I hasten to say that this has nothing to do with the title today but, due to the very large amount of positive feedback I have received from my previous post outlining a vision for public libraries, I have made it into a web page here.  It now also contains further thoughts on the importance of the book and training.


“Not always, but often enough to say goodbye to the tut-tutting and the shushing and the QUIET PLEASE canards. While we try to have spaces that can accommodate quiet reading as well as rambunctious storytimes and group projects, libraries’ approaches to this are as varied as our buildings. Libraries are more popular than ever by most measures of library popularity and are still tremendously well-loved cultural institutions that are available to and for every single person. The reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated, especially on the internet.”

“I commend Voices for the Library for running the poll on National Libraries Day. I see the vote has now ended – and 62% in favour of leaving the date in February. So how long before we see a decision taken on the timing – and who will take it? I feel CILIP have left it too late to suggest changing the date for 2013 – we need to get planning asap if it’s to stay in February. I’m sure some authorities will have started planning already. I echo others concerns that with very limited resources, the last thing we need is the rug pulled out from under us at this stage.” Comment from Somerset librarian, LIS-PUB-LIBS.

  • Interlibrary loan and Stockholm Syndrome – Library Journal (USA).  “There are certain practices in librarianship that have arisen not because they have anything intrinsic to recommend them, but because the print environment made them necessary. We were kidnapped by these practices, forced by the limitations of format to engage in them even though they weren’t particularly effective or practical. Over time, these practices have come to seem like fundamentally important library tasks—or, in extreme cases, even core values of librarianship.”
  • Man who turned his home into a public library – BBC.  “n the 12 years he’s been running his library – or, in his words, his book club – he’s found that his collection has grown rather than diminished, as more and more people donate to the cause. “
  • “Mrs Gruffalo” Julia Donaldson fights for libraries’ future – STV.  ““Some of the children don’t know about libraries. I will say ‘how much does it cost to get a book at a library?’ They are gobsmacked when they find out it is free, and that you can borrow them. “I hope to spread the word a bit.” Earlier this month, Julia used her considerable clout as Children’s Laureate and author of one of the most popular books in recent history to urge new Culture Secretary Maria Miller MP to protect library services in Great Britain.”

Private Eye | Library News Issue No. 1323 21 Sept to 4 Oct 2012 “David Cameron would be impressed by the localism on display at Tory-run Croydon council.  When it was looking for ways to save pennies its eye fell on Upper Norwood Library, a well-used facility that has served people in South London since 1898 and is jointly funded by Lambeth and Croydon councils. Before the council could consider budget cuts, however, it fulfilled its duty to consult local library users on what they thought of the possible changes.  90 percent said they wanted the library to continue as it is, neither closing nor having its funding cut.  To underline the importance the local community places on literacy, a separate survey run by library campaigners showed that 93 percent thought all Londoners deserved to have a library within walking distance and more than half blamed low levels of literacy for the previous summer’s rioting. So what was Croydon council’s reaction to the survey?  Exactly two weeks after it was published the council announced its plan to cut the library’s funding by more than half, from £187,000 a year to £75,000.  Localism at its best!”

  • Trashing libraries just a bit more – Scholars and Rogues.  Looks at the national situation but from a Hampstead viewpoint. Very well written.  “What I’m more worried about are many of the other libraries around the country that are being turned over to volunteer organizations, many of which just aren’t going to be starting out with the level of local support a place like Hampstead can offer. There are already stories about these libraries having to cut hours sharply because of a lack of volunteers, or whatever. Local councillors can then claim some vindication. Screw that. The whole point of public libraries is that they’re public. And the public deserves better than the uncertainty of whether its local library can muddle along with whatever local volunteers, however dedicated, can cobble together. Almost by definition, some of these volunteer-run libraries will be better than others–and those in poorer areas are likely to be feeling the brunt of the impact of these closures. “


