Editorial

There’s a couple of examples of libraries being used as pawns in political games before local elections in May today, with opposition parties scaremongering and the party in power (often the same party as in opposition doing the same thing elsewhere) crying foul.  Libraries have never really hit the headlines in the media before elections and I’m curious to see if such mentions increase or quiet down.  In terms of actual news, I’m sorry to see that West Berkshire have confirmed a big budget cut, although they’re avoiding closing libraries by relying on volunteers and parish council handouts.  That’s bad news for the staff (which will be reduced by half) but good news for the libraries minister who had been called on to intervene if the council actually closed many,  On the other hand, good news in Torfaen where Unison are claiming a major victory in repealing a £240k cut.  The union has done some notably good work in South Wales, although it has been notably less active nationally in the sector. Meanwhile in parliament, the libraries minister received two friendly questions from MPs of his own party, re-emphasising once more his view that “standing still is not really an option”.  Which, it seems, is true – as people enthusiastically waving placards in Bath, Darlington, Lambeth, Plymouth, North East Lincolnshire, Walsall and elsewhere show.

Changes

Ideas

Media mentions heatmap

This shows longer term trends in authorities than this post alone:

  •  Plymouth (25), Lancashire (11), Birmingham (10), Darlington (8), Walsall (6), Swindon (6), Warrington (6).

National news

  • 11 Books That Will Make You Love Libraries Even More – Bookbub. “True book lover knows that libraries are the most magical places on earth, and the people who work in them are pretty incredible, too. The keeper of stories and protectors of knowledge, librarians are smart, kind, and full of great reading suggestions. They’re also the perfect fodder for fiction and nonfiction stories alike. From mysteries to fantasies to nonfiction stories, here is a list of books featuring librarians. Publishers’ descriptions included below.”

“What steps she is taking to improve access to library services in (a) Staffordshire and (b) England; and if she will make a statement. ” Michael Fabricant MP, Conservative.

“The Government are providing support for library authorities throughout England to deliver library services that are accessible and modern, and that meet local needs. That includes a £4 million libraries innovation fund, new wi-fi provision and support for library authorities to explore alternative operating models such as mutuals. I strongly believe that staff should have a stake in the public services they provide.” Rob Wilson MP, Conservative, libraries minister

“Lichfield library is situated in a lovely old building, but it would cost more than £1 million to maintain it, so Staffordshire County Council decided to move the library into a heritage centre, which will strengthen that centre, and the old library building is now being privatised and restored. It is a win-win situation. What sort of advice on best practice does the Department give to other county councils? Perhaps Staffordshire County Council could be a model, in this instance at least.” Michael Fabricant

“I welcome the approach that has been taken by Lichfield library and congratulate Staffordshire County Council on its work. Local authorities need to think imaginatively about how libraries can deliver their priorities, and the ambition document that we recently published through the Libraries Taskforce challenges them to do so. Standing still is really not an option. I encourage local authorities to embrace change and to be bold in finding solutions, as Staffordshire has done.” Rob Wilson

“May I thank the Minister for being so personally engaged in supporting our efforts to protect Swindon’s vital community libraries? Will he join me in praising Councillor Dale Heenan for setting up the community library trust that has saved Covingham library and that should be expanded further?” Justin Tomlinson MP, Conservative.

“May I thank my hon. Friend for all the efforts he is making in Swindon? I recently visited the local authority, and I was really encouraged by the desire to keep local libraries open. I join him in congratulating his local colleague and local councillor on the work he has done in setting up a local trust and keeping libraries open.” Rob Wilson, They Work For You 9th February.

