Consultation in Bradford and transfer delay in Hertfordshire

Editorial

Purdah, that strangely colonial term for councils not being political during an election campaign, is kicking in but there are a few things still happening in library-land.

Two local stories. The first is that Hertfordshire are having to postpone the transfer of their library service to a mutual because of how complicated it is. Something that needs bearing in mind with those wanting to transfer their service out of direct council control is the complexity. Think of it as a mini-Brexit but, thankfully, without Farage. Unless you’re doing it really wrong. Secondly, Bradford are finally consulting on the deep cuts it is proposing for its library service which has already resulted in strike action. Bradford’s entry on this website chronicling the last ten years is a long and terrible one and to add this injury on top is horrible. I hope the people of the city let them know how bad.

Finally, Libraries are starting to be mentioned in articles concerning the General Election, notably of course in the Guardian – ever the official newspaper of public services – but also a smattering in the local press too. While this is very much a one-issue election, it would be good to see some more mentions so politicians are reminded of how important the service is.

Changes by local authority

National news

Are English libraries serious about fighting ‘fake news’? – Mechanical Dolphin. “Are public libraries’ collections supposed to be free from pernicious items of “fake news”? It seems unlikely. Does librarians’ training immunise them from fakery? Not always.” … “Public libraries are proud of the relatively high degree of community trust which they enjoy. They recognise the need to play a role in the turbulent information ecoystem of today’s digital world, even if they haven’t fully defined or enacted that role yet.”

The leave-voting seat where the library matters as much as Brexit – Guardian. “Some observers might view the fight over the library as a proxy for the underlying factors that have been linked to Brexit: years of cuts, a sense that people have lost control over their own lives, and a pervading belief that places far from London have been forgotten. But in Darlington, it did not feel like part of a sweeping national story. Instead, a campaign ostensibly about a library became a focus for other long-held concerns about the direction of the town.”

A Welsh library bus left to rot in a back garden has had an amazing makeover – Wales Online. “A Welsh 1960s library bus which had been left in a garden to rot for almost 40 years has been restored to its former glory. The Aberdare Public Library bus, which dates back to 1961, had been parked up in the back garden of house in Aberaman since 1981. ”

Medici

International news

  • Finland – How Helsinki Built ‘Book Heaven’ – CityLab. “In a country that boasts one of the world’s highest literacy rates, the arrival of the new central library in Helsinki last year was a kind of moon-landing-like moment of national bonding.” … “Patrons can even borrow season tickets for the Helsinki’s popular professional basketball games. Only on the topmost level—in a soaring, light-filled space Laitio calls “book heaven”—will one find actual volumes for readers, a 100,000-book collection that’s in very high demand.”
  • Global – IoT Technologies in Libraries – Princh. “The Internet of Things (IoT), a recent shift in technology that libraries’ and library staff should be familiar with as it may help improve the services, resources and experience that libraries’ can provide. In this week’s post Barbi Gardiner, an IT librarian, social media manager and founder of Library Tech talk, discusses all things IoT and libraries.
  • USA – Public libraries generate social capital that can save lives – OCLC. “Libraries don’t provide food, water, electricity, or medical services. In many cases, libraries had suffered the same catastrophic losses as their neighbors; staff had perished or been injured, buildings completely destroyed or unusable, resources gutted. Why, then, did people so quickly turn to libraries after a disaster? Because of social capital.”
    • Library deploys drone to probe mystery of hidden anti-Trump books – Independent. “Someone has been hiding books lately – specifically, those that explore politics through a progressive lens or criticise president Donald Trump. They wind up misfiled in out-of-the-way corners where readers will be sure not to find them. “I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds,” the mystery book relocator wrote in a note left for Ms Ammon, the library director, in the facility’s comment box. “Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.”
    • Why Libraries Have a Public Spirit That Most Museums Lack – Hyperallegenic. “I’ve been reading about the roots of both institutions in the United States, and they have evolved in similar ways; so how do they diverge? And is this divergence relevant to the ways in which a stunningly broad swath of society feels welcome within a public library and not a museum?”

Local news by authority

Three national campaigns

Editorial

Good to see three new, but very different, national campaigns for libraries. The first is the VoteLibraries campaign by LibrariesDeliver which aims to raise the profile of libraries in time for the general election. The second is the library aspect of the 100 Novels That Shaped the World BBC series. Finally, the poet laureate Simon Armitage, has announced a ten year campaign to visit a library for every letter of the alphabet from A to Z. This should make for some very creative entries towards the end. Hmm, does Zennor have a library?

Changes by authority

Ideas

National news

  • BBC panel reveal the 100 novels that have shaped their world – Reading Agency. “We are excited to be working with BBC Arts and Libraries Connected on their year-long celebration of literature, as an expert panel reveal the 100 English language titles that have shaped their world. From January until the culmination of festival during Libraries Week in October 2020, resources will be available for readers and reading groups around the 100 novels, divided into ten categories. These resources will provide information about the chosen themes, questions to spark discussion and further suggestions to widen your reading. “
  • The Economic Case for Supporting Libraries – Book Riot.
  • CILIP pushes for library support in election campaign – BookSeller. “VoteLibraries.uk, library supporters across the UK can sign a “#VoteLibraries” pledge, download social media elements, posters and campaign materials to use in their local area, and email their local candidates to encourage them to show their support. It is part of Libraries Deliver, an advocacy project from CILIP with the EveryLibrary Institute and follows on from research published last month, “Public Libraries: The case for support”, highlighting the positive impact of libraries and calling for investment.
    • Campaigners want you to vote for libraries in this general election – Big Issue.
    • Vote Libraries – Libraries Deliver. “Do you #LoveLibraries? Show your support for your libraries this December with our #VoteLibraries toolkit. We’ve made it easy for you to help spread the word using the resources below. The more of us that commit to voting for libraries, the more power we’ll have in the fight to keep them open.”
  • Head of Engagement (Adults) – Reading Agency. Max £42k, London based. “The Reading Agency is looking for an experienced strategic manager, to shape and lead an exciting new phase of its work with adult readers, particularly those less confident readers aged 16 and above.”
  • Libraries Taskforce: six-monthly progress report (April to September 2019) – Gov.uk. A summary of what is going on nationally in the sector including: ACE; LibrariesDeliver; DCMS digital access; data; building the case for public libraries; national guidelines on subjects like volunteer libraries, outsourcing libraries, benchmarking; peer reviews; skills strategy; leadership fund; innovation and BAME networks; BIPC Network; continued work on the single digital presence; living knowledge network; universal offer review; etc.

Medici (YouTube)More information on this service is available via this (sponsored) link.

  • NAG Public Libraries Forum Manchester – National Acquisitions Group. 20 November. “NAG Forum events are informal discussion days with a range of lightning talks and longer papers with plenty of time for group discussion following each presentation. Feedback from previous forum events has confirmed that the opportunity to network with other professionals from across the country is the most valued part of the day. The events provide a friendly, supportive atmosphere where people feel confident they can speak freely amongst their peers.”
  • Ten year library tour for Poet Laureate Simon Armitage – BookSeller. “Over a week in each spring for the next decade, Armitage will give readings in libraries across the UK, in a tour  supported by the T S Eliot Estate and his long-time publishers Faber & Faber. Using the alphabet as a guide, his Laureate’s Library Tour will involve local communities, poets and students at each stop on the journey, to celebrate libraries. ”
    • The Laureate’s Library Tour – Simon Armitage. “So, if your library’s name or location begins with the letters A or B, do get in touch if you would like him to help celebrate your library during the A-B Libraries Tour in 2020. This will take place during the week Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20 inclusive. “

International news

Local news by authority

  • Bristol Librarians are left stunned after book was returned 42 years past its due date – with £10 and an apology – Mail. “A library book has been returned 42 years late along with two £5 notes and an apology. The children’s title was taken out from a library in Henleaze, Bristol before Christmas in 1976 and was due back on January 5, 1977. But it was never returned and began racking up overdue fines – while missing for a staggering 15,644 days.”
  • Bromley – Plans to relocate Beckenham Library met with opposition – News in Beckenham. “More than 2,000 local residents have strongly opposed plans by the council to move Beckenham Library from its current location by the Spa Leisure Centre to Beckenham Public Hall in an effort to make way for new housing. Labour councillor for Clock House ward, Ian Dunn, set up a petition opposing the move which was signed by more than 1,000 people in just 24 hours. Bromley Council estimate that 46 housing units could be accommodated on the site with “no net loss of the surrounding green space” and it is anticipated that the development would consist of 50% affordable housing. However, it is unclear whether there will be any social housing made available as part of the move. “
  • Cornwall – St Just Library has been devolved to town council – Falmouth Packet. “Under the agreement the library transferred to the town council on Friday after alterations were completed. The changeover will also include the relocation of the town council office into part of the library building in January so visitors will have access to a range of services in one place. Completed improvement work included re-roofing the central flat roof, replacing the entrance porch, remodelling the library space and creating new office space for the town council. ”
  • Devon – Library offers books and much more – Tavistock Today. A look at Okehampton Library. “Wren is just starting out on Book Track, a popular scheme at the library in which children are challenged to work towards reading 100 books, with incentives of badges and a £5 book token from the Friends of Okehampton Library on completion.”
  • Inverclyde – Comic creators hone their skills in special library sessions – Greenock Telegraph. “The new comic club is called Splash Panel and it’s open to 11 to 15-year-olds. Paul Bristow, of local heritage group Magic Torch, is leading the project. Paul, a digital storyteller in residence at the library, says interest in the group is high.”
  • Lambeth – New library scheme to lend smart clothes to jobseekers for interviews – The Extra Mile. “To support our local community, ihateironing has been in collaboration with the Brixton Library, to help unemployed residents and ex-offenders look and feel their best for their job interviews. We have been cleaning and donating formal attire for them to wear, which we hope may contribute to a life-changing moment for someone in need.”

“It’s as easy as borrowing a book. Just show us confirmation of your job interview, and the outfit is yours for up to four days. Then, when you’ve landed your dream, pop back in to drop the clothes off, and give someone else the chance to change their life too.”

  • Lancashire – Lancashire libraries invest in digital for the futureLancashire County Council. “Starting in November and continuing during the next few months the rollout of over 500 new public access computers with the latest Windows 10 software will be installed in some libraries to replace the current equipment, whilst the remainder will have their software upgraded.”
  • North Lanarkshire – Monklands libraries to start closing earlier on two weekdays – Daily Record. “Airdrie and Coatbridge libraries will be closing two hours earlier on Mondays and Wednesdays from later this month. It follows a public consultation during the summer, asking users to choose when the current hours of opening until 7pm four days per week should be retained and which two evenings should be cut as part of a savings package.”
  • North Yorkshire – Pick up a free comic at the library – North Yorkshire County Council. “The giveaway is in conjunction with Thought Bubble, the Yorkshire Comic Art Festival, which this year is taking place in Harrogate for the first time, with a two-day event at Harrogate Convention Centre on Saturday and Sunday (9 and 10 November).”
  • Northern Ireland – Tackle the winter blues in your library – Banbridge Leader. “Libraries NI is inviting all members of the community to come and relax in front of a light therapy box, designed to help ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is now in place in Banbridge and Rathfriland libraries.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Retford library to close next month ahead of major refurbishment works – Worksop Guardian. “The library will close on Saturday, December 4, to undergo a total transformation which is expected to be complete in spring 2020. Nottinghamshire County Council, its cultural charity Inspire, and contractor ARC Partnership plan to make the library more visible and accessible to the local community.”
  • Rochdale – Read all about it as free library scheme launches – Rochdale News. “All four and five-year-olds will receive a free card, which can be used to borrow books at the borough’s 17 libraries”
  • Somerset Late Library Hangouts – Somerset Libraries. “Libraries in West Somerset now offer a regular ‘after hours’ club where you can sit in comfort, meet with friends, blitz that homework or just relax”
  • Suffolk – Changing the library narrative – Libraries Connected. “As real incomes, statutory services and community-based support are reduced, these events, activities and experiences have become increasingly important, even as libraries suffer from the same spending cuts. Talking about how we provide social value through statistics and real-life examples of socio-recreation will help us change the library story. “

2018/19 Visits = c. 5000,000 ; Loans = 586,767
2017/18 Visits = 592.313  ;  Loans = 645,118
2012/13 Visits = 1,091484  ;   Loans = 1,070,181
2007/08  Visits = 1.008.071  ; Loans = 982,04

Swindon – Usage statistics, sent in via Shirley Burnham.

  • Wrexham – Have your say on the future of Wrexham’s libraries – The Leader. “Wrexham Council is inviting anyone who has not yet put their views forward to have their say – either via an online consultation survey or at one of the forthcoming roadshows where questions can be asked to council officers. So far the authority’s roadshows – held at the public libraries and other community venues, have seen more than 350 people attend. Andrew Atkinson, lead member for libraries, said: “Wrexham Council is facing its toughest financial challenges in living memory and we have some difficult decisions to make. “

Derbyshire design in a barrier to the customer

Editorial

Derbyshire Libraries have telephones. Their numbers are clearly visible on their webpages. And, despite the best efforts of the council, most of them still have staff in them to answer the telephones. They also have computers which allow staff to renew books. Simple. But, from now on, if you phone one of these libraries, you won’t be able to renew a book. Because the council doesn’t want you to and is deliberately putting a barrier in your way. For those without online access and easy transportation, this is going to stop them renewing books – for no good reason other than The Council Says No. Let us be clear. This is the opposite of good customer service. It is designed-in bad customer service and whoever is responsible for this move should be ashamed of themselves.

