Ian Anstice

Public librarian since 1994, user of public libraries since my first memories ... and a keen advocate of public libraries and chronicler of the UK public libraries scene. Library manager since 1998, winner of Information Professional of the Year 2011 and Winsford Customer Service "Oscar" 2012 and 2014.

Homepage: http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com


Posts by Ian Anstice

There’s more than one way to ban a book

Editorial

There’s more than one way to ban a book. Forcing people to pay for it, when they can ill afford to, is one. Not letting people know of its existence is another. Downplaying the importance of it, or saying it’s evil, a third. Getting rid of people who know about that book and will recommend it at just the right time is a fourth.  Oh, there are many ways. The UK counts itself fortunate that it does not censor like so much of the world and do not have the kneejerk “Harry Potter Is A Satanist” viewpoint of some in the USA but we need to be careful: censorship can be subtler than simply having a Censor. The link between closing librarians and losing librarians and Banned Books Week is rightly drawn out by a few articles in the UK – I think for the first time – in the post below. Worth a read. Like so many things which are banned.

Also, please note that it’s #FollowALibrary day this Friday. Get your social media tweets scheduled in now. Tell your friends. And your politicians.

Changes

National news

  • Banned Books Week launches with call to read books the ‘closed-minded’ want shut – Guardian. “The author of a children’s picture book chronicling the transgender journey of Jazz Jennings has urged readers to celebrate Banned Books Week this year “by picking up a book that some closed-minded person out there wanted desperately to keep out of your hands”. America’s annual celebration of the right to read, which has been joined by authors and readers in the UK, kicked off on Sunday with a series of displays, events and readings across the US, focusing for 2016 on diverse books. According to the American Library Association, more than half of all banned books are by authors of colour, or focus on diverse communities.” … “This year, for the first time in the UK, the British Library, the Free Word Centre and Islington council in London are also coming together to promote the week. Reading groups and book clubs will be promoting a list of 40 books that have been subjected to calls for censorship, from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books to Toni Morrison’s Beloved, while the British Library is holding an evening of discussion about censorship, featuring the controversial young adult novelist Melvin Burgess” see also Libraries raise awareness of Banned Books Week – BookSeller and Banned Books week: activities and insights – Libraries Taskforce / Islington Libraries.

“Censorship of books does occur, however, at a much more local level. I remember very well the librarian who kept my books in a locked cupboard at the back of the library, so that no innocent youngster could inadvertently come across them, and suffer god only knows what forms of psychic shock or corruption. That’s an extreme example, but that librarian was acting in the manner in which censorship against books does occur; by the system of gatekeepers. I’m referring to those people who are in a position to control or regulate books to young people; librarians, teachers, bookseller managers, parents – in other words, the very people whose job it is to encourage reading are the ones who also take it upon themselves to limit it.” Melvyn Burgess

““In the UK it is easy to take the freedom to read, think and create for granted,” he said. “Yet decisions such as the one taken by Lancashire Council to close 20 library services put the basic principle of equal access to books and reading at risk. Children in those towns and communities will be denied the access to the knowledge they need to read, learn and get on in life. It shows that we have to keep fighting ‎for the basic right to benefit from a strong local library service.” Nick Poole, CILIP

  • Banned Books Week: closing libraries is tantamount to censorship – CILIP / SF Said. ” write in my local public library.  It’s inspiring for a writer to work in the home of books, and to imagine that your book might one day join them, and help to shape a new generation.  Of course, that depends on books finding readers.  And that depends largely on librarians – especially children’s librarians.  I believe there’s a book for everyone out there, if you can only find it among the 10,000+ children’s books published every year in the UK.  This means we need to enable the widest possible access to literature for young readers, and support anything that helps children find the books that will make them lifelong readers.  “

“I see parents and carers bringing children into the library to find books, because they know children will be able to make a free choice from a well-stocked selection, with expert help on hand.  I see them coming in for story-time and sing-alongs; or for author visits, reading challenges, and all the other activities the librarians organise … Library cuts and closures limit access to variety, to diversity, to new ideas.  They limit it just as surely as state censorship.  We are fortunate to live in the UK at a time when overt censorship is considered unconscionable.  But doesn’t taking away access lead to the same result by different means?  A smaller number of books, a narrower range of ideas and perspectives, an impoverished imagination that is not given what it needs to grow.   “

