• Dobrovolníci v knihovnách – Informace pro knihovny (Czech Republic). The page is on how volunteers can be used in Czech libraries and their pros & cons.  It looks like (via Google Translate) that the Czechs are seeing it as entirely supplementary to paid staff and that replacement is not being considered.
  • Makings of Maker Spaces – Digital Shift (USA).  A possible future for public libraries explored. “the latest step in the evolving debate over what public libraries’ core mission is or should be. From collecting in an era of scarce resources to curation in an era of overabundant ones, some libraries are moving to incorporate co-creation: providing the tools to help patrons produce their own works of art or information and sometimes also collecting the results to share with other members of the ­community.” [Photograph makes it look deeply out of place, though – Ian]

TechCentral at Cleveland Public Library – Youtube.  Following on from item on MakerSpaces above, here is TechCentral in the USA where a whole floor of the library helps libraries with technological issues.  [It’s embarrassing to see how far behind UK libraries are, if this is indeed the direction of travel.  Ian].

  • Texas public library terminates contract with LSSI – Library Journal / Infodocket (USA).  “The company proposed continuing to operate the library for the current $281,686 annual tab, plus a 3 percent employee cost-of-living increase. Expanded services the city had requested, including additional teen programming, Sunday hours, more books and a seventh employee, would cumulatively add $120,000. Commissioners declared that cost for the added services unacceptable and nixed the company, overruling Mayor San Juanita Sanchez and opting to see if the city could add hours and staff for less money.”
  • Two new libraries open in the region – Arts Council England.  “Jessica Harris, Relationship Manager for Libraries at Arts Council England, said:  ‘It is great to see new state-of-the-art libraries being opened in the region.  Both of them offer excellent facilities for culture, learning and information which will bring new opportunities to their communities.  It’s also extremely exciting to see a pioneering partnership between public and academic library sectors at The Hive – it will enable more people to access books and resources not usually available to them.  I’m sure others will be keen to learn from this, as time goes by.’”
  • Will public libraries become extinct? – Forbes.  “Put another way, I really don’t see how a world can exist where tons of bookstores close (a trend that we’re in the midst of) while libraries generally stay open. Yes, there are plenty of things a bookstore does besides selling and stocking books, but it turns out that when someone else (Amazon, etc.) provides that core service much better, all the ancillary services that a bookstore provides (curation, staff recommendations, a pleasant atmosphere, browsing, good coffee, comfy seats, etc.) don’t provide enough value to attract customers.” [Writer assumes that they will because they are the same as bookshops.  Does not mention public libraries are free which negates most of what is written – Ian].  Interesting rebuttal also included in article.
  • Women’s Library: rescued or abducted? – Guardian / Letter.  “he many items that individual women and women’s organisations have donated to the library belong in the purpose-designed building in Old Castle Street, just as the Elgin marbles belong in Greece. Sadly, many significant stakeholders have only just been brought into the campaign. We have written letters to London Met and LSE asking them to delay the process and allow us to put an alternative bid together. They have so far refused.”

Local News

  • Barnet – Could a Walnut Whip save Barnet’s libraries? – Mr Reasonable.  “Back in 2005, when we won the right to host the 2012 Olympics, London residents were asked to pay a small levy of 38p a week or as Ken Livingstone called it, “the price of a Walnut Whip”. In Barnet that amounts to £ 2 million a year and will continue for another three years. No one seems to have noticed this small sum and no one seems to have complained.  However after 2015 that levy will cease.  In Barnet we are facing cuts to our libraries and leisure services. That £2 million a year would neatly offset almost all the proposed cuts to those services. “
  • Brent – Personal reaction to the latest consultation – Keep Willesden Green.  “I attended a meeting on September 25th  at the “Library Lab”, at Willesden Library under the impression that it was  a Council “consultation” for the public. It was advertised as being   “for you to share your ideas on the future of the WGCC”. I found it was no such thing. A girl from the  “Library Lab”, who appeared to be in charge, had a rigidly structured agenda which focused exclusively on the development of the current proposals and wanted to exclude all discussion of whether the public wanted these proposals in the first place. It was made clear to her by members of the public attending, that they would not accept her agenda for the meeting, and wished to state their objections to the proposed scheme.  Many people there had only just heard about it. “

“Who was this person? Is she a council officer? If not, why was she running a public consultation meeting about  Council facilities on a council owned site?  What authority did this person have to try to dictate to the public how they could make their contribution to a Borough consultation? Was it even a proper borough consultation?”

“On Saturday, October 13th from 11am there will be a celebration of words at Cricklewood Library, with readings, food and drink. It is part of a Light of Learning relay, marking the anniversary of Brent’s closing six of its 12 libraries.” via email.

