The DCMS is inviting submissions to its review into e-lending.  You don’t have to be a big cheese or official, so if you’re interested in the fate of libraries, write in.  Because, as is becoming obvious, at some point in the future – not immediately but at some point – e-books are going to take over from printed books.  When that time comes, the choice will be between some form of purely private (that is, pay for it or don’t get it) provision or one with free public access for all.  A system which means that access to books does not depend on access to money is a far more likely one to encourage innovation and the full development of our country’s talents, so  I know which future I’m hoping for.  Also thinking about the future is Philip Bradley, the President of CILIP, who has written and filmed a frankly quite brilliant article on the pitfalls of libraries ignoring the internet and e-book revolution.  It’s obvious that Norway is already up to speed on this and we need to be too.

A council which is facing the future in a controversial way is Cornwall, which is apparently to outsource pretty much everything it can, including libraries.  This is proving to be deeply unpopular, with the deputy leader resigning over the issue and a vote of no confidence in the leader scheduled for Tuesday.  Far further north, the proposed closure of seven libraries in Sefton is also making waves, with the decision going out to consultation.


  • Amazon brings controversial e-lending scheme to UK – BookSeller. “Amazon is to launch its controversial Kindle Owners’ Lending Library in the UK from the end of October, offering Kindle-owning Amazon Prime customers access to more than 200,000 e-books for free. It has also announced that its latest e-reader, the Paperwhite, will be available for UK customers later this month.”
  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite launched in the UK – Telegraph. “The £109 Paperwhite is Amazon’s first backlit Kindle to launch in the UK, and will ship on October 25 to customers who preorder it from today.The Lending Library will mean up to one book per month can be borrowed from a selection of 200,000 and read free on all Kindles, Amazon said. Lending Library members must join Amazon’s premium delivery service, called Prime, for £49 per year. Only one book can be borrowed at a time, but existing Prime customer will get the additional service free.” … “touchscreen Paperwhite offers a manually-adjusted backlight and higher definition than its predecessors.”


Back Of Library Smells Like Weed – The Onion (USA) : It’s humour, by the way.


  • Collection quagmire – Agnostic, Maybe (USA).  US politician is unhappy about libraries buying items he considers pure entertainment.  Article looks at the problems of having such a limited point of view and wider questions on funding.
  • Competence for innovative libraries – Scandinavian Library Quarterly (Norway).  “Developing a creative library sector that can cope with change requires competence in change management and innovation. In cooperation with Bergen University College, Hordaland County Library has established the study programme Change management, innovation and knowledge management for the county’s library staff. – The fact that so many library employees in the county complete the programme is bound to make a difference, says one of the students.”
  • e-lending in libraries: what do you think? – DCMS. “e-Books are transforming the way the nation reads.  But how should libraries respond to the challenges and opportunities that this new technology presents? That’s the question being asked by an independent panel, appointed by Ed Vaizey, to look at the issue of ‘e-lending’.  The panel – headed by William Sieghart, and with representatives from all parties affected by e-lending – is issuing a call for evidence to inform their discussions.”  Webpage invites contributions to the debate from anyone interested.
  • Future of libraries in a digital cultureHuffington Post / Patricia Martin. ” In 2011, OCLC — a library consortium — reported that library usage increased for 36 million Americans. All told, 69 percent of Americans currently use public libraries. My library is a remarkable value — a banquet of books and periodicals, earnest service, and free WiFi. Lately, libraries are playing an unheralded role in the economic recovery by helping people find work and build businesses.”

“Americans need help navigating a way forward — whether it’s to find work or explore a new career path. It’s no wonder people are rediscovering their local libraries as a place to begin. That’s why libraries need to innovate. Otherwise, they risk becoming an object of nostalgia — the emotional step right before irrelevance. Deadly. Research shows that when taxpayers stop expecting public institutions to transform, they invite entrenchment.”


Joanne Trollope explains the independent review into e-book lending into libraries – Youtube.


