Archive for August, 2017

Designed specifically for library staff noticeboards. So I upload an image to PLN. Oh well.

No national public libraries website until at least 2019

Editorial

After a recommendation in 2014 and two reports, the news is that a single digital presence for public libraries will have to wait at least another year and a half while another report is being produced. A “single digital presence”, incidentally, is simply a website (and if we’re lucky, an app) offering e-resources and/or catalogues. Or possibly not,, as no decisions have yet been made even on what it actually is. Meanwhile, there’s a patchwork of hundreds of library websites, some very good but some lamentably bad, all around the country. The reasons for the delay I suspect is that there’s (a) no money, (b) too many different authorities with (c) no-one actually with the authority to direct action and possibly (d) not enough actual technical expertise and know-how amongst the decision makers. As such the chances of a national library website by 2020 [Edit – originally said 2010 as a typo – or perhaps I like making sure-thing predictions? Ed.] is looking slight and the temptation to kick things into the long grass quite high. So that’s me being pessimistic. Sorry about that. I really hope I’m proven wrong and there’s something really impressive in sight before the end of the decade. But I’m having difficulty actually believing it. Anyone willing to take a bet?

Now for two impressive things. The big promising trend I’ve been seeing for a year or two is libraries feeding children over the school holidays. It’s an idea originating in the USA that is taking off here with some really good results. Have a read below about what is happening in Rochadale. The other seriously good thing is happening literally a world away – Auckland have been done some really good life-changing things with the homeless, up to and including reading groups and cinema screenings. Have a read of their story here.

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Find out more via http://www.libraryexcellence.com/

And the food is good as well

Editorial

So I’ve been following the news about public libraries for a while now. There’s a lot of depressing  and reactive stuff out there but gosh there’s a lot of good stuff out there too (check out this ideas list).  There is a danger of seeing just the trees near you, be they axed or blossoming, and not the wood. This is one of the reasons I do PLN (apart from the obvious lack of a social life I mean) : to give a sense to all who read it a sense of the big picture, be it nationally or internationally. But in the final analysis, however I try to balance it, it’s just one person’s view and bias always creeps in. And I can get terribly side-tracked or, sometimes, just plain wrong, on occasions. And this is why I like attending conferences – because there you can get the point of views of others, often the very best in what they do. You still have to watch out for bias (it’s a rare conference speaker who will criticise their audience or the organiser, for instance) and groupthink but there’s a lot to gain from it.

Which is why I try to go to as many as possible. It’s not easy, these days, not least because the work is always there waiting for you when you come back home, but I’ve never yet been to one which I regretted. This is always the more so when one hears from people from difference countries. We can get so caught up in our own mindsets and what is seen as possible and desirable, and miss out on what people are doing elsewhere. More mundanely, it gives one a chance to look up when so often we only have the chance to keep out heads down. So, I’d like to recommend going to conferences when you can, such as the “Global Excellence Tour” below. I promise you that you’ll come away with new ideas. And the food is normally good too.

Future Libraries – Global Excellence Tour

Global excellence

“These seminars examines the development of global excellence in libraries across the world. They will look at smart libraries, smart ways of working, smart cities and smart citizens. Find out how properly funded  libraries could underpin so much more than you think.  How are Australia, US and Europe transforming and delivering on civic and government agendas?

While 8 out of 10 people using the internet on a daily basis, these statistics hide a deeper digital divide. How can digital excellence free up libraries to deliver on their key community, inclusion and literacy roles? Key messages include:

·        Over the past year, growth in internet use has stalled. This suggests that all those who want to be connected, can get a connection and can afford the cost, have done so.

·        People that lack confidence, skills or are unable to afford connectivity are being left behind.

·        21% of adults still don’t have basic digital skills and can’t fully benefit from being online. Just because someone can use Facebook doesn’t mean they are confident in applying for jobs online.

·        Increasingly online benefits systems risk disenfranchising those who are already excluded. Approaches to addressing digital exclusion must be embedded in a broader approach to tackling social exclusion. Who but the public library?

Key discussion points will include::

  • Lessons so far – from those who have delivered on academic, local, national and regional initiatives. Learn about skills development, knowledge sharing and funding;
  • Data – the way forward for harnessing data plus options for deriving value
  • Investment – in light of funding pressures in local government, what innovative approaches are emerging to financing, new partnerships and collaborative working;
  • Standards – assessing the development of standards and interoperability frameworks, and the customising of services to local needs;
    Infrastructure – in light of Digital Strategy, how can it be ensured that libraries digital infrastructure is viable
  • Policy priorities – key issues for us involved in digital strategy, smart cities, local authorities and communities, and the citizens using smart city services.

Locations are London Kensington Conference and Events Centre (Monday 11th September), Glasgow Grand Central Hotel (Tuesday 12th), Dublin Hilton Garden Inn (Wednesday 13th), Cardiff Central Library (Thursday 14th). Speakers vary between venues.”

[I will be attending in London as a guest of the conference, make sure to say hello if you see me there and tell me ideas from your service that should be shared – Ed.] 