This is the most ridiculous result so far I have seen of Digital By Default in libraries, where the user is pushed to using the computer because its cheaper. But in this case it is not even that: there’s no extra cost involved. The staff are there, the phone is there, the computer is there, the renewal facility is there. This is just ridiculous and if any other service is thinking following Derbyshire’s example, remember what your actual purpose is in your job … and don’t.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Artist Commission, New Words Project, Time to Read, North West Reader Development Partnership – Time To Read North West / Arts Council England. “New Words is a new 18-month project, supported by Arts Council England, to promote and develop relationships between independent publishers and libraries in the North West, broadening reading experiences for existing readers, and developing new readers to libraries and publishers.”
  • Author Ben Holden launches podcast to support libraries – BookSeller. “Author Ben Holden will host a new podcast which celebrates libraries and indie bookshops, and aims to campaign against library cuts, with Jacqueline Wilson, Melvyn Bragg and Val McDermid among the interviewees. Ex Libris will launch on 6th November and will see Holden in conversation with Ken Follett in his childhood library Canton Library, Cardiff, with senior librarian Rhian Jones.”
  • Cowbridge pupil picks up library award for his story – Glamorgan Gem. “Children from across Wales took part in the competition launched by Welsh Libraries in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society during Dementia Action Week in May, to pen a short story on the theme of memories in no more than 480 words, 480 being the number of people being diagnosed with dementia each day in the UK. “
  • How my local library changed my life – Penguin. “Here Jojo Moyes, Jacqueline Wilson and 11 other Penguin authors share memories of their local libraries. Together they make a powerful case for why we should fight to protect them.”
  • Love for library after romantic fiction award nod – Worcester News. “The library has been shortlisted in the Library of the Year category at this year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Industry Awards. They will now be looking to win over the hearts and minds of the judges, as they face love rivals Harrogate Library, Kingswinford Library and Jersey Library, who are all also swooning for the prize. “
  • Statement on the government’s Social Prescribing Academy launch – Libraries Connected. “There are over 3000 public libraries in the UK and many of these are already working closely with local social prescribers. Libraries are within reach of most communities and offer a warm welcome for all without judgement…”
  • Streaming: Kanopy, the film service for library users – Guardian. “Any free streaming options, then, are more welcome than ever, and a new one is slowly making inroads into the UK via the most venerable no-cost entertainment service of them all: the public library system. It’s been 11 years since video streaming service Kanopy was founded in Australia, initially as an educational resource for university students, before extending to public library users across the country. It offers a selection of more than 15,000 films, shorts, documentaries and educational videos to be digitally “checked out” on a standard library card, whereupon they’re available for home viewing for three days.”
  • Supporting Libraries, Supporting our Future: towards a blueprint for a collaborative support infrastructure in England – Carnegie UK Trust. “Our hope at CUKT is that this report will provide a starting point for a blueprint for a collaborative support infrastructure that bridges national organisations and local public library services, cements joint working and is successful in securing a sustainable national network of public libraries for the benefit of future generations”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Barnsley – Library @ the Lightbox, Barnsley – Designing Libraries. “The new ultra-modern facility offers users access to over 20 PC’s, digital learning and coding clubs. Students can relax and spend valuable time in the study area with plenty of PC and desk access and comfortable seating. There is an events room, a quiet room for autism sufferers to use when they need a quiet space, away from the busy library. The Children’s Library is bursting with colour and has many items of interactive furniture for little ones to climb, hide and perch to read their favourite books.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – New community library opens in Peasedown following 18 months of work – Bath Echo. “The library will be run by more than 20 volunteers at St John’s Community Hall and will be open for 12 hours a week, stocked with 700 books for locals to enjoy.”
    • New investment proposed for Bath Central Library – Bath and North East Somerset Council Newsroom. “t follows a review of plans for the library under the council’s Modern Libraries Programme, which in 2017 had proposed the Podium as the site for a central Bath integrated Library and One Stop Shop. Last year the £3m scheme was paused pending a review due to challenging budget pressures. A budget report before the council’s cabinet, which meets on Thursday November 7, says the council’s Capital Programme will be adjusted as a result to remove the £3m allocated to the scheme.” But councillors will be recommended to consider a smaller capital investment proposal, as part of the council’s capital budget for the next financial year, which would fund work to refresh the library.
  • Bracknell Forest – Take a step into the Bracknell Forest of make-believe and celebrate literature – Bracknell News. “Stories are being brought to life this week with a series of unique and vibrant author talks, workshops, dance and poetry as part of Bracknell Forest Library’s first ever literary festival.”
  • Bradford – Local government round up: Fight at Bradford libraries escalates – Socialist Worker.
    • Celebrating reading challenge success – Ilkley Gazette. “3,200 children took part in the challenge during the six week summer holidays. An out-of-this-world 54 per cent managed to complete the challenge which meant reading six or more books.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Blacon Adventure Playground to stage free Halloween party for children – Cheshire Live. “Under-eights will be able to enjoy scary stories with the Cheshire West and Chester Libraries team”
  • Derbyshire – Library users will need to renew books online or in person from November – Derbyshire County Council. “Derbyshire library-users are being asked to renew their books online or in person at a branch from Friday 1 November 2019, rather than ring Call Derbyshire.” … ““Library staff will be pleased to help people who are unsure what to do.””
  • Doncaster – Doncaster’s new library and museum is the tops – Doncaster Council. ““We are raising the bar with this new central library and museum. It will be a first class facility, offering a range of modern services for our residents. We want to encourage local people to aim for the stars and inspire them to learn about Doncaster’s rich and varied heritage. Libraries empower and enable all our citizens to learn and gain knowledge; libraries give us power individually and collectively. ” Expected to open Summer 2020.
  • Flintshire – More support needed for Mancot Library – The Leader. “Sue Dylan, volunteer at Mancot Community Library’ is asking residents to attend the upcoming events and raise funds for the cause. She said: “We don’t get any funding. All of the fundraising events we hold, helps to pay to keep us going so that will go on electricity and gas.”
  • HackneyHackney home visit library service: “Books bring the outside in” – East London Lines. “The first question is always – what does it cost? It’s free,” said Mo Dixon, a Community Library Service officer. Dixon is talking about Hackney Home Visit Library Service – a scheme that lends around 12,750 books a year to over 700 people aged between nine and 102 on a daily basis, to individuals, residential homes, day centres, nurseries and hospitals.”
  • Kingston Upon Thames – Kingston Library prevented from opening by ‘Ethelred’ the squirrel – Sutton and Croydon Guardian. “Staff at the library announced the news on Twitter after revealing that “wildlife” had prevented the library from opening on time Saturday morning. “
  • Lambeth – New library scheme to lend smart clothes to jobseekers for interviews – Belfast Telegraph. “The service is being set up at Brixton Library in south London and will lend outfits free of charge to anyone who has a job interview or entrepreneurs heading to meetings with potential investors.”
    • Lambeth library events for November 2019 celebrate one hundred years of free public libraries – Brixton Buzz. “We are about to celebrate two big anniversaries in Public libraries. One hundred years ago the Government passed The Public Libraries Act 1919, reforming the old legislation to remove the ‘penny on the rates’ system and paving the way for the Public Library service in Britain to become a truly national, free service for all. Twenty-five years ago in 1994 UNESCO ratified its international Public Library Manifesto, laying out 12 key missions which put information, literacy, education and culture at the core of public library services worldwide.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Edwinstowe Library, Nottinghamshire – Designing Libraries. “Not only is the library the wonderful, fresh, relaxing space envisaged, but the number of new users is double what they were for the same period in the previous two years, children’s issues have increased by 41% and there has been an increase in visits by 20%.”
  • St Helens – 6 Hallowe’en events coming to St Helens – St Helens Star.
  • Solihull – Poet pens Ode for Solihull to mark Libraries Week – Birmingham Live. “A top performance poet was recently enlisted to pen a poem which paid tribute to Solihull’s rich history – with those very verses debuted as part of Libraries Week.
  • Swindon – Special report: Libraries are a ‘treasure house’ – Swindon Advertiser. “The five core libraries – Swindon Central, North Swindon, West Swindon, Park and Highworth – together bring in over 500,000 visits per year. And more books are being taken out than people visiting the locations – 586,767 loans to the 519,922 attendees. This doesn’t include the nine community libraries run by parishes and trusts which makes up Swindon’s 14.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Launch of Wales’ first tablet loan scheme – Barry GEM. “The Vale of Glamorgan Council is supporting the project, with hopes it will help tackle social isolation and improve digital literacy, particularly amongst the elderly, disabled, those on low income or those living in rural areas.”
  • WarwickshireRugby and Leamington libraries to host events to introduce ‘self-help’ gadget website – Courier. “Called AskSara, the easy-to-use website helps improve people’s access to a range of ‘self-help’ smart technology and associated services in Warwickshire – from automatic pill dispensers to reminder clocks, personal alarms and general equipment to help make daily activities easier – so they can stay well for longer”
  • West Berkshire – Increased number of library volunteers essential to keeping service running – Newbury Today. “The number of people volunteering at West Berkshire libraries has risen as the service faced its first full year with depleted staff. The 47 library staff were supported by 322 volunteers, who contributed 12,035 hours between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. The number of volunteers increased by 13 per cent – 283 to 322 – and volunteer hours also increased by 18 per cent, 10,147 to 12,035. Having to reduce its budget by £19m in 2016 through a reduction in government funding, the council looked at closing eight of the district’s nine libraries.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire mark Scottish Book Week with series of free events – Daily Record.
  • WiganWigan man wins National Lottery award for unique library concert scheme – Wigan Today. “Get It Loud in Libraries founder, Stewart Parsons, 53, was awarded one of only 12 prestigious awards in the whole of the UK. To celebrate his accolade, Stuart joined a host of stars from the world of stage and screen at the glittering 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards show which was filmed for BBC One at BBC Television Centre in London and will be aired on Tuesday November 19.”
  • Wiltshire – Failing to return library books lands Wiltshire man with hefty court bill – This is Wiltshire. “Swindon magistrates heard Christopher Taylor had failed to return 11 volumes withdrawn from Calne public library in February. Taylor, of The Rise, acted as guarantor for his children – who had checked out the eight books and two tomes on Second World War history. They should have been returned by February 25 and March 11. When they did not materialise librarians sent out reminder letters then notices warning Mr Taylor he could face prosecution if the books were not returned.”
  • WorcestershireHalloween-themed craft activities taking place at Hagley Library – Bromsgrove Standard. “Coun Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said: “There are lots of activities happening at libraries across the county to keep things creative and imaginative this half term. Our library teams have done a wonderful job in making sure things are suitably spooky.”. Similar report also for Droitwich Library including a Monster Ball.
  • York – York libraries to share buildings with other organisations – York Press. “City of York Council outlined plans to invest £4 million in Clifton and Acomb libraries – as well as proposals to bring other community organisations into some of the city’s standalone library buildings. Speaking at a meeting, Andy Laslett from the council said: “I think it’s important to recognise that, with a national picture of reducing resources going into libraries, York has a commitment that there will be no reduction in the number of staffed libraries.”

Bradford strike, Warrington good news, CILIP and campaigners, and Libraries Connected.

Editorial

The hypocritical approach of Bradford council in trying to be recognised as a City of Culture while cutting its libraries and museums is being met by strike action and a fair bit of media coverage. Also gaining attention, although for happier reasons is Warrington – recently having gone through pretty tough times itself – which has led a rather impressive “food for fines” campaign on top of promoting other good things.

While the time of the Library Campaigners meeting from CILIP – 2pm on a work day – has not attracted many admirers, it marks another move by the professional association to be more of an activist organisations, also notable is the Change Lives move. However, those who know the old Libraries Change Lives awards will not miss it isn’t taking place this year.

The blog post by Isobel Hunter of libraries Connected in Princh (how odd that a library supply company is one of the chief websites for library thought pieces) updates us on the policy and views of chief library officers, as does the slightly less positive but very knowledgeable piece in the Library Data Blog.

National news

  • Culture Minister tells MP – Libraries have the answer – Edinburgh Reporter. “Ian Murray Labour MP for Edinburgh South asked The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport a written question recently and has shared the answer. He wanted to know what assessment the Minister had made of the potential benefits to (a) partially sighted and (b) blind people of (i) e-readers and (ii) other digital reading materials; and what steps her Department is taking to increase access to those materials. He tabled the written question on 16 October 2019 and has just received a written response. …”
  • Dear Gavin Williamson, how strange that prisons have to have a library but schools do not – Guardian. Michael Rosen: “One of the curiosities of life is that schools are not obliged to have libraries, but prisons are. Step one, then, is to make it compulsory for schools, too. This has to be backed up withstep two: ringfenced money to support schools’ libraries, along with the hiring and training of librarians.”
  • Delivering A Sustainable Future For UK Libraries – Princh. “In this week’s post Princh guest writer Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive from Libraries Connected discusses delivering a sustainable future for UK libraries … we also recognise that local authorities are working in times of unprecedented challenge and are struggling to manage huge financial reductions across all service areas … We believe firmly that we’re not here to keep libraries as they are, or to revert to what they were, but that our role is to help them to evolve to meet the current needs of their communities.”

“If we manage to pull all this off, it will mean a more sustainable framework for libraries; a team to support each library service to not only survive change, but to develop to its best potential; a stronger and more diverse leadership; and a clear definition for public libraries with a tool to define what this means in each locality.”

Isobel Hunter, Libraries Connected
  • Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives – CILIP. “Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives” is CILIP’s commitment on behalf of librarians, information and knowledge professionals to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. It outlines our plan to become an ‘activist’ organisation, through proactive advocacy and the promotion of inclusive, participatory and socially-engaged knowledge and information services.” … “We will be consulting on each of the six priority areas through a combination of workshops, surveys and interviews. Register your interest in participating in this consultation by completing this form.”
  • Library Campaigners Meeting – CILIP. London 5 November, 2pm. “The purpose of this meeting is to provide a platform for CILIP and campaigners to engage with each other, share concerns and ideas and set out how we want to work together for the good of libraries and library users in the future. The meeting is open to anyone who wishes to attend and participate, whether or not they are a current CILIP member.” … “Please register to let us know how you will be attending, especially if you wish to attend online so that we can send you the webinar details.”
  • Members of the British Library Advisory Council – Cabinet Office. “The British Library wishes to appoint four members to its Advisory Council, which provides advice, insights and suggestions to the Library’s leadership. Applications are sought from candidates with expertise in a relevant field such as: collaborative (post-graduate) academic research, data sciences, life and physical sciences, education, culture, publishing, business and commerce, entrepreneurship, libraries, or the creation and management of knowledge.”
  • OverDrive Founder Steve Potash speaks at House of Lords event in support of UK public libraries – Rakuten Overdrive. “OverDrive is proud to be the sole corporate sponsor of this important new report from CILIP and The Big Issue,” he said. “OverDrive is dedicated to ‘A world enlightened by reading,’ and works every day to aid the essential mission of libraries and librarians to promote literacy, education and digital skills. We urge politicians to get behind this Case for Support to secure the long-term future of this critical sector.”
  • A public library data strategy – Library Data Blog. Very little about data in recent Libraries Connected report, with chief library officers concerned that they would not see any local benefit in providing data, even though it provides national benefit. “This is a misrepresentation of how essential common data standards are. But it is also understandable. The desperation of public libraries has led to a situation where the only good outcomes are seen as those that bring in more funding, with other benefits being ignored.”

