Archive for May, 2012

The Giving Library

Please note that this will be the last edition of Public Libraries News until mid June.  In the meantime, for your public library news please consult the excellent blog of Alan Gibbons and also the Voices for the Library website.   I will still be checking emails.


  • Florida teen starts “giving library” for homeless kids – Good Education (USA).  “Two-thirds of poor children have no age-appropriate books at home, and the nation’s 1.6 million homeless children have even fewer options. Fifteen-year-old Florida resident Lilli Leight wanted to help provide homeless kids in her community with access to books, so she created a “giving library” at a Miami homeless shelter. To staff the library, she formed a teen book club to encourage her classmates to volunteer.”

“while all focus is on Kensal Rise hundreds of libraries elsewhere are quietly being turned over to be private reading clubs #savelibraries” Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.

“Linda Constable, Chair of the Libraries Change Lives judging panel, comments: “This is called the ‘Libraries Change Lives’ award for one very simple reason… because they do! All three projects on this year’s shortlist prove just that. This year our fantastic nominees highlight the rich fabric of modern society and the library’s continued importance within it.””


Local News

“Brent Council finding it very difficult to light the books.  Please send fuel to Brentnazi, Booktrash House, Shamelessville.” Michael Rosen on Twitter.

““The shadow Culture Secretary Dan Jarvis was well received at the Speak up for Libraries rally in March for asking failed Culture Minister Ed Vaizey if he was a champion for libraries. That question will look like double standards if the Labour leadership fails to distance itself from this irresponsible act of cultural vandalism.”” Alan Gibbons

    • Sacking of a library in the middle of the night – Free Thought Blogs.  
    • Kensal Rise library to be sold or rented out after Brent Council’s 3am raid to strip it of books – Independent.   “All Souls, the Oxford University college which owns the building, confirmed the move to either sell it or rent it out, presenting campaigners with yet another obstacle in their fight to save the Kensal Rise library. “We really wish this had not happened and we regret that it has,” a spokesman for the College told The Independent.” … “But Margaret Bailey, one of the leaders of the campaign, said that buying the building was unrealistic. “We do not have £1m, which is the approximate value. We will not be in a position to make an offer. Our only hope is to negotiate a deal with All Souls College to rent the building at a preferential rate,” she said.”

“Even the Chinese are building more libraries and encouraging folks to read western literature. Ths used to be confined to Shakespeare – Dickens and Twain. But today you can  find Salinger’s  “Catcher in the Rye” – Kerouack’s “On the Road” and “Howl” by Ginsberg . The Chinese are also developing a system of mobile libraries throughout the land to give village  people the opportunity to become more literate.”

“we can’t afford things in the jubilee year of the present queen that were affordable in the jubilee year of Queen Victoria.”

  • Croydon – Civica pulls out of libraries because of risk to its “brand” – Inside Croydon.  “Civica, one of the five companies bidding for the Croydon and Wandsworth privatised libraries contract, has pulled out of the process citing “potential risk to the Civica brand of taking on a contract which is outside their core competence”.” … “Civica’s withdrawal means it is likely that Wandsworth council’s in-house bid – originally rejected in the shortlisting process – will now be added to the other four as a makeweight. Or, as it is put in formal council-speak, “to maintain a credible level of competition upon which to base a contract award”. There’s credible, and then there is… well, some have suggested that the entire process, at a cost to the Croydon Council Tax-payers of £250,000, is mere window-dressing before handing the deal to LSSI.”

if large private sector services company doesn’t think it has competency to run libraries, how come volunteers can do it?” Comment seen on Twitter.

  • Hampshire – Library consultation attracts big crowd – Southern Daily Echo.  More than 100 people visited the Carroll Centre in Winchester for the public consultation on new plans to relocate a local library. The county council wants to shut Stanmore Library and transfer books to the centre and upgrade the facilities. The library is currently the least-used library in Hampshire, although it does have restricted opening hours.”
  • Hertfordshire – Celebrate BookStart’s 20th birthday in a Hertfordshire library near you –  Hertfordshire County Council press release.  “Hertfordshire libraries are getting ready to celebrate the 20th birthday of Bookstart – a programme to introduce babies and toddlers to books. This year National Bookstart week, which aims to help every child in the UK to develop a lifelong love of books, takes place from June 11 to 17.  Throughout June, children are invited to bring their favourite bear to join in the Bookstart party fun at a Baby Rhyme Time or Story and Rhyme Time activity session. These are free, lively, informal and fun activities organised at your local library, where families will be able to join in to sing songs and listen to stories together.”
  • Surrey – Library volunteers plan “will not save money” – BBC.   “the Cabinet Member for ommunity Services, Helyn Clack, has admitted there will not be any savings, either in the current financial year or in future years. She said the £106,000 required for annual training and support for the volunteers would not cost any extra, as this would be met from “realignment of staff roles”. Lib Dem leader Hazel Watson said: “The Conservative administration’s plan to press ahead with volunteer-run libraries is an insult to the many Surrey residents who have campaigned vigorously to keep their local libraries fully staffed by professional librarians.”
    • SCC: no cost justification for library plans – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.   “For 16 months Surrey County Council has justified its removal of paid staff from ten libraries across Surrey on the basis of cost savings. The Council has argued that the reason it needed volunteers to manage and deliver library services in the ten communities was that it was the only way to reduce costs and for them to stay open. We have argued all along that the cost savings argument doesn’t stack up. We have argued, most recently in yesterday’s open letter, that maintaining professional staff in the libraries is the cheaper and simpler option. Today, Surrey County Council admitted that we have been right all along: that there is no cost justification in its Community Partnered Library (CPL) policy.”

“The council has hoodwinked volunteers that have come forward in good faith to save their local library. But they have been fed a despicable lie by SCC. Their libraries were never under threat. There was never any cost savings basis for making volunteers run their own library.”

  • Worcestershire – Kidderminster Library gallery plan could cost £300,000 – Shuttle.   “The announcement from Worcestershire County Council came as the Friends of Kidderminster Library Gallery launched a petition against the changes. Proposals would see the arts space make way for 90 desks and 139 staff from Worcestershire County Council’s adult and social care and children’s services.”.  Council says ““We will achieve annual revenue savings of at least £206,000 through coming out of the Elgar House lease [where social care staff are currently based].”

“Kidderminster is full of empty shops and offices which haven’t had large sums spent making them good gallery and concert space. Why not use one of them and help a local property business?”

“Like thieves in the night”: the emptying of Kensal Rise Library 29th May

Terrible news from Brent as the Council, despite recently making conciliatory noises, used the early hours and a large security and police presence to empty Kensal Rise Library.  By this surprise tactic, compared in the Telegraph to a raid on a crack house, the Council finally succeeded in emptying the library after previous attempts had been rebuffed by local campaigners.  The clearance shows starkly the wide chasm between the council and the local community.  The campaigners were not two years ago an organised force but rather just local library users.  By ignoring their wishes and by heavy-handed actions such as this, Brent Council has bought tremendous negative publicity onto itself.
That Brent Council have now effectively closed over half of their libraries and are willing to go to such measures as witnessed early on Tuesday morning shows how dire the situation has come to in some authorities.  It will deeply embarrass those in the national Labour Party who are trying hard to harness popular dissatisfaction with the Coalition over library cuts and closures.  The Coalition should not enjoy the moment for long either, even though they often use Brent as a stick to beat their opposition with.  That Ed Vaizey and the DCMS will not intervene in Brent is even now a pretty much foregone conclusion, making the Coalition’s commitment to the 1964 Act and its provision for a “comprehensive and efficient” library service highly questionable.  Even in Brent.
Police look on as books are taken out of Kensal Rise Library, 
Photograph courtesy of the Brent Library campaign
Key points
  • 2am.  Around 15 security guards and 12 police accompany Brent’s Property Officer into Kensal Rise Library.
  • 2am to 3am.  Items removed include: all the books, 1930s murals made specifically for the library, plaques commemorating opening of library by Mark Twain, tables, chairs, microwave and other items.
  • Removal of books may trigger automatic reversion of building to All Souls College.  The college has previously made it clear that it did not want the building back and are happy for it be used as a library.
  • Books will go to the six (actually five – Willesden Green Library is closed for conversion into a cultural centre, with its books being put into storage at a cost of £500k) remaining libraries in Brent.  There were twelve libraries in Brent one year ago.
  • Campaigners claim the new leader of Brent Council, Cllr Butt, had misled them in a recent meeting where he promised the murals and some other items would not be removed.
  • Previous attempts by council to remove books had been stopped by the local community.
  • Later on the day, Cllr Butt told campaigners he had not been told of the clearance until a couple of hours before the action took place.  However, he stood by the decision.
  • Coverage of the clearance in the Telegraph, Guardian and London Evening Standard
  • Calls on national Labour Party to condemn actions of its Brent councillors.
Coverage and quotes from the day
“The Council of the Royal Society of Literature, which has consistently opposed the closure of public libraries, is appalled to hear of the action taken by Brent Council in the former Kensal Rise Library in the early hours of this morning. We gather that a Council group, guarded by a dozen policemen, unscrewed from the wall and removed the brass plaque commemorating the opening of the building by Mark Twain in 1900, and the plaque marking the centenary of the same event. This appears to be an act of philistinism bordering on vandalism, and we wonder what the justification for it can be.”
  • Campaigners condemn council after library is emptied at night – Guardian.  “The council has claimed the library’s future is out of its hands as the building has legally reverted to its original landlords: All Souls College, Oxford. But the Save Kensal Rise Library campaigners point to a letter received in March from the college, which says that All Souls “would be happy to consider the library being kept open”, as proposed in their business plan.” Council says “”On the advice of the police, the council removed its property from the building in the early hours of the morning,” the spokesman said. “We will now hand the keys back to All Souls College. The books and other materials will be sorted and distributed amongst the council’s six libraries for the use of all Brent residents. The council has committed to contacting All Souls College on behalf of the Friends of Kensal Rise Library to enable discussion between the two parties.””