Changes

Ideas

National news

  • Ambition Progress Indicators – the story so far (a lot can happen in a year…) – Libraries Taskforce. “Was it only 12 months ago that I started my secondment with the Libraries Taskforce? Released one day a week from my ‘day job’ as service manager for Sheffield Libraries and Archives service back in May 2016,”
  • Blood, bookworms, bosoms and bottoms: the secret life of libraries – Guardian. “I recently had the privilege of circling the world to write a book about libraries. My timing was excellent: after a short-lived e-books scare, physical books are back in fashion, and libraries are the place to be.” … “Only after I’d finished my library tour and my book could I see the image that emerged from the pulpy jumble of bookish stories. The picture is nothing less than a new understanding of what libraries are for – not art, architecture, education, politics, antiquarianism, digitisation or information science. Instead, it is about humanism and self-preservation. “
  • Commuter Hubs in libraries – Libraries Taskforce. “The first phase of the library commuter hub pilot included a number of libraries across London and was a success with overwhelmingly positive feedback. A recent survey showed that staff enjoyed a reduction in commuting costs, improved work/life balance and reclaimed precious time to spend with family and friends” … “This collaboration has benefited not only MoJ staff but also libraries in giving them an extra income stream from otherwise redundant (back office) space” [No balancing view is provided – Ed.]
  • Community Libraries Network – Community Libraries Network. “The Upper Norwood Library Trust, in partnership with Locality, the Libraries Taskforce and the Society of Chief Librarians, have established the Community Library Peer Network, a new initiative funded by Power to Change to be developed over the next 18 months. The project aims to expand the existing Locality-run Community Knowledge Hub by growing its membership to include a further 200 community libraries with shared interests and goals; developing cutting edge content and ensuring its long-term sustainability.” [This appears to be a basic free off-the-shelf Wordpress site, which normally is associated with hobbyists, but it appears genuine – Ed.]
  • Library cuts planned in Wales and Lincolnshire – BookSeller.

