And yet it moves

Editorial

It;s great to see some new mobile libraries being bought and put on the road in a couple of library services. Over the last ten years, while the smallest libraries have been closed or moved to volunteers in many services, there is one exception … those libraries with wheels. They are proving remarkably tenacious, providing equality of service to those in rural and hard to reach areas. Long may they move.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • The classism of closing libraries – The Boar. “My main takeaway from an exchange like this is that at some point libraries were removed from the weekend itinerary, they blended with the essence of nostalgia rather than staying part of the present; meaning either the person stopped reading, or started  sourcing their books elsewhere. It is important therefore to explore the shift away from the use of public books and reflect on why we choose to buy not borrow, and what that means for everyone else”
  • Covid-19 – How are the rules on face masks and COVID passes changing in England? – Sky News. Wearing a mask is now a legal requirement for libraries “and reading rooms”.
  • Harry Potter book sells for world record £356,000 – Cheshire Live. “The ‘mint’ condition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was in the first run of 500 printed in 1997. About 300 were given to libraries and schools and the remaining 200 passed into private hands.”
  • Let’s Create Jubilee Fund – Arts Council England. £175k grant. “The grant will be distributed by Libraries Connected, and will provide £1,000 for each library service to mark the occasion in whatever way they think will be most relevant and enjoyable for their users and local community. This could be done in collaboration with other library services, or be a purely local celebration. Libraries Connected will contact all eligible library services to discuss the process for delivering the grant, which we expect to be paid in January or February.” [The other £25k (there are are 150 library services in England) is for Libraries Connected take on staff/contractors to project manage, distribute the funding to 150 library services, market nationally, identify additional national/regional partners and manage the evaluation – Ed.]
  • Library audio and ebook loans in 2021 reveal unexpected stars – Guardian. “… while Richard Osman might have topped the list of the year’s most-borrowed ebooks, Ellery Adams’s tale of a North Carolina bookshop owner who doles out bibliotherapy over a fresh-baked scone has made a surprising entry on the list. Adams’s 2017 title The Secret, Book & Scone Society, in which Miracle Springs bookseller Nora prescribes the “perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain”, only for one of her customers to be found murdered, was the fourth most-borrowed ebook from UK public libraries in 2021. It was more popular than Booker winner Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, which came in fifth, and Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel The Sentinel, although it came in behind Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. The figures come from OverDrive, which provides ebook and audiobook access to more than 3,000 of the UK’s libraries.
  • Library closures are cutting off routes into creative life for so many – The Stage. [paywall] “The deaths of two theatre titans, Sher and Sondheim, had producer Richard Jordan remembering how he discovered their work in his local library, and how the closure of libraries around the country is cutting off vital access to theatre careers and so much more …”

The Reading Agency, in partnership with the BBC and supported by the Arts Council, is calling for recommendations for the Big Jubilee Read, a national reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads by celebrated authors from the Commonwealth to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. Readers are invited to send your recommendations for an expert panel to select the list of 70 Big Jubilee Reads. Recommendations should include author, title, publication year and reasons for recommendation. Books must be published between 1952-2022 by an author from the commonwealth, be considered a great read of a decade, appeal to diverse and inclusive audiences and be available in print or e-book format. Titles can include fiction, poetry and graphic novels but not non-fiction. Books in translation are welcome. They should be emailed to thebigjubileeread@readingagency.org.uk by 16 December.

The Reading Agency, via email

International news

Local news by authority

Savinged

Editorial

Words are important so it’s time to have a note about terminology. The policy of Public Libraries News is to describe reductions to budgets as “cuts” whereas the almost universal policy of councils is to describe them as “savings”. It depends on one’s viewpoint and the pros and cons of each case as to which word is more true. A cut can also be a saving of course, and sometimes efficiencies can indeed be made. But the word “saving” suggests that there has been no reduction in the service offered so that nothing is lost, financially or otherwise. The word “cut” suggests a reduction both in service and budget. My use of the word “cut” comes from the 2010s when we were indeed looking at brutal cuts to services and I would argue that it’s a more honest word than the alternatives even now. But it depends on circumstances and viewpoint and one must always bear that in mind. The word “saving” is sometimes used by councils in full knowledge that what is actually happening is a cut. That’s a shame and I think being more honest with people would be good, because people should not be misled, especially when they are the ones ultimately paying the bills both in terms of budget and in terms of services, cut or, um, savinged.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Carthew plans UK tour to address publishing diversity and inclusion – BookSeller.”The Breaking Class Tour will visit festivals, universities, libraries, bookshops and conferences around the UK throughout 2022. Carthew will talk about the issues that face working-class writers including barriers to success, as well as talking to publishing industry professionals regarding how best to tackle discrimination and unconscious bias in the industry.”
  • End of Year Recharge and Reset – British Library Living Knowledge. “A restorative session aimed at giving you clarity of mind as we move towards the holiday season. Join Author and life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru for a relaxed mental health check-in, with tips and strategies for balancing and assessing your work life balance and winding down 2021 with a positive mind-set.”https://digitalcontentassociates.com/bringing-ft-to-the-worlds-public-libraries/
  • The Librarian Behind a New Anthology of Poems About Books & Libraries – Fine Books Magazine. “The 272-page anthology, with gorgeous jacket art, includes such poets as Horace, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Borges, Angelou, and others, all paying homage to books and libraries.”
  • Stories Not Statistics: An Autoethnographical & Narrative Exploration of the Value of Public Libraries Humanities Commons. “This research examines what the narratives around libraries reveal about the ways in which they are valued, and explores the use of methods that are still relatively new to the field of LIS. ” … ” there is a gap in the current LIS scholarship on work that draws together narratives of belonging, loneliness and the body in relation to the public library with the use of autoethnography and narrative inquiry specifically, and that using narratives to understand and articulate impact should be key to understanding the value of libraries.”
  • #uklibchat 6th December – Farewell and Review – #uklibchat. “This is our last chat. We are grateful for all your interactions, for all those who followed us and lurked. This last chat is not so much a discussion as an opportunity to come together and appreciate each other and the conversations #uklibchat has helped foster. We have a few conversation starters in our agenda for this cosy chance to gather round the inspiration that is #uklibchat. Feel free to add your own.”
  • Universal Library Offers Calendar 2022 – Libraries Connected. “Key dates for libraries in 2022”

International news

Local news by authority

“I was more than willing to support South Gloucestershire Libraries. The service has so much to offer – access to computers, a meeting place to connect with your community, somewhere to study and if you want to find out anything then the library is the place to go. But above all these great services it’s their power to change lives through reading. I would encourage everyone to use their local library.”

Stephen Merchant
  • Staffordshire – When a decision will be made on moving Burton library to the market hall – Staffordshire Live. “Decisions on the future of Burton’s library and Market Hall will be made after March next year, it has been revealed. The business case by Burton Town Deal Board will be passed to the Government by March and a decision will then be made on which seven projects will be taken forward.”
  • Surrey – Council makes commitment on whether to keep Surrey libraries open amid transformation plan – Get Surrey. “Surrey councillors have made a commitment that no library services will be lost in the county in the face of large costs to upgrade facilities.”… “Achievements as part of the plan so far include joining the Libraries Consortium which means residents can use their Surrey library card to access libraries in Essex and 18 London boroughs, and being on track to make savings of £2.9m by the end of March 2022.”
  • Thurrock – Protesters show their support to save Thameside theatre complex in Grays – BBC News. “Thurrock Council is proposing to sell the Thameside complex, which also houses a library and museum, in Grays as part of plans to save £34m by 2024. Labour councillor John Kent said people were “really angry” at the plans.”
  • Torfaen – Temporary reduction in Torfaen library opening hours – South Wales Argus. “There are currently four vacant library assistant roles within the borough’s service, which is leading to staff shortages as more people return to using libraries following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. But a council report says filling the vacancies while a review of the service is being carried out would ‘prejudice’ its outcome.”
  • Wiltshire – Market Lavington library opens for first time since Covid – Gazette and Herald. Library “has reopened in its new location after closing its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic. The new library is now open at the Old School, Church Street, thanks to the partnership between Wiltshire Council and Market Lavington Parish Council.”
  • Worcestershire – Mask up when visiting the library as new variant forces change – Bromsgrove Standard. “Face  coverings will once again be required in order for customers to enter the county’s libraries from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 30. The county’s libraries will be increasing Covid-19 protection measures in light of the new directions from central government and will be asking anyone visiting to wear a face covering.” [This turned out not to be true – government guidelines excluded libraries from essential mask wearing – Ed.]