  • Axiell UK combines UK business areas to provide integrated cultural solution – Axiell. “Axiell UK, the leading supplier of IT systems and services to public libraries and the global leader for collections management solutions, is pleased to announce a major operational change to its business in the UK, which will see the merging of two of its primary business areas – the Public Library business and the Archives, special Libraries and Museums business (ALM), creating one team working collaboratively to benefit its customers.”
  • NLT analysis exposes England’s literacy ‘crisis’ – BookSeller. “The vast majority of England’s constituencies have “serious literacy issues”, according to charity The National Literacy Trust (NLT), following new analysis carried out by the NLT and credit referencing agency Experian….”
  • Stronger Together – Leon’s Library Blog. “I make no apologies for this post being unashamedly a recruiting drive for Cilip after seeing on Twitter that membership is still falling by 3%. However, as with everything, the context needs to be understood to see this fall as a positive and not necessarily a negative”
  • UK-wide service will ‘transform library collaboration’ – Research Information. “Jisc, the digital solutions provider for UK education and research, has announced that OCLC, the global library cooperative, has been awarded the contract to develop a new National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK). The NBK, originally proposed in Jisc’s National Monograph Strategy, will support the learning and research needs of the UK higher education community. The aim of the project is to extend the capabilities of the current Copac service by investing in technology that can ingest diverse library data at higher speed and greater volume. The new service is aimed at enabling a shift in the way that libraries manage their print and digital collections and in the ways that people access those resources.”

International news

  • France – A public library that’s nicer than the fanciest tech offices – Fastcodesign. “Libraries are like the Madonnas of the architectural world—changing, evolving, and morphing with the times. Now they’re in the midst of a technological reinvention. And as they shed their physical media and go digital, libraries’ most significant contribution to a community is often not as a repository of books—but a beacon that draws people together.” … “Reading nooks built like cubbies into the walls, music-practice rooms covered in tactile (and sound insulating) materials like carpet and cork, couches where multiple people can recline, and space-age Lucite lounge chairs suspended from the ceiling. People can have lunch at a cafe, or sit individually with a book. Every new discovery and spatial aberration encourages even more exploration. All of these elements seem more apt for fancy tech office than a musty public library.”
  • Global – Public Libraries – driving a new public governance model? – Axiell. “Inhabitants in a city should be looked upon as citizens, not customers. Public libraries recognised the crumbling of the old way of thinking a number of years ago and went with the “Relations – not transactions” mantra, which was agreed upon from around 2011. Still, the change towards a relation-based model has not yet been dramatic and we have not seen, to my knowledge, many examples of analysis of the effect of this change and its direction…”
  • India – For India’s poor children, community libraries are an escape, a refuge and much, much more – Scroll. “Given the dwindling number of public libraries, combined with the inflated rates at which books are sold at most commercial bookstores, it is nearly impossible for children from lower-income families to find the means to read. Community libraries bring reading and literature to areas where books are hard to come by. At a time when rote learning, securing high marks and a career-centred approach to education are encouraged, these libraries provide a space for children to think, question and evolve”
  • United Arab Emirates – Getting Books Into the Hands of Arab Readers – Al-Fanar Media. ““You can’t have a knowledge society without libraries,” says professor of library studies Sumayya Ahmed. This is the reason that countries such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates—small, young, oil-rich states that aim to be hubs of education and innovation—are investing in them. And it’s the reason Ahmed arrived in Qatar in the fall of 2016, to teach information and library studies at a new master’s degree program offered by University College London Qatar. ” … but librarians are looked down upon in the area as people who can’t do any other job.
  • USA – For the Poorest and Sickest, Librarians Often Play Doctor – Governing. “According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, 73 percent of people who visit a public library in America go looking for answers about their health. “People tend to be more comfortable asking their librarians something rather than their doctor where they might feel rushed or intimidated,” said Pokorny”
  • USA – Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: The Met, New York Public Library, Smithsonian & More – Open Culture. “Calling all coloring book lovers. You can now take part in #ColorOurCollections 2017–a campaign where museums and libraries worldwide will make available free coloring books, letting you color artwork from their collections and then share it on Twitter and other social media platforms. When sharing, use the hashtag #ColorOurCollections.”
  • USA – Libraries Resist: A Round-Up of Tolerance, Social Justice, & Resistance in US Libraries – Book Riot. “Libraries are not, nor have they ever been, neutral spaces. They are political. Every decision made in a library, from books to be included in the collection, to displays created, to special populations to reach, is political. Many believe that libraries and librarians are apolitical, but it’s simply not true. It’s impossible to be a neutral space with the goal of reaching a community, be it the public or the academic or the special population the library serves. By inviting all in a community to be in a shared space, libraries embrace the idea of encouraging education, encouraging acceptance and tolerance, and on a much smaller scale, they create policies that ensure these very things happen in their spaces…”
  • USA – McAllen Public Library director receives worldwide recognition – Stephenville Empire-Tribune. Librarian in charge of library that was once a Walmart. “”We are excited to hear that our director, Ms. Horan was chosen for this honor. In the years that I have worked at MPL, I have witnessed her unique vision of library services in action. Her leadership has changed how libraries interact with their patrons, not only here in McAllen, but also across South Texas. I believe that through this book, she will inspire many to transform their libraries,” Gonzalez said. Part of the reason Horan says she was hand-picked for the publication is because of the publicity received by the McAllen library for its beautiful architecture and inviting design of user space.”

