It’s good news that the date of National Libraries Day has finally been formally confirmed.  It gives libraries, and supporters, just enough time to get something prepared. Everyone in libraries should have no problem getting behind the Day.  CILIP and others have gone out of their way to ensure that the Day is not about campaigning and fighting cuts but rather about celebrating these wonderful institutions in our midst.  Campaigners and library users will find no problem in getting on board.  Nor will library staff. Those authorities who are cutting libraries in one way or another  (which is the great majority of them) should not feel threatened by a day promoting their services as, after all, no council has gone on record to say they dislike libraries, it’s just that the money is tight.  Also, as was vividly shown last year, those authorities who do decide not to support the Day (as Kent found out) are likely not to come out of the affair smelling of roses.  For good or ill – definitely to the good in my book – NLD is here to stay and all should get with the programme and make it a tremendous success.  We need a day to celebrate more than ever.  Well, this is the day.  Let’s make it one to remember.

National Libraries Day

  • National Libraries Day 2013 confirmed for 9th February – BookSeller. “A proposal to shift next year’s event to the end of 2013 had been mooted, but a spokesperson for The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) said it had not had “much of a response” to a consultation on doing so and had therefore decided to stick to the original plan.” … “CILIP, which is on the steering group running the event, alongside the Reading Agency, the School Library Association, and the Society of Chief Librarians, said it wanted the 2013 event to surpass that of 2012, in which 400 events took place. “In 2013 we want to take this even further and to celebrate the value of all of our libraries, librarians and information professionals,” the organisation said.”

“CILIP President Phil Bradley said, “In these times of austerity it is clear that libraries are needed and valued more than ever. Librarians in conjunction with their members are working hard to protect and improve their communities, to increase literacy levels, and to provide training and support in many areas, from learning about the internet through to researching for a new job. National Libraries Day is an opportunity to celebrate everyone who works in a library, everyone who visits libraries, and to highlight to people who don’t visit them exactly what they’re missing out on.”

  • National Libraries Day takes place on Saturday 9 February 2013 – CILIP.  “National Libraries Day 2013, a culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries across the UK, will take place on Saturday 9 February. In 2012 over 400 events took place in libraries across the country, including author visits, live music performances, book clubs, family history days, stand up comedy and behind the scenes tours. Thousands of people took part. In 2013 we want to take this even further and to celebrate the value of all of our libraries, librarians and information professionals.”


  • Camel libraries improve literacy in Kenya – Sabahi.  Two camels, 11000 users … and more waiting.
  • Library customers often buy the most books – Good E Reader.  “There is a very strong connotation among publishers that library patrons are freeloaders and giving a book away devalues the product. A recent survey conducted by Overdrive and the American Library Association’s Office seeks to dispel this notion.” … “The study confirms 57% of people use libraries as content discovery engines. Patrons often will see a book and will end up making the digital purchase. 53% of all people surveyed have thought about buying an ebook listed on their library’s website and 53% both borrow ebooks and buy them. A small segment of the population (35%) have also purchased the ebook after they have read the free edition from the library, to add it to their own personal collection.”
  • Local libraries must move with the times – Guardian.  “Libraries must modernise and offer more than just affordable books to survive, says Jim Farmery as the Library of Birmingham invites proposals for a new cultural build project” … “One of the problems for some libraries is that although they have changed dramatically in the last 35 years, they are no longer the social hubs they used to be. Going to the library back then was not unusual behaviour. Is the same true today for all children? I suspect not.”.  Steady decline in usage even at times of recession when one would expect usage to increase.

“Innovations in goods and services will not stem the decline of libraries alone. It will take a much wider strategy that offers new and different reasons for audiences to visit.”

  • Many teenagers “can’t read GCSE exam papers” – BBC.  “Data on 29,000 teenagers in 1,100 schools in England suggests they have an average reading age of 10 or 11.”
  • Shocking message from libraries – Digital Book World.  “Libraries delivered a shocking message to publishers yesterday: Those who borrow ebooks from libraries also buy books — about 3.2 books a month, a new study from the American Library Association and library ebook distributor OverDrive found.  Rather than shocking, the message is one libraries have been screaming at publishers for a while now. The ALA has helped orchestrate several studies that suggest this is true and Pew conducted one that suggested it as well.”

“here’s a message from DBW to libraries: Those publishers are our readers (along with many librarians) and they’re smart folks. They’ve heard your message and have evidently not yet done what you want them to do in regards to ebooks. So, try another strategy, a different message.”