Cancel culture

Editorial

Two long-running library battles have been won,, with Glasgow libraries receiving funding to reopen threatened libraries there and the near-future of the library in the book paradise of Hay on Wye also being secured. Scottish libraries have also received funding to aid with fall-out from Covid. On the debit side, Torfaen is looking at big cuts and the once large Grays Library in Thurrock is looking to be reduced to a shadow of its former self. Internationally, it’s all about censorship, with China reducing what can be read in Hong Kong while, on the other side of the Pacific, there are continuing moves to censor a ton of stuff in what those pushing the moves probably still unironically say is the Land Of The Free.

https://www.iii.com/products/vega/

Changes by library service

National news

International news

  • Argentina – BIC Celebrates Global Education Week By Honoring 10 Educators In Second Year Of BIC Cristal Pen Awards – Cision. “Herńan is one of the founders and current president of the library Biblioteca Popular Palabras del Alma. The library began operating on a mobile basis, only on weekends and now offers art, a community garden, and workshops for reading writing, computer, language, theater and many topics for people of all ages, including high school students and children without access to kindergarten. Herńan also coordinates a project for indigenous people where a dozen new libraries in their communities have since been built. He is also the creator of a community theater group and radio station that allows poor people, women, children and adolescents, people with disabilities or who are part of indigenous peoples to express themselves.” [My wife is the UK award winner – Ed.]
  • Canada – A Toronto library card will give you free access to the city’s top attractions starting tomorrow – Flipboard. “For Toronto Public Library cardholders, one pass is permitted per person every week. Each venue has its own restrictions on the number of people that can be admitted with one pass. Generally, each pass admits two adults and two children.”
  • China- Hong Kong libraries removed 29 books about Tiananmen massacre: Report – Big News Network. ” Hong Kong libraries have removed 29 out of 149 books about the Tiananmen massacre over the last 12 years.”
  • Singapore – Choa Chu Kang Public Library: Libraries Can Be Gardens Too – Medium. “Instead of taking up just one floor within Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, the new library now spans across two floors (Levels 4 and 5) and accommodates a more extensive literary collection than its predecessor. The overhaul is aligned to the National Library Board’s (NLB) Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 (LAB25): a five-year road map to streamline library and archive services to support lifelong discovery and learning, build an informed citizenry, nurture a stronger appreciation of the Singapore experience, and ensure equal access and opportunities for everyone.”
  • USA – Texas Library Cancel Children’s Event After Transgender Misinformation Sparks Threats – Newsweek. ” the library was not, as had been falsely claimed, an event to “indoctrinate children into a transgender way of life.””
    • More Republican leaders try to ban books on race, LGBTQ issues – NPR. Lists various moves to censor books, mainly in school libraries.
    • Viral photo of near-empty library shelves sends powerful message: ‘We removed every book with content that could offend someone’ – Yahoo. “The pair of side-by-side photos, shared by Pflugerville Public Library in Texas, aims to provide a visual of what library shelves might look like if everything containing subject matter that could cause someone discomfort was to be removed. “This is a before and after shot of what a single shelving unit in the library’s Teen Space would look like if we removed every book with content that could offend someone,” the caption begins. “Out of 159 books, there are ten left on the shelves. We removed books that contained profanity, teen drinking, religious content, racism, magic, abuse, sexual content, and more. But in taking away those books, we also removed examples of friendship, love, courage, creativity, faith, forgiveness, reality, resilience, humor, and history.””

Local news by authority

Waiting for the new equilibrium

Editorial

A reasonably quiet week this one, with the most stand out thing for me being Arts Council England producing some nice videos publicising public libraries. Sadly, the other news is more information on the proposed cuts to Slough, which have been fleshed out as being a reasonably massive 33% cut, with the book fund being especially punished apparently because it is too good. Go figure. Meanwhile, the USA, the move towards Fahrenheit 451 becoming a reality moves ever closer with two library board members seriously suggesting books they don’t like should be burnt – never a good look. But here in the UK the ever present question is not which book to burn but rather at what level and when will library usage settle post-Covid. Will the new equilibrium be at 90%? Only an optimist I think would go for 100. And a pessimist may go lower. But it’s still too early to tell, with Covid very much still being around and some library services still not having opened all libraries or even starting events again.

Changes by authority

National news

  • CWA Dagger In The Library – Crime Writer’s Association. “Up to three members of staff from each British library can nominate an eligible author from the list below. The list of eligible authors is selected by the Dagger in the Library judges each year and comprises authors writing in the UK who have had at least six crime books published over a period of 10 years or more, who were not shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library in the previous year and who have never won either the Dagger in the Library or the Diamond Dagger.”
  • Libraries Activity Data – Libraries Connected. 25 November webinar. “We are analysing libraries’ activity data on a monthly basis and benchmarking this against broader data from High Streets and other areas. Join us for a discussion on what the data shows, what it means and provide your own insight from the library services to make our analysis a much richer picture.”
Arts Council England have commissioned this film, Your Library for help, fun and information, to help advocate for Public Libraries in England. List of shorter videos for specific areas here.
  • Network of sharing libraries and repair cafes – Scottish Government. “Under the £310,000 reuse and repair scheme, funded jointly with Zero Waste Scotland, more resource libraries will be established across Scotland – a key recommendation of Scotland’s Climate Assembly. The facilities allow people to borrow items such as high quality tools, equipment, clothes and toys rather than buying them. The scheme – overseen by the Circular Communities Scotland charity in collaboration with Edinburgh Tool Library and Edinburgh Remakery – will also see more repair cafes set up to teach people the skills to repair items.”
  • Public libraries and climate change – DCMS Libraries. “At the heart of the discussion and debate was recognising the power of public libraries in the communities they are based in, in being able to break down the sometimes overwhelming information and to disseminate this into the community. “

International news

Jacqueline May

“My work consists of 63 individual framed letters and ‘opened’ envelopes. Each letter is addressed to the Minister who had responsibility for libraries in their portfolio at the time the library mentioned in the letter closed permanently. Each letter begins ‘This is just to let you know’ and names the library, where it is located and the date it closed permanently. The timeline of the letters is from 2011-2017 which saw the greatest decline in public library provision in England. Librarians will understand why I have chosen the writer of these letters to be William Ewart.

I wanted to mark and commemorate these libraries, the people who used them and the people who worked in them. It is not a comprehensive list of libraries which have permanently closed and neither is it primarily a political statement. I wanted to name as many libraries as possible over this five year period. There is an inherent beauty in the names of these libraries. They conjure up whole worlds.”

Follow Jacqueline on  https://twitter.com/jacannem to see the images on the anniversaries of the closures.

Local news by authority

Fragile Libraries

Editorial

There have been some more reports of councils looking to cut services due to Covid, either directly due to budgetary pressure or because of reductions in usage. This is what has been feared in library circles. What’s strange though is that the reports I am seeing is that some library services are reporting getting back to almost normal levels of business while others are at barely half of what they were in 2019. That’s a major difference and I’m not seeing much explanation of it. Perhaps we’ll see it soon.

In other news, COP26 has not gone un-noticed in libraries this week, with a report on how GLL are being more sustainable in their libraries, and a lovely quote from Surrey Libraries saying “what we recycle are stories”. Finally, I’m pleased to include an extract from a new book on the history of libraries, called “fragile” – something which some users of Bolton, Dorset, Nottinghamshire, Slough and the Wirral may have particular recent reason to agree with, as would those users of the Staffordshire Schools Library Service which follows a long list of others in announcing its closure.

Changes by local authority

Staffordshire School Library Service closed.

Extract from “Libraries: A Fragile History” by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur Der Weduwen

Not just another library book

“Carnegie brought little romance to the business of libraries, but much of the clear-minded rationality with which he had made his business fortune: when he sold out to John Pierpont Morgan in 1901 to devote himself entirely to philanthropy, he was the richest man in America. His sense of purpose was precisely what the public library movement needed at the time Carnegie was most active, between 1880 and 1919. Libraries proliferated during the nineteenth century, responding to the rapidly growing demand for books, a product of radical social and technological change. Books became cheaper and more abundant, and more men and women were looking to read, for recreation, information and social advancement. Yet abundance brought its own challenges: if books became cheaper, the imperative to borrow, rather than own, which had sustained the subscription and circulating libraries in the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth, fell away. The public library had to find a motive, a clientele, and a niche in the library world. Until the arrival of Carnegie, it was by no means certain that it had succeeded.”