Local news by authority

“Library chiefs trying desperately to convince locals of the need to move Bath’s central library 300 metres up the road have concentrated on how much more “modern” the new location (some former council offices) would be. The move to “a new, modern refurbished location” will feature more computers and fast wifi insists Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES).  It’s a bizarre argument, given that Bath Central Library is housed in a purpose-built space in the Podium Centre, which opened in 1990 — in the face of complaints that it was, er, too modern for the historic city centre.

The existing library conveniently shares the building with a Waitrose, and its cafe and car parking and has good disability access and facilities.  If more computers and souped-up wifi are needed, it’s hard to see why they couldn’t be installed at the Podium. In fact, what BANES must mean by “modern” is “smaller and shoehorned in with another service”.  When Cllr Dine Romero asked last week whether the new location would have the same floor space, she was given a lot of waffle about better technology, but finally the council confirmed that the new building will have 8 percent less floor space — and a one-stop shop for council services will be using much of the remaining space. After being repeatedly challenged by library users, library bosses were less upbeat, saying that thanks to local goverment cuts they have been “forced to make difficult decisions” and the move will save £800,000.  Campaigners say these figures seem to be based on guesswork and ignore the cost of moving and refurbishing a new space.

.  Figures published last week revealed that adults’ use of public libraries has dropped by 30 percent in the past decade.  With libraries closing, shrinking and cutting back opening hours, many adults can no longer find a library they can easily visit.” Bath and North East Somerset – Library News – Private Eye

