Editorial

The DCMS have produced their review of the state of play in UK public libraries called the Report under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 for 2012/13. It’s purpose is to show what great work the DCMS is doing in public libraries and, as such, it is more a work of propaganda than a serious overview (for example, it notes approvingly the CILIP Knowledge and Skills Base but, for some reason, doesn’t mention the vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey by the same organiation)  but it does, at least, provide a summary of all main national projects going on and the agencies involved.  I therefore recommend a look as there may be something here you don’t know about that could be of interest.

Doncaster have announced that a further eight of its libraries will turn volunteer or close, on top of 12 that turned volunteer in 2012.  The mobile library is also to close.  This will leave the city with just 4 of its 24 branches run by paid staff.  It also adds further evidence to the suggestion that, with the best will in the world of all those involved, volunteer libraries cause more volunteer libraries.

Changes

DCMS Report

Central support for local services includes:

  • ACE £6 million funding for public libraries. Envisioning the Library of the future research and report.  Pilot on automatic library membership with final report in “early 2014″.
  • SCL launch of the Universal offers.
  • Reading Agency inc. Summer Reading Challenge.
  • LGA inc. the toolkit “Meeting the Challenge: Culture, tourism & sport improvement offer”.
  • Launch of CIPFA Nearest Neighbours Model comparative figures.
  • Public Libraries Health Group (Dept Health, SCL, Reading Agency) launched Books on Prescription.
  • Library 21 (SCL, ACE, Publishers, Reading Agency) to allow use of digital content.
  • Publishers Association – Publishers sharing digital marketing skills with libraries
  • Enterprising Libraries – DCLG funding for intellectual property support with the British Library and regional libraries.

  • CILIP Knowledge & Skills Base 
  • E-Lending Sieghart Review led to pilot with SCL and others.
  • Community Library Guiding Principles report to help volunteer libraries (ACE and LGA)
  • Impact of libraries in rural areas: research run by Defra/ACE and DCMS.

Appendices lists projects funded by ACE and the Secretary of State’s decisions on several cuts to library services.

“The library service is changing, and will continue to change.  This re-appraisal has and is being used by library authorities as an opportunity to consider what a comprehensive and efficient library service should look like in the C21.  This report highlights the extensive work which is being devised and delivered by Government, Local Authorities and the wider network of stakeholders to support the development and delivery of the public library service designed to meet the changing patterns of demand and use.   The Department for Culture, Media & Sport will report on further developments at the end of 2014. ” Conclusion to the report

National 

  • Librarians alarmed at community policy – UK Authority. “Key advice on www.gov.uk about setting up community managed libraries is flawed and does not appear to have ministerial sign-off, the body representing professional librarians claimed this week. The allegation will fuel concerns about the future of local authority public libraries – a cornerstone of efforts to improve digital inclusion.”
  • Librarian’s book recommendation gets James reading – Reading Agency. “James, 9, from Congleton in Cheshire, had never really been a reader; he was a typical boy who would rather play football. But in 2013 he heard about the Summer Reading Challenge at school. His mum, Katie, took him to the local library to sign up and a librarian’s book recommendation got him excited about reading.”

“On the day he signed up for the Challenge the librarian in Congleton chatted to James and asked what he was interested in. When he told her about his interest in animals the librarian suggested the Wildlife SOS series. Although he wasn’t impressed with the cover, as soon as he started reading about the characters’ adventures finding and helping the animals, he was hooked.”

  • Library closure plans scrutinised as council cuts bite – BBC. “Nearly thirty public libraries across Wales face closure in March as councils insist they will still meet their legal duties to provide the service. Fourteen libraries are under threat in Rhondda Cynon Taf with nine in Neath Port Talbot and two each in Wrexham and Ceredigion, a total of 27.”

