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?”