Children’s libraries of all colours

Editorial

There’s been some negative trends in the last decade in oh so many ways but one of the things I’ve most appreciated is the increase in the presence of characters of colour in children’s books. Someone pointed out a few years ago that covers of books used to contain all white children, then animals and then only children of colour when they were essential to the plot. Nowadays it is common to see non-white children on book covers, no matter the story. Long may this, and the not-so-unrelated rise in the number of children’s author of colour, continue. And let’s hope some more positive trends come into play as well. More funding for Hackney would be nice,, for instance.

Local news by authority

National news

Compare with Norfolk equivalent below
  • Children’s authors of colour published in UK rose to 11.7% of market in 2021 – Guardian. “New research has found that 11.7% of children’s book creators published in the UK in 2021 were people of colour, up from 5.6% in 2017. Despite the big improvement, though, “the UK’s body of children’s literature overall remains far from representative” said Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, in the report’s introduction.”
  • Everyday Philosophy: Why we need libraries – New European. “Community libraries are different from these. They serve multiple purposes. They are, among other things, a democratic resource providing free access to information for all, including guided access to the internet for those who might otherwise be excluded. They have huge symbolic importance too, representing a commitment to the common good, and are staffed by experts who can help people from a wide range of backgrounds find what they are looking for, as well as services that they didn’t realise they might be able to use. Increasingly they are becoming refuges for the cold, vulnerable and homeless.”
  • In the spotlight with Darren Smart – Solus. Interview with Darren The Viking, BEM.
  • It’s ok to fail. Creating playful learning spaces in libraries – Artefacto. ” staff need to feel supported to deliver these innovative programs. There are resources out there to help them, and we’ve picked out a few below …”
  • Libraries and Sanctuary: Supporting Refugees and New Arrivals – Facet Publishing. “; learn from practical initiatives, ‘what works’ examples and longer case studies; identify gaps in library provision; and find inspiration to start similar initiatives in their own institution. Drawing on the author’s decades of work in libraries and social exclusion, this is a book for anyone seeking to create an inclusive and welcoming library community.”
  • Libraries at risk of cuts despite ‘unprecedented’ rise in users – BBC. “One is Gainsborough Community Library in Ipswich, which is selling cut-price bags of fruit and vegetables for £2 and has seen its sales almost double since the summer.” … “The charity [Libraries Connected] believes the chancellor’s announcement will lead to cuts in funding for libraries and other frontline services.”
  • Library Campaign Newsletter – Library Campaign. Topics include RNIB, Lewisham (proposed £90k cut), Peacehaven and Redditch consultations, Nottingham, Westminster, Libraryon, Government funding.
  • LILAC Bursaries – LILAC. “To have a truly engaging conference, we need delegates who bring a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. The LILAC conference is therefore offering 5 free places for people working in the following under-represented sectors/communities in the UK:”
  • PLR consultation 2022 – Library Data Blog. “I object to the proposed rate per loan increase. This is primarily due to it being incorrect, but also due to it being unsustainable.” … “n 1982, at the beginning of the PLR scheme, the rate per loan was 0.5p. If the rate had remained stable, accounting for inflation, it would now be about 2p per loan. It has steadily increased. This resulted in a peak of 11.26p last year, roughly 6 times what was initially proposed.”

International news

“We just are doing what public libraries do,” Cremer said. “We don’t really judge information, we are a reflection of the world and things that are in the world. We have information that has been published and mediated and checked for facts. So it’s a safe place that people can go to get access to that information. It’s not like we are handing out or advocating it in any way. It’s just there.”

Judith Cremer, the library director, Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library, Kansas

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Banff library to launch Dog Friendly Saturday sessions – Grampian Online. “Similar schemes have been successful in both Edinburgh and Perth and Kinross, and will be piloted in Banff and Stonehaven libraries for a six-month period. There are many benefits to making libraries dog friendly. It can help encourage people who are lonely, have low confidence or are isolated to come with their dog to the library and meet new people.”
  • Angus – Angus librarians to ballot on strike action – Angus World. “The ballot, which opens on November 30 – comes in response to changes approved by Angus councillors which could see some library staff have their hours cut and be required to relocate away from their home base. For the third time since 2015, staff in libraries and access services employed as Information Advisers by ANGUSAlive – an arm’s-length organisation set up by Angus Council to deliver leisure and culture services – are facing plans to cut their pay and/or terms and conditions. Angus Council met on Thursday, November 3 to approve ANGUSALive’s proposals which also included changes to opening hours of libraries across the council area.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Libraries bring Christmas cheer to the community – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “There will be a Lego Lab for free creative play, Christmas crafts and stories and another chance to enjoy the dedicated sensory space at Bath Central Library. A new Christmas chalet outside the Guildhall during Bath Christmas Market on December 5 and 6 will bring library services to the community and an opportunity to enjoy a spot of crafting. …”
  • BoltonTen public libraries used as ‘warm spaces’ for people seeking relief from cold homes – Manchester Evening News. “All 10 Bolton public libraries open as Warm Spaces, people can drop in to get warm and join in lots of free activities such as reading, group events or using wi-fi and computers.”
  • Bristol – Bristol Central Library could relocate to Debenhams’ site – BBC. “Bristol’s library service budget faces large cuts, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). Bristol Central Library could be moved into the vacant Debenhams’ store building in the centre of Broadmead to help, council leaders have suggested. Leaders said relocating from College Green was “just an idea” as the council attempts to find £47.7m in savings.”
  • Central Bedfordshire – Cost of Living: Central Bedfordshire Council opens sites as warm spaces – BBC. “libraries offered free Wi-Fi and access to public computers.”
  • Cheshire East – Cheshire East Council proud to become Sunflower Scheme employer during UK Disability History Month – Cheshire East Council. “customers and visitors will have access to one of these lanyards to borrow on site from our libraries and customer service centres.”
  • Devon – Tributes to leading light in town life – Tavistock Times Gazette. “Jan Horrell senior library supervisor at Tavistock Library, said: ‘Richard Martin was a long-time friend of the Library in Tavistock, in more recent years, the valued secretary and treasurer to the Friends of Tavistock Library, whose fundraising activities he supported with quiz questions, raffles and even dressing up.”
  • Hackney – Protests at Town Hall over Hackney plans to cut library staff – Easy London Lines. “With a third of library staff warned that they face redundancy, supporters of Hackney libraries protested outside theTown Hall on Wednesday night to put pressure on councillors to readdress the cuts.” … “99 staff members from libraries in Hackney have received letters from the Strategic Director Stephen Haynes notifying them that their jobs were “deleted”. UNISON puts the figure of cuts made by Hackney Council at £445,000, £195,000 more than initially proposed at the beginning of the year. As an MP, Abbott said she would consult with the councillors to not go forward with the cuts. “
  • Hertfordshire – Free cyber crime advice at Bishop’s Stortford Library – Bishop’s Stortford Independent. “Organised and delivered by officers from the force’s serious fraud and cyber unit, the sessions will provide practical tips for avoiding the most common types of cybercrimes.”
Compare with USA one above

“In the current economic climate, when we are promoting our libraries as warm spaces for people to spend time in to save money, we believe it is the ideal time to remove our library fines and offer a little extra help for people during these tough times.”

