Editorial

Good to see that the award-winning Edinburgh library service, well-known for its initiatives has had a 15% increase in visitors last year compared to 2010.  Doubtless the two new libraries helped but the embracing of new technology has also been a factor.  Helpful too has been the successful public protest that meant that cuts proposed in 2011/12 did not come to pass.  South of the border, such cuts largely do come to pass and so it’s far harder for library services to be as successful as their northern brethren.  The suspicion here is that library usage mirrors library funding – so cuts to the budget means less usage, which of course makes cuts to budget more likely. Just look at Lincolnshire where the cuts are being pushed through with the somewhat self-contradictory argument that libraries are (a) not strongly needed and (b) it’s expected that people will work for free to keep them open. One ticket to Edinburgh please.

Changes

News

  • 30 things librarians love - Buzzfeed Books (USA). Yes.
  • CILIP - New blue “look” for website and other minor changes.
  • Declaration to the Right to Libraries - ALA (USA). A rather brilliant way of promoting libraries from the American Library Association, based on the Declaration of Independence.  Reasons: libraries empower the individual; support lifelong learning and literacy; strengthen families; equalise; build communities; protect right to know; strengthen the nation; advance research and scholarship; help us know eachother; preserve cultural heritage.
  • Fact or friction - Good Library Blog / Tim Coates. Deliberately making borrowing library e-books harder – as recommended by the Sieghart Review – will simply result in people getting their ebooks elsewhere. “‘Friction’ in this context is a nonsense – in life no one should aim to do things less well than they can be done. That is called mediocrity.”
  • Localism and libraries - Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Looks at the government legislation regarding libraries, communities and volunteers; “something that started with a few communities with a gun to their heads and told “run your libraries or we’ll close them” has turned into a multi-million pound initiative with a highly organised support network and publicity machine behind it.”
  • Simi Valley Library reopening - LSSI / Facebook.  Some interesting pictures of the reopening of the privately-run library.  The library itself looks fairly traditional but points to note are the large bookstore run by volunteers, the events room and the fact that the library does not appear to be self-service.

Local news

  • Edinburgh – City libraries get e-book boost – Edinburgh News. Libraries benefit from being able to scan in a book barcode on the mobile phone (from, say, a bookshop or supermarket) and reserve a copy directly from library. E-lending increasing – 3000 e-books and 4500 e-magazines loaned per month. “The growing popularity of e-books has coincided with a rise in visitor numbers to Edinburgh libraries from a low of 2.6 million in 2009-10 to 3.1 million last financial year – a 15 per cent increase.”

“The interesting aspect of the virtual library is how it’s encouraged people to also physically visit libraries because their performance figures have all gone up. People seem to be getting tempted or teased by good offers or items they’ve seen online. They’ve seen the service as more innovative and creative and they’re coming back to take a second look.” Liz McGettigan

  • Herefordshire – Libraries: Don’t write final chapter on vital resource – Ledbury Reporter. “Watching a professional help someone who is starting to cook for the first time access simple recipes; assisting someone else research their family tree; directing someone else to legal or consumer advice on the shelves, is not a job for a happy amateur. True, volunteers can assist. They can free up librarians from the more mundane tasks so they can spend more time helping readers access the information they need, but never be fooled into thinking it is merely a job involving putting books back on shelves.”

“Herefordshire needs libraries. Big, physical buildings where lots goes on besides, but very obviously including the borrowing and returning of books. And those libraries need librarians. There’s little point in a consultation exercise that doesn’t allow those being consulted to make that pretty fundamental point.”