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • Jamaica – National Library of Jamaica Lobbies United Kingdom Diaspora’s Support – Jamaica Information Service. “During the week-long working visit, the team made a special presentation to members of the Jamaican diaspora entitled ‘The Importance of Archives: Exploring NLJ’s Special Collections – Miss Lou Archives’ at which Mrs. Douglas said the NLJ is increasing its efforts to find a new home for the archives. She noted that in addition to the Jamaican diaspora, the team also anticipated the support of UK Government agencies and individuals.”
  • USA – Position Statement on Labelling Books with Reading Levels – AASL. “Labeling and shelving a book with an assigned grade level on its spine allows other students to observe the reading level of peers, thus threatening the confidentiality of students’ reading levels. Only a student, the child’s parents or guardian, the teacher, and the school librarian as appropriate should have knowledge of a student’s reading capability.”
  • USA – Public Libraries Are for Everyone: A Response to the Illinois Family Institute – CBLDF. “Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute thinks that librarians who celebrate Banned Books Week are hypocrites. In an article on the organization’s website last week, she argued that the real banned books are not the oft-targeted ones like And Tango Makes Three which depict same-sex parents or other LGBT characters. Rather, she says that what she believes to be the ideological opposite of those books — that would be “books that challenge Leftist assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality” — never even make it into libraries in the first place due to bias on the part of librarians” see also Florida: Public libraries still pushing Islam – Tea Party.
  • USA – Virtual reality headsets bring stories to life at San Jose public libraries – Mercury News. “The downtown library and Evergreen branch are two of ninety state libraries to launch virtual reality through Oculus VR and the California Library Association this year. The SPJL VR headsets are open to the public at no cost. Ball said Oculus hopes this initiative helps people who may not otherwise be able to experience virtual reality due to their economic and social circumstances.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – North-east prison inmates are brought to book – Evening Express. “Inmates at Grampian’s superprison are spending their time learning about evil gangs, tattoos and even brushing up on their English by reading the dictionary in the library.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Let’s get my library figures in order – Bath Chronicle / Letters. “as I illustrated to Kirsten Elliott, library usage has dropped nationally by over 30 per cent in a decade. If you extrapolate this going forward another decade, it follows that usage could fall below 20 per cent. So, despite Kirsten’s belief that we should maintain status quo, I suggest the re-think proposed by the Council represents good strategic planning and forethought.”
  • Brent – Five bright murals by Sudbury artist to brighten up Wembley Central – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The Friends of Barham Library (FOBL) recently received a financial boost from Wembley Futures and have commissioned one of their “artists in residence” to brighten up the area.”
  • Buckinghamshire – 35 children’s centres across Bucks face axe – Bucks Free Press. “A consultation has opened with people and organisations around Bucks being asked to complete a survey, available online and in Bucks libraries”
  • Calderdale – Opening date set for new £9m Halifax central library – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “The new £9m central library in Halifax, next to the recently revamped Piece Hall, will open to the public for the first time on Tuesday, September “
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Animals take over Northwich Library for summer challenge – Northwich Guardian. “children have been flocking to Northwich Library for as part of the Summer Reading Challenge. Libraries across the borough have been holding a host of events for youngsters”. Including Chester Zoo.
  • Cornwall – Camborne Library to close on Friday for repair and refurbishment – Cornwall Live. “Camborne Library will temporarily close for several weeks to allow an extensive repair and refurbishment programme to be completed. Ownership of the building will be transferred to Camborne Town Council and the badly needed improvement works will allow the library to be used for greater community benefit.”
  • Coventry – Eight ways savvy parents can save money as kids go back to school – Coventry Telegraph. Includes libraries.
  • Croydon – Council on standby to take back control of public libraries – Inside Croydon. “As well as Hounslow kicking Carillion out of their libraries, Oxfordshire County Council is planning to exit a significant proportion of its contracts for various outsourced services. Croydon could be next.”. Councillor says “Following the contract termination on July 31 by Hounslow, Carillion have to make alterations to how they manage the Croydon contract and we continue to press for improvements to the service.”
  • Dorset – Friends of Weymouth Library (FOWL) has launched a new website to enhance their work – Dorset Echo. “Friends of Weymouth Library (FOWL), a volunteer group which raises the library’s budget and profile, has officially launched its online portal for residents. With the help of the library’s resident Digital Champion David Smith the group now has a shiny new website where upcoming events and library news will be shared.”
  • Glasgow – ‘The House that Heals the Soul’ by Nick Thurston at CCA, Glasgow – Blouin Art Info. “The exhibition focuses on the social as well as the political status of libraries. It’s a result of the active collaboration of the artist with the CCA. The exhibition will open up the space to house a selection of library and self-publishing resources alongside connecting artworks. The exhibition will explore the library space through various histories of, and approaches towards, protection and presentation of libraries’ collections, infrastructures and their users.”
  • Hackney – This week in Hackney 30 years ago: Fury as collection boxes are removed from libraries on mayor’s orders – Hackney Gazette. “Charity collection boxes featuring Noddy figures were booted out of Hackney’s libraries to make way for collection boxes for the mayor’s own charity – but she had not yet chosen one. “
  • Hull – Hull Central Library gets 3D printer and other hi-tech gadgets after £300k investment – Hull Daily Mail. ” section of Hull Central Library is set to be transformed into a new high-tech area with 3D printers, digital embroidery machines and vinyl cutters thanks to an investment of almost £300,000. The Makerspace/Fablab will be created on the second floor of the city centre library and will provide access to a variety of equipment, technology and tools.”
  • Manchester – New events and activities help make Manchester Libraries more popular than ever – Manchester City Council. “The total number of visits recorded rose to 2,917,370 in 2016/7, from 2,784,449 in 2015/6, while attendance at library-based activities and events increased by 30 per cent – with the total number of activities offered rising to more than 134,000, from less than 100,000 for the previous year.”
  • North Lincolnshire – £1m makeover set to give new lease of life to Scunthorpe Central Library – Scunthorpe Telegraph. “Scunthorpe’s Central Library is to be given a new lease of life with a £1 million project to transform it into a community hub.”
  • North Somerset – Refurbished library and children’s centre ready for grand opening – North Somerset Times. “The High Street facility has been closed since the end of April to enable North Somerset Council to transform the services it provides. The children’s centre, which was previously based at the infant school around the corner, has been moved into the library. The overhaul is one part of North Somerset Council’s community access review, which will enable the authority to make long-term financial savings. But, to ensure services remain protected, the council has invested more than £800,000 to transform libraries such as Yatton.”
  • North Yorkshire – Austerity ‘challenges’ facing Harrogate libraries volunteers – Harrogate Advertiser. “The library service has seen its budget almost halved from £7.8m in 2010 to £4.3m in 2017/18.” … “While libraries in many parts of the country are closing, North Yorkshire’s flexible, co-operative approach and the massive support of 1,200 newly recruited volunteers has resulted in the recent reconfiguration of the service being implemented without losing any libraries.” … “most people this newspaper spoke also said there were challenges and worries about the new community library system.”
  • North Yorkshire – Free computer help at community library – North Yorkshire County Council. “Bentham Community Library, Pioneer Projects and North Yorkshire County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service (ALSS) are to launch a weekly internet and digital help session on Tuesday afternoons.”
  • Northumberland – Anger as multi-million pound plans for three Northumberland leisure centres are shelved – Chronicle. “Multi-million pound plans for three new leisure centres have been shelved – because the charity behind them lacks an “operational business plan” … “The centre earmarked for Morpeth was set to house a new town library and council customer services centre, with a hotel and restaurant completing the town’s riverside development”
  • Sheffield – Telegraph Voices: How could an alternative venue replace the Library Theatre? – Sheffield Telegraph. “I’m fond of it. But facilities – stage, backstage, bar, disability access – are completely unacceptable and the fabric of the building is crumbling expensively away. Given the kind of money spent recently on libraries in Manchester and Liverpool (think upwards of £50 million) you could gut the Central Library and turn it into a fabulous attraction. A ‘destination building’ with a computer-age library using a fraction of the overall space. As it does now.”
  • Sunderland – New community library with ‘honesty policy’ opens – Sunderland Echo. “Shiney Advice and Resource Project (ShARP), a community centre in Shiney Row, opened its new library in July and has already reported a successful month, with its ‘honesty policy’ to book-loaning proving to be just the ticket for bookworms. The Beatrice Terrace-based community hub, which provides a range of services including an Electronic Village Hall that receives technical support from Sunderland City Council, has seen a number of new people access the centre, and hopes to be able to engage them with the additional support services it offers, including welfare and debt advice. “
  • Surrey – Walton library baby changing toilets an ‘in joke’ for parents unable to use staff-only facility – Get Surrey. ” parent of a two-year-old has questioned why Walton Library has a baby changing facility that is not for public use. The Walton resident, who asked not to be named, regularly takes their son to the library, which is part of The Heart shopping complex, to read the large selection of children’s books. ” .. “I’ve found that it’s a bit of an in joke with local parents, the baby change is now seen as a VIP area that you’re very lucky to be allowed in to,”

“I spoke to the librarian who informed me that the toilet is not usually available to the public as there is no budget for the toilet to be cleaned by professional cleaners, and it’s not part of their job”

  • Windsor and Maidenhead – Library staff assure residents there is privacy at new customer service desks – Maidenhead Advertiser. “Staff have assured library users that there is privacy available for customer services on offer after concerns were raised. Last week the Advertiser reported the concerns of a library volunteer, who said the new scheme to move customer services from the town hall to the library had led her to overhear a private discussion about emergency housing when she was stacking books on shelves. This week the council agreed to show the Advertiser the new layout in Maidenhead Library which includes three private interview rooms and ‘contact points’ where residents can discuss customer services seven days a week from 9am-7pm.”