Councillor Sandra Graham, North Tyneside Council

Meeting some baser needs

Editorial

I wasn’t sure what to write in this week’s editorial – more on Warm Banks (or whatever we call them) perhaps or on the recent austerity-laden budget. But then I read something just below publishing about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It strikes me that libraries can meet all of these needs: self-actualisation (e.g. writing that novel, 3D printer), esteem (e.g. literacy, even owning a library card), social (e.g. knit and natter) and safety (neutral welcoming space). What went without saying until recently is that they provided warmth as well. But now that’s an actual selling point of libraries. And it seems to me that what level councils and library services aim for on the hierarchy is a pretty good indicator of how successful they are, and not just them, but for the society in which they a part of. In which case, it’s pretty low at the moment. But pretty essential too.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Cost of Living crisis: Libraries as warm banks – Dawn of the Unread. “By having multiple purposes, libraries are able to connect with communities that may otherwise not come into contact with books.” … “, the question of whether a library can be a focal point of the community seems to be the least important function at present. The current economic climate means the ambitions, at least in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, are purely physiological, to provide shelter and warmth.  “
  • Digital Leadership for Libraries empowering England’s public library workforce – CILIP. “five open-access, online learning modules created for public library workers, volunteers and apprentices. The modules are intended to create engagement with the principles and values of being a digital leader in the public libraries, unlocking the potential for all public library workers, and their services, to be confident digital leaders.”
  • Health on the High Street: The Role of Public Libraries – DCMS / Gov.uk. 215 people used ” M8 dual function automatic monitor (affectionally nicknamed FRED) which allows customers to accurately measure their height, weight, BMI, heart rate and blood pressure without supervision. They get a printout of the results and the data is also sent to their GP automatically if the customer consents to do so. The pilot was soft launched through local advertising via social media and by library staff and partners talking to their customers.”
  • Libraries vs. the Cost of Living Crisis – Book Riot. Free entertainment, easing financial pressure, warm banks. “While the fact that such a thing as a “warm bank” is necessary is a horrifying indictment of how bad things have become under austerity and late-stage capitalism, it’s reassuring that, once again, libraries are stepping up for their communities. “

International news

  • Iraq – Library Development in Iraq – Re-writing History – CILIP. 13 November, 5pm.
  • Ukraine – Forum on Building Partnership for Ukrainian libraries – Naple Sister Libraries. “Several hundred libraries were fully destroyed or damaged because of Russian missile attacks in Ukraine.
    To rebuild them it needs strong partnerships and ‘sisterships’ from the friendly libraries of Europe. That is why it is organized the Forum on 17 November 11.00-13.00 (Kyiv time) to present the situation of Ukrainian libraries and search for opportunities for cooperation.”
  • USA – They Want to Kill Libraries – Cory Doctorow. “Librarians are kind of upside-down cops: public employees who are stepping in wherever the rest of our services have failed. Cops are some of our highest-paid public servants and their salaries are going up. Librarians get by on a shoestring and their wages are being slashed. Progressives openly call for the police to be defunded — billionaire plutocrats hide their campaign to defund libraries behind groomer hoaxes.”

Local news by authority

Library ideas, impending doom and ACE funding

Editorial

One of the things I love about doing Public Libraries News is looking at what other library services are doing and wondering if it would work in my own. This week there’s a few things that I’m going to chase up when back in the office – BFI Replay, borrowing local theatre stars to do story-times and thermal cameras being the main ones. I’m not sure about the natural light lamps though or the idea of outsourcing to Capita which would then charge £8 per telephone call to a library, though.

In other news, one can’t help but notice the impending doom-laden clouds on the near horizon threatening deep budget cuts to councils next year. As if we’ve not been through enough. On the other end of the money scale, though, the week records a whole bunch of councils announcing Arts Council England funding. This is great but the fear must be that there’ll be an odd dichotomy between lovely arts events in councils announcing library closures. Although, of course, that’s assuming the Government doesn’t cut Arts Council England funding … you know, sometimes my pessimistic Welsh side really shows doesn’t it?

National news

  • About BFI Replay – BFI. “BFI Replay is a free streaming service exclusively available in UK public lending libraries. Thousands of digitised videos and television programmes from the BFI National Archive and partner UK regions and nations film archives are available to browse and enjoy, research or study – with some familiar and memorable, others rare and unseen for decades. If you are a UK lending library service and would be interested in knowing more about the service, use our enquiry form below.”
  • Bus and adult care services face cuts, English councils warn – BBC. “More than half suggested they were likely to look at reducing road maintenance, cuts to home-to-school transport, and changes to either the number or opening hours of libraries or recycling centres.”
  • Councils set to cut bus routes, libraries and streetlamps as austerity fears grow – Independent. “Only one in five county councils confident of avoiding bankruptcy next year” … ”
  • Ed Jewell elected new Libraries Connected President Elect – Libraries Connected. Chief Librarian at Jersey Public Library Service.
  • Libraries Connected celebrates after securing Arts Council England funding – Libraries Connected. £509k for two years initially. “Libraries Connected will have Investment Principle Support Organisation (IPSO) status, meaning we will support public library services to embed the Arts Council’s Investment Principles (Ambition & Quality, Dynamism, Environmental Responsibility and Inclusivity & Relevance) in their work”
  • Libraries Connected publishes new strategic plan – Libraries Connected. “a programme of collaborative research on the challenges and opportunities of the next decade” … public library service accreditation scheme, “Starting a public libraries data and evidence observatory”, “Launching an equality, diversity and inclusion learning and development programme for library services.”, “strategic advocacy programme”, “Establishing a commission on libraries and disadvantage to review the evidence on the role of public libraries in reducing social, environmental, financial and health inequalities”
  • McCulla Award – Local Studies Librarian of the Year – CILIP Local Studies Group. “The award is usually given for a recent major project, or as a lifetime award for someone near the end of their career. It comes with a prize of £250. Re-submissions from previous years are very welcome. “
  • Virtual hospital and GP appointments rolled out into libraries – STV. “Near Me rooms are now available in some GP surgeries and other locations such as libraries.””

International news

Local news by authority

Dorset – Time is running out to have your say – Dorset Council

LibraryOn

Editorial

So now we know. After far-too-long-a-time calling the proposed web presence for English public libraries “The Single Digital Presence”, it’s been decided that the official name will be “LibraryOn”, presumably pronounced like “Librarian”. Well, it could be worse, it could have the word “hub” in it. The logo looks a bit dated to my eyes but, again, there’s far worse out there. And, yes, Libraries Connected, I’m looking at you. So now all that needs doing is to, um, actually deliver. LibraryOn is still in the beta testing stage and does not promise to be as universal as some had hoped but it will be great when it’s actually online and publicly advertised. I had wondered sometimes if that day will ever come, and still do occasionally, but this is a vital next stop.

In other news, Arts Council England have announced big funding decisions, securing BookTrust and boosting library services such as Gloucestershire and York Explore. That’s all good. Elsewhere, I’m loving the pavement illusion in Dublin, a new wood-lined interior for a library in London and the adult reading scheme in Nottinghamshire (especially the video). And, finally, Warm Spaces continues to be a huge thing for libraries, with more services announced, although some just seem to be the normal public library offer.