  • What do librarians do? Day five: children’s librarian – Voices for the Library.  Loads of class visits, linking stories to the curriculum, being called “the library lady” in the playground …  all in a day’s work. “If you are happy one day to be reading about learning development and the next to be ripping up tissue paper for a craft activity then Children’s Librarian is probably the job for you.”

Local news

  • Brent – One year on: torch relay and memorial service for Brent libraries – Preston Library Campaign. “One year on, Brent SOS Libraries campaign marked the closure of our libraries with a torch relay between all 7 libraries, stopping at Barham Community Library, before winding its way to the newly inaugurated Preston Community Library where a marathon read of Alice in Wonderland was held. A vigil was held at Preston Library itself before we moved onto a party at the Windermere. Phew!”  Moving images from the campaign.
  • Croydon – Should pay 42% of library funding says Conservative candidate – News from Crystal Palace.  “He suggested the figure – which is based on the percentage of residents from Croydon borough being registered library members – at an informal meeting with library campaigners this morning (Thursday).” … “Among the many points raised were the 60 per cent cut in Croydon’s funding to the library – compared to a local authority average of about 28 per cent. which campaigner Robbie Gibson said had implications for both staffing and opening hours.”

“Campaigners praised the library staff. Robbie Gibson told Mr Stranack: “”The staff have been in a maelstrom. “Full credit to them,. “It’s been a horrible situation. “No-one has left. “They do deserve an acknowledgement – and gratitude for keeping it going. “If we didn’t think the staff were good at their job we wouldn’t be supporting them.”

  • Lambeth – Clapham Library users triple after move to sparkling new premises – London Evening Standard.  “Visitors to Clapham Library have soared by 250 per cent since its move to modern premises. More than 35,000 people used the library during each of the first three months since the reopening, triple the number for the same period last year. It moved from Clapham Old Town in July to the new £6.5 million Clapham High Street base, which has a spiral staircase inspired by the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It opens seven days a week and houses community groups, a café, an “internet zone” and free wifi.”
  • Leeds – Drighlington Community Library opens its doors – Morley Observer and Advertiser.  ““Every single book, all 3,500 of them, have had to be sorted through and replaced the old Leeds stamp with our own. We have a new computer system, which some of the trustees are being trained on. “With all the training and policies to go through it’s been an enormous procedure. An incredible amount of work has gone into it.” … “David said that they are even working to become affiliate of Ancestry International on their website, so anyone who signs up through the library site will help them secure a donation. Leeds City Council are now seeing if the volunteers can make the library a success.”

Poster produced before David Almond and Steve Barlow added to speakers

  • Newcastle – Statement by Val Bierman on the threat to Newcastle libraries – Alan Gibbons.  “I had the pleasure of working with the 12 local authorities in the north east as Programme Administrator for the Northern Children’s Book Festival. I was also on the first Board of the National Centre for Children’s Books, Seven Stories. Throughout this time I was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment to children’s books from the librarians and NCBF became a landmark Festival. However, I watched as many services were being whittled away, librarians made redundant or asked to take early retirement so that the quality of the programme had to be diluted due to staff shortages and reduction of funding.”
  • Oxfordshire – Council tight-lipped over library job applicants – Oxford Times.  “Applications closed on Tuesday for the post, which carries a salary of up to £36,313, but the council refused to say how many applications it has received. But campaigners against the cuts to the libraries service say suitable candidates may be ignoring the advert because of the controversy of the libraries policy. Julia Drown, of Save Old Marston Library, said: “It’s a controversial role, not just because the plans are unpopular, but because it’s designed to put dedicated members of staff out of work.”
  • Southend – Author’s praise for book challenge – Enquirer.  “Southend Libraries, Southend Adult Community College (SACC) and Community Partners held a Six Book Challenge Certificate Awards ceremony for learners, students and tutors who have completed the annual reading scheme.  Students received their certificates from best-selling author and National Six Book Challenge Ambassador Adele Parks.”

“SACC maths and English student Samantha Perry, 41, (pictured left with Adele Parks) said: “I’m so glad I’ve done it. I really wasn’t a reader at all but doing the challenge has helped. I will definitely continue with the quick reads- I’m not quite ready for a huge chunk of a novel just yet but I will definitely be back to do it again next year!””

GLL, a charitable social enterprise, is committed to providing excellent library services for local communities. We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder by Wandsworth Council, however as we have yet to be awarded the contract it would be premature to make further comment at this stage.” Wandsworth – Statement from GLL to Public Libraries News