About the book

“Throughout their long and tumultuous history libraries have taken almost every form imaginable, from humble wooden chests to vast palaces of marble and gilt. But one thing has always remained the same: the immense, sometimes obsessive lengths to which humans will go in order to acquire and possess knowledge. In this, the first major work of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the rich and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians, philanthropists and eccentrics who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of technologies, ideologies and tastes – and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in the pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts. From the age of the scroll to the disappearance of the bookmobile, the story of a library is also the story of the society or individual that created it: this erudite and fascinating account reveals what libraries can tell us about ourselves, and why we continue to collect, to destroy – and to make the library anew.”

The Library: A Fragile History is out now in hardback, published by Profile Books.

National news

  • Baby Babble (A NAGwebinar week event) November 9 @ 11:00 – National Acquisitions Group. “Baby Babble is a five-week programme for babies aged around 4 to 9 months and their parents/carers. The sessions, developed with speech and language therapists and led by Derbyshire Sure Start librarians, are fun and interactive with activities and ideas to encourage babies’ early communication skills, speech and language.”
  • Characters of Colour in UK kids books have quadrupled, and more good book news – Book Riot. “numbers has risen to 8% of books featuring a minority ethnic main character and 15% including minority ethnic characters. There’s still a way to go to represent the 34% of elementary school children who are from an ethnic minority background, but it’s demonstrating steady growth every year.”
  • CILIP Library and Information Supplier Showcase – Autumn 2021 – CILIP. “We are looking to the future” by having a physical event in London, 30 November.
  • Letters: Libraries need to move with the times and look to a digital future – Herald. “The library service has been in a steady decline over recent years, I think because it has mainly been built and designed as a singular unit, rather than being part of a hub, hosting other popular and essential local services, which would surely in turn bring in more local members of the public. “
  • Libraries and climate change: reducing, reusing and recycling in GLL – DCMS Libraries. “Libraries are often viewed as the perfect example of recycling – one book is used by many people – but does that mean that we can sit back and relax, feeling the job is done and the world is saved for future generations? GLL is a charitable social enterprise and manages five public library services – and over the last few years, we have been exploring ways in which all aspects of our services can become more sustainable. We are librarians – and so our first task was a literature search, which lead us to adopt “reduce, reuse and recycle” as our mantra.”
  • Libraries are linked to the values that define the character of a nation – Marc Lambert – Scotsman. “Libraries, in short, are essential to the individual, to families, and to the communities they live in. They are central to the social fabric of a properly democratic nation. The invention of the alphabet and writing is commonly viewed as one of humankind’s greatest inventions. But in a sense the creation of the public library system goes one better. Whereas the early scribes and the Kings they served jealously guarded the technology of writing and the information it encoded, libraries flipped that on its head.”
  • Libraries, bitstreams and the threat to our repositories of knowledge – Financial Times. “The enduring vitality and importance of libraries is underscored by the arrival of two timely new books. They address both the history and future challenges facing these important institutions. Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen take a broad view in The Library, ranging across the millenia. Meanwhile in Bitstreams, Matthew Kirschenbaum, professor of digital humanities at the University of Maryland, focuses on the growing issue of how, in our digital world, we can ensure the future preservation and understanding of literary texts.”
  • Libraries Connected Awards 2021: Vision and Print Impaired People’s shortlist – Libraries Connected.

International news

Local news by authority

“I popped into my local library to pick up a consultation form – only to find that the staff suggested I did it online. I said I would really prefer to write it out – and eventually a paper copy was provided. The staff explained that the Council wanted to save paper. It struck me that many customers using library buildings to borrow books would not fill out an online form and that by not providing forms to complete in a paper format, the consultation was building in a bias to a digital future. “

Dorset – Email received
  • Tameside – Library to close for ‘fire protection works’ – just two years after huge multi-million pound development first opened – Manchester Evening News. “Ashton-under-Lyne library was built in March 2019 as part of the multi-million pound Vision Tameside project. But it will be shut for 12 weeks from tomorrow (November 6), as building works to ‘boost’ its fire protection take place. Insurers suggested the works would ‘reduce risk and insurance premiums’ for the building at Tameside One. It comes following changes in the fire insurance market in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”
  • Wirral – Wirral Council criticised for avoiding ‘difficult’ financial decisions – BBC News. £9m budget hole. “The authority was criticised for its reluctance to make cuts to any of its 16 libraries, make staff redundant or increase car park charges.” … “Ms Williamson said the council had tried to keep facilities open wherever it could and Wirral residents’ interests were “at the heart of every decision we make”.”
    • Threats to Wirral’s libraries and leisure centres ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’ – Liverpool Echo. “One person said: “Yes of course take our libraries, something that serves the public, is educational and has a useful purpose. “Well they will have a fight on their hands if they try to close Hoylake Library.” While another said: “Why? What all of a sudden has caused this to be a necessity? For decades the libraries have been an integral part of our communities and the very few people in high up positions are trying to take them away from the many that need them, disgraceful!””

Halloween themed week: Possible cuts in Dorset, Gateshead, Hartlepool and Slough

Editorial

There’s some scary news for libraries this week as four library services announce consultations. These tend to include only cuts as options so it’s fairly clear where the direction of intended travel is. The cuts look to be particular severe in Gateshead with a 2010-like 5 out of 8 being under threat. On the other hand, the whole of the island of Ireland is now fines-free, with Northern Ireland no longer forcing its customers to pay for not being able to return theirs books on time, following the example of the Republic of Ireland two years ago.

Changes by authority

National news

  • 10 November – What’s new? What’s next? – Library Campaign. 7.30pm to 9pm, Wednesday 10 November, webinar. “Here’s your chance to catch up on all the news you need to know. The Library Campaign aims to give library users and Friends a complete one-stop update, via Zoom. Plus a chance to discuss it all. A lot has happened in public libraries since our last Zoom in May. More is due to happen in the next few weeks.”
  • Children will be forced to do homework in cafes and libraries due to rising energy bills at home, experts fear – I News. “Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said public libraries are “gearing up to do much more targeted work with people suffering from destitution… because they know rates of people struggling in their communities have grown”. “
  • Embrace it, Design It, Build it: Information Professionals at the heart of Digital Transformation – CILIP. 3 and 4 November, webinar. “Technology is transforming every point in the supply-chain of knowledge and information – from content creation to research, selection to data analytics. These technologies depend entirely on the availability of high-quality, well-structured information, data and metadata to function.”
  • Freedom of information and library stats – Library data blog. “Everyone knows this is broken. Leadership organisations are on board, but none have direct responsibility for data. Many services don’t complete data because they can’t afford to receive the commercial reports. Plus the reports are marketed around benchmarking and performance management, which isn’t what library services need. Services need to be able to provide data in the knowledge that it will be widely used and shared for insight, and that they’ll also receive free access to other libraries’ data. Urgent change is needed, ideally in time for 2021/2022 data.”
  • Haig, Whitty and McKay awarded CILIP honorary fellowships – BookSeller. “Author Matt Haig, chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty and librarian Amy McKay have been awarded CILIP honorary fellowships for 2021. The trio were described by the UK’s library and information association as “three very different individuals recognised for their contribution to this sector in the face of unprecedented global challenges”. “. Nick Poole says ““This year’s honorary fellows all demonstrate in different ways the powerful role our sector can play in health and social care. Whether it is leveraging evidence to support informed decision-making in the NHS and public health or exploring the role of reading in building empathy and improving mental health – the pandemic has truly shown the power of libraries as the ‘hospital of the soul’.””
  • Northumbria research team celebrate library project award win – Northumbria University. “The Death Positive Library Project unites libraries in Newcastle, Kirklees in Yorkshire and Redbridge in London, with a research team from Northumbria University made up of Dr Stacey Pitsillides in the School of Design and Dr Claire Nally in the Department of Humanities.”
  • Reading Agency project to bring latest VR technology to 15 libraries – BookSeller. “Called StoryTrails, the project is led by creative producer Professor David Olusoga and will include 15 libraries across the UK and Northern Ireland. It will involve speaking to members of the local communities gathering forgotten and unheard stories, before they are brought to life with the latest technology. StoryTrails will be in libraries from early 2022 and will return again in the summer, offering two-day residencies in each location which will be free for the public to attend. Starting in July 2022, the tour will visit Omagh, Dundee, Dumfries, Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Newport, Bristol, Swindon and Slough, before ending in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Lewisham in September.   “
  • Rise by Maliha Abidi: competition resources – Reading Agency. “This pack contains an PDF sampler of the book “Rise” by Maliha Abidi and a promotional poster for a competition inspired by the book.”
  • The U.K.’s Latest Budget Gives Arts Organizations an Impressive-Sounding $1.2 Billion—But It’s Actually Less Than Last Year – Artnet. ” This money is also for libraries, many of which have closed due to austerity policies that predate the pandemic.”