Local News

  • Barnet – Friern Barnet Libary activists positive after victory at Barnet County Court – Times series.  “A judge gave the group a stay of execution by adjourning the hearing for three weeks to allow them to put together a case for their occupation of the Friern Barnet Road building. The decision came in the midst of ongoing negotiations with Barnet Council over the possibility of opening a community library there.”  See also Barnet Today.
  • Cambridgeshire – Number of new books for libraries slashed by half – Cambridge News.  “Spending on new books peaked in 2009/10, when 102,146 items were purchased, but the following year just 60,868 were bought, and this slumped in 2011/12 to 48,057.” … ““The current plan is to reinstate the budget for purchasing new stock over the next few years, which would see the situation improve.””
  • Central Bedfordshire – Biggleswade Library ready for upgrade – About My Area.  “In the next two years the council is investing £850,000 to improve the service. This will include updating buildings and installing new self-service technology, developing the online library and piloting library access points in rural communities.”
  • Croydon – Council challenged over Upper Norwood election pledge – Croydon Guardian.  “In the leaflet published before the local elections two years ago, the Conservatives state: “We are pledging, at a minimum, to match Labour Lambeth’s current contribution to the library. This funding will enable the excellent work done at the library to continue.” In 2010 Lambeth Council contributed more than £200,000 to the running of the library. Coun Godfrey said: “Why does the council think it is acceptable for Lambeth Council to pay for Croydon service users. You felt it was important enough to put this pledge on the front page of your election document, but now two years on you offer a fraction of the cost.””
  • Dorset – Community group set to take over Wool village library – Dorset Echo.  “The group was set up as Wool was one of nine libraries faced with the withdrawal of core funding from Dorset County Council and is now close to reaching a formal agreement to run the facility on behalf of the local community. The move has also seen the local parish council move in to share the library space, supporting the business plan put forward by the Friends group. “
  • Hampshire – Bishop’s Waltham Libraries get crafty – News. “the participants of a jewellery workshop got to wear their handiwork home. The workshop at Bishop’s Waltham Library was one of a series running in Hampshire libraries at the moment. The venue will also play host to courses on beginners water colours and basic pastels. Assistant library manager Linda Tillson said: ‘We want people to come in and find out what’s going on in your local library.”
  • Kent – County Council admit they can maintain existing library service – Infoism.  “Early last year, the council announced that it planned to create a £5 million Big Society Fund “for town and village groups to tap into”. This figure was later reduced to £3 million (with £1m being donated to the Kent Community Foundation each year until 2014). Given that the council plans to cut the library budget by £500,000, the money that the council is investing in the Big Society Fund (BSF) could maintain the existing library service for six years.”
  • Lancashire – Campaign launched to get people back into Pendle’s libraries – Lancashire Telegraph.  “The campaign features Lancashire library users on eye-catching billboards, posters, phone boxes, and buses, as well as the council’s social media channels on Twitter, Flickr and YouTube to reach its target audience. Both libraries will also be running a host of events to welcome in their local communities. County Coun Mike Calvert, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “We know that libraries are important to people’s quality of life and are at the heart of local communities, which is why we are investing around £6.5 million in refurbishing our network of 74 libraries across the county.”.  The comments shows the urgent need for the action.
  • Solihull – Cut in library times prompts outrage– Solihull Observer.  “Solihull Council said the new opening hours will mean the libraries will only open when people want to use them and there will be no more than five hours reduction per week at any one library. There will be no changes for Solihull Central, Shirley and Chelmsley Wood libraries. But staff hours will be cut, with some given the opportunity to work in more than one library to complete their contracted hours. The council said it could also redeploy employees to other areas but some could be made redundant”.  Council criticised for lack of imagination.
  • Staffordshire – Libraries see rise in numbers of e-books -Burton Mail.  “Staffordshire County Council revealed that Burton Library had issued 1,068 ebooks during August alone — the same figure was also achieved in 2011 but over a four-month period between May and August.” … ““With access to more than a million books, 1,800 e-books, and free WiFi, there’s never been a better time to be a member of Staffordshire libraries.” Another 300 titles have been added this month, mostly fiction titles for adults and for children, bringing the total to 1,800. The county’s libraries also loan approximately 290,000 printed books per month to people across Staffordshire.”