 

Cheshire West and Chester - Librarians taking pride at Chester Pride

Libraries Week: more resources now online

Editorial

One of the things one learns early on in libraries are that events, if they’re to be done properly, need a fair bit of planning and resources. It’s therefore good to see extra images and information on Libraries Week becoming available. It’s never been more important to get the message out about libraries and I look forward to seeing all the things happening in, eek, only a month or two’s time.

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10:1 : volunteers replacing paid staff

Editorial

There’s not many commonly accepted figures when it comes to volunteers in libraries and, it comes to something, where I’m the one offering some of the most comprehensive data as a hobby in the evenings. This came up again when  I said on Twitter a week ago that there were roughly 10 volunteers needed to replace one paid member of staff. Leaving aside the myriad debating points about the pros and cons of volunteers, a few people asked me where the data to base this on was.  Well, there’s no real data. The state of public library research is such that no-one really knows. But the figure was based on reading seven years of media reports and noting the number of volunteers mentioned in a “new” volunteer library. It’s also based on the rule of thumb that it’s a rare volunteer that would volunteer more than half a day per week, and even though there are some that do, there’d be those who do less. And of course volunteers would likely take more holidays than a paid person. I suspect, in fact, that there’s more than a ten-to-one ratio but it’s one that is easily memorable and probably as good as any,

If anyone has any more data or thoughts on the issue, do let me know. The ratio is important because it shows the difficulty implicit in sufficiently training volunteers and the number needed when thinking of closing down a paid library. But as in so many things, the data just isn’t there at the moment. And it should be. Because otherwise a lot of what’s going on at the moment looks dangerously like guesswork and thus roulette with a national public service.

NB: The PLN server broke down last week which meant you’re getting a bumper post today. Hopefully, more frequent posts will be the order of the day from now on.

Changes

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The problem of the time-poor and the money-rich

Editorial

I had a most entertaining meal with a few Australian library types a couple of evenings ago and discussed all sort of things, occasionally accompanied by sharp shocked intakes of breath as my companions realised how different the UK system was to theirs. One of the things discussed was the idea that libraries are increasingly used by those who have plenty of time and/or those who cannot afford an alternative. Depressing I know but hear me out. The thing here is that back before Amazon, Google and the internet even those short of time had limited alternatives to the public library – driving into town and reserving/buying a book from the local bookshop (probably a Waterstones even then) did not take that much less time than going to the library for the same thing. In fact, the library was probably closer. Nowadays one can purchase a book online at home via a click and have it delivered to your door the next day or even, if it’s an e-book. that second.

This means that those who have less time or more money are less likely to use a library now than then. There’s also another reason of course: many libraries have been hollowed out in that time, becoming less comparatively attractive. That is more to do with lack of investment than technology, as is clear to me when I visit a well-funded and beautifully appointed library (such as Manchester Central) as they all have a definite busy buzz about them. One of the reasons for this (by no means the sole one) is that they’re as attractive as many of the commercial alternatives to a person’s time. Now I’m not talking about stinking rich people here – they’ve rarely ever used public libraries anyway –  but rather that the number who make the rational decision about their library use, and decide against, are likely to be the more wealthy or more short of time. But those deciding against using libraries are becoming less and less comparatively rich or busy as technological change and cuts continue.

I don’t have any easy solutions to this. It’s just an explanation why many public libraries have the clientele they do: time-rich children and parents, money-poor jobseekers and students and time-rich (and often money-poor) senior citizens. Technology and hollowing out has made this more pronounced over the last decade or two. The very best libraries I’ve seen find alternatives: they provide things commercial alternatives do not (e.g. connecting people and empowerment in all its forms) and by doing so gain the trust and support of politicians who keep their funding. But there’s virtuous and vicious circles both at play here and you can probably tell which camp you’re local library is in quite easily. Just go in and look at the demographics.

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For some lucky kids, there is such a thing as a free lunch

Editorial

Suffolk Libraries, one of the few library mutual, has been confirmed in contract by the council for another five years. That’s fairly bittersweet considering the cuts the council has forced on them but it at least shows confidence in the model, often touted as one to improve efficiency in library services. Another such model – combining library services – is being tried in Bournemouth and Poole, with the downside being discovered by Bournemouth’s managers and specialists who are having their pay cut so as to equal that of their lesser paid neighbours.

Something special to bring your attention to is the lunch for children project at Plymouth. This is also happening in many authorities (Manchester, Oldham, Warrington, St Helens, Rochdale and doubtless others I don’t know about), normally partnering with other council or community agencies. It looks really successful and I suspect it’s a big new trend, as it has been successful in the USA for years. One to watch.

