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providing access to that which is in the public domain, they do not play a significant role in facilitating access to unpublished information.”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.”