Virus possibly stops a library trust, plus … puppies

Editorial

Interesting to see the transfer of Hertfordshire libraries to a library trust being indefinitely postponed. This process has already seemingly taken forever, it being first mooted in 2017 and then delayed during the Lockdowns so perhaps hearts were never truly in it in the first place. But the reason given for the shelving (haha) is revealing: that the council has realised how important and useful its library service was during last year and so needs to think about whether it wants to lose it. This is combined with concerns about if a future financial shock would bring down a trust. So, a virus originating in China has affected the governance of an English county library service. It’s a highly connected world in which we live.

You may have noticed this post is a bit late. This is indirectly due to the appearance of five schnauzer puppies in my life. We want to wait another week or two before thinking about selling them but if any of you live near enough to Cheshire and fancy a bearded heavily eye-browed small canine in your life, with a speciality of sitting on laps, then perhaps let me know.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • BIPC Liverpool and British Library join forces to announce major new support lifeline for businesses across the Liverpool City Region – My Sefton. “The Business & IP Centre Liverpool (based in Central Library) and the British Library have announced the roll out of several new local Business & IP Centres (BIPCs) across the Liverpool City Region. Tuesday 21st September sees the official launch of more BIPCs in libraries in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens and Wirral.”
  • How does your library support people with no fixed abode – Reading Agency. “As part of World Homelessness Day, which falls on the final day of Libraries Week 2021, The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected are collecting information and examples of best practice for the ways libraries can support access to books and services for people with no fixed abode. The information will be used to better understand existing support and areas of need across the sector”
  • Missing persons wanted – BookSeller. “Growing up in the West Midlands, I turned my back on reading books and even visiting libraries for many years. When I start to think back to why this was happening, I realised that not seeing Asian representation within publishing and at libraries was a key factor.”
  • Of No Fixed Abode: Building the Public Library Offer – Eventbrite. Friday 8 October 3pm. “As part of the Libraries Week 2021 ‘Taking Action, Changing Lives’ events schedule (run by CILIP) and in the lead up to World Homelessness Day (October 10), The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected invite people working in or with the library sector to a panel discussion about the homelessness crisis in the UK today.”
  • Read, Talk, Share – Stories from the frontline – DCMS Libraries. “Reading Friends is a befriending programme using reading to start conversations and connect people. It tackles the loneliness challenge head on by bringing people together to read, share stories, meet new friends, and have fun. Through an award by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), The Reading Agency provided funding, training and resources for 102 English library authorities to deliver Reading Friends to diverse audiences at risk of loneliness including new and expectant parents, young carers, older people and those living with dementia.”
  • Too many libraries appear to be viewed as ‘easy targets’ when it comes to cutting budgets – John Dean – Scotsman. “Crime writers owe a lot to libraries. Library staff lend out their books, bringing in welcome payments under the Public Lending Right scheme, host their events and raise their profiles. Writers of all genres have much to be grateful to libraries for.”
  • Vera creator backs Reading for Wellbeing scheme – Belfast Telegraph. “The author is celebrating the 21st anniversary of her detective character Vera Stanhope – played by Brenda Blethyn in the hit ITV series Vera – by supporting a reading scheme being piloted in the North East of England. Cleeves initiated the scheme, and has donated funds towards the pilot, which she launched in Durham.
  • Which library matches your personality? – OUP Blog. “Which library matches your personality? Are you an old soul like the al- Qarawlyyin library? Compassionate like the Beitou Public Library? Quirky like the Culture Perth & Kinross Mobile Library? These are just some of the libraries you could match up with, give our short quiz a go to find out!” [I got the New York Public Library – Ed.]
  • With vision and ample funding what could Scotland’s libraries become? – Dani Garavelli – Scotsman. “Yes, libraries have adapted to the times, digitising archives, automating check-out and return, offering eBooks. But library providers have become conscious of the importance of the physical gathering space in a world where people are increasingly isolated. Counterintuitively, the rise of social media – which reduces the opportunity for real-life contact – has fuelled a loneliness epidemic so great supermarkets were at one point being encouraged to set up “chatty cafes” for isolated customers.”

International news

  • Canada – Why investing in libraries is a climate justice issue – National Observer. “For many, the safest and most accessible place to escape the heat was also free — the library. Public libraries are increasingly opening their doors as cooling centres as officials develop emergency plans for heat and other extreme weather condition”
  • Denmark – The public library is the haven where we can rediscover the ability to immerse – Christian Lauersen. “The public library is not interested in getting you through the store as quickly as possible so that a new customer can drive the plastic card through. The library invites to slow time; time to read and time to be present. “
  • USA – Whose Safety is the Priority? – International Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion. “Police and policing have tacitly, and at times explicitly, been normalized as aspects of library service in the U.S. As American forms of policing are exported at an international scale, this has international implications.”
    • History of Library Hand – Book Riot. “In September 1885, Thomas Edison and Melvil Dewey teamed up to design library hand — though their “team work” was less collaboration than it was one of implementation. Library hand, a rounded, easily legible style was based on Edison’s own handwriting”
    • Name calling, property damage: Public librarians harassed over vaccine mandate enforcement – Hawaii News Now. “Aldrich says since the vaccine and test mandate went into effect Monday, some people have been verbally abusive toward librarians who are trying to enforce the rule. “Calling us names or throwing their library card at us,” said Aldrich. “Our staff really want to serve the community and they care about the communities, so it’s hard when people are angry and they take it out on our staff.””
    • Slow life, slow librarianship – Information wants to be free. “Slow librarianship is an antiracist, responsive, and values-driven practice that stands in opposition to neoliberal values. Workers in slow libraries are focused on relationship-building, deeply understanding and meeting patron needs, and providing equitable services to their communities. Internally, slow library culture is focused on learning and reflection, collaboration and solidarity, valuing all kinds of contributions, and supporting staff as whole people.”
    • Teacher Stuck with $1,400 Fine from Library System that Killed Fines – Voice of San Diego. “Library Director Misty Jones said no patrons were sent to collections for fees attached to unreturned materials during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ruble’s case had already worked its way to the San Diego treasurer before then, and the fee couldn’t be reversed.”
    • Techdirt Podcast Episode 297: The Future Of Libraries – Techdirt.”The notion that if libraries didn’t exist already, the publishing industry wouldn’t allow them to exist at all is both a grim joke and a depressing truth, as continually evidenced by the opposition of publishers to seemingly unobjectionable technologies like controlled digital lending, which aim to allow libraries to carry their mission forward into the digital age.”
    • Texas mom hijacks school board meeting to rage about young adult novel in school library about love affair between black boy and Mexican girl that features anal sex – Daily Mail. Library book successfully banned.

Local news by authority

FT.com now available in public libraries, only from DCA FT@digitalcontentassociates.com

Good news, plus award shortlists

Editorial

Barnsley have opened a nice new library, the Library @ the Lightbox, which looks nice and another Scottish service, East Renfrewshire, has gone fines-free. I understand that I have missed a few more libraries doing this north of the border and soon a majority of Scottish services won’t fine people for returning a book late. If so, that would be a point those south of the border, where the movement is slower, although still very much moving forward. In other positive news, Libraries Connected have announced the shortlists for several awards, including some interesting initiatives, plus a webinar (in the excellent marketing series) and a tender for digital learning. There’s also a couple of very nice new libraries in the international section.

On the normally bad news front, we have our regular guests in Essex and Glasgow. However, even in those two there is some hope, with Essex Council – if they are to be believed – appearing to promise to have turned a new leaf, although often what a council means by “no libraries will close” and “run by county council” turn into rather disappointing reality, with some services in the past translating this as a visiting paid member of staff a day or two per week and the rest of it being volunteers. We’ll see how good Essex is at clear statements soon when they do a formal announcement. In Glasgow, there’s hope that the Scottish Government’s announcement of £1.5 million libraries funding will largely go straight to them, although one imagines this would be rather annoying for the other Scottish councils and trusts who have perhaps managed their finances differently in the last few years.

Correction: In the last post, I implied that the Government intervened in Northamptonshire Libraries. This is not the case. In the words of the person correcting me: “This may give the wrong impression since HMG did not intervene with regard to the library service in the county (that was down to Mrs Justice Yip at the JR) but rather with regard to the entire County Council.  Representations were made to HMG at DCMS but they did not produce any result and complaints raised were shelved.”