“Dear Cllr Muhammed Butt, One day, I hope, politicians will be in power who wish to serve, enable and inspire the community who they represent. Instead of the politicking, conniving and self-regarding politicians we appear to have now. Shame on you for your behaviour over Kensal Rise library.The name of the Labour Party in relation to this issue is poison with everybody who I know in this area.” Caroline Bottomley, Brent library user.

“The playwright Michael Frayn also condemned the move. “They took the books out and the plaque down? So the library is now an unlibrary, in the way that people became unpersons in the darkest days of the Soviet Union. I hope they took the titles of the books off as well. Removing unbooks from an unlibrary – who could possibly object?” The biographer Sir Michael Holroyd said: “The wanton destruction of the Kensal Rise Library – its books removed, its history erased – is a gross act of philistinism which will bring lasting shame to all involved.”

  • Council accused of “deceit” over stripping disputed library of books – Telegraph.  “Whatever the reason, a council was taking no chances when it came to finally closing down a local library. With a show of force usually reserved for clearing crack houses and illegal gipsy camps, they raided the building at 2am with dozens of police and security guards – and removed all the books.” … ““We had a meeting last week where Mo Butt promised not to remove the murals and furniture until we had met All Souls. “It just seems super-vindictive and super-nasty. It’s pretty deceitful really. It just seems like going back on what he said — that he wanted to listen to us and engage with us. “He must have known it was going to happen.””
  • “Cowardly” council strips library in the small hours – Harrow Observer. 
  • “Cowardly” midnight raid on Kensal Rise library – Bookseller.   

“The stripping of Kensal Rise Library at 3 am, with police presence, in spite of promises from Brent Council, is a matter of cultural shame.” Terence Blacker.

  • Kensal Rise Library stripped of books overnight – Preston Library Campaign.  “na stunning act of bad faith, Mohammed Butt’s council snuck into Kensal Rise library in the dead of night and stripped it bare.  It was the last of the six to get the “Brent Treatment”, and the building will now be handed back to All Souls College, Oxford, probably to be sold.”
  • Letter to Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader – Alan Gibbons.  “In March Shadow Culture Minister Dan Jarvis addressed the Speak Up for Libraries rally. He directed a question at Ed Vaizey, the Minister in charge of libraries, asking him whether he was a champion of libraries. Many in the audience will have hoped the Labour Party would offer an alternative to the coalition government’s savaging of the public library service. If you are to credibly claim to truly stand up for libraries you must act now and condemn the actions of the Labour council in Brent.”

This morning between 2 and 3am Richard Barrett, Brent’s Property Officer, raided and stripped Kensal Rise Library. About 15 workers took the books from the library and also took the murals painted in the 1930’s specifically for the library along with all the plaques commemorating the library’s opening by Mark Twain. They took tables and chairs and other assorted objects including a microwave and a box of sticky tape.They were assisted in this action by about 12 police officers.” …  “Cllr Mo Butt said he wanted to listen to the community, engage with them. This is how he listens. By taking this action he has jeopardised the ability of this community to run this library. We may be finished with Brent council but our campaign continues. We will not let their cowardly, middle of the night plundering defeat us. Cllr Butt’s words to us are worse than meaningless.” “We will not let Brent Council’s cowardly, middle of the night plundering defeat us” – Wembley Matters.

Protest posters about Kensal Rise Library
Image courtesy of  the Brent library campaign

Other news

49 Up(15:00 to 16:40 ) An interview with Lynn Johnson, the children’s librarian featured in the UP docus, in it she talks about her passion for libraries and working with children, she also talks about cuts.  The mobile library she worked in was closed down.   She then moved to Bethnal Green Library.

  • Are QR codes fab or fad? Doesn’t matter – Library marketing toolkit.   it’s not how good / bad something is, it’s how much our users engage with it. Whether you, as an information professional, love or hate QR codes is really neither here nor there – if the stats say your patrons like ’em, you should be using them, and if the stats say your users are indifferent to ’em, then park the whole idea, stop flogging the dead horse, and come back in a year’s time to see if the market penetration is any deeper.”
  • Despite funding cuts, library usage increasing – London Community News (Canada).   ““We face increasing demand and a tightening of fiscal resources, which is a recipe for a challenging operating environment,” he said. “We work hard with our funders to help them recognize that in a challenging economy, a library is a place to invest, not to cut because people rely on our services more when they have nowhere else to go.””
  • Government delay on ebook royalties labelled “unlawful” –  “According to Nicola Solomon at the Society of Authors, the delay to include audiobooks and ebooks in Public Lending Right legislation which gives authors royalty payments each time their work is borrowed from a library could well be breaching the law. As part of the Digital Economy Act 2010 it was expected that ebooks would be included in the PLR scheme which awards a few pence to authors up to a set maximum of £6,600.”  Ed Vaizey said he may review position if funds become available.  

“Vaizey should be dragged screaming into the realisation that this is the second decade of the 21st century, not the Grub Street of Victorian times.”

  • Guest post #11: Five questions from the Carnegie UK Trust – Envisioning the library of the future (Arts Council England).  Trust says that people say they value libraries but often don’t use them.  Questions are (1) how the value of libraries should be measured, (2) how libraries will respond to cuts in funding and changes in technology, (3) how the service is delivered [the Trust appears open to volunteer-run libraries], (4) whether existing library buildings are the right answer and whether they are all still needed (5) the need for stronger leadership/direction/vision.  Tim Coates has responded to article calling it “complete rubbish”. 
  • “Just great bookselling” Bilbary’s simple vision, big ambition – Publishing Perspectives (USA). “Bilbary will also carry reviews, as well as recommendations and comment from booksellers and teachers and experts in their field. It has a library which has a link on the homepage that takes browsers to an interactive illustration of an old, small town library. “We want people to have fun here,” says Coates. “This is somewhere they can go for a good rummage around, just as in a physical library. You enter through some swing doors and we’ll have things like a science room where you can see the books being converted into digital in pickle jars. We’ll even have a cat on the rocking chair outside. Jo Budler at the State Library of Kansas [which has recently signed a deal with Bilbary] said ‘librarians have a great affinity with cats’.” Users of the State Library of Kansas who do not want to wait for one of the handful of digital files provided by Overdrive are given the option to buy a title, with a percentage of the revenue going back to the library.”
  • Libraries to become Children’s University “learning destinations” – via Alan Gibbons.  “The Reading Agency’s “Summer Reading Challenge”, which was taken up by over three quarters of a million children last year, is to become a Children’s University nationally validated learning activity. This means that this Summer for the first time all libraries in the British Isles which take part in the Challenge will become recognised Children’s University ‘Learning Destinations’.”
  • Survey: should libraries sell E-books? – Publishing Perspectives (USA).   “Having captured my interest, wouldn’t it have made sense for the library to have tried to sell me a copy of the book? They already have a record of my name, address, card number and other pertinent information. They have the database of books. How hard could it be? At a time when enabling consumers to act on impulse is a key to winning sales, it seems like a lost sales opportunity — one libraries would do well to capitalize on, especially considering the economy.”.  Most votes so far are in favour of libraries selling ebooks.
  • Warning over digital archive “black hole” – BBC.  “The National Library of Scotland said online and social media coverage from the past 20 years was disappearing. It has urged the UK government to act swiftly on proposals to give libraries the legal right to collect and store electronic publications.”
  • Why ten years? – Good Library Blog.  Tim Coates argues with the Arts Council approach of looking at where libraries should be in ten years time on the grounds that there are other far more pressing issues and that technological change would have made any discussion meaningless anyway.  “Public libraries need to concentrate on the here and now- which means the current budget year which is now in progress and the next budget round, starting in September.. Everything else is dreamy nonsense.”


Local News

“The extra half million, a five fold increase on the original figure, is on a par with the £500,000 that will be spent putting Willesden Green’s books into storage (as opposed to making them available for users at exisitng libraries). That £1 million could have kept all six closed libraries going for several more years. Add this to another £3 million being spent to replace the Town Hall library, it is clear that Brent is NOT facing the budgetary pressures it has been pleading in court.”

  • Croydon – Council “broke the law” over Upper Norwood Library, claim campaigners – This is Croydon Today.  “Croydon has been holding a consultation over the library’s future. But the decision to take down its own website for “scheduled maintenance work” on the last day of that consultation has been slammed by campaigners.” … “Croydon’s Labour leader Tony Newman said: “We have advice that Croydon cannot unilaterally abandon the joint agreement and we have been told by Lambeth Council that this council has acted illegally.””
  • North Somerset – Free books for youngsters – Mercury 24.  “National Bookstart Week sees free books given out to youngsters before they start school in an effort to get them reading. Special story and rhyme times will be held by libraries from June 11-17 for pre-school children. The Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) will also be holding its Make a Noise in Libraries fortnight from June 11-24 to raise awareness of books available in formats for those with sight loss.”
  • Surrey – Response to Mr Deakins – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.   Letter explaining campaigners’ views on why it has taken legal action against the council and also it’s approach to volunteers. Worth reading.
  • Wakefield – Vow to save village library – Express series.   “Campaigners in Ackworth have vowed to save their library – as a decision still awaits on the future of many of the district’s sites. The Save Ackworth Library group has pledged to fight proposals – which are due to be considered by Wakefield Council in July – to withdraw funding from the village library.”

