Refurbishments, commitments and shocked librarian reactions to President Trump

Editorial

A very positive (and rare) article in the Telegraph on libraries is a nice accompaniment to a couple of pieces in the Guardian on school and public libraries. Continuing the positive new, there’s three refurbishments of libraries – including one with 3D printers – as well as (well, hopefully positive, it’s too early to tell) the replacement of Nottingham Central Library. Rounding off the national news is a call from CILIP for (gosh) leadership and commitment to public libraries from the Government.

But the main thing I will remember this week is the absolute shocked reaction by US librarians to the news of Donald Trump being elected. They’re a lot more political over there than British librarians, I can tell you. With many on the ALATT Facebook group (normally a bunch of very nice and supportive librarians) almost hitting open warfare when anyone suggested that anyone who voted for Trump wasn’t a sexist or a racist. The battle lines have been drawn there. We will see how long the war goes on and if anyone outside of library staff rooms notice (and the implications if they do).

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Focus on school libraries

Editorial

Some impressive campaigning from children’s laureates, past and present, for school libraries plus the Read On Get On coalition notes the impact of their reduction on reading.  It’s good to see school libraries being highlighted.  Because of their less public nature, cuts to school libraries often don’t get the publicity that anything similar in public libraries would receive.  But the impact of the loss of a school library when it  comes to a child’s literacy is incalculable. Moreover, there is a natural partnership between school and public libraries. Here’s wishing them the best.

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250 ideas and innovations in public libraries … and the rest of the public libraries news

Editorial

As well as reading and summarising all the news I see about public libraries, one of the jobs that is also done, is spotting new ideas for the sector.  This is ongoing on the blog but every now again I copy and past them into the “Ideas and Innovations” page.  I’ve just done that again, added them all up and there’s 250 ideas there now. Gosh, that’s a lot of ideas. I’m sure one or two will be useful to you.  Have a look at Ideas and innovations in public libraries here.

Thanks to all those who completed my little survey last week: I’ve had a look at the results and there’s some useful stuff in it.  More on that later this week.

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Bananas linked by wires to computers

More money for Kingston, more volunteers in Staffordshire and others

Editorial

Code Clubs have come into their own in many libraries this year and it’s good to have a piece from the SCL below on them. Also good to see investment in Kingston, although there is the normal news about more volunteer libraries. And of course the shame that is how LiveWire is treating libraries in Warrington continues.

I’m still doing the survey on what public libraries charge for things like craft sessions and for drinks for events. It’s to get some idea of what’s happening nationally as well as seeing if these are extra bits of income that can be made without affecting usage (or not).  The survey is tiny (only four questions) and will take you less than a minute if you don’t put any comments in.  So, do me (and possibly yourself as I will be publicising the results) a favour by completing the survey here. The survey is entirely anonymous.  Thank you.

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Ideas

Cracking the Code in Manchester Central Library

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Coding clubs triple in libraries, linking library books to Amazon … and a really quick survey

Editorial

I’m doing a survey on what public libraries charge for things like craft sessions and for drinks for events. It’s to get some idea of what’s happening nationally as well as seeing if these are extra bits of income that can be made without affecting usage (or not).  The survey is tiny (only four questions) and will take you less than a minute if you don’t put any comments in.  So, do me (and possibly yourself as I will be publicising the results) a favour by completing the survey here. The survey is entirely anonymous.  Thank you.

Ideas

  • Library Extension – Free way to have your library book availability show on Amazon, GoodReads, Overdrive.
  • Smart scales – BMI/Weight scales available in libraries.

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A big protest in favour of libraries and others this weekend.

National demonstrations in favour of libraries: #LoveToRead and Placards

Editorial

Anyone would think it was planned this way.  The BBC led #LoveToRead campaign culminated this weekend, with loads of selfies on library twitter feeds and programmes such as Cerys Matthews on Radio 6 being broadcast from Orkney Library, on the same day that around two thousand people protested in London against libraries (and other services) being cut. It was good to see the “soft” #LoveToRead promotion palatable to council services and the BBC going on at the same time as the “hard” campaigning of placards and protest that chimes with protesters and the unions. The comparative merits and strengths of both tactics can be debated but the timing is impeccable to influence the autumn statement to be announced on the 23rd. Those behind both campaigns can both feel proud of themselves this weekend.

A big protest in favour of libraries and others this weekend.

A big protest in favour of libraries and others this weekend.

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Ideas

  • Chat and chill – Acclimatising women [Not men, in this case – Ed.] new to UK to life here.

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2016: the year the Fun Palace became mainstream in libraries?

Editorial

2016 may be the year when Fun Palaces ceased being an unusual sight in UK public libraries and entered the mainstream.  I’ve had my eye on them for a short while now (here’s an article on them from January) since their success in Lambeth last year. Well, it looks like more and more libraries have got on board this year, with the Taskforce having to devote two, not just one, blog to it in order to fit them all in. They all look joyous and so creative.  Some questions remain for me about them, such as the danger of them being just glorified craft sessions and being sometimes  almost entirely staffed by library staff and not expert enthusiasts from the community.  However, from what I see many are genuinely empowering and bring joy to the library and to the people, regular users and first-time ones, that enter over their threshold.

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Thomas Colloff, in the mobile library that made it all possible.

“Keep an open mind, be innovative, and keep smiling”: an interview with Thomas Colloff

Editorial

I was delighted to see library staff being recognised for their excellent work over the past year.  The more that those who work in libraries the better, in my opinion.  Here’s the first of the interviews this year …

 A brief interview with Thomas Colloff, Mobile Library Champion of the Year.

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Love to Read, Get It Loud and Loop the Loop

Editorial

Apologies for two posts in one day but I though the interview with Helen Milner deserved a special one on its own.  Here’s the news for the last couple of days.

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Special interview with Helen Milner on “protected” libraries and the 10% that “have to change”

Helen Milner recently went public with the view that some public libraries are not good enough and are being overly protected. This has led, at time of going to press, with a report in the Guardian and, I understand, an interview on Sky News tomorrow. Her views have led to dispute, some of which has been fairly heated,  in the library community. I caught up with Helen this afternoon and asked her to clarify her views some more.

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