Changes

Ideas

National news

  • CILIP conferencePresentations available for many of the presenters [but not mine, I need to get that sorted – Ed.]
  • Equalities and Diversity Action Plan – CILIP. “committed to creating, implementing, monitoring and improving an Equalities and Diversity Action Plan with the aim of becoming an organisation that truly represents and achieves diversity and celebrates and encourages it in others.  The Equalities and Diversity Action Plan was launched on July 31st 2017
  • Fifteenth meeting of the Libraries Taskforce – Libraries Taskforce. Discussion about Cambridgeshire libraries. Delays to action plan due to general election and failure of some to respond. Culture. Mutuals. Subgroup on financing established. Reading and literacy. Other issues.
  • Library of Wales appoint UK’s first permanent Wikimedian – Welsh Country. “Jason Evans will make Wikipedia and its sister projects a core aspect of the Library’s activities and services. Building on the successful collaboration between the Library, Wikimedia UK and the Wiki community, he will lead activities associated with the Library’s collections, Wales as a nation and/or the Welsh language”
  • SOS Day for libraries – Unison. “Our SOS Day across the UK in October will show our support for libraries and raise awareness of the devastating impact cuts have had on this service. We will ask our members to show their support by joining their local library if they haven’t already, make sure they visit and use the great range of services on offer where they live. We will call on local and national decision-makers to take action on shameful spending cuts and ask councils to commit to providing comprehensive library services. To kick off this year’s SOS campaign, we want to hear from you. Tell us what your library does for you.”
  • Survey for UK Public Libraries – University of Sheffield. “The objective of this research is to investigate how the public library service in the United Kingdom engages its community through the promotion of local authors. Furthermore, how engagement and promotion of locally written literature positions the public library service as part of the unique literary heritage of the region/ local area and how this impacts the user demographic. “

An online bookclub from Axiell Advertisement

International news

  • Australia – Code Brown: Design Thinking & Beyond feat. @jeromical / Part 1 – Mechanical Dolphin. “And it wasn’t just about poo. We got to think about all things stinky and messy and bodily in these spaces. The rural library in NZ which coped with teens engaging in what was once called “heavy petting” (and more) by introducing wipe clean sofas and putting the family planning brochures on display right next to them. Or my own story, which was really about the smell of stinky feet.” … “Yet if you are serious about libraries being “the TARDIS on your streetcorner” – a magic space that can take you anywhere in knowledge and culture – that means accepting that people will use your TARDIS in ways you didn’t desire or foresee – and that some of these uses will be messy and troubling.”
  • Canada – Toronto Public Library gets in on the rebirth of records – CBC. “Toronto Public Library is getting in on the trend by adding 100 new records to their collection. The collection of more than 15,000 records is the largest of any public library in Canada. And librarian Beau Levitt had the honour of adding the new albums to the shelves at the Toronto Reference Library.”
  • Global – 4 important things users want from a library (and how to offer them) – Princh. “Sometimes, there is a big imbalance between what the users wish to have in a library and what they really get. As Mick Fortune mentions in our previous post, for many years libraries measured their success primarily by footfall and they only focused on that. Only in the last few years, libraries have really started focusing on getting to know their users better. Even so, all the studies, such as those made by The Pew Internet, Carnegie UK Trust, Museums Libraries & Archives UK, etc. end up showing the same results.”: opening hours, free. books and library staff.
  • USA – Free Lunch at the Library – New York Times. “Before opening their doors at noon, the librarians squeeze tables and chairs between the book stacks to prepare for the onslaught of hungry children. Usually, two or three dozen show up, but occasionally, up to 70 do. During the summer, they come to this tiny branch in Elmwood Place, a village in greater Cincinnati, for “Captain Underpants,” air-conditioning and, lately, a hot meal.”
  • USA – How Their First Library Card Teaches Kids Responsibility – EveryLibrary. “All those shiny plastic rectangles in your pocket signify bills to pay, money to spend, and all the other responsibilities that come with being a grown-up. But do you remember your first card? That first time you got a wallet and couldn’t wait to fill it with grown-up things, like photos, money, and cards! Perhaps that first official card of your very own was a library card. But a library card isn’t simply a way for kids to gain access to library materials, it’s also an ideal way to start kids on a path to responsible adulthood.”
  • USA – Livestreaming Library Chicks – Swiss Army Librarian. “Here’s something kind of neat we’re doing in my library: our Children’s Room has eggs in an incubator so the kids can watch them hatch, and then our IT person got the idea to livestream the eggs (and subsequent chicks) to our website. The eggs came from a farm in Western MA, and the chicks will go back there a couple weeks after they hatch. In the meantime, the incubator has been sitting on the Children’s Desk – and of course has been very popular with kids (and the local paper