A terribly important digital bridge


 Libraries: a digital Bridge – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (USA). “One in three people in the U.S. do not have home access to the internet. See how libraries are transforming lives, by changing the way we connect.”
  • Libraries “terribly important” – Record (Canada).  Jane Urquhart: At this very moment, archivists are marching to Parliament Hill in hopes of defending and preserving our history and heritage on one hand and a democratic citizen’s right to access information on the other,” she said. Though federal libraries and archives, as well as the National Archival Development Program, were shut down as part of the government’s budget cuts, Urquhart says this is precisely the time when we really need them. “We need the research, we need the development, we need the universities… they’re terribly important,” she said. “I just never would have happened without them.””
  • Should public libraries act as “transparency institutions”? – Infoism.   “…whilst libraries and librarians play an important role in providing access to that which is in the public domain, they do not play a significant role in facilitating access to unpublished information.”  There is a place for librarians in aiding with freedom of information.
  • This is not the end of the book  – Observer.   Umberto Eco and Jean-Claude Carriere: book review.  “”The end of the book” is, as Eco and Carrière demonstrate, a misguided phrase. First, because printed books continue to be the most efficient and enduring methods of delivering texts: computer formats rapidly become redundant, and contemporary ebooks are not a good bet to outlast their printed counterparts. Second, because there is absolutely no evidence that longform texts themselves, as transmitters of knowledge and entertainment, are in any danger of diminishing in value. Certainly, they receive an excellent advertisement in Eco and Carrière’s playful and learned conversations.”

Local news

  • Brent – Campaigners meet new council leader – Alan Gibbons.   Summary of meeting with Cllr Butt.  Although there were encouraging signs recently, it looks like there are many obstacles to overcome before Kensal Rise Library is rescued.  Questions over reverter clause to All Souls College and Brent’s decision to (a) take away all of the books and (b) council’s apparent worries that a volunteer-run Kensal Rise would affect surviving council-run libraries. 
  • Croydon – Did Croydon break the law over library? – Save Croydon Libraries Campaign. “Croydon’s Labour Leader Tony Newman is quoted, We have advice that Croydon cannot unilaterally abandon the joint agreement and we have been told by Lambeth Council that this council has acted illegally.” … “Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Labour’s shadow cabinet member responsible holds a letter from the DCMS which he claims indicates that the unique 112 year old Upper Norwood Joint Library agreement between Lambeth and Croydon can only be broken if both councils are in agreement.”
    • Purley festival promoting Croydon libraries – Save Croydon Libraries Campaign.   “Seems this is, yet again, a case of Croydon residents taking the matter of promoting Croydon libraries into their own hands. Whilst we await details directly from Purley Festival organisers we sought out the details for ourselves, on the Croydon Council website. Nothing listed under Events in Croydon Libraries
    • Council flouting its legal agreement – Save Croydon Libraries Campaign.   Includes copy of large article from local newspaper.  “Whilst the UNJL consultation document gave the option to keep funding at existing levels, Croydon library campaigners are acutely aware that in the previous consultation on six Croydon libraries, Croydon chose to ignore the ‘do nothing’ option. Will it be the same for Upper Norwood?”
  • Ealing – Opening times changing in bid to save money – Ealing Today.   “The council scrapped plans to shut Northfields, Hanwell, Perivale and Northolt Leisure Centre libraries last June after a major campaign by residents, but the mobile library did close. The council says it has decided to shut libraries when they are least busy, as a way of contributing to the £428,000 savings needed by the service this year.”
  • Gloucestershire – Views on Gloucestershire library times are sought –  BBC.  “Gloucestershire County Council will continue to run 31 libraries but seven will lose funding and be run by local communities. Nine libraries will be open six days a week, while a further 12 will open five days. Ten others will open for between 12 and 21 hours a week. The council is now asking users when these should open during the week. Consultation questionnaires will be available at libraries such as Longlevens, Lydney, Cinderford and Chipping Camden from 28 May. A mobile library service will also operate while there will also be an online service.”
  • Hertfordshire – Hearts, Herts and happy endings: Freya North at the Letchworth Festival – We Heart Libraries.   “We are delighted to announce that we will be bringing the best-selling, award-winning romantic novelist Freya North to the Letchworth Festival to give a talk and, hopefully, a reading.”
  • Lincolnshire – Appeal for volunteers to keep Lincolnshire libraries open – This is Lincolnshire.   “the library in Waddington is being delivered in a partnership with a Lincolnshire Co-operative pharmacy where Co-operative staff are providing a library service assisted by volunteers” … “Councillor Eddy Poll, Executive Member for Cultural Services at Lincolnshire County Council told the Target: “While we’ve no plans to close any of our libraries, the service will certainly have to evolve. It’s likely volunteers and shared premises will have a role to play.”
  • North Yorkshire – Volunteers wanted – Selby Times.  “Volunteers are being sought to help deliver books, music and DVDs to people in Selby district who find it difficult to get to the library. The appeal comes from North Yorkshire County Council, the authority which runs the home library service.”
  • Northern Ireland – New opening hours for local libraries – Antrim Times.   “hese hours have been agreed as a result of a Review of Opening Hours, which was undertaken to meet savings targets resulting from the Comprehensive Spending Review. It also presented Libraries NI with the opportunity to  harmonise the opening hours of libraries across Northern Ireland for the very first time – and as a result of this exercise, libraries are now categorised into one of six opening hour bands, based on level of use. Irene Knox, Chief Executive of Libraries NI, said: “I am aware that the Review of Opening Hours has been a lengthy process that has involved high levels of uncertainty but I am satisfied that the process of determining the pattern of opening hours for each library is now complete, following surveys in each location.”
  • Surrey – Clack-handed libraries consultation staggers on – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.   “In an attempt to shore up its unlawful decision, the council is engaging in a quick box-ticking exercise. Hurrying to retake its library decision, it is attempting to consult with too few people and on too narrow grounds.” … “Quite what SCC is hoping to learn from such a shambolic process is not clear. The information does not seem to be that important to SCC in any case. Helyn Clack, SCC Cabinet member responsible for libraries, gave this response in an interview about the library plans with the Surrey Mirror: “Can you envisage being persuaded by further consultation? Helyn Clack: Probably not.”If that’s the case, why is the council wasting everyone’s time…and money?”
    • Library staff help internet novices get online – Elmbridge Today.   “according to the latest figures, members of staff at its libraries have helped people who are new to using the internet or digital technology 93,000 times.”

“The way libraries are being used is changing with the progress of technology and our staff have done an excellent job in helping thousands of beginners use the internet. Elderly and disabled people and those on low incomes are much more likely not to have access to the internet and stopping sections of society being left offline and excluded from many aspects of everyday life is essential.”

11% cut in Islington hours, Sefton consultation, Telford parish councils to the rescue…


  • America’s public library crisis: who’s reading the books? – Daily Beast (USA).  Article argues that decline in book reading is making public libraries obsolescent.  “Walk into a library in any city and you’ll witness a death match between old and new, a clash deeper than the cracks in the Carrara marble. The preservation of the past bolted to the promise of the future has made libraries ground zero of a vanishing world. The problem is that libraries have tried to accommodate the transition, and spent enormous sums of money doing so, carpetbombing their legacies into oblivion. Libraries across the country have erected architectural trophies and put themselves out of business. Public libraries, whose books have been relegated to wallpaper, have never looked better.”
  • Confronting the biggest threat to the public library – Huffington Post (USA).  “Urban Librarians Unite and the Save NYC Libraries Campaign are seeding more than 1600 books all over the city in response to massive cuts proposed to the budgets of New York City Libraries.Each of the books is emblazoned with a bright yellow sticker which reads “When libraries close this could be your only access to free books.” They have a QR code and a link to petitions to save the three libraries.

“Google has not killed the library and ebooks won’t do it either. The biggest threat to the public library in American culture is limited hours. In the new budget reality if libraries are forced to dramatically decrease their hours then they will be drastically reduced in their ability to serve their public.”

  • Fifty Shades is too hot for libraries – Tonight (South Africa).  “The best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades Of Gray has been banned from libraries across the United States by straight-laced librarians who argue that is does not conform to their standards.”
  • Future of library services – Neil Stewart Associates. The event is being sponsored by John Laing, a company with a vested interest in outsourcing libraries.
  • Kenilworth Library had “big” plans for summer reading – Cranford Chronicle (USA).   ““Dream Big- Read!” has been announced as the theme for the Kenilworth Public Library’s 2012 summer reading program. Registration for the library’s summer reading clubs for children and teens between the ages of 2 and 18 will begin on June 11. The first 250 children to register will receive a free summer reading goody bag that contains a calendar of events, program fliers and other items of interest to curious young minds.”.  Impressive series of events. 
  • Last truly democractic space: where nobody moves you along – Irish Times (Eire).   Writer gets moved along by security for leaning on a wall in a Dublin shopping centre: extolls virtues of public libraries where one can stay all day, by anyone.  “Today I believe public libraries are saving not just children but the sorts of people who previously rarely entered libraries but now seek sanctuary there every day. Libraries have become the most democratic, non-judgmental spaces we have.”

“Let politicians look at figures for mental health issues, let them look at suicide rates among the very demographics now starting to use libraries. It will show how little will be gained and how much lost by cutting library budgets any more than is utterly necessary. Kildare Village shopping outlet, is not a village. The phrase Dundrum Town Centre is an oxymoron. The true centres of our communities are public libraries, where everyone is equal and nobody moves you along.”

