The idea of Keith Richards once being an avid public library user is a wonderful one and is even better because it’s true. Another wonderful thing is a new library, and there are a couple in the news today.  You can get married at the one in Derbyshire due to it being co-located with a Registrars.  The other one, just announced, is in Bradford and is going to happen only because the existing building has serious asbestos problems.  More information on cuts are coming out from Sefton (where 40 staff could go) and Southend (where there may soon be only three professionally qualified librarians for the whole borough).


  • Blind eye – BookSeller / Desmond Clarke. Unimpressed with the lack of intervention by the DCMS.  “Is there any evidence that those in the DCMS lose a wink of sleep about library closures in seriously deprived areas?  They sat on the sidelines as Gloucestershire, Somerset and Surrey residents sought and won their own judicial reviews.”
  • Children’s author Philip Ardagh talks bushy beards and writing tips – Parentdish. “Libraries are a social service and about much more than books. Nowadays there are so many forms which can only be filled in on-line, and librarians are happy to help you fill them out. For some people the library is their only source of Internet access; for children who live in a noisy, unsupportive household it might be the only place they can get their homework done. As for the books themselves, reading for pleasure opens just as many doors as education does. A good librarian is inspirational. They really know their onions. Which is useful, if you need some onions.”

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

(1) what steps she is taking to support the continued operation of libraries in deprived areas; and whether the degree of social deprivation in an area for which library closures are proposed is given weight in deciding whether to launch an inquiry into the closures;

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure the survival of branch libraries in areas of deprivation that face closure.

Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative)
Responsibility and accountability for individual library services is vested in local authorities. Authorities must be able to show that they have discharged their statutory duty to understand the local needs for library services in their area and to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service to meet those needs. DCMS continues to monitor and assess proposals and decisions being made about changes to library services across England.

They Work For You, [17 people don’t think Mr Vaizey answered the question, 0 think he did – Ed.]

  • Creation, consumption, and the library – Sense and Reference.  Interesting thoughts on 3D printers and libraries.
  • Development of a new quality framework for Welsh public libraries – Sell 2 Wales. “to develop a new quality framework for public libraries in Wales. The framework will enable the Minister for Culture and Sport to discharge his responsibilities under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act as well as support the development of public library services in Wales.”
  • Making Room for Innovation – Library Journal (USA). “Two library service prototyping spaces, in two very different places, have a remarkable amount in common. Nate Hill runs and operates the 4th Floor in Chattanooga, a large public library loft space operating as a flexible community makerspace and event space.”
  • Paperless public libraries switch to digital – BBC.  Long article including comments from Alan Gibbons and mention of the cuts to UK public libraries. “the world’s first completely paperless public library is scheduled to open this summer in Bexar County, Texas, in the United States … It will have 100 e-readers on loan, and dozens of screens where the public will be able to browse, study, and learn digital skills. However it’s likely most users will access BiblioTech’s initial holding of 10,000 digital titles from the comfort of their homes, way out in the Texas hinterland … San Antonio’s book-rich public libraries will be unaffected by the project. Bexar County, by contrast, never had a public library service.”

“This sets it apart from earlier bookless library experiments at Newport Beach, California, and Tucson, Arizona – which both reverted to offering real as well as e-books, by public demand.” … “It’s clear that bookless libraries are not a cheaper option for cash strapped colleges and local authorities”

  • Welsh Librarian of the Year announced – CILIP. “Bethan (pictured right), a Chartered Member of CILIP, through partnership working has contributed to the highest participation rates at primary school level in the annual Summer Reading Challenge, developed and maintained a highly effective Writing Squads programme for children and supported Denbighshire in achieving highest average reading age for school leavers in Wales, as judged by Estyn – the Schools Inspectorate.”


