£70,000 for a library is cheap

The Save Kensal Rise group have launched a fundraising appeal to help them buy “their” library.  It’s for £70,000, which sounds a lot, but an estate agents (kudos to Daniel’s Real Estate Agents) have already offered £10,000.  The money is returnable if the bid fails.  Let’s hope it doesn’t.

Elsewhere, Sheffield has launched a consultation on how it is going to meet (unspecified) cuts to its libraries budget.  Job losses and closures are not ruled out.

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Public Libraries 2017: what 120 library workers think.

A survey of 120 UK public library staff called A snapshot of priorities and objectives by OCLC has shed some light on what library workers think about the future.  The key results are analysed below:

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“… the principle of free access to public library services becoming a thing of the past”


‘Without any changes to the 1964 Act we could find the principle of free access to public library services becoming a thing of the past’. Ebook Acquisition and Lending Briefing: Public, Academic and Research Libraries – CILIP

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Pro-library volunteer website “Community Knowledge Hub” expands


The website Community Knowledge Hub has been greatly expanded for those wishing to transfer the running of a public library to a community group. There is a detailed “planning tool” which goes through, step by detailed step, what is required for removing a branch from council control. There are also resources including useful documents (Public Libraries News gets a mention in this section) and a “building calculator” that allows one to work out the cost of running a library. In addition, there are pages on best practice ideas (although some will hardly set the world on fire such as “book sale”) and general news.

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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.