  • Love letter to libraries – Just Listen.   “Something different for this week’s Friday Fiction –  I read a really delightful book called ‘The Library Book’ which is a collection of short stories, articles & pieces written by some of my very favourite authors & writers, about how blooming marvelous libraries are.” … “My point is, free books. That’s my point. How can you argue with free books? The day the Tories start privatising the libraries is the day I give up hope on humanity. Free books people. For children, for adults, for everyone, you even get free internet these days. Go support your local library & look out for The Library Book whilst you’re there. Make the most of them whilst you still can.”

Left notice says “It’s not the time to spend money on hunches”
Right notice says “Madrid support us; We are also outraged”.

“24th of May, all the public workers of Madrid City Council went out to the main streets of the City to protest again the “cuts” of services, rights, and salaries, not just in libraries. Ana Botella and her team earn more money that the Spanish Prime Minister and his ministers but they don’t reduce their salaries, they prefer to reduce ours” (Email from Guadelupe Ucete Perez, a Madrid librarian)


Local news

  • Aberdeenshire – Stamp of approval for shire libraries – Ellon Times.  “Aberdeenshire Council’s libraries are celebrating after being given the stamp of approval by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). The council service was officially deemed excellent by the independent advisory body last week, following a visit by representatives of SLIC to assess the quality of library provision.”
  • Birmingham – Theatre: Rob Joiner’s Birmingham library experience inspires play – Birmingham Mail.  “As an assistant at Birmingham’s Central Library, Rob Joiner meets lots of very different people. So when he decided to put pen to paper for the play Without a Hand to Hold he took inspiration from the hundreds of strangers who cross the door of the city’s landmark building. “Because the library is a free service you do get a lot of people who come in who exist on the margins of society,” he says.”
  • Brent – Butt: a seventh library would undermine Transformation Project – Wembley Matters.   “In his  interview Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council,says that  if the freehold of the Kensal Rise building remained with Brent Council, despite being run by volunteers,  as the campaigners had requested,  it would be a problem. It would be adding a seventh library to the six remaining in Brent and open the way for Preston and other campaigners to make a similar request. .He goes on to say that as the Libraries Transformation Project is based on six libraries this would undermine the  whole Project.”
  • Croydon – Our library’s a bestseller – This is Croydon Today. Upper Norwood Library: “A total of 60 youngsters from the school in Chevening Road, Upper Norwood, visited the Westow Hill facility.”
    • Illegal behaviour suggested at volative Upper Norwood Library meeting – Croydon Guardian.   Campaigner “said the appointment of non-local councillors to the committee in 2010/11 began the dispute and was against an agreement signed by both councils in 2006. He said the decision to dissolve the joint board is illegal and can only be done the secretary of state, and called on the dispute to be taken to an independent arbiter.”
    • Pollard agrees to extend consultation at Question Time event – Inside Croydon.   “The deputy leader of the Conservative group that controls Croydon Council has given an undertaking that the consultation period for the Upper Norwood Joint Library will be extended.”
  • Ealing – Cuts in Ealing library hours announced – Ealing Times.    “After a hard-fought campaign last year, which attracted support from thousands of residents, the council agreed to keep all of the borough’s community libraries open. However, following a review, it has decided to close libraries when they are least busy, as a way of contributing to the £428,000 savings needed by the service this year.”
  • Islington – Council slammed for “caring more about poo than books” over library cuts – Islington Gazette.  11% average cut to libraries, with up to one quarter in some branches. “This is in a bid to save around £200,000 over two years – less than the £240,000 being paid for a crackdown on dog mess lasting just three months.” … “Islington will be spared the closures seen in boroughs like Camden and Brent, but seven of its 10 branches will be shut two days midweek, while four will close a further half day. Libraries will be twinned, so at least one of two will be open Monday to Saturday, although the twinned buildings are up to 1.5 miles apart – and West Library, in Bridgeman Road, Barnsbury, will be matched with a children’s library, Lewis Carroll in Copenhagen Street, Islington.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Rise of the Kindle was the biggest story of last year –  This is Nottingham.  “Notts County Council introduced an eBook library borrowing service last year, with around 1,000 works available. Nick London, team manager for library resources at the council, which is also providing the service for people using libraries run by Nottingham City Council, said there had been a demand for books in the new format.”
  • Sefton – Save Southport’s libraries – Kew Focus (Liberal Democrats).  Consultation: “no apologies for my repetition, the decision makers are the Bootle Labour Cabinet.Please make sure that the views of Southport residents are included.”.    
  • Shropshire – Save Oswestry Library – iPetitions.  “I strongly oppose the idea that the entrance to my Library could now be over-crowded every day with people using the ‘Council office’. As everybody is aware Libraries are a place of sanctuary and quiet, but with now more than 57 cases last year of verbal abuse reported against council officers at Shropshire council reception desks, the peace and quiet will disappear. Do we really want this in an environment where children & adults come to learn and take advantage of this fantastic facility?”
  • Telford – Libraries avoid closure axe but face hours cut – Shropshire Star.   “Parish councils in Great Dawley, Stirchley & Brookside and Hadley & Leegomery have committed cash or agreed to share costs to keep their local services running. But the libraries have not escaped entirely. Telford & Wrekin Council has identified 20 per cent savings by reducing opening hours and sharing overhead costs.”
  • Warwickshire – Baddesley Ensor community library in official opening – BBC.   “The Baddesley Ensor library is one of 16 which are to remain open with community groups running them …The county council has contributed £10,500 to the new community facility, which is staffed by volunteers. Books and DVDs have been provided by the council, which will also refresh them.”

Deep Ealing cuts inc. 9% hours cut, one sixth of workforce


Map shows number of libraries per country and major library projects in developing countries
Image from I Love Libraries (USA)

  • Guest Post #10: Publishers and libraries must work together – Envisioning the Library of the Future (Arts Council England).  Emma House (Director of Trade and International) at the Publishers Association says Ebooks are important and growing.  Libraries can engage users through digital means like skyping/posting author interviews and book reviews.  However, some public libraries prevented from using social networks due to council restrictions. 

“Publishers hold a wealth of skills and knowledge in the digital sphere and matching that with librarians’ knowledge of their own community will assist in building a modern service offering. There is a long way to go, however, in overcoming the challenges facing libraries in the digital world, which will require investment, a good look at social media policies and continued support and training of staff.”

  • How not to tweet: for library and information services – Library Marketing Toolkit.  This great guide to how to use Twitter is part of one of the most promising websites for public libraries this year.
  • UNISON and the Welsh Government: still loving our libraries – UNISON Cymru Wales.  In the meeting Huw Lewis recommitted himself to ensuring that the Welsh Government will continue to invest in our libraries and ensure that they publicly owned and controlled and that Wales remains at the forefront of innovative library developments in the UK and farther afield; he also highlighted the Welsh success in raising the number of users of public libraries. The meeting then went on to focus on the real pressures still being felt by UNISON members in libraries in regard to the tightness of funding affecting training provision; the concern around inappropriate use of volunteers; the need to mainstream library services in the delivery of key education and literacy initiatives and the ongoing problems of maintaining health and safety particularly in a lone working environment setting.”
  • Winkworth Sherwood – Stop the privatization of public libraries.  Legal firm specialises in outsourcing council services.  One partner, Joanna Bussell, wrote a letter in South Wales Evening Post advocating outsourcing library services but her professional link was not reported.


Local News

  • Doncaster – Mood low … – Save Doncaster Libraries.  “We have learnt that of the 25 original volunteers in Rossington Library, only 10 remain, a mere 3 months after re-opening as a ‘Community-run’ Library.  Reasons are unknown but perhaps the vounteers realised the magnitude and responsibilities required of them, and recognised this to be the remit of paid, trained, experienced and qualified Council employees.” … “Please help us to match the Legal Aid funding granted to our campaign regarding a Judicial Review, which continues making its course.”
  • Dorset – Outrage is IT manager costs Dorset County Council £167k – Dorset Echo.  “Mike Chaney, spokesman for the Association of Friends of Dorset Libraries (Ad Lib) which has been campaigning to protect libraries in the wake of council cuts, said: “It’s a terrible irony that our libraries have to be closed to save money yet the council is using, if not wasting, money in other ways.””
  • Durham – Thousands in bid to save library – Teesdale Mercury.  With the consultation now closed the council has revealed that more than 6,000 people took part in the exercise.  Robert Stenlake, from The Friends of Barnard Castle Library, a group opposed to the cuts, said: “I’m not at all surprised at the response. You only have to go into our library to see how busy it is. “All we can hope is that the council will look at the response and take notice.””
  • Ealing – Library hours cut in money saving shake up – Ealing Gazette.  “The council scrapped plans to shut Northfields, Hanwell, Perivale and Northolt Leisure Centre libraries last June after campaigns by residents. But it did axe the mobile library. It says the changes are being brought in because savings still need to be found to help tackle £85 million of government funding cuts. And the new opening times were chosen following a review which showed when the libraries were least busy.”

“Carolyn Brown, chairwoman of Hanwell Community Forum and member of the forum’s Library Action group, which helped save their library from closure last year, said: “It’ll mean there’ll be no evening service during the week in Hanwell, so anyone who works outside of Ealing will have to commit their Saturdays to take their books back. I think that’s unacceptable. “We all understand there are cuts but you either support libraries or you don’t.””

“I would not be a writer if it was not for my village library. Reading was like food for my soul. I just think reading helps children to develop an inner self.” Of the library itself, she added: “It is wonderful. I think as libraries are being closed around the nation, it is just wonderful that this one is being opened.””

Seven libraries reprieved in Kirklees


  • Authors help tackle “can’t read, won’t read culture” – BBC.  “A top children’s author is calling for young children in England to be given automatic library membership to tackle the “can read won’t read” culture. Schools minister Nick Gibb invited leading children’s authors to advise on ways to make books come alive. The government is worried that almost two-thirds of English children say they do not enjoy reading. The writer Michael Rosen told BBC Radio 4 he blamed an over-emphasis on the teaching of phonics in schools. Mr Rosen said the government’s favoured system of synthetic phonics was a good way of breaking down single words but did not necessarily promote reading.”

