What passes for a quiet time in libraries for the last few days. I’ve put National LIbraries Day first because it’s important and the next couple of months will be a good time to start preparing for it.  The high point of this point, though, is undoubtedly Batman using a self-service machine. Why? Because it’s Batman, dudes.

National Libraries Day

“National Libraries Day will be back on Saturday 6 February 2016, celebrating libraries, library staff and their communities all over the UK. This year’s campaign aims to get more public libraries involved than ever before, showcasing what libraries have to offer for all different needs and interests with ideas to attract as many visitors as possible to local libraries on Saturday 6 February.

Nick Poole, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals said “Public libraries provide everyone with opportunities for learning and inspiration. They help people find work and set up their own business. Libraries are places where children and young people discover the joys of reading, learn new skills like coding and get help with their homework. They tackle social exclusion and isolation. They improve health and wellbeing and help people get online. Everyone is welcome and the space belongs to the public, which is increasingly rare in our communities.”

Thousands of people took part in over 700 events in libraries across the country for National Libraries Day 2015. Musician and songwriter John Lydon, Johnny Rotten, recorded a special message encouraging people to show their support for Britain’s libraries. Primarily a celebration of public libraries, National Libraries Day is strongly supported by libraries of all kinds including school, university, workplace and government libraries and by organisations, politicians, public figures, celebrities, writers and illustrators and service users. National Libraries Day will be the finale of a week’s celebrations in all types of library.” CILIP press release

National news

  • Celebrity endorsements won’t solve illiteracy – Independent. “Morgan’s plans are problematic, and smack of government tendencies to hastily paper over serious cracks in educational issues. By laying blame for children’s illiteracy upon teachers, schools and parents for taking an active interest in their child’s development, Morgan deliberately detracts from the real issues at hand – the closure of local libraries, the failure to fund school libraries with well funded resources and full-time staff, and the tyrannical obsession with phonics-based learning. “
  • CILIP calls on Councils to consider social & economic impact of library cuts when balancing the books – CILIP. “Local Authorities remain a major provider of library and information services across the UK, and these figures highlight the realities they are dealing with. With further reductions in centrally-distributed revenue planned in the coming years, it is essential that elected members understand the real financial and social value of library and information services for their communities.” Education remains one of the biggest priorities for Local Authorities at 30.7% of their expenditure. Research has proven time and again that having access to a library service delivered by qualified professionals can support teachers by boosting learning outcomes, literacy and pupil attainment. Similarly, library services across the UK are delivering frontline support which helps reduce the pressure on health and social care services that make up some 20% of Council spending.”
  • Time for a change – Changing Libraries. Mick Fortune on opportunities and developments in library technology. “there’s no room for complacency here [Edinburgh]. Librarians here face the same challenges as their English counterparts. But the SNP is actively fighting to save libraries in Scotland and, like Plaid Cymru with its vision for the future of the service in Wales, has an altogether more positive and less fragmented view of their future than anything being brokered by English political parties”
  • Improving LGBTQ* provision in your library: why and how to do it – CILIP. “Did you look at the title of this post and think, “This isn’t relevant to me?” If so, please read on: this post is for you. If you looked and thought it was or might be relevant to you, please also read on: this post is for you too! One of the key myths that forms a barrier to adequate LGBTQ* provision is the (incorrect) assumption that provision is not needed. In fact, there is a strong unmet need; this doesn’t just apply to public and school libraries, but to libraries and information services in many sectors…”
  • Library membership for all children is great … as long as the library is open  – Guardian. Various letters inc. “we must not assume that all reading is good reading. Many children are reading books which are either too easy or too difficult for them. Therefore it is not surprising that many of them are put off reading for pleasure – with devastating effects on their wider academic success.” and from Alan Gibbons and from a Labour councillor mentioning how good BookStart was.
  • Scotland pilots automatic child library membership – BookSeller. “Pilot projects are to be developed in every council area in Scotland to enrol children automatically as library members.  According to a BBC report, the initiative, backed by £80,000 of funding, will be promoted by Scotland’s first minister Nicola Stugeon at Glasgow’s Mitchell Library later today (25th August).  The pilot schemes will give children library cards either at birth, or at the age of three or four, or in the school entry class Primary 1.  Glasgow’s pilot will target 2,000 pupils in six areas with literacy challenges. From 7th September, every baby registered in the Glasgow area will be given a library card by the registrar.” see also Pilot schemes to give all children automatic library membership – BBC.
  • Tinder Press Celebrates Libraries – Tinder Press. “As the effect of cuts to library funding makes itself felt across the country, we asked our team and authors to say a few words on what libraries meant to them growing up. “
  • #uklibchat – Marketing and Libraries “Date: Tuesday 01 September 2015  6.30-8.30pm UK time. Hello everyone. The chat sessions starts with general introductions and then we move on to the discussion topics. Feel free to add topics you would like to discuss. Please try to phrase questions in under 140 characters.
  • ‘Why I fear for the future of our libraries’ – Leicester Mercury. “I believe in life-long learning and the part that libraries can play in educating, informing and entertaining people, but I know the situation in Birmingham is not an isolated one: in our own county, library opening hours have recently been cut, and many branch libraries are now in the stewardship of volunteers. To say I am concerned is an under-statement. I fear us reverting to the subscription library model: you’re welcome to join if you can afford to. I can see us running out of volunteers, as more people work beyond what used to be the legal retirement age. I can see the NHS bill increasing as fewer people can visit their local library because it’s closed, or no longer offers the books they want to read, or the children’s groups that attract the very young, or the homework clubs that offer a lifeline to kids without access to a computer, or the refuge for the unemployed, the lonely, the old, and the homeless.”