International news

Local news by authority


You’ll miss it if it goes

CILIP had a busy week last week. It launched the “Public Libraries: The Case for Support” document in partnership with The Big Issue in parliament. It’s full of good stuff. It is also working with Libraries Connected on a new accreditation framework. It also helped out on some good work on school libraries last week as well as helping to lobby for more money from government, which cannot have hurt the £250 million partly for libraries announced the week before.

It’s not perfect though. The professional association also had its AGM last week, where the member proposal “that CILIP undertake a full review of their “Employer Partner” scheme in light of ethical concerns raised by members, including consultation with members over the design of the scheme, and how employer partners are selected and approved.” was passed. This tied in with unhappiness about CILIP accepting GLL, currently in dispute with library workers in Bromley, as a partner.

My view is that while CILIP may not please everyone – and I suspect nothing realistic would appreciate a number of those who criticise it, especially on social media from what I have seen – but it is the only professional association that librarians have so one should support it for the good things it does, and genuinely help to improve it where it needs improving. There are so few public library CILIP members left (just 12% of its total in January 2019) that it’s amazing that it does so much in the sector. Criticising it is easy, and in some cases necessary, but I can’t help but thinking that we’re all going to miss if it ever goes and we discover that we’re left with, basically, no other organisation ultimately independent of government or unions arguing the cause of the sector.

Otherwise, it’s been a generally normal week, with the normal mix of good and bad (nasty for Hampshire though) with only the absurd claim by York – that moving numerous other organisations into libraries would “turbocharge” them – standing out. This disconnect with library reality is normally indicative of a council that’s having financial difficulty and is trying to put a brave face on it but, if so, this is some of the most extreme propaganda for cuts in a library I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Advocating for our profession – CILIP. Lists, well, what CILIP is doing to advocate for librarians.
  • Author Jojo Moyes Is Giving Away Mini Libraries and Copies of Her New Novel The Giver of Stars – People. “”Libraries are one of the few resources where people can be sheltered, educated and entertained without having to pay, and it pains me that they are under such threat” … ““I was built in a library. My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up, so the weekly visit to the local library was a key part of my education, and my love of reading,” “
  • BBC winds down its in-house VR production team – Yahoo News. “For the next year, the British public will also have the chance to experience the broadcaster’s work thanks to a cross-country tour of the UK’s public libraries. However, with only one last production in the pipeline, it’s safe to say the BBC is ready to move on.”
  • Inside Britain’s best libraries – Spectator. Includes only one public library, the Library of Birmingham. “I’d be happy to pay 90 per cent tax just to clear these noisy little people out of libraries on week days, so I can have peace to write ironically about a cold society full of indifferent adults that no longer cares about them. Obviously, I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek. But I can’t lie and say that, while trying to get some work done in my local library, the thought of banning anyone who makes a noise did cross my mind.”
  • It’s great to see bodies in libraries once again, but only if they keep it quiet – Daily Record.
  • Libraries Connected to consult on new accreditation framework for libraries – Libraries Connected. “Libraries Connected has secured a grant of £128,456 from Arts Council England and will work closely with them and CILIP to develop the new framework. This is part of an overall programme of sector development outlined in the recent libraries blueprint report. Delivered collaboratively by Libraries Connected, CILIP and the Arts Council, this programme includes joint projects to update the Public Libraries Skills Strategy and to help drive diversity in library leadership.”
  • MPs and Peers call for a national ‘Public Library Improvement Fund’ to build stronger, smarter communities – Politics. “The Libraries APPG is calling for long-term sustainable funding in public libraries, asking Parliamentarians to invest £50 million per year, creating more opportunities for communities accross the UK. “

“Libraries are evolving and innovating, but to do so they need sustainable long-term financial support to maintain their premises, update their digital infrastructure and retain professional staff. That is why, through the Libraries APPG, we are calling on fellow Parliamentarians to support proposals for a new investment of up to £50m per year over the lifetime of the next Parliament to create a national Public Library Improvement Fund – ensuring that the library renaissance reaches every community across the UK. We are excited about the possibilities that our new public libraries can offer for communities everywhere.”

Gill Furness MP
  • Report: Public Libraries, The Case for Support – Libraries Deliver. “At a Parliamentary event at the House of Lords today, The Big Issue and Library Champion Bobby Seagull will join forces with CILIP, the UK library association, to make the case for long-term sustainable funding for libraries. The event, which will be attended by Members of Parliament, Member of the House of Lords and senior Civil Servants, will focus on the launch of two new campaign documents:
    • A new joint CILIP/The Big Issue report Public Libraries: The Case for Support, which brings together for the first time the best currently-available evidence of the positive impact of libraries on their users, communities, locality and local economy, alongside stories from library users about their experiences and;
    • A new 10-point Manifesto for Libraries, produced by Library Champion Bobby Seagull and CILIP, setting out the call for Government to recognise the wider value of libraries and librarians in areas such as health, education, business and policymaking.
  • Public Libraries – our new report shows urgent need to boost funding – Big Issue. “Let us count some of the ways libraries enrich our lives: Libraries are places of learning. They offer a quiet, safe space of study when home is too crowded or chaotic. Libraries are an intellectual hub at the heart of thriving communities and provide respite from social isolation. Libraries also offer internet access for those who are not online at home, they help entrepreneurs and students and connect people from marginalised communities. This much we know. But when Lord John Bird and Gill Furniss MP (former librarian and now head of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries) met with the government to ask for more support for libraries in the UK, they were met with a demand: show us the data”
  • A sticking plaster policy – ArtsProfessional. “with local authority funding for culture now more than £236m lower than in 2010, and museums alone having lost £109m in annual funding over the past decade, the Government’s promise of £250m for culture over the next five years will at best put a sticking plaster on a patient with a life-threatening injury. The fact that the promise has been made by an impotent government – one that looks unlikely to get this week’s Queen’s Speech through parliament and could easily be out of office by Christmas – makes it laughable.” … “. In reality, this supposed windfall is nothing more than blatant spin and shameless electioneering … ACE may well imagine it is in charge of the arts, and a supplicant sector allows it to persist with that illusion. But the reality is that ACE is simply a hand servant doing the Government’s bidding.”

“All this announcement means is that a small amount of the funding that has been taken away since 2010 will go back into the cultural sector. Most of it, though, isn’t ‘new’ money all. Grants to a forthcoming City of Culture have been the norm since the designation began, and the Cultural Development Fund, which awarded £20m for 2019/20, is actually going to be worth less than £20m a year over the next five years under the renewed scheme.”

  • With libraries closing, where can pupils study quietly? – TES. “”Imagine my alarm when I asked a class of students how many were members of a local library and only a few raised their hands. There was one student who did not even know that he could borrow books at the library free of charge. I hope that he is the exception. Many students also said that their local library had closed, and they didn’t know where their nearest one was now. “

International news

“Where Did You Get That Book?” – In Conversation with Tim Coates – EveryLibrary Institute from EveryLibrary on Vimeo.

  • 50 Fictional Librarians, Ranked – Lit Hub.
    • Safety in Libraries: a Continuum – Intellectual Freedom Hub. “I’ve had many discussions with librarians about what it means when we talk about safety in the library. I’d like to offer an approach I’ll call the continuum of safety, offered from the perspective of the patron, the person who uses the library but is not a member of the staff. My goal is to establish a framework for the supervision of public space, in keeping with the values of the profession. In future blogs, I’ll try to dig into this a little deeper.”
    • “The People Who Helped Me the Most Were the Librarians” — Rep. Elijah Cummings – School Library Journal. “”The people who helped me the most were the librarians,” Cummings told Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes interview broadcast in January of this year, adding that the public library was the only integrated institution in his neighborhood.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Letter: Council ‘short-sighted’ – Keighley News. “It’s ironic that this month as part of Libraries Week Keighley Library is celebrating the life of its founder, Andrew Carnegie, and his wife Louise (whose idea it was!), whilst at the same time Bradford Council is pressing ahead with its plans to cut the budget to libraries, museums and galleries by 65 per cent – without proper public consultation. “
    • Loss of library would ‘degrade Keighley in eyes of the world’ – Telegraph and Argus. “The image of Keighley would be “degraded in the eyes of the world” if its library were to shut – a Councillor has claimed. Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Cons, Worth Valley) was referring to concerns that the town’s library might face the chop under planned £1.05 million cuts to Bradford’s Museum and Library service. “
  • Bristol – Bristol library closures fear as five-year ‘vision’ for the city revealed – Bristol Live. “Bristol citizens have expressed their fears for the future of the city’s libraries after the council released its “vision” for the service over the next five years. The one-page document summarising Bristol City Council’s draft library strategy to 2024 was revealed in a 38-page report last week. It refers to “hubs for community development”, “volunteering opportunities”, “extending the availability of the building outside normal hours” and improving “library environments to improve cultural and social inclusion”. … “Kate Murray, the council’s head of libraries, defended the lack of detail in the strategy saying it sets out a “broad direction of travel” and any changes affecting specific libraries would be subject to public consultation.”
  • BuckinghamshireGovernment minister visits Bucks library – Mix 96. “Lord Gardiner of Kimble is a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, serving as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity. He visited Beacon Villages Community Library, in Ivinghoe, to see a great example of how a library can provide a valuable community resource in a more rural setting. The Library, run by a committee of dedicated trustees, is on the ground floor of Ivinghoe’s medieval Town Hall, which also houses the village post office.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Start-up day success for small businesses at Cambridge Central Library – Cambridge Independent. “The annual UK-wide event, led by the British Library’s Business & IP Centre and supported by Santander UK, invites Cambridgeshire & Peterborough residents to visit their central libraries in Cambridge and Peterborough and take the first steps towards turning their brilliant idea into a successful enterprise. New figures recently released by the British Library reveal that its 13-strong national network of library-based Business & IP Centres has helped create an average of 15 new businesses every working day since 2016. ”
  • Devon – Busy start to the month at Holsworthy Library – Post. ““The library was buzzing as people took part in the activities; family history research with Meg and Stephanie from Holsworthy Museum, making a model plane with Wilf from the Men’s Shed, drawing classes with Dawn from the Art Sanctuary and rag rugging with Pam.”
  • East SussexHastings community group given go-ahead to re-open library – Hastings Observer. “East Sussex County Council’s lead member for resources, Cllr Nick Bennett, has approved a proposal to lease the Ore Library building to Ore Community Library Group. The newly-formed group will take on a three-year peppercorn lease for the building, its fixtures and fittings and a selection of stock and run the facility as a Community Library”
  • Essex – Kid’s parties could be held in Essex libraries to boost usage – Gazette Standard. “Essex County Council is set to trial hosting the events at four locations across the county; Witham, Walton, Basildon and Great Parndon. If this trial is successful the scheme could be rolled out to facilities across Essex in the near future. Four party themes have been developed – a rhyme party, an interactive story party, a pirate party and enchanted forest event. ” … “”Officers are not aware of any authorities in England offering any of their libraries as a birthday party venue currently but is aware of one in Scotland and one in New Zealand. “
    • New library set to get stamp of approval – Echo series. Wickford: “he ambitious bid to demolish the current library and community centre will be voted on next week, with councillors considering whether a five storey replacement is suitable, consisting of a host of flats, a new library, and a “flexible” ground floor unit – set to become a shop. ” … “Mr Buckley insisted that Wickford was never in the library closure debate because it has always been popular and has a high “book check out rate”.”
  • Gloucestershire – Scenes from poetry book recreated at library – Stroud News and Journal. Library prepared for visit by Joseph Coelho: “It meant he had to walk through scenes as they are depicted in his own book from January to August – which he described on social media at the time as a ‘delightful surprise and a brilliant display’. They included starlings hanging from the ceiling, a pond filled with frogs, a wobbly display of jellyfish and even a balcony scene complete with rain, that were put together by volunteers, customers and staff. “
  • Hampshire – Council plots budget saving through library services – Hampshire Chronicle. ““A significant part of the savings proposals relates to library services, amounting to £1.7m. This represents 16 per cent of the overall budget for the service, but still means that a budget of around £10 million would remain for library services. ” … “Further to ratification by Cabinet and Full Council, some proposals will then be subject to further, more detailed consultation. “
  • HertfordshireLonger opening hours at Berkhamsted Library – Hemel Today. 27 hours longer opening due to staffless technology. “Users will need to register at Berkhamsted Library for Open+, after which they can use their library card as a swipe-card to gain access to the library. There is CCTV to keep customers safe, while the integrated IT system manages the lighting, building controls, public IT access, self-service kiosks and security. Once users exit the system automatically shuts down and the building is made secure.”
  • Lambeth – Highlights of half term events in Lambeth’s libraries, Oct/Nov 2019 – Brixton Buzz.
  • Leicester – Highfields library to close for refurbishment – Leicester City Council. “More than £190,000 of improvements will be made at Highfields Library, in Melbourne Road, which is being refurbished as part of the city council’s Transforming Neighbourhood Services programme. Improvements will include full redecoration of the library, installation of accessible public toilets and upgraded computer provision. There will also be new lighting and flooring, plus a re-arranging of the existing space to provide an improved area for activities and events.”
  • Liverpool – How I got Adele, Jessie J, Plan B and Clean Bandit to perform at their local libraries – Liverpool Echo. “Stewart [Parsons] eventually launched Get It Loud In Libraries – a project designed to give people who love music the chance to see artists in their local library for a fraction of the cost of a regular gig. He has managed to secure some huge names – some before they became famous, such as chart queen Adele, who performed at Lancaster library when she was 16.”
    • Tories’ ‘cynical’ cash for culture slammed by libraries boss – Echo. “Cllr Burns said the figure is a “drop in the ocean” compared to what the government has cut in council funding since 2010 and called on Whitehall to “properly commit” to the nation’s libraries. “This announcement is a cynical pre-election ploy by the government,” Cllr Burns said. “The figure announced is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of funding this same government has taken from the people of St Helens and local government nationally since 2010.”
  • Northern Ireland Book Week NI: Delivering library books on Rathlin Island – BBC. Video. “Rathlin Island has a population of about 150 people, half of whom use a mobile library service. Books are delivered by William Galloway from NI Libraries, who travels to the island off Northern Ireland’s north coast once a month. With no permanent library or bookshop on the island, the service provides a lifeline for bookworms.”
  • Powys – Powys libraries survey: children are asked for their views – Powys County Times. “Children and young people under 16 years of age, who use a Powys library during this coming week, Monday, October 14 – Saturday, October 20, will be invited to give their views on various aspects of the service as part of an all Wales survey. All libraries across Wales run the survey during the same week. The aim is to capture and compare the views given by children and young people over time to see how attitudes and views towards the service are changing and what needs to be done to improve their experience.”
  • Brecon museum and library complex Y Gaer to open in December – BBC. “Brecon’s new £14m museum and library complex will open on 5 December, Powys County Council has announced. Delays completing Y Gaer – The Fortress in Welsh – meant opening dates last year and this March were missed. Council bosses said they were confident residents would see the attraction centred on the Grade II-listed Shire Hall was “well worth waiting for”. Partners are being sought to help run the complex, prompting concern from opposition groups about public access.”
  • Richmond – Watching porn and racist abuse among the reasons people banned from libraries and leisure centres – Your Local Guardian. “In a Freedom of Information request sent by the Local Democracy Reporting Service it was revealed that 10 people have been banned from the borough’s libraries since 2015, while two have been banned from leisure centres in the same period. “
  • St HelensGiant regional book club coming to St Helens – St Helens Reporter. “The Great North West Read (GNWR) transforms the region into one massive, interactive book club — and this year’s chosen read is Phaedra Patrick’s charming novel, The Library of Lost and Found.”
  • Slough – #uklibchat – Virtual Tour of The Curve, Slough – UK Lib Chat. “We are trying something a bit different for our next chat! #uklibchat team member Gaby Koenig will be giving a virtual tour of her workplace, The Curve, SloughJoin us on Tueday 29th Octobert from 7pm GMT for the live stream
  • StockportLibrary of Lost & Found north west read 2019 – Marketing Stockport. “A giant book club is about to take over the North West…and you’re invited to join in a wonderful opportunity to bring readers in the North West together through online and in-person book discussions. Now it its second year, the GNWR’s goal is to be the North West’s largest community read and is supported by public libraries from Cheshire to Cumbria. “
  • Walsall – Libraries in Walsall set to close on Sundays because not many people use them – Birmingham Live. “Disappointed council bosses said Sunday community library users were significantly lower than anticipated and are now expected to shut on Sundays to save £40,000” … “A report to cabinet said: “Take-up of the service on Sundays has been lower than expected, with an average of 58 visits per library compared to 269 on other days, and 190 book issues compared to 715.”
  • Warrington – “Library of the future” – built in Lego – Warrington Worldwide. “The model was created by a team of eight members of the Lego Club run by the Friends of Padgate Library, based at the library on Insall Road. Child and adult Lego-enthusiasts worked together to produce the winning design, beating entries from around the country. The Friends of Padgate Library is a volunteer group that was set up 18 months ago to support Padgate Library, working alongside LiveWire’s library staff and Warrington Borough Council on the long-term sustainability of the library.”
  • West Sussex Plans to reduce Worthing library’s opening times – Worthing Herald. “Plans to reduce opening hours at some West Sussex libraries and cut the mobile library service completely have been put out to public consultation. As part of its efforts to save £75.5m over the next four year, the council plans to close Crawley, Chichester, Horsham and Worthing libraries from 6pm rather than the current 7pm from April 2020. It also plans to drop its Horsham-based mobile library at the same time. The Bognor-based service was taken off the road in June when its pre-MOT inspection showed it would cost more to make the vehicle roadworthy than it was actually worth.”
  • Wiltshire – 100 years of Wiltshire libraries – but still nothing like a good book – This is Wiltshire. Completely just mobile libraries until 1964. “Despite the changes, lots of things have stayed the same. People still come to the library knowing they will have a friendly welcome and is somewhere they can go to speak to staff with the knowledge to help hem. “
  • Wirral – Wirral youngsters to benefit from new books and resources to promote love of reading – Wirral Globe. “More than £400,000 worth of books and resources has been pledged to promote the love of reading for families in Wirral. As part of a three-year partnership with the UK’s largest children’s charity BookTrust, youngsters and families will benefit from new high-quality books distributed through the borough’s schools, libraries and healthcare visits. “
  • York – Plans to ‘turbo-charge’ city libraries and make them best in UK – Press. “nder the plans City of York Council bosses will look at ways to move other services – which could include scout groups, charities and youth clubs – into nine of the city’s libraries. A report for a council meeting next Thursday says: “Identifying potential co-location partners will be critical to the process and development of a future business case for investment.”. Council says of the move to reduce space for libraries: ““These proposals will turbo-charge our city’s libraries, making them the best in the UK. “

