Ideas noted

UK news

  • Cameron: the secret is out – Alan Gibbons. “Prime Minister David Cameron has finally admitted what many of us knew all along. He conceded in his speech to the Lord Mayor’s banquet yesterday that his government’s aim was to forge a “leaner, more efficient state” and that this would be a permanent change. In the words of today’s Guardian report, he “had no intention of resuming spending once the structural deficit has been eliminated, a clear change to claims made after the last general election.” … “Cameron said, ignoring all the evidence that has been coming out in recent weeks: “So you can have a leaner, more efficient, more affordable state that actually delivers better results for the taxpayer.” Back in 2011, this tuxedo-clad canary was chirping a different tune. In his New Year’s message he said: “I didn’t come into politics to make cuts.”

“There is nothing wrong with running public services more efficiently on the obvious condition that they are run better and serve the public well. This is not the case with the present cuts and anyone at the front line knows it. The public library service is one facing an ever-growing crisis.”

  • Speak up for Libraries Conference 23/11/13; Resisting, Improving and Promoting! – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “We work with local communities to improve literacy levels, we help bridge the ‘digital divide'; helping those who need assistance with online information and benefits, we work with schools/nurseries/playgroups to support the curriculum and to foster lifelong learning, in fact we are a crucial public service and are seen by many as a lifeline, especially those who are socially, geographically and economically disadvantaged and isolated.  But all this brilliant and crucial work we do is done under severe pressure brought about by savage local government cuts. “

International news

Events

  • The Edge Conference – 27/28th February 2014 in Edinburgh. “Global conference pushing the boundaries of public services delivery”

UK news by authority

  • Birmingham – Bore’s call for a citizen army of volunteers – Birmingham Against the Cuts. “At Tuesday’s Council meeting Sir Albert issued his call for the citizens of Birmingham to come forward and to volunteer to run local public services that otherwise will be closed as a result of future budget cuts” … “The idea of volunteer run services has already appeared in the ‘Inclusive Communities’ Green Paper, which was published by the Council and raises the possibility that some Community Libraries could be transferred to local community groups to be run on a voluntary basis.” Nine reasons why volunteers should not be used in libraries are listed.
  • Brent – Barham Library campaigners protest against plans to convert axed branch into art studios – Brent and Kilburn Times.  “Members of the Friends of Barham Library (FoBL) expressed their concerns over proposals to convert the longstanding library in Sudbury into art studios. More than 50 people armed with banners calling for the library to be saved attended the peaceful demonstration”
  • Oxfordshire – Big society in action at village libraries – Banbury Guardian. “Community libraries across Banburyshire are working out how they will stay afloat when half their funding for staff is cut from 2015. In 2011 Oxfordshire County Council announced the libraries in Deddington, Adderbury and Hook Norton would have their funding slashed in line with reductions in government grants.”

“Sue Ditchfied of the Friends of Hook Norton library said the group believes qualified, paid staff are essential in order to maintain the library service. She said: “I think there’s a misconception that all the library manager does is issue books, but in fact there’s a huge amount more to the job. “The knowledge and expertise of someone who is fully trained and is known to the local community can’t be underestimated. “We’re never going to get volunteers to replace what the library manager does.”

  • Oxfordshire – In need of friends – Dumb Librarian. “Across the County there appears to be the glimmer of hope in the form of volunteer groups. In the main, library users that want their library to remain open and are prepared to do something about it. A rather puerile argument has been advanced in some quarters that volunteers are little more than do gooders who are putting professional librarians out of a job. The reality, which some are simply not prepared to accept, is that Keith Mitchell (sadly not late of this or any other parish) put those jobs at risk on the day he announced that libraries would become a target for spending cuts. Simple truth, simple explanation.”

“So, to those who feel that the only possible course of action is to moan about the cuts and rant in the direction of their elected representatives, think on. You are the ones who will stand to one side, watch the libraries close due to lack of support, and say ‘I told you so’. That’s where the big job cuts come from. So get involved, do something positive and support your local librarians.”

  • Sheffield – Call to save Sheffield libraries – Star. “Thousands of homes in Totley, Bradway and Dore will be visited by protesters over the next 10 days to get local residents to support the bid to save Totley Library. The facility has been named on Sheffield Council’s hit-list in proposals to axe funding for 16 of its 27 neighbourhood libraries in future years. Leaflets from Save Totley Library leaders will urge households to complete the council’s current consultation survey to force it to rethink plans, after a protest saw hundreds of library-users march to the Baslow Road venue.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Petition launched to save Penarth Library – Penarth Times. “The Vale of Glamorgan Council has announced that a consultation is to be held on the future of library services across the Vale. Penarth resident Marjorie Lasebikan has launched a petition to keep Penarth Library open and has urged people to sign it to show their support for the facility that is nearly 110 years old. “This library is an essential lifeline to all,” she said.”

“It is not only the financial challenges we are facing, the internet is changing the way many people use libraries. As part of the review we will be looking at some of the innovations introduced elsewhere to see if they would work here in the Vale to provide modern affordable services. We’ll be talking to our library customers, staff and Vale residents in general, to find out how we can best provide the service that people want, while still meeting our challenging savings targets.”

  • Wandsworth – Progress for community-owned bookshop – BookSeller. “The project has also been boosted by leisure operator GLL, which runs Wandsworth Library Service. It is hoped that the bookshop will be placed in Northcote Library, providing a one-stop destination to promote reading and learning through good books, literacy and creative community activities for local residents”
  • Wrexham –  Anger over plans to close Wrexham’s libraries to save £92,000 – News North Wales. “councillors in all three wards have slammed the proposals, which are due to be discussed by the scrutiny committee on Wenesday. Ponciau councillor Paul Pemberton has accused the council of being arrogant for trying to shut Rhos Library, which he said had 31,500 visitors last year.”
  • Wrexham – Closing libraries across Wrexham ‘would hit service standards’ – News North Wales. “a report to go before a scrutiny committee tomorrow has shown the move would bring the authority’s library service below two of the nine Public Library Standards for Wales.” … “Closing the three libraries would drive the council’s performance below the population minimum standard for opening hours and below the standard for aggregate public area offered by the library service. It is estimated that if the changes are implemented the council will only meet six of the nine standards.”