Editorial

Some interesting responses about the suggested no confidence motion on Ed Vaizey at the forthcoming CILIP AGM, reported on yesterday.  None of them actually defend the man. If you’re a CILIP member and are interested, email noconfidenceinvaizey@gmail.com for more information.

I look forward to hearing Michael Rosen on the future of public libraries in a two-part Radio Four programme in August and September.  He’s a keen advocate for libraries, comes up with great ideas (see his passion for automatic library cards for schoolchildren for example) and, as a non-librarian, can see things from the outside.

Ideas

Changes

News

“… she was trying to save her parents money by choosing the smallest books. “Do you know what?” I said. “All of this is free, no money. You can choose whichever books you want.” She turned her head to look at the shelves of books and gasped at the bounty. She wandered away without another word and I watched her pick up book after book, shuffling through each one, making little piles, studying each one intently. I’ve never been more proud I chose this career.” Books, smaller - I work at a public library (USA).

  • Decline of library usage – Wikipedia.  Article that appears to contradict itself and with few citations – but an interesting read, as is the Wikipedia discussion about removing it.
  • Desperately Seeking Summer Reading Prizes – Public Libraries Online (USA). “Part of being a public librarian means you scour your community for prizes for your summer reading program every spring. Generally it is food coupons for the children’s program or convincing your Friends group to buy you an e-reader or MP3 player to use as grand prize for adult readers. Finding prizes gets more challenging every year, so we offer the following tips for finding prizes …”
  • The first rule of politics: never believe anything until it’s been officially denied – Question Everything.  Looks at the merits of a no-confidence motion on Ed Vaizey. “Vaizey has redefined hypocrisy in his role as library minister and he must be held to account, his inaction is utterly contemptible and shameful. The library service which was protected by the 1964 act has been rendered completely defenceless since the government closed the MLA, ACL and nobbled the power transferred to ACE to ensure that nobody outside the DCMS in officialdom can utter a single word in favour of intervention. The head in the sand approach to superintendence is pre-planned and calculated to ensure nothing will be done, regardless of how badly councils cut their library services. I’m sure there are those at CILIP who will not want to rock the boat, but the boat is already hulled below the waterline and at this stage it’s about getting off the boat alive then seeing what can be repaired, there is no value in playing nice and following the line of quiet diplomacy because that approach has failed.”
  • Moocs and libraries - Lglibtech. “MOOCS are widely discussed in the academic world. Recognising the potential in the context key issues like digital inclusion (MOOCS are open to anyone-no formal qualification are required -and they are free), some (US at the moment) public libraries are beginning to realise and act open the opportunity too ( eg see article cited below”
  • Moscow libraries turn into hi-tech media centers – Russia beyond the headlines (Russia). “Moscow libraries will soon complete the first phase of a major reform. By fall, five libraries will have been transformed into modern media centers and district clubs, to welcome those wishing to discuss not only literature but also politics.” … “The general concept is that libraries should be as open as possible,” says Kupriyanov, who is the deputy director of the Moscow Library Center” … “We will give people access to stocks; we will introduce solutions for people to borrow books without coming into contact with librarians. A reader will be able to take a book, come up to a terminal to register and then take the book away from the library. Books can be returned to the nearest shop or underground station any time of the day or night. Updates will be more regular, there will be more recently published books, and they will be delivered to libraries a lot faster than they are at present.”

“I first met Mr Vaizey when I lobbied him at the Commons then at the Campaign for the Book conference in Birmingham in 2009. He was then Shadow Minister and regularly lambasted the then minister Andy Burnham for letting down libraries. He was particularly vociferous when the Labour/Lib Dem council in Wirral, Merseyside proposed to close eleven libraries. As it turned out Burnham changed his mind in the face of widespread opposition and protest and the library closure plans were shelved. In office Mr Vaizey’s tune changed markedly. Suddenly, it was: “crisis, what crisis.” Hundreds of libraries were now being closed or handed over to volunteers and an uncertain future. Mr Vaizey smiled his urbane smile and refused to intervene, even when the closure programmes proliferating around the country were at least as draconian as those in the Wirral. I met Mr Vaizey again in the company of the then Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson. By then he was telling us that books in a phone box or on a shelf in a pub were libraries. Time and time again he refused to intervene to call in even the most savage cuts. Now the mood of discontent with his tenure is growing:” Motion of no confidence in Culture Minister Ed Vaizey – Alan Gibbons.

