Editorial

The part-time specialist advisor on libraries to the DCMS, Yinnon Ezra, has written a blog posting giving his views on the job so far.  It looks like it involves a lot of networking with different organisations and library authorities.  Yinnon sees tieing in with local and national agendas and making savings by sharing services as important, with the whole picture being described by him as “variable”.  This is not going to shock anyone but at least there is now some evidence that he is doing his job.

Meanwhile his departmental boss, Secretary of State Maria Miller, who has not said a single public word on public libraries to my knowledge during her tenancy has again stressed that Culture needs to pay for itself in apparently strict and short-term monetary terms. In terms of her contribution to libraries, Maria is failing on her own parameters but it appears that libraries are beneath her notice.  Presumably because they are unlikely, due to their shockingly unprofitable business model, to tie in with her very focused views on what Culture is about.  Which is a shame as illiteracy costs the country £81 billion per year but, it appears, not in the short term or simple easy to understand ways that she cares about.

Changes

News

  • CILIP rebrand meeting pushed back – BookSeller. Now 8th July. “The meeting had originally been slated for 28th June, but has been pushed back to allow members to receive 21 days notice in writing. Members who are unable to attend are able to nominate a proxy to vote in their place at the meeting, which will be held at CILIP’s office in Ridgmount Street, London at 1pm.”

“CILIP membership: 2013 = around 14000, 2012 = ?, 2011 = 16014, 2010 = 17303, 2009 = 17634, 2008 = 18490, 2007 = 19206, LA membership: 1997 = more than 25000″ Aran Lewis on Lis-Profession

75% [of library respondents] said they were involved with Get Online Week,  67% said they do not have enough resources to help the digitally excluded. When asked how activities can help digitally excluded people, “access” was the key word, followed by “free”, “technology/IT” and “training”. 89% said they are hindered by government cuts in providing the an adequate service. “Staff” was the most cited challenge faced by libraries, followed by “funding” and “technology” The top 3 ways libraries can involve to put emphasis on finding information online was “training for staff and users”, “promotion” and “enhancing resources”. The top 3 ways libraries can help bridge the digital divide was “trained and skilled staff”, “courses for users” and “free PCs, internet and wifi” Results of survey reported on lis-pub-libs

  • It Takes a Library: It is Time to Change the Tone of the Conversation About the Future of Libraries #ittakesalibrary – Librarian by Day.  Excellent piece.  “One of the things we can do is change the tone around the discussion of the future of libraries. How you frame your discussion matters and if librarians keep talking about how libraries need to be saved is it any wonder that our patrons and society believe we’re dying? We are basically telling them we are! So stop! Stop right now! Instead we need to start framing the conversation like the powerful partners we are!”

“Playing the role of the poor little library is not endearing, it is, frankly, embarrassing. Even when there is a financial crisis, or even when the community has a crisis of confidence, we should ask for support based on a track record of service and support. Run on your record not the promise to do better (or worse more of the same) in the future.” David Lankes

  • Libraries give us power and axing museums will lead to heritage senility, warns Archbishop – Express. “The Archbishop went on lambast the Government for spending cuts which are impacting on staff numbers in libraries, and warned society is becoming more “isolated”.  He said: “When you see museums closing and libraries having to cut staff, you have to ask yourself, who is benefitting from this? Are we happier and healthier as a society if we become more isolated and less interested in our neighbour and our shared heritage?”
  • Library and Archives Canada private deal would take millions of documents out of public domain –  Ottawa Citizen (Canada). “LAC is partnering with Canadiana.org in what is being billed as The Heritage Project — digitizing 40 million images from more than 800 collections of publicly-held LAC material, much bought by Library and Archives over the years with taxpayers’ money. The documents and images includes personal papers, census data, central registries, church records, and First Nations, government and military documents. Under the agreement, digital images will begin rolling back into the free public domain — known as “open access” — as the 10-year exclusive rights expire.”
  • Medellín, Colombia: reinventing the world’s most dangerous city – Guardian. “The cable car is an articulation of the change since the street and warrens were Escobar’s fiefdom. As is the building that towers above the barrio’s skyline, a granite cliff of award-winning modernist design, the parque biblioteca, or library park, where some of the poorest people in the world come to study, use a computer or just seek respite.” …

“”I use the cable car, I use the library – I have a card, I can take books out – but I also go there to do homework. I like history best – I like reading about Simón Bolívar, and what he did for the people.” If it wasn’t for all this? “I’d probably be dead,” he says, “or else I’d be in a combo“– the Paisa word for gangs that still patrol the city, carving turf and frontiers in the barrio dust.”