Finally, a new DCMS report says positive things about public libraries. We will see what this means in practise but it at least doesn’t suggest negative stuff. And at a time when councils are again looking at deep cuts, this is welcome.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • BookTrust awarded £17.3m and recognised as National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England – Book Trust. “BookTrust’s new status as an NPO is an endorsement of the transformative power of reading and an investment in the creative development of young people. The £17.3m funding from ACE, spread over three years, will play a key part in the national strategy to deliver better outcomes for children through culture and creativity.”
  • East Lothian and Inverclyde libraries triumph at SLIC awards – Bookseller. “East Lothian scooped the Library Service Excellence Award for its activities on the theme of “championing the local community”.” … “Inverclyde triumphed in the Project of the Year category for its focus on sustainability ahead of and linked to the COP26 Summit in Glasgow last year. “
  • Government urged to negotiate with public sector workers over pay – Public Finance. ““We’ve got nurses, librarians and teaching assistants going to food banks – we’ve got a hospital that’s set one up for its staff. People can’t afford to feed their families. If I’d have said this would happen 10 years ago no-one would have believed me. That’s now a reality.””
  • Green Libraries Webinar – CILIP. Friday 25 November, 1pm. “The Green Libraries Webinar is an hour long meet to showcase the recent work we have published for the Partnership. We will discuss the Partnership’s aims, what work is currently going on and what has taken place earlier this year. We will hear from two libraries that were featured in our case studies and what work they are doing for their library services to be more sustainable and have an impact in their communities. There will be a short Q+A towards the end.”
  • Libraries Celebrating Black History Month – DCMS. “Each October, libraries across the country mark Black History Month through events and recommended reading.  Here are just a few examples.  It is a longer read than usual but we wanted to highlight the variety of activities libraries run to bring together their communities.”: Staffordshire, Gateshead, West Sussex.
  • Library chiefs call for DCMS to ‘stem the tide’ of service cuts – BookSeller. “Library chiefs have called for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to “stem the tide” of service closures and staff cuts by providing more support, with several libraries across the country under threat due to rising inflation and increased energy costs. Nick Poole, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), told The Bookseller the organisation is “deeply concerned about the current fresh wave of reductions in library services being proposed in a number of local authorities, including some of the most deprived wards in the UK”.”
Finally, a name for the Single Digital Presence
  • LibraryOn – LibraryOn. “LibraryOn is a not-for-profit initiative and we put libraries and library ethics at our heart. Funded by Arts Council England, LibraryOn is also managing a £1.1m local grant programme. Co-designed with library services, the grants will help libraries improve their own online presence. While LibraryOn is in development, we will provide information here about its progress.”
  • New drive to get books by black authors into libraries – Voice. “The ‘Mark My Words’ campaign will gift libraries titles for both adults and children and will include both fiction and non-fiction books by black authors. “
  • Parliamentary report calls for government to support and modernise libraries – Guardian. “Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee report says libraries are ‘an important part of a community’s infrastructure’” … “The report, titled Reimagining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda put together by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, recommends that the government should “support the development of a network of hubs providing cultural spaces, workspaces and free, fast internet access in places most in need of levelling up in order to modernise library service provision”
  • UK councils slashing services to meet £3.2bn budget shortfall – Guardian. Libraries specifically mentioned, with the example being the Wirral.
  • The Yorkshire libraries where you can borrow anything from power tools to party supplies – Great British Life. “this library lends everything from hand tools and powertools, to sewing machines, lawn mowers, carpet cleaners, ladders, party supplies, camping equipment and air mattresses — anything that people use infrequently (say once a month or longer) but would otherwise have to buy new and store at home.”

International news

Ireland
  • USA – Book banners are weaponizing legitimate resources: book censorship news, October 28, 2022 – Book Riot. “Part of the reason these book banning attempts are spreading so far and so quickly is because they share lists online, such as in Facebook groups or shared Google Drive folders, making it easy for a book being banned in Montana today to pop up in a California school board meeting the next day. They share images, rhetoric, out-of-content quotations, and other fodder for the fear machine, and it seems to only collect more targeted books as it goes.” … “Book banners are searching out lists online that are aimed at finding good sources to teach age-appropriate sex ed, or lists of books starring Black main characters, or lists of LGBTQ-friendly picture books, or lists of books to teach social-emotional learning — and they’re using these resources as book banning target practice.”

Warm Spaces

“They think they’re just having fun. That’s very important – children don’t need to know their parents are stressed”

Alexandra Mitchell, 28, on visiting Chelmsford Library

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Spread some Christmas cheer and Gift A Book – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Bath & North East Somerset Council’s libraries service is calling for donations of new or nearly new books for its Gift A Book campaign, which last Christmas saw around 3,500 books donated by residents and charities.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Council cannot confirm there will be no cuts to libraries – Argus. ““This indicated potential budget shortfalls of £13 million in the best case, to £21 million at the midpoint, up to £31 million in a worst-case scenario,” said Councillor Martin Osborne, on behalf of the council.”
  • Caerphilly – Popular ‘Managing Money’ event returns to Caerphilly library – Caerphilly Council. “The second Managing Money MOT Day run on November 30th, will include a wide selection of organisations including Caerphilly School Uniform Exchange, Citizen’s Advice, Furniture Revival and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and is looking to replicate its success from September.  There will also be a fantastic budget cooking demonstration with Mrs Shopland, who – along with her talented A-Level Hospitality students from St Martin’s School – will be showing what can be done with Christmas leftover food.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Northwich Library stabilisation work begins this week – Northwich and Winsford Guardian. “Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) has engaged historic building conservation specialist Recclesia Ltd to undertake the first phase of the work.  They will be working alongside structural engineers, specialist scaffolding engineers, Historic England and qualified health and safety advisors.”
  • Cumbria – Millom Community Hub opens with new library for town – ITV. “The Millom Community Hub will now host a library and the town’s adult learning, health and wellbeing team. Copeland Borough Council and Millom School reception will also be based in the hub. New technology and free Wi-Fi has been installed at the library, as well as shelving and a comfortable seating area. A dedicated space for teenagers and a children’s library is also part of the new hub.”
Devon
Hackney

“With soaring inflation and rising costs in fuel, energy, food and mortgages, Nottingham City Libraries have clubbed together to host ‘Cost of Living Cafes’ in their libraries this November. This will give residents the opportunity to meet organisations who can help with energy use, money matters, wellbeing and much more. Plus, tea and coffee will be available as well as children’s activities.”. Free tea and coffee, lego and colouring for children.

Nottingham – Cafes bring communities together in cost of living crisis Email update
  • Powys – Could your child design the new library card for Powys? – Powys Council. “The competition is open to anyone aged between 4 and 16years old and will be split into two age categories: primary school children (aged 4-11), and secondary school children (aged 11-16), with a prize for the winner of each category. One of the winning designs will be chosen to create the new library membership card.”
  • Shropshire – Library’s spooktacular success for Halloween – Shropshire Council. “A Halloween themed party at Market Drayton Library attracted more than 1,000 people through the doors to enjoy a host of seasonal activities – the biggest number ever. The annual Halloween event at the Shropshire Council-run library has gone strength to strength and more and more people are adding it to their social diaries. Hard-working staff and volunteers organised face-painting, games and crafts and a town trail to encourage people to get out and about and explore.”
Nottinghamshire – Adult Reading Scheme

Hack-ney

Editorial

A reasonably quiet week this week, with the only storm cloud being Hackney’s decision to cut £250k from its budget, resulting in protests.

Changes by local authority

National news

Free roadshows

International news

Warm banks

Local news by authority

Manchester
  • Staffordshire – Changes and improvements are on the cards for five Staffordshire libraries. – Express and Star. “Burton Library could have a “maker space” and improvements to its audience area for events if a funding bid proves successful, while Cannock’s facility may move to a new town centre “cultural hub” as part of regeneration plans boosted by a £20m Government Levelling Up windfall. To the north of the county another Levelling Up Fund application is being made and proposals include transforming the Nicholson Institute, which is home to Leek Library. Tamworth’s library building is set to welcome Staffordshire County Council staff currently based at Marmion House, And in Kidsgrove discussions are taking place with the Town Deal Board for the library to be involved in the Kidsgrove Shared Service Hub.”
  • Suffolk – Woodbridge Library launches new STEM books collection – East Anglian Daily Times. “Woodbridge Library will now have in its selection 50 books for 8–10-year-olds that cover the subjects of science, technology engineering and maths. The library hosted the free library science fun day that included Lego building challenge with prizes, marshmallow 3D shape-building, display and experiments by ‘It’s all Rocket Science’, as well as mega blok mayhem. “
  • Wandsworth – Holocaust-denying bishop holds hate services in London library – Jewish Chronicle. “The notorious Holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson has been conducting rabidly antisemitic “services” in a London library, the JC has discovered. The cleric, who is a founding member of a fringe Catholic movement called the Society of St Pius X Resistance, also has a YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers.” … “Earlsfield Library, where Williamson held his services for almost a decade, is owned by GLL, a charitable social enterprise. After being contacted by the JC, a spokesperson said the bishop’s comments were “disgraceful and unacceptable”. They added: “We have terminated all the group’s bookings with immediate effect.””
  • Wirral – Wirral library faces demolition amid £20m budget cuts – BBC. Higher Bebington – “A decision on the demolition has been postponed until the new year when other options will be presented at a committee meeting on 25 January.”
  • Worcestershire – Public consultation for Redditch Library relocation gets go ahead – Redditch Advertiser. “Residents will now get the chance to have their say on proposals to relocate the library from its current site into the Town Hall which will be transformed into a community hub.”