“A lot of councils don’t even appear to know that libraries are actually a statutory service,” he told Eye on Wales. “They have talked about defending the core education and social service budgets and then the others are no so important, apparently.” Dr Steve Davies

Library of the Year – Bookseller. “This award is for success in the library sector, and aims simply to find the best library in Britain. The judges will be looking for evidence of any combination of the following:”

  • Innovations that have led to increased use of libraries by the public, as measured by visits and book lending
  • Innovations that have improved the public experience of libraries, both in terms of the library itself but also author visits, reading schemes, children’s events, homework clubs or other outreach services
  • A superb all-round service, demonstrated by knowledgeable and inspiring librarians, expertly selected books and a welcoming and physical and online environment
  • A well executed approach to e-lending (if applicable to the particular library)
  • Well thought through strategies for continuing to deliver high levels of user service during a time of financial cut backs”

  • We Need Libraries – One Man and His Beard.  Relaunched library campaign song with new video with hundreds of people showing their library cards.  [The scrolling text at the bottom of screen is written by me – Ed.]
  • Why we don’t talk anymore – Leon’s Library Blog. “Forget anything to do with personal petulance, that’s not the way politics work in public. The fact is Ed Vaizey does not need to hold meetings with Cilip as they have no real political influence and he is winning all the arguments. This leads us to the second and for many, a rather unpalatable point. The previous meetings with the minister were just a sop, a smokescreen to disguise the fact that the government ignored anything that Cilip or campaigners had to say regardless. But even that pretence has now ended.”

“Cilip and the government are at opposite ends of the spectrum over public libraries. Cilip would like a comprehensive and efficient library service, well-resourced and appropriately staffed/managed, while the government wants the exact opposite. Ed Vaizy, Maria Miller, and all the other ministers are dedicated to an ideology of neo-liberalism, a programme of austerity, and a vision of a ‘Big Society’, and that’s why Vaizey doesn’t need to bother with Cilip – or indeed anyone else interested in protecting libraries – because he genuinely doesn’t share their point of view, and in this he has the full backing of the coalition.”

International

  • A Bookless Library Makes as Much Sense as a Foodless Kitchen – Front Page (USA). “There’s already something called a bookless library. It’s called the internet. A digital library doesn’t require physical space. All it needs is server space. And digital rights management. There is no possible reason to have a bookless library. It accomplishes nothing. If the goal is to give researchers access to material, instead of microfilm, then they can set up accounts and access them remotely.” … “All it really does is make everyone feel futuristic. But there’s a real cost. Not just in money. Libraries are meant to concentrate on books. The bookless digital efforts has seen libraries sell off or eliminate their physical book collections in order to buy more laptops and tablets.”

“The library system works badly, but its concentration on futuristic gimmicks makes the reputations of whoever is running the show.”

  • Investing in libraries is an investment in public safety (Community Voices) – Oakland Local (USA). “In a city like Oakland with significant crime, our libraries provide safe spaces for youth that are all too rare, where they can spend time after school and get help with schoolwork from caring adults. Libraries are also critical spaces for the community to gather and learn together, for people to seek and apply for jobs and government services, and to get help with their technological, language, legal and tax needs.”
  • Libraries are worthwhile public investment – Vancouver Sun (Canada). “It’s a simple yet powerful fact. The investments we make to support public libraries deliver impressive returns. And not just for those who use them. Last fall, the Vancouver Public Library commissioned Mustel Group, a local research firm, to survey a representative sample of 1,001 Vancouver residents. People were asked questions about their willingness to pay taxes for library services and alternatives for the types of services libraries provide. Ninety-six per cent support spending tax dollars to continue library services even if they don’t use the library themselves. Why? Because of the benefits the library provides to the community.”
  • What’s the matter with e-books – NV Binder (USA). “After a few years of impressive growth, sales of e-books have either stabilized or begun to decline. According to the American Association of Publishers’ annual report, overall sales of e-books are down around 5%–a dip that may be significant or negligible, but is nothing like the smash growth years of 2010 and 2011. Even more surprisingly (and worryingly for e-book advocates) sales of children’s and young adult e-books are down 40 percent from last year. Meanwhile hardback sales surged 10% in 2013, and independent bookstores are reaping the rewards.”.  Digital media is outcompeting ebooks: ” I can’t wait to see a fiction story that engages readers with the unique beauty, strengths, design and depth of the web.”
  • Young protesters march for a library in Chinatown – Boston Globe (USA). ““Books, access fairness, we’re marching to raise awareness,” the more than 50 second-graders declared as they marched from the Chinatown gate to City Hall Friday afternoon. “We want justice. We want it now!” they chanted. The youthful protesters were seeking to raise awareness of a campaign to bring a public library to Chinatown, which is the only Boston neighborhood without a library branch.”