  • Librarians plea Screwy Decimal.  Librarian complains about people thinking her job is easy.
  • Libraries, books, ebooks and the future Phil Bradley’s weblog.  The imminent advent of free / nearly free e-readers and low-price subscription models for unlimited e-books presents library with a future that points away from the printed book.  Books are not, in and of themselves, important: it’s the text inside that is – libraries should not be wedded to the medium (and, indeed, never have been – not many scrolls and wax tablets in libraries nowadays).  The medium is changing, not the market so we need to change as well.  Provision of experts, training, spaces and equipment are a promising future … “the dangerous thing is to do nothing, except try and preserve what we already have.”.  E-lending will increase book sales, not reduce it – and public libraries will always be able to offer a better deal to the user than commercial models, and provide more assistance into the bargain.  Librarians need to understand this and work together to change.

“does anyone think that we’ll still be mainly reading physical books 100 years in the future? Probably not. How about 50 years, or 25 years? There is going to be a tipping point and I don’t believe that it’s an if question, it’s a when. If we are to plan for a long term future for libraries we have to take this into account. “

  • Library as a dangerous place – Phil Bradley’s Weblog. “A library doesn’t deal in books or artefacts, it deals in thoughts and ideas. It provides people with the opportunity to think through things, to challenge the status quo, to better themselves, to learn new skills and to improve old ones. A library provides people with a chance to think ‘what if?’ and to provide them with rebuttals to the statement ‘you should’. A library gives people access to facts; pure, simple and unbiased. It also lets people look at bias, to examine hate, prejudice, racism, homophobia and anything else they wish, from any angle. A library can change people. So a library can be a dangerous place”

Local News

  • Barnet – Battle of Barnet: activists secure legal victory in fight against library closure – Guardian. “A raucous cheer that went up in a packed county court room in Barnet this week could reverberate around the nation’s town halls this winter. As David Cameron prepared to deliver his “aspiration nation” speech to the Conservative conference in Birmingham, 110 miles away in Margaret Thatcher’s former constituency a hotchpotch alliance of squatters, retired booksellers, local bloggers and international anti-capitalist activists whooped as a district judge blocked attempts to close a vibrant community library that has popped up in the shell of one controversially closed as part of the Conservative party’s most radical experiment yet in shrinking local public services.” … “The deputy leader of Cornwall county council resigned on Thursday over a £300m outsourcing plan that is facing a popular revolt. The council had hoped to save £2.5m a year by outsourcing services including payroll, benefits and libraries. In his resignation letter, Jim Currie said: “The financial risks involved with the rush into the new joint venture proposals are unacceptable. The joint venture is basically too large to control.”

“The council’s own figures, seen by the Guardian, reveal that over the last two years the borough has spent £670,000 more on trying to save money than it has actually saved, although the project is now edging into the black. The programme has so far cost £6.36m, while the savings have amounted to £5.69m.”

  • BrentLibrary campaigners will mark the first anniversary of branch closures tomorrow – Brent & Kilburn Times.  ““This day of closure of the libraries also marked the establishment of our Pop-Up Library, which has become a powerful symbol of the determination of this community to support the campaign to keep our library open. “The campaign itself has been going for nearly two years and has been a magnificent achievement.”
  • Library group appeal for funds – Observer series. “The Friends of Barham Library have put in a bid to Brent Council to rent space at the historic building, in Sudbury, a year after it was closed by the Labour-run local authority. Liberal Democrat councillor and campaign member, Paul Lorber, estimates the group needs £25,000 a year to keep a library service running and it is desperately trying to raise the funds.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Bites from the Bard at Neston – About My Area. “Neston Library staff were welcoming and accomodating.  Some members of the audience participated voluntarily and every seat was filled. After their performance, the group invited other interested people to join them.  For more information, please visit their website –”
  • Cornwall – Deputy leader resigns over plan – This is Cornwall.  Resignation due to commitment by leader to move council towards a joint venture / outsourcing plan inc. libraries.  Imminent vote of no confidence on leader.
  • Croydon – Library row splits town halls – South London Press.   Lambeth not impressed with Croydon’s unilateral cutting of budget to Upper Norwood Joint Library.
  • Sefton – Library closure to go to consultation – BBC. “Councillors in Sefton agreed to consult on plans to close seven of the borough’s 13 libraries at a cabinet meeting earlier. The closures if approved would be part of £43m of cuts the Labour-led authority has to make over the next two years, due to government funding cuts.”
  • Residents have their say on on Sefton libraries closures plan – Southport Visiter. “Council leader Cllr Peter Dowd admitted library closures were a sensitive subject, but insisted cuts had to be made. He said: “It is one of those areas of public services which does quite rightly raise concern and passion from people.”