International news

Local news by authority

Being positive

Editorial

It was good to see the Libraries Connected Awards this week. They served several purposes, including sharing best practice, publicising the sector, putting the best face on at a challenging time, and of course rewarding and recognising staff. These are all good things and especially necessary at the moment when public libraries at the frontline level are in a worrying time. It’s clear that while usage is very different between services and even between branches, many services are still seeing reduced usage compared to two years ago, sometimes significantly so. This needs addressing by more than Awards. Frequent readers will know my desire for a national publicity campaign, increased (or at least no more cuts) in funding and a reappraisal of normal library practices such as fines and requiring ID for joining. Awards are not much compared to that. But it’s a start. I look forward to more.

National news

  • 10 November – What’s new? What’s next? – Library Campaign. “Here’s your chance to catch up on all the news you need to know. The Library Campaign aims to give library users and Friends a complete one-stop update, via Zoom. Plus a chance to discuss it all. A lot has happened in public libraries since our last Zoom in May. More is due to happen in the next few weeks. By November 10 we may have a clearer picture of the immediate future –  good and bad. So – what happens next? Where do library users come in? There will be plenty to discuss… You don’t have to be a TLC member to join in.”
  • Baby Babble (A NAG webinar week event) – National Acquisitions Group. Tuesday 9 November 11am. “Baby Babble is a five-week programme for babies aged around 4 to 9 months and their parents/carers. The sessions, developed with speech and language therapists and led by Derbyshire Sure Start librarians, are fun and interactive with activities and ideas to encourage babies’ early communication skills, speech and language. This webinar gives a brief background to the sessions and an overview of pre-pandemic provision. It will go on to illustrate how the librarians have adapted the delivery of the sessions to ensure continuity during the past 18 months, and to secure its delivery for the future.”
  • The Booker Prize Libraries Shortlist event – Reading Agency. “Libraries, colleges and secondary schools are invited to register to host an exclusive shortlist event. Hosted by Coventry University and chaired by Lemn Sissay, the event will feature live readings and a Q&A with the six shortlisted authors. More information about the shortlisted books can be found here.  Participating libraries will receive a link to stream the event. This can either be shown live (29 October, 7-8.30pm) or as a recording in the following days before the winner is announced on 3 November. Participating libraries will also receive additional materials including information about the shortlisted books and a quiz to use during your event. Please fill in this survey to register your interest to host a shortlist streaming event. You can also download a free digital pack to help promote the Prize in your library.”
  • Creating an Impactful and Viable Sustainability Plan – Libraries Knowledge Network. Thursday November 4, 1pm – 2pm. “Join Sara Kassam, Sustainability Lead at the V&A in London, to explore the key principles behind creating a viable sustainability plan. With practical examples and advice, this webinar aims to inspire impactful changes that will support your planning and help underpin your Library’s green initiatives.”
  • Directions for public library technology – Ken Chad Consulting. Survey. “Consolidation of library tech vendors doesn’t seem to be a big issue for librarians. Is that your view? What do you see as the key library tech trends/issues?”

Libraries Connected Awards winners announced – Libraries Connected. “Libraries Connected is delighted to announce the winners of its first ever awards to recognise and celebrate the achievements of library staff over the past year.”:

Health & Wellbeing Award: The Death Positive Library Project Team, Vision Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle. For their work promoting the role of libraries as powerful and compassionate spaces to support conversations around death, dying and bereavement.

Reading Award: Laura Smith, Library Apprentice, City of London Libraries. For her work developing the ‘What Next? Book Recommendation Quiz’ that enables users to get recommendations for eBooks which resulted in a significant increase in eBook loans.

Culture and Creativity Award: Sam Whitehouse, Customer Service Assistant, Wakefield Libraries. For his work on the ‘Cinema in the Library,’ a Libraries Connected Yorkshire and Humber funded project that provides free cultural experiences to local people.  

Information & Digital Award: Basia Godel, Library Assistant, North Yorkshire Libraries. For her work on community cohesion and racial justice during Black History Month by curating an event on the contribution of black people to North Yorkshire and diversifying the library stock.

Children’s Promise Award: Shaun Doyle, Library Assistant, North Yorkshire Libraries. For his work in establishing the Young Adult Library Team made up of younger members of library staff who help the service to reach out more effectively to young people and young LGBTQ people.

Vision and Print Impaired People’s Promise Award: Helen Cunningham, Access and Inclusion Librarian, Derbyshire Libraries. For her work in transforming Buxton Library Listening Group for people with sight loss to 

  • Post Pandemic Panaceas: the role of libraries’ initiatives and impact on the young generation – EuroLis. “The seminar will seek to explore the effect that library closures due to the pandemic had on children and how libraries have reacted. Through online presentations from European speakers, we will learn what creative strategies of connecting young audiences and other digital outreach programs European librarians have come up with and the impact on children’s learning and development.” 3, 10 and 17 November, 4 to 6pm, online conference.
  • Reading Partners Roadshow – Reading Agency. “The Roadshows are an opportunity for librarians and teachers to hear from 29 of our publishing partners about their latest titles, meet authors, and have the chance to ask questions about promotional opportunities. The Children’s Reading Partners Roadshow will take place on Wednesday 10 November and the Adult Reading Partners Roadshow will take place on Thursday 11 November.”
  • Reviving our High Streets: The Role of Libraries – Lorensbergs. “This paper explores the relationship between libraries and high streets. It draws upon the perspectives and plans of several public library authorities and identifies how libraries can bring practical support and a brighter future to our town centres. It includes input from the library services of Bolton, Brent, Fife, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and North Somerset, who all contributed their perspectives on how their services are being developed to the benefit of their wider environment. Together their examples show how libraries are providing brighter horizons for all those who live in, work and visit our town and city centres.”
  • The terrifying future of Wales’ decimated councils, where millions are being lost each month and broken staff are in short supply – Wales Online. “In Cardiff, 300 staff from St David’s Hall and from the call centre were working on Test, Trace, Protect. The head of libraries was managing the distribution of PPE across the city.”

