Rescure My Library

New Society of Chief Librarians policy strongly in favour of volunteers


The Society of Chief Librarians is, as described on their website, ” a local government association made up of the chief librarian of each library authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland”. As such, they represent the decision makers and prime movers of public libraries in these areas.  It has therefore proved disconcerting to some (as seen by a comment today in the librarian bulletin board, lis-pub-libs) that their new policy on volunteering in libraries does not appear to oppose direct substitution of library staff with volunteers. This goes directly against the recent policy change by CILIP, the professional association for library staff, that is now explicitly against substitution.

The summary of the new policy is very short which means we can analyse it line by line:

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“Radical and socially equalising”

Review of “the Library Book” stresses the role of public libraries are “radical and socially equalising”.  Confirmed that Wootton Fields Library will move from school to cheaper site, in the teeth of local opposition.  Pembury Library in Kent may also move to cheaper location. 5 non-local and 6 local stories.

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£6m divided by 151 equals £39,735


Interesting to see in today’s stories see that Oxfordshire libraries are being advised to apply for a share of the £6m Arts Council England fund for libraries.  Being there are 151 authorities in England, that means £39,735 for the authority.  Not to be sniffed at, although the 16 branches who will soon be half-staffed with volunteers or closed may wonder at the priority given to Arts-related events.  It is only natural that authorities facing cuts of 20% plus in total budget may wish to focus on positive matters, and the money is to be welcomed, but the politicians – most especially Mr Vaizey whose constituency is in Oxfordshire – should not pretend that funding worth .6% (point six) of total UK library expenditure is going to somehow make things OK.

In other news, it’s interesting to see that Louise Mensch, known to library campaigners for her questioning of witnesses during the DCMS Select Committee Inquiry into Library Closures, is quitting as an MP in order to go to the USA with her husband.

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Unpaid armies


Public Libraries News has moved over to a new design today.  The main aim is to allow for an increase in pages and thus an improvement in the ease for the reader in finding the material that they want.  I hope the whole screen looks cleaner and more professional too.   My thanks to Rabbitdigital Design for their help.  Please send me any feedback on the “new look” that you want.  It would be really appreciated.  Also, any suggestions for added material – now that I have the expansion space – would be welcomed.  Thank you, and keep on supporting those libraries.


Today we have the Economist pointing out what we all knew: that the Big Society in libraries more often than not means people having to volunteer or see a much-loved service close.  There’s also a great article from Carnegie and some changes, not always for the better, locally.


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Librarians second only to doctors in public trust, survey finds


  • Envisioning the library of the future – Arts Council England.  Library sector consultation now completed, next phase is “understanding the public”.  “We are seeking to explore the public’s appreciation of public libraries in more detail: not as individual consumers or non-consumers of library services, but rather as citizens who fund public library services.” [ they want books and local libraries with reasonable opening times and paid staff – Ian]

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Watchdog says PLN figures check out

There’s something quite terrifying about having one’s figures checked by an independent group, not least when those figures were recently quoted on the front page of a national newspaper and in the inside pages of two more.  This was the case today when Full Fact, funded by three different foundations, gave my work a once over in How many public libraries have closed since 2011?  Thankfully, the article accepts the Public Libraries News figures.

Doncaster case lost … but does Suffolk win?


Doncaster legal case won by Mayor
Sore news for library campaigners in Doncaster today when it became clear that the Mayor could decide on libraries policy with 43 councillors voting against him, 6 for and 3 abstaining.  On the face of it, this would seem to be more akin to elected dictatorship than democracy, although it is worth remembering that in May this year, two-thirds of the Doncaster electorate voted to keep their mayoral system.  The council will now go ahead with closing two libraries and finding volunteers to run 12 more or see them close. More >

Front page of Independent for public libraries


It’s not often that public libraries make the front page of a national newspaper but it happened today (Tuesday 31st July – Revealed: the full cost of the cull of public libraries – Independent).  It quotes the Public Libraries News figures for libraries closed and under threat.

CILIP, DCMS and Dan Jarvis are quoted and it’s interesting to see their different viewpoints: More >

Dan Jarvis MP uses Public Libraries News figures to attack Ed Vaizey

Dan Jarvis, the Shadow Minister for Libraries, used figures from Public Libraries News today to challenge his supine opposite number Ed Vaizey.  The Libraries Minister has been notably inactive in his defence over the last two years, being willing to allow authorities to effectively cut their budgets as they wish.

Let’s see what Dan says and where he got the evidence: More >

$2.86 of benefits for each $1 spent, library study claims



  • Book spend of 31p speaks volumes – Times Educational Supplement.   “According to the government, authors such as Dryden, Keats and Dickens should be at the heart of school life. But far from valuing literature, secondaries are spending as little as the cost of a packet of crisps on new books for their pupils each year. A survey by the School Library Association (SLA), which asked more than 1,000 library staff in secondaries about their budgets, found that one academy spent just 31p per pupil each year on books and another only 62p, compared with the £14 for secondaries recommended by charity Booktrust five years ago.” More >