National news

  • Barnet – Government to investigate Barnet’s library provision – BookSeller. “Libraries minister John Glen has told Barnet Council leader Councillor Richard Cornelius in a letter that the department of digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) is treating the representations made by Save Barnet Libraries campaigners Emily Burnham and Richard Strang as a formal complaint. This will see the DCMS investigate whether the council is fulfilling its statutory duty to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service, as set out in the Public Libraries Act of 1964.”
  • Barnet – Save Barnet Libraries campaign sees first victory after protest as culture ministry registers formal complaint – Ham and High. “Save Barnet Libraries campaigners are celebrating a small step towards victory after the culture secretary agreed to recognise their representations as a formal complaint – meaning the ministry will investigate the Council’s changes to library provision and could order them reversed.” … “In a letter addressed to Barnet Council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius, arts minister John Glen, whose purview covers libraries, says that his department is treating the representations made by Save Barnet Libraries campaigners Emily Burnham and Richard Strang as a formal complaint. This means DCMS will investigate whether the Council is fulfilling its statutory duty to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service”
  • Bath and North Est Somerset – Letter: Bath library move just wouldn’t be fair on disabled children – Bath Chronicle. “When I read Heidi I felt what it was like to use a wheelchair. It made me think how lucky I am to be able to run around and do cartwheels whenever I like. People in wheelchairs can do amazing things (just look at the Paralympians – they’re superhumans!) but Heidi’s friend, Clara, would find it really difficult to get around the library if it was on three floors instead of one.”
  • Birmingham – Councillors’ delight as Kingstanding Library receives extensive new makeover – Great Barr Observer. “”While others sat back, Barbara and I helped ensure funding was made available to help Witten Lodge Community Association work with us to help save and, hopefully, improve the service provided by the Kingstanding Library. “Unlike Walsall we decided that Oscott libraries needed to be kept open. “It was one of our main priorities and we know Oscott residents felt the same. All our behind-the-scenes efforts have been worth it.”
  • Bournemouth Library staff to see their pay reduced as part of jobs “realignment” – Daily Echo. “Library managers in Bournemouth will see their pay reduced as part of a “realignment” of jobs. The changes will see all the town’s 22 libraries kept open, without a reduction in opening hours, according to the council. However, new management roles will be created with pay based on scales in use in neighbouring Poole. At a council meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Jackie Edwards asked whether the staff were being “downgraded”. “I believe one of the consequences of the Bournemouth library service merger with Poole is the proposed downgrading of all the library managers, assistant and stock managers, approximately 30 people,” she said.”. All paid according to the (lower) Poole pay scale due combination with that service. Three year pay protection.
  • Bradford – Comic artist to host drawing workshops in district’s libraries – Telegraph and Argus. “Dr. Simpo has been a favourite with children at art workshops delivered as part of the annual Thought Bubble Festival. “
  • Bristol – Bristol libraries host UK’s first drag queen storytelling sessions for children – Bristol Post. “The brainchild of Tom Canham, ‘Drag Queen Story Time’ aims to teach children of all ages to embrace their individuality and spread a message of tolerance.” … “A crowd-funding campaign was launched in May to fund books and the essential DBS checks and the first ever session took place during Bristol Pride on July 8″
  • Bristol – “Libraries are the lifeblood of our communities’ – Bristol 247. “the fact remains that once the dust has settled and the public purse is healthy once more, the library doors that have been closed, that granted access to a world of information for generations, are likely never to open again.”
  • Bury – New Bury Council policy hopes to make it easier for groups to take over council assets – This is Lancashire. “The new policy means applications from groups to buy community assets from the council will be considered against ‘key tests’ designed to ensure a deal which is best for the council and residents. “
  • Central Bedfordshire – Four Central Bedfordshire libraries to have opening hours slashed – Bedfordshire News. £56k cut, “Following the public consultation these targets have now been reduced by almost £30,000 – meaning eight libraries will now see a either an increase in opening times or no reduction at all – and all will now be open on Saturdays. However four venues across the local authority area will be open for less time – including Ampthill, Houghton Regis, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.”
  • Cumbria – Future of West Cumbria’s branch libraries up for debate – News and Star. “People are being asked what they would like to see happen to libraries at Hensingham, Kells and Mirehouse in the future. Cumbria county Council wants to know how it can make better use of the libraries. A spokesman said: “All of these libraries are open for less than 10 hours service a week and levels of use, in terms of visits, PC use, and book borrowing, is low.”
  • Derby – Attempt to stop biggest ever shake-up of Derby libraries fails – Derby Telegraph. “The plan, which was approved by the city council’s Labour cabinet on July 12, also means the remaining ten smaller libraries will be turned over to their communities. It’s all aimed at saving the council about £700,000 a year”
  • Derby – Union hints it could take Derby libraries closure decision to the High Court – Derby Telegraph. “Derby City Council’s decision to hand 10 libraries to the members of the community to run could be heading for the High Court. Unison, the union which represents many of the 41 library employees who could lose their jobs in the move, has hinted that it is seeking legal advice, with the possibility of this leading to it seeking a judicial review.”. Conservatives also criticise Labour council ““Even if they successfully defended a judicial review then the timeframes would be shot to pieces along with the savings they are trying to achieve, certainly in the short and medium term.”