  • Birmingham – Reduced opening hours at Frankley Library confirmed – Bromsgrove Advertiser. Frankley ” library has avoided the axe under council plans designed to slash running costs, but has had its reduced opening hours confirmed. As reported by the Advertiser last year, Birmingham City Council drew up plans to close some of the city’s 37 libraries to make savings of £1.9 million per year. Following a 12-week public consultation, Frankley Library has not been closed but has had its opening hours reduced from 22.5 a week to 21, becoming a ‘Tier 2′ library.”
  • Bury – Public consultation opens on Bury Council’s libraries plan – Bury Times. “Residents are invited to have their say on the two options put forward by Bury Council regarding the changes. The options are to substantially reduce the number of library buildings while developing new ways to enhance the overall service, the council says. Under both options, Bury Council proposes to create a ‘core’ team and a ‘community’ team, which would concentrate on developing digital services, information and learning, reader development and working in the community.”
  • Bury – Tottington Library closure could put an end to fundraising knitting group – Bury Times. “The library’s ‘Knit and Natter’ group, which meets on Mondays from 2pm to 4pm, raised £300 for Bury Hospice recently. But with the announcement that the library in Market Street will close as part of Bury Council’s shake-up of library services across the borough, members fear they will be left with nowhere to go.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Cambridge Central Library to close for a week as facilities are revamped – Cambridge News. “Cambridge Centre Library is to have a new layout on its first floor – with a new area for young people, and an extension of the children’s library. But it will have to close for a week in March while the improvement work is carried out, Cambridgeshire County Council officials say. The library is the fourth busiest in the country for issuing items, with 700,000 visitors passing through its doors every year”
  • Darlington – Darlington Labour are combining brutal library closures with sky high senior salaries and tax rises – Conservative Way Forward. “One place the money hasn’t been spent is front line services like libraries. Recent data consistently rank Darlington near the very bottom of over 130 local authorities in spending per resident on library services. In 2014/15, 111th out of 132. The previous year Darlington was 126th and the year before that 131st.  Worse, Labour now plan to close the town’s main library and move the books into a leisure centre and a multi storey car park. For the last twelve months, they have been in a heated battle with local residents over these proposals. Until September, they were complacent and refused to listen to local groups and petitions against the decision. But behind the scenes, I engaged with a number of local groups and found a top public law barrister to judicially review the decision. The council delayed their closure as soon as their weak legal position became clear. They now face challenges to the decision from the local Conservative Group on the Council and the potential that the decision will be called in by the Secretary of State. “
  • Darlington – Government asked to intervene in Darlington Borough Council’s contentious library plans – Northern Echo. “Darlington-born Conservative politician Peter Cuthbertson has written to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport requesting a call in of the long-opposed proposals. If approved later this month, Darlington Borough Council’s plans would see the town’s mobile library closed, Cockerton Library handed to volunteers to run and Crown Street Library closed, with the majority of its resources moved to the nearby Dolphin Centre.” … “Mr Cuthbertson, currently councillor for Westminster, said Darlington Borough Council consistently ranked below over 100 local authorities in spending per resident on library services and among the highest in its spend on executive salary. ” … “A decisive vote on the future of Darlington’s library services will take place at a meeting of the council on Tuesday, February 28. “
  • Devon – Sidmouth Library -3D printing workshop for children – Fablab Devon. “Fun and exciting workshop for children age 8-16. Learn how to create a keyring using 3D design software then personalise it by adding your name. when you are finished send your design over to the 3D printer to be printed.”
  • Dorset – Job Centre, library and day care centre could all be provided from one building – Bournemouth Echo. “It could lead to one public building providing a range of services previously provided by a job centre, library, health body and children’s or day care centre. The Dorset Community Offer for Living and Learning comes amid a massive reduction in government funding for public bodies and a drive for organisations to work together to protect services and find new ways to deliver them.”. Government gives £100k for trial in Blandford, Wareham, Ferndown, Weymouth, Portland and Beaminster. .
  • Edinburgh – Library cutbacks: Council urged to drop plans to reduce library hours – Edinburgh Evening News. “Under the cost-cutting plans, all Edinburgh’s public libraries would be closed on Monday and Wednesday mornings and on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, and only open on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.The mobile library service also faces cutbacks when the changes come into effect in April. But council chiefs said unlike some local authorities, they had avoided closing any library completely. The council – which meets tomorrow to set the 2017/18 budget – will have £10 million more than expected to spend next year following the deal between the Greens and the SNP to pass the Scottish Government budget at Holyrood last week. And Edinburgh’s Green councillors say some of that money should be used to reverse the proposed library cuts. “
  • Essex – Children of imprisoned fathers in HMP/YOI Chelmsford benefit from unique library initiative – East Anglia Daily Times. “Red Lion Books in High Street, Colchester, has teamed up with Essex Libraries to donate 500 ex-World Book Day books from its stock for fathers to give their children to encourage reading as part of Family Library Time sessions at HMP/YOI Chelmsford. The sessions offer children the opportunity to visit their fathers and develop their reading skills at the same time. Anne Brown, Essex County Council’s cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: “The sessions offer a less daunting way for children to visit their fathers in prison, away from the large visiting hall.”

