• Dead again – New York Times (USA). 20 years ago, books were seen as dead because video was replacing them.  In 1835, it was predicted that the newspaper was killing the book.  In the 1920s, it was radio that would deal the death blow.

“However the terms change, in these visions, the place where books are read, acquired or received remains constant. Even that most cinematic of novels, “A Clockwork Orange,” begins and ends in the Public Biblio. Writers foresaw space travel, time travel, virtual reality and, endlessly, the book’s demise; what they never seem to have imagined was that the libraries housing those dying volumes might themselves disappear. After a year in which 2,600 public library branches cut back their hours, some readers will need to walk a lot farther than the length of a street.”

  • Do public libraries make a difference? Where is the real evidence, and what should I do with it? – Lianza (New Zealand) via Finding Heroes. “simply counting visits, issues, or increased APNK bookings does not provide evidence of any value added.  It simply recites what we ‘do’. Not enough, he says. We must gather evidence of the value we add and the difference we make, and then we must use that evidence to reflect on and improve practice, and to trumpet the value of the library to our community….”
  • Gen Y: the most book-loving generation alive? – Christian Science Monitor (USA).  “Generation Y might just be the most bibliophilic generation alive, according to a new consumer study. Gen Y – those born between 1979 and 1989 – spent the most money on books in 2011, knocking the longtime book-buying leaders, baby boomers, from the top spot, according to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review.”
  • Jardin de la Connaissance by Rodney La Tourell and 100 Landschaftsarchitektur: update – De Zeen (Canada) via Finding Heroes.  Thousands of books are being left to decay as an art project: however, they’re being remarkably resilient.  The artists are artificially adding fungus to speed up the process on the “Garden of Decaying Books”.
  • Libraries and public service Cynthia Parkhill (USA).  Librarians often dealing with social work issues and finding homes for homeless etc but there is very little training for this in library schools.
  • This truly was an event that regenerated a community, but what of its legacy? – Guardian (Stewart Lee).  Allegory for the Olympic Games which was great while it lasted “But everything’s still broken, all the butterflies are dead, I’ll never own my own home and they just closed the library. Bastards.”
  • What keeps me awake at night: it may be libraries’ final chapter – Times Educational Supplement.  “Promoting a love of reading is one of the most important things a teacher can do. What infuriates me are the barriers to developing that love: the threat of library closures and an apparent obsession with the teaching of phonics as the sole strategy to give our children reading skills. The local library is the most fantastic resource for enabling children to immerse themselves in books of all kinds. We are all guilty of ignoring this resource – parents who never get round to taking their children and schools that don’t encourage regular visits by local librarians.”  Summer Reading Challenge a great way of keeping literacy up during school holidays.  School libraries are also important: see comment at end of article.


Local News

  • Barnsley – Volunteers wanted for library “human book” experiment – Chronicle Online.  “People who face discrimination or prejudice in their lives are being asked to come forward to become ‘books’ for a human library.  Barnsley library is running the event on October 10 and organisers are encouraging people to come forward and consider being a ‘book’ to be ‘loaned out’ for conversations about their experiences.”
  • Gloucestershire – Bream library plans closer to fruition – This is Gloucestershire. “Bream library is being bought by West Dean Parish Council for £20,000, so volunteers can run it.”  Council will grant £10k per year.  Will be run outside of council control from “end of this year”.
  • Lambeth – My view: Philip Sidaway, organiser of the Friends of Streatham Library Group – This is Local London.  “Today we are almost in a post public library era. Virtually everyone has books at home, internet (either at home, school, or work), and we are generally well educated and literate. We are a blessed generation. We live in an ‘information rich’ world accessible at the touch of a button, but this should not make us look at public libraries as archaic or irrelevant just because ‘we’ do not use them nor understand them.” … “Under-investment, under-funding, have impeded development over many decades. The present Age of Austerity does not help, but it is the real world in which we have to live.”
  • Wiltshire – Library users told to use or lose their mobile service – Wilts and Glos Standard.  “Any library stop that fails to attract four customers on a regular basis will be scrapped. “