  • East Sussex – 12th year of the East Sussex Children’s Book Award – Libraries Taskforce. “Each September, schools across East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and parts of Kent, have the opportunity to read the best new fiction titles out there and take part in the East Sussex Children’s Book Award. The Book Award is delivered by the School Library and Museum Service (SLAMS), part of East Sussex Libraries. The criteria for books to make the longlist are that they have been published in paperback in the past year and that they are suitable for children aged 9-11. Schools pay to participate, which gives them access to all the events and a copy of each of shortlisted books. The charge covers the full cost of hosting the Book Award”
  • Enfield – Kids can solve mystery at Enfield’s libraries – This is Local London. SRC.
  • Inverclyde – ‘Mini McLean Museum and Wee Watt Library’ Ready for Visitors – Discover Inverclyde. “The historic McLean Museum and Watt Library are widely considered as one of the best municipal museums in Scotland for the outstanding collections of art, local heritage, technology and culture. The Council is investing £1.8 million towards the refurbishment work alongside a grant of £287,000 from Historic Environment Scotland.” … “The new Inverclyde Heritage Hub is now ready to receive visitors at the former Business Store on Cathcart Street in Greenock. The historic McLean Museum and Watt Library complex is currently closed ahead of a £2 million refurbishment.”
  • Isle of Wight – Shanklin Library Helping To Support Summer Reading Challenge – Isle of Wight Radio.
  • Kirklees – Recommended holiday reads from the Kirklees libraries’ top ten and best-sellers charts – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “The Kirklees top ten is packed with more of the same – NYPD Red from James Patterson, another cop thriller, but this time with a New York backdrop – comes in at number 2, and the same author is also featured with Alert (yet more New York detective fiction) and 15th Affair (murder mystery with a female detective).”
  • Lambeth – Protest Continues Over Plans To Close Lambeth Libraries – Londonist. “A large crowd is expected on Saturday morning as Lambeth library campaigners prepare to spend their second weekend occupying the historic Carnegie library in Herne Hill. The public library was first occupied on 31 March — the day that Lambeth Council planned to close the library ahead of the conversion to what it has called a ‘healthy living centre.’ Along with the nearby Minet library, the plan was to hand over the public asset to Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), a not for profit organisation. GLL plans to convert these into what have become known locally as ‘book-ish gyms’. No costings or logistic of combining a library with a gym have yet to be produced.”
  • Lambeth – Re-opening of Carnegie Library moves a step closer as community partner chosen – Southwark News. “The re-opening of Carnegie Library – located just off Denmark Hill – has moved a step closer as Lambeth Council has chosen a partner to take community ownership of the building, writes Becky Morton… The Carnegie Community Trust (CCT) was judged by the council with “independent advice” to have submitted a stronger bid than rival organisation, Carnegie Library Association (CLA), which was formed by the Friends of Carnegie Library. The CCT said it remained opposed to the idea of a gym in the library’s basement and had “serious concerns” about some of the additional alterations proposed by Lambeth Council and Greenwich Leisure Limited, who will manage the gym.”
  • Lancashire – Library plans moving forward as new group set up – Blackpool Gazette. “Thornton Cleveleys Gala Committee has now said it would prefer the county council to operate a library service. It is now proposed to add Thornton Library to those which will reopen between November 2017 and April 2018. ” see also Volunteer dream fading but library will still re-open – Blackpool Gazette. “Coun Kay still hopes to have Thornton Library open this year and is working to ensure community groups will still be able to make use of the facility. She said: “I understand the Gala Committee has now withdrawn from the process.”.
  • Lancashire – Plans to reopen Parbold library are being considered – Visiter. “Both groups, however, have subsequently indicated that they would prefer the county council to operate a library service rather than continue with an asset transfer. It is now proposed to add Parbold Library and Thornton Library to those which will reopen between November 2017 and April 2018.”
  • Lancashire – Whalley Library set to be first in East Lancashire to reopen – Lancashire Telegraph.  “Whalley Library is set to be the first library to reopen after Lancashire County Council’s decision to save 22 libraries from closure in East Lancashire. New Tory culture boss Peter Buckley visited the library last week and is the first head of cultural services to do so in a cabinet post holder position. The deputy leader of Lancashire County Council Albert Atkinson, Whalley ward councillors Ged Mirfin, Joyce Holgate and Terry Hill and head of Save the Whalley Library group, Neil Martin, also attended the meeting at the library.” … “Cllr Mirfin said: “It could take up to three months to recruit the staff that are needed to run the library. “
  • Manchester – Tuck into books and lunch at Fallowfield Community Library this summer – Manchester City Council. “Read and Feed will run every weekday until the end of August, with support from Manchester Libraries and local volunteers.   Thanks to the initiative, children aged 4 – 11 years will be offered a free, nutritious lunch, after taking part in activities held to support the Summer Reading Challenge at the library.
    Families can drop into the library, based at the Place at Platt Lane, every weekday to enjoy storytelling sessions, reading, craft and Lego activities from 11.30am – 12:30pm, with lunch provided for participating children from 12:30 – 1pm.  Manchester council aims to roll the Read and Feed scheme out to more libraries across the city next summer.  Similar initiatives have previously been adopted elsewhere in Greater Manchester, by libraries in Rochdale, Salford and Bolton. “
  • Norfolk – Learn to read for free with Norfolk libraries – Bury Free Press. “Anyone aged eight and above can become a reader with the Norfolk Reading Pathway, which is run by the county council’s library and information service. The project uses the Yes We Can Read reading programme with those taking part asked to spare 30 minutes twice a week. Learners get involved in a fun and engaging way with one-to-one tuition using a phonics-based programme which builds their confidence and self-esteem. The project is running at all Norfolk libraries and aims to get people reading fluently within six months”
  • Northern Ireland – Cafes, libraries and church halls back breastfeeding in Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph. “The Public Health Agency (PHA) has introduced The Breastfeeding Welcome Here initiative which is designed to show community support for breastfeeding mothers. The scheme now has 500 venues providing supportive environments for breastfeeding mothers”