“One of the imprisoned fathers wrote a letter to the library supervisor after a recent session. He said: “To the lovely under-appreciated ladies of the library, thank you so much for everything this afternoon, it was perfect. “I know that you put a lot of thought and time into making today very special and let me tell you, special it was.”

  • Essex – Could you spare 18 hours to help children to read? – Echo Series. Libraries “are once again looking for volunteers aged 14 and above to help children keep reading in the summer holidays during the Summer Reading Challenge. Volunteers will help library staff sign children up to the challenge and talk to children about their books,. Ann Holland, Southend councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, said: “Last year we had 70 fantastic volunteers completing 18, 16.5 hours in six libraries, helping staff deliver another hugely-successful Summer Reading Challenge.” … “Volunteers should be able to commit to a minimum of 18 hours from Saturday, July 22 to Saturday, September 2. “
  • Fife – Fife author shortlisted for literary award – Courier. James Oswald: “He also felt grateful to the public library staff who have supported him, believing they provide an irreplaceable service and benefit to communities across the UK. “I am thrilled to have been nominated for this year’s CWA Dagger in the Library Award. “Unlike other Daggers, this is picked by librarians themselves, and is for a body of work.”
  • Kirklees – £1.6m to be cut from libraries? – Spenborough Guardian. “But after £1.8m was chopped in a previous round of cuts to this service, 16 libraries became volunteer-led and eight suffered reduced hours.Chairwoman of the Friends of Cleckheaton Library, Kay Quantrill, said: “I am deeply concerned that the library service, which is only just recovering from the last significant cut to budget, is again taking a disproportionate hit.”She added: “We have recently, in North Kirklees, lost two museums, and it is a very real fear that if this budget is approved, we will lose libraries as well. Chairman of the Friends of Heckmondwike Library, Chris Martin, said the libraries are still “struggling and regrouping” from previous cuts.”
  • Kirklees – Latest budget cuts to Kirklees: new threat to our library – Friends of Marsden Library. “The Library Service is faced with another reduction in its budget for 2018/19, from £3.9 million to £2.238 million. Help us make representations to the Council at its meeting on 15 February – use the information here to write to or email our Colne Valley Ward Councillors.  Tell them what the Library means to you. These cuts are of such a scale and will leave such a small budget remaining for the whole Library estate that it is difficult to envisage how a service like Marsden Library will continue to be resourced by the Council. Our Library is located in Marsden Mechanics which is subject to an Asset Transfer which should be concluded by the end of this financial year.  From this point forward the Council will no longer pay rent or service charges – making big savings in terms of the provision of the Library Service in Marsden.  We have already seen staffing reduced and the hours cut from 30 hours to 20 hours per week….”
  • Lambeth – Carnegie library planning go‑ahead– Brixton Blog. “Lambeth council’s planning committee last night backed an application to excavate the basement of the Carnegie library in Herne Hill so that it can be used as a gym run by the council’s leisure provider GLL. Other changes to the building the committee agreed include a new entrance and a reduction in size of the library’s garden. The committee imposed a “specific use condition” on the ground floor to say that its only use must be as a library and “community space”. Campaigners have said that community use of the ground floor, which used to house the regular library, could involve “high impact” exercising and other activities likely to distract from any use as a library.” … “The meeting took place under the eyes of a dozen security officers in high-visibility jackets and three or four police officers. Access was strictly controlled “for health and safety reasons” and bags were searched”.  Green councillor points out “there had been 316 objections to the planning application and only five comments in support of it.” … “After the meeting the Defend the Ten campaign, which has led the fight against the council’s plans for its libraries, said that work on the Carnegie building would cost the council £3m.” … “Estimated income from new uses for the building enabled by the conversion would be £180,000 a year, meaning that the cost would be paid back over six or seven years and preserve the building and library provision in it.”
