It’s been a few days since the last Public Libraries News update – real-life can get in the way sometimes – so there’s a lot of news in today’s post. The things that stick out to me are:


  • 10 haunted libraries of the US – Online Education Database (USA).  It’s spooky.
  • If libraries want more ebooks they need to buy more print books – Good Library Blog / Tim Coates.  “if the public library service in England wants to offer ebooks with any kind of quality to the range it offers (as it says it does) , then they have to persuade publishers that they are genuine in their support for what publishers do. And ‘genuine’ means they have to buy and hold more print books than they currently do. In turn that means finding more money out of declining budgets to buy print books- and that means total and ruthless simplification and standardisation of the supply chains and buying processes- so that there is more money to spend .”
  • Librarians on the loose: Serving patrons beyond the building – Illinois Libraries Matter (USA).  Reference librarians go out of the library, including to a train station at 5am.  Some successful publicity.
  • Library Quiz Guardian. “Time to prove just how much you love your library with our quiz! Do you know stacks about the subject – or are you a stranger to your shelves? Do you love your library? Tell us why! You could write a list or a poem, like Julia Donaldson, draw a picture, write a story or take a photo. Send your contribution to and we’ll add them to our Love your library page, celebrating libraries all over the world”.  See also the Guardian “Love your library” page.
  • Need accurate political fact-checking?  Ask a librarian – ReadWrite (USA).  “an open discussion about the issues in the state’s political system that gives voters a clear idea of their fellow citizen’s views, without all ( or at least most) of the bickering. And here’s the coolest part: voters can request to have statements on the user-generated pro/con lists fact checked by librarians from the Seattle Public Library System within 48 hours.”

With e-book downloads outstripping the purchase of hard copies, with libraries closing and discarding books and with the value of the book as physical object being increasingly questioned, this interdisciplinary conference will bring together academics, librarians, artists, creators, designers, and users of books to explore a wide variety of issues pertaining to the creation, design, construction, use, reuse, preservation, loss, and recovery of the material book, electronic and digitized books, and of collections and libraries. Abstracts on the conference themes and their intersection and covering any historical period are invited.Resurrecting the book: A call of papers – Birmingham Libraries via Lis-Pub-Libs.

  • Resistance springs from the shelves – El Pais (Spain).  “If you don’t believe in any god, perhaps you can believe in the public library of Guadalajara. Nearly 40 percent of the population does. In a country with mediocre reading rates, the statistics (31,650 library members out of a population of 84,453) are a slap in the face of skepticism. Most people come here to borrow books, but the building is a microcosm of activity: somebody is playing a piece by Satie on the piano in the central courtyard; a reading club is dissecting Jonathan Franzen; students do homework under volunteer supervision; and around 50 families spend one night here in their sleeping bags while they listen to stories “

“it is the users who are filling in the gaps with their own time, money and energy. It represents a miracle of solidarity, an overdose of good vibes, a lesson for ignoble times, and evidence that culture is more than just a passing fancy. It is also a crossroads for the director of this state-owned library, Blanca Calvo. “It’s exciting to see that just one email asking for volunteers got an immediate response from lots of users, but it is also a moral and professional dilemma because they’re the ones covering needs that should be covered by the state,” she confesses.”

  • Update: MI Court of Appeals: No gun ban for libraries – Library Journal (USA).  Under current laws, libraries cannot refuse entry to people with guns in the state.  New legislation may be passed to allow libraries to refuse guns.
  • Young Americans’ reading and literary habits – Pew Internet (USA).  “More than eight in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. At the youngest end of the spectrum, high schoolers in their late teens (ages 16-17) and college-aged young adults (ages 18-24) are especially likely to have read a book or used the library in the past 12 months. And although their library usage patterns may often be influenced by the requirements of school assignments, their interest in the possibilities of mobile technology may also point the way toward opportunities of further engagement with libraries later in life.”  Survey shows very useful figures for who is reading what in this age group.


Local News

  • Anglesey – Libraries cuts report accepted by councillors – BBC.  7% cut in £1m budget for each of next three year’s budgets.  “budget guidance for 2014-16 states that “savings should be identified through transformation and redefining of services and not through top-slicing of budgets or ceasing/closing of services”. It added: “However, given the comparatively high level of budget reduction required, and the very low base of core funding that exists for the Library and Information Service it is considered that meeting this requirement will inevitably mean significant service reduction including the closure of a number of local libraries.””