International new

  • USA – Librarians to the Defense – Progressive. “Despite the challenges, the American Library Association, EveryLibrary, the Progressive Library Guild, #SaveNilesLibrary, and librarians, library workers, and patrons nationwide agree that preserving public libraries as citadels of free thought and intellectual freedom is imperative, and doing so comes down to something basic: community organizing.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Boffins will use Pokemon Go-style technology to bring Bradford’s history to life – Telegraph and Argus. “Bradford Council’s Libraries Service will be taking part in the project, which will see audiences travel back in time via computer enhanced special effects to experience local events where they actually happened.”
  • Calderdale – Flagship development of existing Northgate site to transform future of Halifax – News Centre. [Correspondent reports that “When the Council wished to relocate the Library the buildings were declared ‘unfit for purpose’ and only worthy of demolition. Once the Library had been relocated the former Library building was refurbished as a Sixth-form College. The Council Offices, as you will read, are now refurbished as retail space. The new Central Library is one-third less floor area than the former Library. Services such a bibliographic services, reserve book stock and the School’s service are decentralised at two separate sites one mile distant from the new Library. The former Library was on a prime central site which is now being praised as such for the sixth-form College and retail development.”]
  • Cheshire East – Council offers young people chance to work on digital arts project – Cheshire East Council. “Cheshire East Council’s libraries team is seeking young people from Crewe aged between 11-16 to get involved in a new library-based digital arts project. Luminate Youth is an after-school digital project and Arts Council England funded programme which gives young people an opportunity to try a range of digital arts activities, including: coding, e-textiles, paper circuitry, electronics and digital light art. “
  • Devon – Devon’s libraries ensure county’s traditional folklore is not forgotten – Devon Live. The Folklore Library & Archive has announced it will work with Devon Libraries in order to provide a physical site for its important reference library and document archives at Crediton Library.”
  • Essex – Family Learning Fair comes to Rayleigh Library – Leigh Times. “Simply drop-in and learn new methods to support your child’s learning, fun ways for children to develop their language and communication skills as well as access to free online learning resources.”
  • Greenwich -Better Libraries Recognised In National Awards – Better. Runner up in Health and Wellbeing for Libraries Connected Awards. “Better’s Greenwich Libraries are the home of the Football Library project that has seen dozens of library loans of good quality footballs – made in Kenya by social enterprise ball manufacturer Alive and Kicking. The initiative helps youngsters in Greenwich get more active and socially confident through play, while helping build sustainable communities in Africa. The scheme has been so successful it has now been extended to Better libraries in Bromley and Wandsworth since May 2021.”
  • Oldham – Royton Town Hall and Library revamp finally underway after pandemic delays – Manchester Evening News. “Work to transform the iconic Royton Town Hall and Library into a multi-use community hub has begun. The project will breathe new life into the town hall and adjoining library to create a welcoming, family-friendly venue in the heart of the town, Oldham town hall bosses say. As well as creating an improved library area and better community rooms, there will also be space for a local business to launch.”
  • Isle of Wight – Out on an Island present ‘Our Stories Matter’ documentary with free coffee and croissants – On the Wight. “Thanks to everyone who came along to StoneCrabs’ Out On An Island Pop Up Cafe in Lord Louis Library, Newport on Saturday. Also thanks to library staff who showed  how easy it is to join the library and access books and audiobooks.”
  • Northamptonshire – Kettering gallery, library and museum project starting to take shape – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Plans for a refurbished gallery and improved library in Kettering’s town centre are picking up pace this month – with builders laying steel foundations and new visuals unveiled.” … “It was back in August 2020 that funding was first approved for the project, with South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) awarding £3m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund (GBF) to redevelop the town’s Alfred East Art Gallery and library which sit adjacent to the Manor House Museum.” [A correspondent notes “Lots of money being spent here but most of our community-managed libraries still have to pay rent to the two Unitary Councils unless a town council or other organisation has bought the building” – Ed.]
  • Northern Ireland – Ministers extol virtues of reading to mark Book Week – Coleraine Chronicle. “The First Minister was at Lisburn City Library while the deputy First Minister visited Cookstown Library. They met staff, as well as representatives from Libraries NI and the BBC, who are jointly coordinating Book Week.”
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries Connected awards for top library workers – Northern Echo. “North Yorkshire’s youngest librarians have been crowned winners in an awards scheme that celebrate the achievements of people working in libraries. Basia Godel, 25, won the Information and Digital category and Shaun Doyle, 23, scooped the Children and Young People award in North Yorkshire County Council’s Libraries Connected scheme.”
  • Slough – Slough library consultation will only ‘reduce services’, Tory councillor claims – Slough Express. ““The consultation is clearly about reducing services but not about improving the library services. “All the options we have are either to reduce the hours, reduce the staff or close the buildings. “There’s no option for improving the services.”” but “Council leader James Swindlehurst said: “People are cynical about consultations and think we have decided an answer before we go out which is absolutely not the case in this instance.”
  • Somerset – Library set to close until the new year – West Somerset Free Press. “During refurbishment of the Bancks Street library, which started in March, books and library services were moved to temporary accommodation in the Old Hospital building. Now the county council library service has decided that the hospital building is not suitable for winter use and library users will be asked to renew items online or use other libraries in Somerset.”
  • Suffolk – Heaven & Hell: Sylvia Knights – Eastern Daily Press. “A director of Suffolk Libraries since its creation in 2012, she is passionate about the value of books and learning”
    • New library set to open on site of former middle school – Ipswich Star. “Families in Needham Market will soon be able to step inside the town’s new library, which is set to open in November on the former site of the town’s middle school. Funded by Mid Suffolk District Council, the new library will be more spacious than the current location and will also have bookable meeting rooms. “
  • Swindon – 27 targets Swindon Borough Council wants to achieve by 2025 – Swindon Advertiser. “Parks and open spaces, waste collection and recycling and the council-run libraries service were the services that most people were most satisfied with. “
  • Worcestershire – Spooky activities on offer at Tenbury Wells Library this half-term – Malvern Observer. “Monster Mania Story Time, involving stories, mask making and colouring, will be among the activities on offer”
  • York – Residents are being invited to have their say on plans for a new home for a Library York Mix. “Haxby and Wigginton Library has been without a permanent base for the last 5 years – but now it has found a potential home at Oaken Grove Community Centre. Residents are being invited to have their say on the location. Over the past 18 months, the Council, along with Explore York, has been working with Oaken Grove Community Centre to develop plans to permanently co-locate the library inside the Community Centre..”

Going Sloughly

Editorial

Another quiet week, with the sound of Covid recovery broken only by the announcement of cuts in one service – they’re going to happen, they do not know the precise details. On the plus side, there’s a lovely short programme on reading, with lots of library references, from the BBC. If one is interested in what is going on internationally, and I feel we all should be, we can read about what’s going on in the USA and be grateful that, at least. we don’t work in libraries there. Oh boy, if we thought our society was divisive, we ain’t got nothing on the Americans. Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to #uklibchat, which has been providing a superb platform for people to share their professional experiences and thoughts for a decade. Well done to all those involved. And thank you.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Action Counters Terrorism for UK Libraries – Libraries Connected. London, Tuesday 2 November, 10am to 4pm. “In partnership with Libraries Connected, the National Counter Terrorism and Security Office (NaCTSO) will be delivering an ACT Corporate day at New Scotland Yard for public library services throughout the UK.”
  • Angela Rayner Points Out A Very Obvious Problem With Nadine Dorries’ Endorsement Of Libraries – Yahoo News. “Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, noted that hundreds of libraries have closed since the Conservatives were voted into power back in 2010, after the newly appointed culture secretary Dorries endorsed them on Sunday. Dorries tweeted: “It doesn’t matter where you’re from – a library card is a ticket to anywhere in the world.”
  • CILIP’s Skills for Leadership – Manage, Motivate and Influence – CILIP. 28 and 29 October, webinars.
  • A fond farewell to #uklibchat – UKLibChat. “We have made a decision to say goodbye to #uklibchat and end on a high with our 10 year anniversary. We will be hosting two last chats and will close the doors at the end of 2021. As we do so, we wanted to give people an opportunity to share what they’ve appreciated and look back on our history a little.”

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to introduce loan schemes at libraries for electronic devices to encourage citizens to become more digitally capable. Lord Taylor of Warwick

… Whilst this is not a matter for the department to require, we understand that the provision of portable devices to lend is something library services are increasingly delivering. We know that at least a quarter of library services in England already provide portable electronic devices for loan, generally targeted to those more likely to be digitally disadvantaged. ​​I learned about an example of this at Manchester Central Library in my visit during Libraries Week. Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay.

Libraries: Electronic Equipment – DCMS written question
  • Inside Culture: How We Read – BBC iPlayer. Takes a good look at how people read, including many references to libraries. “In Edinburgh, author Ian Rankin gives voice to the words of Scotland’s secret book sculptor, whose intricate artworks, created from the pages of novels, were made in support of libraries, books, words and ideas. ” Liz Lochhead says ” if a community has a public library then it perceives itself as having some worth in the eyes of others “
  • Libraries and the environment – Library data blog. “How could digital waste apply to library activities?” amongst other things.
  • New book celebrates Wales 34 Carnegie libraries – National. “In his book, Griffiths also repeatedly makes comparisons between “church and chapel buildings in Wales” and Carnegie libraries, which were “built close to the heart of their communities, acting as community centres and meeting places… freely available havens for quiet contemplation or self-improvement”. If the cultural and social parallels between chapel and library are clear from this description, the book’s many illustrations also serve to underline architectural similarities.”
  • Working Internationally for Libraries – CILIP. Full project report. ” the project focused on English public libraries to develop a programme of activities including grants for international collaboration projects and an international conference that featured ideas and inspiration from across the world.”

