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

Stephen Fry stands up for public libraries

New “Library Fund” and Stephen Fry poster

Editorial

CILIP have started a new fund for libraries and information services, with £10,000 of their own money and a fundraising campaign to increase the figure. It’s important to note that this fund is not solely for public libraries and is not intended for campaigning, which has caused some disappointment and confusion in the reactions I have seen. Rather, it is ” to support a range of projects and activities that improve access to information and knowledge, literacy, health, digital inclusion and life chances”. Something else CILIP has done this week is to get Stephen Fry to endorse a library campaigning poster: it’s freely available to download, share and print and I suspect we’ll be seeing it in  a lot of libraries very soon. Get your copy from their site today.

In the real world, there’s a big new refurb in Enfield and it looks like more than half the libraries will close/leave council control in Moray.

Changes

National news

  • Ardagh pens open letter to Simon Cowell – BookSeller. “Bestselling children’s author Philip Ardagh has penned an open letter to Simon Cowell recommending he enlist the services of a librarian in discovering good children’s books after he called them all “boring”.”. Phlip writes: ““As you may well be aware, public libraries have been closing at an alarming rate in the UK these past few years and many of those remaining open no longer have professional staff. So, whether you choose to get into children’s publishing or not, it would be wonderful if you’d show your support for libraries and librarians with a kind word or two.””
  • The battle is on to stop library cuts—now unions must coordinate action – Socialist Worker. “The loss of one library is a loss to us all. In London we need to have a city-wide day of action for libraries.” Bringing together the fights can make every local campaign and union branch stronger in the battle to stop library cuts. Unions should be coordinating action and calling on Labour’s recently elected city mayors and local councillors to stand up to Tory austerity. If we wait until the next elections to stop the cuts there could be nothing left to save”
  • Because Better World Books cares – Better World Books. “Better World Books Literacy Grants fund literacy and educational nonprofits and libraries for specific projects — the front lines of the fight to reduce global poverty through education. “
  • CILIP launches £10k Library Fund – BookSeller. “A new £10,000 annual fund for libraries has been created by CILIP to help improve access to services. The CILIP Library Fund will “not replace or duplicate core public funding for libraries”, but instead support a range of projects and activities in order to improve access to information and knowledge, literacy, health, digital inclusion and life chances. The fund will be populated with money raised through crowdfunding, encouraging legacies and corporate giving, The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) said. Kickstarted by an initial £10,000 investment, CILIP will implement a UK-wide crowd-funding campaign for individuals and companies to build up the fund with the aim of creating a new grants programme from 2018. Supporters will be able to plan and implement their own fundraising activities to contribute to the Library Fund” … “Alongside the Library Fund, CILIP has also pledged to lobby the government over its legal responsibilities towards libraries following accusations of “neglect” and “short-term thinking” in its approach to library services”.

“The CILIP Library Fund will be open to applications from all parts of the information, knowledge and library sector. Applications will open in early 2018. The Fund will not be used to replace core funding for public libraries or other statutory services … Applications to the CILIP Library Fund we be welcomed for a range of activities and projects that develop, modernise and improve library services. As well as funding for project costs applications will be able to include traditionally hard to fund costs such as equipment, salaries and training; speculative costs such as new product development; and match-funding from sources such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England” CILIP

“Isn’t the objective of CILIP’s new Library Fund too vague to be meaningful? Like many people I’m a public library user and supporter and I might be willing to help my local library or library service. However donating to the professional librarians’ body doesn’t obviously appeal.” Comment on BookSeller article

  • CILIP Library Fund – Just Giving. “The CILIP Library Fund will invest in the development and modernisation of UK library and information services in all sectors. A fair and prosperous society relies on access to information and knowledge. Libraries and information services make communities stronger, support research and innovation, and help businesses grow. CILIP will kick-start the campaign with a £10,000 investment.” Shows total donated and includes comments from donors.
  • Free Stephen Fry posters for libraries – CILIP. ”  We hope that you like the free poster and display it in your library. There is so much goodwill towards libraries and the positive impact you make in your communities. We want to celebrate our supporters and share their messages with the people that use and love your library. A4, A3 and A2 versions are available. Please download, print and display. You can also share the poster on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CILIPinfo/status/735060316816584704
Stephen Fry stands up for public libraries

