• Action continues as people fight for libraries – False Economy.  Summary of the Speak Up for Libraries day and library lobbying activities.

    “The print edition of The Bookseller has a News Report by Benedicte Page reporting that the SCL is to have meetings with individual publishers over e-book lending, with licensing business models amongst proposals for discussion. Leasing e-books for a set time period, or a limited number of loans – the proposal favoured by Harper Collins a year ago, and at the time widely criticised – are among the options being put forward. Mark Taylor, chair of the SCL digital group is quoted as saying … that in the absence of Public Lending Right payments for e-books, a proposal for alternative remuneration for authors was “in the mix”. In the report Nicola Solomon, general secretary of the Society of Authors, questioned whether e-lending was a core service for libraries. “My personal view is that libraries are important as community spaces, and (that they) are maybe undermining their own value if they are e-book lending instead of physical lending.”  Desmonde Clarke (by email)

  • Canadian libraries: a tale of two authorities – Word With Jam.  Looks at two different Canadian library authorities: an expanding one in a prosperous suburb and the cuts-hit Toronto system.  “After ten days, the union concluded a deal with the Library Board that involved some compromise on both sides. But Toronto’s libraries reopened on 30th March with their workers in a better position than those in unions who had to deal directly with the City Council. Toronto still loves its libraries, even if the ‘Twin Fordmayors’ still don’t get it. ” 
  • Ebook prices should be halved – Telegraph.  Tim Coates: “Bilbary would also partner with libraries, allowing customers to buy books with the money going to their local library. The site has been working with library services in the US but Mr Coates said it was much harder to do the same thing in Britain. “It isn’t funding that’s the problem with the English public library system,” he said, “they’re so badly run.”

  • Is Dan the Man? – Spectator.  Profile of Dan Jarvis, shadow minister for libraries.  “This should give Ed Vaizey, his Tory oppo, the vapours. Dan’s not a natural for the arts. He’s a physical, practical chap full of army jargon about realities on the ground. But since he became shadow arts minister, I’m afraid he’s been knocking Vaizey for six. ‘I had a go at him again yesterday,’ says Dan with a grin. ‘He says that the library closures are local government’s fault. I say, that’s not good enough! He should show some leadership and champion libraries. Get out there! I asked him if he was a champion for libraries and he had to ignore the question because he couldn’t possibly say he was. No one could, except his close family. Ed was articulate in opposition, but in power he just doesn’t bother. Despite all his good ideas about libraries, Dan’s heart is really in defence…”

 Think like a startup: A white paper to inspire library entrepeneurialismReference Notes (USA).  This image demonstrates how far UK public libraries lag behind US ones – the vast majority of British libraries would be in “late majority” or “laggards” on this curve.  Few will have any idea what “visualization services” even means while 3D printing is the stuff of science fiction.  Survival is more the order of the day.
  • Michael Morpurgo: Hay Library Lecture – Telegraph.  “Michael Morpurgo, something of an international treasure now that his work has been taken up by Steven Spielberg, will be doing two intriguing events at Hay this year. The first is the inaugural Hay Library Lecture, entry to which is (ingeniously) by library card. The author of War Horse and Kaspar: Prince of Cats will make a passionate case for the importance of public libraries.”
  • Mobile library cuts to hit elderly and rural dwellers – Telegraph.  “Nearly a third of local authorities have reduced or cancelled their mobile library service in the last year, according to statistics obtained by The Daily Telegraph.”.  Uses CILIP survey data.  “28 per cent of the 174 library authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have reduced the number of mobile library vehicles that they operate over the last year.”

“In 2010, before the budget cuts, there were 430 mobile libraries in Britain. As 28 per cent of councils have since reduced services, it is estimated that around 120 of these vehicles may have decommissioned or put on reduced routes in the last year.”

  • Over 3000 village libraries closed for want of fundsLIS LINKS (India)– “Though the state government’s move to revive and strengthen the district libraries is a welcome step, many other libraries located at sub-divisional towns, blocks and villages also require government attention. More than 3,000 village libraries have been closed for want of funds during the past two decades. The condition of most of the village libraries is quite appalling. They lack basic reading materials, infrastructure and professionally qualified librarians. Most of them do not have money to purchase even daily newspapers. New books and periodicals are a distant dream.”
  • Sisterships – Naple Sister Libraries (EU).  A twinning programme for public libraries from different European countries.  The UK is, sadly, not participating in the programme.

