I was very pleased, and slightly awed, to receive an email today which said:

 “The British Library would like to archive your website in the UK Web Archive. The UK Web Archive was established in 2004 to capture and archive websites from the UK domain, responding to the challenge of a ‘digital black hole’ in the nation’s memory. It contains specially selected websites that represent different aspects of online life in the UK. We work closely with leading UK institutions to collect and permanently preserve the UK web, and our archive can be seen at “

There is a certain symmetry in the fact the British Library have asked if they could archive Public Libraries News for posterity.  It sums up one of the key important features of libraries: to maintain the nation’s history that, if left to private enterprise, would otherwise be destroyed at some point in the future.  The fact that such an institution has to store away even blogs shows that libraries continue to serve more than one useful purpose in today’s society.   This is also shown by an article in the Guardian today that points out that only 1% of Victorian periodicals have been digitised.  Libraries are wonderful places, not just for now – but also for the future.


  • Are co-operative councils the future of local politics? – Guardian (Professional).  Whether empowering public sector workers, charities, service users or voluntary groups, such as those now running Lewisham’s libraries, the co-operative model has the potential to improve service focus, generate customer satisfaction, create a sustainable delivery model and even produce efficiency savings. That no two councils are following an identical path is a sign of strength, evidence that the drivers are bottom up and not top down.”

Hyperlinked libraries –  Michael Stevens – What trends and technologies are impacting public library service? What does the evolution of library physical and virtual space look like? This presentation explores the hyperlinked library model through a lens of participatory service, transparency and emerging technologies.”

  • Library adventures in Latvia – Wikiman.   “The Latvian libraries system is pretty amazing; they’ve done some great things in the past 5 years. I learned a lot – it was great to talk to people who’d surmounted some of the problems we have in the UK and the US, and have different issues. It was eye-opening: normally when I talk to librarians we all seem to be going through exactly the same stuff! But this was a little different … They have 874 public libraries. For a population of around 2 million! I think that works out at around 7 times as many libraries per member of the population than we have in the UK.”
  • Library of utopia – Technology Review.   “Google’s ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts. Now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online. Will the Ivy League succeed where Silicon Valley failed?”
  • Room of one’s own: why the Women’s Library should not be made history – Guardian.   “It is ironic that at the very moment when there is an embryonic renaissance of feminism, the archives of the women’s liberation movement are at risk of losing their final destination, if London Metropolitan University unloads its responsibility for the Women’s Library. It is a damned shame that the current custodian sees it not as a national treasure, but as a burden; not as a resource to be enriched, but as an administrative problem.” … “less than 1% of 19th century journals are digitised” 
    • Cutback threat to London’s Women’s Library – BookSeller.    “A petition calling on education secretary Michael Gove to prevent severe cutbacks to the Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University has attracted over 7,500 signatures.” … “Campaigners have called the library “one of the most magnificent specialist libraries in the world” and “a national asset” attracting visits from women not just all over Britain, but internationally. “Whatever the university’s problems—which we hope will be resolved—under no circumstances should the Women’s Library suffer in any way,” say the petitioners.”


Local News

  • Buckinghamshire – How long are we going to let volunteers run the show for us? – Bucks Free Press. “Not everyone in Flackwell Heath is delighted by the new Flackwell Heath community library. No amount of flag waving or spin alters the fact that BCC closed our professionally-run library at the end of March, and the prospects that it will ever again reopen as a proper library service are remote indeed. However hard they try, volunteers (mostly retired people) doing perhaps half a day per fortnight are never going to achieve the competence and continuity provided by trained, professional staff. Standards and service will inevitably suffer greatly as a result.”” … “The volunteers exist because Bucks is an affluent county with plenty of pensioners who can afford to help society. But we all know about the state of the economy and the fact that Wycombe in particular has been facing up to a dire jobs crisis.” … “sometimes, I think Governments and councils appreciate them – and take them for granted – a bit too much. And one day soon, this is all going to come back to haunt us.”
    • Long Crendon library gets ready for community launch Bucks County Council.  “The library’s facilities include new chairs, new mobile shelving and a disabled toilet with baby changing facilities. In addition, Friends of Long Crendon Library plan to improve the library’s opening hours to reflect local need, offer a toy library and extend the range of activities to include film nights and educational classes. They will also work in partnership with Surestart to provide a range of activities for parents and carers.”
    • Green light for Haddenham and Wendover community libraries – Bucks county Council.   “As one of the largest community libraries, Wendover will become a community partnership with a phased approach towards a self managed community library.”
  • Gloucestershire – A serious case of deja vu: libraries call-in rejected – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.   “We are disappointed but not surprised about the call-in decision. The last time the administration were attempting to push through almost identical, and deeply unpopular cuts, we witnessed a similar farcical “scrutiny committee” in which members voted according to party politics, rather than what was best for the electorate. With a committee that was largely made of up Conservative members we were under no illusion that the outcome would be any different.”
  • Greenwich – Striking library workers win support in Greenwich – Socialist Worker.   “More than 25 strikers and supporters joined the picket line at Woolwich library on Friday of last week. Solidarity delegations from other groups of workers at the council, Greenwich Community College and Greenwich and Bexley Trades Council joined strikers. Supporters handed over around £400 for the strike fund.”
  • Hertfordshire – Cassettes for Blind People service to be handed over to RNIB – We Heart Libraries.   “Cassettes for Blind People (CfBP), an in-house postal service which currently supplies talking books on cassette to 378 people at a cost of around £50,000 per year, is set to be wound up and its budget used to fund subscriptions to a RNIB service under a three-year agreement. This would ensure that users had access to a much more up-to-date service including a wider range of formats and a specially-designed player. However, it will only be funded in future for those people who meet stricter sight criteria than are currently applied, and who are on low incomes.”