Changes by authority

National news

  • Diverse Libraries: webinar series – National Literacy Trust. “Join us for a free webinar series, open to all library staff or teachers based in primary or secondary schools, public or community libraries across the UK.”. 9 December, 30 March, 25 May.
  • Invitation to Tender: Information and Digital Learning Module for library staff – Libraries Connected.
  • Leading Libraries Exploring Leadership: Invitation to Apply – Libraries Connected. “Are you a leader in your library service? You may be surprised! Think about all that you do in your day-to-day role. Have you put forward an idea for a project, improved a library session or involved new users?” … “The course is designed for those in the earlier stages of their career who want to develop their leadership skills. In line with our ambition to develop and retain a diverse and thriving public library workforce which reflects our society, we aim to recruit a diverse cohort of 20 people. “
  • Libraries Connected Awards 2021
    • Children’s Promise Author virtual school visits (Wokingham), youth engagement team (North Yorkshire), used school uniforms (Staffordshire), women’s refuges (South Gloucestershire), multilingual/feed and read/online events (Greenwich). rhymetimes in outside public spaces (Sutton).
    • Culture and Creativity Digital arts (Dorset), Local history (Norfolk), Cinema (Wakefield), Adult learning (Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea), trail (Shropshire), social isolation (Gateshead).
    • Health and Wellbeing shortlist – Manchester (“age friendly” hour during lockdown), Suffolk (food boxes), Kirklees (Libraries of Sanctuary, loneliness cafes). Somerset (health information online, training). Greenwich (lending of footballs), Redbridge/Kirklees/Newcastle (Death Positive).
    • Information and Digital – Online video events (Kingston Upon Thames), Facebook groups (Staffordshire), digital help (Solihull), diversity (North Yorkshire), vulnerable and isolated (Merton), Makaton story times (Hampshire).
    • Reading shortlist – Libraries Connected. Gloucestershire (Facebook book chat), Derbyshire (newsletter), City of London (book recommendation quiz), Portsmouth (Bookfest online), Staffordshire (Facebook book chat), Hampshire (telephone calls to home users, Reading Friends)
    • Vision and Print Impaired People’s shortlist – Libraries Connected. Transcription (Kirklees), online listening group (Derbyshire), home library service (Derbyshire), talking newspaper (Shetland),
  • ISNI Press Release, September 2021: The International ISNI Information Day 2021 – ISNI. “This event marked the tenth anniversary of the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) – an ISO standard which has been embraced by multiple professional communities over the past decade, and is now one of the most trusted sources of identification and disambiguation for public identities (including individuals and organisations) worldwide.”
  • Marketing the Library webinar 2: Producing creative campaigns – Libraries Connected. “This is the second of three webinars in our Marketing the Library project. It will explore the power of creativity and share techniques and tools for coming up with new and original campaign and marketing ideas.”
  • Save Our Libraries: ‘Libraries should be communal living rooms for people across Scotland’ – Scotsman. “The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) has published its four-year strategy for Scotland’s libraries, putting them at the heart of the Covid recovery. Here, its CEO explains why they should be ‘communal living rooms’ to benefit all, particularly low income families.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Library @ the Lightbox – Barnsley Glassworks. “The Lightbox challenges our perceptions of what a modern library should be. It’s a place to learn, explore, meet and make connections in a warm and friendly space. Over four floors there are a range of digital services, including cutting-edge virtual reality, a training suite complete with a 65-inch interactive touch screen, tablet computers and advanced printing and photocopying facilities. The fully-accessible building also includes a sanctuary room for people with autism and provides meeting space for a number of organisations, including a Music and Memories Group, supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and designed for people living with dementia. Visitors can access a range of health and wellbeing services such as counselling and support for parents, including drop-in sessions with midwives and health visitors. The rooftop terrace has amazing views of the bustling town centre. The multi-purpose events space has the capacity to host large events, workshops and group activities. Books are at the heart of it all, expanding horizons through fact or fiction and friendly staff to help borrowing easy. For younger library members, digital technology and interactive story times with innovative software bring exciting stories to life through images, lights and sounds, helping to develop speech, language and reading. Library @ the Lightbox is open six days a week. Library users also benefit from self-service access out of hours and on Sundays – making the Lightbox easy to enjoy.”
  • Blaenau Gwent – Councillors to discuss use of libraries as council hubs – South Wales Argus. “The report says that the main type of help being asked for is on Council Tax, benefit application, blue badge applications, to report issues and to pay for services.”
  • Bristol – Meeting spaces in libraries – Designing Libraries. “Nooks are mobile, quiet, focus pods that are designed to provide a feeling of wellbeing and calm without causing isolation, and a useful addition to the ranges currently on the market for libraries designing workspaces and meeting spaces. Nook is also an internationally certified autism resource.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Libraries launch children’s ‘Climate Champions’ creative writing project – In Your Area. “Cheshire West and Chester Libraries have partnered with literary arts organisation, Read Now Write Now, Arts Council England, and libraries in the Liverpool city region. The workshops are all themed around climate change, and will involve online writing workshops, recorded workshops, and learning resources available for schools to use.”
  • Croydon – The restoration of Norbury Library – Designing Libraries. “A welcoming new café, and accessible community facilities supported by the installation of a new lift. A vibrant new children’s library for young readers and families. Technology-enabled workspaces, helping students, small businesses and residents get online.”
  • Derbyshire – Interested in running a library? – Derbyshire County Council. “As part of our strategy for libraries, we aim to transfer the following 20 of our 45 libraries to community management. These libraries are: Borrowash, Brimington, Clowne, Creswell, Duffield, Etwall, Gamesley, Hadfield, Hayfield, Holmewood, Killamarsh, Melbourne, Old Whittington, Pinxton, Somercotes, Tideswell, Whaley Bridge, Whitwell, Wingerworth, and Woodville. We’re already working with organisations at some of these libraries, and are still looking for groups at others”
  • East Renfrewshire – East Renfrewshire plans permanent library fines amnesty while banning late fees – Herald. “East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust (ERCLT), the charity delivering sport, leisure, arts and culture services in the region for the local council is looking at wiping all existing fines and says it aims to have these removed “as soon as possible”. The abolition of fines in all Scotland’s libraries is being pushed by campaigners as part of a move to make them the heart of a pandemic recovery.”

“We want our libraries to be welcoming community spaces, where people return to use our resources, enjoy reading and discover new books. Late fees can prevent people from coming along and they can also adversely affect those most in need of a public library service.”

Scott Simpson, East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust head of libraries and information services
  • Essex – New plans to be revealed to revive county’s libraries – East Anglian Daily Times. “After a huge public outcry and a star-studded campaign, the plan to keep the reprieved Essex libraries thriving will be unveiled next month. Essex County Council had planned to close 25 of its 74 libraries in 2018 before making a U-turn a year later.” … “The county council now plans to publish its draft strategy on the future of libraries in Essex in October, and it has been praised for its “act of genuine repentance” three years after its heavily criticised closure proposal.” Deputy leader says ““The libraries will be remain open and they will be run by county council staff.”
    • Essex County Council public libraries consultation – Echo. “The county council says the current administration sees the development of library services as a priority.” … “Cllr Lousie McKinlay, deputy leader and cabinet member for communities, said: “I want to see libraries at the heart of our communities. That is why we plan to invest in, enhance and protect the library service.””
    • Loughton campaigners take to the streets to save libraries – Epping Forest Guardian. “They claim the plans will lead to a much smaller library space and put “property developers before people”. The project, led by Essex Homes, promises to replace the 1970s-built library in Trapps Hill, which the council says “will soon require extensive and costly maintenance”, with a brand-new library and up to 38 flats.
    • New borrowing scheme launches in Essex Libraries – Essex County Council. “You can now check out more than books at our Libraries as we pilot the Essex Library of Things. We now have a catalogue of items ranging from a drum set to a pressure washer available to reserve and borrow free of charge. All you need is to be over 18 and have a Library card. You can then reserve the item and collect from one of five libraries or the mobile library service.”
  • Glasgow – Glasgow City Council bosses admit concern over size of funding pot to reopen closed venues – Glasgow Evening Times. Council “will make a “strong” pitch to the Scottish Government for money to get libraries open, but admitted there are concerns over the size of the fund. Depute council leader David McDonald said the city would make a “compelling” case to “get as much money as possible” from a £1.25m pot.”

Libraries in the Royal Borough of Greenwich have become the first in the country to move across to fully biodegradable library cards that are made in the UK, from ethically sourced materials. The borough’s 13 public libraries have begun issuing the new eco-cards this week and with over 121,000 library cards currently in circulation within Greenwich alone, the change will have a significant environmental impact – reducing the amount of plastic going to landfill.