“In particular, his policy staff were investigating Mr Rosen’s the idea of giving every five-year-old a local library card. “One of his ideas is for every child. when they start school, they will be issued with a library ticket from the local library and a map of how to get there and then school visits as well,” said Mr Gibb.

  • Charities can save libraries – This is South Wales.   “Whilst the proposed volunteer system is a terrific opportunity for the local community to be involved in the management and operation of the library service, this is not a long-term solution. The council should consider transferring the management and operation to a registered charity. This would deliver immediate operational savings through business rate relief, VAT relief and other tax benefits.”  Comments below article point out that the writer works for a company which specialises in outsourcing leisure services.  Compare with recent Durham article where there is a  delay in outsourcing due to worries about withdrawal of tax relief from Trusts.
  • I’m a librarian groupie – Globe and Mail (Canada).  “I was raised by librarians. It’s like being raised by wolves, but wilder. When Toronto’s librarians went on strike this spring, I went down to the picket line by City Hall and told them fairy tales through a megaphone. It was a small way of thanking them for running the greatest municipal library system in the world and, more personally, for turning me into a storyteller….”
  • Keep Public Lending Right’s excellent office in Stockton-on-Tees – Guardian.    “the recent high-profile campaign by authors such as Andrew Motion, Monica Ali and Antonia Fraser to keep the Public Lending Right (PLR) organisation on Teesside should be noted.”.  PLR Office is seen as a model of efficiency in a high-unemployment area, working well.  Suggested move to British Library is criticised as it is a large organisation, in London, with no track record of paying out money.
  • Marginalia: little libraries in the urban margins – Design Observer (USA).   A long article on little libraries around the world, including pop-up and protest examples.  “”I don’t want politicians to see these tiny libraries and think, ‘Oh, we don’t need the big public libraries,'” Comito said. “We don’t want those who control budgets to think that that librarianship can be reduced to a hobby, or that libraries can all be modularized and distributed, crowd-sourced and privatized.””
  • Neither a borrower nor a lender be – Publishing Technology.  “Does every e-book borrowed really mean that a corresponding physical book remains on the shelf? Without data that categorically tells us that e-book lending is subtractive or additive to physical book lending it’s impossible to tell. But either way it’s easy to see why the Society of Authors views the refusal of the DCMS to extend the PLR as being a lost opportunity to its members.”.  Ebook borrowing seen as an interesting new form of revenue: Bilbary website mentioned and praised.

Poster shows a library 50p  comparing attitude when it was made in 2000 with current situation, asking

Local news
  • Brent – Campaigners reveal “true extent” of closing Brent’s libraries in report – Brent and Kilburn Times.  Campaigners have submitted their own report to Brent Council which they say reveals the “true extent” of the damage caused by library closures in the borough. At a meeting on Monday night (May 21) in Brent Town Hall, Wembley, an update on the closures of libraries in Brent was presented by Cllr James Powney, lead member for environment and neighbourhoods. But supporters of the six closed libraries believe his report presents misleading information and so handed in their own findings which they believe gives a true picture.”
    • MPs invited to visit Brent’s volunteer libraries – Brent Liberal Democrats (press release via Alan Gibbons).  “Today (Tuesday 22 May) MPs from the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee visited Pimlico Library and the Canary Wharf ‘Idea Store’ as part of their inquiry into library closures. They are investigating the two libraries as examples of different types of facilities and approaches to service provision. Cllr Lorber said:“The MPs are looking at ‘top-of-the-range’ libraries. They also need to see the valuable work of community libraries. Parents and children need to be able to pop-in to a local library when out shopping or on the way home from school.”
  • Croydon – Bashford brought to book – News from Crystal Palace.  The news – announced in the wake of last week’s ‘consultation’ meeting at the Salvation Army centre on Westow Street – will delight many Upper Norwood library campaigners with whom she was about as popular as the clap.Bashford retains her role as cabinet member for corporate services and gains responsibility for the voluntary sector. The role of arts, culture and libraries is now part of the portfolio held by Fisher’s deputy Cllr Tim Pollard – who attended last week’s meeting incognito.”
  • Kirklees – Lib dems, Greens and Valley Independents turn against Labour Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan over libraries cuts – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.   “Mehboob Khan could lose his grip on Kirklees Council’s leadership today – over controversial cuts to village libraries.  The Lib Dems yesterday announced they would vote against the Labour man when he stands for re-election this afternoon. And the newly-formed alliance between the Greens and the Valley Independents also revealed they will not back Clr Khan to continue in office. The announcements leave the Labour leader three votes short of a majority on the 69-strong council.”.  Conservatives also called for libraries rethink.

A poster from the demonstration outside the Council offices today (Wednesday)
Picture courtesy of the Kirklees library campaign.
    • Andrew Edwards show – BBC Radio Leeds (1.52.44 – 1.57) Protesters gathered outside town hall, Kirklees council meeting decides to u-turn.  June Jones, campaigner, says “We can’t quite believe it, we weren’t expecting a decision until the Autumn … I was told by Anna Crossley from Look North … that the council has announced a three year reprieve…”.  Council said decision was “due to the pressure of the campaigns”.  “I do feel that without the pressure from outside that this decision would be made”.  “We’ve nothing against volunteers but we do have something against volunteers if they’re coming in to replace paid staff”.  Campaigners said they would be back again in three years if it is tried in the future.  “Libraries have been run down over the past few years … we feel that in a time of recession libraries are extremely important”.
    • Huddersfield libraries u-turn after residents’ campaign – BBC News.   “Protesters who gathered outside a council meeting on Wednesday said a survey had showed 66% of people were opposed to the plan. The council later said there would be no changes for three years. Campaigners said the decision was “wonderful”. The changes would have affected libraries at Honley, Golcar, Slaithwaite, Lepton, Kirkheaton, Denby Dale and Shepley.”

“Campaigner June Jones said replacing professional library staff with volunteers was not sustainable and was likely to have led to library closures. Ms Jones, of Save Slaithwaite Library, said: “It’s wonderful for our communities and we are going to be drinking champagne for the next week.”

  • Manchester – Views sought on new leisure facilities in Manchester City Council –  Information Daily.  “The proposals involve the creation of a new joint leisure and library centre in the centre of Chorlton, development of a new leisure centre in East Manchester, and the development of a joint leisure and library centre in Levenshulme District Centre.” … “These innovative proposals would provide modern library and leisure facilities fit for the 21 Century for the residents of Chorlton, Levenshulme and East Manchester”
  • Surrey – Council launches new consultation on libraries plans – Eagle Radio.  “A new consultation has been launched on plans to get volunteers to run some Surrey libraries. The County Council has been forced to go back to the public after a judge blocked the plans. The consultation focuses on the training of staff.”
    • Leading community-run library volunteer frustrated at SLAM campaign cost – Get Surrey.  “In an open letter to Surrey County Council bosses, New Haw Library Community Partnership steering group outlines its ‘sense of frustration’ at being forced to wait to take over the running of the library in The Broadway. The group’s chairman Carol Deakins, writes: “Much of the reporting by the media has focused on the potentially negative impact of the move to community partnered libraries. Little has been said about the positive benefits in going down this route, or of the sense of frustration now felt by the community partners following the outcome of the judicial review.”

“Over the last nine months we, in New Haw, have brought together a really large team, some 150 volunteers and steering group members, to form the basis of the community partnership and we have worked hard to put in place the building blocks to successfully run a library service; a facility at the heart of our community.”

  • Warrington – Grappenhall library officially opened – This is Cheshire.   “More than 500 people regularly borrow books while more than 100 are ‘friends’ – a group of supporters who pay £10 a year to keep the library running.” … “In a latest boost, the group has been awarded almost £10,000 from the lottery to help fund a new kitchen on site. New grant applications for Wren meanwhile aim to secure funding for disabled toilets while organisers also want double glazing introduced to ease running costs.”

Morpurgo: closing libraries is like “shutting off kids from oxygen”

Please note the full transcript of the “One Show” segment on closing libraries and volunteer-run libraries is on the previous post.


Australian Libraries: Come Back Soon “The National Year of Reading, 
sponsored by the Australian Government”.

  • Future U: Library 3.0 has more resources, greater challenges Ars Technica (USA). “If there is one thing that all librarians worried about, it was this: the de-funding of libraries. It has happened from the university research libraries all the way down to the neighborhood libraries that set expectations students bring when going to college. Houghton traveled to Denmark last summer and visited the public library in a small, poor town. “Their library was five times bigger than mine,” she said, “It had better computer technology, better everything.” The reason for that was simple, she said. “We don’t invest in our libraries.””  
  • #Libfesto: my vision for public libraries – Information Overload.  A great post responding to a Voices for the Library request, writer produces her ideal vision while avoiding self-censoring (as so many do) to take into account cuts, especially as libraries produce more value than they consume.  Customer service is something libraries do better than almost everyone else, self-service has a place but there needs to be a human alternative, “I want my library of the future to be a lovely place that people are clamouring to visit. I want it to be in an accessible, well-located building with reasonable parking and public transport facilities nearby. I want it open all hours of the day, evening and weekend and I want it to be so comfortable, verging on the cosy even, that I don’t really want to get up and leave….”

“To sum up: It’s time we worked out where we left our bows and arrows, spears and chariots. Jerusalem’s more than half-builded here already. All we have to do in this century is finish the job rather than standing by while the dark forces pull it down stone by stone.”