Local news

  • Bradford – New library to be built in Bradford city centre – Telegraph and Argus. “A new library in Bradford city centre is to be created after it was discovered that the existing Central Library is no longer fit for purpose [Asbestos means it would take until end 2014 to fix – Ed.]. The Bradford Council decision, which the Telegraph & Argus can exclusively reveal today, brings to an end nearly two years of uncertainty after the Central Library was deemed a fire risk by health and safety experts in October 2011.” … “the new facility will occupy the present Bradford 1 Gallery building and a large unit next to it in City Park. It will open in December, complete with 60,000 books, 40 computers for public use, study space and Wi-Fi.” … “The project will cost £9 million in total, of which £8m will be spent on the Central Library building to make it safe and convert it to offices and conference space for Council workers.”.  Money to be saved from rents and maintenance costs.
  • Bradford – New chapter for library services – Telegraph and Argus (leading article). “The issues with the Central Library in Bradford have dragged on for far too long now, and having such an integral part of the city centre’s provision out of action is just not acceptable. So it is to be cautiously welcomed that the Council has decided to take affirmative action, even if this means that the old building, branded a fire risk and not fit for purpose back in October 2011, will no longer serve as the city’s main library. A cautious welcome, because essentially the library service is to be relocated to empty units in the City Park, and these are going to be smaller facilities than the present site. The Council must ensure that no drop in service comes with a move to smaller premises.”
  • Brent – Council agree to work with campaigners in Kensal Rise Library battle – Brent and Kilburn Times. “During the meeting the council conceded they had made mistakes in their previous running of the libraries but insisted they were keen to work with the community going forward. Margaret Bailey, director of the Friends of Kensal Rise, told the Times: “There was a feeling that they regretted what happened previously and want to build a relationship which we are grateful for.”
  • Bromley – Libraries partner with RNIB to make reading more accessible – News Shopper. “Charity RNIB is partnering with public libraries to provide a range of sessions including an introduction to the Talking Book Service, uncovering the accessible features of ebooks and an interactive archaeological talk from Bromley Museum curator Marie-Louise Kerr.”
  • Derbyshire – Thumbs-up for the town’s new library building – Ashbourne News Telegraph. “The £2.4 million project by Derbyshire County Council has replaced the former library in Cokayne Avenue with a bigger facility that gives users more space and expands the facility. Also housed in the modern building, which occupies the site of the former health centre in Compton, is a day centre, exhibition space, a registrar’s office and ceremony room and office facilities for council officials.”
  • Ealing – Agrees to ‘contract out’ provisionEaling Today. “If the plans are approved, JL Integrated Services a not-for-profit trust within John Laing plc will run library services in Ealing and Harrow for five years. The council will continue to consider approaches from community groups interested in volunteering to run some local libraries. Brent’s libraries are not included in the contract.”

“Ealing Council will retain control of all decisions regarding the services including setting the opening hours and deciding what books to buy. The new contractors will have to meet a number of strict criteria and targets to make sure they provide a high standard of service.”

  • Ealing – Privatisation of Ealing Libraries (with an update) – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Unison statement: “We are concerned that there has been no public consultation with Library users about how their service should be run. We fail to understand the indecent haste with which Ealing Council is happy to off-load a much loved service to the private sector. We fear that the public service ethos that has served the people of Ealing and their Library Service over many years will be replaced by the rapacious demands of the market place and the balance sheet. “

Why is the Labour council in Ealing in such a hurry? Ealing Council has been vocal in it’s support of the campaign against privatisation in the NHS. It would therefore be a contradiction for them to support the privatisation of its Library Service.

“It was the only place where I would willingly obey the laws, like silence. It was somewhere I could find out about things I was interested in.” Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones

“We are really delighted that Keith Richards has said how useful the library was for him in his youth, and if he would like to come and visit and help us spread the word about what a great service this is, he would more than compensate us for the books he didn’t return.” Cath Anley, Kent

“As we saw and heard last week, libraries have a fantastic amount of community support, have generated strong campaigns, even though they are actually being protected more than other council services.  It is also the case that at the end of this budget process we will still have excellent and accessible library and leisure services, certainly compared to most other towns and cities”

  • Oxfordshire – Volunteer or conscript? – Dumb Librarian. “The OCC Cabinet that rubber stamped this foregone conclusion on the future library service were probably so far removed from the reality of what can and cannot be achieved that volunteering was not given a second thought. Of course people will do it – but will they? There is enough information in the public domain to clearly indicate that there will not be enough volunteer support. If this is the stark reality, what happens next?”
  • Sefton – Merseyside library cull could lead to 40 staff redundancies – Liverpool Echo. “Campaigners The Ainsdale, Birkdale and Churchtown Library Group has put forward an alternative proposal to Sefton council to avert closing the three Southport libraries.  It says £140,000 savings can be made by cutting opening hours at the three libraries from 30 to 24 hours a week, and by using volunteers to support paid library staff.”
  • Southend – Read all about it – Stand up for Southend Libraries. Responds to Council comments about library review.  “all non-management professional Librarian posts have been deleted including all the children’s librarians”.  Professional staffing will be further cut from 7 to 3.
  • Staffordshire – Solar panels on libraries save county council over £350,000 – Burton Mail. “panels fitted to two East Staffordshire libraries will help save around £350,000 over the next 10 years, it has been revealed. The scheme is on track to cut over £10,000 from Staffordshire County Council’s electricity bills each year, with a further £26,000 to be gained from the Government’s Feed in Tariffs.”