• Bilbary eBookstore now live – Digital Reader.  “When Bilbary was first announced last December, it was pitched as a rental service. That didn’t come to past, unfortunately, because publishers simply didn’t warm to the idea (except for the ones who have signed with Afictionado or launched Skoobe). They much preferred to sell ebooks, not rent them.This means Bilbary is really not much more than just another ebookstore.” … “Publishing is behaving like a legacy industry that is content to rest on its laurels. They’re making money with what they know works, so they see no reason to try something new.But that might change if print revenues keep dropping or if ebook revenues level off.”

“The trade publishers just weren’t interested in the idea of renting ebooks, and that’s because ebook sales are too good at the moment. They’re making a nice profit with a system they understand, so they see no reason to  potentially undermine it by introducing rentals to the market. According to Tim, ebook rentals might happen next year or the year after.”

  • Developing young audiences for the arts – Arts Marketing Association.  “There are loads of great examples of youth arts projects. Get it Loud in Libraries is run by Lancashire County Council and works with young volunteers to deliver live music events in libraries and offer amazing opportunities to young people.”
  • Equality comes off the shelf – Independent (Boyd Tonkin).  … once more, the successful challenge has not depended on the often-invoked Public Libraries and Museums Act of 1964. In the Surrey case, it was again the 2010 Equality Act – with its stipulation that public services should be equally accessible for all – that clinched the protestors’ legal argument. This swansong of the Labour government only completed its parliamentary progress in April 2010. It has since turned into rough music for Coalition ears.”
  • Future role for librariesLibrary Careers Centre.   “what is the remaining USP of libraries? What feature do they have, that the internet cannot offer? What benefits does this bring? One obvious one that springs to mind is – a physical space. A place to congregate. A place for direct person to person knowledge transfer, collaboration and sharing. I think libraries need to consider what activities, related to information and knowledge transfer, can only take place in a physical space.”
  • Privatised libraries, not an April Fool’s joke – Pulse (USA).   “Libraries are the most benevolent of all institutions, and every time I go into a public library, one thought recurs through my brain “Public libraries have to be the worst business model of all time, which is exactly the point. They are the one institution that no sane person could argue for privatizing.” … “On the whole, LSSI libraries are a mixed bag, just like an all-public system. I only bring up, such incidents only serve to prove that there is nothing inherent in the efficiency of private management vs. public management.” … “by its own admission through its business model, it doesn’t actually save city/county governments any money. LSSI takes the money it’s been budgeted, and then makes its cuts at will, and does whatever it wants with any money left over.” … ” do you really think a for-profit company would let kids just read off their fines when the bottom line is at stake? My point exactly.”
  • You and Yours – Radio Four, 21m to 29m.  Bilbary “aims to offer all the ebooks in the world”, including rentals as well as purchase.  Library campaigner Tim Coates is the founder.  Be able to “rent parts of books, not the whole thing” especially useful for students – rent individual chapters.  Prices should be cheaper than printed books.   Bookseller interviewee says that site especially sells backlist titles, not today’s bestsellers and that Bilbary will be a handy competitor to Amazon which  funnels people in one direction.

Local News

  • Barnet – Occupy: the residents of Friern Barnet take back their libraryBroken Barnet.  “The official closing time was 4pm, but an earlier shutting time had been arranged. In the end, the protestors stayed until six o’clock, until they felt their point had been made, and then left, to applause from the supporters waiting outside.” … “rather disgusted by the state of the loo, to which they had only been allowed access after protest by Councillor Salinger. Before that, due to the intransigence of staff acting on orders from on high, they had been obliged to make use of a One Barnet wastebin.” … “The library has been officially valued at the bargain, knock down price of around £400,000 – the price of a modest house in the area. In fact, like Church Farmhouse Museum and Barnet Museum, the official valuation is a nonsense, disguising the true value of the property and its grounds, and the development potential. Mrs Angry understands that the true value of these sites would take it beyond the limit whereby any proposed development would need scrutiny from a higher authority.”

“The battle for Friern Barnet library may have been lost, but the war against the petty tyranny of the Tory administration here in Broken Barnet goes on, and the strength of opposition has been galvanised by today’s events. Mrs Angry predicts a long, hot summer of discontent here in our troubled borough”

  • Buckinghamshire – £15k funding saves library – Slough & South Bucks Observer.  “Iver Heath Village Library was earmarked for closure as part of Bucks County Council’s (BCC) budget savings.But, after a business plan was put forward by secondary school teacher Alison Ward and residents, BCC offered the committee a £15,000 grant, over five years, to keep the library open. Committee spokeswoman Mrs Ward said: “There was a chance that the library was going to close. There’s a big meeting and we want people to come in and volunteer.”.  Library aims to open as run by unpaid from September.
  • Gloucestershire – Tempers flare as library cuts finalised in Gloucestershire – This is Gloucestershire.  “Bosses at the council have already said they are confident all seven libraries will be saved from closure, with plans to hand them over to volunteers well advanced.”  … “tempers flared as library services were effectively slashed across Gloucestershire – with one protester ejected from a council meeting.”Shame on you” was the cry as security told one resident to leave a Shire Hall cabinet meeting yesterday”
  • Isle of Wight – Keith Fagan interview – Vectis Radio.  Independent member of the ethical standards committee explains why he resigned his post over the leader of the council’s (David Pugh) remarks to the DCMS select committee on library closure.  Says the remarks made to the select committee was “misleading”, “I disagreed with a number of the facts being put forward”.  Keith chaired Bembridge Library User Group (BLUG) – group felt it was being “set up to fail” by council.    Lead officers saying one thing, councils another.  “A successful library, like Bembridge, deserved to stay open”.  David Pugh claimed “comprehensive survey” – but it wasn’t – only 5% of library users were sampled so “it was not comprehensive in anyone’s terms”.  County ignored 9000 petition.  Council asked groups to do equality impact assessment for them.  “The [council] lead officer said, if you don’t help me, I’ll have to make it up with the information I have” in front of a committee and a ward councillor.  Pugh said to DCMS that he had to impose 28% cut direct from central government – but this was actually only only half the truth.  Council has decided to cut the other half itself.  Bembridge costs £12k per year.  Council did not “test the market” for other services to share the building – Council had the time to “test” but decided not to.  Council decided it wanted to close the libraries at the start of the process and to force volunteers to take it over: not other options considered … long article that makes clear that Mr Fagan is a principled gentleman and should be listened to.
  • Kirklees Council must learn from library court case – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  “This situation highlights how much the paid, experienced and knowledgeable staff are the heart and lungs of the library service. Councillors, please do not insult the present library staff and system by suggesting volunteers could provide a better service. It must be crystal clear that Tom, Dick or Harry do not have either the commitment or the tools for the job.”
  • Warwickshire – Sad farewell ends library’s final chapter – This is Tamworth.  “Supporters of Kingsbury Library bid staff a fond farewell this week when the centre closed its doors for the final time.”