  • Celebrating Library Cooperation – Whelf. “A new library management system which will promote collaboration between cross-sector libraries in Wales will be celebrated at an event in the National Assembly today (Thursday 22 September 2016).” .. “The successful introduction of the new system across the WHELF network, alongside implementation of the first phase of a shared library management system for public libraries, will today be celebrated at an event at the Senedd with Julie James AM, the Minister for Skills and Science.” … “Mandy Powell, Head of CILIP Cymru Wales said: “It is thrilling to see a project of this scope and ambition being rightly celebrated. Librarians, Information and Knowledge Managers are all experts in the world of information and whether it is using their extensive skills to benefit users by widening access, saving money or opening up collections, great things happen when librarians are involved.””
  • Digital Participation and Social Justice in Scotland – Carnegie UK Trust. “Addressing the digital divide is one of the great social challenges of our age. Digital Participation and Social Justice in Scotland examines the link between being offline and other forms of social deprivation. Drawing on detailed statistical analysis by Ipsos MORI, tells us who is offline, why and what we can do about it. Read the report and get in touch to tell us how the findings relate to your own experience and knowledge of digital and social exclusion. “
  • Healthier and happier lives: how libraries deliver – Libraries Taskforce. Looks at public library involvement in health, including new health icon. Includes look at libraries and autism, Reading Well, Gloucestershire’s Make Friends With A Book, co-location with health services.
  • Libraries the backbone of national Get Online Week – Tinder Foundation (press release). “This October it’s national Get Online Week – an annual campaign which targets the 12.6 million Brits who don’t have basic digital skills. Get Online Week (17-23 October) celebrates it’s 10th birthday this year, and over the last decade has engaged more than 500,000 people – encouraging them to get online and see how the internet could make life easier, cheaper, healthier – and more fun.  With more than a third of all Get Online Week events taking place in libraries, the library network has proved to be the backbone of the campaign – which is managed by leading digital inclusion charity Tinder Foundation … Chief Executive at Tinder Foundation is Helen Milner. She says: “Libraries have been an important part of the success of Get Online Week – not least because the branch library network provides instant outreach opportunities in the heart of communities. As trusted spaces, they’re ideal locations for Get Online Week taster sessions and events. What’s more, libraries can use their position within the community to work with other community organisations and partners to really reach out to new and excluded groups.”
  • Local Studies Librarian of the Year 2016 – nominations now open – Local Studies Group. “Do you know a Local Studies Librarian that has gone the extra mile? Have they pioneered an amazing project or given a career of excellent service to their community? If you do, nominate them for the 2016 McCulla Prize, the annual Local Studies Librarian of the Year Award.”. Nominations close 30th September.
  • PPRG annual conference – Library marketing and PR: critical to success – CILIP. Various speakers at conference on 18th November in Birmingha, “In addition, you will be able to hear from the winners of our 2016 Marketing Excellence Awards, sharing their experience and tips for great academic and public library campaigns!”
  • Radio 2 Book Club: Bring Back the King – Reading Groups for Everyone. “The book was selected with the help of a panel made up of Reading Agency and library staff from across the UK. Find out more about the non-fiction strand of the Radio 2 Book Club.”
  • Summer Reading Challenge 2016 Have Your Say – Reading Agency. “We hope you enjoyed doing The Big Friendly Read in 2016. We’d really like to find out about how it went, so please answer these 14 easy questions to tell us about it and help us make sure the Summer Reading Challenge is as good as it can be. If you complete the questions you can enter a prize draw to win a £30 shopping voucher. The winner will be drawn at the end of October 2016. We will analyse the results and publish them in a freely available report. Your individual responses will be kept anonymous. We might use extracts from your comments on our website or for the media but you will not be named. The results will also help your local library understand more about your experience.”
  • Teens and Libraries – #Uklibchat. “Our next #uklibchat will take place on Tuesday 4 October from 18:30-20:30 UK time. The topic will be “Teens and Libraries”.  If you work in a school library, further education, a public library and any other sector that involves working with teenagers, or someone who is intrested in this area, this could be a good chat for you.” see also Working with Teens in Libraries – Matt Imrie. “Most of what I have written below has been learned from my years working with young people in public libraries, I have successfully transitioned from a public to school librarian and found that most of the skills I have picked up are still usable in a school context.”