GLL, the charitable social enterprise that operates Royal Greenwich’s libraries on behalf of the council, has partnered with manufacturing specialist Spectrum Plastics and Products to develop the new card – which is full colour, includes a barcode and is made from FSC ethically sourced cardboard. The scheme is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by libraries within the Royal Borough to minimise their environmental impact.  These include the recent refurbishment of Eltham Library, which included installing energy efficient lighting, using water-based paints – emitting minimal VOCs and upcycling furniture where possible.  New furniture was sustainably sourced and new carpeting partially made from recycled materials.

Greenwich – Royal Borough of Greenwich launches UK’s first ethically sourced ‘Eco’ library cardsGLL press release

The BookSeller, friend of Libraries, as we are of them

Editor

The BookSeller has been an advocate for public libraries for as long as I can remember but it’s not often, if at all, they do a libraries issue. So it was great to see one this week, with lots of related articles plus an offer for everyone to be able to read it free for one week. I enjoyed being part of their special webinar with Nick Poole of CILIP, Zoey Dixon and Heloise Wood on the state of English public libraries. It was a realistic chance to converse about the sector, including an honest appraisal of how quiet they are at the moment (around one-half of normal seems to be the consensus, although there are wide variations) and genuinely felt cries of anger about the limitations placed on e-book lending. The webinar was recorded and I’ll share it here when I get the link.

Sometimes one sees an article that is so gob-smacking that it defies comment. The one in the Telegraph today that suggest library staff could be used to meet staff shortages in care homes is one of those. I won’t say any more.

Changes by local authority

National news

From the front page of The Scotsman on Sunday
  • Kirstin Innes: Libraries are inspirational safe havens we can’t afford to lose – Press and Journal. “Sixty-one of Scotland’s 481 public libraries remain closed with no plans to reopen three months after restrictions were lifted; the council providers claiming that they just don’t have the resources to reopen these facilities at the moment.” … “The people who attend libraries are not customers. They are humans, existing in a space, accessing knowledge, internet or resources. And, as Barr says, many of these people do not have other places to go, or other ways of accessing these resources.”
  • Librarians could be asked to work in care homes amid fears of staffing ‘meltdown’ – Telegraph [paywall]. “Local authorities asked to draw up lists of who to redeploy to address shortfall, including those in ‘people-facing roles’”

BookSeller Libraries Edition

The digital version of this edition if free for one week from this link.

  • Devon libraries reach new audiences with escape room experience – “The project is part of a mission by Libraries Unlimited, a charity formed in 2016, to attract new visitors and reconnect with existing ones, with an open call for artists to pitch playful ways to bring libraries to life. ” … “We’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of support from Arts Council England”
  • Five librarians from across the UK pick autumn highlights – Book recommendations.
  • Libraries seek assurances on future after lockdown success – Various quotes from library figures, including Nick Poole of CILIP and Alan Wylie. “One in three people in the UK used libraries over lockdown … Many staff also developed creative strategies to mitigate the potential extreme isolation of their elderly users, with fewer digital skills… All those who spoke to The Bookseller believed the pandemic had made councils more aware of the value of libraries … [but]  the patchwork nature of closures, guidance and safety support proved particularly problematic in March 2020 when lockdown hit” … some councils have used Covid as “a smokescreen” to close libraries more permanently … [but] an ongoing library boom in the north”.
  • Post-pandemic libraries – Editorial by Benedicte Page. “This week’s special Library Focus issue of The Bookseller includes some fascinating titbits from upcoming history The Library about the complex ways in which libraries were affected by the two World Wars. Inevitably one is tempted to wonder how future historians will look back on the extraordinary period we have just been living through, and assess what the pandemic has meant for the public library service. Will this turn out to have been a moment that finally demonstrated to council leaders just how flexible and innovative libraries can be, the start of a new, truly hybrid library provision? Or one that provided an opportunity for council chiefs to turn temporary closures into permanent ones?”

International news

  • Australia – The Future of Libraries in a Post Covid World -Jane Cowell. “we have to build new pathways to the library for those who would benefit from our services and for whom the library is inaccessible for many reasons.”
    • All things considered – ALIA. “Discussion of how scenario planning can help inform decision-making processes in libraries when setting strategic directions in times of uncertainty.”
  • Denmark – The public library is the haven where we can rediscover the ability to immerse – Christian Lauersen. “In the midst of the attention-seeking and impulse-driven society, the public libraries lie as diverse oases that invite immersion and togetherness without commercial purpose or economic barrier to use. If you ask the Danish citizens themselves, the answer is that they experience the libraries as a haven in a busy everyday life.”
  • Global – New public library world champion named – IFLA. “This year, 32 libraries competed for the award, five were nominated and the winner, Deichman Bjørvika in Oslo, was announced on 19 August at the IFLA World Library and International Congress” … “It’s a smart design, which is built up around a fully automatic book-sorting system that enables employees to spend their time servicing citizens rather than simply handling books. “
  • USA -Mergers, acquisitions, and my tinfoil hat – Librarian Shipwreck. A look at who owns who in the US library technology industry.
    • Stop Pretending that Libraries are a Business. They’re not – EveryLibrary. “Like clockwork, every few months, someone out in the world publishes an article in the national press about how libraries should be replaced by X company. The argument is usually pretty simplistic: Thingamabob Inc. does this one function of a library really well, so libraries are on their way out. Obviously, when reduced to its bare essentials, it sounds so silly. Libraries do a lot of things very well, producing value for their communities in ways that are fundamentally different than any business.”
    • The Surprisingly Big Business of Library E-books – New Yorker. A look at the USA situation, over Covid and elsewhere, concentrating on Overdrive. ““Libraries have more power than they sometimes realize,” 
    • Why your library’s logo might be terrible: understanding what a logo does – Laura Solomon. “In this series, I want to break down the issues surrounding logos in a way that’s quick, clear and understandable.”

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Peasedown St John’s community library on the lookout for volunteers – Bath Echo. ““For a small community library with just 700 books we’re definitely punching above our weight. “Over 200 people used our services last month. Not only is reading enjoyable, but it’s also good for our mental health too. It reduces stress, is therapeutic and keeps our brains active.” The library is looking for new volunteer librarians who will help with sorting books, collecting books from visitors, and offering help to those who use the services. Full training will be given.”
  • Bradford – Bradford Libraries help children get a great start at primary school – Ilkley Gazette. “Packs have been put together to help families prepare their children to start reception class this September. The ‘Great Start’ bags contain a range of books to engage, enthuse and excite children about starting ‘big’ school along with a musical toy and rhyme sheet plus a finger puppet for retelling stories. They also include a survival guide for parents and carers to help make their child’s move to primary school stress-free and fun.”
  • Derbyshire – Library once dubbed least-used in Derbyshire reopens under new bosses – Staffordshire Live. “A library which was dubbed the most underused in Derbyshire has reopened as a volunteer-led facility. Woodville Library has been renamed Woodville Community Managed Library and is now run by the Circularity Association, a group which provides community spaces for people to gather.”
  • Essex – ‘New library plans put property before people’ – say campaigners – Epping Forest Guardian. ““The consultation, led by Essex Housing, was deeply flawed and asking leading questions designed to create answers appearing to support the proposals.”
  • Hackney – Residents urged to have their say on the future of local libraries – Hackney Citizen. “The newly launched ‘Our Libraries’ conversation wants participants to explain how they used libraries prior to the pandemic and what the institutions could offer in future, including how they can better serve the community in an increasingly digitised world. Hackney is currently home to seven operating libraries and an e-library, with Woodberry Down library currently closed. Town Hall culture chief Cllr Guy Nicholson, who launched the discussion, said: “The purpose of the consultation is not to close a library, but to ensure that our libraries remain central to our daily lives”
  • Inverclyde – Bookbug sessions return to Inverclyde libraries – Greenock Telegraph. “storytelling and song sessions are making a comeback in local libraries.”
  • Jersey – Six workplaces gain disability accreditation – Bailiwick Express. Included the library.
Kirklees – “Here’s a little video to go with our Kirklees Libraries annual report for 2020 – 2021, a year like no other. Kirklees libraries really are at the heart of communities and here’s how we demonstrated that during the height of the COVID pandemic.”

Library cuts to be Scotched?