It’s getting warm in here

Editorial

Apologies for missing a week – these posts are done on Sundays and last weekend I was in South Wales when my father took a fall and so accompanied him to Accident and Emergency. From 5pm to 7am. Anyway, enough about me. Away from the pantomime revolving-door farce-tragedy that is the Prime Ministership where I am sure someone in Downing Street will sort out A&E queues any day now, in public libraries the main story has been Warm Spaces. What this means varies in different services, with some just publicising what libraries would be doing anyway while others are offering refreshments and advice and a very few extending their opening hours. This extra string to the library bow when arguing for a fair share of council funding may be coming just in time. After all, those severance packages and £115,000 per year payments afterwards to ex-Prime Ministers are beginning to mount up and someone has to pay. Let’s hope it’s not public library services.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Access – PMLG. Summer 2022 edition. Several interesting articles.
  • Being an Engaged Citizen – Facet Publishing. “John Vincent shares the importance of libraries in these trying times and how they can help us all become more engaged citizens.”
  • Blind and partially sighted library users (World Sight Day 2022) – DCMS Libraries. Review of RNIB services and link to public libraries. New “Library Engagement Manager”. “The RNIB is extremely excited to be setting up this partnership form of working with libraries and is working in partnership with Libraries Connected”
Scotland – Public LIbrary Strategy
  • More black books please – The Voice. “According to one poll, 38% black people were more likely to have visited a library between 2019 and 2020 in comparison to 30% their white counterparts. Despite these figures, many black parents say their local libraries are failing to have books that reflect the communities they serve. “
  • Reading Friends 2021-22: Reach and Impact – Reading Agency. “In 2021-22, 3,728 people were supported in 72 library authorities to connect 44,054 times. “
  • Stamford to Sutton (and beyond); visiting library branches across England – DCMS Libraries. Baroness Sanderson (independent chair of an advisory panel to help develop a new strategy for public libraries) visits libraries on fact-finding mission: Wimbledon (business co-working run by a CIC, independent recording studio), Yeovil (NHS health checks), Deepings (volunteers), Devon (library trust, 3D printers), Redbridge (co-location with gym, run by Culture Trust). Like books but libraries not “set in aspic”, “it was fantastic to visit Sutton Library for the launch, last Friday, of TLC Discover, the new digital library from The Libraries Consortium.”
  • Updates on the Single Digital Presence – British Library. Name decided on and will be shared soon. Research shows nice pictures, recognising library staff and listing what is free are important.

International news

Canada

Webinars

  • Better World Books UK Sustainability Webinar – Better World Books. Tuesday 1 November, 11am. “Better World Books aims to lead by example through our own environmental actions, and we would like to share with you some of the ways in which we strive to achieve this.”
  • Media literacy activities and resources for librarians – Guardian Foundation. Thursday 24 November, 2.15pm. “In this special session for librarians we will share structured activities that you can adapt and replicate with families and young people as well as ready-to-go individual resources and ideas. Join us to gain inspiration and exclusive resources to use in your library.”
  • #NotOurJob (Winspiration) – eradicating sexual harassment in libraries – CILIPS. Friday 25 November, 11am “The latest research that evidences the reality of sexual harassment in libraries, with even one incident being one too many. We’ll learn about your legal rights and the responsibilities of employers.”

Warm Spaces

  • Martin Lewis backs guide for libraries wanting to become winter ‘warm banks’ – Guardian. “… he commissioned the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) to create a guide titled A Warm Welcome, which sets out tips and guidance for libraries who want to offer themselves as warm banks. In the introduction, Lewis said he was “both saddened and gladdened to quickly hear from a few councils and libraries already planning” to become warm banks when he tweeted.”
  • Warm Spaces: Inside a hub amid the chill of energy bills – BBC. A look at one in a Cardiff Library. “Part of the reception desk has been set aside as the Warm Spaces base, with free hot and cold drinks on offer, which staff will make for anyone who wants one, notwithstanding the existence of the cafe just across the room.”
  • Libraries across England become designated Warm Spaces – GLL (press release). “65 libraries across England have been designated Warm Spaces by GLL …  food service company Brakes, has agreed to donate free tea, coffee and biscuits to all 65 locations.” … “All the participating libraries are also expanding their programmes of free onsite activities, which again will be open to anyone who wishes to visit.” … ” we have also invested in more comfortable seating”

Local news by authority

  • Manchester – Brand new children’s library to open in Manchester thanks to partnership with Z-arts – Manchester Council. “The new library occupies a dedicated space on the first floor of Z-arts and features a bright and colourful design that was co-created with children and their families, brought to life by talented designer and craftsperson, Louise Ryder.”
  • Monmouthshire – Library fines being scrapped in Monmouthshire – South Wales Argus. “The council said it is taking the decision to ensure money isn’t a barrier to people accessing the library service and says it will have no negative financial implications for the authority. According to a report, in the three years leading up to the Covid pandemic, Monmouthshire collected £21,498.96 in library fines – working out at around £7,000 a year. That was despite fines being capped at a maximum of £15 per item, with charges set at 20p for every day an item was overdue, or 10p a day, or £7.50 maximum, for pensioners, children and other concessions. However, the report says, as fines were mostly paid in cash, administrative and security costs associated with banking and collection marginally exceeded the income, so continuing with fines wasn’t considered viable.”
  • North Northamptonshire – Irchester Library set to open under community management – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Irchester Parish Council has signed the lease on the library property and volunteers will be taking on the running of the library.”
  • North Yorkshire – Starbeck and Bilton community libraries set for 10-year council deal – Stray Ferret. “The original leases of five years were introduced as the new model was unique and unproven. However, it has been a great success so we are proposing to introduce longer leases which will avoid costs around future renewals.””
  • Northern Ireland – Book Week: Hundreds of events held across Northern Ireland – BBC. “a number of special programmes will be aired on television and iPlayer featuring familiar faces from the BBC choosing their favourites books. Book Week encourages a conversation about reading and using libraries. Speakers at events include the Reverend Richard Coles, author Colin Bateman and Prof Teresa Cremin. The Connor Philips Show on BBC Radio Ulster will come live from Omagh library on Wednesday, which is Love Your Library Day. The interim director of BBC Northern Ireland, Adam Smyth, said: “Book Week is a celebration of the joy that reading and libraries can provide.”
  • North Somerset – Plans to secure future of Nailsea Library – North Somerset Council. 125 year lease. “The council is announcing plans to relocate the library to 6-8 Colliers Walk, formerly occupied by HSBC bank, and keep the facility in the town centre. The relocation is planned to take place before next summer.”
  • Peterborough – Libraries begin amnesty for overdue book fines – Peterborough Matters. “During this period there will be no fines and library accounts will be cleared of any debt to allow users to start borrowing again. The reason for this amnesty period is hope to collect some of the over 22,000 overdue library books on loan to residents across the city, as well as wanting members to start accessing library services again.”. Until Mid November, when fining customers will start again.
  • Portsmouth – People’s Network celebrates 20 years of connection – Portsmouth Council. “Free internet access has been available since the People’s Network launched in 2002 when a £283,000 lottery grant meant over 70 computers were installed in all nine Portsmouth libraries with ‘super-fast’ internet access. Currently, there are 116 public-use PCs across the libraries, with another 79 PCs at locations across the city, including The Learning Place, community centres and youth clubs. The library computers have been used for 1,053,570 minutes, in the last six months alone.”
  • Redbridge – Help us improve our library service by telling us what you think about our proposed opening hours – Redbridge Council. “Redbridge Council is inviting residents to give us their views on new opening hours for libraries across the borough. Feedback will inform final changes, which will take effect from January 2023. The new opening hours have been suggested based on current user data showing when libraries are at their busiest. “