International news

Local news by authority

Nadine Dorries call libraries “a chance to escape”

Editorial

Nadine Dorries announced £5 million for libraries in February this week. Or did she? As was pointed out to me by someone this afternoon this sounds suspiciously like the Libraries Improvement Fund (awards due to be announced in Feb 2022) which offers £5 million. Compare that with the Nicola Sturgeon who got some flack from the Scottish Sun, who is giving £1.25 million – a quarter as much but for a population one tenth the size. In other news, the relentless rise in fines-free libraries claimed it’s biggest US convert so far, with the New York Public Libraries ceasing charging its customers. Its boss called fines “an antiquated, ineffective way” to get back books. Finally, a shout out to Manchester Libraries who continue to invest in its libraries. Oooh, and by the way, in personal news, the puppies are growing wonderfully – eyes open and starting to walk.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • The 100 Novels that Shaped our New World – Libraries Connected. “Library users and staff around the country chose the novel that had meant the most to them during the pandemic. Whether it gave them hope for the future or simply provided them with comfort or escape, over 400 people chose novels and this new list is the result.”
  • Black History Month in Libraries – Libraries Connected. Lists some of the events.
  • BookTrust Storytime – how libraries are supporting families to discover reading – DCMS Libraries. “This Autumn we’re excited to be delivering a new national pilot, BookTrust Storytime. This aims to test new ways to support disadvantaged families with children aged 0-5 to enjoy books and stories together.  Funded by Arts Council England, the pilot is a true collaboration, with partners across libraries, local authorities, the wider library sector including ASCEL, CILIP and Libraries Connected, and families involved at all stages: developing innovative ideas; testing concepts and their viability in library settings; and reviewing the design of resources and the overall family experience. “
  • Collection Development Policies: A NAG Template for Public Libraries – NAG. “Updating, or even creating, a collection development policy is on the long term “to do” list for so many librarians in public libraries. With frequent requests for “ideal” “sample” and “recommended” policies, NAG decided to commission a consultant to review policies across the sector and pull together the best elements from a range of examples to offer a template for NAG Members.” 20 September, 1.30 – 3, Zoom.
  • Dorries declares war on councils who shut libraries and is on mission to reopen them – Express. “Ms Dorries, 64, said £5million would be made available in February to enable library services to upgrade buildings and technology so they are better placed to respond to the changing ways people use them” … “If I have one mission as Culture Secretary, it’s to open doors for those who need it the most. Libraries are the front line for that effort and I’ll press councils hard to invest in libraries because of the enormous value they provide.”

“When I was a young girl growing up in Liverpool, I loved my local library, partly because it was one of the only places I could enjoy central heating. We’d just moved from Breck Road to an overspill council estate, and we only had the one fireplace at home. The library was somewhere cosy and comforting, offering peace and a chance to escape. I still vividly remember taking my little brother with me one day, he must have been about four at the time, and sitting down with him at a table and poring over a huge book about atoms. I’d never even heard of atoms. But that’s the joy of a library – there’s a whole world of knowledge waiting to be explored.” Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary

  • New library roles to launch five-year green digital plan – Cambrian News. “National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth is set to appoint a new president and vice president as it embarks on a new five-year plan to enhance digital access and the library’s green credentials”
  • New library! Tooting Library (England) – Naple Sister Libraries. “We are very happy to announce the incorporation of the first British library to the Naple Sister Libraries program. We hope it’ll be the first incorporation of many to come! Tooting Library is a busy high street library in a vibrant multi cultural suburb of South London. The library serves a population between 10.000 and 100.000”
  • Post Pandemic Panaceas: the role of libraries’ initiatives and impact on the young generation – Eurolis. Nov 3/10/17 online, 4pm. “The seminar will seek to explore the effect that library closures during the pandemic had on children and how libraries have reacted to the challenge. We will learn what creative strategies of connecting young audiences through online presentations and other digital outreach programmes European librarians have come up with and the impact on children’s learning and development.”
  • Public Libraries and Climate Change – British Libraries Living Knowledge Network. Thursday 14 October, 2 – 4.30pm. “You are warmly invited to attend an online event on 14 October between 14.00-16.30 on the topic of Public Libraries and Climate Change. There will be introductory high-profile speakers followed by two panels on Strategy and Policy (Chaired by Sue Williamson, Director of Libraries, Arts Council England) and on Climate Projects in Libraries (Chaired by Nick Poole, CEO, CILIP). Speakers will represent a diverse and international range of experiences to discuss and address this timely topic. We will also discuss ways we can keep talking about this topic as a community post-event. Please sign up to the event using the Go-To-Webinar link. The event is open to all library professionals”
  • Scotland’s new National Librarian Amina Shah on starting new chapter as first female leader – Sunday Post. “But as head of Scotland’s largest library – one of Europe’s leading research libraries – she knows acutely the weight of her responsibility. To give a voice to those whom history has silenced or omitted, such as women and people of colour, and to deliver a library for everyone, where they can “see themselves reflected in the collections”. Equally, she says, it must be relevant in the post-pandemic world, a library that can help address society’s inequalities deepened by the impact of Covid.”
  • Shameless” Nicola Sturgeon accused of allowing Scotland’s libraries to be ‘decimated’ amid spending cuts over past 10 years – Scottish Sun. “Labour analysis of council finance stats found spending on public libraries has been slashed in real terms by a third since 2010/11 – from around £135million to just £92million last year. The figures, provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre suggest libraries would have received an additional £116.4 million over the decade if spending had remained at the 2010 level. Adjusted for inflation, Scottish Labour say that the real terms figure is as “astonishing” £220 million of ”cumulative cuts”.”
  • Teaching Skills for Library Staff – LIEM. 17 November, all day, in Leicester. “The course which aims to build on participants’ current experiences of teaching information skills in libraries and learning centres, offers stimulating discussion and an excellent opportunity to share experiences.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Bradford Library to start new writing course for South Asians – Telegraph and Argus. “Manningham Library will be hosting a 10-week creative writing course for South Asian people, sponsored by publishing company Fox&Windmill.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Wisbech Library to encourage young readers – Planet Radio. “Each of the chosen libraries will receive ten sets of the Storytime shortlisted books, including large format versions for Storytime sessions as well as a range of resources and collectables to help encourage families to take part.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Borough’s Summer Reading Challenge is huge success as thousands of children take part – Northwich Guardian. “Of the 2,344 children who took park, 1,226 completed the challenge to read six books over the summer holidays. Lots of events took place in libraries across the borough, including 19 animal handling workshops, events by Cheshire Dance, Chester Zoo, Noodle Performance Arts, Radiate Arts, Jem Bear and lots of environmentally themed craft sessions.”
  • Conwy – How Welsh poet inspired design of Conwy children’s library section – North Wales Pioneer. “Conwy County Borough Council’s Libraries team has revealed The Story of Wales by Welsh poet, author and publisher Myrddin ap Dafydd, and illustrated by artist Dorry Spikes, influenced the set up of the children’s area of the Library at Glasdir. The Libraries team, along with Myrddin, Dorry, and design company Opening the Book, have created a flagship children’s section following the relocation of the library last month.”
  • Cumbria – Cumbria police on tour for National Libraries Week – Times and Star. “they will be running a drop-in session and joined by Copeland Age and Advice Team.”
  • Devon – Kingsbridge Library secures lottery funding for new meeting space – South Hams Gazette. “A new meeting space funded with £10,000 from the National Lottery has been officially opened in Kingsbridge Library. The room has a large Smart TV for presentations, free WiFi, a projector and screen, and users of the room can also access brand new kitchen facilities.”
  • Dorset – Dorset digital champions offer free help with computer and internet problems – Dorset Echo. “Dorset Council’s volunteer digital champions provided their services over the phone during the pandemic. With restrictions lifted, they are no going out into the community to help people and will be at libraries offering their technical advice.”
  • Dudley – Union calls for Dudley library staff to earn living wage – Express and Star. “The union revealed rates for library assistants are 12 per cent below what they would have been had the service stayed within the council, and have dropped below any other recognised council salary scale. Branch secretary at UNISON Dudley General Branch Theresa Kelly said: “Greenwhich makes a mockery of the term ‘social enterprise’. “Its flawed business model is based on zero-hours contracts and job cuts. The public services it pledged to maintain, such as leisure centres and libraries, are being eroded.””