“”the cuts and the pressures on local government finances are only just beginning, and the long term financial future of local government in Wales is challenging.”

  • Libraries face axe risk under budget cuts – Daily Post.  “cuts threaten slashing the service budget by more than 20%.”  Cuts of “£200,000 over the three years.”. “The island’s libraries are already the lowest funded as a proportion of total budget of any North Wales local authority, but remain popular with 4,000 visits per 1,000 people last year. There was an average of five books issued for every resident, a 12% increase on the previous year.”
  • Barking and Dagenham – Savings Option 2013/4 to 2015/16 – Barking and Dagenham Council.  Plans to cut £593k from libraries fund.  Two libraries (Markyate already closed Sept 2012) and one more un-named branch to close before April 2013.  Later on in document, document says three libraries will close.  New structure relies on no closures in neighbouring authorities of Redbridge and Havering.  Volunteers to apparently staff or manage all but the largest two libraries (Marks Gate, Thames View, Rush Green, Robert Jeyes and Valence Libraries).
  • Barnet – Union condemns cut in librarian numbers – Barnet and Whetstone Press. “Plans to slash the number of fully qualified librarians in Barnet by more than three-quarters have been slammed by trade union chiefs.  Barnet Unison has revealed that council bosses are proposing to reduce the number of professional librarian positions from 24.5 to just six in a bid to make budget savings of £500,000.  The six remaining librarians will be moved into back-of-house training positions while less qualified staff members will serve library users. ” … “This restructure will result in a library service with fewer staff available to serve the public and with less expertise and skills. The choice of stock available in the libraries may decline and service and activities previously delivered by trained and experienced staff will be done by volunteers.”
  • Bexley /Bromley – London Libraries Consortium: LLC library cards to be accepted in over half of London’s boroughs – Journalism.  “The London Boroughs of Bexley and Bromley are to become the sixteenth and seventeenth members of the London Libraries Consortium when they join in January 2013, meaning that over half of London’s 32 Boroughs will be members of the consortium. This will give residents of both boroughs access to the stock in both Bexley and Bromley with one library card, but also access to the stock from the other 15 members of the London Libraries Consortium: over 6 million items from around 180 library branches across London. Merton, Lewisham and Kingston-Upon-Thames have also joined in the last 18 months. Members of the consortium collaborate on procurement, knowledge sharing and shared services, as well as jointly working on new service developments.”
  • Brent – Kensal Rise and Cricklewood Library owner claims book lending service could be run from the sites – Brent and Kilburn Times.  “Earlier today the Times reported that All Souls College in Oxford, had agreed to sell the two buildings in Bathurst Gardens and Olive Road to developers, who would turn them into flats. However, a spokesman for the college denied a final deal had been secured but insisted their proposals could benefit both parties as they had earmarked a space for a libraries.” … “The buildings will only be sold if developers agree a library could be run on the site.”
  • Kensal Rise library campaign suffers blow as owner confirms sell-off talks – Guardian.  “Tokenistic” small library spaces only. ” “The pound signs are dangling in front of the college,” added Desmond Clarke, a national library campaigner and former director at the publishers Faber and Faber. “It is sad given All Souls is remarkably well-endowed college.”

“All Souls College, Oxford, has decided to sell Kensal Rise Library to developers who are going to strip the buildings and convert to flats. The developers are offering us a very small section (for a library) in exchange for helping them with planning, but we will have to pay commercial rates in perpetuity. Not a very good offer. We are greatly saddened that this venerable college has chosen profit over people. The destruction of our only local cultural asset is shocking and demoralizing for all of us who have been working to support a service that benefits the most vulnerable amongst us. That All Souls chose this path in the face of our shared history, accelerating the gentrification of our community, is a direct rebuke to the original residents of Kensal Rise that the Fellows gifted the land to so many years ago. Luckily there is another developer with a much more generous proposal for Kensal Rise Library re: space & terms. They have been in touch with the campaign and will submit a Bid to All Souls College, Oxford, by Monday for urgent review. We sincerely hope that All Souls gives this proposal serious consideration. There will be a lot of activity over the next few days and your support is vital. Please help spread the news and share our petition as widely as you can. If you would like to get involved further, or have any ideas or suggestions for the campaign I’d love to hear from you email me via: or twitter: @jodigramigni” Jodi Gramigni, via email.

