I’m squeezing in a post this evening as I’m unlikely to find the time tomorrow. So, I’ll include something that has been sent to me about LibrariesWest, a consortium of several library authorities in the South West. The image below is a screen capture from the catalogue. Most of it will be familiar to everyone but the “Find on Amazon” and “Hive.co.uk” options may not be.  Linking to Amazon has obvious attractions – they’re fast, cheap, well known and doubtless (one sincerely hopes) paying commission.  On the other hand, Amazon are also well-known for their negative side (low wages, wiping out competition, something about taxation) which may not play well with library friends in publishing and bookselling. Indeed, the email to me pointing out the Amazon link goes on to ask “what is this about? Have our libraries sold themselves to Amazon? I can’t believe something like this is acceptable in [name of city], where there’s such a strong support for the local shops and where quite a few local bookstores had to close in the last year.”. The Hive link may be an attempt to balance this out as it takes directly to a link to buying the book on the high street, again something I’ve not seen before.  However, the Amazon link has clear pride of place (directly below the place reservation button) and one has click on the Hive logo to actually see what it was. I wonder how many people never try.

This example represents the dilemma that library authorities face. The link represents extra helpfulness for the customer and an alternative if the person wants a book quickly and the library cannot supply. It also, I really hope, provides income, which is something we all know is vital these days. On the other hand, it’s going to really annoy some core supporters of libraries and ally ourselves with a private company that, in the final analysis, wants us – and all other competition – gone. So, risk assess the options before one does initiatives like this and prepare to be challenged. by people a little less even handed than me, when they find out about it.

Catalogue takes you directly to Amazon or the Hive

Catalogue takes you directly to Amazon or the Hive



National news

  • 6 reasons why the Hogwarts library is the true hero of the Harry Potter books – Oxford University Press Blog. Includes “it’s beautiful” and “it’s a place of love”.
  • Library Services: Thornton-Cleveleys – They Work For You. Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys argues that the deep cuts proposed for Lancashire are unnecessary and are intended as political showboating. He points to the experience of York as a possible alternative instead, asking the libraries minister Ed Vaizey to intervene. Ed Vaizey, responding, argues that public libraries are thriving and campaigners are spreading falsehoods. Mr Vaizey then accuses the BBC of being wrong about their [carefully researched, clearly demonstrated] figure for library closures since 2010 and continues to claim 110 [based on “desk research”] as the correct figure, including volunteer libraries as open. The libraries minister then says that he has been very active in supporting libraries and has investigated several authorities but has never found it necessary to be more active as those councils had strategies and were acting within the Act. He points out Arts Council England and the Taskforce are working hard in the sector.

International news

  • Australia – Are Public Libraries Turning Over a New Leaf? – Broadsheet. “Books and compost – the two seem an unlikely pairing. In Double Bay, however, they harmoniously coexist. Paying homage to the former St Brigid’s Library and Blackburn Gardens, the design concept behind the new Double Bay Library was to have a garden within a library. The result is a beautiful greenhouse-style sanctuary in which you can read a book and while away an afternoon.”
  • Bhutan – National and public libraries receive books from Singapore – Kuensel. “The Singaporean ambassador to Bhutan, Lim Thuan Kuan donated six boxes of books to the National Library and Archives of Bhutan and the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Public Library in Thimphu yesterday. National Library and Archive director general, Dorji Norbu, said that the donated books would have a long-lasting impact and that the public will benefit”
  • Canada – Borrowing a tune: Vancouver Library launches musical instrument lending program – Vancouver Sun. “, dozens of musical instruments, including  guitars, ukuleles, banjos, keyboards, xylophones and drums, will be available free to anyone with a library card as the Vancouver Public Library launches an innovative new lending program. The launch, fittingly, will be a musical event jam packed with talent, including Jacob Hoggard of Hedley, Mother Mother, Ryan & Molly Guldemond, as well as students from the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.”

“At the Toronto library, said Saltzberg, there was a lot of concern about finding enough storage space for the instruments. “I said, ‘Don’t worry about storage’,” recalls Saltzberg, “‘They’re all going to be gone.’” Indeed, within a week of the launch, there were no instruments left to borrow from the Toronto library.”