International news

  • Global – #FollowALibrary Day is Sept. 30, 2016 – Stephens Lighthouse. “On #SocialMediaDay 2016, a group of libraries started using #LibraryFollow to share out libraries they enjoyed following and encourage others to follow. They gave library mentions to multiple libraries in tweets which resulted in greater exposure for all, and other libraries joined in. Follows were still coming in up to three days after the event. Currently some libraries are using #LibraryFollow when they are followed by another library account.”
  • USA – 7 Reasons the Government Must Stop Little Free Libraries for the Sake of the Nation – Activist Post. Deliciously ironic article. “There are many reasons that these unapproved libraries cannot be allowed. Their potential to damage to the social order is unfathomable. If you think Little Free Libraries are in any way acceptable, then you probably hate America, pug puppies, and snow cones on a hot day.”
  • USA – Whether they wear a cape or a cardigan, librarians are intellectual freedom fighters” – Libraries Transform. “The freedom to choose what we read from the fullest array of possibilities is firmly rooted in the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Even as we enjoy a seemingly limitless and expanding amount of information, there is always a danger in someone else selecting what is available to whom. Censorship threatens our right to choose for ourselves”. For Banned Books Week.

Supporter’s news

  • Nielsen LibScan Public Library Borrowing data Period 7 (4 weeks to the 16 July 2016)  – Nielsen. “Library loans through Nielsen LibScan for Period 7 of 2016 (ending 16 July) were down year-on-year by 13.8% overall.  This is not as much of a decline as we saw in period 6 (4 weeks ending 18 June).  An additional 776k books were borrowed from Libraries in period 7 of 2015 but the total has now dropped to 5m library loans in the 4-weeks through Nielsen LibScan for Period 7.  The Children’s category has suffered the least with 9.7% decline year-on-year whilst the biggest category, Adult Fiction has dropped by 17% year-on-year totalling 2.1m loans in period 7.  Nielsen LibScan panel is free to join – why not find out more?. For more information click here or email: sales.book@nielsen.com “