Since taking on the management of Dudley Libraries, GLL has made a number of improvements to working practices including; staff rotas and structures and the removal of lone working in libraries – a practice that we inherited. We have never employed staff on Zero Hours contracts within our libraries.  We do offer flexible working, in order to help cover instances of staff sickness or annual leave. “We are aware that some staff have concerns around the level of their recent pay rise and we are currently addressing these.  We are committed to paying the Real Living Wage across all our facilities and are working with local staff to reach this point as soon as possible. “ We would be delighted to meet and discuss the issue with both Theresa Kelly and Billy Gibson, as we have yet to have any direct contact from either of them.

GLL spokesperson in email to Public Libraries News

Putting the trust into libraries

Editorial

The ninth anniversary of Suffolk Libraries being a trust, combined with release of York Explore’s annual review reminds me to talk about libraries trusts for a moment. There’s only really three of them in England (Devon, Suffolk and York) and they’ve all done, as far as I can tell, pretty well. There may have been unpublicised cuts in any of them (by the nature of things, this is hard to say) but generally they have been notably full of innovation, confidence and a lack of branch closures. The library trusts are also far better at publicity (I’m actually quite concerned there’s nothing from Devon this week in this bulletin, I must see if they’re feeling well) than a typical council library service. Libraries run by leisure trusts, on the other hand, have had a far more chequered decade, with some going strong but quite a few falling by the wayside. The reasons for the difference is complex but presumably a major factor is that leisure trusts rely far more on private income than pure public library operations. And private income can be fickle. Whatever the reason, I see library trusts, with some reservations, as generally a success story. I’ll report back on the subject in another nine years.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • An Introduction to Death Positive Libraries – British Library. Thursday 30 September, 11am to 12 noon. “Recently a number of pioneering libraries have been exploring creative ways to help people think and talk about death and loss. This webinar will explore what being “death positive” really means and why it matters. Join Anita Luby, Head of Cultural Services at Redbridge Libraries, as she reflects on the impact of implementing death positive initiatives. To many, Libraries are seen as a refuge for thought, reflection and connection, where life can be better understood. In many ways they are a perfect space for opening up conversations about death in a positive and supportive context. This webinar will provide some general tips and advice to give you the confidence and inspiration to consider a death positive approach to your own service. It will also be an opportunity to hear how Libraries Connected will be supporting death positive initiatives and how you could get involved in their future plans.”
  • Black History Month 2021 Celebrated In Better Libraries – Better. “Taking the theme Dig deeper, look closer, think bigger – October is Black History Month and GLL libraries will be joining the action with an insightful and entertaining programme of arts, literature and more – sharing perspectives on history, identity, music and politics.”
  • Black History Month in Libraries – Libraries Connected. A look at what’s going on in Lambeth, Oldham, Redbridge, Staffordshire, St Helens and Wandsworth.
  • Libraries Connected to host digital tour with Pearse – BookSeller. ” “I’m delighted to be embarking on a follow-up #LoveLibraries tour, supported by Libraries Connected. The #LibrariesFromHomeLive initiative launched last year was a huge success and, although I can’t wait to see people face to face, hear their laughter, and know they’re enjoying themselves with a friend or family member for a couple of hours, the ability to travel the UK without leaving my armchair does give some benefit! Support for our libraries, via digital events, or physical, is so important. They have played such a pivotal role in my life, allowing me the dream of becoming a writer, and their importance to our communities, and future readers and writers, can’t be underestimated.””
  • London’s most-fined library books from the Highway Code to physics textbooks – My London. “The request was sent to all 33 London boroughs, and 14 held this information.”. Public libraries fine those learning to drive, applying for citizenship and studying the most.
  • Mr. Men Little Miss and Winnie-the-Pooh: Once There Was a Bear – POS pack and digital resources – Reading Agency. 100 packs to give away.
  • Support our Libraries: history shows the crisis of the public library is nothing new – Scotsman. “Yet while our universities flourish, there is a crisis in our public libraries. Councils all over Scotland are forced to reassess the future of their library network. Many branches have not reopened after the pandemic closures; perhaps some never will. Why has it come to this?” … summary of public libraries in Scotland … “he current crisis of the library is not a new phenomenon of the digital age, but part of a recurrent pattern of collecting, dispersal, recreation and destruction that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire” … “The London campaigners acknowledged that they were not themselves regular users of the branch they wished to save, and when we visited the under-threat building, a Victorian benefaction that predates Carnegie, we found people using computers and newspapers but none consulting the book stock. And councils, unlike the UK government, cannot print money”

International news

  • Afghanistan – The battle for Afghanistan’s libraries – Financial Times. “In the popular imagination, libraries are seen as safe and serene, places where study is undertaken in an atmosphere of quiet contemplation. Yet in Afghanistan today, libraries and archives are under attack. Librarians are either unable to come back to serve their community or in fear of what the Taliban will inflict on them. Many have fled the country or are in the process of leaving, often at great personal risk.  The public library in Kabul and the National Archives there now have a limited staff presence, but no services are provided. University libraries are all currently closed …”
  • Canada – “Read October” campaign launched to provide dyslexia friendly books to Ontario public libraries – Yahoo News. “All funds raised through Read October go to grants to help Ontario public libraries purchase dyslexia-friendly resources.”
  • Global – Covid-19: A catalyst for change?Covid-19: A catalyst for change? – Research Information. “as more and more libraries turn to digital content and cloud-based services, Burke believes there will be no going back” … “‘There’s going to be continuing  greater demand for ebooks over print books” [mainly about academic libraries – Ed.]
    • EB#1 Events and Bookings – Solus. “Specified, designed and built in partnership with Eastern Regional Libraries Corporation (Melbourne, Australia), Solus is delighted to bring you eb#1, your library centric Events and Bookings software. “
  • USA – Author Ta-Nehisi Coates on Banned Books Week, anti-racist books being banned – CBS News. “”Between the World and Me” author Ta-Nehisi Coates joins “CBS Mornings” to discuss Banned Books Week and the dangers of censoring books. Plus, he shares his reaction to one of his own books being banned.”
    • Implications of the transition towards library services platforms – Paul Derscheid. “Library services platforms or LSPs for short represent the current iteration of library management software. These platforms are distributed systems by nature and leave the trodden path of monolithic products by providing APIs for customized application development, which is by itself a considerable improvement in comparison to the rather limited possibilities that traditional integrated library systems (ILS) provide. LSPs are able to achieve this by implementing a couple of architectural changes to the underlying system, which will be discussed in a dedicated section.”
    • Times are changing: Covid-19 and library late fees – BookRiot. “Michelle Jeffers of the SFPL responded, “The library’s job is not to teach that kind of responsibility. It’s to provide equal access to information and education.””

