Some looks at the future, some worrying but others wonderful, today from different sources. Let’s get the bad news over with first.  Ken Chad argues that ebooks are a greater threat to public libraries than the current cuts whereas Tim Coates stresses in the Telegraph that, on the contrary, ebooks could be great for libraries if only publishers stopped restricting them.  Mick Fortune expresses concern about the changing of the role of library self-service machines from being devices for the library to being devices for paying council tax etc; and wonders if libraries will get their money back. The, admittedly more distant, good news is that Maker Spaces could be the saviour and there’s a whole new website just gone online looking at how public libraries can get on board.

Back to the here and now, a judge has given the squatters at Friern Barnet Library three more months and, in a weird mirror image of what is happening to its counterpart in London, the Glasgow Women’s Library is moving to a new home.  Finally, and perhaps weirdly to many librarians, Hampshire records that its loaning of magazines has been a success.


“Our fringe debates at this year’s Labour and Conservative Party conferences were very well-attended with standing room only. Key issues raised included the teaching of phonics and there was a recognition of the importance of libraries. The panel and audience attending our Conservative Party conference event praised the London Evening Standard’s literacy campaign and called for a similar national media campaign. We also took Dean Atta, the first-ever conference poet in residence, and held poetry workshops with local pupils.” Calls for national literacy campaign at Conservative conference – National Literacy Trust.

  • Isle of Wight deploy “mycommunity” from Bibliotheca – RFID: Changing Libraries for Good? / Mick Fortune.  Looks at the new self-service add-on to library machines installed in the Isle of Wight.  This adds on other councils services (such as paying council tax) to existing library machines.  “One wonders if library chiefs will get a refund from their councils for having purchased self-service library equipment that will now be used for rather different purposes?”
  • Keep public libraries free: the time to act is now – Lianza (New Zealand). Campaign for “an opportunity for New Zealand to get what so many countries around the world already have – protection for free public library services in legislation. That’s right – we don’t have that now. Your Council has to allow free membership to the library, but isn’t obliged to provide free lending of any kind. Or even to provide a library at all. ”  Includes also a good campaigning guide that can be used as a template  in other settings.
  • Payments in public libraries – PanLibus / Capita – See page 3/15.  A look at how to increase income generation in public libraries.
  • Tim Coates: Publishers are placing the public library at risk – Daily Telegraph.  “Restrictions on the availability of e-books in libraries are ‘placing at risk the entire library service’, according to Tim Coates.In a speech today at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Coates will dismiss as ‘ludicrous’ the expensive technology being used to distribute e-books: “Nothing could be more ludicrous – for this is the technology that makes the whole idea of a public library become infinitely more practical than it has ever been.”The whole point of the e-book technology is that the world distribution and replication costs are nil,” he said.”

“Coates, who founded the online e-book store Bilbary, believes that if publishers continue to restrict access to e-books, then they “will make them redundant very fast”. “Removal of books from libraries is the opposite of what should be happening. “E-book technology offers wonderful opportunities. Having removed the printing and distribution costs, we have made the whole canon of literature through e-books instantly and more cheaply accessible to people anywhere in the world.”

  • Welcome to Maker Librarian – Maker Librarian.  “Having been involved in Maker Culture since 2009, I’ve taken a lot of pleasure in watching the maker and hacker movement intersect with libraries and was excited to play a small role in making this happen. And in the last year interest seems to have exploded! This is where Maker Librarian comes in…The goal of Maker Librarian is to serve as the primary resource for librarians who want to learn about makers, hackerspaces, the participatory library and everything in between.”
  • What’s the strategy of your public library?PanLibus / Ken Chad.  A look at the digital/ebook challenge which is a greater threat than current cuts.  Also looks at how to create a strategy.


Local News

  • Barnet – Friern Barnet Library squatters appeal for court appearance support – Times series.
  • Friern Barnet library eviction proceedings delayed until December  – Press series. “a judge adjourned eviction proceedings until mid-December. Squatters occupying the former library in Friern Barnet Road have just over two months to prepare their defence against Barnet Council, which is attempting to have them removed from the building. ” … “deputy council leader and cabinet member for resources Daniel Thomas, who attended the hearing, said the council had only offered the activists the chance to buy the library building for £400,000, or the use of Friary House in Friary Park as a community-run library.”
  • Croydon – Library spending figure “plucked from the air” meeting is told – News from Crystal Palace.  Upper Norwood Joint Library:  In-depth report on the proceedings.  “Cllr Fitzsimons, told Cllr Tim Pollard, council deputy leader and cabinet member for culture, “You seem unconcerned about the costs and justification behind this decision.” Cllr Fitzsimons (Lab. Addiscombe) said the report was very confident about the £245,000 it would cost to run UNJL. He told Cllr Pollard: “It would be really interesting to hear from you to see how you justify that figure””
  • Glasgow – Women’s Library set to book into historic home – Evening Times. “The Glasgow Women’s Library which attracts visitors from around the world is moving to the city’s East End. It is switching to a historic building which opened more than 100 years ago to house the Bridgeton District Library. The move will be made next year following the completion of a new £10million community hub at the site of the local Olympia Theatre.”
  • Hampshire – Magazines now available for loan at county council libraries – Gazette.  “The county council says that since their introduction in April this year, there have been more than 13,000 items checked out, including titles such as Vogue, Empire, BBC Good Food, Lonely Planet, What Car? and Practical Photographer. Loans of orchestra sets and vocal scores, used by local orchestral and choral groups, have also increased this year.”
  • Suffolk – Are Suffolk’s libraries really “close to breaking point”? – James Hargrave’s Blog.  Questions accusations of stress in Suffolk Libraries and notes link to a “Left Socialist” blog.  Points out that problems mentioned are hangovers from when service was run by Suffolk Council, not the new Industrial and Provident Society … “The IPS needs to sort out the buildings issues as well as staffing structures and fix the new library system it inherited. I would suggest that all of us who want to see Suffolk’s libraries succeed get behind them and help make the IPS a success. It is s still a publicly funded service accountable to the people of Suffolk and the County Council. “