  • Cambridgeshire – Ivo librarian to lobby Westminster – Hunts Post.  “Gill Mitchell, from St Ivo School, in St Ives, will be among a gathering that could run into hundreds of librarians, children’s authors, publishers, parents and students marching from The Embankment to the Houses of Parliament next Monday afternoon (October 29), before lobbying her MP, North West Cambridgeshire’s Shailesh Vara.”

“It’s about all students getting a proper education. Unless you’re doing the English Baccalaureate, you don’t have to have a school library. “We want the Government to make libraries a statutory requirement and to bring them into the Ofsted inspection regime,”

  • Camden – Playwright Alan Bennett criticises lack of government support as Primrose Hill Community Library opens – London 24.  “Speaking at the official opening of the library in Sharpleshall Street on Monday night (October 22), the 78-year-old History Boys playwright said: “It’s something that we can all be proud of and pleased about, but at the same time the real celebration will be the day that the local authority and the government realise and admit that libraries are not something that should depend on the efforts of people like us. ” … “Patron Dame Joan Bakewell thanked the “well-heeled” of Primrose Hill for pledging more than £580,000 to save the library.  Libraries are the life blood of ideas and they must not die,” she said. “It is deplorable that the policies that have led to this mean that Camden (Council) have withdrawn their support.”

Libraries “should be provided as a right in the way that education is provided and certainly that’s true round here and I look forward to that day when society, the policies and the difficulties of today which resulted in the closing of so many libraries have gone and libraries again flourish as once they did in the 19th century.” Alan Bennett.

  • Alan Bennett slams cuts as he opens new library run by the community – London Evening Standard.  “journalist and presenter Dame Joan, 79, also condemned the “deplorable” policies which have led to library closures. She said: “I am a Labour peer, I don’t believe in all this ‘we are all in it together’ stuff. Libraries are for everybody, and they should be provided for them.” “
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Libraries to offer a one-stop shop – This is Hull and East Riding.  “East Riding Council is seeking planning permission to move and improve its customer service centre (CSC) facilities into Hessle’s library as part of a £1m project.” … “Similarly, in Withernsea, there is a £600,000 plan to provide a one-stop shop in the town’s library. Darren Stevens, head of culture and information at East Riding Council, said: “We want to provide the best services in the future but we need to do that at a lower cost than is currently the case. “Amalgamating the buildings means they will cost less to run.”
  • Edinburgh – Food for thought as libraries start up grocery stores – Scotsman.   Pop-up grocery libraries in two libraries until Christmas.
  • Hampshire – Changes to library service – Andover Advertiser.  “The Mobile Library Service will make 343 stops around Hampshire, mainly on a four weekly and weekly basis. The new revised timetable includes a change from four weekly to fortnightly visits for Broughton and King’s Somborne in the Test Valley, and the length of some existing stops in Test Valley will increase to cater for more customer visits. “
  • Winchester volunteers honoured for library service – This is Hampshire.  “Volunteers Jane Clark and Jenny Dixon were honoured at Winchester Discovery Centre last week for their work with the Home Library Service. The pair deliver books to housebound residents throughout Hampshire and were presented with bouquets of flowers by centre manager Graeme Pick on Monday, October 22.”
  • Kensal Rise Library to be sold to developers – Brent.   “Kensal Rise Library will be sold for flats, after its owner, All Souls College, Oxford, decided to reject the bid of campaigners who wanted to save the building for the community. However, the college has offered a compromise plan which will allow the Friends of Kensal Rise Library to operate a library service from an area of the ground floor of the building.”

“Margaret Bailey, a member of the campaign, said she was disappointed by the outcome. She said: “We are disappointed and a bit surprised. They decided to go with a property developer who wants to put in flats on the top floors and ground floor. We have been offered a limited space. “My understanding when we met with the college in August was that they did not want to put in flats. We had been approached by developers with similar suggestions, and could have tailored our bid if we had known it would be well received.””