International news

  • France – Calais migrant camp gets makeshift library – and it needs more books – Guardian. “A British teacher has set up a library in France’s growing refugee camp, and is asking for donations. We look at other libraries created in crisis situations”
  • Sri Lanka – Up From The Ashes, A Public Library In Sri Lanka Welcomes New Readers – NPR. “That it survived at all is a testament to resilience. The fact that it was restored to such pristine condition, including its lush gardens, and modernized (it now offers Wi-Fi) makes it all the more remarkable. The library’s renovation is as exquisite as its history is turbulent. The building sits in the heart of the provincial capital that was wracked not so long ago by battles and bullets.”

    Australia – Batman uses a self-service machine – genius video from Wagga Wagga
  • USA – Librarians furious as Berkeley tosses thousands of books – SF Gate. ““We’re here to stop the irresponsible weeding going on at the Berkeley library,” said librarian Diane Davenport, standing in front of a cart full of 100 books. She said the number of books culled so far this year, estimated to be from 36,000 to 39,000, would fill 360 such carts. People in the crowd, some of them carrying signs that read, “Don’t pulp our fiction,” gasped”
  • USA – There Was Life Before Little Free Libraries – PLA. “For the past few years, many libraries have been taking their discarded books to make little free libraries in different places. Patrons can even buy their own little free library structures to put in their yards if they so choose. Yet when using your discarded books and magazines to put in beautifully built structures, are you forgetting who else could use your materials?”

Supporter’s news

  • “Overall library loans recorded through Nielsen LibScan grew by 0.8% between Periods 5 (four weeks ending 16 May) and Period 6 (four weeks ending 13 June 2015).  An additional 47.5k books were borrowed from libraries in Period 6 pushing the overall loans for the month to just under 6.0m. Fiction loans increased the most, by 1.6%, but the Trade Non-Fiction and Children’s categories were also boosted slightly, by 0.5% and 0.4% respectively.  However, year-on-year loans for the period are still down for all top-level categories and at -5% overall.” Nielsen – For further information about Nielsen BookScan TCM Panel or LibScan panel, email: info.bookscan@nielsen.com


