• Envisioning the library of the future – Arts Council England.  Library sector consultation now completed, next phase is “understanding the public”.  “We are seeking to explore the public’s appreciation of public libraries in more detail: not as individual consumers or non-consumers of library services, but rather as citizens who fund public library services.” [ they want books and local libraries with reasonable opening times and paid staff – Ian]


“The Government welcomes this imaginative and valuable initiative by the publishing industry. We encourage the working group that has already been set-up to address it, which includes public library representation, to press ahead and implement the proposed two-year pilot scheme at the earliest opportunity. We hope it will become a permanent feature of the UK’s public library service.” Government response to Finch Report which advocates removing paywalls for electronic journals if use is in a library.

  • Government ignoring local pleas to save libraries: Jarvis – Labour.  Lewisham and Gloucestershire campaigners have waited two years for decision by DCMS but are still waiting, Isle of Wight and Bolton have also been waiting a long time.  Shadow Minister for Libraries says “The Government does not seem to take seriously their responsibilities for a service which thousands of hard working communities across the country rely on, and which is a particular lifeline in these tough times for the most vulnerable in society – for job seekers, families with young children, for kids without a place to work at home, for anyone who can’t afford to go online.”
  • Library closures impoverish our communities – Independent (Letters): (1)  Worcestershire: “While Worcestershire County Council has been proudly promoting its new £60m facility “The Hive”, opened by the Queen in July and offering expanded services for users, several grassroots local libraries are under threat of closure. These are not just local collections, but gateways to the catalogue of the entire county.” (2) Lewisham: “Your front-page article fails to mention the London borough of Lewisham. Lewisham has so far spent in the region of £300k closing one single library in Blackheath Village. To date, some £200k has been donated to a local charity to help it convert a cramped, windowless basement into a so-called community library.”

“Although we live in an increasingly online age, the loss of knowledge, assistance and direction from our trained librarians for study or leisure cannot be replaced and communities will be poorer until these cuts are reversed.”

  • Library cutbacks in Durham, Wakefield and Wolverhampton – BookSeller.  Summarises cuts situation in the three authorities.
  • New structure for the English public library service – Good Library Blog.  Tim Coates argues that some library services should be provided nationally: e-books, online reference, special and large collections (e.g. music, art), national procurement.  Local distribution centres should be phased out.  Each branch should have its own budget inc. for books.  “we should learn to trust and support our local librarians – those who work in libraries, not offices… and we should train and pay them to run and be responsible for a whole library and not be cogs in wheels as many of them are at present” … “All public library staff should be regarded as ‘professional’ and trained and paid to be so- whether they be full or part time, young or old and irrespective of whether they have degrees in librarianship.”
  • Patron preferences shift towards streaming – Digital Shift (USA).  “Library DVD borrowing has fallen sharply during the past year, and library users are rapidly migrating toward streaming services for both music and movies, according to the July 2012 edition of LJ‘s Patron Profiles, which examines trends in Media Consumption and Library Use.”
  • PFI firms should be forced to share excessive profits with councils and health trusts – Telegraph. “Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, welcomed the suggestion that councils should be allowed to share in PFI profits.He told The Daily Telegraph: “Clawing back money from those shown to have overcharged the taxpayer is an attractive idea. Councils wouldn’t hesitate to explore the possibility of reclaiming money that would be better spent on aged care or libraries.”
  • Porn in public?Sociology Lens (USA).  “Should public spaces, like libraries, ban pornography? This past week, the San Francisco Public Library made it easier for those who want to use the library’s online services to view illicit materials by installing shields on 18 of its public computers at the Civic Center branch. In the tradition of anti-censorship, the librarians refuse to censor websites, including those containing pornographic materials. Yet, they want to address concerns from some of their patrons who were troubled that they might accidentally see inappropriate content while visiting the library.” [UK librarians, me included, would normally ban porn-watching members of the public and find this US librarian view challenging – Ian].
  • Survey reveals librarians second only to doctors in public trust – Society of Chief Librarians. “Internet users trust library staff more than most other providers of online support and information, and public library staff are second only to doctors in terms of the trust placed in them by seekers of information, according to an evaluation commissioned by the UK Society of Chief Librarians and supported and funded by Arts Council England. 80% of the users surveyed through the Public Libraries Information Offer said that the support provided in libraries improved their level of understanding of online information and 70% said that it had improved their online knowledge and skills. Users said they would overwhelmingly recommend their public library’s online information to other people.”