Libraries Week

Undoubtedly the big news this week is the £250 million in extra funding announced by the DCMS. This is welcome, although a study shows that this is over five years (therefore actually meaning £50 million per year), with half looking to be pretty much accounted for already (o-ho, now it’s down to £25 million) and the remainder to be shared with museums. Hmm. So that’s down to £12.5 million per year if public libraries are as successful as museums in bidding. Still, nothing to be sneezed at, although that’s less than 2% of the existing total budget each year for libraries in England, so it will not have an earth shattering impact and, just to be more depressing, the average annual decline in library services budget since 2010 has been more than that. I hope the sector succeeds in bidding for its fair share and that it uses it for projects with long-term impact rather flash-in-the-pan-but-looks-good projects one often associates with such things.

Libraries Week saw a lot of good news stories, including a successful Lego competition. The one initiative with the most long-term impact though was Leeds going fines-free and also removing the requirement for ID when joining. The failure of libraries to openly not trust prospective joiners to give their correct names and addresses when they are ask for a library card has been a quiet shame for many services for a while now so one hopes the example of Leeds, along with that of the scores of library services already not requiring ID with no ill effects, will encourage those still with trust issues to have a look at their culture and perhaps stop turning away people from joining quite so much in future. Bath and North East Somerset has also chosen this week to get rid of fines, making the strength of this trend fairly undeniable, with 12 services in the UK subscribing to it compared with 2 just a year or so ago.

Changes by local authority

Ideas

National news

  • Billy Connolly: a very Scottish story – Herald Scotland. “He hated school but loved libraries. “People often say that football and boxing are the ways out of the working class and they are your ticket out of that kind of life, if you happen to want to leave it,” he says. “But, for me, the library is the key. That is where the escape tunnel is. All the knowledge in the world is there. The great brains of the world are at your fingertips.”
  • Bobby Seagull’s “Manifesto for Libraries” – EveryLibrary. “HM Government has an opportunity to transform lives across the UK by investing in the future of our libraries. That is why I am calling on Ministers, Members of Parliament and representatives in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to get behind my 10-point Manifesto …”
  • Carrickfergus manager is Public Library Champion for 2019 – Carrickfergus Times. “Judges highlighted the importance and variety of the many events and activities Carrickfergus Library hosts on a regular basis. These include a ‘New Mums of under Ones’ group, a walking club, GOT IT computer sessions, a drop-in for teenagers with autism, ‘Beginners Guitar Group’, storytime sessions and the ‘Memory Lane Café’ for people with dementia which is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society.”
  • Digital focus for Libraries Week as Bobby Seagull publishes manifesto – BookSeller. “The annual event, sponsored by Nielsen Book and Rakuten Overdrive, will feature coding clubs, the publication of “University Challenge” star and CILIP Library Champion Bobby Seagull publish a manifesto for libraries. Seagull is calling on politicians to invest more in the service through a £50m improvement fund and “fair funding” for local authotrities .”
  • England’s libraries and museums get share of £250m boost – BBC. “Libraries, museums and other cultural institutions in England are to benefit from a five-year £250m government fund. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it would set aside £125m for the upkeep of libraries and museums.”
  • Lifeline for Libraries – Express. “Brexit policy is not and cannot be the only mark of a good government. It is essential that the domestic agenda to improve the lot of people in this country and protect the things that give life value is also delivered. So it is very welcome that the Queen’s Speech will include plans for an extra £250million for libraries and museums.” … “It is certainly a sign that Mr Johnson is determined to make Britain a fairer and better place that he has devoted funds for this cause.”
  • New £250 million Culture Investment Fund launched – DCMS. Over £125m for libraries and museums.
  • York rail museum handed £18.5m from ‘biggest fund in a century’ – Yorkshire Post. “The National Railway Museum in York, which attracted more than 820,000 people last year, has been guaranteed £18.5m from the pot, claimed by ministers to be the biggest one-off investment in museums and neighbourhood libraries in the last century.” … “The new fund will see a total of £125m ploughed into regional museums around the country.” … “”The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it would be delivered in tranches of £50m for each of the next five years. Coventry, which will succeed Hull as the UK’s City of Culture in 2021, will get £7m from the fund.”
  • Game Library Camp – Eventbrite. Saturday 9 November, Leeds. “With sessions on developing games collections, running tabletop gaming events, games based learning, escape rooms and interactive fiction it provides an opportunity to learn how games are being used across the library and information sector. As well as scheduled sessions, attendees can add their own topics to the afternoon discussion sessions. The full list of speakers and detailed schedule can be found at https://librarycamp.game.blog/
  • GLL-run Libraries rated ‘Excellent’ by users – GLL. “”The latest survey shows customer satisfaction scoring an ‘Excellent’ rating of 97% in September 2019. Meanwhile the Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicating the percentage of customers who would recommend the service, rose by 6% to 63%. Scores above 30% are considered ‘Excellent’” … “Library visits in Greenwich increased from 1.49m in 2010 to 2.57m in 2018/19; Wandsworth topped the table of issuing authorities in London with 1,469,021 items issued; Bromley Libraries continue an upward trajectory, with issues up 4% to 1,454,806; Lincolnshire Libraries issued 2m items for the first time; Dudley Libraries added 5% to their annual issues – up to 971,663”
  • Lego Libraries Winners – Libraries Week. Padgate Library in Warrington wins. “It is the programme of activities outlined above and the future plans for the Business Case which have influenced our LEGO Library of the Future. This can be seen in the Lecture Theatre, Art Gallery, Coffee Shop with walking group leaving the building  and a Meditation Garden. In the future we would like to be able to offer rehearsal space and a recording studio for local music groups. Having access to 24 hour issuing of items from an automated outside system would be a dream.”
  • Libraries Connected announces major new programme for The Novels That Shaped Our World festival – Libraries Connected. “Led by Libraries Connected and funded by a £253,000 grant from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme, with additional support from BBC Arts, the year-long multi-platform engagement collaboration marks 300 years since the birth of the English language novel. ” … “Libraries Connected will work with BBC Arts and libraries to deliver a programme of innovative activities for all communities, from voracious readers to those who haven’t read a novel in years, with opportunities for everyone to try something new to read. Libraries will commission artists, creatives and local partners who specialise in working with vulnerable groups, including refugees, young people at risk of knife crime and adults with dementia.”
  • Libraries Connected launches programme for BBC Novels That Shaped Our World festival – BookSeller.
  • Maddie’s Do You Know? – BBC. “Maddie learns how a library works and visits a factory to discover how a book is made”
  • Public Libraries 2030 and NewsGuard Announce Partnership to Bring Media Literacy Tool to European Public Libraries – Newsguard. “NewsGuard and Public Libraries 2030 are bringing NewsGuard’s Media Literacy Partnership Program to libraries in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium. NewsGuard uses trained journalists to rate and review thousands of news and information websites for credibility and transparency practices.”
  • When is a library a lifeline? – Arts Council England. Kerry Hudson: “A kid who was smart but had nowhere to turn smart into a future. Nowhere, that is, except libraries, where I was always welcomed. Where no one asked anything of me. Where the books on the shelves provided portals to other worlds that might be mine if I just held on. Each time I picked up a book and read of a life that was not mine but that might be one day I was sent the message ‘keep going, don’t stop, keep hoping.’ So I did. Now I write books that sit in the same libraries that gave me life.”

International news

  • European Union – EU Library Factsheets – Public Libraries 2030. “We created a series of Libraries and Skills fact sheets which show key statistics from libraries alongside EU DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index) data for every EU member state, in partnership with Princh and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Library Map of the World. This provides a surprising mix of data to use with local and European policy makers.
  • FinlandSports clubs in Finland offer season tickets on loan from local libraries – Uutiset. “Sports clubs in Finland are teaming up with their local libraries to offer season tickets on loan in a bid to fill stands and provide opportunities to support local outfits. Basketball team Helsinki Seagulls is reportedly the first team in Finland to launch a campaign that will allow library-goers to borrow a season ticket to the club’s games from the Töölö library. Seagulls’ sports director Toni Leppänen told daily Helsingin Sanomat that the team wants to offer members of the public an opportunity to see a basket ball game at least once.”
  • Global – A Map of Banned Books – Princh. “This post will shine a light on many books that have been banned to the “dark”. In today’s post there will be a map of banned books in an infographic format. “
  • Portugal The Gaming Library That Helped a Neglected Neighborhood Find a New Identity – Vice. “When the city council announced plans in 2012 for a new local library, Marvilans eyed it with skepticism. Lisbon city hall officials envisioned this and other “libraries of the future” as a way to directly connect with locals, address illiteracy, and tackle inequity, but the library team says many residents saw it differently: just another imposition … It could have remained only a library, eyed askance and left empty by wary Marvilans. But an unusual head coordinator has taken an everyday building and turned it into a local fixture with gaming programs unlike anything in Portugal.”