Stephen Fry stands up for public libraries

  • Increase in children reading for pleasure following Chatterbooks in schools project: new statistics – Reading Agency (press release). A 22% increase in the number of children reading daily; a doubling in children signed up as library members, and increased confidence and positive attitudes toward reading among children. These were just some of the outcomes celebrated at a special Reading Agency event today to mark the success of its Department for Education-funded project supporting Chatterbooks children’s reading groups in primary schools and encouraging library membership.”. See The Impact of Chatterbooks on Children’s Reading Enjoyment, Behaviours and Attitudes report.
  • The Safe House: a documentary on the decline of UK libraries – trailer video – Guardian. “Poet and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina has teamed up with journalist Davina Catt to document the history of British public libraries and their current decline. From their Scottish beginnings in the 18th century right up to present day, Catt and Bellamacina chart the history of UK libraries alongside interviews with the likes of Stephen Fry, Irvine Welsh, Amma Asante and John Cooper Clarke, who plead for libraries to be saved from relentless cuts”
  • So Long and Thanks for all the Digital: A reflection on my secondment to the Libraries Taskforce – Gov.uk/Libraries Taskforce. Darren Smart looks at his achievements while seconded. “This in turn has led to further opportunities, including joining SCL’s Digital Offer team and another secondment within my own authority working on a cross-directorate strategic programme.  So would I recommend others taking a secondment with the Libraries Taskforce? Absolutely.” see also Reflections on an exhilarating 6 months – Gov.uk/Libraries Taskforce with Sue Wills, Poole Libraries Service Manager, including her achievements.
  • Stephen Fry backs libraries in poster campaign – BookSeller. “The actor, comedian and writer, Fry said: “Libraries are where minds flourish and grow. They are like a kind of water supply. Without libraries a country can become a kind of desert.” Nick Poole, CILIP chief executive, said: “I’m delighted that the country’s most erudite national treasure Stephen Fry is supporting our campaign. We want as many people as possible to print and display this free poster in their library or workplace. Our society and economy are powered by access to knowledge and information. We are powered by librarians.”