Editorial

Don’t mess with Scottish public libraries, that’s the message that Glasgow council and the trust, Glasgow Life, it employs to run them, has been receiving loud and clear since it became obvious that some would not immediately reopen after lockdown. The main reason for the unpopular decision has been that leisure trusts have taken a hit from lack of income and also the amount of money given to councils is too low to make the extra payments to overcome this. Glasgow is not alone in this, with Peterborough’s Vivacity having go give up on libraries last year and Live Borders saying they don’t have the money to reopen every library this year. So, why do I say “don’t mess” specifically with Scottish ones? Well, the response has been noticeably very loud in Glasgow, with many protests, relatively huge press coverage and everyone, including the First Minister, getting involved. And now the Scotsman has started a big campaign as well. It’s also obvious that Scotland is generally more left-wing than England when it comes down to these things. Whether that will be enough or not is not clear but it all rather makes me want to move up North.

In other news, it’s good to see environmental concerns being given priority in Trafford, and in Greenwich, with the introduction of biodegradable library cards. For a service that is traditionally green, having their main symbol that every user carries being plastic is increasingly an issue and it’s to be hoped others will follow suit. Let’s also note that Trafford is starting to get a name for itself as an innovative trailblazer as it was one of the first to get rid of library fines a couple of years ago. Finally, there’s been a couple of digital crimes reported this week – a denial of service attack in the USA and, perhaps even more worryingly, a phishing email in the UK.

Changes by local authority

Ideas

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National news

  • The best libraries in London – Conde Nast Traveller. The only public library on the list is Canada Water Library.
  • ‘Our libraries can save us. I know they can. We just have to save them first’ – Damian Barr – Scotsman. “Newarthill Library saved my life. It was safe and warm when home was cold and chaotic. Nothing bad ever happened in the library …” … “Our libraries are a sanctuary open to all for the benefit of all and we forget this at our peril. Especially now. ” … “Since 2010, the UK government has chosen to close 800 libraries. Yes, chosen. Cuts don’t just happen. “

“Our libraries can help power a sustainable recovery from Covid and the inequalities it has revealed and exacerbated. Our libraries can save us. I know they can. We just have to save them first.”

Damien Barr, writer an broadcaster
  • Scotland’s libraries need our support – Catherine Salmond – Scotsman. “Each week, we will shout loudly about all our libraries bring and why they must always be protected. We will raise awareness and be critical of any potential decisions which may threaten their futures.”
  • Scottish library hours remain reduced post-lockdown – BBC. “Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) figures show there is still no reopening information for 61 of the country’s 481 public libraries.” … “Galashiels Library, in the Borders, reopened this month having been shut since the first lockdown. However, it is only open a third of the hours it used to be. Lisa Haddow, who heads the service for Live Borders, said they did not have the funds to offer a full service this year.”. Has table showing how many open in each library service in Scotland.
  • Specification for the review and development of the Welsh Public Library Standards. Via email. “The Welsh Government, through its Culture and Sport Division, is inviting Expressions of Interest for the review and development of the Welsh Public Library Standards. The Project is anticipated to be conducted between September 2021 through to March 2022. The quote is now live on Sell2Wales, but viewable through invite only.  If you would like to receive an invitation to quote, please e-mail Carys.Dawson2@gov.wales The deadline for final submissions of quotations is 17:00 on Monday 6 September 2021.”
  • Support our Libraries: Closures, funding and Covid recovery in Scotland – Scotsman. Long article. “Scotland is the only country in the UK to have a libraries strategy. Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said it had “communities at the centre of its focus … And yet the cast iron gates of Whiteinch remain locked” … “If narrowing the attainment gap is at the top of the party’s agenda, why is the library at Hillhead – an area of relative affluence – open, but the libraries in Whiteinch and Maryhill – areas of relative deprivation – shut?” … “the pitfalls in using ALEOs like Glasgow Life to run cultural services have been exposed.” and “we have a local government funding settlement that does not support libraries in what they want to do. ” … “Many Scottish libraries are flourishing. They have adapted to modern needs with computer suites and activities like book groups, sewing bees and social history talks.” … “the council has no intention of shifting its responsibility for running libraries to volunteers.”

“those who criticise ALEOs [Arms Length Organisations such as Glasgow Life] are missing the point; that, until Covid, ALEOs made it possible to plug the funding gap. “The question is not: “Are they fit for purpose? ” but: “Are local government settlements fit for purpose?””

David McDonald. deputy leader and chair of Glasgow Life

International news

  • Belgium – Public library in Mechelen named among best in world – Brussels Times. “The Predikheren was praised by the jury for combining sustainable materials, technology, and digitisation with its unique architecture, as well as for its efforts to be a hub and valuable resource for locals.”
  • International – Minecraft library provides gamers with “a safe haven for press freedom” – De Zeen. “Non-profit organisation Reporters Without Borders has built a virtual library in the video game Minecraft to give gamers access to censored books and articles. Named The Uncensored Library, the virtual library houses articles banned in countries including Egypt, Mexico and Russia.”
  • Ireland – Dublin Festival of History set to kick off next month – Dublin People. “The festival, organised by Dublin City Libraries in partnership with Dublin City Council Culture Company and now in its ninth year, will be a mix of in-person and online events, and it will play host to a European, UK and domestic line-up of speakers and panels.”
  • USA – Impact Live, Virtual Public Library Event – Gale, 29-30 September. Online conference.
    • Boston Public Library Hit by Cyberattack – NBC Boston. “the Boston Public Library experienced a systemwide technical outage due to a cybersecurity attack, pausing public computer and public printing services, as well as some online resources,” the library said in a statement. “Affected systems were taken offline immediately, and proactive steps were taken to isolate the problem and shutdown network communication. There is currently no evidence that sensitive employee or patron data has been disclosed.””
    • Denver Public Library cards will now get you free access to the Denver Tool Library – Denver Post. “The popular Denver Tool Library typically charges $120 for an annual membership” … “Cardholders will be able to check out 10 tools, including three power tools, for up to a week from the popular lending program. Like any book or physical media at the library, the agreement requires DPL cardholders to borrow one of five tool-library membership passes that are held by DPL”

Local news by authority

The Long View

Editorial

These news updates tend to, by the nature of things, concentrate on the short term: a cut there, a new library here and a spotted possible trend perhaps thrown in. So perhaps it’s useful to take a step back and do a brief (if it’s long no-one will read it summary) of what’s happened to the public library sector since Public Libraries News started way back in 2010.

The big obvious thing is that libraries are still very much here. The pessimistic observer back at the start of the last decade, seeing austerity and e-books coming in could have drawn the conclusion that they would not be. While the death of libraries was exaggerated, it was not sadly entirely without merit. The amount of spending has gone down by around 20% (plus inflation) since 2010 and usage and number of council-run libraries has taken a similar dip. The number of volunteer libraries went from a handful to nearly 600 and a similar number of libraries closed entirely. But most of the closed libraries were small, although very sadly missed. Interestingly, it is the expected death of volunteer libraries that has been the most over played. It turns out that they survive well, with only a handful having closed, and most surviving in some form, with many thriving. Statistics are challenging but I’d say roughly the sector has shrunk by a fifth in most ways which, while tragic, is perhaps not bad considering the circumstances (deep cuts and non-interfering government). For that we can squarely thank the public who have shown councils everywhere that threats to libraries leads to placards and protests.

Right, other trends. Well, let’s go digital first. E-books have turned out not to be The Killer of Libraries quite yet, although it is too early to tell about the impact of Covid on consumer habits long-term. DVDs and other audio-visual are dying a death on the shelves as people flock to streaming but, if the success of bookshops is anything to go by, printed books have life in them yet. Self-service came in big time and staff-less libraries made an appearance. Most library services – but, incredibly, still not all – now have social media accounts, although they tend to be a few years behind trend in what they’re allowed to do by their ever risk-averse councils. Sadly, the Single Digital Presence, not present in 2010 is still not present now, but there is at least hope for next year.

Now for organisations. The MLA was killed off early on, replaced in some ways (but not all) by Arts Council England. ACE have moved in the period from concentrating on what they knew to including development and infrastructure. The Society of Chief Librarians transformed into Libraries Connected during the period and has got noticeably more relevant, with library services benefitting from its (soft power) leadership, training, funding opportunities and dramatically increased current awareness, from it. This was made possible of course by welcome funding from ACE. The Libraries Taskforce was born and died during the decade, with questionable results, although for me the raised profile of libraries within central government can I think be partly attributed to it.

Governance has changed but not dramatically. The large majority of services are still council-run, with the total number of English library services changing from 151 to … well,150. For-profit companies failed to make any dent at all, with the only living example – Laing and then Carillion – coming to an ignominious end. Single library trusts, although low in number, have proved, at least in that of many eyes, successful in the period. Leisure trusts have had a far more chequered experience, with some folding and some having their libraries quietly semi-taken over again by councils when their lack of library awareness started showing. Northamptonshire, once lauded as hugely successful, turned out to be built on sand and collapsed so badly even this government had to intervene. At the other end of the scale, GLL/Better now runs no less than five different library services and appears to have survived Covid, at time of press, reasonably unscathed.