Local New

  • Brent – Barham pop-up library finds a new home on Wembley High Road – Brent and Kilburn Times.   “Barham Pop-up Library now operates out of two empty shops in Wembley High Road. The temporary reading room was previously held in Barham Primary School, in Danethorpe Road. The weekend library has been hugely popular with more than 200 members joining and large donations received from publishers.”
    • Council’s plans for Willesden Green Library breached Greater London Authority’s (GLA’s) heritage policy – Brent and Kilburn Times.   “Council chiefs have been slammed after it emerged that a controversial planning application to tear down a Victorian building in Willesden did not meet approval from “top tier officials” … “Martin Redston, speaking on behalf of the Keep Willesden Group, said: “You can’t just go and knock down a heritage building. Brent Council and Galliford Try need to properly address the situation and seek the correct advice.””
  • Doncaster – Campaigners lose judicial review into libraries – Doncaster Free Press. “Doncaster Council has claimed victory in a judicial review – estimated to have cost ratepayers more than £30,000 – into a decision not to put cash into reopening closed libraries in Carcroft and Denaby. But campaign group Save Doncaster Libaries has defended their decision to support to overturn the authority’s decision, saying that they were fighting for the democratic view.”
  • East Dunbartonshire – Controversial library hub will open as planned this month – Kirkintilloch Herald.  “Kirkintilloch’s library will reopen at the end of this month – complete with a ‘one-stop-shop’ which sparked fury among concerned locals. William Patrick Library was closed in June to allow work on a community hub project. However, angry residents claimed the work would reduce floorspace at the library and diminish services. They staged several protests and collected a petition, but it was ultimately to no avail.”
“The community hub development has sparked a massive public outcry, with library users concerned that it could impact on the service. More than 1,600 people have signed a petition opposing the plans.”
  • Hackney – CLR James Library – Stop the privatisation of public libraries.   “I worked for Hackney Libraries from the early 90’s to early 2000’s, for 11 years to be exact. In this time i witnessed the service drop from 14 to 7 libraries, the arrival and departure of 5 Heads of Service and as many restructurings, the closure of the old and better Central Library and the opening of a new one that didn’t work, the downgrading of staff, pay and terms and conditions, the loss of specialist staff, the destruction and selling off of numerous reserve stocks and special collections, a strike that lasted a year and generally the hollowing out and running down of the service.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Bygones: imposing building after first library fire-bombed – This is Grimsby.  “Grimsby has had a central library since 1900, but this was fire-bombed in the Second World War, after which its contents and services were housed in temporary low buildings, which were located on the east side of Victoria Street South. “The old photograph shows the library in 1965, prior to being vacated in favour of the new building.”
  • Suffolk – Library turns the page on new era – Bury Free Press.   ““What it means is that there will be more local influence on our library. “We’ve got a group of people which is working to support the library and help both maintain and extend its facilities and services,” he said. The day saw visitors able to learn how to download free books on to e-book readers.”
    • Stradbroke library expansion plans as IPS takes control – James Hargrave’s Blog.  “Stradbroke Library marked its first day open under IPS control on Thursday as plans to expand the library received a welcome boost with news of a grant from Suffolk County Council towards building costs. The Library and Courthouse working group is to meet in the next few weeks to plan the work. The library currently occupies only part of the downstairs of the Courthouse building and the proposed changes will install doors allowing the library to expand into the downstairs of the Courthouse.”
  • Surrey – Volunteer-run libraries plan called in – Best of Epsom and Ewell.  “the plan, which will see paid full-time staff replaced by volunteer workers, faces being put on hold after select committee members opposed it.”
  • Telford & Wrekin – Start on Southwater Square gets green light – Shropshire Live.   “The building will form a centerpiece of the £250m Southwater development and will house the council’s First Point customer centre and the new Telford Library as well as tourist information, a café and exhibition area for community. Flexible office space will also be available for the community, voluntary and public sector use.”
  • Wakefield – Library plans approved – Express series.  Nearly half libraries will close if volunteers don’t come forward. ““At times these decisions are not very popular, but this is very much a new beginning for library services in Wakefield, one that will build on the idea that libraries are for everyone.””
  • Wolverhampton – Library cuts consultation relaunched – Express and Star.   “The consultation was suspended after councillors demanded a chance to question leisure leaders behind the plans. But it has now been relaunched and members of the public urged to have their say. Councillor Neville Patten, who called the issue in for scrutiny, said : “It just feels that they will do what they want regardless of what the consultation says.”