The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that job advisors will be placed in different settings including libraries.  It’s been interesting to see the negative response from some tweeters about the cost to the public library service in terms of damaged neutrality, making the service more linked, in the public mind at least, to the government. It may indeed turn off some people from coming into the library, being worried that the DWP officers will spot them doing something they shouldn’t. On the other hand, of course, supporters of the scheme would say that this will improve the service to the user – professionals being emplaced to help get people employed is not a bad thing after all.  Government will also likely place more value on libraries if they see them as somewhere they can reach the hard to reach. The scheme is therefore not entirely good and not entirely bad: like so many things, it lies somewhere in the continuum between the two.  We all need to be think through the implications to our own libraries.

And now for something a bit more, well, librarian, than most of the news normally contained here. My thanks to Graham Bell, the executive director of EDItEUR, to agreeing to explain something I simply had no idea about: the new subject classification theme called Thema. The piece is too long for being part of this post (so it gets its own page) but I recommend it to you if have you have an interest in saving money, being international, or, actually, simply in the ordering and finding of books, which is kind of important, still, for most public librarians.  See this page for the article.



National news

  • Building a successful online presence for libraries – Nick Poole. CILIP Chief Exec writes in personal capacity: “each of these initiatives has failed. Some failed fast – in one case, not even making it to launch. Others took a while, even lasting a number of years through ongoing subsidy. The unifying factor was that each had forgotten to take care of at least one element from the list below. The ingredients you’ll need: Drawing on examples of successful digital libraries (like ‘Trove‘, ‘Digital NZ‘ or the ‘Peoples Collection Wales‘), you’ll need every single one of the following locked in place for yours to succeed …”
  • DWP job advisers to be placed in libraries and schools – Third Force News. “So called job coaches from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are to be placed in schools, social care settings, libraries, and housing schemes, a UK government minister has said. Employment minister Priti Patel told MPs on the Work and Pensions Committee that work coaches would be rolled out nationally targeting areas of the country with high unemployment. Last year a similar move caused uproar when it was revealed job advisers were being placed in charity-operated foodbanks – with plans to deploy them across the country.” … “A spokesperson for the DWP said “Universal Credit work coaches are trained to provide tailored support specific to a person’s individual needs.” Campaigners have however accused the DWP of giving jobcentre advisers targets and incentives to sanction claimants – leading to unfair sanctions with a high rate of successful appeal.” for job description see link.
  • Future of Local Libraries – Public Policy Exchange. “This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, government departments, the library sector, shared services teams and other key partners to examine the Government’s latest policy initiatives and explore how libraries can remain a vital local resource in the 21st Century – innovating and adapting to deliver a whole range of services.”
  • Thema: Graham Bell describes Thema, the new subject classification for the global book industry – Public Libraries News. “The potential value of a single, global classification scheme is clear: it lies in reduced duplication of work where more than one scheme is in use, in the elimination of costly and imprecise mapping processes, and in avoiding the loss of precision that’s inevitable in such mappings. A global scheme also enables international market research, comparisons and benchmarking, and this value grows with the increasingly international nature of the book trade.”
International news
  • USA – Flint Public Library: A Gateway to Critical Information – Public Libraries Online. “How does the library fit into the solutions for the longer term issues? First, and perhaps most importantly, FPL staff are actively engaged in the conversations about what to do and how to mobilize resources … Second, the library is a 24/7 gateway to critical information. “We are trusted and accessible,” … And third, Flint Public Library links generous people around the country into the community response system. ” … “Flint Public Library’s mission is to be the go-to place for learning across the lifespan. One of their three strategic priorities is supporting family literacy, with a special focus on early childhood literacy”
  • USA – Gorgeous new covers for 100 great public domain books – Boing Boing. “The New York Public Library’s spectacular Digital Public Library challenged designers to create new covers for some of the public domain’s greatest books, which had been previously doomed to an undeserved dullness thanks to the auto-generated covers that book-scanning projects stuck them with. The new covers are also available as posters, hoodies, tees and more, with proceeds to the artists — you can contribute your own designs.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Campaign launched for volunteers to run Silsden library – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “… recruitment  campaign for volunteers to take over threatened Silsden Library will begin this month. Ward councillor Adrian Naylor is hosting a meeting to attract townspeople interested in managing or staffing the facility” … ““If there are people who have worked in libraries before, then their expertise will be invaluable, but people do not have to have experience.” … “Cllr Naylor, part of a community team that runs Addingham Library, was pleased Bradford Council had made a “realistic offer” to would-be volunteers. He said the council would maintain the building, pay the utilities, such as electricity, and provide books, leaving some items, such as public liability insurance, to the new volunteer team”
  • Buckinghamshire – Running libraries as charities is the ‘best of three options’, says library chairman – Get Bucks. “Tony Hoare, of Chalfont St Giles Community Library, was speaking about the county council’s decision that they were looking at running libraries as charitable trusts due to ‘severe’ budget cuts ” … ““Our partnership with the County Library Service enables us to offer our residents a good library service that is fully integrated with that of the the county. We see no reason why this successful partnership can’t continue with the type of organisation envisaged in the County’s proposal.””
  • Cornwall – Penryn councillors press on with library devolution following £40,000 maintenance bill report – This is the West Country. “Penryn Town Council faces a £40,000 repair bill after agreeing on Monday to continue with its plans to take over the running of the town’s library. Councillors have received a building survey, carried out as the town council looks to take control of the library as part of Cornwall Council‘s programme of devolution, which showed eight items of maintenance that need to be carried out.”
  • Croydon – Funding for new Upper Norwood Library ‘learning hub’ but campaigner sceptical for service’s future – Croydon Advertiser. “Lambeth Council, which currently joint-runs the Westow Hill library with Croydon, confirmed they it would also match the funding. While the trust is “confident” it can run a “thriving service” from April 1, prominent campaigner for the Friends of Upper Norwood library, Robert Gibson, is sceptical the money will lead to a “sustainable library service”. He said: “I support the trust and spent many long hours working with the trustees and have contributed and will continue to help their fund-raising efforts”
  • Denbighshire – Denbighshire libraries scoop marketing award – Point FM. “The Award was won for Denbighshire’s Reading Hack young volunteers project which created volunteering opportunities in libraries for young people to support children participating and completing the Summer Reading Challenge.”
  • Fife – Not the end of library story, Fife campaigners sayFife Today. “Residents in the district are looking at forming ‘alternative delivery models’ after the most recent chapter in the tale was written at Fife Council’s latest full meeting. Councillors voted to shut 16 libraries across the Kingdom – but some could remain open for up to a year while the suggestions from the community are considered”
  • Hertfordshire – Libraries could co-locate with Redbourn and Wheathampstead fire stations – St Albans Review. “Libraries could co-locate with four retained fire stations in Hertfordshire to reduce overall property running costs for the two services. Hertfordshire County Council’s public health, localism and libraries cabinet panel met to discuss the possibility of libraries being located at Redbourn, Wheathampstead, Buntingford and Sawbridgeworth fire stations.”
  • Lambeth – March for Lambeth libraries as new strikes loom – Socialist Worker. “A 500-strong demonstration last Saturday kept up the defence of the borough’s ten libraries—and new strikes are coming. The libraries would either close or turn into gyms under the Labour council’s plans. Unison union library rep (pc) Tim told Socialist Worker, “We’re planning to strike again on 17 March, and want to escalate to two days the following week.”
  • Lancashire – Fight for libraries steps up a gear – Lytham St Anne’s Express. “Hundreds of people are set to march from St Annes to Lytham via Ansdell this weekend amid fears that several of the area’s five libraries could face the axe under Lancashire County Council proposals to close more than half of the current total of 74 across the county.”
  • Leeds – #whatsyourstory – Leeds libraries’ innovative marketing campaign – Libraries Task Force. “Marketing of public library services is notoriously difficult. We offer so much to so many people, when designing a marketing campaign it’s hard to know where to start! So when we decided we wanted a new marketing campaign to change people’s perceptions of modern public libraries, we knew it had to be fresh, exciting and high profile. We also wanted to align our online and offline marketing so our offer was more ‘joined-up’ across promotional channels.”
  • Staffordshire – Love your library? Then why not give it a helping hand by becoming a volunteer: video – Staffordshire Newsletter. “At Stafford Library Natasha Allsopp, 27, and Phil Wylie, 26, run weekly after school Code Club sessions on Thursdays for 9-11 year olds who want to learn coding for the web. Both former Staffordshire University graduates, Natasha now works for Stafford firm iWeb and Phil works for Burton-on-Trent-based software house Haywyre.”
  • Swindon – Fight for libraries – Swindon Advertiser / Letters. “How heartwarming it was to read Justin Tomlinson‘s love letter to libraries (March 4). It’s wonderful that he is “100 per cent supportive of our local libraries ” and gives examples of their vital social role.
    It’s a shame therefore that he then descends into waffle and doublespeak, such as the need to “deploy innovative ideas to ensure their future sustainability”. “

