Interesting to see in today’s stories see that Oxfordshire libraries are being advised to apply for a share of the £6m Arts Council England fund for libraries.  Being there are 151 authorities in England, that means £39,735 for the authority.  Not to be sniffed at, although the 16 branches who will soon be half-staffed with volunteers or closed may wonder at the priority given to Arts-related events.  It is only natural that authorities facing cuts of 20% plus in total budget may wish to focus on positive matters, and the money is to be welcomed, but the politicians – most especially Mr Vaizey whose constituency is in Oxfordshire – should not pretend that funding worth .6% (point six) of total UK library expenditure is going to somehow make things OK.

In other news, it’s interesting to see that Louise Mensch, known to library campaigners for her questioning of witnesses during the DCMS Select Committee Inquiry into Library Closures, is quitting as an MP in order to go to the USA with her husband.




  • 15 libraries taking Summer Reading to the next level – Online Education Database (USA). “Summer reading programs have long been a staple of library activities in communities all across the nation, yet many libraries today are offering much more than the usual programs that encourage young kids to read by tracking their progress and offering rewards…”

“Bilbary is very pleased to announce that its e-book website now carries Random House, Inc. titles for sale. Random House is the fourth of the US ‘Big Six’ commercial publishers to make its e-books available on the new site designed to help readers easily find all the content they need, in the formats they require, for any reading device.” Bilbary press release (USA)

  • E-book business models for public libraries – Library Journal (USA).  8 page document.  “The Business Model/Licensing Group has developed the following document describing the characteristics of possible business models to help public libraries negotiate contracts with publishers.”
  • Food for thought: this summer, Oakland libraries are serving free lunches to children, five days a week – Mercury News (USA).  “This summer marked a first for library branch manager Peter Villasenor: Not a single child has asked him for lunch money. They no longer need to. From Monday to Friday, children eat for free at 10 of the Oakland Public Library’s branches, from Eastmont to Temescal, through a partnership among the library, the city and the Alameda County Food Bank.”

“For families on a budget and children without enough safe places to play, libraries have become increasingly essential, especially during the summertime. But last year, librarians from East Oakland’s Eastmont branch decided it wasn’t enough to offer children food for thought; too many kids were coming in hungry.”





Local News

“#BarhamVolunteerLibrary hosting an all day event this Saturday 11th August at 428/430 High Rd Wembley HA9 6AH. Street Dancers to start us off at 11am #MotherJoy will be there all day the mascot. We hope to have the #Olympic #Torch during the day for photograph opportunities. Meet #Ironman #PeterCorcoran We have usual reading, stories, games, quizzes and need as many people as poss. to prove that we need to #SaveLibraries ” Brent – Barham Volunteer Library.

  • Libraries consultation in summer holidays is “burying bad news” – Harrow Observer.  “Campaigners against the overhaul of Willesden Green Library Centre say developers and the council are ‘burying bad news’ by organising a consultation event during the summer holidays. Brent Council and developers of the scheme, Galliford Try, are hosting an open day on August 8 at the High Road centre to show their designs, but those opposed to the plans to demolish the library and build a cultural centre and housing say there has not been enough notice and many people will be away.” … “Hundreds of objections against the proposals to demolish the landmark building, part of which dates back to 1894, have been submitted to the council, as well as a petition of 5,000 names.”
  • Country’s treasured actors perform at Poetry Evening to save library – Save Kensal Rise Library.  “Some of the community’s – and country’s – most treasured actors performed poetry and a little prose at the Paradise. It was a starry night, with familiar faces from screen and stage entertaining and enthralling in aid of the library campaign. The husband and wife acting teams of Tamsin Greig and Richard Leaf, and Ben Miles and Emily Raymond, were joined by Haydn Gwynne, Jeremy Northam, Sam Spiro and Stephanie Schonfield.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Library preprares to be community run – Buckinghamshire Advertiser.  “Gerrards Cross Library, in Station Road, is the latest to be handed over by Bucks County Council (BCC) to volunteers in a bid to cut costs, although BCC will provide two trained part-time librarians. Chris Brown, chairman of Gerrards Cross Parish Council, said: “The library is still on target to be run by the community on September 1.”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Library doors are reopened – Courier series.  “The changes include the installation of self-service facilities and the relocation of the local studies collection from the first floor to the ground floor, to provide better access”
  • Fife – Behind the scenes at the museum – Fife Today.  Burntisland Library and museum and local services centre likely to be merged into one building. Inverkeithing and Methil already have combined buildings.
  • Oxfordshire – Libraries hit by cuts offered share of £6m – Henley Gazette.  A [presumably 151th – Ian] share of Arts Council England’s £6m offered to Oxfordshire libraries.  “The move is a potential boost for the 16 Oxfordshire libraries, including those in Sonning Common, Woodcote, Goring, Benson and Watlington, that are losing half their staff funding under cuts agreed by the county council. This means community volunteers will be needed to help run the facilities. “

“It has to be asked if the council ever truly wanted to keep all the libraries open, or whether the last two ‘offers’ have been merely a way of stopping public outrage while ensuring a slow death for those libraries it always intended to close. The council has said it will work with the 16 “community libraries” in finding and organising volunteers. “

  • South Tyneside – Library hours cut to balance books – Gazette series.  Shorter opening hours and some will not open on Saturday mornings from 3rd September.  Hours cut are those where library is least used. “The new times will be reviewed in six months, after a public consultation exercise. Questionnaires will be available online or for those who do not have internet access, in library branches, where staff will be on hand to help fill them in. Hard copies can also be requested.”
  • Suffolk – Seckford boss resigns from Suffolk libraries board – Suffolk Wordblog.  Seckford Foundation (also engaged in establishing Free schools) boss resigns from IPS governance due to “work commitments”.
  • Surrey – Women in history with Helen Castor and Leonie Frieda – Surrey County Council.  Talk at Egham Library: “Helen Castor and Leonie Frieda will combine their talents to talk about remarkable women in history who have ruled in place of their men-folk. The talk will be based on Helen’s book, She-Wolves: the women who ruled England before Elizabeth and Leonie’s book The deadly sisterhood which features women who wielded power behind the scenes in Renaissance Italy.”
  • Wakefield – Service is for future -Wakefield Express.  Cabinet member for libraries  says “the results of our consultation with people in the Stanley and Outwood East ward – which is where Outwood library is located – revealed that the majority of local people want to see investment in a new mobile library service (48 per cent) and in the proposed hub libraries (36 per cent). So this is exactly what we are proposing to do.”.  Investing £1m in libraries.  “By making these changes, Wakefield’s library service will have a future because we will be able to give people the library service they want and will use.”
  • Council has “vandalised” our libraries – Wakefield Express (letters).  Chronic underfunding has led to nationally low levels of staffing, books, overall expenditure, run down buildings, high charges. “Outwood Library is a victim of this program of vandalism, despite the sterling efforts of the staff who have performed magnificently against overwhelming odds, in a life expired building, with nil resources.”  Comments suggest bookfund is very poor.