Book now the Speak Up For Libraries conference on 10th November. President of librarian organisation CILIP, Phil Bradley, will introduce the day with author and library campaigner Alan Gibbons then summing up what is described as a “hectic year” for public libraries and campaigners.  Workshops will include sessions on volunteers (which I will declare an interest in as I’m leading it), law and legal challenges (led by Public Interest Lawyers), Getting local support (Women’s Institute), influencing decision-makers (led by deputy leader of Norwich City Council) and privatisation.  Closing speeches will be Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai.

More details, including booking information, a flyer and leaflet can be found on the official Speak Up For Libraries website.  On twitter, the conference can be followed on @SpeakUp4Libs an this is the Facebook page.  I hope to see you there.


  • Arts Council has superintendence of libraries: or does it? – Alan Gibbons.  Ed Vaizey, presumably in a slip of the tongue, apparently wrongly claimed that Arts Council England had superintendence for libraries in parliament recently.  In reality, ACE in a letter has said  they “are instead responsible for the development of public libraries, and our budget will be spent strategically in order to support libraries to continue to be vibrant and relevant to their communities.”  The true nature of the relationship is not perfectly clear however.
  • Authors join Speak Up for Libraries Conference to champion public library services – CILIP.  “Authors Philip Ardagh and Bali Rai will be joining the line up at the Speak Up For Libraries conference in London on Saturday 10 November 2012 to champion public library services and library staff. The day-long event will pull together library campaigners and supporters from across the UK and give them the opportunity to build on their existing campaigning skills and tactics, share ideas and strategies, and focus on a way forward to make their local campaign as effective as possible, with the goal of ensuring library services are supported, protected and preserved now and in the future.”
  • Boyd Tonkin– Independent. “Has the axe woman thrown a boomerang? Maria Miller has fallen at the first hurdle. The novice culture secretary has refused to set up an inquiry into Brent council’s closure of six out of its 12 branch libraries. She finds the cuts justified by low usage, considers access to remaining branches to be adequate, and thinks that library policy should remain a local affair. This free pass handed to a deadbeat Labour council seems to give authorities rather more congenial to Miller carte blanche to wreck their own libraries. When this happens, she will not enjoy the political fall-out.”
  • Culture staff learn their Olympic legacy could be the sack – PCS. “The department’s administrative budget was halved by the former culture secretary Mr Hunt, who is now in charge of our NHS, and the department has refused to rule out compulsory redundancies as it moves to axe a quarter of those who remain as it moves closer to its target of a 50% staff cut by 2014.”
  • “Don’t bend a wheel on the outboard”: Messing with the structure of the Library Service will send it off the road– Shirley Burnham’s Blog.  Compares the damage down to a car and its potential consequences to the damage that may be done to a library. “Your policy must be to maintain every component of the wheels that drive our cultural heritage.  Do not continue to allow the Library Service to be dismantled, reduced to distant hubs or turned over to well-meaning amateurs. Do not, by means of your negligence or ideological ‘visions’ send the Library Service, our children’s literacy and the future well-being of us all into the ditch.”
  • How to teach your child to love reading – Independent.  “The best place for a child to do that essential daily practice – which should quickly become a pleasure rather than a chore – is at home. That means taking children to libraries and/or buying them books. It means turning off (most) screens and certainly getting television sets, laptops, phones, games consoles and the like out of children’s bedrooms – or, better still, don’t put them in there in the first place.”

Libraries as Job Centres – Youtube (USA) via Finding Heroes – Governor of Delaware Jack Markell celebrates the opening of new public library.

Library Pub Crawl@librarypubcrawl -Love libraries? Partial to a pub crawl? For one day only, put down the paperback and pick up a pint! More details to come…London”

  • Social Library: How public libraries are using social media – ReadWriteWeb (USA).  Looks at how US libraries are using Facebook, Twitter etc.  “Social networking is used to publicize library events such as gaming nights; to alert users to additions to collections; to provide links to articles, videos, or Web content that might prove relevant or helpful to patrons; and to provide a conduit for community information. Social media also play an important role in fostering relationships with the community by allowing patrons to ask questions or provide feedback about library services.”
  • Stop the viewing of pornography in public libraries –  [In the USA, some public libraries defend the viewing of porn on the internet as in some way linked to the US Constitution. This petition address that.  In the UK of course, watching porn on a library computer is a good way of getting yourself banned – Ian.]  “Libraries should never be forced to use public or government funds to provide access to pornography. Libraries should be sanctuaries for people of all ages.  They should provide an atmosphere of safety and learning for our children. The viewing of pornography changes the atmosphere in the library not only for patrons but for the employees of the library. We must always balance the individual’s freedoms with the needs of the entrie community. We hope that we can find a solution that will protect all of the patrons of the library from seeing any sexually obscene and/or explicit material.”


