Speak Up For Libraries

The annual conference “Speak Up For Libraries” is on Saturday 23rd November, just over a week away.  The key decision-makers on public libraries will be there – amongst them, the DCMS libraries advisor Yinnon Ezra, the ACE Libraries Director Brian Ashley and Janene Cox, the president of the Society of Chief Librarians. So, if you want to hear what they’re thinking – and you should, because it’s your job and (probably) life’s work, they’re talking about – then do come along.  As well as this, a whole bunch of library workers and library users are going to be there too: I’ve had the privilege of going before and, I tell you, there’s never a dull moment.  For more details and to register, see http://www.speakupforlibraries.org/speakers.asp.


  • Buildings for books: the complete story of the library – University of Cambridge. “For 20 years architectural historian Dr James Campbell waited for someone to write a definitive book about libraries. When he decided to write one himself, his research took him to 82 libraries in 21 countries. The Library: A World History is much overdue but well worth waiting for…”.  An interview with the author.
  • Case studies – FG Library Products. Lots of pictures and descriptions of several public library refurbishments.
  • December editor’s letter: Borrowing Culture – Elle. A letter firmly in praise of public libraries (a note about how returning books makes your home clutter free), praise for Brighton Library and a query about how come they don’t make more money.
  • Design spot helps create new product – Sacramento Public Library (USA).  “Add “business incubator” to the many roles the Sacramento Public Library plays in the community. A pair of young snowboarding enthusiasts have used the Design Spot at theArcade Library to design a product prototype—then raised more than $56,000 on Kickstarter to bring it to market.
  • “Public libraries exist to provide access to tools and information that help people succeed,” said Lori Easterwood, programming and partnerships coordinator with Sacramento Public Library.” … “The Design Spot opened in May as a way to put powerful design tools—AutoCAD design software and a pair of 3D printers—in the hands of library patrons. The Design Spot is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It was made possible by grants from the California State Library and U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. “
  • In praise of London’s libraries – Happiness Project London. “the vast, vast majority of my friends, I am pretty certain, haven’t passed the door of a library since they were at school. And I was exactly the same until yesterday, when I joined Richmond libraries. And I am both amazed and impressed at how brilliant they are, and ashamed that I didn’t join sooner.” … “It reminded me of my childhood, where life was about simplicity, and community, and where money didn’t matter so much, or certainly it wasn’t so apparent to me as it is now.”

“And the best thing? I am ashamed that I just didn’t know this – I simply assumed in this world where there is no such a thing as a free lunch that you would have to pay something, a few quid perhaps for each set of books you wanted (yes, I know, The Chef already laughed at me ) – that all of this is free. That is, up to 20 books for 3 weeks for just the price of paying your taxes. And in a London where you can barely walk out your front door without shelling a tenner here and there, that is a great thing.”

  • Minecraft building competition @ my library – Librarified (USA). “Last weekend my library hosted a Minecraft competition that has been my most successful program to date. I don’t think there are a lot of other public libraries out there who have done much Minecraft-related programming, so I thought I’d write about what we did, how we did it, and how it worked.”

“thats actually like way too cool for a library to be doing.”

  • Writer can’t give her book away – Star Tribune (USA). “”They asked me if the book is on the NYT best-seller list and when I confessed that it wasn’t, they said they didn’t want it,” Powers wrote on Facebook. “Go away, was the dynamic, community-oriented message.”

UK news by authority

  • Brent – Address registered to owner of two axed libraries is used to support development proposals – Brent and Kilburn Times. ““The application received around 90 positive messages in what seemed to be overnight. Mr Henry, along with members of Friends of Kensal Rise library, noticed that the address to a £1.2 million luxury flat in London was attached to planning applications for the three Brent libraries. He paid a small fee to the land registry agency to uncover the owner of the address.”