  • War Horse author goes into battle for our libraries – This is Somerset (editorial).  “While it is possible to sympathise with councils finding themselves in difficult financial positions, it is hard to ever justify closure of libraries. Mr Morpurgo, whose own works have been borrowed by countless thousands of children and who has inspired a huge following as a result, is right to raise the issue. Firing a warning shot across the bows of anyone who thinks there is money to be saved by shutting the library is always worthwhile. Any short-term gain in cutting costs is far outweighed by the long-term price of lower literacy levels.”
    • Closing libraries “is like depriving oxygen”: author – This is Cornwall.  Repeats Telegraph’s article as Michael Morpurgo lives in Devon.  Despite a sweep of closure plans rolled out across the UK last year, the South West has managed to steer relatively clear from having to make wide-ranging changes to services. Both Cornwall and Devon county councils last year confirmed there would be no library closures, although some mergers with one-stop shops have taken place, while some others have seen a reduction in service opening times.”

“In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Morpurgo said: “[Children] can be entertained by watching television or screens, but they need context, they need insight into the world and their place in it. “That is what they can find in books, and in libraries. “If we close libraries, and we deprive them of books, it is as if we are shutting them off from oxygen.”

  • Everybody fights nobody quits – Question Everything.  Library campaigner wrote to CILIP Council about its volunteering policy.  John Dolan responded (full text reprinted) but “It doesn’t really answer any of my concerns sadly, I believe the stance of CILIP however well intentioned has sent the wrong signal to the ideologues running councils that they can save money by replacing paid staff with volunteers. It doesn’t make financial sense and CILIP have taken this stance without any evidence, they have just bowed to the perceived political wind. I fail to see how job substitution is a good thing for libraries, CILIP or its members. If I were a CILIP member paying £19.40 a month I be asking for my money back.”

Local News

  • Brent – 167k fewer visits in Brent – Harrow Observer.  The data from Brent SOS will also be considered by Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), which is investigating whether Brent Council has breached its statutory duties.” … “A Brent Council spokesman said: “It was always initially expected that a reduction overall in usage of six libraries as against 12 would occur, as it would take time to build usage based on the new library offer. Usage and borrowing figures also need to take account of periods when libraries are closed for refurbishment.” … Council accepts over half of closed library users no longer user a library.
  • Croydon – Quizzed on hiring security guards for Bashford – Inside Croydon.  “Around 200 locals attended the meeting, where cabinet members Sara “Book Token” Bashford and Tim Pollard’s presentations received an often hostile reception over Croydon’s withdrawal from a joint arrangement with Lambeth over the running of the historic library. No one contacted by Inside Croydon who attended the meeting considered there was ever any threat to anyone’s safety. Bashford and Pollard insisted that no recording or photographs were allowed at the meeting at the request of the owners of the hall, the Salvation Army. The owners of the hall have dismissed this claim as untrue.”
  • Dudley – Libraries to host a series of Jubilee activities – Stourbridge News.    “Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley’s new cabinet member for housing, libraries and adult learning said: “I’m so pleased to see our libraries embracing the Jubilee and finding a way for children to understand and celebrate it through fun stories and crafts. I hope these sessions prove popular and help people feel part of this national celebration.”
  • West Sussex – How to be a volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge – West Sussex County Council.   “We need volunteers to help us run the Summer Reading Challenge (SRC) in all libraries. All volunteers will get training and support for the role, plus gain experience working with children and families and skills like organisation and teamwork. To apply to become a volunteer, complete the online application form.”

One Show: Are volunteer libraries a way to beat the cuts?

The One Show did a slot on library closures and on voluntee-run libraries this evening.  Below is a transcript.  A link will be added here when it becomes available on iPlayer.
Alex Jones (AJ): Now we all know that councils across the country are having to make drastic cuts and local libraries are particularly in the firing line.
Matt Baker (MB): Some have managed to stay open through the dedication of volunteers but can this work for every library?
AJ: Anita Rani has been to find out.
*scene of bookshelves, Anita Rania (AR) is sat reading a book, she looks up…*
AR: Libraries have always played a really important role in my life. I love everything about them: that cosy warm feeling, distinctive musky smell but most importantly the fact that you’re surrounded by all those brilliant words.  But with budgets being squeezed, councils are having to make difficult choices.  Across the UK many librarie are closing or reducing their opening hours and librarians are losing their jobs.
*scene moves to the outside of a one-story Victorian looking building in a wooded street*
AR: This used to be the library of Friern Barnet in North London but [AR rattles padlock on its frontdoor] it doesn’t exist anymore and that has prompted an angry protest from the people that want to use it.
*scene shows people protesting outside the library, with vehicles beeping their horns in support*
AR: Last month, some of the locals decided to occupy the building in protest [Picture shows young people chanting and banging on the library door]
Martin Russo (MR): People feel that the library is the centre of their community.  It will partly destroy this sense of villageness and this sense of community.
AR: The council told us budgets meant they had to save £1.5 million from their libraries service and they acknowledge that not every resident would be happy with their changes.
MR: I feel devastated that my local library has closed and doesn’t seem right.  Our community has said no.  All the schools and all the businesses around here have said this library needs to stay open.
*timelapse of a large marquee being set up full of books*
AR:  In the weeks following the closure, the protest group decided that they would try and run their own makeshift libraries on Saturdays,  They call it the People’s Library and it relies on the honesty of local people to return the books.  According to the group, the council have offered them a building where they can run their own voluntary library but campaigner Martin Russo is keen to find out if a library run by volunteers can ever hope to survive in the long term.
*Scene shifts to another road, similarly leafy, with old buildings, this one with bunting*
AR: So I have taken him on a bit of a trip outside London.  Here in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire,  they have set up a library with no professional staff.   The One Show first paid them a visit two years ago [See link here]and now I am taking Martin to see what he thinks.
*The pair walk into the library and are greeted by Tony Hoare (TH)*
Tony Hoare, chairman of Chalfont St Giles Community Library: Hi there and welcome to the library [he shakes hands with Martin].  We fought tooth and nail for the library not to be shut and in an ideal world you want it to be run by the County but unfortunately there isn’t the money to do it. 
AR: So in Chalfont the local people agreed to keep the library going themselves. Volunteers don’t get paid but the library does get a grant from the Council – and others – to buy books.  They also ask users for a voluntary £10 annual subscription to help with running costs. 
TH:  It’s going extremely well and a huge improvement over when it was a county library.  When they closed it, there were about 4500 books.  There’s now 7000.  It’s now open 50% more of the time. 
*Picture shows an older lady (V) sitting talking to children at a story time*
AR: They even managed to keep children’s groups going.  Storytime is happening just behind me.  I love storytime so I’m going to go and join them.
V: In the old days they had the same books on those shelves for what felt like years and now a lot of them are given by people from the village.  The literary quality of the books is up by miles.
AR:  Do you think that this model should be rolled out across the country.  Do you think it would work?
V: No. I don’t.  You desperately need a community like this where people all know eachother and are prepared to come in and help.
AR: So what do you do when you’re in a community where don’t have those, where it’s not a particularly affluent community, what do they do?
V: I think that the authorities would really have to keep those libraries going.
AR:  Martin is really impressed with what he has seen in Chalfont St Giles and the success the volunteers have had in improving the service but could something similar work in Barnet?
MR: I don’t think it can, no.  I’m sorry but it is no replacement for a paid library service from the local authority with paid librarians. 
*Back to Friern Barnet, with it’s “Speak Up for Libraries” flags and “What no books?” posters*
AR: In Friern Barnet the people’s library is contuing to operate.  The campaigners do not want it to become a replacement for the council library.
MR: None of us have the time or the inclination to run this service.  We’re far too busy.  We’ve got families, working full-time and studying.  It’s really disapppointing that the council has not listened to us.
AR: The campaigners are considering whether one course of action might be to challenge the closure in the Courts.   In other parts of the country, some councils have been forced to rethink their plans to close libraries.
*Back to the Studio.  AJ and MB are sat down with Melvyn Bragg*
MB: Well, Melvyn, you’re a Cumbria lad.  Did libraries play a big part in your growing up?
Melvyn Bragg: At one stage of my life, they were everything, absolutely everything.  Well, we didn’t have books.  We lived in a council house yard and in the corner at the bottom was the library and I used to go with my Dad Tuesday nights and Friday nights up the steps.  Mr Carrick was the librarian and he used to say “I think you should read that, I think you can move on to that now” and for four or five crucial years before I went to a school that had a library, I just read and read and read from that library.  It’s fantastic these volunteers trying to keep them open and they are all over the place and good luck to all of them.  It’s for many people it’s the entrance to a hundred new worlds.
AJ:  And you’re a good man because you did say that you are doing your books to a library in London.
Segment ends

Grey is not a popular colour


There is continuing anger over CILIP’s decision to avoid the outright condemnation of replacing paid library staff with volunteers.  Library campaigners (this one or this one or this one) are understandably not happy with this absence of a clear black and white decision.  More potentially worrying for the professional association is the reaction of “ordinary” public librarians. Many are saying they will not renew their subscriptions.  
Phil Bradley, the organisation’s widely respected president, has written a post about the volunteer policy [NB. I have edited this sentence.  The original post said he had “defended” this policy.  Phil has emailed to make it clear that CILIP and especially himself are against substitution.] and has asked for the membership to let him know their views.  He makes good points in his article that people should read.  Certainly, the CILIP staff I know (and had the good fortune to meet last week) are hardly enemies of library workers.  They give every appearance of being good hardworking people who care deeply about how they are seen by the membership.  Phil also makes clear that the organisation is doing all it can to fight for paid workers, short of a clear policy statement.  However, in such dark times as this, falling short of a clear policy statement against substitution is seen by many as just that … falling short. So far, comments are agreed that the circumstances demand a principled stance against volunteering but the current policy is “wishy washy”. 
One of the points Phil makes is that the policy was decided on two years ago.  Two things explain the furore now.  The first is that the policy is on the CILIP website but few would have read it.  This is not surprising as policies are hardly given prominence on any website.   Furthermore, it would occur to few that a professional association would not directly oppose the replacement of its subscribers with the unpaid.  As one campaigner points out today, even Volunteering England is against such practices.
Secondly, two years ago the subject was not the hotbed of controversy that it is now.  Back then, direct substitution was more theoretical than real.  It’s only been in the last year that the cuts have started to hit home. Now, as this article today shows, it scares a lot of library workers.  Hardly surprising when one-tenth of paid library workers are losing their jobs.
So, those concerned should, in as clear but impersonal way, let CILIP know their views.  Comment on Phil’s article or, even better, email the councillors who are the ones who decide on policy.  