“Despite outsiders’ doubts, Marvila library’s pro-gaming policy has changed community dynamics. Oliveira said parents no longer worry about kids’ whereabouts and safety. With the library close to the school, kids go immediately after classes to hang out with friends, get help with homework, and play games. When the library opens later on weekends, he says they line up for an hour just to get in and play. “

Local news by authority

  • Shropshire – Roadshow gathers feedback on services provided by Oswestry Library – Advertizer.
  • Suffolk – Stradbroke Library manager ‘blown away’ by celebratory artwork – Diss Express. “The three-panelled piece of work – conceived by artists Hannah Weeks, Christine Cooper and Kay Edwards – represents the community café, library and post office which are housed in the former courthouse building in Queens Street.”
    • Suffolk Libraries day: Karate, cakes and unicorns – East Anglian Daily Times. “Activities in Ipswich will include a book mountain and cake sale at Ipswich County Library, the chance to take your anger out on a pad in the Karate event at Gainsborough Community Library or the singathon on the Cornhill.” … “The Book Journey Challenge has been the biggest event of all and has involved all of the libraries pulling together to transport a book by a local author around every single location in Suffolk to raise awareness for the day.” … “Suffolk Libraries day has been sponsored by loads of businesses including Adnams, Ipswich Buses and East of England Buses who have all contributed to the book journey and other activities.”
    • Can you spot your child at the Chantry Library Cinderella disco? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Dressed as beautiful princesses themselves, they got to bop along to their favourite songs and have their picture taken with the Disney heroine. Chantry Library manager Vicki Mann said: “It was just so magical, at the end of the disco the clock chimed midnight and Cinderella ran off leaving her slipper behind.” … “The library has also hosted a Womble-inspired litter pick and a craft fair.”
  • Warrington – Out-of-this-world success for libraries reading challenge – Warrington Worldwide. “All together this summer: * 2,009 children in Warrington took part – up 11 per cent on last year and 28 per cent up on 2017. * 1,033 children finished the challenge – up 19 per cent on last year and 20 per cent on 2017. * 9 young people volunteered a total of 58 hours supported the challenge– compared to seven young people and 53 hrs last year. * 137 children joined a library to take part, up 57 per cent on last year * 280 youngsters took part in the Under 5s challenge – up 21 per cent on last year and 36 per cent in 2017. * Penketh Library had the most children taking part with 338. * 17 children took part in the challenge at the summer scheme in St Elphin’s Park.”
    • Over 750 people enjoy visiting a ‘Fun Palace’ in the revamped Museum & Library – Warrington Worldwide. “Since 2014 a total of 1367 ‘Fun Palaces’ have been held with over 450,000 people taking part. This was the second year that LiveWire’s Community Librarian Team has held a ‘Fun Palace’ event – following a successful one at Padgate Library in 2018. Over 750 people came through the doors on Saturday October 5 at the newly-revamped Warrington Museum & Library on the day, joining in the ‘Fun Palace’ creativity, which included activities like children’s yoga, flower arranging, Chinese calligraphy, storytelling, poetry reading, family craft activities, signing choir, wildlife drawing, make-up demonstrations, DJ workshops and so much more.”
  • Wokingham – Library challenge encourages young members to get reading – Wokingham Today. “Out of the 2,014 children who successfully completed the challenge, 378 had previously not been members of the library before signing up.” … “A poetry and short story competition ran alongside the ‘Space Chase’, with winners presented with a certificate, goody bags and complimentary tickets to the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival.  “

In praise of fun palaces

Editorial

Test Close readers of Public Libraries News will have picked up that I am slightly suspicious of shiny new initiatives. The fear is that such things – a singer in a reference library, a theatre show in a lending space, a 3D printer sat semi-ignored on a cabinet – takes up time, resources and, worst case, actively puts people off using the unique selling points of libraries like free book loan or study space. At the same time, though, I understand that libraries need to look up, and not backwards, and that a non-changing service is a stagnant one. This is sometimes not an easy combination of beliefs for a printed book lover such as myself.

However, I’m recovering today from what was the truly joyous experience of helping to organise and host a fun palace in one of “my” libraries. A host of community groups – brownies, ju jitsu, a science teacher, a community theatre company, knitters, photographer, board games, a Viking re-enactor and a few others – took over the place. The place was buzzing all morning with lots of happy people trying new things and, crucially as far as I was concerned, no money changing hands anywhere down the line. There were no professional entertainers and it was all for the joy of it. And, on top of all this – the cherry on top of this – was that those people who dared to use the library for its normal uses (borrowing a book, reading a paper, using a computer) could do so fairly normally. Well, they may have been offered more biscuits than usual but, apart from that, one thing did not block the other.

Wonderful, so more power to the non-commercial community-upwards fun palaces ideal. Now on to Libraries Week, with its mix of augmented reality class visits (Friday), murder mysteries (Tuesday and Wednesday), author visit (Wednesday) and inter-library quiz (Saturday) interspersed with book ordering, queries, writing up the results of a book promotion and research into library youth participation. 25 years on in the profession and it’s not got boring yet.

Changes by local authority

Ideas

  • Dog friendly days – Pet dogs owned by the public let in with their owners on specific days.

National news

  • Have your say in our Professionalism Review – CILIP. “… we’ve launched our Professionalism Review – to re-state, clearly and positively, the contemporary definition of librarianship, information and knowledge management as an open, inclusive and progressive ‘profession’. As part of this work we want to develop a clear and inclusive definition of what it means to be a professional in our sector, so we would like to know what ‘professionalism’ means to you. “
  • The history of the library: why bigger isn’t always better – Financial Times. “The Library of Birmingham, which opened in 2013 and was designed by another Dutch practice, Mecanoo, illustrates the perils of scale. A piece of metropolitan boosterism for the UK’s second-biggest city, it cost £189m and replaced an actually very fine (and now posthumously rather fashionable) Brutalist building by John Madin (1974). Yet within less than two years, its opening hours were almost halved and half the staff made redundant.”
  • Libraries and open data – DCMS. “The workshop started with hearing from colleagues in DCMS about the history of open data and the government’s commitment to it. As well as being responsible for libraries, DCMS also leads for open data for government and this helped to reinforce the continued importance of improving the quality of and access to data. “
  • Baker & Taylor Launches Pop Up Library in United Kingdom – PR Newswire. “Pop Up Libraries generate their own library-branded Wi-Fi network at the sites chosen by the library. By connecting to the network, users can log on to browse eBooks available to borrow and read immediately, without needing an app or a library card, and can be saved to read offline for the duration of the loan. While reading, users are prompted to log in or sign up as a member to take advantage of everything the library provides.”

International news

  • Australia – round-breaking library pod opens in shopping centre – Ipswich First. “pswich Libraries is rewriting the book with an innovative self-service Library Pod opening at Karalee Shopping Village. In an Australian first for a public library, the Pod will allow members to use a mobile phone or library card to browse, borrow and return books.”
  • Global – Comic Books and Libraries – History, Value & Benefit – Princh. “Adding a graphic novel section to your library can generate more visits among children and adults. The more popular heroes would be of general interest, but there are many ‘underground’ or less mainstream characters which would attract the interest of comic lovers and ensure a rich and steady stream of material.”
  • USA – Two teenagers set up a non-profit to donate books with Muslim characters to schools – Metro. “The experience got them wondering why there were so few choices of Muslim-focused books in public access libraries. So they set up their own service, Girls of the Crescent. They buy texts that feature Muslim characters and donate them to schools around America.”
    • An NYC Rap Icon’s Latest Hustle: Hip-Hop Coordinator…At the Library – Narratively. “The position has been over a decade in the making. In the past fifteen years, the library has added programs to teach kids about the deep roots hip-hop has in this borough, though the music and lifestyle originated in the South Bronx.”
    • Chicago Public Library to eliminate late fees, erase debt and begin automatic renewals for up to 45 weeks – Chicago Sun Times. “The Chicago Public Library system plans to eliminate late fees starting Oct. 1. — making Chicago the largest city in the nation to adopt the growing trend. Not only will the move do away with late fees going forward, it will also erase all outstanding overdue fees currently owed to the city. “I think our staff members are going to be practically jumping over their circulation desks to tell people that fines have been eliminated,” Chicago Public Library Commissioner Andrea Telli said.”
    • Why Libraries Are Eliminating Late Fees for Overdue Books – CityLab. ” Just this year, public libraries in cities like Phoenix, Dallas, and Palm Beach, Florida, have changed their policy, and Curtis Rogers, ULC’s communications director, expects more libraries and cities to follow suit.”
    • Down With Dewey – Slate. “Harrington, also director of the Memorial Library at Berry College in Georgia, said she was surprised the ALA didn’t find Dewey’s past problematic until now. “It wasn’t like he’s being judged by 21st-century standards,” she said. “He was called out repeatedly for his sexual harassment behavior during his time.” But Dewey, she said, is considered a legend, “and people will say he’s responsible for making it OK for women to be in the profession.” “
    • The New $41 Million Hunters Point Library Has One Major Flaw – Gothamist. Architect builds “state of the art” public library with no disabled access to fiction shelves.

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Top honours for Turriff reader – Grampian Online. “Winners took home certificates and a medal produced on a 3D printer. Finlay also received prizes donated by Mackie’s of Scotland – a £100 book gift card and a year’s supply of ice cream.”
  • BradfordBradford’s library and museum workers in cuts strike – BBC. “Workers at Bradford’s libraries and museums have voted to go on strike over what a union called “swingeing cuts”. Members of the Unite union voted to take industrial action with strike dates set to be announced this week. Unite say the council’s “hardline attitude” is in “sharp contrast” with its bid to be UK City of Culture 2025. Bradford Council said it was “disappointed” Unite members had voted for strike action.”
  • Brent – Kensal Rise Library’s victorious re-opening following eight-year battle – Kilburn Times. “Hundreds of wellwishers attended Kensal Rise Community Library, in Bathurst Gardens, for its grand opening ceremony, which coincided with the anniversary of its opening by Mark Twain in 1900. ” … “”The fight has demanded almost 10 years of extraordinary effort by people who have never made a library before.”
  • Bristol – Every Bristol library could get up to £4,000 – Bristol Live. “The money for the city’s 27 libraries will come from a new “libraries innovation fund”,  announced by Bristol City Council on Tuesday, October 1. The exact amount has not been released but it will be around £100,000.” The announcement follows last year’s u-turn by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees on planned £1.4million budget cuts that would have seen 17 libraries close. The ruling Labour cabinet instead agreed to spend more than a quarter of a million pounds to create a new plan to keep as much of the city’s library service open as possible.”
  • Bromley Bromley libraries strikers proved right – private company admits job cuts – Socialist Party. “Unite ran a campaign opposing the transfer and predicted that it would lead to job cuts. GLL and Bromley denied the union claims and, as recently as a month ago, threatened to sue Unite regional officer and Socialist Party member Onay Kasab for libel and defamation unless the claims were withdrawn. Unite refused – and has been proved right. GLL is now proposing to cut 30 library staff. Yet library workers are on strike precisely because the service is at breaking point due to unfilled vacancies”
  • Buckinghamshire – Amersham library moves into temporary location – Mix 96. “The library, which is currently located on the Chiltern Pools site in Amersham, is due to be demolished in November and library services from that building will end in October. This is because part of the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre will be built over the area where the library is at the moment. In order to ensure residents still have access to a local library for the duration of the building works, the council offices, which are just across the road from Chiltern Pools, will host the library during the development.”
  • Cornwall – Redruth library could be knocked down for or converted into homes – Cornwall Live. “The building, located in the town centre on Clinton Road, currently serves as a library, which is run by Redruth Town Council. However, it is hoped that by early next year, all library services will be transferred to the former Cornish Studies Centre on nearby Alma Place.”
    • Truro Library to be run under new partnership – Packet. “Truro Community Library has been safeguarded for the community under a new partnership between Cornwall Council and Truro City Council. Under the agreement, the library was transferred to the city council as from yesterday. The ownership of the Passmore Edwards Library and the lease on Truro Technical Schools will be transferred to Truro City Council at the same time.”
  • Denbighshire – Denbigh Library marks a special anniversary – Denbighshire Free Press. 30 years.
  • Devon – From Lego to tattoo art: Devon libraries set for Fun Palaces 2019 – Exmouth Journal.
  • Durham – Join the Digital Revolution this Libraries Week – Newton News.
  • Edinburgh – Edinburgh libraries start Dog Friendly Thursdays where pooches can be fed and watered – Edinburgh Live. “Three libraries across Edinburgh will be holding regular Dog Friendly Thursdays, starting this week on October 3.” … “The move is aimed at tackling loneliness and social isolation, meaning dog-owners no longer have to worry about leaving their pets outside when they visit the library.” … “The scheme follows a similar successful initiative in Perthshire.”
  • Essex – ‘Come and join in the party to save our library’ – Harwich and Mannington – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Save Manningtree Library Action Group is holding the party as part of an action day over Essex County Council’s plans to create community-run libraries today from 11am and 1pm. ” … “A spokesperson for Essex County Council said: “We know several ‘love your library’ events are planned outside some libraries on Saturday. While we applaud the organisers’ passion for libraries, we would stress these are events which have been organised independently and are not taking place inside our buildings or on library land. “
    • In pictures: Campaigners hold huge street party to show love for library – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. ““Community libraries, we know they are not sustainable at any level, they can’t deliver the service we need.” Campaigners raised more money for the campaign on the day and also received 230 more signatures for the petition. The action day comes after more than 1,600 people signed a petition against plans for volunteers to run many of the county’s libraries.”
    • Letter: Library comments are a disgrace – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. Complaint about councillor comments.
    • Library campaigners stage countywide day of action – Yellow Advertiser. “Thousands joined library campaigners SOLE’s countywide day of action on Saturday with protests against what campaigners call a ‘closure plan by stealth’ taking place from Hadleigh to Harlow, and from Stanway to Shenfield. In Manningree hundreds joined a street party outside the town’s library, while in Galleywood an exhibition of children’s artwork in appreciation of their library was displayed and hundreds signed a petition against the plans. In Broomfield dozens marched from Church Green to the village library, where speakers called on their local parish council to withdraw its library takeover bid. “So called community libraries are a closure plan by stealth”, said SOLE’s Andy Abbott.”
    • Save Our Libraries Essex protest day attracts hundreds – This is Local London. “A street party held outside Manningtree library arguably attracted the biggest crowd, while in Galleywood an exhibition of children’s artwork was displayed as residents signed the petition. “So called community libraries are a closure plan by stealth,” said Save Our Libraries Essex’s (SOLE) Andy Abbott, who participated in a march for Broomfield Library.”

Manchester – Library Live 2019 – YouTube.

A month of public libraries news, much of it good

Editorial

One of the advantages of not having done a post for a month is you can clearly see the themes of what is going on.

Nationally, there are two initiatives – a roadmap and library support schemes – that, if they happen as suggested, will be very useful in aiding local library problems and lead to a better service. Due to there being at the moment both a massively distracted and a hugely disinterested national government, this is probably the best that can be hoped for. It’s interesting that there is “little appetite” reported at any level for changing how libraries are delivered, when the last ten years have seen huge piecemeal moves towards just that.

On the good side locally, there are a surprisingly large number of refurbishments and – gosh – actual new libraries in the news, although sometimes it is hard to tell from reports whether such things are co-locations (a bit of a double-edge sword for libraries) or something more genuinely purely beneficial. A huge well done, though, to the people behind Kensal Rise, who have pushed for nearly a decade for a functioning reopened library, which finally happened this weekend.

On the bad side locally, w we have a big problem starting in Bradford – never exactly a shining star when it comes to public libraries – who want to cut their service even more while hypocritically spending money on claiming, presumably with a straight face, that it is a city of culture. Strike action there means there are two library services currently facing that last resort – the other is Bromley. The cuts in Essex continue to be faced up to with tremendous verve and fortitude and quite a lot of savvy about the need not to be fooled by seeming council concessions.