  • Lancashire – Council tax rise approved – Blackpool Gazette. “Tory councillor Michael Green failed in a bid to persuade the ruling Labour group to reinstate library and bus services affected by cuts when he introduced his party’s alternative budget… The Tory proposals included spending £2.2m on reopening closed libraries, providing £1m in subsidies to retain existing subsidised bus routes and fund more bus services and £1m to provide employment opportunities for young people. Other proposals in the rejected £14m package included cutting the number of vacant posts continuing a subsidy for the Knott End ferry. But his proposals were rebuffed with Liberal Democrat Coun David Whipp saying: “I’ve never seen such extreme Tory fantasy financing.”
  • Leicestershire – Community library in Quorn opens – Loughborough Echo. “Leicestershire’s latest community partnership library will open today (Wednesday, February 8) at Rawlins Academy campus, when the county council hands over the keys to a local group. Coun Olwen Jones, from the Quorn group, said: “It’s been two years in the planning, but we are delighted that Quorn Community Library opens today (Wednesday), staffed by our fantastic team of local volunteers who care passionately that Quorn deserves to keep its village library. “We would like to thank Rawlins Academy for enabling the library to move to larger premises on campus, and we look forward to being able to offer a programme of events for all ages in the new facility.”
  • Lincolnshire – Double celebration for Deeping Library – Rutland and Stamford Mercury. “Deeping Library celebrated its first birthday last week and to mark the occasion, a cake in the shape of books was created by Lilli’s Tea Rooms in Market Deeping.” … “The library co-coordinator, Louisa Crowson, added her pride in being appointed to the role and thanked all those who volunteered to enable the services to run so well.”
  • Lincolnshire – Holbeach Library prepped for new chapter in fresh location – Spalding Voice. “Staff and volunteers are busy making final preparations for the reopening of Holbeach Library in a new location on Monday.(Feb 13) The facility, now being run by non-profit organisation Greenwich Leisure Ltd, is part of a £1.2million project by Lincolnshire Co-op to create a community hub at its Fleet Street site. An open plan area also houses a pharmacy and Post Office – both of which will also open on Monday after switching from their current High Street locations.”
  • Newcastle – The neglect of our libraries is a sign that we are failing as a society – Chronicle. “The value of libraries – which are places of learning, discovery, even refuge for some – is impossible to quantify, and we are carelessly throwing them away. Given my belief that libraries are among the greatest achievements of our society, we seem to be failing here in a fairly major way.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – More than 3,000 people sign petition to save Cleethorpes Library – Grimsby Telegraph. Library will close and be co-located with tourist information centre.  Council “surprised” by strength of reaction to move as library “will not close”.
  • Plymouth – Library closure would ‘devastate’ North Prospect – Herald. “This Saturday, a group of around 20 people turned up at The Beacon in North Prospect to discuss the future of their library inside of the hub which was only built three years ago. Proposed plans to knock down St Budeaux library and spend £1.3million on constructing a larger building in the same spot were met with passionate opposite in the room, with residents questioning why The Beacon and North Prospect Library hadn’t been considered for the same use without needing to spend the phenomenal sum.”
  • Plymouth – Plymouth may owe the Government money if it closes Efford library – Plymouth Herald. “Efford library opened in December 2007, funded by a share of £1.9million from the Building Communities Initiative, part of the South West Regional Development Agency.” The allocated money for 2007 to 2010 was £976,336, which covered road improvements, neighbourhood regeneration and other initiatives. Efford was chosen for the project due to its high levels of social deprivation, crime, unemployment and poor health. ” The Royal Marine pub was demolished and replaced with a new building containing residential housing, a new church and new library. Plymouth City Council has now earmarked the library for closure, and there are fears some of the money might have to be given back.”
  • Somerset – Bridgwater Library to hold 3D Design and Print Competition – Bridgwater Mercury. “Bridgwater Library is holding a 3D Design and Print competition, launching on Saturday to help provide young people and schools with an opportunity to find out more about 3D printing and design. At the event they can see the 3D printers in action, try out the 3D design software, try out fun tech gadgets and join free workshops happening throughout the day.”