  • Kent – New team put stamp on revamped school library – This is Kent.  School library: “I want our students to find books that challenge them, that make them think and feel, and inspire them. Whether its fact, fiction, research, biographies and autobiographies – it’s all here waiting to be explored.”
  • Kirklees – “No shambles here” says Kirklees library chief: do you agree? – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  “Earlier this year the council revealed a controversial proposal to remove employees from seven village libraries around Huddersfield. Officials had hoped that volunteers would come forward to take over the centres. An 8,000 strong petition against the idea was handed to councillors and the leader of the group, Suzanne Dufton, told councillors their plan just didn’t add up. Following the consultation the idea appears to have been shelved, but no formal decision has yet been revealed.”
  • Leicestershire – Revamps of museum, library and market hall to get go-ahead – This is Leicestershire.  “The full council agreed on Monday to spend more than £5.7 million upgrading the office complex in Adam and Eve Street. Members also agreed to pump £410,000 into improving the market hall in Northampton Road. The Adam and Eve Street project will see the library and museum expanded and shops built on the ground floor. The library will relocate temporarily to Millers Yard. A spokesman for the county council, which runs the library, said: “Essential services will be provided at the temporary facility, with neighbouring libraries i benefiting from additional book stock for the duration of the refurbishment.”
  • Northumberland – Wooler Library and TIC wins nationwide community award – Berwick Advertiser.  “A library and tourist information centre which was at risk of closure but fought back, increasing opening hours by 300 per cent whilst saving its local authority 30 per cent in costs, has won Britain’s top award for town community projects. The Community Hub in Wooler has beaten competition from across the UK to become overall winner of the 2012 Action for Market Towns (AMT) Awards.”

“When Northumberland County Council needed to make significant cost savings, there was a real risk that Wooler would lose its tourist information centre and library service – which services an area of some 250 square miles. But GGT instigated and led a partnership project, securing funding for a complete re-fit and relocation of Wooler library, including the tourist information centre within a community facility, and taking on Wooler’s old library building for development as affordable housing. The new library has seen a 20 per cent increase in book lending, 95 per cent increase in visitor numbers and 150 per cent increase in membership – and its opening hours have increased by 300 per cent. And the relocated tourist centre has seen a 70 per cent increase in gross income.”

  • Sefton – Proposals to close libraries faces official scrutiny probe – Crosby Herald.   “In an attempt to halt the cull of libraries throughout the borough, the decision has been “called in”. The move means the decision over closures could be reviewed and overturned. Consultation on the proposed closures is expected to begin at the end of this month.”
  • Solihull – Borough MP defends Parkgate library plan – Solihull Observer.  “moving the library would be a great thing for the people of Shirley and that the Parkgate project should now be fully supported by everyone in the town. “We all now need to get behind Parkgate and help ensure it is as good as it can be,” she said. “The library would attract lots of people to the new development and create a real hub in the town centre, which is what everybody wanted in the first place.” … “”We (Solihull Council) have built a splendid brand new library in Chelmsley Wood as part of the new Bluebell Centre and also a new library in Smiths Wood – this when other councils up and down the country are closing libraries.”
  • Somerset – Burnham on Sea library to begin new chapter after refurbishment – Burnham on  Self-service machines installed.
  • Surrey – Is Surrey County Council setting up Community Partnered Libraries to fail? – Surrey Libraries Action Movement.  “Key to running a Library and providing a comprehensive and efficient service to the public is access to the Library Computer Management System. SCC are denying access to their computer system (Galaxy) to all 10 of the volunteer-run libraries. Instead they are installing Auto Checkout Machines that only have limited functionality and are unpopular with a large number of library users.” … “Another area in which SCC is deliberately denying CPLs the support they need is by refusing to pass on an offer of help from an experienced manager of a successful volunteer-run library. Jim Brooks, leader of the award winning Little Chalfont Community Library in Buckinghamshire – often offered as an example of excellence in volunteer-run libraries – generously offered to help and advise the Surrey CPLs set up their community supported libraries. This offer was brusquely refused by Helyn Clack, SCC Cabinet Member for Community Services, and the offer was not passed on. Helyn Clack’s response to Mr Brooks offer was: “The Surrey model for community partnered libraries is very different but thank you for getting in touch.”
  • North Tyneside – Council to charge for its internet – News Guardian.  “Customers can access the internet for free for 30 minutes on People’s Network PCs, after which there will be a new charge of £1 per hour. There will be free access to desktop computing programmes and selected websites.”