  • Bring on brand-name parks and libraries – Daily News (USA).  hat captures my imagination — probably because I work in the corporate sponsorship business — is the fact that Citi Bike represents a new way for private dollars to help make possible a program with important public benefits….” … “Millions of people visit the public libraries every year; naming rights deals for branches in Queens and Brooklyn could be very lucrative for those cash-starved institutions. Or, what about the Celebrity Cruise Lines Staten Island Ferry?”.  Author of article “is a partner at Bryan Cave LLP whose work includes naming rights agreements”.

Great stand-up poem by a lover of the public library.
“I like to pretend this is where all my tax dollars are going to” 

  • Indian government spent Rs 4.5 Cr in 2010-11 for digitization and modernisation of public libraries – Medianama (India). “The minister stated that RRRLF has released two separate grants to public libraries worth Rs 4.5 crores (Rs 4,53,29,800) and Rs 10 crore (Rs 10,19,94,316) in the year 2010-11 for modernization and building renovation purposes, respectively. The agency had previously released similar grants in 2009-10 and 2008-09 for the same purposes”.   A crore is ten million, there are 81 rupees to the pound.
  • “Librarians against Libraries and Librarians Association”: CILIP changes its name to LALALA – Question Everything. “In my head I have a little Venn diagram of the enemies of libraries and it has who you what you would expect in it: David Cameron, Big Society, Keith Mitchell, LGA, Ed Vaizey and the DCMS etc. In the past few days CILIP has crept into the enemies box.”.  Reasons against the current lack of an explicit statement in CILIP policy are:
    • “Rural libraries are mainly the ones in the cuts firing line, replacing a couple of part-time library managers (not librarians) doesn’t save actually save any money because of the number of volunteers required. I can prove this is the case in Oxfordshire and I think the same applies elsewhere.
    • How will CILIP continue to exist when its fee paying members are replaced by volunteers?
    • Cameron himself is quoted as saying “the big society isn’t about cuts, it’s about making existing services better”
    • Volunteering England is specifically against job substitution of paid staff with volunteers, quote from the chief exec: There is a danger that volunteers are seen as a way of reducing costs, and that undermines staff jobs and is extremely damaging to the perception of volunteering.”
    • You have handed the ideological morons who live in a bubble of simplicity a massive weapon to sack your members. However nuanced and pragmatic your intention this has severely undermined the library campaigners up and down the country. 
    • When the economy recovers will you reverse this stance as this seems to be the only reason for it?”
  • Nail in public libraries’ coffins – Copyright and Technology (USA).  “There it was, on the entire back page of the A section of the New York Times a few days ago, at a likely cost of over US $100,000: a full-page ad from Amazon touting free “lending” of all of the Harry Potter e-books for members of Amazon’s $79/year Amazon Prime program who own Kindle e-readers, starting next month.” … “With the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, there are no due dates, books can be borrowed as frequently as once a month, and there are no limits on how many people can simultaneously borrow the same title—so readers never have to wait in line for the book they want.”
  • Volunteers in public libraries – CILIP.   Phil Bradley, the organisation’s president, defends its official policy, including its omission of a statement explicitly against substitution of paid staff by volunteers.  “Volunteers cannot be expected to, nor should they, run a library, because a library as we all know is rather more than a collection of books…”.  but “…is it better to provide a partial service, run by volunteers, or no service at all?”.  “Unfortunately, what we want and what we can have are two very different things, and this is recognised in the phrase relating to ‘present day realities’.” Comments so far below the paper report that the policy is “wishy washy” and open to misinterpretation.

CILIP has refused requests to publish advertisements in the Update magazine where it is clear that volunteers will be replacing paid staff. CILIP has also been approached on numerous occasions to run training courses for volunteers to provide them with basic skill sets. All of these have been refused, and will continue to be refused … CILIP does not, has not, and will not train volunteers, who may, have, or potentially will replace a paid, professional member as long as we are aware that circumstance may exist.”

If you feel that CILIP is not clear or robust enough on its stance, then please say so. You have always been able to say so, and CILIP has, I believe been transparent in its workings by publishing statements on the website, but I’m also keen to use my blog as a conduit.”

  • Volunteers: what organisations say and what they do – Information Overload.   “Volunteering and job substitution is clearly the hot-topic issue for library and information professionals at present”.  Questions over whether CILIP is standing up for its members enough on this issue. “I think that one of the things we should be doing is holding organisations using volunteers to replace paid staff to account over whether or not they are living up to their own objectives and promotional statements on economic development.”  Points out that using volunteers damages the local economy to the general impoverishment of all.


Local News

  • Brent – 167,004 fewer library visits concealed by Brent Council – Wembley Matters. “Ahead of a meeting tonight at Brent Town Hall, at which a “progress” report will present what SOS Libraries claim is misleading and incorrect information on the so-called “Libraries Transformation Project” to the new Labour executive, Brent SOS Libraries has submitted its own report on the library closures (LINK). It shows: There have been 167,004 fewer library visits since half of the borough’s libraries were closed in October compared with the same period year on year. 158,809 fewer books have been issued. Library visits and lending have fallen 20% will continue to fall with the imminent closure of Kilburn and demolition of Willesden Green libraries. This has been a net loss of 191 opening hours per week. Most of the users of the closed libraries are not using the remaining libraries, as the council claims.”
  • Croydon/Wandsworth – Civica pull out of Croydon/Wandsworth privatization process – Stop the privatization of public libraries.   “Civica, one of the shortlisted companies bidding for the Croydon\Wandsworth libraries contract has pulled out stating; ‘Having undertaken an internal risk assessment and considering the potential risk to the Civica brand of taking on a contract which is outside their core competence, they felt they could not take that risk and must withdraw’. This has allowed a space in the process for an in-house bid from Wandsworth Council”
  • Croydon – Council cock-up stops comments on library consultation – Inside Croydon.   “Croydon Council’s website was offline yesterday, “for maintenance”, preventing the public accessing the Upper Norwood library consultation online before the official deadline, which was to be midnight on Sunday, May 20. Following complaints, the council extended the deadline by a day, until midnight on Monday May 21 – although being a weekday, with many residents at work, it may prove less convenient than being able to fill in the form at the weekend. Click here for the link to the consultation.”.  At last week’s meeting on the closure, “Councillor Sara “Book Token” Bashford had five security guards in attendance“.
  • Durham – Plans to outsource public services on hold – Northern Echo.   “Cost-cutting plans to out-source taxpayer-owned theatres, museums, libraries and leisure centres have been put on hold, amid doubts over the hoped-for savings.” … “It was hoped the move would save at least £1m a year in business rates and VAT and open new fundraising opportunities. However, a Government review of how business rates work has caused the scheme to be halted.”.  Result of review expected this Summer. “Should the outcome of the review be positive, we will be putting the project back on track at the earliest possible opportunity. In the meantime work is already underway to identify the savings which we will have to make should trust status not prove the best way forward”
  • Kirklees – Librarian accused of intimidating would-be Big Society volunteers – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.   “The council’s chief librarian Carol Stump wrote to staff concerning a laminated sign about the consultation at the counter of a library in Kirklees – believed to be Slaithwaite. She wrote: “Some of the wording was misleading in so much as it talked about ‘volunteering would mean staff losing their jobs’. This could be seen as deliberately discouraging people to take part in the consultation process.“We also discussed the fact that staff should remain impartial at all times and cannot be seen to be influencing members of the public in any way.” Mrs Stump added: “We have had a complaint from a member of the public about the poster and perceived intimidation of potential volunteers.”
  • Surrey – More views sought on libraries volunteer training – Surrey News (County Council).   “Users of the 10 Surrey libraries proposed as community partnerships are being asked about how volunteers should be trained to help, in particular, the young, the elderly and people with special needs.” … “They will also consider the findings of this further consultation, which is asking users of the 10 libraries to give their views about what equalities training should be provided for volunteers at community partnered libraries.”
  • Torbay – Changes to opening times at Torbay libraries – This is the West Country.   “The opening times of libraries across the Bay are to change from Monday 2 July. The changes are being introduced as part of the council’s ongoing budget pressures and have been carried out following extensive consultation with library customers.” … “”Unfortunately doing nothing is not an option and following consultation with our library users we have taken the decision to reduce the opening hours at each of the libraries.”.  Council meeting Friends groups to “to jointly explore ways to protect the service in the next few years.”