“Two years ago, Arts Council England (ACE) took over responsibility for supporting and developing English libraries, as the old Museums, Libraries and Archives Council was chucked on the bonfire of the quangos.  Now a new fine art sculpture centre is to be shoehorned into Bury library, much to the dismay of readers and community groups. Bury council says its consultation on library cuts found a preference for libraries sharing spaces with other services rather than closing down.  While other councils have co-located libraries with tourist information or access to council services, Bury has come up with bizarre plans to develop a new sculpture centre aiming to be “a hub for international art” inside the town’s central library complex. Despite being so cash-strapped that it needs to make cuts to its library service, Bury will shell out £75,000 to set up the centre, while ACE will provide a further £27,000. Library chiefs have made reassuring noises about still having lending, reference and children’s sections, but they have confirmed that the library will lose half its floor space to the sculpture centre.  More than 1,000 library users have signed a petition against the plan.” Bury – Private Eye Library News Issue No. 1353 15th -28th November

  • Lincolnshire – County Council responds to campaign group questions on libraries’ consultation – Horncastle News. “SLL have criticised the council for spending ‘£50,000’ on its consultation activities – which it says included a questionnaire and several events. Angela Montague, another campaigner, added: “The SLL campaigners managed to engage 23,000 people on a shoestring budget of about £1,500.”” … “13 questions were posed to LCC by campaigners at SLL and these have been replied to by Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries. Coun Worth said: “We very much welcome this opportunity to answer questions, explain again the rationale behind the consultation, and assure residents that the purpose of a consultation is to genuinely seek and listen to feedback.”
  • Moray – Libraries closures leave council to repay grants – Press and Journal. “Campaigners have questioned the logic of shutting libraries in Moray as it would mean paying back more than £72,000 of grants to Europe.” … “Moray Council, which voted by a majority to axe the seven facilities, says the move will save taxpayers £357,000 annually. However, five of the libraries were modernised by the council three years ago using European grant money.”
  • Sheffield – Library sites ‘set up to fail’ – Star. “In a section of a draft public document which was withdrawn before publication, officers said experience of other local authorities ‘suggests it is not sustainable for community groups to take over redundant libraries without any ongoing support from the council’. Library service officials described council support such as covering bills as ‘essential to ensure libraries have a real chance’.” Campaigner says that ” “If they can find this funding now, surely they can find money to cover the staff.””
  • Suffolk – Eye: Town’s library project to move premises is finding progress “slow” – EADT. “Proposals to move Eye’s library from Buckshorn Lane to the former Citizens’ Advice Bureau premises in Cross Street have been in the pipeline for about two years. Discussions have been taking place between Eye Town Council, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Libraries over the move. Town mayor Linda Cummins said she had expected the project to have been completed by the end of the year. “I think it will now be sorted next year but we would have liked it to have been this year,” she said. “It will give quite a big boost to the town.” The county council awarded more than £15,000 for the move earlier in the year.”
  • Swindon – Library service in Swindon celebrates milestones – Swindon Advertiser. “The Central Library will be playing host to a day of music, stories and poetry to mark a variety of milestones. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the first library being opened in the town, while it is five years since the £9.8m Central Library opened its doors. North Swindon and Highworth libraries are also 10 years old this year and Moredon Library is celebrating its 60th birthday.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Air your views on library services – Barry and District News. “The authority began a review in September and decided library staff and Vale residents should be asked for their views on how the service might be provided in the future. The provision of a library service is one of the council’s ‘statutory’ duties, meaning law requires it to provide the service. But the council said budget cuts left no alternative but to look at new ways to provide services.”
  • Wrexham – Council cuts: Protesters claim victory over library closure plan – Daily Post. “Protesters dealt council chiefs a powerful body-blow in the first round of the fight to save three libraries from closure in Wrexham. On Wednesday campaigners claimed an early victory in the battle to keep libraries at Rhos, Brymbo and Gresford open after council officers had recommended wielding the axe on all three.” … “After an hour-and-a-half councillors voted overwhelmingly to opt for an alternative recommendation that would mean keeping the three threatened sites open. Councillors waved through a recommendation to reduce opening times at all libraries across Wrexham on average by 26% to make the necessary savings. “
  • Wrexham – Libraries at Brymbo, Gresford and Rhosllannerchrugog under threat – BBC. “Options include reduced opening hours at 12 libraries but the recommendation is to shut three at Rhosllannerchrugog, Gresford and Brymbo to save £92,000.”