• Act risks limiting internet access in libraries, schools and universities – CILIP.   Digital Economy Act treats libraries in the same way as individuals.  This could mean “see the plug pulled on internet access across the country” which will have terrible consquences as “half of people who use the internet in a public space did so in a public library“.  Ed Vaizey’s 2011 assurance that libraries will not be covered by the Act has not come about in practice. “At a time when services across the public sector are experiencing reduced budgets and pressure to make savings, the costs of managing and monitoring the implementation of the Act and the risk of local authorities, schools, colleges and universities having their reputations damaged by being placed on an infringement list could lead many libraries to pull the plug on internet access altogether.”
  • At libraries, quiet makes a comeback – Chronicle of Higher Education (partially behind paywall).  Concerning noise levels in academic libraries
  • The Digital Economy Act 2010: Impact on educational institutions and public libraries – CILIP.  Details of how the Act will affect libraries if it comes into force in 2014.
“Under the Act libraries would be treated the same as an individual at home going online,” said Phil Bradley, President of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, “A library acting as an intermediary, providing internet access to hundreds if not thousands of people is fundamentally different from you or I going online at home. This isn’t about excluding libraries from the Act, it isn’t about breaking copyright law or endorsing piracy – it’s about recognising libraries’ unique role by creating an exception within the Act – which Ofcom are perfectly able to do. Ofcom are already creating an exception for commercial suppliers of WiFi for example.”
  • Free internet access should be the cornerstone of every library – Voices for the Library.  Article against the increasing practice of charging for internet access in public libraries.   “Our view is that the principle of free ICT access is absolutely fundamental for public libraries. Despite the widespread belief that “everyone is online”, a significant proportion of the population are not. In the latest of its quarterly reports into internet access, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 8.20 million adults had never used the internet. That’s 8.20 million adults who not only do not have an internet connection at home, but have also never sent an email or shopped online.”.  Charging means less use “Buckinghamshire libraries, for example, saw a 30% decrease in usage as a result of introducing a £1 charge for 30mins (Goulding, 2006). The impact of charging is clear and significant.”
  • Is the Six Book Challenge a good thing? – Guardian. Book Doctor: despite some worries about a target of six, the article concludes after a survey of the scheme’s success  “Of course, there are many other kinds of reading without incentives and competition that children might and will do but this is a good scheme which may also help to keep libraries open.”
  • Jarvis accuses government of incompetence over library lending – Alan Gibbons.  ““Dozens of volunteer libraries have already been set up, but there has been real confusion over whether they could be found in breach of copyright legislation. DCMS now say volunteer libraries can lend but it is still unclear whether, and how, they will pay anything to authors. It’s a shambles and symptomatic of a lack of interest in the future of the service that threatens to undermine library provision even more than it already has been.””

“This is only one of a number of issues around volunteer libraries, which also face questions about everything from training to data protection. We strongly welcome community engagement in libraries, but it needs to be handled carefully and cannot dilute the responsibility of local authorities, or the Government, to provide a decent and accessible service. But there has been very little advice or oversight from DCMS as councils rush to increase the use of volunteers. “Ministers need to do their job and provide some clear guidance and leadership on this issue as a matter of urgency – it is astounding they have not done so already. They claim to believe that libraries matter, but when it comes to their duty to oversee the service, they are making it up as they go along.” Dan Jarvis

