• An open letter about eBooks and Douglas County Libraries – Douglas County Libraries (USA). “In a free market, companies are free to set their prices. But we are free to seek a better deal – and we’ve found one. Instead of passively accepting what amounts to a 33% reduction in the purchasing power of the library, we’ll be extending our network of electronic publishers to include those who are more responsive to our needs and budgets.We have now identified some 12 groups of publishers, comprising over 800 individual companies.” 
  • Mayor candidate supports Upper Norwood Library – Croydon Guardian.  The reason I am so supportive of what you are doing here is I don’t think they should be shutting down a single library.”The reason libraries are being shut is they are not run efficiently. You have proved you can keep libraries open by running them more efficiently.”
  • Ministry of Fun or Ministry of Fumble: do we really need the DCMS? – Our Kingdom.  Analysis and history of the DCMS.   “There also seems to be a strange mis-match between the Department’s responsibilities (broadcasting, libraries, museums, sport and tourism) and its stated strategic priorities: children and young people, communities, delivery, economy and the Olympic Games and their legacy.” … “More importantly, the DCMS lacks clout.  A tiny department is poorly placed to attract high-flying civil servants.  It is no secret that clients of the DCMS, and top mandarins in the larger departments of state, regard the quality of staff there as low. “
    • Culture, Media and Sport “should close” – Public Service.  IEA does not like the DCMS but PCS union does.
    • Harman fears of DCMS abolition – BookSeller.  “Independent Mayor of London candidate Siobhan Benita visited an under threat library and vowed, if elected, to protect every library in the capital. Mrs Benita, who hails from New Malden and is the only Independent candidate running in the Mayoral Election, was at Upper Norwood Library on Thursday April 19 to lend public support to the campaign to prevent its closure.”
    • Should we abolish the DCMS? – Institute of Economic Affairs. Panel discussion, back in February, of a rightwing think-tank may have set the ball rolling.

“Many of us have been dismayed, though probably not surprised by the failure of the DCMS, in the form of Minister for Ignoring Library Users Ed Vaizey, to intervene when councils have slashed services. That does not mean we would see the abolition of the DCMS as a step forward. A new department with a consciously business ethic, favouring philanthropy over public service, administered by the same Mr Vaizey, might easily be substantially worse, especially if the main reason for the change is to make even deeper cuts. For a very long time library campaigners have argued that there should be some kind of Libraries Development Board, promoting the specific interests of libraries. The track record of the DCMS is poor, but we should be very wary of wholesale closure. The interests of libraries could be even more poorly served.”  Alan Gibbons


Local News

  • Barnet – Dear Stephen Fry – Save Friern Barnet Library Group.   “One of the reasons the closure is a problem, is that they aren’t closing it, they are permanently moving it to a library a considerable distance away which we could only reach by car; or should I say the locals could only reach by car. Countless people visit the gem of our “town” every week to enjoy and embrace the fiction and non- fiction that literally flies within the walls that is its sanctuary, that the council is trying to crush. There is so much more I’d like to tell you but you must be busy, but just remember, that not only the adults fight, but the children do too. I’m only 11 but just like my classmates, we love books, and will do anything to keep our local library, our gem, here and local.”
  • Brent – Anger at Brent Council plans to charge campaigners handing out leaflets – Brent and Kilburn Times.   “Brent Council has been accused of trying to gag campaigners and restrict free speech after it announced plans to ban leafleting around the borough. Instead, anyone who wants to hand out free literature would have to apply for a licence at a cost of £175. The new restrictions would not apply to charities, religious organisations or political parties. But community groups campaigning on local issues would have to apply for a licence.”
    • Outrage as Brent Council plan to charge citizens for free speech – Wembley Matters. ” I wrote in my blog breaking news of the plans that the definition of ‘political purposes’ would be open to interpretation LINK. Campaigns around cuts and libraries etc are ‘political’ but not representing a political party. It now appears that Brent’s interpretation is that exempt activities are those of political parties campaigning at election time.”. 
  • Camden – Country “should follow” Hampstead’s lead as community take over library – Ham & High.    “Lord Hoffman has lived across the road from the library for 32 years and often pops across to borrow a reference book. He said: “If it cannot work in Hampstead, it really isn’t going to work anywhere. It should be an example for community action.””