• A place of their own: Reading Activists change young people’s lives– Reading Agency. “When a group of boys started showing up at the library in St Helens, displaying anti-social behaviour, the library team had a choice. Ban them, or help them. They chose the latter, and decided to get them involved in the Reading Activists project.”
  • Cressida Cowell launches Christmas Mini-Challenge for young readers – Reading Agency. “After the record-breaking success of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge for children Cressida Cowell, bestselling author of the How To Train Your Dragon books, today launches national charity The Reading Agency’s first-ever Christmas Mini-Challenge. Children who head to their local library and read any three books they like over the school winter holidays (12 December 2013 to 6 January 2014), logging them on their own profile on the Summer Reading Challenge website ( will receive a special ’virtual badge’ to add to their profile, plus a secret reward video message from Cressida Cowell.”

“At this year’s AGM, SLIC Chair Fiona McLeod MSP announced the re-launch of the Innovation and Development Fund (IDF) for 2013/14. The IDF was introduced to offer Scottish library services support for creative service development and to encourage experimental approaches to service delivery. This year, a total fund of £40,000 is available for innovative projects that support SLIC’s four strategic objectives: quality standards and evaluation; innovation and service development; co-ordination, collaboration and co-operation; and workforce development. Applications will be accepted from Friday 13th December 2013 until 5pm on Monday 3rd February 2014. For more information and to apply for funding, please download the application pack from the SLIC website”

International news

  • Denver Public Library is seeking local music for its brand-new Volume Denver program – Westword (USA). “The Denver Public Library is seeking local music for a flagship program it’s preparing to launch this spring called Volume Denver … Ideally, the library would like to launch the site next spring with a healthy selection of local music for cardholders to have access to. The site will be browsable by artist or album, with detailed information about each act and links to the individual websites. With 647,078 CDs checked out from the Denver Public Library system last year, an estimated 400,000 cardholders and over nine million visits to the library’s website alone in 2012, the potential for exposure for the scene to new listeners is obviously immense.”
  • New Edmonton Public Library digital space boasts 3D printers, book-printing machine – Metro (Canada). “The EPL Makerspace allows the public to access high-end technology such as a 3D printer, Espresso book printing machine and a green screen equipped with a camera and photo-editing software. “The idea is most people don’t have all of this at home – the pros have it. This is giving the average Edmontonians the chance to get their hands on some basic to mid-level and in some cases, pro-level tools and really try something,””
  • Stockholm library interior – CG Society (Sweden). Computer generated image concepts of new library designs certainly have the “wow” factor, even if those walkways scare the bejeebus out of you.
  • Whole Lot of Americans Would Be Angry if Their Public Library Closed – Atlantic Cities(USA). “overwhelming majorities agreed that public libraries “play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed,” in promoting literacy, and in improving the quality of life in communities. Women, minorities, the unemployed, and people from lower-income and less-educated families were also the most likely to value library services as “very important.””

UK news by authority

  • Brent – Library Planning fraud investigation still awaited as developer consults in a pub – Wembley Matters. “Many people are asking when the police investigation in to the fake email support for Andrew Gillck’s change-of-use planning application for Kensal Rise Library be completed. It is, after all, three months since the council was first handed evidence of online fraud – an attempt to inflate local backing for Mr Gillick’s proposals. Brent later claimed that it had passed this material to the police. Not exactly, alas. The council had simply forwarded its findings to the civilian-run national fraud and internet-crime reporting centre, Action Fraud.”
  • Bristol – Love Bristol Libraries – Facebook. For more on the the decision to lease out several floors of Bristol Central Library to a Free School.