“Pre-pandemic data shows our libraries are much quieter in the early mornings and the evenings. The proposals would provide consistency across the library network by opening all libraries at 10am. We also find that popularity often closely matches the opening times of nearby shops, where libraries are situated close to high streets and shopping areas. “

  • Richmond – Richmond celebrates Libraries Week with activities for all ages – SW Londoner. “Libraries Week also marked the launch of Richmond Library Service’s partnership with the London Ukulele Project where ukuleles will be available to loan from the library free of charge.”
  • St Helens – Approach to library closures was ill thought out – St Helens Star. Letter. “Council’s decision to review their intention to close several libraries within the borough and cancel the proposed closing date of October 31 will come as welcome news not only to library users but library staff whose jobs were presumably at some risk.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire libraries get behind teen reading programme – Shropshire Council.
  • Stoke on Trent – Grandma hits out at council after finding library shut – Stoke Sentinel. Council says people were consulted in opening libraries only every other Saturday. “The new library opened last month following the completion of the multi-million pound refurbishment of Tunstall Town Hall. It was open yesterday and for the rest of the year will open on October 22, November 5 and 19, and December 3 and 17. Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, said: “The new modern Tunstall Library is fully equipped to benefit all of our service users. Tunstall Library is open every other Saturday and also until 6pm one night a week to assist those in the community. Also, our other libraries are open on alternate weekends so there is always a library in the city that can be accessed on a Saturday.”
Suffolk – How our Men Can Talk social groups are helping men with their mental health and wellbeing – Suffolk Libraries

Not like the fly-by-night ministers we get nowadays

Editorial

Looks like a good week for public libraries with one service going fines-free, another opening, plus an increase in opening hours in a third. Oh, and we had a new libraries minister. Doesn’t really matter the name. He or she is unlikely to do anything but occasionally photograph themselves in a library and, if they’re lucky, he or she may do a talk (likely recorded) at the next Libraries Connected conference. He or she may be perfectly nice to meet socially but they will do very limited things, or nothing, for the sector other than to say how great it is, even if it faces huge reductions in funding. But oddly, I miss Ed Vaizey. Remember him? He was the libraries minister for around two hundred years back in the 2010s, back when cuts were really cuts. Not like the soft fly-by-night ministers these days. Oh yes, you could really develop a personal dislike for a libraries minister back in the old days.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Autism Friendly Libraries training – Dimensions, Libraries Connected and Ascel. 25 November, 10am, online. “understand how to make your library autism friendly and share your questions with our expert panel.”
  • Dear Libraries Minister… – Nick Poole. Lists what new minister needs to know: UK libraries are world-class libraries, have a young and diverse audience, are a perfect platform for local participation and wellbeing, digitalised, help businesses, have books.

“Our biggest challenge is that after more than a decade of reductions in Local Government spending, we are seeing the emergence of a two-tier library service in which richer areas are maintaining or developing their libraries where less well-funded areas cannot.”

Nick Poole, CILIP
  • Green Libraries Wales Small Grant Fund 2022 – CILIP. “The Green Libraries Wales Small Grant Fund will support small-scale exploratory programmes, activities and knowledge-sharing within libraries in Wales seeking to improve overall understanding and take actions to demonstrate Environmental Responsibility. CILIP Cymru Wales, via its Kathleen Cooks Fund is offering a £5,000 grant fund for library services in Wales to support environmental activity in libraries. “
  • In a bind- UK libraries as contested spaces of crime, care, and culture – University of Southampton. Survey. “aims to fill a research gap in this area only previously documented outside the UK and will address research questions on incidence and nature of disorder, involvement of public libraries in assisting with social needs and retaining library users.”
  • The Librarians’ Virtual Toolkit 2022: Back Together with Readers – West Midland Readers Network. 10 November 2pm, online. ” Here we discuss a variety of reader engagement projects, sharing ideas and examples to provide practical advice and to inspire. We look at different reading group models, from the traditional to working with those living with dementia, and the support of Read Aloud groups. We’ll discuss marketing direct to readers via a variety of interesting and creative routes. We’ll also be premiering a film that focuses on titles by disabled writers and reaching readers.”
  • Libraries Connected Strategic Plan Launch – Libraries Connected. 3 November, 2pm, online. ” We’ll outline our action themes for the coming years, highlight some key projects and share our vision for the future of public libraries. “
  • Moves to improve library data reliability after CIPFA survey receives responses from just 60% – BookSeller. CIPFA estimated overall figures due to two-fifths of library services not responding to its requests. CILIP says “The problem with CIPFA is that the data provided by libraries is not openly available for everyone to re-use, which means that it is of limited value – even to library services themselves. In recent years, we have seen CIPFA publish analyses of this data that do not reflect the experience or understanding of the library profession, but we can’t challenge or contextualise it because we can’t access the data.” “
  • Sean McNamara: ‘We need our public libraries now more than ever’ – Yahoo News. “How does a society truly “level up”? A good place to start is by ensuring its communities can access services they not only want but often rely on, like the network of more than 500 public libraries across Scotland and the many brilliant school libraries with wonderful, skilled staff supporting them.”
  • StoryTrails, the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project, drives library visits to pre-pandemic levels – Reading Agency. “The libraries StoryTrails visited this summer have reported exceptionally high footfall, with many authorities experiencing visitor numbers not seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the high percentage of new visitors reported during the two-day event, 67% of people said they thought they were now more likely to visit the library as a result of experiencing StoryTrails. The public will have ongoing access to StoryTrails and can continue to experience the technology used in the project.”

International news

  • Finland – Helsinki’s most stunning libraries – My Helsinki. “Helsinki has nearly 40 public libraries and numerous scholarly libraries. These safe havens of civilisation offer food for the soul also for architecture and history enthusiasts. Here we present our six most beautiful libraries.”
  • USA – Book challenges surge as public libraries become latest political battleground – Grand Rapids. ““There have been censorship issues forever. We’re not surprised; It’s not something new,” Mikula said. “It’s just the volume of these attempted efforts and the extremist rhetoric that’s going with them is unprecedented to us. We have never seen this many books challenged, and I think that that’s something that we really have to look at.””
    • It’s About (Danged) Time: Lizzo at the Library – Library of Congress. ” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden saw that the one and only Lizzo was coming to D.C. for a concert. The pop megastar is a classically trained flutist. The Library has the world’s largest flute collection. Taking to Twitter, the Librarian played matchmaker, tagging Lizzo in a tweet about the world-class flutes. “Like your song,” she tweeted, “they are ‘Good as hell.’ ” One of about 1,700 flutes in the collection, she teased, is the crystal flute made for President James Madison by Claude Laurent — a priceless instrument that Dolley Madison rescued from the White House in April 1814 as the British entered Washington, DC during the War of 1812.. Might she want to drop by and play a few bars?”

