You know a job is tough when you can’t get someone in post to do it, especially when it’s during a recession, it’s been advertised for several months and the job carries a none-too-shabby salary.  The job in question is for a volunteer co-ordinator.  Why do they need one?  The service is expecting to cut £1m from its budget by removing paid staff and replacing them by volunteers or machines or – in the case of managers – not replacing them at all.

Meanwhile, over in Barnet, all surviving librarians (6, with 18.5 being lost) will be taken off the front line and apparently using them at least partially to train up cheaper staff and, of course, volunteers.  Good news then is left for Bradford which, after several months of having large parts of its Central Library being closed due to it being a fire hazard, has found the money to sort it out in the early part of next year.


  • Come on you local councillors, resist those cuts – Independent. “Many people struggle to understand what services are actually provided locally; they only notice them when they depend on them and they abruptly disappear. Often, many will suggest libraries as the most likely victim, and indeed up to one in five face being shut down because of cuts. In Brent, for example, six libraries – or half the total number in the borough – face the chop.But the impact is far, far greater than local libraries.”
  • Do libraries no longer need books? – Book Marketing Buzz Blog (USA).  “I recently went with my son to the library and brought five shopping bags worth of books. There were maybe 150 -200 books, mostly children’s books, that were in excellent condition. I couldn’t wait to show my seven-year-old son that donating items of value helps the community and is appreciated. Instead, I was met by a less-than-excited library worker who blurted out, upon seeing me, “Oh, we don’t normally take that many books. Only one bag per family.”
  • Going public: frustrated librarians begin taking their e-book case to the masses – Publishers Weekly (USA).  “Talks between librarians and publishers are set to continue this week on the long-simmering e-book issue, including an AAP-sponsored discussion featuring ALA president Maureen Sullivan on September 27. Frustrated by a lack of progress, however, and in some cases regression, on the e-book issue, ALA officials are taking their case beyond the boardrooms, directly to their patrons and supporters. In an open letter obtained by PW [and now up on the ALA Web Site], ALA president Maureen Sullivan raises the stakes in the e-book debate, asking readers: “which side will you be on.” “
  • Library with no rules – Guardian.  Report on Manila man who lends out books for free, interesting insight into public libraries in Phillipines.


Local News

  • Aberdeen – Councillor says no more cuts to Aberdeen libraries – Original FM. “An Aberdeen City councillor has hit out at a consultation that has been launched on the future of city libraries. Councillor Martin Greig says that tough decisions have already been taken about the services in the city. The Labour led administration are asking people to comment on the current services as part of a review and have not ruled out closures”
  • Barnet – Cull of library staff: Barnet libraries restructure – Barnet UNISON.  “This week Barnet  libraries management  announced to library staff their plans for the service. Front-line  library staff numbers are to be cut and more self–service machines will introduced. The number of staff carrying out the duties of professionally qualified  librarians will be cut from 24.5 post to 6 and these 6 will no longer work directly with the public.  ” … “Despite the reduction in front line staff and Barnet Libraries having two less building to run with the closure of Friern Barnet Library and the handing over of Hampstead Garden Library to a local resident group, the number of senior management posts remains the same and administration staff posts increased by two. In addition a temporary project manager to enforce further cuts is proposed. “
  • Bradford – Date set for work on Bradford Central Library – Telegraph and Argus.  “Bradford Central Library will be opened properly by next March – more than 18 months after it was identified as a serious fire risk. ” … “Most of the eight-floor building has been closed since then, with just the ground and first floor open to the public. But that will change next March when the ground, first and second floors are opened up following a three-month closure starting from January to allow the work to be carried out.”.  Local Studies worries; “Most of the eight-floor building has been closed since then, with just the ground and first floor open to the public. But that will change next March when the ground, first and second floors are opened up following a three-month closure starting from January to allow the work to be carried out.”
  • Gloucestershire – Planning application for 61 homes at the Old Railway site in Lechlade causes controversy – Standard series. “… it was revealed the developer has been asked to contribute towards Gloucestershire County Council ‘s library service – even though the authority will stop funding the town’s facility at the end of next month. ” … “At a meeting of Cotswold District Council ’s planning committee last week, Cllr Sue Coakley (Ind, Kempsford-Lechlade) said she was shocked that the applicant was being asked to fund libraries when GCC had cut funding from the town’s facility. “There would be absolute outrage in Lechlade if you give any money to the council for libraries,” said Cllr Coakley, who is running the community group of volunteers set to take over the town’s library from November.”
  • Lambeth – “Keep playgrounds in town hall hands”  South London. Lambeth Council outsourcing many services “The protest was organised after last month’s revelation that Lambeth Play Association (LPA) – a private company contracted to run children’s adventure playgrounds – had breached the terms of its contract.” .. “The council has also been criticised for changes to the library services. Libraries will now be run as “community hubs” with services shared between the borough’s nine sites. But opponents of the plan believe it will mean fewer staff and books available.”
  • Oxfordshire – Struggle to appoint library co-ordinator – Oxford Mail.  “A co-ordinator is due to be employed – with a starting salary of £34,549 a year – to work with Friends groups which will help provide the volunteers. But despite the post being advertised in April, only two interviews have been carried out and no-one has been appointed. Julia Drown, of Save Old Marston Library, said: “The fact that they are struggling to appoint a co-ordinator must be an indication of the difficulty the council is having in delivering its plans. The job of co-ordinating volunteers in one Friends group is massive.”