UK news by authority

  • Bury – Overdue library loans cost Bury Council £20,000 a year – Bury Times. “Since 1996, thousands of people have borrowed books, videos, DVDs, tapes and CDs from Bury’s libraries and failed to bring them back, meaning the council has spent £342,653 replacing them — an average of £20,156 a year over a 17-year period.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Investment made in children’s libraries – Fenland Citizen. “Additional sets of multi-sensory story books and books in large print format have been purchased to improve the offer to children and families with visual impairment and learning difficulties, providing opportunities to read together. Two new collections of Bag Books, which are multi-sensory story telling kits, have also been added.”
  • Doncaster – Anger over cuts to Doncaster’s libraries – Doncaster Free Press. “The council says libraries in Armthorpe, Askern, Bentley, Cantley, Conisbrough, Hatfield, Tickhill and Woodlands should become community managed, staffed entirely by volunteers, which the council estimates will save £800,000. That will be in addition to the 12 libraries across the borough already community-run. Plans to cease the mobile library service in 2014/15, which costs £130,000 to run, have also been announced.”

“We already know that as a borough Doncaster has below-average levels of literacy and this will only get worse now even more libraries are going to lose their trained staff. “My local library in Wheatley is run by volunteers, and is open only 11 hours a week.”

  • Doncaster – Major library cutbacks planned in Doncaster – BBC. “Doncaster’s council has put forward cost-cutting plans which could leave just four out of 20 libraries in the borough council-run, with the remaining 16 being run by volunteers.”
  • Dundee – Culture and schools main losers in Dundee City Council budget cuts – Courier. “Leisure & Culture Dundee, which runs sports facilities, libraries and culture services, will lose £211,000 in funding.”
  • Edinburgh – Libraries, the referendum and you – Tales of One City / Edinburgh Libraries. “As the referendum approaches, make us your first port of call for investigating the arguments on both sides of the debate, as well as for books on more general ideas of nationhood, citizenship, economics and democracy.  We will also be signposting online resources like What Scotland Thinks and the BBC referendum library.  Look out, too, for news of special events in libraries in the run-up to September’s vote.”
  • Kirklees – Charity status for village library plan – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “The Denby Dale Community Project, (DDCP), which has vowed to construct a brand new facility on the site of the current Denby Dale library, has been granted charitable status. The authorisation means it can press on with its bid to demolish the current Kirklees Council building and erect a new two-storey premises.” … “The new charitable status now provides the platform for DDCP to apply for further grants and funding to bridge the gap. To generate regular income to run the community building going forward, three tenants have been secured; Kirklees Library Service, Kirkwood Hospice and the Denby Dale Centre.”
  • Leicestershire – Libraries in firing line for cost-cuts – Hinckley Times. “Proposals to transfer smaller rural centres to community management are among a raft of money-saving measures as the county seeks to claw back £110 million by 2018. It is thought libraries in Barwell, Burbage, Cosby, Desford, Market Bosworth, Newbold Verdon, Sapcote and Stoney Stanton could all face the axe if no other organisation steps in.”
  • Lincolnshire – Martin Hill says ‘efficient’ Lincolnshire County Council can deal with yet more cuts in funding – Lincolnshire Echo. “”Every service area will be making savings. We have already announced changes to libraries and adult social care. “Since the big cuts to our funding in 2011, we have lost about 1,500 staff posts. We are now a lean council, working more efficiently.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Comment: New chapter for libraries – Grimsby Telegraph. “On one hand, ministers claim they want to improve education and community interaction – and then on the other they snatch such services away.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – New chapter begins for Top Town library in Grimsby through £300k revamp – Grimsby Telegraph. “The venue has been closed since September to allow for the lighting and heating systems to be replaced, without which the iconic 1960s building would have had to close. North East Lincolnshire Council bosses say the work will extend the life of the building for another five years, by which time a decision should have been made about the long-term future of the facility.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – 700 respond to public consultation on library services in North East Lincolnshire Grimsby Telegraph. “Sue Wells, the council’s assistant director of culture, leisure and sport, said the level of response showed how much local people valued their libraries. But she also encouraged those who don’t use the borough’s libraries to have their say, too.”