“Customers who use the internet frequently for other reasons, such as to access social media websites, are being offered the chance to upgrade their ease EXTRA discount card to the new ease EXTRA Library Premier card. The card entitles the holder to free unlimited internet access, plus a host of other benefits. The council said holders of the new card will have unlimited free use of library computers, discounts on DVDs, library events and fax charges and an increased limit on the number of items that can be borrowed. The cost of a 12 month subscription is £30. A concessionary subscription charge of £24 will apply for those with priority status, including all those aged under 18 and over 60.”

  • South Tyneside – Libraries are turning over a new leaf – Jarrow and Hebburn Gazette.  “They now provide a base for a range of community groups, performing arts productions and advice sessions. A self-service system which allows people to issue and return their own books has been expanded and is now operating in the borough’s Cleadon Park, Central and Boldon Lane libraries. An e-lending service, launched in March, is rapidly growing in popularity. Readers can access the library’s e-catalogue 24-hours a day using the service.” … ““We will be engaging with adults and we are going to invite children to design their ideal library using Lego.”

We are recruiting and have some exciting opportunities for people who’d like to use their knowledge and experience in a new and innovative environment. Suffolk Libraries is a new, independent community based organisation with charitable status which took over the running of Suffolk’s library service on 1 August.  We are building a new management team and are looking for people who are talented, ambitious and highly motivated to join us.  For more information about us, and any jobs on offer please go to our website, at – Alison Wheeler, Suffolk Libraries IPS via Lis-Pub-Libs.

  • Wakefield – Last chance to keep local libraries alive – Wakefield Express.  “Nearly half of the district’s libraries were at risk of closing when Wakefield Council announced in July that it was no longer prepared to run them. Since then the council has been encouraging community groups to apply to take on the running of their local library. And this week it announced a community-run library at Havercroft will open inside Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre on Tuesday, November 27. Plans to transfer Kettlethorpe Library to the Standbridge Lane Community Development Trust are also on track, but a date has yet to be announced. And villagers in Walton are confident of keeping their library running through a partnership between Walton Primary School and the Friends of Walton Library (FOWL).”
  • Pulp Star Jarvis Cocker to unveil new flagship city library – Yorkshire Evening Post.  “Jarvis Cocker will officially open a new library in Wakefield city centre next month.The musician, broadcaster and author will unveil the library – housed in newly built Wakefield One – from noon on Saturday November 10.And children’s author and illustrator Lynne Chapman will host a family workshop for children aged four to eight at the new library from 10am to noon on Monday October 29.”
  • Windsor and Maidenhead – Call for support for libraries in the Royal Borough – Royal Borough Observer.  “The Friends Of The Royal Borough Of Windsor And Maidenhead Libraries is looking for volunteers to help fundraise and organise promotional activities. Councillor Simon Dudley, Royal Borough cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “We have a thriving library service and are continually looking to improve what we offer. “This initiative is very much in the spirit of the Big Society and volunteers can make a huge contribution to this improvement.””
  • History in the making as Royal Borough libraries and Waterstones Windsor launch new festival – Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.  “Libraries around the borough, the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum, the Guildhall, Waterstones and even the Windsor & Eton Brewery in Duke Street will host 21 authors in 10 events for fans of history tales of all ages. Themes include Shakespeare’s Local, Great Wars: WW1 and WW2, Armies of Rome, Great Queens, Art of Spying and Before Sherlock, while best-selling author Alison Weir will appear at the Guildhall and the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum will host a special children’s event, Terrific Tudors.”
  • Wokingham – Libraries: a victory for common sense and for the Lib Dems – Prue Bray. “Wokingham Conservatives have decided NOT to proceed with outsourcing the running of the libraries to the private sector. They first announced they were going to do it in May 2011.     We collected signatures for a massive Lib Dem petition against it, which led to a debate in November 2011.    And now finally they have accepted that it wasn’t the right thing to do either financially or for the service.   Which was what we said at the start……”
  • Worcestershire -Library plan wins backing from residents – Bromsgrove Standard.  Plans to “move Catshill Library into the nearby middle school have been given the go-ahead after winning support from residents. The idea was approved by Worcestershire County Council’s decision-making cabinet last Thursday (October 18) and now the proposal just needs to be rubber-stamped at the council’s next meeting in November.” … “The new library would be led by volunteers, trained and supported by the county council’s Libraries and Learning Service. More than 50 people have expressed an interest in getting involved.”