Local news by authority

  • Devon – Exciting plans for Ottery St Mary’s long-awaited new library are on display – Sidmouth Herald. “Exciting new plans for the long-awaited library in Ottery St Mary will be revealed this week and people are invited to give their feedback. A dedicated ‘teen zone’, a ‘bigger and better’ children’s area, greater selection of books, more reading space and step-free access are among the benefits being proposed for the facility’s relocation to the former NatWest Bank premises in Silver Street. Libraries Unlimited – the social enterprise responsible for running Devon’s libraries – have put plans for the layout of the new library on display as part of a two-week consultation and members of the public are invited to give their views by Friday, October 7.”
  • Lancashire – Cabinet dismisses pleas to save county libraries – Lancashire Evening Post. “It took less than two hours today for Lancashire County Council’s cabinet to sign the final execution papers for a host of Lancashire libraries and children’s centres – despite being forced to think again.” … “This followed a cross party demand from Conservative, Labour and Green councillors for a re-think” see also Decision upheld on Lancashire’s at risk libraries and children’s centres – 2BR.
  • Lancashire – Independent review confirms scale of challenge to county council finances – Lancashire County Council. Price Waterhouse Coopers consultancy report says “The report has identified that the Council will need to make savings of £148m in 2020/21, “even allowing for council tax increases of 3.99% every year for the next four years” [I understand this report that tells the council it has no money has cost them over £1 million in consultancy fees so far – Ed.]
  • Lancashire – Lancashire libraries – closures confirmed – Lancashire Headline News. Video. “The fate of dozens of libraries and children’s centres across Lancashire was sealed today – with confirmation they would be shutting their doors.”
  • Lancashire – Library campaigners react to news 100 buildings will be closed – 2BR. “It’s a kick in the teeth for residents, who have been fighting for the future of their libraries and children’s centres since news broke they were in jeopardy.” … “”It’s going to be a huge loss to all of Lancashire. Children won’t have anywhere to study after school. We’re telling older people to stay at home, offsetting huge mental health issues, and be part of a community. We’re underiming communities right across Lancashire”
  • Lancashire – We all need more libraries, not fewer – Blackpool Gazette / Letters. “Today, in the name of austerity, libraries are being closed or staffed by volunteers. However willing they are, they are not qualified librarians. For several decades now, I have argued for more and extended, libraries, incorporating modern technology. Libraries with children’s corners. Reading is a first step on the road to life and culture, education and work. Let us have more libraries and, yes, adult education centres .The money is there. Better books, not bombs.”
  • Leicestershire – Fresh calls to save Desford Library from the axe – Hinckley Times. “Liberal Democrat councillor Michael Mullaney (Hinckley) urged County Hall bosses to rethink plans to turn the village library into a mobile service.” … “The future of the library appeared to be secure after an agreement was reached between Desford Community Group and Leicestershire County Council to hand over control to the volunteers. However following legal advice, the group says it wants the council to spend £45,000 on repairs, mainly to its slate roof, before it signs a 10-year lease agreement.”
  • Sheffield –  Don’t belittle the efforts of library volunteers – Yorkshire Post / Letters. ” Definitions of “library” do not necessarily include the presence of paid and trained staff. The books are the important element. Public libraries have a remit to serve the community, which they continue to do by the teams of volunteers who have freely given of their time and interest to provide facilities for others: not just the lending of books but also reading groups, story times for young children and computer access – all facilities provided by council-run branches.” … ” In the face of so many library closures and the resulting detriment to local activities, volunteers are essential, and it is mean-spirited and patronising of your correspondent to belittle their efforts.”
  • Swindon – Petition to save Park Library passes 800 names – This is Wiltshire. “Current proposals would see the Cavendish Square facility closed by the middle of next year unless the community can come up with a way of securing the funds to run, stock and staff it. ” … “Park Library was a surprise omission from the core service that the council plan to maintain – set as it is in an economically deprived area, it is an obvious candidate for continued support on the grounds of social and educational need alone. “
  • Wakefield – Wakefield Library opening hours cut down to save £150,000 – Yorkshire Evening Post. “From next week all of the council’s 13 libraries will operate on reduced hours.The council held a public consultation in June and said that the new opening times will help it to continue offering library services across the district. About 2,000 people took part in the consultation and many of them were in favour of the libraries opening later in the day and keeping late night opening. Coun Les Shaw, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Unfortunately in the current climate we simply have no choice to reduce our spending and cut opening hours. We have listened to what people have said and have made changes to the original proposals.”  The changes come into effect on Monday October 3. “
  • Warrington – Green Party urges LiveWire to reconsider library closure proposals – Warrington Guardian. “Warrington and Halton Green Party has slammed LiveWire over its library closure proposals and urged it to reconsider immediately. The Greens also believe replacing libraries with lending lockers will be detrimental to communities across the town. The party’s education spokesman Harry Gibbins said: “What’s most alarming about LiveWire’s proposals for Warrington’s libraries is the suggestion that the only options available are doing nothing, massively cutting opening hours, or so-called ‘future proofing’, which consists largely of replacing libraries with book lockers.” … “The ‘cultural hubs’ system in St Helens, for instance, has proven that we can reinvigorate our libraries and turn them into multi-purpose, sustainable and local facilities. “On this basis, Warrington and Halton Green Party urges LiveWire to reconsider its proposals.””
  • Warrington – Save Warrington’s Libraries – Campaign group website. “Warrington is proud to have the oldest public library in the country – our central library set up in 1848. The town also hosts a wonderful and valued network of community libraries used by thousands of people. But Livewire, the community interest company responsible for running Warrington’s libraries, sports centres and cultural centres, is proposing a swathe of cuts and reductions to quality libraries across Warrington. Warrington Borough Council will decide on the future of libraries and must reject these proposals and save all of our libraries.”

Party political responses to library cuts, volunteers, Open+ and authors

Editorial

It’s getting to the stage where you can almost tell how a MP is going to react to library cuts depending on which political party they belong to. If a Labour MP, they’re going to regret the cuts and blame it on central government austerity but, actually, not do much to stop it. If a Tory MP, the response will be that the cuts are a necessary part of national belt-tightening, now in its seventh year, and that different ways of running libraries (such as the ironically nineteenth century solutions of volunteers or having them run by parish councils) will result in as effective service at a lesser cost. Such is the response by two Warrington MPs in this post. A Locality report into volunteer libraries seems to support the Government view (unsurprisingly as they funded it), going into the practicalities needed for volunteers to replace paid staff.  However a close reading of the report itself makes it clear that, actually, it’s not very easy to do and that all but the most well-funded, numerous and determined community groups are going to find it a real challenge. That is also the lesson from several articles in this post all wanting extra volunteers to come forward for ex-council libraries who are finding they don’t have the numbers, or money, they need.

Other news includes a big mass letter by authors asking for intervention in public libraries from the new minister (who has been relatively invisible so far) and a great pro literacy speech by Michael Morpurgo. There’s also a very interesting article from the Republic of Ireland about the prospective dangers of remote controlled (Open+ and its clones) libraries: there has been very little such debate about it in England, presumably because councils see it as an easy way of squaring the circle of reduced budgets and increased hours, often glossing over the down sides.