  • Croydon – Final bids invited to run Croydon libraries – This is Croydon Today.  “A final decision is due to be made in November, with the winning bidder likely to take over the running of services by April 2013. Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learners, said: “This is an important milestone in the project as we have now closed our preliminary discussions with the bidders. They now have three weeks within which to complete and return their tender documents for us to evaluate against established criteria.”
  • Three invited to submit tenders for Croydon and Wandsworth library contracts – Croydon Guardian.
  • Library sale down to three final bids – East London Lines. “Elizabeth Ash of the Save Croydon Libraries campaign claimed that the process has been flawed from the beginning. She said: “The council ignored the suggestions of the thousands who replied to the consultation and have forged ahead with the outsourcing of all thirteen Croydon libraries without a mandate to do so. “The service on offer has drastically reduced since April 2011, including the loss of many of the qualified librarians, book stock has dwindled and the issues of short- staffing have impacted greatly on the level of service.”
  • Upper Norwood Library funding cuts called in for scrutiny – Inside Croydon. “A council decision that threatens the future of the century-old Upper Norwood Library by withdrawing the majority of the library’s funding will hit a road block this week, after Croydon’s Labour councillors called for a special Town Hall meeting to discuss the issue this Friday. The Conservative-run council wants to reduce its grant to Upper Norwood Library, which is jointly run with Lambeth Council, from £200,000 to just £75,000 from April next year. Lambeth Council has committed £175,000 to the library budget next year.”
  • Lewisham – New Cross Library to flog assets (in charity auction)– East London Lines.  “The community-run New Cross Learning library will hold a Grand Auction this November to raise funds for the embattled service. The all-volunteer service, which took over when the council’s closed its library last August, needs to cover the costs of a 2-year lease soon to be signed on the building.” … “Under the Conservatives, Croydon has closed the David Lean Cinema; stopped the borough’s mobile library; axed the annual music festival and Mela in Lloyd Park; and withdrawn grant aid from the privately run Warehouse Theatre, forcing it into administration.”

“James Holland, volunteer manager at the library, said: “The money we get from the council is often restricted, so as well as being a real good day to introduce people to the library, it is also for unrestricted funding for anything we need – money you can spend on all kinds of things.” Items auctioned last year included works by local artists, weeks at holiday homes in Margate and Yorkshire, a pram from the fifties, a signed copy of John Prescott’s autobiography and a vintage sheepskin coat.”

  • Manchester – Campaigners hail “u-turn” over Manchester Central Library – BookSeller.  “The Friends of Manchester Central Library are celebrating what they hail “a u-turn” by council officials, after the halting of the disposal of books from its reference collections.” … “A spokesperson for Manchester city council said that the process of reviewing the general reference collection at the Manchester Central Library was continuing but that “for the moment, we are keeping the books that have been withdrawn so that we can provide reassurance that we’re carrying this out properly to certain key people who haven’t had a chance to see the process yet.”
  • Destruction of Manchester library books halted after writer’s campaign – Guardian.  “A campaign by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and a number of other literary names to stop the destruction of hundreds of thousands of books at the UK’s largest municipal library appeared to have succeeded. In June, the group wrote to the head of libraries in Manchester calling for an end to the pulping of the non-fiction books at Manchester central library which is undergoing a restoration. The campaigners, including Jackie Kay, Michael Symmonds Roberts, Simon Armitage and Jeanette Winterson, as well as the former Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam, argued that the book collections were as important as the fabric of the building, rivalled only by the British Library.”

“There’s nothing to celebrate in this article. The people whose needs public libraries primarily exist to serve have little need or use for the books in question, while to serve the needs of more specialised users the UK already has a network of national libraries and good academic libraries which, compared to public libraries, are relatively well resourced.” Jorge Solis on LIS-PUB-LIBS

  • Oxfordshire – Providing the spark for a love of reading – Oxford Mail. “The ’s library service is among the organisations which is supporting Oxfordshire County Council’s Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, run by the National Literacy Trust and backed by the Oxford Mail. While the reading work with the children most in need of help will take place using specific texts in school, the second goal of the campaign, to foster a lifelong love of reading, could take place anywhere. And libraries and the skilled staff who work in them are perfectly placed to help ignite enthusiasm for books.”
  • Sheffield – Fears for future of Sheffield Library sites – Star.  “Readers at one of Sheffield least-visited libraries fear they could be stripped of a vital service as budgets are cut. Jordanthorpe Library is the city’s second quietest with 54,317 visitors in 2010/11 – just over 1,000 a week – sparking fears that the branch could be scrapped to save money. But Jordanthorpe Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, which donates books and other equipment to the library each year, warned that the community would suffer if locals were forced to travel far afield to find an alternative.”
  • Surrey – Step into a virtual library world – Surrey County Council.  Excellent virtual tour of the newly refurbished Dorking Library, including many panoramic views that you can navigate.  Also includes links to reserving books, opening hours, etc … very clever. “We believe this is the first interactive virtual tour of a public library in the country.” says the creator of the tour [via email].

“Surrey County Council has digitised Dorking library, allowing people to experience being in the branch from the comfort of their own home, the train to work, or anywhere else with an internet connection. Both members and non-library members can enter the virtual branch, look around 360 degree views, zoom in on shelves and browse for a book, using a computer, smart phone or tablet. Once inside people can sign up to the library and actually reserve a book, DVD or CD and find out about opening times.”

  • YorkLibraries consultation launched – BookSeller.  “York’s libraries could soon be run by a charity, following a consultation in the city to find out what the public want from their library service.”