“Swindon council is about to rip the heart out of their library service, having been more or less forced into this position by the government he is part of. “

  • West Berkshire – Kintbury author’s unswerving support for local libraries – Newbury Today. “The best-selling author, who last month called the proposed closure of eight libraries in West Berkshire  “an act of significant cultural vandalism”, spoke to a large audience at the library in The Wharf, about his latest novel, Dictator. In a 40-minute talk, Mr Harris outlined the politics of ancient Rome, Cicero’s philosophy and his influence on great political leaders across the world and throughout history.”
  • West Berkshire – Thatcham’s Priory could help counter library cuts Newbury Today. “The Liberal Democrats planned to use the Priory as a focal point for community groups and bring the town council closer to the community. The plan was to use any rent from leasing the Priory to pay off the 25-year loan on the building. However, the Conservatives argued that the project was a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money and voted recently to sell the building” … “West Berkshire Council, which has been criticised by campaigners for not providing a breakdown of costs for running Thatcham Library, has also failed to release information regarding the number of people using the library service. It has only said that it would save £730,000 by closing eight of the district’s nine libraries.”
  • Wokingham – Wokingham puts forward plans for unstaffed self service libraries – Get Reading. “If the council’s proposals are given the green light Wokingham, Woodley and Lower Earley libraries would operate using a combination of staffed and unstaffed hours” … “These proposed changes are part of the council’s hub and spoke model, which will see Wokingham, Woodley and Lower Earley libraries act as the hubs while the other seven in the borough act as spokes. This means that the hubs would be open for longer while spoke libraries operate during set opening hours, at times when there is a high demand in the local area.”