  • Canada – Brant Public Libraries Introduces MagnusCards – Eventbrite. For users with cognitive special needs. “MagnusCards is a unique mobile application that can be used by parents and community partners to create digital social stories to build life skills for independent living and community involvement. The County of Brant Public Libraries has used the MagnusCards platform to create three new Card Deck guides: ‘Getting a Library Card,’ ‘Searching the Online Catalog’ and ‘Checking Out Items’. These guides feature step-by-step instructions with pictures, audio and text to help visitors learn new skills for navigating the County of Brant Public Libraries.
  • Canada – Toronto public libraries, Google to offer free take-home WiFi – CBC. “Google is partnering with the city to offer portable WiFi hotspots, which will be loaned out for up to six months at a time. Six library branches, all located in low-income neighbourhoods, will offer the service.”
  • USA – Gwinnett County Public Library to Begin Self-Service Access with Launch of open+ – Gwinnett County Public Library. “Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) will be the first library system in North America to introduce Open+, a service which grants customers self-service access to the library outside of normal operating hours. The service will be available at the Lawrenceville Branch as a pilot program beginning June 20. Registered customers will have access to the branch Monday to Friday from 8 to 10 am.”
  • USA – Service to immigrants and new Americans, an integral part  of the public library mission, is being taken to the next level – Library Journal. “For libraries that are not already offering services targeted to immigrants, “the best advice is to start small,” advises Mary Jean Jakubowski, director of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL). “Identify one or two things that the library can do to work with local organizations to support new community members’ transitions…. Simple steps like hanging welcome signage in native languages, ensuring staff is mindful and respectful of cultural customs, and meeting with members of your local immigrant and refugee community are all important components to making immigrants and refugees feel comfortable.” Any of these creates a good foundation for expanding services later.”
  • USA – Where gun stores outnumber museums and libraries – Washington Post. A look at the ratio of gun stores to libraries and museums state by state.

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Stop the cuts to Chipping Barnet Library – 38 Degrees /Petition. “Stop outsourcing our libraries. Cancel implementation of the Barnet’s Future Library Service plan . Work with all stakeholders in the Library Service to produce a strategy that will minimise redundancies and maintain and improve the quality and accessibility of Barnet Libraries”
  • Darlington – Darlington Borough Council’s £12.5m budget cuts – including closure of Crown Street library – recommended for approval – Northern Echo. ” swingeing budget £12.5m budget cuts proposed by Darlington Borough Council have overwhelmingly been recommended for approval – although a final decision by the full council is yet to be made. The authority has largely stuck by its massive package of cuts – despite widespread protests and opposition and suggestions of alternative money saving ideas to maintain services such as the libraries.”
  • Lancashire – Petition launched to stop Morecambe Library going self-service – Visitor. “The new manager of the Arndale Centre has spoken out against plans to make the library a self-service ‘satellite library’ and has set up a petition for shoppers” … “The Rainbows, all aged between five and seven, have transformed the outdoor area in the centre of the library into a garden with lovely plants and are also growing fruit and vegetables as part of their gardening badge.”
  • North Yorkshire – Council cuts mean affluent rural communities ‘risk falling into deprivation’ – Yorkshire Post. Charity says ““It can also create communities that are more resilient, friendlier and with more enriched members,” Mrs Swain added, pointing to how communities are already taking over the delivery of services or managing community assets, such as libraries.”
  • Northern Ireland – Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:45 pm on 14th June 2016– They Work For You. “Mr Maskey asked the Minister for Communities what plans he has to protect libraries, including the Homecall and mobile library services, to ensure continued access for people with disabilities, older people and people who are socially isolated”. Paul Givan responds by saying they will be unaffected by cuts. “I regard the mobile library and Homecall services as important ways of ensuring that library services can reach people who are unable to access local branch libraries. They are particularly valuable to rural communities, older people, those with disabilities and parents or carers of children without access to private transport. They also make an important contribution to combating social isolation, which is one of the reasons why I am content that they are not affected by the budget reduction exercise.” 5.7% reduction to Northern Ireland Libraries Budget.
  • Swindon – Protestors gather to mark opposition to cuts – Swindon Advertiser. “Protestors took to the steps of the Civic Offices on Wednesday evening night ahead of an extraordinary meeting of the council. The meeting was called by the Labour group to allow newly elected councillors to bring forward motions on the transfer of Lydiard Park to external management and the imposition of parish councils across the borough. Representatives from the Swindon People’s Assembly were joined outside the council chamber by supporters of the Save Swindon’s Libraries campaign and other local campaigners.”