Local news by authority

  • Camden – Libraries and other services may have to be fought for again – Camden New Journal. “At Primrose Hill, fundraising drives have helped pay for a professional librarian and hundreds of thousands of pounds of pledges have been secured from supporters to keep it going. The library is now open longer hours than it was before.” … “More local authority cuts will be coming down the line if Liz Truss’s economic pork pie fails to grow as planned. Whatever Kwasi Kwarteng says now, how else are they going to pay for all these tax cuts?”
  • CardiffWarm spaces to be created in Cardiff libraries and hubs to help people struggling to pay heating bills – Wales Online. “for a free hot drink and to take advantage of the heating without having to worry about the cost of switching it on at home. The warm spaces will also serve as a chance to have a chat with staff about the other support services the hub can provide. “
  • Denbighshire – Fines become a thing of the past at Denbighshire’s libraries – Rhyl Journal. “Getting rid of our fines system is definitely the way forward. “It’s an old and dated system and is perceived as being a significant barrier to library use. “This has an impact on people being able to access free resources and facilities to support their literacy, learning, skills and wellbeing. Now that services have returned to normality following COVID, it’s given us a great opportunity to rebuild the physical in-person library offer and encourage people to visit and use their local library and its wide range of services. Fines are very much a thing of the past and people can return books without any fear or worry, especially in the current climate around costs of living.”
  • Devon – Come in from the cold in our county libraries – Teignmouth Today. “Some will host sessions with advice about energy efficiency, debt advice and other topics”
Doncaster
  • Leeds – Leeds school boy raises money to buy new books for the local library he loves – Leeds Council. ““When the library closed during the lockdown, I was upset but I knew that it would open again, so I had the idea to raise money to buy some new books for other children to enjoy. I raised £150 by reading my favourite books online in return for donations, and Leeds Libraries doubled this. I got to choose all the new books, and I picked the sorts of books that my classmates would enjoy, such as Roald Dahl, Harry Potter and Horrible Histories.””
  • Lincolnshire Popular Lincolnshire library extends opening hours – GLL (press release). Opening hours extended by 4 hours per week (now 25 hours in total) due to staffing reorganisation.
  • Manchester – Manchester libraries: Children’s card design winners revealed – BBC. “Winners Harshavardhan, Man and Diyar came through from 500 entries and will see their designs on library cards.”
  • North Somerset – Revamped Clevedon Library opening “cause for celebration” – North Somerset Council. “Clevedon Library will reopen next week, 30 years after its original opening, following a 16-week temporary closure to allow refurbishment to take place. ” … “Extended access allows customers to browse, borrow books and use the computers from 8am to 8pm every day of the week, when there are no staff on site. “. Funding was from Libraries Improvement Fund: new meeting room, self-service, toilets.
  • North Yorkshire – Chance to win iPad with North Yorkshire libraries – Gazette and Herald. “During October, all eBook borrowers will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad, donated by the eBook supplier, BorrowBox. This giveaway will coincide with Get Online Week – a show case of the digital offering at NYCC libraries running from October 17 to 23.”
  • Nottingham – Nottingham council apologises to Julie Bindel for unlawfully cancelling talk – Guardian. “A city council has apologised to veteran feminist and lesbian activist Julie Bindel after cancelling a talk because of “the speaker’s views on transgender rights”.” at library. “The council has now said the decision to cancel the talk was unlawful and has agreed to make a payment to the author, to Nottingham Women for Change and to ticket holders in respect of their “reasonable losses” due to the cancellation of the event.”
Kirklees
  • St Helens – Campaigners hope library can stay open after council U-turn – St Helens Star. “The council says it took legal advice after the request to challenge the decision was made. The Star understands that Michael Imperato, of Watkins & Gunn, had made the challenge after being instructed by campaigners. This was due to a view that the decision made by the council in July was challengeable and that a proper assessment had not been made on the impact of individual library closures on individual communities and vulnerable groups.”
  • SheffieldLibraries closing, jobs lost and bins collected once a month – ‘Doomsday’ money troubles could leave Sheffield with major cuts – Yorkshire Live. “Sheffield City Council is facing a potential ‘Doomsday scenario’ as vital services are set to be hit by a predicted £18 million in cuts, says a leading councillor. Options being looked at include monthly bin collections, closing waste recycling centres, closing more libraries or asking volunteers to take over, moving staff out of Moorfoot to cheaper offices or even making redundancies.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire Local Mobile service to move indoors over winter – Whitchurch Herald. “Shropshire Local aims to help those in more rural areas, where access to some services and support from the council can be more difficult for some people. Although the service hits the open road in the summer months, it has returned to town libraries this week with dates now confirmed until the end of the year.”
  • Shropshire libraries buck trend to celebrate rise in visitors – Shropshire Star. ” people in Shropshire are turning out for their libraries, having increased their library visits by 60 per cent since this time last year.” … “”In terms of overall visitor numbers we’re not quite back to where we were pre-Covid but we’re heading strongly in the right direction.”
  • Staffordshire – Campaign launches to help people with cost of living pressures – Staffordshire Council. “Staffordshire libraries have also teamed up with Morrison’s supermarket  and Lakeland Dairies in a project to offer people a free hot drink when they visit the library.  As well as serving the hot brews, staff and volunteers at Perton, Burton, Leek, Newcastle, Stafford, Lichfield and Cannock libraries will be taking the opportunity to let people know about the range of services, activities and support available in their library.” … “The Pre-Loved School Uniform Market is another project run by the libraries service that is helping families with school age children.  The project, available in Cannock and Stafford allows families to pick up items of school clothing to help support them with their children’s school uniform needs. The markets stocks school trousers, skirts, shirts, ties and branded school sweatshirts for all ages.  People can find out more at their local library.”

Alienating times

Editorial

It’s Libraries Week so there’s a lot going on in libraries, although far less than there was a few years ago when it was started more as a protest against library cuts than a celebration of the sector. Those cuts may not be a thing of the past as talks from the Prime Minister suggests a willingness to consider cuts to the public sector in order to pay for tax cuts to business and the wealthy, but nothing is confirmed as yet. Finally on the subject of cuts, St Helens, which announced they were planning to close seven libraries, has backtracked perhaps only temporarily due to a backlash. Other councils meanwhile are utilising their libraries as warm spaces if people find it difficult to heat their homes. Finally, the culture war over gender still hasn’t blown over, with Hertfordshire being criticised for daring to have an alien as a pro-reading mascot. One activist criticised the decision that the alien should be described as “they/them” while the library service pointed out in return that it’s, well, an alien.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Culture Minister unveils new funding to support Scottish libraries – National. “Culture Minister Neil Gray unveiled the £450,000 funding package, as part of the 2022/23 Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF), on Wednesday while visiting Rutherglen Library.”
  • Dozens of libraries in England and Wales may become “warm banks” for people who need shelter. – Literary Hub. “There’s no shortage of reasons to love libraries, and here’s another: a new survey from the UK shows a significant number of them are planning to serve as “warm banks” this winter for people who need to take shelter from the cold.” … “Libraries shouldn’t have to do this. (Who am I to say all this? Just someone who loves the library.) Still, when they do—and they inevitably will, because these problems aren’t going anywhere anytime soon—they deserve what we all do: the time, financial resources, and supportive climate to do their excellent work, serving everyone who walks through the door.”
  • Libraries to offer shelter to the vulnerable during UK’s cost of living crisis – Guardian. “Libraries in England and Wales are responding to the cost of living crisis by abolishing daily late fees for books and getting ready to become “warm banks” to help the vulnerable this winter.”
  • Libraries – working in partnership with heritage and archives – Libraries Connected. Webinar, 6 October, 2pm. “A webinar that will explore how heritage and archives can deliver against all the universal offers and support the work of libraries beyond culture and creativity.”
  • Little Wartime Library – CILIP PMLG. Free “with Kate Thompson author of The Little Wartime Library. The event will be a pre-recorded zoom interview with Kate featuring illustrations, chat and soundbites, with 15 minutes for a live Q&A .”
  • Please Miss, there’s an elephant in the Library – CILIP ILIG. Zoom, 26 October. Sri Lankan librarian explains what she did when an elephant walked into the library. “She explains how she overcame prejudice and obtained funding for the School in the Sky. “
  • Reading Friends impact overview 2021-22 – Reading Friends. “Read about the difference Reading Friends has made, working with public libraries in 2021-22. This is an overview ahead of the full impact report.”

