• Are Harrow and Ealing joining together to privatise their library services?Stop the privatisation of public libraries.  Harrow and Ealing considering privatisation of their library services despite consultation that shows public against it.
  • Authors write to DCMS with concerns about volunteer libraries – Civil Society.  “Solomon also said that volunteer libraries could be in danger of breaking copyright laws if they do not have the agreement of authors. But this was also refuted by the DCMS, a spokesman said: “Copyright legislation does allow libraries which sit outside the public library service run by a local authorities to lend books without being in breach of copyright. This means that a community library does not have to enter into separate agreements with authors to lend books. This is the same position for the many educational and not for profit libraries which lend books.””
  • Dam for the data deluge – Times Higher Education (via Finding Heroes).  “The banking system may have lost public trust, but great libraries such as the British Library, which contain the DNA of civilisation, have the public interest built into their core values.”.  A great look at the issues facing libraries, and society, in the digital age.
  • He’s watching that in public? Pornography takes next seat – New York Times (USA).  “On a recent morning at the main public library here, dozens of people sat and stood at computers, searching job-hunting sites, playing games, watching music videos. And some looked at naked pictures of men and women in full view of passers-by.” … “The library has been stung by complaints about the content, including explicit pornography, that some people watch in front of others. To address the issue, the library over the last six weeks has installed 18 computer monitors with plastic hoods so that only the person using the computer can see what is on the screen.”
  • In San Francisco, teens redesign the library – Spotlight (USA) via Finding Heroes.  “Thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the MacArthur Foundation, the new space is expected to be more than just a room with a few computers. The teen advisory board, which holds biweekly meetings over pizza, decided it wanted to use state-of-the-art technology to incorporate video editing wizards, DJ equipment and coding programs. The members even sketched out a potential mobile app for the center where members could plan events and chat with other center users. “
  • Mark Billingham goes hell for leather – We Love This Book.   “The general feeling in the air at the Old Swan in Harrogate was that authors such as Leather – who was joined on stage by fellow author Steve Mosby, agent Philip Patterson, bookseller Patrick Neale and VP of the Publisher’s Association Ursula Mackenzie – were selling out by publishing e-book-only books “worth less than half the price of a cup of tea”, as Billingham phrased it, adding: “disgraceful”.”

“The panelists alluded to the almost-worthlessness of the e-book and therefore the book; Neale, of Jaffé and Neale Bookshop in Chipping Norton, said that customers would happily pay £4 for a greeting card, but try and haggle over the price of a £6.99 paperback on the basis they would be able to get it cheaper on Amazon. “These take authors a year of their lives,” he added, rendering Leather’s announcement that he often sells 100,000 word e-books for £2.99 dumbfounding.”

  • Sarah Waters among authors threatening action over “Big Society” lending libraries Telegraph.  “Usually each time a book is borrowed, the author is paid 6p, with a £6,000-a-year-cap, but authors are worried the switch will mean they are not paid lending rights because they only apply to public libraries. More and more voluntary groups are forming to take over running of libraries, as councils seek to save money by cutting back on services.” DCMS claims that volunteer-run libraries will have no impact on money being paid to authors.

    “Sir Michael Holroyd, the esteemed biographer, said: “The stated aim of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is to ‘improve the quality of our cultural life’. All it has done, or tried to do, this year over public libraries and PLR for authors has been to impoverish the literary culture of the country.”

  • Should libraries charge for e-books? –  “The idea was put forward by Justin Tomlinson, a Conservative backbench MP, who warned that the future was bleak for town hall libraries without radical action. He said that 94 local authorities offered e-books, but told ministers they had little stock because the big six publishers would not release the books. That was, primarily, because the private label rights (PLR) arrangement which gives publishers and authors 6p every time a physical book is lent out does not apply to e-books.Yet e-books were clearly the future, with sales up a staggering 366% in 2011 – while physical book sales, in the first half of last year, plunged to a ten-year low.”

“The MP said that it was highly unlikely that any government would ever “write a very large cheque” to release these e-books. That left only one option – a small charge, with the money generated ring-fenced and shared between the publishers, authors and libraries.”


Local News

  • Hampshire – Use or lose mobile libraries – Salisbury Journal.  “… it was revealed an average of just 28 people have been using them. The stops are all four-weekly, which is one explanation put forward for why more people aren’t using them, and residents are being asked what they think can be done to increase their use.” … ““The new Mobile Library Service currently makes 363 stops around Hampshire, mainly on a monthly and weekly basis”
  • Northamptonshire – Wootton Fields Library campaigners offered hope by delay – Northampton Chronicle. “Northamptonshire County Council wants to move Wootton Fields library from its current home at Caroline Chisholm School to a temporary location, to save up to £75,000 a year.But  to do this it needs to negotiate its way out of a PFI contract with property investors Kajima, which costs £150,000 a year plus a seven per cent annual increase.”  Clearing of library delayed until October half-term.
  • Suffolk – Library to mark handover – Bury Free Press. “On Wednesday, August 1, day-to-day running of Suffolk’s libraries is handed over to an industrial and provident society and to mark it Thurston’s library working group is inviting all users to see what the library can offer. Users who would like to read a book on their laptop or iPad will be able find out how to download books free using e-book readers available in the library that morning. Those who would like join the library’s book club or to support the library by becoming a volunteer, being a member of the Friends of Thurston Library or joining the long-standing Library Working Group will be welcome.”
    • Chubby the cat is purr-fect library visitor – Beccles and Bungay 24.   “The black cat has been visiting the library, in Wharton Street, for about a year, and library manager Amanda King says he has become a very familiar sight. “It used to live quite locally so it used to pop in and have a pat, but then its owners moved quite a way away,” she said. ““It’s not here everyday but several times a week it comes in and makes itself at home, often going upstairs and sitting on a sofa to be patted and petted.””
  • Swindon – Children set for summer reading challengeThis is Wiltshire.  “Last year, children read 10,408 books through the summer as part of the challenge. This year, for an Olympic challenge, Swindon Council’s library service wants children to read 12,000 books between them.”