Arts Council England have produced an interesting report on the economic benefits of the Arts. One of the case studies includes libraries in Bolton.  It says on page 22: 

The results of the study suggested a cost:benefit ratio of 1:1.6 – in other words, for every £10 Bolton spent, £16 of value was generated. In absolute terms, this meant that the service was valued at £10.4m, but cost £6.5m. Of the £10.4m of value, £7.4m was generated from users, and £3m from non-users. One particularly interesting finding was that the poorest parts of the community valued the service the most.

So, libraries make money for the local community and they make the most money in the communities that need it the most.  Tell a councillor near you.


  • Act fast, girls, before you’re shut away – Save the Women’s Library.   The Times (behind paywall) has written an article on the treasures of the threatened library.  Petition available (over 9,000 signatures so far).
  • Consortia Conference 2012The following sessions were from this conference, held in Bath on 3rd May.  There are more listed on the website:
    •  Value of consortium membership – Pros and cons of Libraries West consortium.  Consortia are seen as a way of pooling services to cut costs.  Libraries West includes enquiry centre, book processing and library management system.  Stock from six member authorities can be returned anywhere.  
    • Competitive tendering – Andrew Green of Wandsworth Council.  Looks at joint decision by Croydon and Wandsworth to outsource their library services to private company or Trust.  
    • Partners in changing times – Antonio Rizzo of Lewisham Council.  Looks at how Lewisham has outsourced several libraries to community organisations.  TUPE and PLR “do not apply”
  • Ebook sales up 54% – BBC.  Digital content now accounts for 8% of the total value of book sales in 2011 – it made up 5% in 2010. However, total book sales fell by 2%, with the market worth £3.2bn. Physical book sales dropped 5% to £3bn, according to the PA Statistical Yearbook.”
  • Formula for success – Libraries for Innovation.  Massive digital literacy project in Lithuanian public libraries had impressive results. 
  • Measuring the economic benefits of arts and culture – Arts Council England.  “The Arts Council is keen to help increase the understanding of research on the economic benefits of the arts, museums and libraries. Understanding the economic contribution of the organisations we fund is both an important advocacy tool and is crucial to our goal of making the arts more sustainable.” Bolton Libraries found cost to benefit ratio of 1:1.6 with the highest benefit being in the poorest neighbourhoods.
  • Miliband: Labour are “winning back trust” – ITN News.  “We’ll have Labour councils which will be showing, in action, how Labour can make people’s lives better even when there’s less money around. Councillors have a tough job but they are determined to show responsibility and show that when it comes to libraries, children’s centres, local services, Labour can make a difference.”
  • Public libraries vs. MacDonalds – Comic Book Moms (USA).  There are more public libraries in the US than there are MacDonalds and they are better for you.  
  • Re-election of Boris and what this could mean for London Libraries – Stop the privatization of public libraries.  January 2011 announcement of trust for London libraries which faded away. December 2011 announced scheme for library volunteers. “The London Libraries Change Programme (LLCP) was run along the lines of a masonic lodge, secret and only for the privileged few namely members of the ALCL, Chief Leisure Officers and the now defunct MLA. No one outside this circle was privy to the reports and findings and no one really knows what impact the programme has had.” … “With Boris’s emphasis on volunteers and private finance, the ALCL seemingly supporting his position and the push towards privatisation I don’t envisage there being much of a comprehensive and efficient, publicly funded or accountable library service left in London come the next Mayoral elections in 2016.”
  • Save library campaign to feature on BBC’s The One Show – Barnet and Whetstone Press.   “Members of the Save Friern Barnet Library (SFBL) group have been interviewed about their struggle for a feature on library closures by the BBC1 magazine programme.” [That is, Friday]. “An interim library service at artsdepot has also opened following the public backlash.  Film crews from The One Show attended last Saturday’s event and are due to complete filming this evening.”