  • CILIPS Autumn Gathering – November 19th, Glasgow. “The Conference themes are community wellbeing and professional engagement and the day will feature: a keynote address by CILIP CEO Nick Poole on future vision; An update on the implementation of the National Strategy for Public Libraries; A school library strand featuring children’s author Lari Don; A session on health information and the Knowledge Network;  Ian Anstice, founder of the Public Libraries News website [sounds like a suspicious character – Ed.]; Our History, an online resource that tells the story of Edinburgh University using Wikipedia – Dr. Paul Barnaby (session presented by the Cataloguing and Indexing Group – Scotland);  Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, discussing the iRights Framework; Tommy Whitelaw, dementia awareness campaigner and Tanya Duthie from Dundee Libraries talking about their highly acclaimed dementia information services; SCRAN: Sharing digital heritage to enhance community engagement; Scottish Parliament Elections – a discussion session on political advocacy in the lead up to May 2016. Delegate Rates: Earlybird rate for members (until September 30th): £60 plus VAT; Organisational members  (until September 30th): £70 plus VAT (one earlybird rate per organisation); Member rate (after September 30th): £70 plus VAT; Organisational rate (after September 30th): £80 plus VAT; Non- member rate: £95

Local news

  • Birmingham – Literacy campaigner hits out at cuts to Birmingham’s library service – Birmingham Post. “One of Britain’s top literacy campaigners has spoken of his fears about the “ongoing quality of library services” in Birmingham after it emerged the city was no longer buying books. The Post reported last week that less than two years after the £189 million Library of Birmingham opened the city’s library service was asking for books to be donated due to cutbacks. The revelation prompted Nick Poole, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, to pen an open letter to council chief executive Mark Rogers.”
  • Caerphilly – Changes made to library access across Caerphilly County Borough – Caerphilly Observer. “From September 1, all library users must present their library card in order to use library services. Users must take their library card with them if they want to borrow, reserve or renew items, use ICT services, pay any charges or to access their account at the library or at home.”
  • Dundee – Dundee Library & Information Services a finalist at Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2015 – Dundee Libraries (press release). “Dundee Library & Information Services, Leisure & Culture Dundee, hope to win a prestigious award after it was announced that their Dementia Information Service at Central Library has been short-listed as a finalist in the “Best dementia friendly community initiative” category at Scotland’s Dementia Awards 2015″. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony, which will take place on Thursday 24 September 2015 at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow, in celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day. Scotland’s Dementia Awards celebrate the work of both professionals and community groups who are committed to helping people with dementia and their families. The awards showcase the creativity, innovation and dedication that make a real difference to the daily lives of people with dementia and their families across Scotland when organisations, groups and teams work together. Central Library is the first public library in Scotland to provide a Dementia Information Service.  Leisure & Culture Dundee, who manage Dundee libraries, received £10000 in funding from the Scottish Library and Information Council to provide an area that houses an extensive range of resources to help those living with the condition as well as families, carers and professionals learn more about dementia.The new service helps users access relevant information and quality resources and these are tailored to suit the dementia context alongside a whole host of other material to help stimulate memories. The funding has also helped train library staff across the city in Dementia awareness. The resources will continue to grow as a permanent part of the Libraries’ service provision together with suggestions and requests from Library users.”
  • Fife – Community urged to lead library fight – Fife Today. “Politicians involved in the campaign to save East Wemyss library from closure have called on the community to lead the fight. A meeting to encourage people to get involved was organised by Councillor John O’Brien last Wednesday, with speakers David Torrance MSP and Peter Grant MP. Addressing around 30 people – including community council members – who ventured out to the the Senior Citizens Hall on a rainy August night, Mr Torrance said: “The town has already lost its bank, and even this hall could be under threat too, so this campaign needs to be driven by the people.”
  • Herefordshire – Library campaign goes to the streets in Leominster – Hereford Times. “Campaigners who want to keep a library in Leominster took to the streets last week to obtain more than 400 signatures on a petition. A group of teenagers taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) Engage4Life programme set up a stall in the Corn Square as part of their social action project.” … “Meanwhile, the Friends of Leominster Library is encouraging people to fill in the council’s questionnaire and sign an e-petition calling for the plans to be halted. “
  • Isle of Wight – Libraries are not a luxury and the council should reconsider approach say Friends – On the Wight. Compares with Scottish investment in library cards for children. “Ventnor has areas of deprivation and child poverty that have been exposed by the recent report published in the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. That alone should trigger the Isle of Wight Council to reconsider its approach to the need for well run, fully staffed and adequately funded libraries. Libraries are not a luxury they are an essential part of a child’s development.”
  • Kent – More Kent libraries fail to provide WiFi wireless internet access than anywhere else in the country – Kent Online. “More libraries in Kent are failing to provide wireless internet access than anywhere else in the country. According to a government survey, 65 of the county’s 99 libraries do not offer WiFi. It follows a warning from ministers that the lack of WiFi could fuel their alarming decline … After Kent, the next worst-hit areas are Cumbria with 46, Durham with 33, Lincolnshire with 31 and Northumberland with 30. In contrast, libraries in 26 of London’s 32 boroughs all have WiFi.” … “Bradford, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester and Stoke all boast 100 per cent coverage in their libraries.” see also West one of the worst regions for public libraries with no WiFi fuelling their alarming decline – Western Daily Press. 
  • Knowsley – Knowsley library cutbacks: shorter opening hours begin today – Liverpool Echo. “All five Knowsley libraries will shut on Wednesdays and open an hour later from today under cost-cutting plans. Knowsley council announced earlier this month that libraries in Halewood, Huyton, Kirkby, Prescot and Stockbridge Village would see their opening hours cut by at least 12 hours a week. Every library now opens at 10am from Monday to Friday and will be closed all-day on Wednesdays, as the council tries to meet its £31m budget deficit following cuts in central government funding.” … “”We held a consultation and received more than 600 responses which helped inform the new hours. It is important to note we are not closing any libraries in Knowsley.””