  • Pembrokeshire – Walk and talk in aid of community library – County Echo. “At the start of July, Newport Community Library celebrated their first birthday being run by volunteers, in conjunction with Pembrokeshire County Council.”
  • Plymouth – Council needs to find a developer to build a new £1.3m Plymouth library – Plymouth Herald. “A popular city library is set to be demolished, rebuilt and leased to the council as part of the ongoing Plan for Libraries project. St Budeaux library site is being marketed as a development opportunity by Plymouth City Council.” … “The development specification says the site offers ‘an exciting mixed use development opportunity within the centre of St Budeaux with a new public library, high quality residential (houses and/or flats) and other compatible commercial uses’.”
  • Plymouth – Lunch at the Library – Plymouth Council. “Every Wednesday in August at Devonport Library, St Budeaux Library and a Pop-Up Library at the Four Greens Centre in Whitleigh, children can pick up a free lunch and join in with family friendly activities. Free activities from 10am to 4pm include the Summer Reading Challenge, crafts, digital making, coding and more. Special guests include Dartmoor Zoo, the Theatre Royal, National Marine Aquarium, Shark Trust, Plymouth Music Zone, Devon and Cornwall Police, the Cats Protection League and authors Tom Palmer and Emma Carlisle. Every week, the first 100 children at each venue will be given a free book to take home and keep”
  • Salford – ‘Disgusted’ by library home delivery service axing – Leigh Journal. “As yet no alternative has been indicated. We haven’t a clue what will happen and I’m not sure the council does either. “
  • St Helens – Best-seller Carol’s tales of writing and olive farming go down a storm – St Helens Star. Carol Drinkwater: “Carol, known for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the television adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small and five part documentary film series, The Olive Route, gave a talk at the Sutton Manor library about novels and life as an olive farmer in Provence. In front of an audience of 45 people, she spoke with the head of libraries’ service, Sue Williamson, about her experiences as a writer, farmer and actress and her work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive”
  • South Tyneside – Consultation over changes to South Tyneside libraries is extended by council – Shields Gazette. “The authority says it has listened to the views of residents and taken the decision to extend the consultation further so that as many people as possible have an opportunity to take part. Under new proposals library services would be on offer at four multi-service “hubs” at The Word, Hebburn Central Library, Jarrow Hub and Cleadon Park, while the council would also look to community groups to take over the running of Whitburn, East Boldon, Boldon Lane and Primrose libraries on a voluntary basis. The consultation will now run until September 30, after which the responses will be analysed and a report prepared for presentation to the council’s cabinet later in the autumn.”
  • Staffordshire – This year’s Summer Reading Challenge invites children from Stone to join the Animal Agents. – Little Bit of Stone. SRC.
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries agrees new five-year contract with Suffolk County Council – East Anglian Daily Times. “Suffolk Libraries has announced it has agreed a five-year contract with an option for a further five years. At the end of 2016, the Suffolk Libraries Board voted unanimously to trigger the five-year extension to the current contract from August 2017. Tony Brown, chair of Suffolk Libraries’ board, said: “We are delighted to be renewing our contract with Suffolk County Council. “We feel that Suffolk’s library service is in good hands and that Suffolk Libraries, with the foundation and support it has built up over the past five years, offers the best chance of successfully meeting the challenges ahead”
  • Sunderland – Optimistic for Fulwell Community Library’s future – Sunderland Echo / Letters. “The opening was rushed but went off really well and this was due to the spirit of our volunteers without who this would not be possible. So many people gave their time and effort to ensure we started on the right foot”
  • Warrington – Animal magic as libraries launch summer reading challenge for children – Warrington Guardian. “Youngsters who manage to finish six or more stories will win a medal and a certificate for their hard work. They could also win the chance to become a keeper for the day at Walton Hall Gardens and Zoo. And Chester Zoo staff will be holding workshops at Woolston and Stockton Heath libraries to help children learn about nocturnal creatures and African animals.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – New adult reading promotion launched in West Dunbartonshire – Dunbarton Reporter. “Scotland’s national adult reading promotion – Read the Past Imagine the Future. The initiative is running in libraries across the area until Book Week Scotland in November, celebrating the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”
  • Wiltshire – Westbury Library internet ‘too slow’ – Wiltshire Times. “This is not in anyway an attack on the staff at the library, they are all very good and have enough on their hands without having to deal with people complaining about the internet connection when it is not their responsibility. It’s just not fair on them.” Wiltshire Council claims to have fixed the problem, but Ms Stroud says this is not the case.”
  • Wolverhampton – No convincing case to move Bilston Library – Pat McFadden – Express and Star. “Pat McFadden has urged Wolverhampton council to secure the future of Bilston Craft Gallery by ditching plans to move the town’s library from the site.” … “Bilston Craft Gallery currently houses the library, exhibition space and children’s activity centre Craft Play. Wolverhampton council has delayed a decision on the library’s future pending the result of a detailed feasibility study. A public consultation saw 635 people have their say on the issue, with 167 people backing the library staying at its current home and 138 opting for it to move to the Town Hall.”
  • Worcestershire – Plans revealed to relocate Community Contact Centre to the town’s library – Evesham Observer. “The centre, which has been based on Abbey Road since 2003, provides services on behalf of Wychavon District Council, Evesham Town Council, Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Police. But time has been called on the venture after Wychavon District Council revealed it wouldn’t extend its lease with building owners West Mercia Police when it expires next year. Wychavon chiefs claim the site is too big for its needs and revealed Worcestershire County Council had suggested the centre move to Evesham Library on Oat Street.”
  • Worcestershire – Youngsters challenged to become ‘Animal Agents’ at Worcestershire libraries this summer – Bromsgrove Standard.