have loyally served for a number of years, amid uncertainty over their futures.”

“Membership is up 28% at Bagshot over the past five years. This is down to us embracing volunteers to host activities like coffee morning or our Rhyme Time sessions,”

  • York – Borrowing spree protest urged at York’s libraries – Press. “York Trades Union Council (TUC), UNISON, York Stop The Cuts and Socialist Students are staging a “celebration of the library” outside York Explore tomorrow – which is National Libraries Day – over fears the changes would ultimately leave libraries at risk of closure. The groups oppose social enterprises running public services and prefer progressive taxation, based on affordability, being introduced to protect them.”