National Libraries Day – Saturday 8 February 2014: “The Bus Pass Poets invite everyone, including councillors, to support this celebration in one of Bristol’s 27 local libraries. What ?   Join us and read library poems by local and famous writers such as Julia Donaldson and John Hegley.  Design your dream library. A competition for under 16s. Sea Mills Library. Bus 41 to Sunny Hill; Sylvan Way. When ? 11 am – 12 noon 2 -3 pm. NB Every branch library is open on Saturday. There’s still plenty of time for other groups to put on an event. Tel 0117 942 8637. National Libraries Day

  • Camden – How a team of volunteers saved Camden’s at risk libraries – Guardian / Local Leaders Network. By Tulip Siddiq, councillor in Camden. “Volunteers have proven particularly vital in Camden. After I was elected in 2010, Camden council was faced with an £80 million shortfall and, together with my colleagues, I had to reduce my budget by 22%. One of the recommendations was to close nine of the 13 libraries in the borough but having lived in Camden since I was teenager I was reluctant to sell off these buildings”

“My priority was to ensure that the new libraries were supported by the council at the critical early phase. I put in place a year of transitional funding from the council, peppercorn rent wherever possible and facilitated training from council staff to show the new volunteers the ropes. I also founded the Camden Library Network, as a forum for our libraries regardless of how they are funded. I didn’t want single community libraries to become isolated in the future.” … “In an ideal world, the council would keep running all its local libraries with no reduction in service at all but, as things stand, the community libraries in Camden are an inspiring example of residents taking charge of a public service, keeping it open while maintaining links with their local authority.” Tulip Siddiq, cabinet member for Culture, Camden Council

  • Carillion (Croydon, Ealing, Harrow, Hounslow) – Update on Carillion – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “Approx 100 individuals have been given “at risk of redundancy” notices across Croydon, Ealing, Harrow and Hounslow Libraries and Culture. Carillion employ about 500 people in Libraries in the four Boroughs, so this is about 20% of all staff.  The distribution of “at risk” individuals/roles is not evenly distributed across the Boroughs, some have less some have more. These restructure proposals were written in early 2013 before the Carillion buy out of JLIS. The implementation date for the new structure, which would involve a minimum of 30 job losses across the four Boroughs, has been set for 1st of February 2014. I’ve been told that there are both zero hours and agency staff in all the Boroughs. These people could theoretically be sacked with a week’s notice, so may be that’s where this comment came from. In respect of Children’s and Youth Services, and library services in general, I’ve been told that Carillion appear to have no basic interest in these and really only bought JLIS out to gain access to their ‘Facilities Management’ contracts. I’ve also been told that negotiations are ongoing over restructuring and redundancies and that the zero-hours issue has also been raised.”
  • Cornwall – Truro library is most-visited in the south west – West Briton.  “expenditure on libraries in the south west faced one of the largest percentage reductions. The region saw a 4.3 per cent reduction in total expenditure in the last year, according to CIPFA. Mark Read, head of shared services at Cornwall Council, said: “The team at Truro Community Library has worked very hard to promote the library which even boasts its own community garden – magically transformed into Santa’s grotto in the run up to Christmas.”
  • Lincolnshire – “Gagged” staff speak out as D-day for libraries looms – Lincolnshire Echo. Sickness and disciplinary records will count against staff fighting eachother for the remaining jobs. Staff regularly warned not to speak out against cuts or face disciplinary action. Staff “dragging themselves to work” in order to gain better chance of being re-employed. Council said they “could not stop” staff speaking out but reminded them that if they did so there would be consequences.
  • Sheffield – Fight is on for Sheffield city library – Star. “More than 100 residents crammed into a public meeting at Upperthorpe Library at the weekend to put their opinions on record as part of a 12-week consultation over plans to shut libraries across the city.”
  • Swindon – Cuts risk to history – Swindon Advertiser / Letters. “Next week two local studies librarians will have to compete for a single job as Swindon Borough Council makes more cuts to its public services.” … “To cut staff in this area is to promote a message that Swindon’s history, and the physical evidence of it, is not important and the council is prepared to let it perish.” … “consider the half a century it took to deliver the Central Library itself, a facility that has had its services reduced ever since it opened.” Long list of signatories to letter.