  • FoGL welcomes Minister’s call for urgent action and leadership – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries.  “Over the last two years, Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries have repeatedly called on the Department of Culture Media and Sport and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey to superintend Gloucestershire County Council in it’s review of our public library services. We have been consistently ignored. We were vindicated in November 2011 when Gloucestershire County Council lost a court case in which their library plans were ruled to be unlawful, yet DCMS still did nothing. To our dismay, over the last fortnight we have found ourselves once again having to take on the duties of the DCMS and superintend GCC. Therefore, we welcome the following statement from Dan Jarvis MP, Shadow Culture Minister. Prompted by our experience, he has called on Ed Vaizey and DCMS to act and show some urgently needed leadership.”
  • Letter from a parent of a two year old – Michael Rosen.   Devoted mother of a book-devouring library-using two year old stresses how important it is for her and what a difference it has made.
“New library openings – Fitton Hill Library, Oldham.NEWS: We are working with publishers to find great authors to launch the 40 new libraries opening this year. This picture shows Jon Ronson with library staff on the day he opened Fitton Hill Library in Oldham. Suzanne Hudson, Library Development Officer, said afterwards: “Jon Ronson was great – really humorous and likeable. It brought in new audiences and really raised the profile of our library service. Thank you for making it happen.” The Reading Agency
  • Port Harcourt named World Book Capital 2014 – IFLA (via Finding Heroes) “The city of Port Harcourt was chosen “on account of the quality of its programme, in particular its focus on youth and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates,” according to the Selection Committee.”
  • State shelves library budgets – News Star (USA).  “With the elimination of state aid to Louisiana’s public libraries, many rural parishes in northeastern Louisiana may have a hard time keeping up to date. The Louisiana budget signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal last month eliminates roughly $900,000 in state aid normally allocated for public libraries.The state funding is historically designated for purchasing collection materials and enhancing technology at public libraries.”
  • Supping with the devil that is Romance fiction – Shallowreader’s Blog (Australia, via Finding Heroes). Librarians are condescending about romance books but they’re an important part of our stock and treating it as a second-rate form of book hurts our usage.  “Cataloguing of literary fiction, which sells less than a third of that of romance, is comprehensive yet romance is not catalogued to the same level.”


Local News

  • Croydon – Council to close New Addington library in SeptemberInside Croydon.  “reports that staff at the Croydon Adult Learning And Training – CALAT – in New Addington have been told that the planned move of the local library into their building will take place in September.” … “According to one Tory councillor, the New Addington Library faces closure because the repair and maintenance of the building on Central Parade would be too expensive”
  • Durham – Full extent of mobile library cuts revealed – Teesdale Mercury.   “Slashing mobile library services in Teesdale and reducing opening hours at Barnard Castle library  was described as a “positive result” as councillors agreed to cuts in the service.”.  Major cuts, previously reported, now confirmed.
  • East Dunbartonshire – Fact not fiction: William Patrick Library – Theresa Breslin’s Blog.   The move of the library will mean a reduced service.
  • Manchester – Mystery over “thrown away” Manchester Central Library books up for sale online – Manchester Evening News.  “Manchester council is trimming over 200,000 items from its collection as part of a major housekeeping exercise at the city centre landmark. The books are being given to Lancashire firm Revival Books – who put items up for sale on websites including Amazon and eBay.”.  Comments after article suggest there is no “mystery”.
  • Surrey – Any Questions? – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.  “Surrey County Council is due to reconsider its volunteer-run library plans at its cabinet meeting on Tuesday 24th July 2012. Any Surrey resident can put a question to the cabinet meeting about the library proposals but you must put your question a week in advance. That is to say, the deadline for questions is today (Tuesday 17th July)!”
    • Alternative library plans put to Surrey County Council – Guardian series.   “Slam has written a letter to the council’s leader Councillor David Hodge, with a proposed compromise. They proposed paid staff and the library management system would remain in place for stability, sustainability and to meet the needs of vulnerable groups, but that volunteers could assist in the delivery of services and have a greater say in additional services. They also suggested a community consultative group be set up at each library so volunteers can contribute to the running of the libraries.”
  • Torbay – Award for Paignton Library stroke group – This is South Devon.  “A group of stroke survivors based at Paignton Library and Information Centre have beaten off stiff competition to win a prestigious award in the national Technology4good awards held in London. The Stroke Survivors Group, which helps stroke survivors recover lost skills and confidence, meet each week in Paignton library to support each other in relearning computer skills – such as sending an email or using a mouse.”
  • Worcestershire – Have your say on county council’s performance – Redditch Advertiser.  “The county council’s biggest department – responsible for adult social care and libraries – is after resident’s views on its performance.”