International news

Lizzo
  • Australia – Pop-Up Libraries Are Helping Melbourne Move on From Lockdowns – Bloomberg UK. “Small pop-up libraries have taken over abandoned shops in areas that were aching for some love following the crippling impact of six lockdowns over 19 months. Where a mens’ retailer once stood in the boutique clothing and cafe mecca of Little Collins Street, changing rooms have been transformed into cozy mirrored reading booths.” … “While the success of the library project — about 40,000 people have visited them since the program’s launch at the end of last year — isn’t solely enough to revive the center, the council is betting that it’s a sign of a comeback.”
  • Canada – Libraries play important role in promoting democracy – Toronto Star. “Another important part of a healthy democracy is access to unbiased information to help people engage and make informed decisions. Toronto Public Library, like public libraries everywhere, continues to support a vibrant democracy by supporting civic engagement and providing access to information.”
  • Canada/USA – Aging in (Third) Place with Public Libraries – Public Libraries (PDF). “We are excited by the
    possibilities a movement from library as third place to library as social infrastructure facilitates”
  • Ireland – Fingal reactivates libraries’ Twitter account after Green Party complaint – Sunday Times. “The council temporarily suspended the account last Wednesday after a councillor complained it was following prominent people with known gender-critical views. The account was following the bestselling author JK Rowling, the barrister Allison Bailey, Maya Forstater, a British business and international development researcher and Genspect, an international alliance seeking care for gender-distressed young people, which says it has concerns about the “gender affirmative” approach.”
  • USA – The strain of censorship on public libraries – 1A. “What future do public libraries and library workers have in this climate of unprecedented censorship? And what role do larger, out-of-state libraries play in combatting it?”

Local news by authority

  • Blackburn With Darwen – Children’s festival, in aim of improving UK’s literacy levels, is back for 2022 – Yahoo News. “The festival director, and founder and patron of Blackburn with Darwen Libraries said: “We are all so excited about meeting the children ‘in person’ once again. “We ran a complete virtual festival in 2020 which was a great success, reaching over 3000 children and families but nothing can replace the interaction of meeting in person.”
  • Bracknell Forest – Borrow a tablet from your local library – Bracknell Forest Council. “Bracknell Forest Libraries are introducing a tablet loan scheme to boost digital inclusion in the borough.”
  • Bradford – Getting creative to transform Keighley Library – Keighley News. Arts Council England funded project. “”Keighley Library is one of the pilots for our new service model which sees us tailoring each library to the needs of the communities served. We have been working closely with the communities of Keighley to find out what they really want to be happening, both creatively and culturally, in their library.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Lots on offer for Libraries Week – Brighton and Hove Council. Stencilling, webinar on OED, and various other events.
  • Buckinghamshire –  ‘Dismayed at proposed library cuts’ – Bucks Free Press / Letters. “Last week I saw a notice informing the public that the authorities propose removing all hard copies of all the magazines and newspapers from all the libraries. Yes, that means all hard copies of your paper The Bucks Free Press will be cancelled too.  I thought you and your readers would like to know.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Cheshire West libraries to become ‘Warm Hubs’ as crisis worsens – The Standard. “”Libraries have always provided a safe space and warm welcome to our communities. We know how much people are already struggling with rising prices across the board, and this network of warm hubs is just a part of our response.”
    • ‘Significant’ renovation needed to save treasured Cheshire library – Cheshire Live. “Structural investigations are being carried out at the premises with more in-depth inspections to take place in the coming weeks. New scaffolding will be put up to stabilise the building in preparation for a full refurbishment of the building. Cheshire West and Chester Council is working to identify a temporary home for library services and events. A decision on the location will be made in October.”
  • Derby – Normanton library celebrates with a week of events – Derby Council. “Normanton library is holding a series of events to celebrate its diverse offering and service beyond books.”
  • Devon – Libraries open their doors to support local residents this winter – Devon Council. “Libraries across Devon and Torbay will provide warm welcoming spaces, where people are welcome to join and spend time in the library, and to use the free WiFi and computers if they wish to. There are many free events and groups that people can attend, and some libraries will be hosting sessions providing help and advice about energy efficiency, debt advice and other topical subjects.”
    • Pop up library on Exeter High Street – Exeter Council. “The former GAP store has been transformed into an art studio in which local sculptor James Lake is creating a life-size cardboard tree. The piece will take around six weeks to finish – from Tuesday 20 September to Monday 30 October – and will eventually be installed in Barnstaple Library. While the sculpture is being created, the shop has become an interactive public space, and passers-by are being invited to watch James at work and take part in a variety of drop-in workshops and exhibitions. There is also a pop-up high street library for people to sign up to the library, browse and borrow books.”
  • Dorset – Future of Dorset’s libraries up for discussion again – BBC News. “Dorset Council is seeking opinions from users following its first review into libraries earlier in the year. That received more than 7,500 responses and found support for libraries to become “family hubs” – places of work or somewhere to seek advice – as well as a venue to borrow books. The latest consultation runs until 22 December.”
    • Dorset libraries cut emissions to save £40,000 a year – Dorset Echo. “The measures – that range from highly efficient LED lighting to advanced building management systems – form part of the council’s response to the climate and ecological emergency and are expected to save over £40,000 a year in electricity and gas costs and reduce annual energy use by more than 275,000 kilo-watt hours (which is over a quarter of the energy used last year across all 15 sites).”
  • East Renfrewshire – East Renfrewshire libraries host Halloween costumes and welly swaps – Barrhead News. “East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure libraries will be hosting two “swaps”, one for wellies and one for Halloween costumes, as part of The Root Cause project which launched earlier this year.”
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Nottinghamshire
Sheffield – Lord Mayor launches Big Read in partnership with Sheffield Libraries

A decisive end to austerity but what about public libraries?

Editorial

The massive spending combined with tax cuts in last week’s not-a-budget and energy subsidies definitively marks a huge break between Truss and previous Conservative leaders. However, none of the money spent is primarily for public services and the huge increase in government debt it implies means that there will be fewer pounds available for public libraries in the future. Indeed, even if Labour get into power in two years time then such debt severely limits their options too. On the other hand, the sustained cuts to public libraries since 2010 and the increased expectations places upon them (such as the recent “warm bank” scheme) also means that it’s hard to see how the Government could seek to balance the books by further reductions to the sector. So it’s hard to see what the future holds but I suspect it doesn’t mean as rosy an investment as that recently given to the highest paid.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Content ideas & inspiration for your library newsletter – Artefacto. “Newsletters are a fantastic option for marketing and communicating directly with your users. But it also means competing with a lot of other email noise to get people’s attention. Our inboxes are busy. Creating engaging content, from the subject onwards, makes a big difference in establishing a connection with your audience, and that’s what all of our examples have in common. They tend to have a particular focus or theme… “
  • Cost-of-living crisis: how libraries plan to support the vulnerable this winter – Libraries Connected. “A snapshot survey of over 50 library leaders, carried out by Libraries Connected this month, revealed that nearly 60% are actively considering taking part in a “warm bank” scheme, with many hoping to provide additional support such as hot drinks and advice on managing bills. Almost half (47%) plan to work with local partners such as churches, charities and community groups to support the vulnerable. Only 4% of library leaders expect to receive any extra funding for this activity, however. That makes it uncertain if, or for how long, they will be able to provide it” see also ‘Warm bank’ libraries call for extra funds – LocalGov. “Library services have warned that without additional funding they will struggle to cope with the extra demand of people looking for somewhere warm to spend time in this winter.”
  • Green Libraries Events – CILIP. “Events and activities under the Green Libraries Partnership and wider sector events on sustainability and climate action.”
  • Save the Dates for our 2022 Reading Partners Roadshows – Reading Agency. “The virtual roadshows are an opportunity for library, prison and education sectors to hear from our publishing partners about their latest titles, meet authors, and have the chance to ask questions about promotional opportunities”
  • Update on the Single Digital Presence – British Library. Extra people taken on, with more vacancies being advertised. The actual name of the SDP is now down to a shortlist.

Public Library People – NAG needs you!

Would you be interested in helping guide the direction of travel for NAG? Contributing to the discussion around how we can best serve our Membership and grow the organisation? Our Executive Committee is split into groups to ensure even representation of the membership and this year we will have vacancies in the groups for Public Libraries, Commercial Members and Special Libraries. If you work in one of those sectors, we would be delighted to hear from you. We are particularly keen to get more public library representation on the NAG Exec Committee; please do get in touch if you’re considering it and you would like more information on any aspect of the role.