So, that’s enough for now. For me, one last thought. Library services and staff seem far more connected and more aware of what they are doing now than they did in 2010. The sector, although still basically a herd of cats when it comes to lack of centralised control, is very much at least, a bunch of cats working together and co-operating. This is wonderful to see and the national organisations, and of course the prevalence of digital, can take almost all of the credit for this. But I like to think in some small way that Public Libraries News has drawn the sector together ever so slightly as well … and that makes me happier than even taking last weekend off due to it being my birthday. Here’s to the next decade.

Changes by authority

Ideas

National news

  • Bombs and Pandemics: How Libraries Survive and Thrive – Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. “I see now that librarians are frontline workers used to dealing with the mentally ill, the disenfranchised, homeless, the lonely, and vulnerable. A librarian is often the only person someone might see all day. What’s more, they have the emotional intelligence to deal with whoever walks in through the door, which to my mind, makes them more than someone who loans out books. They are part counsellor, social worker, listening ear, facilitator, events planner and friend.”
  • CILIPS Autumn Regathering 2021 – CILIPS. “The aim of this event is to bring people back together, share innovative work and highlight the ways in which library and information professionals from all sectors are essential to a changing world and today’s rapidly evolving circumstances. Our exciting array of topics and speakers includes …”
  • Covid 19 and Youth Services in Public Libraries – Robert Gordon University. Survey to help student with dissertation.
  • Death Positive Libraries: An academic view – Libraries Connected. “As we take this project forward in partnership with the library community, we will be thinking about what the Death Positive Library can mean, and how to help people think about these difficult conversations.”
  • Fund for Welsh museums and libraries reopens – Arts Professional. Transformation Capital Grant.
  • International ISNI Information Day 2021 – ISNI. Webinar, 1 September 2pm. “The ISNI International Agency will be holding its first-ever international event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI). This event will be open to all organisations and industries currently using the ISNI standard including the libraries, publishing, music and rights management sectors.”
The Fortean Society prove themselves witty
  • Professional Confidence Part II; Positive Steps to Refreshing your Team Cohesion – British Library Living Knowledge Network. 9 September 11am. “This webinar will explore ways of enhancing a positive team culture and aims to tackle feelings of disconnection that may have emerged throughout this tumultuous period.”
  • Return to Rhymetimes Webinar – Libraries Connected. 2 September 2pm. “how Rhymetimes can support maternal mental health and early speech and language development in children and how we can help build parental confidence to return to libraries safely.” … “We will also have presentations from library services who have reintroduced Rhymetimes in the last few months, describing how they have achieved this, what the challenges have been and how they have been overcome.”
  • Strategies for Increased Community Engagement – III. With Ken Chad. Webinar, 15 September 2pm. “This webinar will cover how community engagement solutions can help libraries work strategically to define their role in the community. This includes how solutions can help provide services of interest to current and new patrons, as well as user experiences that meet contemporary expectations. As public libraries all over the world continue to innovate and adapt, this session will deliver insights on techniques and solutions for scaling up your library.”

International news

  • Afghanistan – As Taliban violence forces schools in Afghanistan to close, mobile libraries give hope to girls – South China Morning Post. “Husna’s only ray of hope is the mobile library run by the Pen Path Civil Society, a non-governmental organisation whose motorcycle-riding volunteers travel across areas ravaged by fighting to distribute books and stationery to children.”
  • Global Study Into Alternative Methods of Service Delivery – Melbourne Libraries (Australia) global survey. “We are conducting an investigation into alternative methods of service delivery which go beyond the traditional understanding of libraries to engage with our communities. We are looking for information about library programs or services that meet community needs in innovative and interesting ways, or which overcome barriers of infrastructure and resources to meet these needs.”
  • Lebanon – Rebuilding Beirut’s libraries – CILIP. 15 September 6pm. ” talking about libraries in Lebanon following the blast in 2020.  After the August 4 2020 blast, libraries in Lebanon decided to brush off the dust, remove the rubble and glass, and tend to their injured staff and users. Librarians started looking into best plans for a return to service and the Lebanese Library Association joined them on the journey”
  • USA – Dr. Carla Hayden, The Librarian of Congress, On Why Libraries Matter – WYPR. Podcast. “Dr. Hayden has had to navigate changes brought on not only by the COVID 19 pandemic, but by the dramatic evolution of libraries in general: how they serve their communities, and how they are responding in an increasingly digital world.”

Local news by authority

“Whilst Libraries are a statutory service there is no definition as to the scale and range of
services that should be provided. The provision of an online service would suffice.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Glasgow Life – Glasgow Life

August is here

Editorial

A quiet week, as one would expect from August. Enjoy your holidays, those of you who have them … and for the rest, here’s to a good Summer Reading Challenge and a return, however hesitant, to normality.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • AMA Conference 2021: 21-22 OctoberLibraries Connected Bursary Application Form – Libraries Connected. 3 bursaries.
  • The Bookseller to publish library-themed edition – BookSeller. “There will be several paid comment pieces commissioned from experts in this area, focusing on themes such as planning during the pandemic and digital content, as well as interviews and an in-depth focus on 10 libraries across the UK. The special issue, supported by OverDrive and Penguin Random House, will be the first ever library-themed edition of The Bookseller and will also survey librarians about their autumn highlights from a typically packed publishing season. “
  • Campaign Planning | Libraries Connected Marketing the Library Webinars | 2021 – Libraries Connected, Youtube. Excellent introduction on how to plan a promotional campaign of the kind so rarely seen in public libraries.
  • The Future of Libraries After Lockdown – Redbrick. “A combination of callous Tory policies and an unprecedented public health emergency has exerted immense pressure on all our public services. As we finally approach the end of our long trek out of the coronavirus pandemic, we must work to alleviate this pressure and invest all we can into this invaluable, if often overlooked, part of social life.”
  • GLL banishes holiday hunger – GLL. ” supporting the national Holiday Food and Fun programme this summer across London, in its Better branded centres.” … “Better branded facilities in Barnet, Bromley, Greenwich, Hillingdon and Wandsworth will also be providing a mixture of exciting physical activity sessions, interactive library-based craft and story sessions together with workshops on nutrition, to support young people to understand the importance of eating healthily.”
  • Have faith in libraries, a mark of civilisation – Sunday Times, partial paywall. “These truly civic institutions are in danger of closure. To let them fall would be to betray our children and ourselves” Kenny Farquharson. [Remarkable for Sunday Times to include pro public library piece: it normally ignores the sector – Ed.]
  • Programme Manager, Skills and Engagement – Reading Agency. Vacancy. “The Reading Agency is looking to appoint an experienced project manager to lead on the delivery of the Summer Reading Challenge and other aspects of our children and young people’s work.”
  • Struggling families will be given free book bags this summer – Open Access Government. “Reading Sparks is a joint initiative between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and The Reading Agency. Working with 17 libraries across the UK, the free books scheme will run until 2023 and 1,000 book bags will be distributed in the coming months to families who are experiencing hardship.”

International news

  • USA – From Alone to Together Again: Using Data to Deliver Value – Public Libraries Online. “The services WL offered through 2020 are largely stand-ins for the familiar library services people want. As people’s preferred services were re-introduced, their use of the substitutes declined. We have concluded that the digital experience of the library exists in symbiosis with borrowing. “
    • Libraries Across The United States Are Ending Fines For Overdue Books – Forbes. Lists several library services going, or who have gone, fine-free, along with their reasons for doing so. This is mainly due to inequality and also people returning books anyway at similar rates if not fined. “The American Library Association passed a resolution in January 2019 stating, “The American Library Association asserts that imposition of monetary library fines creates a barrier to the provision of library and information services.”

Local news by authority

Variety: reservation charges and fines

Editorial

My thanks to everyone who replied about if they knew of any library services who offered free reservations. May I just say … wow. I had around one hundred responses, leading me to wonder (as one commenter wryly noted) whether I should have asked for those who charged instead.

My thanks to Jane Johnson of Central Bedfordshire Libraries who collated the results: 60 services reported not charging, with some even expressing incredulity that services would dare charge, saying that this led to those living by smaller libraries being unfairly discriminated against. Interestingly, but not surprisingly considering the huge independence of services in the UK, practices varied hugely: with some charging for books not on the shelves, some charging for over 16s, some charging if the customer reserved online and did not ask a member of staff and some only charging for inter-lending. A few also noted that not charging was just for Covid and they would start fining again soon. The results are of course not comprehensive – I did not go through every library service – but it shows the wide range of practices going on.