  • Perth and Kinross – Demo against Kinross Library cutbacks planned – Courier. “n a bid to slash its outgoings by £281,000, every cultural asset has been put under intense scrutiny, including Perth Museum and Art Gallery and the AK Bell Library.” … “In a bid to force Perth and Kinross Council to change its mind, local residents will host a peaceful demonstration outside the library on January 18. They have also launched a campaign page on Facebook and a website at www.keepkinrosslibraryopen.org.uk.”.
  • St Helens – Fears for libraries, children’s centres and leisure centres as council cuts bite deeper – St Helens Star. “Libraries, many of which saw their hours cut last year to save money, are believed to be at risk.”
  • Sheffield – You shouldn’t believe all that you read or hear – Star / Letters. “Sheffield City Council plans to close or abandon 60 per cent of the city’s libraries as part of a disproportionate hatchet “plan” that will save a mere 0.2 per cent of its budget. But library closures are not an appropriate response to “austerity” budgets for two reasons: firstly because (ironically) the public’s need for library services increases during depressions or under austerity. Secondly, for the same reason that amputation is not a popular weight loss regime, they’re not going to grow back and we’re going to be disabled without them.”
  • Somerset – £18 million cuts put Somerset libraries, recycling centres and youth services at risk – Western Daily Press. “Bringing self-service into libraries will save £300,000 next year.”
  • South Tyneside – Jobless urged to book up for a way off the dole – Shields Gazette. “The deputy leader of South Tyneside Council has urged jobseekers to seek help at the town’s central library next week. South Tyneside Libraries Service, in association with the National Careers Service, is offering people the chance to improve their job-searching skills”
  • Staffordshire – County council to review Staffordshire libraries – A little bit of Stone. Council ” will be consulting with users over the next few months before its proposals go out to public consultation in the spring.” … “A press release issued by the county council on 15th January highlights the decline in visits to libraries in Staffordshire over the last 12 months, and an associated fall in the issue of books. The release also highlights the huge growth of “e-books downloads and online visits” … “Countywide, visits to libraries have declined by almost 12% over the last three years, and issues of books have reduced by 19%. The biggest drop occurred last year, when issues decreased by 12%, and the drop is expected to be even greater this year.”
  • Staffordshire – Council says Stoke-on-Trent libraries need to embrace the internet age – Stoke Sentinel. “Staffordshire County Council has launched a review into its library service to ensure it makes a ‘more effective contribution’ to residents’ lives in the 21st century.” … “Unions claim the talk of virtual provision is merely masking plans for cuts to jobs and services. But Mr Lawrence insisted communities did not need to be worried about losing their libraries. He said: “If people come to me and say their library is very important and they want to keep them, that is fine, but do they need to stay exactly the same as they have been in the past?”
  • Staffordshire – Tamworth libraries support Holocaust Memorial Day – Tamworth Herald. “Wilnecote, Glascote Heath and the town centre libraries will join 40 other services across the county to mark this year’s event on Monday, January 27. Special information packs will be made available and “some form of poster display” will be on show.”
  • Worcestershire – Hagley Library under threat of closure – Halesowen News. “The Worcester Road library could be replaced by a mobile library service unless support can be found to bridge the services budget deficit. Other options include transferring the transferring the running of the library to Hagley Parish Council.” … ““There are 44,000 users a year and not one of these people have been asked what they want. A number of people are upset that they haven’t been consulted.””