Finally, I need to say that there have been major problems with the Public Libraries News website causing such a long delay between posts. This appears to have been caused by both a problem with the website host – now changed – and some fairly huge and certainly numerous hack attacks. Heaven knows what such people aim to gain from hacking a public libraries website – perhaps it’s because it comes high on many google search rankings – but it certainly irritates me. Things appear fixed for now but there has been a loss of some data.

Correction

The piece in the last post on the new Transforming Leadership grant says that 15 people will benefit from the programme,  Actually the programme will involve 4 people from each authority – the “Emerging Leader” is the catalyst and in addition there will be a development programme for their  head of service, and a third programme involving two other members of staff in each participating service who are identified as having leadership potential. So 60 members of the workforce will be involved – not 15. The funding will also provide for a new online learning course on leadership for public library staff.

Changes by authority

National news

  • A to Z of Library Digital Services – Lorensbergs. Excellent infographic for all to share. “So roll on Libraries Week, and the opportunity it gives to celebrate all our libraries have to offer in the digital sphere. With our libraries and their staff there to support us, we all have the chance to develop and progress our digital skills and knowledge. Whatever your circumstances, digital inclusion is in reach simply by dropping into your local branch. In addition to the A-Z, further information and ideas on how libraries facilitate digital participation and skills attainment will be available on this blog each day in the week ahead. “
  • Community Business Trade Up Programme – School for Social Entrepreneurs. Funding for volunteer libraries etc. “Do you run an organisation or project that exists to improve your local neighbourhood, village or town? Do you run it like a business, but re-invest profits to benefit your local community?”
  • Cressida Cowell: Dragon author breathing fire over library cuts – Express. ““That’s why I’m so passionate about libraries because nobody has been able to answer me the question: If a child doesn’t have a public library and they don’t have a library in their primary school, how on earth are they going to be able to read for pleasure? “It is a social mobility timebomb. How can a kid compete with another kid who has got access to all these words?” 
  • Libraries and open data – DCMS. ” On 5 August the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) hosted (in a rather dreary windowless room!) a workshop for Taskforce members, front-line library practitioners and data experts to reflect on what had already been achieved and what the next steps should be.  “
  • Libraries Connected and CILIP publish new roadmap for future library development – Libraries Connected. “The report details seven key strands of work that will lead to long-term and co-ordinated improvements in the structural support for the sector. Work on some of these has already begun (as indicated) … The study found little appetite in library leadership, local or central government for a radical change to how public libraries are delivered. “
    • Nationally organised and funded infrastructure and creative programmes
    • National standards and accreditation to help define a quality service (currently being explored by Libraries Connected)
    • Nationally co-ordinated monitoring and evaluation (currently being explored by DCMS)
    • National digital public library service (led by British Library)
    • Regional development and support programme (led by Libraries Connected)
    • Nationally co-ordinated workforce development (led by Libraries Connected and CILIP)
    • Support for local authorities to explore new governance and delivery models for public libraries.”
  • Libraries Connected to trial new library support schemes – BookSeller. “The projects will see a national programme manager and regional engagement team to broker support and improve collaboration between library services. A national subject expertise bank to provide specialist advice on things like income generation, mentoring and service reconfiguration. Both pilots will be funded by the Libraries Taskforce and run until March 2020. It comes after a report commissioned by Libraries Connected from Activist Group suggested a new support model with five ways to help safeguard the service’s future.” … “In its entirety, the scheme would require £1.7m investment over three years, mainly through reallocation of existing investment”
    • A national programme manager and regional engagement team to broker support and improve collaboration between services
    • A national subject expertise bank to provide specialist advice on topics such as service transformation, income generation and mentoring
    • An online ‘Library library’ that shares evidence and advice and has tools to help manage transformation and innovation locally
    • An ‘engine for evidence’ to pilot standards for new library standards and commission research on the impact of services
    • An advocacy campaign to highlight the contribution of libraries to local priorities and communities.
  • PMLG & ILG National Conference 2019: Information Literacy in Public Libraries – PMLG. “Often overlooked, information literacy stands at the core of a public library’s purpose. Whether it is teaching children how to answer their own questions or supporting retirees to get online, public libraries daily contribute to the development of information literacy skills within their communities, Safeguarding, signposting and navigating information sources requires highly-developed multi-platform, critical awareness. This conference delivers a diverse portfolio of the necessary information literacy skills for the job.”
  • World Book Day 2020 Launch – World Book Day. Lists the titles for next year.

International news

  • Australia – One for the books: the unlikely renaissance of libraries in the digital age – Sydney Morning Herald. “With the rise of the internet, public libraries were supposed to be on borrowed time. But they’re thriving – their renaissance as much about community as the literary riches they contain.” … “So relaxed is the atmosphere that when someone produced a foot spa, plugged it in and started using it, others presumed this was a new service the library was offering. According to Dullard, a queue quickly formed at the counter. “People were saying, ‘Where’s my foot spa?’ ””

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Funding confirmed for Aberdeenshire library funding project – Press and Journal. “Highland’s Mind Hubs: Mental agility, physical dexterity was awarded £5,400 and Comic Con Hebrides in the Western Isles received £3,815. Aberdeenshire library services have been awarded £70,000 to further their One System, One Card, One Step Closer project. The project will enhance the existing One Card pilot, with a view to moving to a single library card covering fifty per cent of public library services. Eleven public library projects across Scotland are sharing a combined fund of £201,269 from Public Library Improvement Fund (PLIF) which supports the transformation and modernisation of public libraries through the enhancement of creative projects.”
  • Bolton – Bolton Library to host ‘Wikipedia Editathon’ – Bolton News. “On Saturday, September 21, from 2-4pm Bolton Central Library will host an expert from the encyclopedia-themed website. The volunteers will create submissions referencing the LGBT community and the exhibition at Bolton Museum, which is celebrating a year since reopening. Organisers have asked for anyone interested to get involved”
  • Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole – Letter to the editor: Libraries are no longer about peace and quiet – Daily Echo. “Why are public libraries so neglectful of those who yearn for a civilised, non-threatening atmosphere and wish only to make beneficial use of their limited resources? The thoughtless and ruthless decimation of book stocks in recent years to make space for personal computers and concomitant disappearance of most book cases has reduced their interiors to mere shells of what they once were, the resulting open plan layouts crying out for reallocation with new meeting rooms, work tables or private booths. “
  • Bradford – Angry residents told Bradford library cuts are an ‘act of cultural vandalism’ – Unite the Union. “A packed public meeting has been told that plans by Bradford council to cut the libraries and museum services by two thirds (65 per cent) is an ‘act of cultural vandalism’. Over 160 members of the public yesterday, (Wednesday 18 September) crammed into Keighley Civic Centre to listen to concerns about the future of the service. They heard how the planned cuts of 65 per cent from the libraries, galleries and museums service, will lead to job cuts and the closure of public assets.” … “The council’s proposed cuts to the library and museums services which will see two million pounds cuts from the service over the next two years, coincides with Bradford council earmarking £1.4 million to prepare a bid for city of culture in 2025.”
  • Brent – Celebrations with celebrity sparkle as Kensal Rise Library re-opens after lengthy battle – Brent and Kilburn Times. “Kensal Rise Community Library, in Bathurst Gardens, is launching with a Grand Opening Ceremony this Saturday at 2pm on the anniversary of its opening by Mark Twain in 1900. The library was closed along with five others by Brent Council in 2011 to save £1million. Since then the community has relentlessly campaigned, fundraised and finally, refurbished the replaced space. “
    • Kensal Rise Library to reopen after epic community battle – BookSeller. “The library was shut down by Brent Council in 2011, sparking a huge campaign supported by writers including Alan Bennett, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson and Zadie Smith. Following a fight that included a judicial review at the high court, the building is being redeveloped into flats but with space on the ground floor for a community facility, run by the Friends of Kensal Rise Library. Thousands of pounds have been raised to refurbish the space and campaigners have promised an “emotional celebration” from 2pm on 28th September with a reading from Grieg and the unveiling of the library’s original Mark Twain plaque.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Changes at Buckingham Library as part of council cutbacks – Buckingham Today. £160k cut. “The review of library services will save more than £160,000 but inevitably it has not been easy, particularly on our staff. “However, what this has managed to do is protect any changes to our library opening hours, which is good news for the thousands of local people who use our libraries each week. “We tried hard to match our existing staff to new posts and, out of more than 100 staff countywide, we have managed to keep compulsory redundancies down to three, with just one from Buckingham.”
  • Calderdale – Investment of £2m in Calderdale libraries but some are facing the axe – Halifax Courier. “although efforts are being made to keep two local services, if not in the buildings they have been housed in, users may have to switch to the nearest alternatives … The council is investing £1.75 million at Elland Library, which would also turn the building into a community hub housing other services, and around £250,000 to complete vital repairs at Todmorden Library.”
  • Croydon – Croydon’s Selsdon library looks incredible after a massive refurb – My London. “After being closed for two months for a major refurbishment, Selsdon Library has reopened with a completely new look, and it does look fantastic! Soon residents will even be able to use the library after hours, when new technology is trialled. The library in Addington Road was officially reopened to the public on Saturday, August 10. And its new modern look is how all 13 Croydon libraries are expected to look within the next three years. The council is set to spend a total of £5 million upgrading all of the borough’s libraries.”
  • Dundee – New chapter for Coldside Library after major refurbishment – Courier. “The refurbished Coldside Community Library opened its doors on to the community after six months of work. Improvements include a new lift, accessible toilets, hospitality facilities and new interior decorations. Funded by Dundee City Council, the new features in the listed building also include new lighting, meeting rooms, library counter, flooring, refurbished windows and painted railings outside.”
  • Durham – Bishop Auckland Town Hall closes to become cultural hub – Northern Echo. “Durham County Council is investing £1.5m into refurbishing Bishop Auckland Town Hall, in an effort to improve its layout and facilities. To allow the work to take place, the market place venue will close from Saturday, August 31, until next Spring. Other meeting places have been secured for groups that meet in the hall and arrangements have been made to ensure residents can access library services during the closure. “
  • Essex – War of words erupts over Manningtree Library’s future in leaked email – Gazette News. “Campaigners have criticised a veteran Tory councillor who said he is “sick and tired” of a debate on the future of a town’s library. In a leaked email, Tendring councillor for Manningtree Carlo Guglielmi referred to some Save Our Libraries Essex campaigners as “left wing extremists”. He said campaigners for Manningtree Library could “wrap the thing in aspic and be done with it”. “
  • Glasgow – Young Glaswegians borrowed thousands of books during holidays thanks to Summer Reading Challenge – Extra. “Across Glasgow 4,085 children headed to their local library during the summer holidays to borrow a whopping 41,436 books, as the annual Summer Reading Challenge took the city’s 0-12 year olds by storm.”
    • Langside library now has a tranquil space – Evening Times. “Volunteer gardeners have helped turn derelict land outside Langside Library into a tranquil space in the heart of the South Side community. A team of more than 30 volunteers volunteers, supported by Glasgow Life and Langside, Battlefield and Camphill Community Council, developed their inner city oasis to celebrate the rich diversity of the local area. “
    • Plans for £2.5m library move could lead to Parkhead revamp – Evening Times. “Parkhead Library could move into a new East End healthcare hub as part of a £2.5million scheme which would pave the way for the regeneration of Parkhead Cross. The plan would see one of the city’s Carnegie-funded libraries moved from its Grade B-listed building at the corner of Tollcross Road and Helenvale Street to the proposed East End Health and Social Care Partnership Hub (HSCP) building. “
  • Guernsey – Not everything needs to be a debate – Medium. “A local library hosts a free, inclusive reading session for children. It’s completely optional to attend, co-organised by two charities, and hosted by an experienced, DBS-checked entertainer, who just so happens to be a drag queen. Amid accusations of ‘creepiness’ and, at worst, ‘indoctrination’, I ask: how did it get to this?” … “LGBT+ people exist. And I’m tired of people using stories like this as a chance to scapegoat their homophobia.”
  • Haringey – Millions of pounds to be invested to improve Haringey libraries – Enfield Independent. “Despite losing £1,000 per house hold, the council decided to keep all of its libraries open and will invest £5.5 million to update them. Earlier this summer Haringey Labour agreed to invest £3.77million into Hornsey Library to further enhance it. The library is set to be remodelled with new interiors, carpets, decoration and lighting, while there will be improved provision for young people, including the children’s area. “
  • Hertfordshire – Swap your old slippers for free – Hertfordshire County Council. “Old worn out slippers are often responsible for trips and falls, which can lead to an unnecessary hospital stay and loss of independence. As we head into winter we organise ‘Slipper Swap’ events where older people and less mobile residents can swap their old slippers for a brand new free pair of anti-slip ones and find out more about keeping themselves safe and well “
  • North Yorkshire – Newcastle Building Society provides much-needed support to volunteer-run library in Stokesley – Business Up North. “Newcastle Building Society will provide financial support for at least the next three years for Stokesley Library to use towards any funding gaps, and further enhance the library facility and community activities. As part of the support, the Society will also provide an ongoing series of talks which will focus on a range of community needs, including: talks on Dementia Awareness, retirement planning, internet security, buying a house and investment and estate planning.”
    • Eyes down for Book Bingo at North Yorkshire libraries – North Yorkshire County Council. “To take part, players need to read any library book that fits the various challenges on the card until they complete a line. The 24 challenges range from “read a book that was made into a film” and “read a book with a number in the title”. After completing their challenges, players can hand the card to the library to be entered into a prize draw to win a book token. Readers can pick up another card and play again.”
    • New Garden for Newby & Scalby Library – Scarborough News. “Over 2,300 people voted to turn the patch of scrub land behind the library into a community garden with access for all and on Saturday many of them turned out to see Barbara cut a ribbon and declare the garden open”
  • Reading – Multi-use Community Hub To Open At Battle Library – Reading.co.uk. “Battle Library will reopen to the public as a multi-use community hub for west Reading on Tuesday 17th September, following major building improvement work over the summer … Work on the £400K project, funded through developer contributions from nearby housing schemes, got underway in May. The transformation has created a new single storey rear extension alongside internal reorganisation and improvements. The extension has an office space and houses the adult library, which opens up to an outside deck area. An eco-friendly green roof of hardy alpines plants has been installed on the extension.”
  • Redbridge – Gants Hill Library – They Work For You. Conservative asks Sadiq Khan: “Having previously promised that residents would be able to choose between keeping Gants Hill Library as a library or replacing it with a Hub, the Leader of Redbridge Council is now seeking to renege on his promise to hold a Consultation which gives residents a real choice as to whether they want the hub or retain the library, by not including the option to retain the library in the ongoing consultation. “
  • Stoke on Trent – ‘This is a fantastic new space’ – £380,000 library opens for pupils and residents – Stoke Sentinel. “The community learning centre at Trentham Academy will be used by the school and the wider community, replacing the old Trentham Library which closed in 2013. Stoke-on-Trent City Council provided the capital funds for the facility, but its ongoing running costs will be met by the academy. And volunteer group Trentham Reads will run a book hire service for the general public in the building, with stock loaned from the council’s library service.”
  • Surrey – Surrey’s libraries to take global inspiration in bid to improve – County Border News. “How its library service is going to change is still in the planning stages, but officers said they hope to have more details for cabinet members in November. The transformation of the library service is part of SCC’s £250m savings by 2021. Changes are running slightly behind schedule.”
  • Warrington – Warrington Museum & Library to become a ‘Fun Palace’ – Warrington Worldwide. “On Saturday October 5, organisations across the country will be taking part in the national “Fun Palace” campaign aimed at putting culture at the heart of communities, and communities at the heart of culture.”
    • Museum & Library reopens following revamp – Warrington Worldwide. “The venue underwent the revamp in a bid to re-energise the building and transform it into a creative hub – with increased links between the museum and library services.” The project, which has been a joint venture between Culture Warrington and LiveWire, has seen a number of cosmetic changes to the building, in addition to a more integrated approach to activities and opening hours – including Sunday opening for the first time.”
    • Stockton Heath Library reopens following £195,000 redevelopment – Warrington Borough Council. “Stockton Heath Library, on Alexandra Road, is the first of the town’s libraries to benefit from Warrington Borough Council’s £1m library investment programme.”
  • West Sussex West Sussex libraries safe from closures ‐ but there may still be changes – Chichester Observer. “One of the options was to save up to £500,000 by making some changes to the library services – such as closing several branch libraries, reducing opening hours and removing the mobile library service …. But several months later Mrs Russell said: “I know how important they [libraries] are to the people who use them and I want to reassure residents across West Sussex that I want to protect services not shut them down.” However the authority is looking at areas of the service where it thinks it can make savings while preserving the core of the service. These include looking at stopping the mobile library service and reducing late evening library opening times.