Local News

Barnet – Save Friern Barnet Library video.  “A small collection
 and tribute to all of those that played a part in trying
 to keep our library open. Sadly, our efforts were not heard
 and our Cabinet decided to vote through the closure.”

  • Brent – Barham Pop Up Library (via email) “Friends of Barham Library are starting their Pop Up Library on Saturday 21 April between 10:30am & 2:30p.m. in the old Nursery Building at Barham School enrance from Danethorpe Road (off Norton Road) Wembley. Please come and support us and bring family, friends and neighbours. We plan to be open every Saturday until at least end of July. Volunteers and Help welcome – email: to offer help, donate more books, CDs, Dvd’s.”
  • Camden – Primrose Hill Community Library   “We are a group of volunteers who came together to save our much loved local library when it lost all public funding in 2011. We have been inspired by the strength and spirit of the community backing our efforts –  thanks to 179 residents volunteering their time and 454 financial pledges totalling £574,515 we are set to take over the building from Camden Council on a 20 year lease.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Fighting pay cuts in Chester – Liverpool.  “I have just returned from the picket line outside Chester library where staff are fighting cuts in their pay and conditions. Tory controlled Chester council has decided to remove national pay enhancements the staff receive for working weekends, bank holidays and overtime. They are also cutting the rate for working nights.”
  • Doncaster – Opening: Children turn out for Eva – Star.   “Balby Community Library celebrated its official opening with a visit from civic mayor by Eva Hughes, who cut a ribbon to declare it open. She was joined by 50 pupils from three of Balby’s primary schools who attended the event. Members of the board which is managing the new venture congratulated the volunteers who attended the opening for their enthusiasm and dedication towards offering the Library service in a new way. It is one of 12 libraries which are becoming community-led.”
  • Kirklees – Cash for librariesHuddersfield Examiner (Letters).  “Donation boxes should be placed in all Kirklees libraries. Users of these should be encouraged to make a small donation, say 20p or 50p for each book borrowed or service used. At the end of the financial year it would show the level of support for those libraries under threat by the amount of donations they received.”
  • Liverpool – A sense of mourning, a need to organise – Alan Gibbons. “Three of Liverpool’s libraries have closed for good. The libraries, in Woolton, Great Homer Street and Lodge Lane, have been shut because the Labour council says it can no longer afford to operate them. Take just one of the libraries, Woolton. It was built in 1926, the year of the General Strike. It survived the Great Depression, the Thatcher recession and the downturn of the nineties and now it has closed leaving a hole in the community.” 
  • Northumberland – New chapter for mobile library routes – Morpeth Herald.  “The new service aims to provide regular fortnightly stops across the county as previously some areas were served by a weekly rota, while others had a three-week rota, and there will be longer stops in central locations. Now vans will stay in areas for 20, 40 or 60 minutes. In addition, the Monday service has been scrapped due to interruptions from Bank Holidays and a new Saturday route has been introduced in some areas to make it more accessible for people who work through the week.”
  • Nottingham – New home for library will be in “the hub of the community” – This is Nottingham.   “St Ann’s library closed this week and will move into the new St Ann’s Valley Centre….St Ann’s Valley Centre is the city’s fourth joint services centre and will be the hub of the community offering access to services including local GPs, housing, council and community services.”
  • Warwickshire  Villager re-open Dunchurch Library – Coventry Telegraph.   “Villagers have re-opened Dunchurch Library which closed due to budget cuts. Dunchurch Library was one of 16 libraries which had their funding withdrawn by Warwickshire County Council. It closed on March 23, but the parish council took over the management and the building re-opened on Tuesday, April 3.”
    • Delight as Studley community library goes live – Redditch Advertiser.   “The library closed on March 23 with a community group then taking over its management and launching a new service at the village hall. It will be part of the community hub at the village hall which also features a stage, cinema facilities, a café and a meeting room.”