  • Only way we will definitely be screwed is if we screw CILIP – Wikiman. “Remember that running a big chartered institute is nothing like running a social media campaign or a pressure group. And above all remember that CILIP is a bunch of humans working all day on our behalf, on the really very tricky problems we face as an industry and a profession.”
  • Philip Pullman calls for authors to be paid properly for ebook library loans – Society of Authors. “The Society of Authors has found that authors may be losing out twice over on ebook loans made through libraries and is advising all authors to check their royalty statements carefully and claim reimbursement from publishers if they believe they may have inadvertently been underpaid. Download the report here.
  • Philip Pullman leads challenge to publishers over e-book library lending – Telegraph. “According to the Society of Authors, publishers are wrongly treating revenues from online libraries as one-off sales rather than licences. The dispute highlights the complications for the publishing industry around copyright law as digital sales increase and is part of a wider campaign by authors who fear their incomes will be threatened by the shift. According to the Publishers Association, consumer e-book sales were up 134pc to £216m last year.”
  • Philip Pullman: ‘Authors must be paid fairly for ebook library loans’ – Guardian. “Biographer Anne Sebba, chair of the Society’s management committee, threw her weight behind Pullman, saying that while authors “are keen to embrace the opportunities offered by digital publishing and want to support libraries by offering their ebooks for lending”, they “need to ensure that authors are paid sufficient money from digital [formats] to enable them to keep writing””

  • Ode to Libraries – Making Waves choir sing their protest at the savage cuts to public libraries, written for the National Libraries Day February 2013, first performed at Newbiggin Hall Library in Newcastle under threat of closure by the council. This recording was made at “Great North: A celebration of 40 years of Iron Press” at the Cullercoats Fishermans’ Mission on 19 May 2013.
  • Prescribed reading for free through libraries – Otago Daily Times (New Zealand). “A scheme pioneered in the United Kingdom that allows health professionals to prescribe books to help patients understand health conditions has been launched in Waitaki.” … “since Dr Frude gave permission to bring the scheme to New Zealand two years ago, it had been implemented in Central Otago, Wanaka and Queenstown.”

“New media and new forms of buying and lending are all very interesting, for all kinds of reasons, but one principle remains unchanged: authors must be paid fairly for their work. Any arrangement that doesn’t acknowledge that principle is a bad one, and needs to be changed. That is our whole argument.” Philip Pullman

  1. Sums up current situation as “variable”.
  2. Cuts: “it is my view that in general this service has fared better than most as higher percentage reductions have been required by others – this may not be possible in the future.”.
  3. Lots of networking is being done and more is going to be needed by Yinnon.
  4. Libraries should be pushing forward council agendas
  5. Libraries could have more shared services esp. on IT. The Beaney (Kent) singled out for praise. Yinnon would like to know more about shared services.
  6. Libraries should contribute to relevant national agendas.
  7. “it’s not about bright costumed, “superheroes” or flash gestures, but making sure that inspirational practice is shared and then turned into action”
  • Speech by Culture Secretary Maria Miller at British Hospitality Association event – Gov.uk. Stresses that the key is financial return on investment. [This appears to be seen in simple and short-term terms rather than long-term returns on, say, improving literacy. Maria continues to ignore libraries in speeches with not a single mention so far apart from in official letters of response to library closures – Ed.].

Local News

  • Cardiff – ‘This rigmarole feels wrong,’ says journalist at centre of free speech row – Wales online. “he issue is that I can say what I like in a Cardiff pub but not, it appears to me, in the city’s library; not actually in the library proper, because that would be silly, but in a side-room.” … “I’m afraid I don’t quite buy Cardiff council’s “misunderstanding” argument, especially if psychic mediums can do their thing in Cardiff Library but not a critic of the Church of Scientology.”
  • Manchester – High school steps in to save axed library in Levenshulme -Manchester Evening News.
  • Merton – Generous volunteers praised for fantastic contribution to Merton Libraries – SWLondoner. “The event, which took place during Voluteers Week, saw over 200 volunteers being awarded certificates of recognition by the Deputy Mayor of Merton, Councillor John Sargeant.” … “Over 700 volunteers have contributed their time to one of the seven libraries in Merton, with 34,745 hours of volunteering being completed, the highest in London by over 10,000 hours.”
  • Shropshire – Plans to lift eating and drinking ban at libraries – Shropshire Star. ““There have been drinks machines in many libraries for a number of years so it makes sense to allow customers to bring their own drinks too. “Snacks have also been allowed for a number of years at some libraries, and this is now being extended to the others – though we do put a limit on the consumption of hot food. “The use of mobile phones is growing in libraries nationally and internationally.” [Comments are largely negative and two-thirds in poll are against – Ed.]
  • Stockport – ‘Cuts under the counter’ as Stockport’s library hours are slashed – Manchester Evening News. “proposals to lose a total of 91 hours could save £160,000, and are consulting residents on changes. Under plans, Bramhall, Cheadle and Reddish libraries would be open for six hours fewer a week, while Bredbury and Edgeley could see opening times cut by seven hours. Brinnington Library would be the worst hit and could have 11-and-a-half hours cut from its weekly opening times.”
  • Suffolk – Town library relocation a priority for new mayor of north Suffolk town – Norwich Evening News. “he library’s move from its current home in Buckshorn Lane to the Citizens Advice Bureau premises in Cross Street would be a priority after the building was threatened with closure as part of county council cutbacks to reduce the national debt. However, the town council stepped in and offered to set up a company to run the library and the councillors have been in negotiations with an Industrial and Provident Society set up by Suffolk County Council to support the county’s library network. Mrs Cummins said: “We hope to get the library moved to Cross Street and there’s a lot of good will to get that to happen. “The old library building’s really on its last legs. It is a square box with a flat roof and there have been problems with it.””