• 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.”