International news

  • Canada – Bing Thom combines curves and points with library in British Columbia – De Zeen. “The northern side of the building comes to a sharp point, resembling the bow of a ship, while windows include both curves and points – both features that have been popularised by the work of the late Zaha Hadid.” … “Encompassing 82,000 square feet (7,618 metres), the building’s programme includes multipurpose rooms, a cafeteria, a children’s zone and a “world languages area,” with books printed in more than a dozen languages.”
  • European Union – Generation Code: Born at the Library – exhibition at the European Parliament 18-20 October – Public Libraries 2020. “To mark EU Code Week 2016 and in anticipation of the Commission’s ‘New Skills Agenda for Europe’, Public Libraries 2020 will host ‘Generation Code: born at the library’ at the European Parliament from 18th-20th October.   This interactive exhibition will demonstrate how Europe’s public libraries are meeting the digital age … coding, robotics, 3D printing, virtual reality experiences, tech advice workshops and digital making”
  • Germany – Putting Libraries in a New Light – Goethe Institut. “So-called coworking spaces are said to be pioneering new ways of transferring knowledge and collaborative working. To what extent, however, can libraries, as the traditional places for the imparting of knowledge, benefit from this new approach?” … “One thing is clear – the new role of libraries is that of a knowledge provider and if we are to aspire to individually advising people who come to us in our new role, we then have to think about the increasing demands put on library staff. This will require them to be communicative, curious and basically open to all things new. “
  • Global – Annual Report – EIFL. “EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is an international not-for-profit organization that works with libraries in developing and transition countries to enable access to knowledge for education, learning, research and sustainable community development.”
  • Global / USA – Library Services to Immigrants and Refugees: webinar recording now available – IFLA.”We are pleased to share a link to an archive recording of our “Library Services to Immigrants and Refugees” webinar which took place on 31 March 2016. IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning and the New Professionals SIG partnered with the American Library Association to present this one-hour webinar. We are happy to produce an online resource that will be available for everyone to revisit and listen anywhere at any time. “
  • USA – How to be a Good (Library) Boss, by Baharak Yousefi – BookSeller. “Often, the librarian (aka my target) will ask me what I think it takes to be a good library manager and my answer, without fail, is “be a decent human being.” Now, as true as that may be, I appreciate that it is not very specific. What follows is an attempt to expand the list, in no particular order”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Babies to benefit from play activities in Barnet libraries – North London Today. “‘Baby Bounce and Play’ sessions are for pre-walking babies and involve songs, rhymes, stories and a themed sensory play experience. Sessions take place at Hendon, Edgware, Osidge, North Finchley and East Barnet libraries and cost £3.50.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Dementia care book donated to Frodsham and Helsby libraries – Chester Chronicle. “As dementia becomes an increasing problem in the UK and across the world, a book providing advice about to support loved ones with the disease has been donated to libraries in Frodsham and Helsby. Confidence to Care hopes to provide just that, confidence to care, to those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The book has been published by Home Instead and provided to the libraries by their Frodsham, Runcorn and Widnes branch.”
  • Devon – Tiverton Library celebrates Sam and Lottie’s reading feat – Exeter Express and Echo. “Sam, 8, has completed his 100 Book Track Badge. He has enjoyed reading books that made him laugh out loud. His favourites include David Walliams, Geronimo Stilton and Wimpy Kid books.” … “Lottie gained her 10th certificate to complete the Bear Club challenge for under five year olds and win a mini blue Book Start bear.”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Share your views on plans for libraries – Pocklington Post. “A public consultation is set to be launched on East Riding Council’s proposal for the future of its library service and multi-service centres, which could see opening hours drastically cut back at libraries across the region.”
  • Enfield – Library revamp set to go ahead despite council cut-backs – North London Today. “In the midst of a furore over all but four libraries in the borough being turned over to volunteers and community groups, The Council are preparing a £4.2m cash injection into Edmonton Green library to transform it into a flagship library.”
  • Lambeth – London library closures cost local council three times more than keeping them open – Independent. “Lambeth council paid private security guards £2,212 a day to secure the two sites, when previously the running costs – according to the council’s budget – was just £874.” [However, this security operation is short term presumably – Ed.]
  • Lancashire – Petition “fuels rumours” of library closure – 2BR. “The ‘Save Padiham Library’ petition already has several hundred signatures in just a few days, after the facility appeared on a list of ‘at risk’ buildings which face cuts under Lancashire County Council. But local councillors are against the campaign- saying Padiham library is sure to remain open. Brendan Morris (pictured left) is behind the petition – he tells us he doesn’t understand why the library was on the list is there’s no risk to its future”
  • Lewisham – Protesters march to save Lewisham libraries – East London Lines. “Lewisham locals are taking a stand to save their libraries after the borough council cut £1 million from its library budget. On Saturday (May 21), hundreds of demonstrators marched from Lewisham Library to Catford in protest against the cuts to the library budget. Lewisham Council wants to remove staff from four libraries in Lewisham: Catford, Forest Hill, Manor House and Torridon Road.”
  • Moray – Swimming pools and libraries could go as Moray Council looks to slash £10million of services – Press and Journal. Six out of eleven libraries to be cut in order to reduce budget by £93k.
  • Oxfordshire – School mobile library closed – Henley Standard. The “mobile library that visits Kidmore End Primary School will stop at the end of the summer term.   It is one of five mobile libraries across  Oxfordshire being scrapped by the county council as it tries to make £69 million of savings over the next four years.  Headteacher Linda Hull said: “It’s disappointing because the children really enjoy the mobile library. “They get a great deal out of choosing books themselves, chatting with the librarians and then enjoying the books with their families.”
  • Rutland – Rutland libraries welcome donation of books on the history of Lyddington Manor – Rutland and Stamford Mercury. “A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has allowed the Lyddington Manor History Society to produce the book, with six copies donated to Rutland Libraries for members of the public to read and enjoy. “
  • Shropshire – Comedian Jo Brand wades into fight for Ludlow Library – Shropshire Star. “The 58-year-old is a regular visitor to the library because her mother Joyce lives in the town. And she today called for Shropshire Council to ensure its future, saying asking volunteers to staff the library was running it “on the cheap”. She said: “Every civilised town should have a library. It will be a sad day if Ludlow’s disappears.” Her comments come as no agreement has yet been struck over who might take on the running of the venue if Shropshire Council withdraw all funding from April 2017 as planned.”