Fight for the user

The key thing about public libraries is that they are for the user and the user can be anyone.  These are a few examples that library workers all around the country will find familiar: 
  • A small child looking for Thomas the Tank Engine.  
  • The Year Six girl looking for the Hunger Games.  
  • A student looking for study space because there is no quiet at home.  
  • The transgender individual who is, for this is the world we live in, hunted down outside of the library and fears to live alone, who uses us for a safe haven.
  • A businessman looking to use a fax.  
  • The dancing group practising their moves in the room upstairs.
  • An unemployed man in his 50s learning how to do his CV.
  • The chap just coming in for a book.  Multiply him by a hundred.
  • The senior citizen who has no-one at home and relies on the library for people contact.
  • A supermarket worker, in her lunch break, photocopying a receipt
  • The first-time artist hesitantly asking to display their work
  • A gentleman researching their family history both on microfilm and online
  • The mum chatting with another mum while their children are bopping along at dancetime
  • A middle-aged woman who has an addiction to books and cannot meet it any other way
  • The group of teenagers who sit for thirty minutes on the sofa 
  • An older man with a history of mental health problems who has joined the reading group and now says hello to library staff, for the first time in years.
  • A chap using the toilets
  • The student finishing their dissertation in the reference library
  • A stamp collector using the Stanley Gibbons catalogues for the twentieth time
  • The basic skills groups coming in, with their tutor, to read the newspapers
  • Another group of people, normally men, who sit separately to read the papers, as they do every day, perhaps sometimes agreeing, sometimes arguing with each other on the issues of the day, sometimes just sitting, quietly enjoying the experience.
  • A group of people coming to play scrabble and chess
  • The quiet lad who reads through the Science Fiction section
  • The loud teenager with a hoodie, abusive in a group, who looks less scary when he is alone waiting for his friends, with clearly nowhere else to go.
  • A chap in tweed with a desire for more Westerns than Asda dream of selling
  • The tough-looking man who is looking for the CITB health and safety questions he needs to get a job.
  • A man with a problem with his car but no money to fix it looking for the Haynes manual which will save him a vital few pounds.
  • The man and a woman from Poland coming in to book their flight tickets home
  • A Christian researching commentaries or an atheist wanting to read Richard Dawkins.
  • A woman waiting for her friend in the foyer
  • The school group coming in to change their books
  • A group of children, perhaps ten years of age, drawing pictures in the children’s library for thirty minutes then asking, politely, if they can be displayed on the noticeboard.
  • Another child, with nothing to do and possibly no-one at home, asking for “jobs” to do.
  • A lady with a bag of books she wants to donate.  She joins after giving over the books, taking out as many as she has given.
  • The aunt who does not know how to use email but knows that we can help.
  • A tourist, or lorry driver or businessman or you, asking for directions.
  • The High School tutors using the study space as a place to sit with students who, for whatever reason, need to be educated outside of school.
  • The local councillor using the space to talk to his constituents
  • A chap asking for the bus timetables
  • The teaching assistant wanting a list of childcare books for her qualification
  • The lady from Africa with poor English asking for help with a visa.
  • A teenager using facebook because this is a vital part of young life that his lack of internet access at home would have excluded him from.
  • Another teenager who needs to use a computer for their homework.
  • The well-dressed couple coming in, for the first time in years, because their printer has broken.
  • A local history group researching records only available at the library.
All of these are not unusual.  All of these are almost daily occurrences.  Public libraries are there for all of these people. It is the role of libraries to be there for them.  By providing a brilliant service these users will continue to appreciate library staff.  If we annoyed any of them once, they would not be back.  By fighting to be as open and as helpful and as neutral as possible librarians fight for these users and, when the times comes, when times are hard as they are now, something wonderful happens.  The user fights as well.

  • Access, schmacess: libraries in the age of information ubiquity –  Eli Neuburger from Ann Arbor District Library speaks at an Australian conference in February 2012.  Superb talk about what the internet means for public libraries and suggestions for the future including “share stuff” and “fight for the user”.   Includes successful events including lego competitions, gamification, getting volunteers as players on computers playing for points.  “There’s a bright future for librarianship, just not on the desk”. 
  • British Library explores a thousand years of UK landscape – Daily Star.   “… new British Library exhibition on how landscape permeates some of the best British writing, and how writers have responded to space and place. The 150 works chosen to represent more than 1,000 years of British literature in “Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands” also throw up some unlikely comparisons. Where else would you see the original manuscript for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” together with the six-centuries-older “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” the earliest surviving manuscript of the medieval romance poem?”
  • Dying tradition – Business World (India).  “2012 marks the centenary of the library movement in India. Today there aren’t enough libraries in the country; there is a great need to invest in them, both financially and emotionally” … “There is no doubt that internet activity has eaten into the library movement and there is plenty of funding required to maintain a library, especially with high standards. Maybe CSR initiatives or public-private partnerships could be encouraged some more to establish more such social places. In fact, William Kamkwamba, who’s been working on creating libraries across Africa, realised that libraries can act as engines of economic growth.”
  • How libraries can buy DRM free ebooks – Deborah Fitchett (USA).   If every library donates a small amount then some books can be available to them free forever via 
  • Portage library to offer telescope for patrons to check outPeter Scott’s Library Blog.  “When the stars come out, patrons of the Portage District Library will be able to see them more clearly. The library is the first in the state to offer a telescope that library card holders can check out thanks to a donation by the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society.”

“What springs to mind when you read these names: Bolton, Suffolk, Oxfordshire with Kent, Cornwall, Lewisham, Croydon and Greenwich? Library closures, I hear you cry. Screwing up the future of Upper Norwood library, I hear you wail. Handing over perfectly good libraries to an array of trusts and other providers, I hear you snort. Well yes, all of those, but there is something else. Yes, you’ve got it, they are all participants in the ironically entitled Future Libraries Programme. Laugh, I almost did!” Alan Gibbons.


Aberdeenshire – Rated “excellent” by Scottish Library and Information Council.   

Local News

  • Aberdeenshire – Top marks for local libraries – Donside Piper.  Aberdeenshire Council Libraries are celebrating after being given the stamp of approval by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). The council service was officially deemed excellent by the independent advisory body, following a visit by representatives of SLIC to assess the quality of library provision to local communities.”
  • Brent – Leader of Brent Council insists he was unaware of Kensal Rise Library events despite claims councillors knewBrent and Kilburn Times.   “, Cllr James Powney (Labour), lead member for environment and neighbourhoods, said he was told about three or four weeks ago that officers would move in this week to remove the Victorian reading room’s books. He said: “Yes I knew in advance, as indeed everyone.”

“We welcome the pledge made by the new Leader of Brent Council, Muhammed Butt, to host an urgent summit with All Souls College and community campaigners who are looking to take over the running of the Kensal Rise Library building . We urge All Souls College, (an Oxford college that has an endowment of over £230 million) to support this” Kensal Rise Library online petition.

  • Half of regular library users have stopped borrowing books – BNCTV.   “A report to be considered by councillors on Monday, 21st May, reveals that 5,500 people, who used to be active borrowers, have stopped using Brent libraries since the closure of Barham Park, Cricklewood, Kensal Rise, Neasden, Preston and Tokyngton libraries last October.” … “Monthly releases of library visitor numbers have shown that the overall number of library visits has fallen by about a fifth compared to the same period before the six libraries were closed. The need for a local library service is demonstrated by the popular Barham Volunteer Library, which is attracting dozens of people every Saturday despite being open only three hours a week and without the support of professional library staff.”

“Remember all the bland, posturing nonsense by book butchering councils that by closing libraries, sacking staff, reducing opening hours and cutting the book fund they would somehow make libraries leaner, fitter, ‘sexier’ and so much more twenty first century, yah? Well, here is the evidence. Mirroring similar catastrophic falls in borrowing in Lewisham after closures, the Brent public, robbed of their local libraries, have simply stopped using the service. This was as inevitable as the self-serving delusional claptrap spouted by council apparatchiks droning about world class services while those established over a century are cut to shreds.” Alan Gibbons.

  • Greenwich – Union claims victory in library row – This is Local London.   “Unite now claims that negotiations following the strikes have led to library workers not being put on GLL contracts, keeping the same terms as previously. Regional officer for the union Onay Kasab said: “I am proud of the fact that these workers were prepared to stand up and fight in defence of pay and conditions. “It is only because they have made clear that they will strike, that these assurances have been won.”
  • Hertfordshire – Tapes for blind service switch will triple titles – Hemel Today.   “A service providing audio books for blind and visually impaired people is being handed over to a charity by Herts County Council in a move which will triple the number of titles on offer. It was agreed by cabinet on Monday that County Hall’s Cassettes for Blind People service will be taken up by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).”
  • Richmond – Replacement of the Library Management System – London Borough of Richmond on Thames.   Richmond look set to move away from the DS Open Galaxy system and the London Libraries Consortium, moving instead to the Civica Spydus system and the SELMS consortium.

Surrey – No gruffalos, but children have a right good read – Get Surrey.  “o mark London 2012’s UK Inspire Day, Surrey County Council organised The Big Read for Small Children event at the Forestry Commission’s Alice Holt Forest in Farnham, to encourage parents to read with their children.”

  • Wandsworth – Friends of York Gardens Library and Community Centre – Lloyds Banking.  This funding provides a hugely welcome shot in the arm for a much-loved children’s library in a struggling part of north Battersea. How we’ll use the money: we would aim to identify, recruit and train additional volunteers for homework club. This is a 2-hour weekly session for children aged 7-14, run after school finishes. It aims to help children who may not receive parental assistance with homework and school progress (for example, because English is not their parents’ first language).”

York Gardens Library and Community Centre (YGLCC) has been shortlisted by Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to potentially win £5,000 to support the projects that we run for local young people. The money would be used to help ensure that we can continue to run activities like our much valued homework club for 7-14 year olds. You can vote to support YGLCC by clicking on the link below, and following the instructions or by texting VOTESW5 to 61119.”