“I’m appalled government cuts are leaving councils like Knowsley facing impossible choices. The loss of opening and staff hours leaves Halewood in a poorer state.” Maria Eagle, Garston and Halewood MP (Labour)

“John Keane, the council’s head of libraries, said: “The city has lost 60% of its funding due to austerity. So we began a journey to find the best way to do what we do with reduced funding. “We think the (community associations) model is a model that can work, but we are keen to look at other models. The key issue we have to overcome is the money drying up.” Mrs Parry added: “I will hopefully be visiting every library in the city, as well as seeing what they do in other parts of the country and overseas.”

  • Manchester – Elbow singer Guy Garvey to lead special day of events at Manchester Central Library – Manchester Evening News. “The internationally renowned musician will be broadcasting his BBC 6 music radio show, ‘Finest Hour’, live from the event on the day and sharing some of his favourite songs for listeners from 2pm-4pm. Guy will be joined on the show by guests including Radiohead’s Phil Selway and New Order’s Stephen Morris, to discuss the literary influences that have inspired their work. During the show, Phil Selway will present Central Library with a special drum kit, in memory of Radiohead’s late drum technician Scott Johnson.”
  • Shropshire – Action group formed to safeguard Ellesmere Library – Shropshire Star. “The newly-formed Friends of Ellesmere Library group has promised to fight for “firm guarantees” that a library service will be retained in the town and will continue to be run by professionally trained staff.” … “According to Shropshire Council, user numbers at the library have fallen from 25,275 in 2010/11 to 23,853 in 2014/15. The library now has fewer than 500 users a week and a total of 998 active borrowers.”
  • Southampton – Labour leaders plans to stop running six libraries in Southampton have been halted due to opposition from Tory councillors – Daily Echo. “The Conservative opposition have called in the decision to stop running the six facilities for further scrutiny, saying there hasn’t been enough information provided about whether groups will come forward to run them. It means the plans must be halted until they are scrutinised again although Labour council chiefs have insisted they are “confident” groups will come forward to take on all five of the closure-threatened library buildings.” see also Southampton library closures ‘halted’ – BookSeller.

“It’s almost as though they are saying ‘we’re going to shut them and hope someone will come along to run them” Councillor Dan Fitzhenry (Conservative)


“Library usage across the UK has been falling, though with some notable successes such as the Summer Reading challenge for children during the school holidays. If you were in charge of libraries what things would you do to boost usage?” Swindon – Justin Tomlinson MP (on Facebook).