ACE decide public libraries warrant a full-time director, and encourage a bit of diversity in leadership too

Editorial

Major pieces of news are fewer than normal due to it being the Summer but a few things are prominent. The first is that, finally, Arts Council England, have finally made their director for public libraries a full-time position. This has -hitherto been just a half-time post combined with the Birmingham are. Many felt that this under-rated public libraries in comparison to the other sectors ACE covers and so it’s great to see this changed. It surely won’t be long now before that organisation starts occasionally putting libraries first in a list of what sectors they cover in their official documents.

“Our Executive Board has decided that, from 1 December 2019, I will be migrated from my current role into a new 100% role of Director Libraries. This will provide significant additional senior capacity to ensure that our work around libraries is fully integrated into the delivery of the new 10 Year Strategy and further develop our Libraries work and programme. ”

Sue Willliamson by email

The other national thing is the £342k put forward by ACE to boost diversity in public libraries leadership. This is welcome but a tiny part of the, wow, £7.1 million that ACE has put aside across all of its portfolio for the same thing. Even though some of this other funding will be open to libraries (we will see, though, how much actually does come that way), that money will cover help for just 15 (that’s fifteen, not 50 or 150) people, although it’s hoped the training developed will be of use to others. Fingers crossed but 15 looks a bit, well, token, doesn’t it? And that is never a good look when diversity is the issue.

Locally, the big obvious things are the ongoing tassle in Essex over the council wanting to cut funding to libraries; Calderdale cutting some libraries while co-locating and improving others; Staffordshire passing yet more branches to community groups and Norfolk adopting staff-less technology almost wholesale.

Finally, it’s a pleasure to see the poet Joseph Coelho continuing his epic mission to get a library card from every library service in the country. This is great publicity locally and should finally also ensure he never gets mistaken for that chap Paulo by public librarians yet again.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Arts Council England makes £7.1m available to boost diversity – Charity Digital. “Arts Council England has made £7.1 in grants available to encourage diversity and leadership skills among those working in arts and culture organisations, including charities.”
    • Libraries Connected launches training scheme to tackle lack of diversity – BookSeller. “The Leading Libraries scheme will recruit 15 emerging leaders from different library services, offering them development training and the chance to lead a project in their region. It will also offer training for their heads of service on recruiting and maintaining a diverse workforce. In addition, each emerging leader will mentor two members of staff from their own service.” … “A study commissioned by CILIP in 2015 showed the library and information workforce was 78.1% female, yet 47% of men earned over £30,000 compared to just 37.3% of women. The figures also showed a huge 96.7% of the workforce identified as white.”

“We wanted to provide a substantial development programme that targeted library staff as well as their managers, which meant limiting the number of people involved. However, we will publish the training and development resources that that we create during the course so that individuals and services across the country can benefit from the programme.”

CILIP, via email
  • CILIP launches data project to ‘turn tide’ on library closures – BookSeller. “The organisation has been given £150,000 funding across two years from the Arts Council for its project, which now has a website built on the NationBuilder platform for political campaigning, and to also boost skills for librarians to run campaigns … 10,500 people are on the database already and the intention is to grow that number to up to 35,000 in the first year. A lot of the support comes through Facebook, where people share Libraries Deliver content and the numbers build.” [I have been informed there are several errors in this article – Ed.]
  • PMLG & ILG National Conference 2019: Information Literacy in Public Libraries – CILIP. 4 October, London. “information literacy stands at the core of a public library’s purpose. Whether it is teaching children how to answer their own questions or supporting retirees to get online, public libraries daily contribute to the development of information literacy skills within their communities, Safeguarding, signposting and navigating information sources requires highly-developed multi-platform, critical awareness. This conference delivers a diverse portfolio of the necessary information literacy skills for the job.”

International news

Drag Queen Story times

  • USA – Drag queen reading event meets community resistance in CA – GOP USA. “Billed as a way to create a sense of acceptance and tolerance, an event hosted by the city of Chula Vista will welcome drag queens for storytime at a library in Otay Ranch next month. And not everyone is happy about it. A group known as MassResistance, an anti-LGBTQ organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group, plans to stage a news conference Thursday to demand that the library event be canceled.”
  • Firestorm over Drag Queen Event Pushes City to Change Library Policies – Breitbart. “The Leander, Texas City Council voted 5-2 on August 15 to end library room rentals to the public in the wake of outcry over a controversial Drag Queen Story Hour presentation.”
  • Library board can’t agree on sex crime checks proposed after drag queen story event – Wichita Eagle. “A proposal to background-check people for past sex offenses before they are allowed to make presentations at Wichita libraries was put on hold Tuesday, after a split in the board between those who want a complete ban on sex offenders and those who want staff to have some leeway.”

Joseph Coelho tour

Local news by authority

FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is a volunteer-run community group of Sutton Coldfield residents who want to see our public libraries not just survive, but thrive at the heart of our community. We support and promote the current library service in Sutton Coldfield and facilitate a richly varied programme of events and activities in Sutton Coldfield Library and through library outreach, working in collaboration with paid professional library staff. On average we put on 2-4 events a week and since we became active library borrowing has increased 10%, library footfall has increased 49% (there are now over 130,000 visits to the library each year) and library membership (new members joining) has increased 97%. FOLIO Sutton Coldfield is expanding and we’re looking for additional Trustees to join our Board. We’re particularly keen to recruit a Trustee with library experience. 
If you leave near enough Sutton Coldfield to attend out monthly Trustee meetings,  have worked or currently work in either a public or school library and would like to join our dynamic charity we’d love to hear from you. You can find full details in our Trustee recruitment pack:  http://foliosuttoncoldfield.org.uk/join-us/.”  Birmingham via email.

  • Bradford – Health hub plan for library – Telegraph and Argus. “Library bosses are in talks with GPs to bring together a range of community health and well-being services in the historic building on North Street. Health services provided by voluntary groups and charities would sit alongside library services like book lending, local history and computers. The potential team-up – which is in its early stages – has grown out of moves by Bradford Council to cut millions of pounds from its libraries budget. ” … “The first round of cuts bite on September 1, involving management changes; a cut in the book fund to £298,300 per year; and Keighley, Bingley and Shipley becoming ‘hub libraries’ with a 30% reduction in staffing. ”
  • Calderdale – Big library shake up means £2 million investment but closures too – Examiner. “Around £2 million is set to be invested in Calderdale libraries, while other village libraries will face closure unless community solutions can be found, largely due to the buildings being unfit for purpose. Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the funding and changes to the way services are delivered at a number of libraries when it meets at Halifax Town Hall on Monday, September 2.”
  • Croydon – First look at modern revamp of Selsdon Library – Your Local Guardian. “If a trial at Selsdon Library is successful Open Plus technology could be rolled out at every library in Croydon. It means that anyone with a library card can access the library out of hours. “
  • Derby – Seventh Derby library to be handed over to city charity – Derbyshire Live. “Chellaston Library will be the latest – and seventh of 10 – to have its running passed to the Derby charity Direct Help and Advice (DHA). The library’s last day under council management will be Saturday, October 12 , when it will close to re-open under DHA operation from Monday, October 28.” During the temporary closure, the council will carry out training to enable a smooth transition for customers and volunteers alike. In the interim, customers can access and reserve books at other Derby libraries, with eBooks continuing to be accessible 24/7 online.  
  • Durham Bishop Auckland Town Hall closure: here’s what you need to know – Explorar.
  • Essex – Street party in a bid to stop Manningtree Library being run voluntarily – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Save Manningtree Library Action Group is holding the party as part of a county-wide action day over Essex County Council’s (ECC) plans to create community-run libraries on September 28. “
  • Flintshire – Flintshire’s Aura Leisure and Libraries named finalist in UK Social Enterprise Awards – Leader. “”The company has only been trading since September 2017 so to be recognised on a national scale for the work we do in sustaining and improving leisure, library and heritage services in Flintshire is fantastic and gives us huge encouragement for the future.’’ “
  • Inverness – Inverness scheme aims to bring folk together – Inverness Courier. “Supporting local entrepreneurs, freelancers, sole traders and start-ups, the new space is part of the new Scottish Coworking Network scheme.”
  • Lincolnshire New IT for Lincolnshire libraries will help online accessibility – Skegness Standard. “The council’s library provider, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) is working to introduce new computers and IT equipment at libraries and community hubs across Lincolnshire.”
  • Luton – Have your say on the future of Luton’s library services – Luton Today. “The council claim they will use the survey results to ensure that in future services better meet the needs of local communities. As part of the Luton Library Needs Survey users are being asked their views on the many services available at libraries in the town including book, CD and DVD borrowing, opportunities for seeking advice, attending classes and activities, using the online services and using the library as a place to work and study quietly.”
  • Norfolk – Do you know someone who lacks the confidence in reading? – KLFM. “A learner would be matched with a Reading Pathway Volunteer and they’d then work through the ‘Yes we can read’ handbook.”
    • How you can access your local library – even when the staff aren’t there – Fakenham Times. “orfolk County Council has revealed 10 more locations for its open library scheme, which creates time slots where members can access services outside of regular opening times – without the building being staffed. First introduced in June 2018 in 30 different libraries, members can sign up to be given access to the services at certain times when a member of staff is not present – providing they do not have a history of misusing the service”
  • Northamptonshire – Investigation finds Desborough town councillors breached conduct codes over library issue – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Chair of the town council, Jean Read, along with fellow Independents for Desborough councillors Gil Holmes, Linda Burnham and Steve Draycott will have to apologise for their failure to declare their interests in the charity Desborough Library and Community Hub (DCLH) at the council’s next meeting and admit they breached the code of conduct.”
    • Northamptonshire libraries rescue plan moves step closer – BBC. Council “decided instead that 17 would be taken over by community groups, whose business plans have now been ratified, with just 14 remaining council-run. Deputy council leader Lizzy Bowen said they ensured “an efficient service… despite the budgetary constraints”. The remaining five library branches will offer statutory services and be managed by community groups, and are being helped by the council to develop their business plans.”
    • Library Service Review update – Northamptonshire County Council.
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries to screen films for those who struggle to access cinemas – Harrogate News. “One film will be for older people with memory problems, their partners, family members and carers. The other will be a relaxed screening for families who have a child with autism or other special needs. The showings will be more informal than the cinema, with room to move about, brighter lighting and no need to be silent. There will be a chance to chat during the interval over refreshments, and activities related to the film will be available to do on the day or to take home.”
  • Oldham – Oldham libraries celebrate receiving more than one million visitors – Oldham Council. There are only 220k people living in Oldham. “To further increase both visitor numbers and literacy levels among young people we abolished library fines on all books at a Cabinet meeting on Monday 22 July … The library will be welcoming a new building in the winter of 2021 when OMA launches. The new heritage and arts centre for Oldham (OMA), will transform Oldham’s former Library, Museum and Art Gallery into a vibrant multi-use cultural complex on Union Street.”
  • Shropshire – Oswestry Town Council library grant for dementia shared memory bags welcomed – Advertizer. £1k. “”Our current range of loanable Shared Memory Bags on themes such as music, travelling, childhood and pets is very popular and provides a fun, interactive and therapeutic experience free of charge to anyone with a library ticket. “
  • Staffordshire – Libraries celebrate as more than 10,000 children take the Summer Reading Challenge – Staffordshire Newsroom.
    • Landmark for Staffordshire libraries – Tamworth Informed. “This month’s transfer of the day-to-day management and delivery of Penkridge library to Penkridge Parish Council is the 27th successful completion and marks the end of the fourth phase of this four-year community library programme. Staffordshire’s library service now has more than 950 volunteers contributing at its 27 community-run libraries and the 16 that remain under direct council management.”
  • Warrington – Celebrating the history of Warrington’s museum and library – Warrington Worldwide. “Now Culture Warrington and LiveWire, which together run library, museum, arts, archives and heritage services from the building on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, have plans to re-energise the space as a creative hub, with a nod to the building’s origins as a combined museum and library.” … “The rejuvenation, which aims to establish the building as a creative hub and increase links between the museum and library services, will bring about cosmetic improvements as well as the aligning of activities and opening hours, including Sunday opening for the first time.”
  • Wokingham – Woodley Library Is Getting A Face-lift – Reading. “The work includes relocating and replacing the entrance doors, replacing the glass frontage of the building, improving the heating system and replacing some of the furniture.  Following the renovations, there will be more flexibility in how the space in the library can be used, allowing a wider range of activities and improved comfort to those using the space.  “
  • Worcestershire – Redditch Library receives £1k worth of new books after winning challenge – Redditch Standard. “The library recently won the community group/library category of the 200 million minutes challenge, organised by educational group Achievement for All. The challenge aimed for 200 million minutes to be read between World Book Day in March this year and Children’s Book Day in April.”

