Editorial

5000 people have signed a petition to save a library in Leigh.  This is a quarter of the population of the town, which is amazing and I wish them well.  Now, if libraries can harness the power of those people before the library was under threat, that would be truly quite something.  The estimable (it means “worthy or respect – I had to look it up) Mick Fortune has pointed out that the “Save Libraries” message should only be used when libraries actually under threat.  Because when people say “save x”, the mental switch in their heads moves onward to “x = the siberian tiger and is probably doomed”.  It’ll get to “doomed” quickly if they see the message repeated again and again, everywhere.  It’s a powerful slogan but needs to be used in extremis only. Of course, with 50% cuts 2010-2016 likely then one could say that all libraries are in extremis.  But let’s not jump the gun in those authorities where no-one has reached for the trigger yet.  Let’s get people to love libraries as well.

Changes

 

News

  • ACE launches library funding schemeBookSeller. ACE CEO says “From supporting deaf and disabled artists to make truly innovative art that challenges the public’s perception of disability, to demonstrating how public libraries can play a huge role in supporting their local economies, the arts are truly transformative.””
  • Convicted sex offenders allowed in public libraries – Eyewitness News (USA). ” Back in 2008, when Martin Chavez was mayor, he decreed that no convicted rapists or child molesters or gropers would be allowed in the libraries. The U.S. Court of Appeals shot that down in January of 2012. Richard Berry, the current mayor, came up with another idea that has now also bit the legal dust. The big worry is that lots and lots of kids use the libraries. A lot of sex offenders are pedophiles.”
  • Enterprising libraries: delivering entrepreneurs for the future - Gov.uk. “The funding will help entrepreneurs enter the business world by transforming them into catalysts for local economic growth and social mobility. Ten libraries will be awarded up to £45,000 under the Enterprising Libraries programme which aims to bring together and develop existing business and intellectual property support.”
  • New York: Lawsuit Filed to Stop New York Public Library Renovation – Library Journal (USA). “A group of scholars and preservationists including a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian have filed a lawsuit to prevent the removal of century-old book stacks from the New York Public Library’s landmark building on Fifth Avenue as part of a planned $300 million renovation.”

 “Long live the library, no matter what references the internet makes available to us digitally, no matter what happens to publishers or publishing, no matter what the Old Rich White Man of the Week has to say about their lack of usefulness to them- long live the library.” Ode to Library Story Time - Book Riot (USA).

Local news

“Despite library cuts across the entire county, only a select few sitting on the cabinet will have the final say. Once more our communities must fight to keep the services we are paying for. A county wide campaign is to be launched shortly. Even if Grantham Library appears safe today, who knows where the knife will fall next.”

  • Lincolnshire – Cut – Helena Peliachaty’s diary of a children’s writer.  “I’m not quite sure how it happened but at some stage during this recession councils decided that the easiest way to save money was to slash the library budget, especially in yer rural regions (ouch!). I mean, no one cares, right? The typical village library is  just a  little room that  doubles up as the baby clinic on a Wednesday.  Honestly, what’s all the fuss about? People in villages and small towns can’t expect the same level of  services that cities get, can they?  It’s their own daft fault for living there in the first place.  Besides, if they’re that desperate, they’ll jump in their 4x4s and head for their nearest city library. Meanwhile, if they insist on having a library building, let volunteers run the  thing (except on Wednesdays, of course – hello – baby clinic).”
  • Liverpool – Croxteth Community Library – Community Knowledge Hub. “run by Alt Valley Community Trust, a long-standing Locality member, and based in the Communiversity which was created by a group of local activists who purchased an older people’s home then transformed it into a lifelong learning centre. “
  • Redcar and Cleveland - Skelton village library will move but not close, say councillors – Northern Echo. “The building that houses at Skelton Library in east Cleveland will shut in the coming months raising concerns in the village. However the library service, one of 13 run by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, will relocate into Skelton Civic Hall.”
  • Southend - Save Leigh Library campaign gathers pace – Echo. “Save Leigh Library campaign is gaining momentum with around 5,000 signatures. Leigh Library is one of six under review and could become a community library run by volunteers rather than fully staffed by council staff. Campaigners are against Kent Elms library becoming a hub library for the east of Southend borough.” [Research suggests that this appears to be 1 in 4 of the total population - Ed.]
  • Wakefield - Stanley Library to close for three weeks – Wakefield Express. “The library building will be redecorated, with new carpeting, new shelving, furniture and a brand new layout.”