  • Stockton – Egglescliffe Library is for sale and set to close at end of March – Northern Echo. “Egglescliffe Library has been put up for sale and it will close as a lending facility at the end of March. “For Sale” signs have now been put up on the library and it is hoped that a buyer will be found soon.”
  • Suffolk – More Conservative cuts for Suffolk’s JAMs – Caroline Page (Lib Dem Councillor). “Amongst the many cuts to this year’s budget,  Suffolk Conservatives proposed a further £230,000 cut to the library service budget . Concerning because since they became IPSs,  our libraries have been well used – and used  for so many purposes –  by readers, reading groups, writing groups, clubs; for old, for young, for retired, employed, unemployed and first job seekers; for AGMs, poetry readings, play performances,  and the ever-popular  reading challenge. I hold my monthly surgery  in Woodbridge Library because it is such a community hub…..”
  • Swansea – Pre-council election row over future of Brynhyfryd Library in Swansea – South Wales Evening Post. Lib Dems accuse Labour of wanting to close Brynhyfyrd Library after May election; Labout accuses Lib Dems of scaremongering. “It follows rumours, they claim, that the conclusions of a review of library services are being kept secret until after the council elections. “The report reputedly suggests the closure of three libraries, including Brynhyfryd, even though that building was refurbished at great expense a few years ago,” said the newsletter”
  • Telford and Wrekin – A place free of judgement: New book about this innovative project to be launched with knowledge sharing event –  Arts Connect. “During 2016, Blast Theory and acclaimed author Tony White worked with young people in libraries in Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire and Staffordshire to reimagine libraries, storytelling and their place in the world. On 29 October 2016, over the course of nine hours from 3pm to midnight, the young people took control of their local libraries, and performed live to a worldwide audience via an interactive live stream. This book is a result of that process.”. Tuesday 21st February.
  • Torfaen – Torfaen library services win reprieve – Unison. “Concerted lobbying efforts by UNISON Torfaen County branch have removed the threat of reduced library services across the region this year. Torfaen County Borough councillors were so impressed by the trade union’s campaign and strength of public feeling they reversed a proposed £240,000 cut in the local libraries budget, which would have made fifteen people redundant.”
  • Walsall – Walsall library closures: Pelsall protest meeting is packed out as Aldridge gets good news – Express and Star. “Pelsall Library, which was opened five years ago by Prince Edward, is one of nine in the borough earmarked for closure under cuts planned by Walsall Council chiefs.” … “I don’t think I have ever been to a public meeting that has gathered as much support as this. Borrowing books may have reduced but the library is more than a book and that is the message we need to get across.” Residents packed out a public meeting held at Pelsall Village Centre about under-threat Pelsall Library. Chairman for the meeting councillor Marco Longhi stands next to councillor Oliver Bennett The letter, devised by the three ward councillors, suggests that Pelsall Library should be given the same status as district libraries or Streetly Library which now has a ‘hub status’ and is community led. It will be handed to councillors with the petition at a meeting on February 25.”
  • Warrington – ‘Doing nothing is not an option’ says councillor responsible for libraries – Warrington Guardian. “Councillor Tony Higgins, executive board member for leisure, community and culture who is responsible for changes to the library service, said he is ‘pleased’ with LiveWire’s recommendations in a report based on the results of a public consultation. He said the council cannot ignore residents’ feelings about the closure of libraries and therefore, if the executive board members agree, LiveWire’s original plans will not go ahead. But he added: “Doing nothing is not an option and we must be realistic about securing a sustainable future for our libraries within the limited resources that we have.”
  • West Berkshire – West Berkshire library staff face redundancy as cuts package approved – Newbury Today. £580k cut confirmed: paid staffing budget to be halved.
  • Wigan – Councillor Mark Aldred shelves MP Chris Green’s claims about the future of Atherton Library – Leigh Journal. “After a consultation closed at the weekend seeking residents’ views on how to make the current library service more efficient and effective as Wigan Council looks to make savings of £1.4 million over the next year due to government cuts, MP Chris Green said on his website that ‘it seems we are about to lose’ Atherton Library. “