Shhhh (a song about libraries) – Sky Rocket Jack.
“Having fun is not hard if you have library card”.
  • Solomon takes author concerns to Vaizey direct – BookSeller.  The general secretary of the Society of Authors has called for a one-on-one meeting with culture secretary Ed Vaizey to directly address the needs of authors in relation to e-book lending, Public Lending Right (PLR) and privacy, as a new era of volunteer-run libraries presses forward. Nicola Solomon is seeking assurances that the retail price of e-books will not be undervalued by e-book lending, that the threat of piracy of digital books is addressed and that PLR continues even in volunteer-run libraries.”
  • Speak up for libraries: the national libraries lobby in photos – We Heart Libraries.   “The event started with a rally at the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, that featured speeches from authors including Kate Mosse, Philip Ardagh and Alan Gibbons as well as campaigning organisations including Voices for the Library, The Library Campaign, the Women’s Institute, CILIP (the professional body for libraries and library staff) and public sector trade union UNISON. It also attracted campaign groups from around the country and a speech from Shadow Culture Minister Dan Jarvis MP. His government opposite number Ed Vaizey had declined an invitation after giving evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry into library closures this morning.”
  • Women’s archive is as relevant today as the struggle it records – Guardian.   Several letters in favour of the Women’s Library stressing how useful and important an archive it is.  “When one considers the number of well-endowed military museums (two in the city of Winchester) stuffed full of the celebration of slaughter and toys for the boys, the contrast to the threat to the one national archive recording the struggles of women over four centuries is all the more distressing. Then there is the Trade Union Congress library. It is fitting that these two records of the fight for basic rights and greater equality are housed in the same place and no surprise that it is under the Cameron administration that they come under threat. Could not the British Library take these two nationally important collections under its wing?”


Local News

  • Derby – Limiting the choice of newspapers on offer at libraries “a political decision” – This is Derbyshire.  Labour has said keeping the Daily Telegraph while ditching papers like the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror – which have been critical of the Government – appeared to be a political decision. Helen Clark, chairman of the Erewash Labour Local Government Committee, said the Daily Telegraph was “a traditional Tory paper”.”
  • Derbyshire – New chapter at town’s library – Buxton Advertiser.  Whaley Bridge Library has been officially reopened after improvement works were carried out. Derbyshire County Council (DCC) installed new shelving so books are more accessible, a new counter, a new carpet and also re-decorated throughout.”
  • East Dunbartonshire – Definitely no plans to close libraries, insists council –  Kirkintilloch Herald.  ““There are categorically no council proposals to close any libraries. “In fact, our plans to develop community hubs in our town centres are designed to protect valuable front line services like libraries.” Local libraries are run by East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust on behalf of the council.”

 Greenwich – “7pm until late at the Woolwich Grand Theatre (next to Town Hall, Woolwich).  Tickets £6 each.  Food and music.  “Come and support striking library workers”. Tickets available from the UNITE 2050 Office Polytechnic Street Woolwich, in person, call 02089215092 or e mail shackwood at yahoo dot co dot uk” (via email)
  • Greenwich – Library workers statement – Alan Gibbons.    Council will pay GLL £3.3m per year to run libraries, chief exec of GLL earns £175k p.a.  Worry over transferred library workers losing pay and other terms and conditions. 
  • Harrow – What do you want out of Harrow’s libraries – Harrow Times.  “The council kicked off its library consultation last Monday, and over the next month people have the chance to give feedback on anything from computer improvements to opening hours.”
  • Kirklees – Denby Dale library campaigners continue fight against volunteer plan – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.   “Library protesters used World Book Night to launch a petition against council cut-backs. Kirklees Council wants Denby Dale Library to be run by volunteers from March 2013.”
    • Doubts now growing over library plans – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.   Local campaigners note the Surrey legal result.  “Surrey County Council must now revert the libraries to the way they were prior to September 2011, including a return of all paid staff, a return of the library management system and the return of all staff counters. All 10 libraries are once again part of the Core Managed Library Network We consider that Kirklees Council’s proposed model of replacing paid staff with volunteers is also discriminatory and unsustainable.”
  • Wolverhampton – Hands off Finchfield Library – Finchfield Estate Community Hub.   “Wolverhampton City Council are currently consulting on how library users want services delivered in the future. You may have read in the press about the ‘Community Hubs’ that the Council will be creating across Wolverhampton. This may involve services such as libraries being re-located from their present position and being merged with other community buildings.  In early February FECH were told by the Council that two consultation meetings regarding library services had already been held (Low Hill and Ashmore Park) and that a number of further meetings would be held across the city to inform and gather public opinion before a report was presented to the Cabinet in June. These further consultation meetings have now been postponed; we are told that the meetings will restart in May and June. F.E.C.H. working with local residents decided that a public petition was the best way to canvass opinion on this issue and pass it to the Council”