“Like my mum, I am a huge believer in public libraries and what they have to offer. Every civilised town and city should have at least one. They offer education, entertainment, debate, a meeting place and somewhere for kids to take part in reading projects and get to know books. For a start, lots of people can’t afford books and the opportunity to read is one that should not be denied to anyone.” Jo Brand

  • Vale of Glamorgan – Cabinet – Vale of Glamorgan Council. Confirmed five libraries (Dinas Powys, Sully, Wenvoe, St. Athan and Rhoose) to become volunteer. The Council will provide peripatetic librarian support for 50% of the community library opening hours. The Council will transfer bookstock (+ provide on-going replenishment), fixtures and fittings, ICT equipment and community asset transfer of the buildings (if council owned). The £97,310 Council funding required for the establishment of the community libraries would be met from the current Library Fund.          Judicial Review – “The Council had incurred £72,640 to date (excluding the cost of the recent hearing referred to in paragraph 31 of the report) in respect of legal fees for defending the claim for Judicial Review. These costs had been met from the Library Fund.” The impact of the two above costs on the Library Fund is likely to be significant.” … “The reshaping of the library service was estimated to deliver savings of £525,000 over 2015/16 and 2016/17.” The libraries budget for 2016-17 has been reduced by £296,000 to £2,051,000 (-13.1%).
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Save Rhoose Library – Facebook. “This Wednesday morning the High Court will decide whether our application for a Judicial Review can proceed to a full High Court trial. If the answer is yes we should also find out whether the court will issue an injunction that would halt the transfer to a community library, pending a full court hearing. Watch this space on Wednesday afternoon and we will post the result as soon as we hear it.”

Traffic delays due to library campaigners

Editorial

The news that it is costing Lambeth more money to guard its closed libraries than it would have cost to keep them open is a new low in the odd way that some councils treat libraries. Some councillors, of all political stripe, have shown themselves adept at making an already bad situation worse. Barnet, for example, managed to tender out its library computer system without adequate maintenance safeguards, meaning a loss of library data (and inconvenience to staff) months ago still encumbering them now. Other councillors simply do not understand the important work libraries do, or wish to make some sort of point – be it about the wonderfulness of the BIg Society or the evils of Austerity or whatever. It’s good therefore that people are willing to protest, as was the case in Lewisham this weekend with hundreds protesting.  I wonder how many countries can say traffic delayed due to library campaigners? Well, the UK joined the undoubtedly short and tragic list this weekend.

Changes

Ideas

  • Tactile reading – Briefcases containing architectural models.
  • Workrary – Non-profit company leases out libraries as business workplaces.

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“Cameron can come to ours and assist those trying to get online”

Editorial

Reaction to opening hour cuts in Northern Ireland has been notably negative, as has the continuing dismay over the gigantic cuts to Lancashire. A news item I’ve noticed is that Norwich Millennium Library, one of the most popular libraries in the UK, has gone down the Open+ remote access route for some hours and sections. It’s a sign that the system is going to be used in all sizes of library, from the smallest to the largest. and that the market for it will be something that expands while the library budgets generally contract.

Finally, stand by to get angry as David Cameron explains away library closures to a ten year old boy as due to “technological change”.  Reactions to this from my Twitter feed, disregarding the several tweets including swear words (I’m shocked, you hear, shocked), include:

  • “So how about we shut the House of Commons library and replace it with computers?
  • “Not so – my local library was packed with people using computers AND books the other week”
  • “those who say ‘libraries antiquated/underused’ almost always those w/ no direct need/experience of libraries themselves”
  • “omg that man. Does he not realise libraries are more important than ever. shame on you.”
  • “Because, you know, people who can’t afford tech or need place to study don’t count”
  • “This will be where I point out we still have accountants despite the invention of calculators (for starters…..)”
  • “How sad! Wake up and see how both are important and essential. It should not be one or the other…”
  • “Doesn’t look as if Cameron realises that lots of poeple also need libraries to access technology
  • “If our PM visited them more often perhaps he’d understand how incorrect that is.”
  • “Libraries are about connecting with the community-Cameron can come to ours and assist those trying to get online.”

and, my personal favourite:

  • “”I have never lived in a small or disruptive household””

Changes

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Information on every library service in the UK since 2010

Editorial

A few times recently people have been surprised when I have mentioned that they can see the major changes in any UK library authority in the UK since 2010 via the Public Libraries News website. I suspect this information could be very handy for anyone looking for a job, or business, or a better understanding of any library service so here’s all the relevant links below. Normally, you’d need to click on the By Authority tab at the top of the webpages, then Changes then choose the relevant link.

I’ve worked hard to ensure it’s all accurate but if there’s anything that needs changing then please contact me, as always, on ianlibrarian@live.co.uk.