Diversity under attack in Devon, council’s ploys seen through in Essex and a look at the library as a perfect place to work

Editorial

I am sorry to see that Devon has suffered attacks from various quarters about have a drag queen story time or two in their libraries, although with the critical responses being thankfully less overtly religious or fanatical than those in the USA. I see such story times, and the willing embrace of diversity in the sector, as a definite highpoint of the last decade and hope that services do not bow to pressure and take the seemingly easy way out.

The public response to the deep cuts in Essex have been uniformly reassuring since they were first announced. First they protested in force and, now that the council has retracted its plans slightly, have noticed that they’re still trying to force local groups to replace paid staff. Such groups are saying clearly that they do not wish to do so. Hopefully, what is already a partial defeat for Essex will become a complete one and will show that closures or large-scale forcing of libraries to become volunteer is not an unavoidable conclusion when cuts are announced. Indeed, let us hope that the only way to respond to library cuts in future is Essex.

Finally, thank to Alex Klaushofer for her excellent review of a few public libraries in Europe. There are some stunners out there and the need for such places to offer quiet study spaces as well as shiny innovations is explored well. So have a sit down quietly some time in your library and have a read of it.

Changes by authority

National news

  • 12 incredible libraries in the UK that need to be on every bookworm’s bucket list – Mirror. Includes the normal big public libraries – Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
  • Britain’s infrastructure is breaking down. And here’s why no one’s fixing it – Guardian. ““The library really is a palace. It bestows nobility on people who can’t otherwise afford a shred of it. People need to have nobility and dignity in their lives. And, you know, they need other people to recognise it in them too.”
  • Build the library of the future – Libraries Week. “Participants should use LEGO to form the structure of their library build but are free to get creative and use other materials to bring your library to life. ” Prize includes trip to Legoland and £500 for local library.
  • Digital Development In Libraries with Pamela Tulloch And Lindsey Henderson – Princh. Experience in Scotland of barriers and opportunities.
  • Lee Child’s Night School named UK’s most borrowed library book – BookSeller. “Figures released today from UK public libraries, compiled using Public Lending Right (PLR) data, showed the Jack Reacher thriller was most popular. In all, 101,636 loans of the book were made, well above the 71,000 recorded by the previous year’s most borrowed novel, Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (Transworld).” Child was followed by John Grisham’s The Whistler (Hodder), with both writers appearing twice in the top 10. Continuing the trend for thrillers, Michael Connelly had two books in the top five, with The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Orion) at number three and The Late Show (Orion) at number five.”
  • National public library data – Libraries Hacked. “ational library statistics provide high-level comparative stats. For example, issues per year, per authority. Not much about individual libraries. The problem with this data is that it has no obvious use. No local authority would accept data without the detail of each library. So why compile such data at a national level? Although the end goal is to have national data, the starting point needs to be local data in a standard form …”
  • Paradise Found: In search of the perfect Library – Public Libraries News. Alex Klaushofer argues that, in the 21st-century, the public library has a vital role to play as a place to be and work. Spending some time as an itinerant researcher, she unexpectedly finds her perfect library workspace in a far-flung European city.
  • Practical solutions for a single digital presence – CILIP. “The report, Digital Transformation for UK Public Libraries: five approaches to a ‘single digital presence’ published on 6 June, explains how it selected five of the most likely ways to deliver ‘a single digital presence’. It then goes further, whittling it down to three. And more work is being done: “We’re doing a second scoping piece at the moment, a bit more user testing of what people want and will provide some more actionable recommendations that can very much start to move this forward. The sector has been waiting quite a while now and we’re conscious of that.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Anglesey – Holyhead Library begins new chapter with move to historic market hall – North Wales Chronicle. “The ambitious project to revitalise Holyhead Market Hall is set to be completed later this year. However, the town’s new library opens its doors to the public on September 2, after the old library, on Newry Street, closes on Saturday, August 17” … “An exciting new event space is found at the heart of the library, where an array of activities and events will be held. Visitors to the library can also take advantage of the flexible social space to meet friends, take part in reading groups or just enjoy a chat. “. Includes Changing Places toilet.
  • Bradford – MP enters debate over cuts to Bradford museums and libraries – Telegraph and Argus. “Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West has criticised Bradford Council’s plans to slash the budget for the services, reducing the department’s budget by 65 per cent over two years. Details of what the cuts will look like will not be revealed until September, but the Council has announced that it will be cutting its museums and galleries budget, currently, £1.8 million, by £500,000 in 2020/21. “
  • Bromley – Library staff and union members united in protest to Bromley library cuts – London News Online. “There are currently 50 library workers at GLL’s 14 libraries across Bromley who have been on strike since June 6. The dispute began when library workers across Bromley said that GLL had let members of staff go without replacing them, creating an increase in workload which was not reflected in their pay.” … “A spokeswoman for GLL said: “Once again we refute the allegations made by Unite. We operate a fair deal on pay and consider the union’s inflation busting six per cent pay claim unrealistic and unaffordable”
    • Demonstrations planned at Bromley libraries as workers continue to strike – Bromley Borough News. Demonstrations to be held. ““We have had a constructive meeting with GLL to discuss our main priority – staffing. During the consultation before the contract was handed to GLL, Bromley’s Tory councillors were quoted that there would be no loss of professional staff. We are now awaiting staffing proposals from GLL which we expect to reflect this commitment.”
  • Cambridgeshire – MP Steve Barclay celebrates successful 4th year of Read to Succeed with £18,000 of donated books handed to every Year 4 & 5 child in NE Cambs – Cambs Times. “”Read to Succeed aims to help combat this. In the back of every book donated is a library token which each child can take to their local library and take part in the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.”
  • Camden – Transforming Kentish Town Library – Ideas Day – Camden Council. “Camden Council is investing £1.5 million to make sure that libraries best meet the needs of our communities now and in the future: This work is being piloted in Kentish Town Library, where over the last few months the Council has been talking to local residents, library users and partner organisations about their ideas for the library. The Ideas Day aims to share initial design ideas developed from these conversations, and get residents’ help in choosing the ideas to take forward and make happen …”
  • Croydon – Revamped Selsdon Library has officially re-opened – Guardian series. “As part of a refurbishment of the library in Addington Road, Selsdon will be the first library in Croydon to trial Open+ technology. ” … “Next on the list to be upgraded are Norbury and Thornton Heath libraries.  Norbury Library in will temporarily close for a £1 million refurbishment on August 31, reopening in Spring 2020. “
  • Cumbria – Barrow wins £2m grant as it bids to become UK destination of culture – The Mail. “The Barra Culture team is made up of Women’s Community Matters, Brathay Trust, Natural England, Art Gene, Signal Film and Media, Full of Noises, and Ashton Group Theatre, as well as Cumbria Libraries, and Barrow Borough Council. “
  • Derbyshire – Only half of council’s libraries handed to volunteers have groups to run them – Derbyshire Live. “A council has revealed that only 10 out of 20 libraries it intends to hand to volunteers have community groups fit to take them on. This comes eight months after Derbyshire County Council finalised its proposals to stop running 20 of its 45 libraries in order to save £1.6 million. It formally invited community groups to come forward to take on the 20 under-used libraries in March. Since then, only half the libraries set to be moved out of county council management have had community groups come forward with robust enough plans to take them on.”
  • Devon – Drag queen teaches kids to ‘twerk’ at library story hour – Lifesite News. “A drag queen in the United Kingdom was caught on camera teaching small children at a library story hour how to perform the sexually-suggestive dance move called “twerking.”
  • Dudley – Blackheath and Cradley libraries to host free breakfasts this summer – Cotsworld Journal.
  • Durham – Bishop Auckland Town Hall closes to become cultural hub – Northern Echo. “Improvements will include the creation of a new café, bar and contemporary art gallery space on the ground floor, as well as enhanced library facilities.”
  • Essex – Campaigners: Libraries boss ‘put gun to people’s heads’ – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Save Our Libraries Essex has condemned County Hall’s revised libraries strategy, which will see volunteer groups given a small grant over three years to keep services running, as “closure by stealth”. Groups, including those in Coggeshall and Holland-on-Sea, have withdrawn their offers to run libraries. The campaign group has produced an information pack which it has sent to town and parish councils warning of the “impossible job” community groups would face. “
    • ‘Our libraries must be saved’ – Braintree and Witham Times. “Mr Coates said: “The really essential part of a library strategy in Essex – or anywhere else- is to reverse the decline in use. “It is perfectly possible to do that by concentrating on the strengths that libraries have in the eyes of people who might use them.”
    • ‘Stealth closures’: Essex groups back away from volunteer-run libraries – Guardian. “On Monday, Tracey Vickers, who led a bid by Coggeshall residents to take over a branch, said they had felt pressured into submitting an expression of interest in order to secure a meeting with the council, which had “repeatedly refused on the grounds that they were ‘too busy and couldn’t meet every community group’”.”
    • Volunteers urged to pull out of offers to take on libraries – Braintree and Witham Times. “Sole condemned County Hall libraries boss Susan Barker’s proposal, claiming community groups would not only be responsible for staffing and fully running libraries, but housing them as well. A spokesman said: “The purpose of our information pack is to ensure every single community group thinking of volunteering knows they no longer have to as a last resort to save their library.”
    • Villagers ditch their bid to run libraries – Braintree and Witham Times. “Groups in Coggeshall, Holland-on-Sea, Chigwell and Harlow have pulled their offers in a move which has been welcomed by campaign group Save Our Libraries Essex (Sole). “
  • Fife – Dunfermline-born philanthropist Andrew Carnegie would be ‘sad to see decline of libraries’, says museum on centenary of death – Courier. “Our busy exhibition and library events programme continues his ethos of enriching the lives of people through culture and it is a privilege to manage the first-ever Carnegie Library in the world – one of 2,800 worldwide – and have it housed in the award-winning five-star visitor attraction that is Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries.”
  • Flintshire – Employee-owned leisure centres and libraries welcome over 1.5 million visits in one year News from Wales. “Providing culture, sport and leisure opportunities to the region, the social enterprise recorded an impressive 1.1 million visits to its leisure centres and 600,000 visits to its libraries in the last 12 months.”
  • Hertfordshire – Having charity running libraries deprives councils of business rates – St Albans Review. “… it is estimated it will cost the 10 districts and boroughs – who each receive a chunk of the business rates collected – hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost income. Liberal Democrat Cllr Sara Bedford – who is a county councillor and leader of Three Rivers District Council – estimates that Three Rivers will lose £22,000 a year as a result of the change – adding up to £110,000 over the five-year library contract. “
  • Kirklees – Almondbury Library holds fun filled open day in exciting new dementia-friendly building – Kirklees Together. “The lighting, acoustics, furniture, walls, carpet and signage were all considered and there are cues and clues to help people use the library as independently as possible. The aim is for all staff and volunteers to be Dementia Friends …”
  • Lancashire – New chapter beckons for Lytham’s library service – Blackpool Gazette. “The new library is in the Assembly Rooms in Dicconson Terrace following the closure of the service in its long-time home, the Institute building in Clifton Street, by the County Council’s previous Labour administration in September 2016. The Assembly Rooms has been let on a long lease to the County Council by Lytham Town Trust and will feature more than 4.300 books along with facilities for baby bounce and rhyme, toddler rhyme time and digital support sessions.”
  • North Lanarkshire – Airdrie MP criticises plans to reduce opening hours at Monklands libraries – Daily Record. “ast week’s Advertiser told how evening opening at Airdrie and Coatbridge libraries is to be reduced from four nights to two and Chapelhall library will close on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. Chryston library will reduce to opening on three days per week instead of the current five and will lose its late night, and Moodiesburn will close on Friday afternoons, as part of a Culture NL programme to find required savings of £400,000.”
  • North Yorkshire – Author embarks on library-joining marathon – North Yorkshire County Council.
  • Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire school takes over library from cash-crisis council – BBC. “Northgate School Arts College, which already runs a cafe and sweet shop, will take over Northampton’s Kingsthorpe Library. Its head said pupils would “love the structured environment” of a library.” … “Head teacher Sheralee Webb said the library, which will pay £15,300 per year to lease the building, would be supported by crowdfunding for up to the first two years.” … “Ms Webb said running a library would be a “learning curve for all of us” but that it would be “ideal” for pupils who might find a traditional work placement difficult.”
  • Perth and Kinross – Poet-on-a-mission picks up library card at Pitlochry – Courier. “Joseph Coelho has challenged himself to join more than 200 libraries up and down the country, in an effort to highlight their importance to local communities. The aim is to sign-up to libraries in each local authority area and hopefully encourage others to do the same.”
  • Perthshire – 3D facilities will be available in Perthshire libraries – Daily Record. “AK Bell Library in Perth already has a Digital Maker Space, which has already proven to be extremely popular, with visitors, artists and local entrepreneurs taking advantage of the superb digital resources.” Another one to be added at Strathearn.
  • Sheffield – Poor choice of magazines in libraries, says councillor – Sheffield Telegraph. “A councillor has questioned why Sheffield libraries no longer stock political magazines but do offer random ones which are of “no interest” to people.” … ““For example, there is little choice of magazines covering politics and current affairs in Central Library, which no longer stocks magazines such as Private Eye, but stocks magazines of little to no interest for most people such as Football Stadium Management Magazine.”
  • St Helens – Moving library into one of our best exhibition spaces seems a strange way to go – St Helens Star. “… as an artist moving the library into one of the best exhibition spaces in the North West (The World of Glass) seems a strange way to go.  The large exhibition space as you go in is second to none for flexibility for so many art mediums and exhibitions with the wonderful floor to ceiling windows.”
  • Warrington – Stockton Heath Library to reopen next month – Warrington Worldwide. “Stockton Heath Library is to reopen on Monday September 2 following a 12-week, £195,000 redevelopment – that includes dementia friendly design throughout and more flexible activity and events spaces. The library, on Alexandra Road, is the first of the town’s libraries to benefit from Warrington Borough Council’s £1m library investment programme.