Changes

More >

Award ceremonies galore, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the rest.

Editorial

Updating Public Libraries News can be a challenge when I work multiple evenings and that is the case at the moment.  However, I’m really pleased about the late shifts because this is because I am presenting medals and certificates to hundreds of children who have completed the Summer Reading Challenge. One thing I have learnt this year is don’t do eight award ceremonies in 48 hours, it kills the voice. Ah, but it’s so much fun though … and it’s great to see so many kids and parents celebrating reading. Anyway, here’s (most of) the news below.  I’ll fill in the rest when I have another spare evening, which may not be until the weekend now.

The cuts to Lancashire continue to make big news and the ongoing cuts throughout Yorkshire has led to some big reports, and investigative journalism, by the Yorkshire Post. The deep cuts to Warrington (along with the now standard overly glossy statements by LiveWire) are still being reported as are new changes to Wigan (where the newspaper reports the budget could be more than halved).

Changes

More >

14 new or upgraded libraries so far this year, with the latest opening in Slough

Editorial

Good to see a new library opening in Slough, although it’s somewhat offset by cuts in Gwynedd but, look, I get tired of concentrating on the bad news so, please forgive me, while I give you a list of new or refurbished libraries this year (see this page for previous years):

  1. Blaenau Gwent Ebbw Vale Library refurbished. (June 2016)
  2. Caerphilly £48k refurbishment for Ystrad Mynach Library. (September 2016)
  3. Camden New (replacement) library, combined with Cockpit Arts, as part of housing development.
  4. Cheshire East Crewe Library moves into co-location with leisure centre.
  5. Enfield £4.2m “transformation” of Edmonton Green Library planned: with added IT Centre, study spaces, local history and museum. (Library closed for one year from September 2016).
  6. Flintshire New co-located library opens at Deeside Leisure Centre: replacing Hawarden, Mancot and Queensferry which will close this month.(Feb 2016)
  7. HaringeyMarcus Garvey Library reopens after £3 upgrade (July 2016)
  8. Manchester – Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre opens : replaces Levenshulme Cromwell Grove Library. (Feburary 2016). Chorlton Library to be refurbished (February 2016).
  9. Oxfordshire Bicester to move into new £6.6m co-location on 11 April. Library to be “larger and have better facilities”.
  10. Pembrokeshire £3.4m new library/gallery/café in Haverfordwest.
  11. Slough £22m “The Curve” library and cultural centre opened.
  12. Southampton Woolston Library reopens in new building as part of property deal. (8)
  13. Southend Kent Elms Library to be refurbished: new entrance and meeting room. (9)
  14. Warwickshire – Southam Library opens (part of £12.4m development project) (January 2016) Reopening via refurbishment.  Alcester moved into co-located Globe House.

Yes, a few of these are replacing stand-alone libraries, sometimes more than one, but it’s still good to get to see some genuine investment going on. There’s life in the library yet. Let’s make sure it stays that way as much as possible.

Changes

More >

The library news since 8th September

Editorial

It’s looking to be a good year for the Summer Reading Challenge from reports I hear: I’m aware of more than one authority which has had a record number of starters. I look forward to hearing the final numbers from the Reading Agency.  In other, less upbeat news, the deep cuts to Lancashire libraries dominates the local news, with one (Conservative) MP even  asking for the ending the (Labour) council.

Changes

More >

A rallying cry against library volunteers

Editorial

Dawn Finch has upped the pressure again, after an excellent fact-finding interview with a volunteer a couple of days ago, with a “rallying cry” for those who know library volunteers are “exploitative and unsustainable”. Have a read of her original article, if you have not already done so, then perhaps her words in the BookSeller.

In other news, Lancashire has chosen World Literacy Day to rubber stamp the closure of large parts of its library service. They probably couldn’t read the calendar properly in order to appreciate the irony of this. Perhaps they need to visit libraries more to help them out. Oh, too late.

Finally, Warrington LiveWire – who, you will remember tried to push through several closures under the pretence it was modernising and expanding its service – woke up to a big front page with pictures of the libraries in question and the headline saying they are under threat. Should have been honest and upfront to begin with, guys. You’re opening yourself up to legal challenge if not just a ton of reputational damage. Mind you,  I understand some people who have been filling in the consultation get a reply saying thank you for enquiring about swimming lessons so perhaps it’s just being seen as them as a cunning cross-promotional drive for their pools.