Local news

  • Bristol – Tory call to scrap free school plan for Bristol Central Library – Bristol 24-7. “A Conservative councillor has called on plans to convert part of Bristol Central Library into a primary school should be “consigned to the dustbin of history” … “Cllr Richard Eddy, who has already said he fears the move could lead to the eventual closure of the library, has now launched an e-petition opposing the proposal.”
  • Flintshire – Council to discuss future for libraries – News North Wales. After a consultation, “Flintshire Council’s strategy for its libraries for the next three years will be considered by cabinet members tomorrow.” … “An example key project is the plan for a new Flintshire Connects Centre in Connah’s Quay, integrating library services with access to a range of other council services, meeting rooms, exhibition and heritage space.”
  • Gloucestershire – Library user numbers up 10,000 as eBook usage rockets – This is Gloucestershire. “Almost 10,000 more people used libraries in the county in the last financial year than the previous one. And the increased use has been attributed to more take up of digital books and audiobooks. In 2011/12 there were about 267,000 library users but in 2012/13 that rose to 276,053.”
  • Herefordshire – Star author puts local libraries in the spotlight – Dragonfly. Michael Rosen visits volunteer library and talks to chiefs regarding a two-part programme on the future of public libraries to be played on Radio Four in August/September.
  • Hertfordshire – Best-selling author Robert Goddard opens new Harpenden library service in former Argos store, High Street - Review. “Best-selling novelist Robert Goddard was in Harpenden on Friday (July 12) to officially open the new library and youth connexions service. The facility has opened in the former Argos store in the High Street.”
  • Northern Ireland – Famous Dr Who dog ‘K-9’ coming to Larne Library – Larne Times. “Mat is a special effects designer and has worked extensively on Dr Who, operating K9 on the most recent Dr Who series, which celebrates its 50th anniversary later this year. Other shows he has worked on include Blake’s 7, The Sky at Night and he is the co-creator of Robot Wars. During the event in Larne Library, Mat will present a talk on K-9 and members of the audience will be able to have their photo taken with this famous dog and meet Mat.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincoln library consultation meeting announced – Lincolnite. Council is proposing withdrawing from many libraries due to reduced use and technological change.
  • Lincolnshire – Council concern over library proposals - Horncastle News. ““This isn’t a consultation, they are just telling us what they are going to do. “To do this is very short sighted and stupid. “I would be against any hours being cut down.””
  • Southend on Sea – Guest speakers to be talks of the town! – Forum. “An inspiring line-up of guest speakers has just been announced for the thrilling opening festival at The Forum Southend-on-Sea … TV host, author and scientist, Professor Brian Cox will launch the season on Monday 30th September, and 12 more exciting events are scheduled throughout the autumn. Among the featured speakers will be politician and broadcaster Michael Portillo, BBC Journalist, George Alagiah and 2012 Turner prize winner, Elizabeth Price – whose work is amongst the first to be exhibited in the new Focal Point Gallery within The Forum Southend-on-Sea.”
  • Suffolk – Only Foals and Horses: Suffolk Libraries bring farmyard fun to Latitude – Suffolk Libraries (press release). “Suffolk Libraries will be bringing farmyard fun to the Latitude festival in Suffolk next week. Library staff are volunteering their own time to provide a range of story time and craft activities for children and families visiting the festival. The Suffolk Libraries activities will be available in the Kids’ Area from 9am to 6pm from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 July. There will be story, song and rhyme sessions throughout the weekend and craft activities including making paper plate farm animals, filling in a giant book, pompom farm animals and animal masks.  There will also be a sandpit, toys and musical instruments. Suffolk Libraries have been involved in the festival every year and this is the eighth time they have been on hand to entertain children. The activities usually attract around 3,000 people over the course of three days.”