“The move towards volunteer staff is one of a series of measures that the council expects will save £1m over a three-year period. If it goes ahead as planned, it is estimated the changes will save £313,000 in 2015-16. A restructure of management will contribute towards a further £273,000 saving while introducing self-service equipment in libraries will save another £256,000. The council insisted the delay in appointing the co-ordinator position would not affect the overall savings plan.”

  • PlymouthCommunity hub will offer health advice at city library – This is Plymouth. “Plymouth City Council will unveil its new Health Zone at the city’s main library at the start of next month. The Health Zone will be unveiled at the Central Library on Monday October 1 with a day of events. It will bring together a range of organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Alzheimer’s Society, Memory Clinic, MIND, NHS and Job Centre Plus. The community hub will also offer a range of books on health conditions, information on health and social care, staff will help visitors find information and get on the internet and there will be health events and support group meetings.”
  • Powys – Have say on local libraries – This is South Wales.  “Powys Council’s Library Service is taking part in a national survey to identify trends and gather a snapshot of customer opinion and needs. Adult visitors to the council’s branch and mobile libraries may be asked to complete a survey asking for their views on opening hours, staff helpfulness, facilities and the quality of book, computer, multi- media and information services.”
  • Tameside – Library closures: “get used to it” says councillor– Socialist Party.  “Councillor Margaret Downs has acted in a particularly contemptuous manner exclaiming at one campaigner, regarding the upcoming closure of Haughton Green library: “It’s gone, get used to it!”. On 19 September, the three ward councillors for Denton South attended a ‘Save Haughton Green Library’ meeting.”

“Responding to the meeting’s anger, councillor Claire Francis suggested foolishly that local residents could volunteer to run the library. She was left dumbfounded by the uproar, with one former librarian likening it to Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ where highly trained, paid professionals can lose their jobs for poorly trained volunteers to take their place.”

  • WorcestershireKidderminster library gallery campaigners to meet council bosses – Shuttle.  “Representatives of Kidderminster Gallery Friends and the county council will meet on Thursday to discuss two new options put forward by library service chiefs earlier this month. One option would see the top-floor gallery moved to the current first floor reference area to make way for county council social service staff offices. Another option sees a slightly smaller gallery space remain on the top-floor in its current position. Offices for social service staff would be in rooms next to the gallery as well as next to the first floor reference area.”