“I know that for many this makes grim reading, but it is an important truth that many are trying to ignore. I have a thick skin and can take the flak and it’s worth it to get the truth heard. The post has been very well received and in the last 48 hours it has been read almost 2,000 times. Since I posted it on Monday afternoon I have had many messages from volunteers in both libraries and museums who all say that their situation is almost exactly this, but that they too are afraid to speak out for fear of alienating their every-diminishing pool of volunteers. They also say that they “don’t want to upset” the local authority as it will “only make things worse”. I want this to be a rallying cry, and a kick up the pants for anyone who thinks that handing everything over to volunteers is anything other than exploitative and unsustainable.” Dawn Finch, President, CILIP via email

Changes

Ideas

More >

There’s consultations and then there’s …

Editorial

Consultations are oftentimes done well. They have the information, it is presented clearly, no decision has been made by the council beforehand and real options are given. Sufficient copies of the consultation are produced in paper form, and online, and it is well-publicised with a long enough period to allow everyone with an interest to, well, actually be consulted. Then, on the other hand, we have councils – and, of course, others – who appear to think that the best way to consult is to put their proposals in the hardest to understand terms possible, with the rosiest picture of the end result given, and, presumably, a firm hope that everyone will be fooled. Sometimes it is also abundantly clear that minds have been made up beforehand. These organisations, it can appear to the disinterested observer, make a travesty of the consultation protest and are doing it only to pay lip service to their legal obligations.

For an example of a consultation done badly, you need look no further than LiveWire in Warrington who have made their consultation so flowery that one needs a deep critical analysis to actually understand what is being proposed. The sad fact is that, of course, in the end, no-one is fooled by these exercises in public relations. If they’re fooled at the time then they’re jolly well not fooled when the library they’ve gone to for years suddenly has a padlock on it. For instance, compare the LiveWire papers with the newspaper report which makes it clear at least five branches are under threat (I actually think it’s seven, by the way: five possibly to volunteers and two are being turned just into book drops). Indeed, it only causes more anger amongst those who care for the service and make it harder for them to have a reasonable dialogue which, considering LiveWire want to pass five libraries to volunteers, is not a sensible thing for them to have done. These pseudo-consultations are almost anti-public relations.  They make everyone dislike and distrust whoever writes them.

So, if you’re looking to cut your library service soon, please tell the public that. Make sure people understand why you’re doing it and what the real options are, not just the ones you fancy. Use clear language. Give the public the respect they deserve (they pay your wages after all) and, who knows, something good may come of it.  They may actually come up with ideas that can help or make such a fuss that you realise how important that library is to the local people. Because, you do want to know that, don’t you?  You don’t want to be thought to be deceiving them or discounting them, do you? Do you?

Changes

More >

Staffordshire, Sunderland, Bedford and … Ping Pong

Editorial

Staffordshire have started passing several libraries to volunteers while Sunderland have just started a consultation on cutting the library budget. At the other end of the consulting process, Bedford has announced that all libraries will stay open but, perhaps worryingly, have not said what shape that form will take. Councils can mean all sorts of things by “no libraries will close” including the traditional pre-2010 meaning of no change and more recent meanings like retired people staffing them in their spare time or the installation of  remote-control technology. Meanwhile, in Wales, Ystrad Mynach (l’ve always loved that name) Library is having a refurb, Malta is experiencing a lending surge and some USA libraries have installed table tennis tables.

Changes

Ideas

More >

Lancashire cuts fallout, South Glos goes Open+ plus catalogue concerns

Changes

More >

Lancashire, Labour and Libraries

Editorial

The big news has to be Lancashire, where the council confirmed 29 libraries are to have their funding withdrawn late on the Friday before the bank holiday weekend. Suspicious timing aside, by my calculations, all the pain that this will put communities through accounts for barely one half of one percent of the cuts that the council has to make, while kicking up a maximum stink for the politicians at the same time. It just does not seem worth it, but the council seems intent on pushing through with the unpopular move.

The other big news is that both Labour Party leadership contenders have come up with big proposals for public libraries. Jeremy Corbyn proposes  a new library development agency and the creation of an “open knowledge library” where UK universities and public  won’t have to pay to access the research the government has already funded. Owen Smith, on the other hand, suggests closer collaboration between library services and longer term government funding settlements. This news comes after my last editorial ran saying Labour had been quiet about public libraries, following Chi Onwurah’s revelation she had planned a library campaign but then had to stop it because she wasn’t sure whether it was in her job description.

Changes

More >