Local news by authority

  • Bolton – Bolton: Libraries to stay open despite £364,000 cuts plan – Bolton News. “all the borough’s libraries are set to remain open despite plans for £364,000 worth of cuts. But the cuts will result in reduced opening times in many of the borough’s outlying libraries, with some smaller ones losing as much as half a day, while some librarians have opted for retirement or redeployment.”
  • Bradford – Bradford Council stages free interactive storytelling sessions – Telegraph and Argus. “Bradford Libraries has teamed up with 14 local authorities across the country to offer families an exciting, engaging and free programme of virtual entertainment experiences. Children aged three and over and their families can join a programme featuring online activities and storytelling sessions held by drama facilitator John Kirk, who will take participants to far-off places with classic fairy and folk tales.”
  • Camden – Kentish Town Library of Things – Library of Things. Based in Kentish Town Library. “Kentish Town now has its very own Library of Things. It’s a place where you can borrow useful things for your home, projects and adventures.”
  • Doncaster – Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is officially open – Doncaster Council. Official opening pushed back several months due to Covid.
  • Edinburgh – In pictures: ‘Book wumman’ builds a library for the homeless – STV News. ““I asked her how important a book was,” recalled Rachel, who knows what it’s like to be homeless. “And she thought about it really hard and said ‘well, it can be better than food’.” That encounter led to her setting up a charity – aptly named Streetreads – and now she’s opened a library in the capital that has impressed one of Scotland’s bestselling authors.”
  • Essex – Essex: Valentine’s Day obscene content led to library ban – BBC. “Libraries in Essex have banned people 146 times since 2016, most commonly for intimidating and aggressive behaviour. But the county council said one person is prohibited from Maldon library for “viewing obscene content” on 14 February 2017. The council said the “vast majority… use their libraries appropriately”.”
    • Essex County Council says Essex’s 74 libraries will remain open – Gazette Standard. “The council triggered an almighty reaction three years ago in November 2018 when it was announced there were plans to close 25 out of 74 libraries and remove support for a further 18.” … “But Kevin Bentley has made his – and the council’s – position clear. He will not be cutting libraries. In fact, the plan is to invest in them and make them fit for future generations. The county council is now developing a four-year plan which seeks to improve services and maximise the number of people using libraries”
    • Essex writers invited to Essex Authors Day at Chelmsford Library on Saturday – Essex Council. “The programme will comprise of three exciting seminars, led by experienced authors Jonathan Crane, Simon Edge and Lizzie Chantree.”
    • Reasons for over 100 bans from libraries revealed – Halstead Gazette. “Another member of the public was banned from Braintree library on May 5, 2019, for “urination on furniture”.”
  • Falkirk – Falkirk’s libraries in running for major award – Falkirk Herald. “The Falkirk Community Trust (FCT) story may be coming to its final chapter but that has not stopped its library service making the shortlist of national awards.” … “The trust is due to hand back its responsibilities – including the library service – to Falkirk Council in April 2022, but hopefully it will be able celebrate winning a Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) accolade before then.”
  • Flintshire – Mold’s first ever BookFest will come to the town – here’s how to get involved – Leader.
  • Glasgow – Macmillan@Glasgow Libraries support service restarts – Glasgow Times. “Macmillan Cancer Support and Glasgow Life have restarted the face-to-face support that stopped during the pandemic. But as libraries reopen across the city, the service is getting back up and running. Pip Lawrenson, Macmillan’s engagement coordinator for Glasgow Life, said: “We’re so glad to be back and to be able to see people again.”
  • Hertfordshire – Herts libraries service could be transferred to public service mutual – Welwyn Hatfield Times. “The results of that review are expected to be reported to a meeting of the council’s education, libraries and lifelong learning cabinet panel next month.”
  • Hull – ‘There are lots of lonely people who look forward to their regular phone call – you might be the only person they’ve spoken to that day’ – Hull Council. “In November 2020 Library Link, a service from Hull Libraries, setup Call and Chat, which saw volunteers making weekly or fortnightly befriending telephone calls with customers. To date, volunteers have made more than 500 calls lasting a total of more than 15,500 minutes. Many of these regular telephone calls continue almost a year on from the project’s creation”
  • Kent – Thousands of Kent bookworms enjoy Summer Reading Challenge – In Your Area. “More than 12,000 children have been learning about nature and the environment in this year’s Summer Reading Challenge from Kent libraries.” cf. 19,000 in 2019.
  • Leeds – Horsforth Library leads on entrepreneurship – Wharfedale Observer. ” Start-up Leeds will be run at local libraries across the city and will offer support to anyone with a business idea or a fledgling business in any sector.”
  • Leicester – Readings, workshops and poetry on offer for Libraries Week – Leicester City Council. “crime writing, poetry and the Black Lives Matter movement.” … “Visitors to any city library between 4 and 7 October will also be able to contribute to a community poem to mark National Poetry Day”
  • Northamptonshire – Concerns about Raunds Library – helping raise local concerns – Tom Pursglove MP / Facebook. “I have been receiving a number of emails from local residents regarding the future of Raunds Library. I am mindful of what a much loved facility this is for a good number of people in our local community and am keen to help in any way that I can in securing its future for the long-term and gaining clarity around this. Indeed, I have been very active on these matters in the past and am willing, and actively being, supportive again. I have already been liaising with Raunds Town Council in search of answers. Of course, please feel free to get in touch with your concerns so that I can raise them with the relevant authorities.”
  • Northumberland – Northumberland libraries prepare to mark new chapter as popularity continues to grow – Northumberland Gazette. Launch of a “welcome back to libraries” promotion. “We certainly are ready to Turn the Page on a new chapter for the service with a programme of both virtual and physical events planned for the rest of the year, fresh new stock and a digital offer accessible to all.””
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries to celebrate poetry day – Keighley News. Events including poetry.
    • Join the fun-filled Libraries Month activities – North Yorkshire County Council. “To coincide with National Libraries Week (October 4 to 10), residents are being challenged to Squeeze in a Read to encourage more people to make a safe return to libraries.”
    • Libraries support students with new digital offer – North Yorkshire County Council. “Eduroam is an online roaming service for students, staff and researchers from organisations signed-up to the service, allowing them to access educational resources. Eduroam has also been rolled out as part of the County Council’s introduction of free public Wi-Fi across 16 of the county’s market towns to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses.”
  • Orkney – Library launches dementia help point – Orcadian. “Orkney Library and Archive has helped a dementia charity reach a milestone achievement, by becoming the UK’s 1,000th Playlist for Life Help Point. Playlist for Life supports those living with dementia to access music from their past. The charity has teamed up with Orkney’s flagship library to offer this service to folk in our community. A Playlist for Life Help Point is somewhere that people affected by dementia can access free information, resources and in some cases support about creating and using a personal playlist.”
  • Reading – Reading Libraries Events This October – Reading Council. Various events including Fun Palaces and Black History Month.
  • Redbridge – Council to approve children’s performances after monkey costume scandal – Ilford Recorder. “All children’s performances at Redbridge libraries will be signed off by the council following a controversy over an inappropriate monkey costume earlier this year.” … “At a full council meeting last Thursday (September 23), council leader Jas Athwal said Vision had provided a “full and thorough investigation of why the series of events took place”. “
  • Rochdale – Balderstone Library chosen for national scheme – Rochdale Online. “Balderstone is one of ten libraries in England that will work with BookTrust to test new ways of inspiring shared early years story experiences. Starting in October, the pilot will encourage young families to visit their local library, offering them a shared reading experience, to help bring the magic of reading to life.”
  • St Helens – Business start-up support now on offer at St Helens Library – The Reporter. “The move comes as The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Liverpool (based in Central Library) and the British Library announced the roll out of several new local BIPCs across the Liverpool City Region to support future entrepreneurs.”
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries marks nine years of making a difference – Lowestoft Journal. “All 44 libraries in Suffolk remain open with several now offering improved facilities and increased opening hours … After the relaxation of COVID regulations in July Suffolk Libraries launched ‘The Big Catch Up’ campaign to help bring people together and show how the library service can play a vital role in recovery after the pandemic. … “The last year has turned the traditional idea of a library service on its head and allowed us to reach even more people than ever before in all sorts of different ways.”
  • Wiltshire – Library book arrives in Salisbury 18 years after it was due to be returned – Planet Radio.
  • Windsor and Maidenhead – When are RBWM’s library hours changing? – Windsor Express. “The Royal Borough’s libraries are starting a new chapter this month with an expanded home delivery service and revised opening times. The council came under fire earlier this year when its budget included a plan to ‘transform’ the library service to move to an increased digital offering. This involved a plan to close certain libraries, including Boyn Grove Library, with the remainder operating for a total of 217.5 hours per week.” … “More than 1,000 responses were sent to the council consultation. Since then, it revised its position and is keeping all 11 permanent library buildings open, with some reduced hours.”
  • Worcestershire – Call to end scaremongering over future of town centre library – Redditch Standard. ” Coun Dormer said it was wrong to keep alarming the public over the future of the library in Redditch. “The library function in this town is going nowhere,” he said. “After The Hive in Worcester it’s the most used library in the county so why would we want to downscale it or downgrade it? “However it does need modernising, the future of libraries is as community hubs and it needs more tech, more computers. “A decision has not yet been made on its future site but the town hall is the favoured location for me and the county council.””
    • Free anthologies at Redditch Library to mark UK Poetry Day – Redditch Standard. “Visitors will be able to help themselves to these books from the day itself, Thursday, October 7, for one week. The books are the result of four different free writing courses, run by The Word Association CIC in partnership with Worcestershire Libraries and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.”
  • Wrexham – Wrexham’s mobile library van could be replaced by ‘pop-up’ service – The Leader. “A mobile library van which visits isolated communities in Wrexham could be replaced by a new “pop-up” service, it’s been revealed. The travelling library has been out of action since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus. In autumn 2020, it was replaced by a pop-up service, where temporary libraries are set up at venues across the area.” … “The local authority is now proposing to make the changes permanent in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint [not seen this one used as a reason for cutting library services before – Ed.], resulting in the old mobile library service being axed.”
  • York – Annual Review – York Explore. “We hope you will agree that our Libraries and Archives aren’t just places to read stories, they are places to make stories, and that this was especially true in the year the world turned upside down.”