Local News

  • Aberdeen – Councillors vote o hold consultation on cutting city’s library provision – STV.  “Up to eight of Aberdeen’s 17 libraries could be closed in a bid to save the local authority £450,000 over five years. Members agreed earlier this year to withdraw the mobile library service resulting in a saving of £13,000. A project to implement SMS and email communication is also expected to result in an estimated £7500 of postal savings.  The committee agreed to instruct officers to consult on levels of service, opening hours and options for the closure of smaller, least-used libraries.”
  • Barnet – False economy – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “According the latest figures an estimated 2159 library posts have been lost this financial year but many more Librarians have been downgraded due to service restructurings and many library staff have been pushed from pillar to post in forced moves. All this upheaval has a negative effect on staff morale and motivation and will surely ultimately lead to a poorer service. And cutting opening hours only adds fuel to the fire as a recent post on the ‘We Heart Libraries’ site shows.”
  • Brent – September Update – Save Kensal Rise Library.  “The Bid submission to All Souls was due on the 7th September allowing just 3 weeks to fundraise. Amazingly, we exceeded the target and have reached £78,439 to date! Pledges have been made from the local community, from across London, the UK, and the world. We would like to thank everyone who has made a pledge, in particular Daniels estate agents, who very generously gave £10,000.  Pledges are still gratefully received and very much needed.”. Business bid to include partnership with Bilbary, IntoUniversity, Eco Computer Systems (who run a few libraries in Lewisham) and Brent Artists Resource.  Decision on if building is to be used again as a library to be made by All Souls over the next couple of months.
  • Brighton and Hove – Mobile library saved – Argus.  “After strong opposition and lengthy debate Brighton and Hove mobile library service has been spared the axe – for the moment. ” … “After a lengthy debate, four Conservative and two Labour councillors were joined by four members of the Green administration in unanimously passing the amendment, which asks experts to use the time and look for extra money, specifically from within the council. “
  • Carmarthenshire – Extra hours at library – This is South Wales.  “Pontyberem Library is opening for longer hours from this week onwards.The library will be open from 10am to noon on Mondays, in addition to the previous opening hours of Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm, and 4pm to 7pm. The extended opening will be for an initial period of three months until December when it will be reviewed. The extended hours have been agreed following increased use.”
  • Croydon – Croydon’s legal position on library made public – News from Crystal Palace.  Details of legal reasons for Croydon withdrawing much of its support from Upper Norwood Joint Library now printed.
  • Gloucestershire – Call for longer library hours to support new communities – This is Glos.  “County councillor Ceri Jones (LD, Cleeve), insisted the 40 hours at Bishop’s Cleeve library is not enough to support the communities, with the new housing developments due.” … “The library, which serves the communities of Bishop’s Cleeve, Gotherington, Stoke Orchard, Woodmancote and Winchcombe, has announced its new opening hours after cuts to library opening hours last year. The new hours include two hours every Sunday, but Mr Jones believes the opening hours should be in additional to the current hours. He said: “I’m really disappointed these two hours are part of the 40 hours instead of on top of it.”
  • Lambeth – We lobbied Lambeth tonight – Lambeth Save Our Services.  “Well done and a big thank you to everyone who came to Lambeth council town hall in Brixton tonight. Loads of people, lots of fun, and we looked angry! We even had council leader Steve Reed accept our giant letters about threats to the one o’clock clubs and the libraries.”  Photographs of demonstration.
  • Leicester – Cuts in library hours to go before scrutiny committee – This is Leicestershire.  £23k cut but “the city’s Central library in Bishop Street will see its opening hours cut from 57.5 hours a week to 52.5 hours a week. Other satellite libraries will also be affected, however, the city council says overall opening hours will increase.”
  • West Sussex – Community library support volunteer – West Sussex Council.  “To volunteer in one of the County Council’s community libraries to help members of the public visiting the library and assist in library routines, thereby maintaining an effective service in a pleasant environment”
  • South Tyneside – Library hours protest grows– Gazette series.  “Seventeen library jobs have been shed, including librarians, branch supervisors, library assistants and Saturday staff – saving £563,000. Additionally, some branches are closing earlier and others are now shut on Saturday. A public consultation over the changes to opening times has now been launched. But the Unison and GMB unions believe the consultation process should have taken place before any decision was made.”
  • Worcestershire – Bromsgrove MP visits town library – Bromsgrove Advertiser. “During the visit, the MP saw the library’s display providing information on the proposed plans to open a new library in the former Parkside School building, in Stourbridge Road. The former school would also house a customer service centre, registry office, a community hall and offices for staff, in a multi-purpose community facility.”