Changes

Ideas

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It's (almost) that time of year again: Summer Reading Challenge 2016

She’s moving her lips … plus good new ideas, cuts in North Lanarkshire and Warrington

Editorial

It’s always amusing tracking the statements of politicians and seeing how their phrasing carefully manages to give the best possible impression without actually lying. Major points to Baroness Nevile-Rolfe in this regard who has said in the House of Lords that only 110 libraries have closed since 2010 and the Government was doing loads of stuff to support them. Presumably she did this with a straight face and her fingers crossed behind her back. Her definitions carefully avoid all the cuts in the “changes” section below – the 4 libraries under threat are in Scotland (so aren’t mentioned in the England figures), the 2 mobiles are excluded twice (they’re in Scotland and they’re not “static”) and of course the cuts in opening hours in Warrington don’t count at all. Elsewhere, the major cuts to Lancashire (which, if all 40 turn volunteer, wouldn’t be included in the Baroness’s’s’s definitions) are getting the attention they deserve in the local press, if not in parliament.

Away from the good Baroness, there’s a few ideas I’ve not seen before, including the beautifully termed “tiebrary”, plus information on the fantastic national reading promotion for libraries which is the Summer Reading Challenge.

Changes

Ideas

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Fallout in Lancashire, changes in Enfield and Yorkshire … and some refurbs and ideas

Editorial

Big news today is the continuing fall out from the drastic cuts to Lancashire libraries and other council services. People – including in this instance two Conservative MPs – are not happy. Other news includes cuts to the East Riding of Yorkshire (remember, it’s an amalgamation, not a closure), although to be fair to them there does appear to have been an actual genuine consultation there – and a co-location in Enfield. Some more details on big refurbishments to libraries (yes, they do happen, but thy too often don’t grab the headlines) already reported here and a few good ideas for libraries, including the too-cool-for-school (well, unless, you’re doing it anonymously, naturally) Crypto Party. Finally, the Taskforce have done a very useful summary of the Taking Part figures on trends in library use, and promise changes to the way the DCMS gathers the information in future.

Changes

Ideas

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So what does Lancashire and Newfoundland have in common?

Editorial

More information has come out about the cuts in Lancashire. It’s pretty bad. The press release from the council is an unfortunate example of the best possible gloss being put on a bad situation, with the real needs of users (and the feelings of library staff, not to say their jobs) seemingly pretty much ignored. Canada is not a place I normally associate with deep cuts but it looks like the politicians in Newfoundland are trying to change that.  It’s heartening to see the national reaction, not to say revulsion, that this is causing in that country, though. So things may end differently there. We can hope so. Meanwhile, there’s a nice refurb in Bradford and an extension of the embarrassing closure in Hereford and something very interesting going on in a Malaysian airport …

Changes

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Stephen Fry1

Libraries “save lives” says Stephen Fry

Editorial

I’m going to pass over my editorial to Stephen Fry today. The image is shareable and copyright free.

Stephen Fry1

Changes

Ideas

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Lewisham - Unison poster organising march to "save Lewisham Libraries"

“Fund it better”

Editorial

My thanks to a PLN reader who pointed out that the Atlantic article on the decline in usage of US libraries over recent years stated that the drop had a lot to do with budget cuts (or increases in areas which saw usage rise).  I neglected to mention this in my summary. It’s something which has resonance in the UK where the decline in library usage mirrors closely (or, much of the time, is less than) the cuts to their budget.  English library budgets have fallen far more than the 14.3% decline in usage that the BooKSeller reports or the larger figure that the DCMS figure itself suggests. Don’t get me wrong, budget cuts are not the only woe. I’m sure that some of the decline is due to general global trends like e-books – research I’m doing into the usage and budgetary trends of libraries in Europe and beyond show that it’s not just the UK that’s seeing drops, and also it’s not just those countries who have seen big cuts to budgets. That’s not a message that will be popular with everyone. However, the Atlantic article ends with a sentiment I think almost all of us can agree with: ” if the public wants to reverse the trend and make the local library more useful, it should do one thing that evidence supports: Fund it better. “

Changes

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Taking Part and Polish train station libraries

Editorial

The DCMS “Taking Part” survey has done a special focus on public libraries.  It’s useful as it looks at adult usage over the past ten years. The trend shows a clear decline – I think we all knew that that would be the case, with reasons being arguable, but with the given reasons of those surveyed being, quite simply, e-books and preferring to buy.  It’s also noteworthy how important a factor children are in adult’s use of libraries.  There’s a lot of crossover there that perhaps library design does not always follow.  Elsewhere, I’m loving the Polish train station converted into a library.

Changes

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