Reservation charges was not the thing that people interacted most with me this week. Oh no. That honour goes to the tweet below and shows the strength of feeling about fines, with some again expressing shock that libraries still fine and one or two insisting that fines are the only way a library can work. Variety is big in libraryland.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Do Book Giveaway Programs Promote the Home Literacy Environment and Children’s Literacy-Related Behavior and Skills? – Sage. “The findings corroborate the assumption that book giveaway programs promote children’s home literacy environment”
  • Engaging Libraries – Reflections on the programme so far – Carnegie UK. “While not all of the Engaging Libraries projects were delivering activities during the time that data was collected, we are already able to see how libraries and their partners are energising and empowering the public.”
  • Inspired by Libraries: Stuart Maconie – Eccles Library / Youtube. “”Along with hospitals, libraries are the last thing a civilised society should be closing and cutting.””
  • Job opportunities: Help us overcome digital inequality in West Yorkshire – Libraries Connected. “West Yorkshire Digital Libraries is our strategy to take the next step in encouraging and supporting digital inclusion across the region. There are two parts to the programme: Rollout of an upgraded network including a tablet lending scheme and the development of the skills within the library and connected services to create digital champions across West Yorkshire. Creation of partnerships to make better use of these new digital connections. This includes development of new ways to support to children and families who are digitally excluded, support around housing and preventing homelessness, supporting people into employment, broadening support for small businesses, and the creation of digital health hubs in libraries.”

“‘The project is seeking funding at the moment. If it’s successful, we are considering applying for funding to take the learning from the project to the wider Yorkshire and Humber Libraries region, and potentially as a national programme. We’re also interested in taking this as a model where Libraries Connected can support regional or other groups of library services to form consortiums to bid for government funding where they may not have the internal resources or specific expertise to pull together a large scale collaborative bid.”

Marsha Lowe, Libraries Connected, in reply when I asked about if this was part of a larger project
  • New pilot project to encourage disadvantaged families to visit their local library – Nursery World. “More than 2,500 libraries across England are taking part in a pilot of the BookTrust Storytime project in the autumn. Funded by Arts Council England, the project will bring together local authorities, library staff, authors and illustrators to test new ways of inspiring shared early years story experiences through local libraries”
  • Online Media Literacy: why public libraries are the perfect partners – DCMS Libraries / Gov.uk. About the library’s place in the governments online media literacy strategy.
  • Rediscover Reading this summer with your local library – DCMS Libraries / Gov.uk. “Libraries Minister, Caroline Dinenage, shares her thoughts on reading to mark The Reading Agency’s Libraries Spotlight Day and encourage families to rediscover reading this summer.”
  • Read-iscover Summer: Celebrating Reading Week – DCMS Libraries / Gov.uk. Sarah Mears promotes reading and libraries.
  • Robotics access vital for skills boost, says report – Eureka. “Robotics learning factories have already been successful in Germany and the US, and the model could be supported in the UK by local learning hubs like libraries or other public buildings.”
  • The simple fact is that reading matters – MJ (partial paywall). “There is a generation of children born just before or during the pandemic who will have never visited a library before. No chance to lose themselves in a world of books or see their local librarian bring stories to life.” … “Our survey of 1,000 families in poverty with a child under five across England, NI and Wales revealed that less than half are registered with a public library.  Families tell us they don’t visit libraries because they may not know what to do when they walk inside. They don’t know that libraries and the activities they provide are free and are worried their children may make noise inside.”
  • UK libraries become ‘death positive’ with books and art on dying – Guardian. “Death Positive Libraries, a scheme that started in Redbridge in 2018, uses activities, art and literature to remove barriers to talking about the subject – including reading groups, author talks, film screenings, art installations and “death cafes” where people can meet for conversation … So far 58 libraries have expressed interest to the charity Libraries Connected, which is working with the three libraries and academics from the University of Northumbria on a framework to help all libraries become death-positive.”
  • Why the Public Library Children and Young People’s Promise is vital – Books 2 All. Sarah Mears of Libraries Connected: “Making a difference to children’s lives has always been at the heart of the public library offer. So much so, that the sector has created a promise that outlines the service every child and young person should expect from their local public library.”

International news

Simulation of new library
  • Finland – Helsinki’s libraries ditch plastic book covers – The Mayor. “Instead of using plastic coverings and thereby contributing to plastic pollution, from 2021 the institutions will rely on a more sustainable, plant-based alternative, or will not be using any coverings at all.” … “existing plastic stocks will be used to protect books, until they are exhausted. Once this is the case, only bioplastic material will be purchased for covering. The transitional period should last no longer than a couple of months. Furthermore, the libraries are studying if covering books and other items is really necessary to extend their lifetime”
  • Ireland – ‘Derisory’ funding scheme for library books pays authors €32 – Times (partial paywall). “While eight authors received the maximum possible payment of €1,000, the majority received between €10 and €50 for public lending of their work. Irish writers received only €21,700 from the €200,000 scheme, with British authors getting the lion’s share.”
  • New Zealand – Auckland Council to remove library overdue fines from 1 September 2021 – Our Auckland. “The council is joining the global trend of removing library overdue fines with almost 600 libraries worldwide now fine free, including every public library in Ireland. “We’ve been researching and building the case for the removal of library fines and although fines were introduced to encourage returning of borrowed items, they have evolved to become barriers to equitable access to information and lifelong learning. Libraries who have removed the fines have experienced greater rate of return of items borrowed and membership growth,” says Councillor Cathy Casey.”
  • United Arab Emirates – In Pictures: Sharjah’s House of Wisdom – Gulf News. “The House of Wisdom, Sharjah’s new iconic cultural hub, was commissioned in honour of Sharjah’s recognition as World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO and is the living legacy of the promises made then, namely, to continue to foster reading, enhance access to knowledge to all members of society and serve as a catalyst for harmonious coexistence.”
  • Sweden – Virtual Reality to develop new forms of storytelling and story creation in Ängelholm Public Libraries – IFLA. “When all the children had seen their world in VR and taken their photo, we gathered the whole class inside the library again for a joint conclusion to the workshop. We took one last green screen picture, a group picture which we then sent together with all the children’s individual pictures to the teacher. “
  • USA – Anonymous creep ‘rings librarians to masturbate as they read court case details to him’ – Daily Star. “The harassment has been going on for weeks, but with no clues as to who the caller is librarians have been urged to hang up if they are asked about the Brady v. Maryland Supreme Court opinion. A Facebook post from one of the targets said: “Does anyone remember the guy who used to call libraries asking for John Grisham titles to be read to him out loud? “I was a victim of that 8+ years ago and I think he just called again. This time he wanted an entire Wikipedia page read to him, so I’m just forewarning everyone that anyone calling for information on Brady vs Maryland should not be taken seriously.””
    • Libraries and Telehealth on the Vanguard for Broadband – Broadband Breakfast. “any libraries are moving toward telehealth. Three libraries in Delaware have recently installed telehealth kiosks, Seaford, Milford and Laurel. The Pottsboro, TX public library rolled out their telehealth center in January this year. Several library’s around the country are developing  digital navigators programs to facilitate telehealth.”
    • Library Late Fees – Not Just Ineffective, but Harmful – Galecia. “Increasing numbers of libraries have eliminated late fees because they are ineffective at promoting the timely return of materials, and argue that they undermine the mission of the library to provide equitable access to library services and resources.  In eliminating late fees, many libraries have discovered that the use of the library increases without the rate of overdue returns, and in some cases even reducing the number of late returns.  These libraries also report improved relationships between their library staff and the community.”
    • Library Spaces are Made for Everyone – EveryLibrary. Lists inclusivity examples such as basic skills and sensory rooms.
    • The Rescue of the New York Public Library – The Nation. “How did one of the world’s greatest libraries get into the real estate business? It’s a sordid case study of how corporate logic has penetrated nonprofit institutions, including large, urban public library systems.”

“Many images associated with libraries are positive but the shushing librarian stereotype and the fear of incurring late fees are probably the two most damaging.”

  • Library Late Fees – Not Just Ineffective, but Harmful
  • Local news by authority

    “Since taking on the management of Dudley Libraries, GLL has made a number of improvements to staff rotas and structures, including the removal of lone working in libraries – a practice that we inherited.  Some staff have raised concerns about the level of their recent pay increase and we have discussed these directly with them.  We would like to clarify that no jobs are at risk. “It is disappointing that Unison has shown more interest in organising a public meeting rather than engaging with GLL directly to discuss the issues. GLL is passionate about library services and operates excellent facilities across the country.  We value our staff and want to provide them with a solid, long-term future as we continue to develop and improve our offering in Dudley.”