We are restructuring our sub groups and teams for 2022/23 so it will be an exciting time to be involved. Our plan is that sub groups will have more autonomy to plan and organise then report back to our full Executive Committee leading to more flexibility and shorter full Exec meetings. In general, most subgroup and Exec meetings are virtual to enable greater participation. Full Exec meetings are usually on Mondays via Zoom. For physical events and meetings we offer full travel expenses to help enable our Exec members to attend. If even the cost of NAG Membership is a barrier for your organisation, we would be happy to offer discounted or even free membership in exchange for your time serving on Exec, especially for public library people. Our AGM date for 2022/23 is 7th October in central London. Do save the date if you’re interested in joining us.

Best wishes. Jennie and the NAG Exec Team

Email from National Acquisitions Group nag.office@nag.org.uk
  • Volunteering in Public Libraries – 10 years update – Northumbria University Newcastle. Survey. “This research aims to investigate how volunteers are being used in English public libraries building on previous doctoral research undertaken in 2012 to understand how things have changed over the past decade of austerity measures and local authority budget reductions. “
  • Webinar: Libraries in partnership with heritage and archives – Libraries Connected. “This webinar will explore how heritage and archives can deliver against all the universal offers and support the work of libraries beyond culture and creativity. “
  • Winners of the Our Year, Our Card competition announced – Literacy Trust. “Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries are very happy to announce our winners of the Our Year, Our Card library card design competition. Our Year aims to put children at the centre of life in Manchester as we continue the recovery from Covid, and the competition gives them a chance to submit their own artwork and highlight their abilities.”

International news

USA – Libraries & Bookstores Advocate For Importance Of Banned & Challenged Books
  • USA – Pandemic stresses increasing burnout among librarians – UWM Report. ” The new expectations put on libraries during the pandemic increased the burnout rate among librarians, a profession that already suffers from high rates of mental illness,”… “Librarians were treated like frontline workers without being labelled as such, Phillips said. They were expected to be at work a month after everything shut down in 2020. During the pandemic, libraries have provided masks and COVID-19 tests as well as books and enrichment activities.”

“The battle to protect democracy is a global struggle playing out at the local level, and libraries have landed on the front lines. These are places that help people to understand the wider world and move beyond their political and social bubbles. At a time when democratic norms are under sustained attack in the US and around the world, the need for openness to new ideas is greater than ever. “

Blomberg UK

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Tell us what young children need from library services in B&NES – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Parents and carers of children aged zero to 11 are being invited to have their say on what they want from library and information services in Bath and North East Somerset in a survey launched today”
  • BoltonFirst look at how central library will look after spectacular £3.7million revamp – Manchester Evening News. “Spectacular images have been released of how Bolton central library is set to look after a £3.7M refurbishment. Bolton Council has revealed the concept images of the new building, which will be closed for the next 12 months as work progresses.” … “The council said book borrowing and promoting reading remains a core priority of the library, however the refurbishment will help to change how communities use libraries, such as taking part in creative activities, accessing the internet and using digital equipment.”… Children’s library divided into three: “The first section will be for under 5s with a dedicated area for play and exploration. The second and third spaces will be for older children and young people to develop their experience and joy of reading.”

“Cllr John Cottee (Con), portfolio holder for communities, also believed the ‘warm rooms’ scheme was not required because it’s “already provided” through the county’s network of 60 libraries. He said: “We already have these, but we don’t happen to call them ‘warm rooms’ because this would imply it’s their only purpose.”

Nottinghamshire

“By removing fines we are sending a clear message that we want everyone to feel confident using their library, whether they are borrowing a book, joining in one of our social or activity sessions, or just want somewhere to sit and relax without having to spend money. “

Reading

And, wow, there’s books in them too

Editorial

The last week has basically been a period of mourning for the Queen, with most, but not all, public libraries closed for the funeral on Monday. So not much news apart from that Martin Lewis has commissioned CILIP to create guidance on how best to set up warm banks. The speed with which the public libraries sector (notably Libraries Connected and CILIP) have seized on the warm banks idea is really impressive and is having instant political benefits. Council are realising that libraries – buildings with heating and, crucially, staffing already in place in local communities – are perfect for this sort of thing. This has taken the pressure off, and indeed added potential funding streams, to many public libraries which otherwise would be worried about the reduction in usage many have experienced compared to before lockdown. And, wow, there’s books in them too.

National news

  • Drag queen called ‘groomer’ by vile protesters says anti-royal arrests expose a double standard – Pink News. “A drag queen who faced death threats from far-right protesters says it’s “insulting” to see police arrest anti-royal demonstrators when they did nothing to protect her.” … “Aida says one officer told her people are only arrested for breaching the peace “as a last resort”.” … “For Aida H Dee, the arrests prove something she’s suspected for a long time: “It’s one rule for us, another rule for them.””
  • Nosy Crow to Launch U.S. Company – Publishers Weekly. ““Of course, the North American market is bigger,” Wilson said, “and there is a more lively and better-funded institutional market in the U.S. In the U.K, libraries are lamentably underfunded. “
  • The Power of Pictures: the illustrations that inspired our new Writer in Residence Nick Sharratt – Book Trust. “, these are some pictures that really resonated with me as I was growing up. The memory of them is precious to me for numerous reasons. Were there pictures in the books you looked at that have the same kind of power for you?  I bet there were. And isn’t it important that all children have the opportunity to develop their own picture-linked memories like ours?”

International news

  • Global – A monthly newsletter to explore all the magical facets of libraries – Of Course, Libraries. Free newsletter including “Stories about uncovered sides of public libraries; Interviews, opinions and facts; Inspiring projects and future trends; Thought-provoking things to read, listen, watch”
  • Iran – Public libraries and crisis management: Iranian public libraries and the dust crisis – Sage Journals. “The findings show that public libraries can take on educational, cultural, executive, and informative roles in the pre-crisis stage, executive and informative roles in the during-crisis stage, and executive and documentation roles in the post-crisis stage.”
  • USA – Book ban efforts surging in 2022, library association says – Independent. ““I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.”
    • Banned Books Week Censors Dissent – Catholic Vote. “Banned Books Week has become a thinly veiled propaganda campaign. Ironically, in fact, it’s a campaign that is itself very much in the spirit of censorship, and demonizes Americans who dissent from Leftist dogma.” but ” parents simply want input on what books go on their schools’ shelves” … “The ALA expects parents and patrons to either celebrate progressive ideology or stay home. But every American taxpayer has a right to inhabit the public square and bring his or her convictions to the debate floor.”
  • Huntsville residents push back after city removes ‘Read With Pride’ display from public library – Houston Public Media. “We are ashamed of and concerned by the fact that any city leader or employee would be involved in censoring a book display or the books themselves without due process and hearing from all sides on the matter,” Huntsville Texas Pride said in its statement. “The library is a place for everyone and one or two individuals should not and cannot be allowed to dictate what can or can’t be done in a public space based on their own beliefs or prejudices.”
    • Librarians go radical as new woke policies take over: experts – New York Post. “Libraries, for decades the ultimate safe spaces, have become ground zero in the ongoing culture wars, with battles over banned books, drag queen story hours and free access to porn raging all over the country … “The average person has no idea of this but librarians have been targeting children in recent years and trying to turn them into political activists,”
    • Library exhibit shows ‘glimpse of humanity’ in lost items in books – SBS. “Over a period of 10 years, a team of librarians has been collecting little items found in returned library books. There are now more 350 items which are being featured in a physical and online collection.”
    • US libraries face ‘unprecedented’ efforts to ban books on race and gender themes – Guardian. “The challenges came from conservative parent groups and others. In some cases, the group says, librarians and elected officials were threatened with violence by members of the Proud Boys and armed activists at school board and library board meetings.”

Local news by authority