Croydon has confirmed that it has outsourced its library services to John Laing for eight years. This means the company will be running 24 branches in the UK, having started in Hounslow some years ago. Croydon have not had the best of records in library provision and are touting the move as a way to improve their branches.  However, the situation is not quite as clear cut as that as my article published a couple of years ago I hope demonstrates to some extent.

It’s sad to see that the Government is making access to the judicial review process harder.  This has been the route of last resort for many communities that are unhappy with library closures/cuts and has proven remarkably successful.  From what I can gather, however, the changes may not really affect library reviews as they only bar those with no direct interest in the decision from being involved.  Being so many people use their local library services, this may not therefore be a big barrier in practice.

Finally, Public Libraries News has a new page on geocaches by or near public libraries.  If you’re not sure what geocaching is then have a look at the article here reproduced with kind permission of its owner.  In order to make the page as comprehensive as possible, do please send me (via ianlibrarian@live.co.uk) details of any caches you know about that can go on the list.

Library trends page on Wikipedia

The “Decline of library use” wikipedia page has undergone a major revamp (see the history and talk) and a retitling by Natalie Binder (Libraryowl) and is now available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trends_in_library_usage.  It’s worth a look.  However, it can do with more work done:

“I’ve made some changes to bring into house style. What it needs now are more wikilinks or explanations for specialist terms like ‘circulation transactions’, and especially content from a global perspective: it’s very much US-centric now.” Martin Poulter, Jisc Wikimedia Ambassador

Does anyone would like to add the experience in the UK to this?  Feel free to quote from Public Libraries News if so.




  • 3D Printers in Public Libraries – Gresswell.  Company surveying 3D printing use in UK public libraries.
  • Changing World of Libraries and Information – UKLibChat. “we are definitely no longer in the business of steady-state librarianship.” … “This does not mean slavishly following every new trend in technology or being led by the nose by technology, particularly technology as repackaged and sold by library software and hardware suppliers, but actively maintaining current awareness and honestly evaluating the status quo as thoroughly as we do new ideas.”
  • Fire Destroys Canadian Library, Archive – Library Journal (USA). Train crash at Lac-Megantic demolished local library and its irreplaceable archive.
  • Judicial review process to be made tougher – Telegraph. “There are now around 12,000 applications for judicial review, mostly relating to immigration and asylum cases, compared to around 160 in 1974 … There are fears that changing the judicial review process could lead to government decisions going unchecked, and charities have also raised concerns about not being able to use the process to challenge decisions and ensure the government is meeting its obligations.”
  • Libraries: a better investment than gold – ALIA (Australia). “A new report from an independent firm of economists has found that Australia’s public libraries deliver benefits that are worth nearly three times the cost of running them – a fact that will come as no surprise to Australia’s 10 million registered library users. If you put $100 into gold last year, it would be worth around $110 today. Compare that with the $290 return on every $100 invested in Australian public libraries.”
  • New Case of Libramnesia Confirmed in Miami – Huffington Post (USA). “Libramnesia is a highly common but, under-treated social condition that causes its sufferers to completely forget about libraries or even worse, believe libraries are irrelevant … Sufferers of Libramnesia have been known to regain their memory and appreciation for the awesomeness that is our country’s public libraries by experiencing unemployment, homelessness, immigration and/or ghostly encounters with Andrew Carnegie. For those sufferers that wish not to have to go this route, they can elect to visit I Love Libraries.”
  • U.S. Public Library News Roundup: 15 Stories from 13 States – Library Journal (USA).
  • Wine Library Annual Tasting: August 11, Napa – Vinography (USA). Napa Valley public library has its own specialist wine collection and even its own vineyard in its grounds … and also its own wine tasting sessions.

Local news

  • Croydon – Contract with JLIS is signed for Croydon libraries – Save Croydon Libraries. Looks at the poor record of Croydon libraries so far and hopes Laing will do a better job.
  • Croydon – Outsources library services – Localgov. “The council has signed an eight-year contract with John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS). The contract will see the service undergo a major modernisation programme including the introduction of new technology such as wi-fi and self-service.”
  • Lincolnshire – Council bosses defend Boston venue choice for library consultation – Boston Standard.  Council decides to hold consultation event on library closures at a venue only accessible by car and at a time when many users would not be able to go.  No venue that could hold 100 people could be found in Boston, council claim.
  • Milton Keynes – MK libraries performing above the national average – MK Web. “According to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance, Milton Keynes Central Library is the second busiest in a group of 15 similar authorities, receives almost twice as many visitors and issues more than twice the number of books.” … “Tasks completed in this first year have included a review of customer service resulting in training for staff, the development of community asset related partnership agreements for Woburn Sands and Stony Stratford, the opening of the Central Library on a Sunday for the first time; and the use of libraries as ‘community hubs’.”