    GLL Spokesperson on Dudley Unison meeting, via email to PLN.

    “Better branded facilities in Barnet, Bromley, Greenwich, Hillingdon and Wandsworth will also be providing a mixture of exciting physical activity sessions, interactive library-based craft and story sessions together with workshops on nutrition, to support young people to understand the importance of eating healthily.  


    London kids won’t go hungry during the holidays, thanks to Better Leisure Centres and Libraries press release 29 July.

    Truth Sleuth in Thrills, Chills and Chemical Spills is a beautifully animated, hilarious interactive storybook adventure like none other. This free game, aimed at young people, 9 and up, is full of delightful characters, silly jokes and food for thought. With retro references and whacky one-liners parents will love it too.  With Bookworm as your guide you are given a series of choices that are judged based on your integrity. Explore adult themes like scandal, protest, conspiracy theories and fake news all in a fun and light-hearted way. Can you use your online research skills to distinguish the trusted sources from the self-serving lies?

    Make sure to keep your integrity high or suffer the consequences. If it gets too low watch your reputation dissolve faster than ice cream in a kettle. But don’t worry, if no one believes you, you can always become a misinformation blogger. The game is based on the Modest Genius Theatre Company live-show, Truth Sleuth- Epistemological Investigations for the Modern Age which was funded by Arts Council England and made in partnership with Pound Arts, Bristol and Wiltshire Library Services. Download the game from Google Play or search for Truth Sleuth in the App store.

    Helen Drakard, Libraries Connected.
    • Wirral – More Wirral libraries reopen their doors – Wirral Globe. But “”As Wirral continues to see case numbers increasing, the sites will still be operating under restrictions – with staff wearing face coverings, social distancing, one-way systems in operation and hand sanitising stations at the entrance and exit points.”
    • Wrexham – Have your say on the future of Wrexham mobile and pop up library service – Leader. “Wrexham Council is now proposing to continue with the pop-up service in communities with suitable venues, and to offer the order and delivery service to residents who don’t have a branch library that’s accessible by public transport. As well as offering a safer and more flexible option, the authority has said it thinks this proposal will help provide a cleaner, greener service that will cut down on road-miles and carbon emissions in the county borough.”
    • York – New library planned for York neighbourhood – The Press. “Explore York chief executive and city libraries boss Fiona Williams said the existing Clifton library near the Rawcliffe Lane play park was too small – and not really in the right place.” … “in addition to these services, the new library will have a café and a relaxing outdoor space, while inside space will be flexible and easily transformed for performances or other activities. There will also be space to bring partner organisations together at the heart of the local community.””

    Fancy taking the lead?

    Editorial

    I don’t like mentioning my library service, Cheshire West and Chester, because Public Libraries News and my work on it has no connections with it whatsoever but I’ll make the exception this week and point out that there is a Lead Librarian vacancy there at the moment. This is basically a joint deputy chief librarian position for the borough’s public libraries. Cheshire West is in a lovely part of the world with great transport connections and the internationally known Storyhouse. So if you fancy a move, do please have a look. That plug done, I’d also like to point out I’m doing a survey of which library services are offering free reservations. Please let me know of any if you can, thank you.

    Otherwise, it’s been a quiet (no shush jokes, please) week in public libraries news, with services returning to normal and doing the Summer Reading Challenge.

    Changes by local authority

    Ideas

    National news

    • Are UK public libraries heading in a new direction? – OUP Blog. “In this blog post, Karen Walker, Team Leader at Orkney Library and Archive, Katie Warriner, Information Services Librarian at Calderdale Libraries, and Trisha Ward, Director of Library Services, Libraries NI, discuss changes they have noted during the pandemic and shed light on what purpose, they believe, UK public libraries will serve for the community in “the new normal.”: services keeping click and collect, increase in eAudio usage and social media. No change in core purpose. Increase in loneliness.
    • British Library seeks designer for £100,000 branding project – Design Week. For the national Single Digital Presence for public libraries. “The naming and branding of the platform is part of the next phase, which will also see a public-facing version of the platform built and beta tested.” Pitches for business will be made in September and October.
    • Don’t let spending cuts ruin libraries – Yorkshire Post Letters – Yorkshire Post. “Opening a “public facing centre” of the British Library in Leeds is pure gesture politics. It cannot duplicate the vast reference collection held at St Pancras. It won’t lend out books. Yorkshire once had some excellent public library services. Like others, they’ve been catastrophically run down in the last 11 years due to the Conservative Government’s spending cuts. Professional staff were slashed and book stocks run down. A former pride of Britain is now a shambles”
    • Knowledge and power: real and fictional libraries leading resistance – Book Riot. Some real and fictional examples in the UK and USA. including the memorable book display behind Boris Johnson last year.
    • Service operational guidance – July 2021 – Libraries Connected. “he note has been prepared by Libraries Connected in consultation with Public Health England in line with published government guidance. Updated 15.07.21”
    • Sustaining Professional Confidence – Webinar Recording Available – British Library. Register to watch recording of free webinar.

    International news

    Local news by authority

    Going ape

    Editorial

    Public library services up and down the country are wrestling with what to do now Covid restrictions have been lifted while Covid is still very much present. From what I can tell by talking to people and from media reports, most services appearing to be returning to more like 2019 but with more hand sanitiser, staff still behind screens asking (but not telling) public to be masked, and hand sanitiser remaining obvious. There’s more variety when it comes to physical events – libraries are finding the risk assessments a bit difficult being they’re unprecedented – but a number are restarting them, including inside libraries.

    The big news this week, though, is not Covid related. It’s about a very inappropriate monkey costume used for a Summer Reading Challenge event. The costume is adult enough (including the male reproductive organ, I kid you not) that I will not include it here. The incident has been covered worldwide, with so much that there is a separate section below. Read about it in detail there if you wish. One of the key lessons for councils from this, unstated in the reports, is that it doesn’t matter to the public if their library service is outsourced or not. When push comes to shove, the public will still blame the council for its mistakes, even though the council may be genuinely unaware of the problem until the same time as the public and quickly acts upon it when they do notice it. Thus outsourcing comes with an unavoidable, and by the look of this story, pretty random and unpredictable, risk to reputational damage for the local council.

    Finally, it’s worth noting the fight continuing in Glasgow about some very serious potential job losses from their outsourced organisation for libraries and leisure, Glasgow Life. Up to 500 jobs are at risk there due to lack of income over the pandemic. It is noticeable there also that the local council, and even the Scottish Government, have got flak for something neither of them are directly in charge of.

    It looks like, in fact, when it comes to outsourcing. sometimes the public do give a monkeys.

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    Changes by local authority

    National news

    • Libraries Connected launch new awards scheme for library staff – Libraries Connected. “The awards are linked to the Universal Library Offers and Promises and the judging panel will include those leading these areas of work nationally. The awards are open to individuals or teams” ..  Overdrive are sponsoring to pay for all the winners will get a free ticket (with accommodation) to attend both days of the annual Libraries Connected seminar in October. We’re also putting on a special awards dinner with (hopefully!) a VIP to present the awards to them in the evening. 

    “Public libraries offer free resources for study and learning. This includes media literacy skills, through channels such as online courses and information sources, and providing quiet spaces for study and reflection that people may not have at home. Libraries also provide opportunities for people to develop core online skills, such as the ability to analyse information confidently and safely.” (Nickie Aiken, Conservative, London and Westminster)

    “I thank my hon. Friend. She is quite right; there could not be a better campaign for the summer. We have put £1.9 million of support into the reading scheme that she mentions. But of course there is £200 million going into the holiday activities fund, and there could not be a better, more useful, happier way of occupying your time on holiday than reading a good book.” (Boris Johnson)

    Hansard 14 July
    • Online Media Literacy Strategy – DCMS. Public libraries have their own small section in the new document, including “Public libraries offer free resources for study and learning. This includes media literacy skills, through channels such as online courses and information sources, and providing quiet spaces for study and reflection that people may not have at home. Libraries also provide opportunities for people to develop core online skills, such as the ability to analyse information confidently and safely.”

    Libraries play an important role in communities and already offer training and support to the public to help them access technologies and navigate the online environment. The strategy will provide a training programme for frontline library workers who interact with members of the public every day to teach them about information literacy.

    Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage

    The Rainbow Monkey Incident

    • Actor in monkey costume with fake penis and bare bum was invited to library to encourage children to read – Independent. The Summer Reading Challenge “is all very wholesome stuff … until now.” … “Goodmayes Library in Redbridge, East London ruined everything by inviting an actor in a rainbow monkey costume with a fake penis and bare bum to the launch event, and created an absolute s**t storm.”. Arranged by Redbridge Vision, not council. Council Leader complains and event is stopped, apologies made. Libraries says they were not aware of monkey costume at time of booking, theatre group have “retired” costume. However, previous tweet exchange between Redbridge Libraries and Exeter Library suggests at least some in library service knew about the costume. “Sorry but we are just thinking about the brainstorm meeting that led a library to think a ‘Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey’ was the best character to get children to read. Nope, we can’t image how on Earth it happened so we welcome whistle-blowers who wish to come forward.”

    “Local Labour MP Wes Streeting asked how “anyone involved – including your staff – thought that a costume described by one national journalist – with depressing accuracy – as a ‘Rainbow Dildo Butt Monkey’ was appropriate for family audiences around our libraries and public realm, let alone a festival aimed at promoting literacy amongst children.”

    International news

    • Canada / USA – 7 sent back to Canada after using library lawn to enter U.S. from Quebec – CTV News. Library is on the border. “Surveillance videos released by the Border Patrol shows the car drive by the Haskell Free Library and Opera House on July 4, nearly hitting a car as it turns onto a street in the Vermont community.” … “The Haskell Free Library was deliberately built straddling the border in the early 20th century so people from both countries can use it”
    • Denmark – Copenhagen: How can a library be a social inclusion place against racism? – Biblio Project. “The Human Library – or “Menneskebiblioteket” as it is called in Danish – was created in Copenhagen in the spring of 2000 “
    • Kenya/Tanzania – Why our public library facilities and services need improving – The Citizen. ” I will compare my experience of the Kenya National Library Services with that of Tanzania, based on cost of the service, facilities and use of technology. ” … “The state of the toilets at the main library in Dar es Salaam is shocking. There is no running water, the hand-washing sinks are blocked”
    • USA – Right-Wingers Are Taking Over Library Boards to Remove Books on Racism – Truthout. “Some locales are making opposition to critical race theory — either through books or community lectures and discussions — their core focus, but other locations are adding virulent opposition to comprehensive sex education and LGBTQIA+ acceptance in a trio of concerns. ”
      • Goodbye, ALA – April Hatchcock.” I’m more convinced than ever that ALA has always been and will always be centered on promoting the “neutrality” of white supremacy and capitalism. Despite the endless working groups and task forces aimed at the contrary, there is no interest in changing the organization. “
      • How and Why to Team up with your local librarian – America Walks. “Working with public librarians, these disparate institutions convene downtown walking tours, install art installations along walking trails, take kids on birding trips along rails-to-trails corridors, enhance the walkability of communities by installing amenities like community gardens, and even build new libraries that are more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists. “

    Local news by authority

    • Staffordshire – New libraries & arts project in Staffordshire to help bring communities together – Signal 1. “The project will support local artists and makers to take up residence in libraries across the county to help create new connections with communities.”
    • WandsworthBattersea Library is chosen as launch venue for new Government Strategy – GLL (press release). “Battersea Library in South London was invited to host the launch of a new national Media Literacy Strategy today (Wednesday 14th July).  Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister for Digital and Culture briefed a group of industry experts on the new £340k initiative that is designed to fight online disinformation. ”
    • Wiltshire – Wiltshire children urged to pick up a book as Summer Reading Challenge returns – Greatest Hits Radio. “A few of the changes include: Libraries not being able to listen to the children talk about their books; Core materials being handed out in bags; Families encouraged to visit at the quieter times such as afternoons as there may be queues.”

    The real Heroes

    Editorial

    The Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) officially started last Saturday, 10 July. It’s by far the biggest promotion that public libraries in the UK put on each year, and normally attracts hundreds of thousands of children to come in, take out some books and read. It’s one of the reasons that August is one of the busiest months of the year for libraries and why children’s libraries are as successful as they are. It is also, for me, one of the high points of the year, not least because I can normally (but not this year) embarrass myself in front of hundreds of children in school assemblies. The Reading Agency and the many library services that take part in the SRC are to be congratulated each year for doing so much to encourage children to read.

    And this year no less than before, and probably more. For this year there is very real uncertainty amongst staff both about safety procedures and also about the number of children who will take part. I remember 19 months ago planning what SRC supplies my service needed and being fairly sure to within 5% as to what was needed. The pandemic meant I was wrong by 100%. This year, no-one can be sure to 5%, 15%, possibly even 50%. And this also is indicative of long-term worries over business as well. Will people 100% come back to physical libraries? There’s encouraging signs from Australia that, yes they do, eventually. But for now, in the UK, facing uncertainty both about this Summer and beyond, in terms of safety and usage, the real Heroes may well be the staff as well as the children. Perhaps that was ever the case but this year it’s just more obvious.

    Wishing you all the best everyone, let me know how you’re getting on.

    Changes by local authority

    National news

    • Covid leaves UK councils with £3bn financial black hole – BBC. “In the London borough of Bexley, 264 staff posts will be deleted, while library opening hours and road repairs will be reduced.”
    • Creating Space for Kindness. An experiment with public libraries in Scotland – Carnegie UK. “Small-scale ‘kindness initiatives’, delivered by local libraries can play a role in helping to improve wellbeing. This short report sets out why kindness matters to wellbeing and why it makes sense to consider how libraries can enhance this core aspect of wellbeing in local communities. It does so through describing a set of ‘kindness initiatives’ that were supported by the Carnegie UK Trust and delivered by 10 public libraries in Scotland. The report highlights the value of creating space to talk about kindness and the impact that this can have on individual and community wellbeing.”
    • National Acquisitions Group Award for Excellence – National Acquisitions Group. “
    • NAG makes an annual award designed to promote excellence, original thinking and innovation by a library team or individual within the field of Acquisitions. For 2020 the winner will receive £200 plus £100 as a donation to their nominated charity.  The prize will be paid directly to the individual. ”
    • National Poetry Day to spotlight over 40 books in recommended lists – BookSeller. “Recommended titles will be promoted to over 4,000 reading groups and the UK library network via the Reading Agency”
    • Read, Talk, Share – How the Reading Agency helped libraries tackle loneliness – Gov.uk/DCMS Libraries. “Read, Talk, Share’ expanded The Reading Agency’s already successful Reading Well and Reading Friends programmes, enabling  public library services to step up to tackle loneliness and support mental health. Together we and our library partners  mobilised to reach those most in need of social connectivity,  overcoming the challenges of delivery in a pandemic, including the closure of library buildings and the difficulties of distance engagements. The flexibility, commitment and support of library staff and management to deliver this has been amazing.”
    • Same, Same But Different prepares for English library tour – Libraries Connected. “The tour will visit 26 libraries and spaces across England from 27 July to 26 August. These will include Stoke, Nottingham, Luton, Birmingham, Black Country, Cheshire, Middlesborough and Reading. The tour will adhere to the most up-to-date government guidelines around Covid-19.”
    • Scottish councils plan to save £141m over next year to pay for covid pandemic response – Daily Record. “It comes as fears grow that public services will suffer as a result with libraries, leisure centres and museums unable to reopen following lockdown.” … “Glasgow Life, an offshoot of the city council, said it had lost £38m due to the closure of venues during the pandemic.”

    International news

    • Australia – The little library that has a 20 per cent chance of winning best in world – Sydney Morning Herald. “At Sydney’s Marrickville Library, you can get pizza delivered to your lounge chair or secret nook. Even better, you can eat it there or in the sunken garden while using the wifi.” … “Another finalist, the new Deichman Bjørvika in Oslo Norway, includes a secret and hidden library for the future. The six-storey building has a gaming zone, secret rooms for children and views of the fjord. As well as borrowing from the collection of 450,000 books, locals can learn to sew or play the piano.”
    • USA – Bloomington PD in spotlight over tweet about ‘thefts’ from Little Free Libraries – Bring Me The News. “The tweet, posted on Friday, sparked hundreds of responses, most of which point out that the whole idea behind Little Free Libraries is that the books are free, calling into question the notion of “thefts.” Hilarious.
      • Episode 6: The Post-Pandemic Workplace – Apples Podcast / Libraries Lead in the New Normal. “As the information infrastructure and services providers of communities, are there new, more permanent needs and demands to meet for businesses, workers, parents, and students? And, what about the library workforce? Will librarians and support staff also work in hybrid formats?”

    Local news by authority