Christmas is here so let us forget our sorrows for a few days, recharge our batteries and have fun. Have a great Christmas everyone and let us hope that 2013 is a better one … and remember, librarians are in the only profession where borrowing going up is a good thing.


  • Boyd Tonkin: The Dickens bicentenary was a festival of British hypocrisy – Independent. “In the 2011-2012 financial year, local authorities in Britain closed or dumped 130 public libraries; the axe hovers over 300 more. Newcastle plans to shut most of its branches; this week (just one case among scores of local protests), a court granted an eviction order against the so-called “squatters” who with warm community support have kept open the branch where as a child I learned to love libraries, Friern Barnet.”
  • Christmas message from your President – CILIP. “Of course, it’s not all been fun, and a recent report in the Guardian said that we’ve lost almost 350 libraries in a two year period. Library campaigners have proved time and time again that their concerns were justified, and without their tremendous hard work the number would be double that, if not more, I’m sure. I’ve been pleased to be able to work with some of these groups on National Libraries Day and the Speakup for Libraries campaign, but I am absolutely in awe of the time that the campaigners put into their work, often at cost to themselves in a variety of ways. I wish that I could say that we’re now at the end of this destructive period, but I doubt that to be the case. In fact, there is going to be more to come over the next few years. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry that we’re now being castigated by Eric Pickles as being ‘luvvies’. Well, that’s ok – I’m happy to be a luvvie – I’m a Library Loving Livid Luvvie and proud of it.”
  • Cipfa figures show council costs rise againGood Library Blog / Tim Coates. “the staff budget has been cut by 9%, Internet costs have been cut by 11% and the book fund has been cut by the same amount, 11% as well And yet at the same time the council overheads actually rose by a larger amount than they have risen in any year in the past decade. The amount charged to libraries rose from 13.6% percent of the cost of the library service to 14.7% : the council overhead is now £160m (and this does not include overhead within each library service, which will be of the same order, but is not shown by CIPFA)”.  Seems like councils are using this to penalise front-line services to the benefit of HQ.
  • Eric Pickles plays to the (closed) gallery – Independent. “There is something rather breathtaking in the effrontery of a man who can write off anyone who values the free provision of books over the punctiliously emptied refuse sack as a “luvvie”. Even a glance at some of the agitation going on in Tyneside, confirms that most of the opposition to looted library shelves comes from ordinary book-borrowers alarmed that a vital part of the cultural fabric that surrounds their lives is being summarily torn away … Eric undoubtedly deserves some sort of award for demonstrating just what depths the populist Tory from the provinces is capable of plumbing when roused.”

“Eric Pickles isn’t the plain, blunt, hewn-from-Yorkshire-stone bruiser he likes to portray. He is an intelligent, cynical professional politician employing faux-philistine populism to score a point against an opponent. This is worse than if he were a philistine. He is happy to ridicule library campaigners, writers and artists as ‘luvvies’ when he knows it is utter nonsense so that his government can pursue its ideological campaign against public service.” Alan Gibbons

  • Eric Pickles’ town hall cuts will end in skeleton services, warn councils – Guardian. “local authorities across the political spectrum have warned that they have already made billions of pounds of efficiency savings and the current trajectory of cuts is unsustainable.” … “Labour said Pickles was in denial over the impact of cuts on local people, who would see services from libraries to Sure Start centres disappear. It claimed councils in deprived parts of the north and Midlands would be worst hit.”
  • Free records certificate to end volunteering red tape – Telegraph.  “Individuals will only have to apply once to the Disclosure and Barring Service for a certificate. Organisations will then be able to run an instant check online to find out whether the document is still valid.The system will avoid the need for people to repeatedly make and pay for criminal records checks, with the bureaucracy blamed for deterring some volunteers.The service will be free for volunteers but workers will pay a small fee.”
  • Marketing with video: it’s now essential and easier than you might think – Library Journal (USA). Congratulations to Ned Potter – the leading UK library marketeer – on now writing for the Library Journal.
  • Our guides to knowledge: Celebreating “I love my librarian award” winners – Huffington Post (USA). “Almost everyone’s life has been enriched by what they learned in a library. But libraries would not be the wonderful teaching and learning places that they are without librarians. They are our guides to knowledge, the ones who classify and clarify, authenticate and actualize our desire to find the tools we need to become educated individuals. Today, librarians are the men and women who help us to find our way along the electronic highway, and there are no more intellectually rigorous, imaginative, and professional tour guides one could find, online or off. This week, ten American librarians — winners of the 2102 Carnegie Corporation/New York Times “I Love My Librarian” Award — are being celebrated for exemplary service …”.  Photos and brief biographies of the winners.
  • Public libraries evolving with technology – News Leader (USA). Looks at the way libraries have changed inc. computers, wifi, e-lending, noisy children’s groups, etc.
  • Society of Chief Librarians and the Chief Leisure Officers Association – Stop the Privatisation of Public Libraries.  Suggests that putting libraries in the same department as Leisure makes them easier to cut and that their rightful home is in Education.  Also fearful that placing them with Leisure may lead to outsourcing.


Local news

  • Angus – Hands off our library – Arbroath Herald. “A former Lord Advocate has said he finds Angus Council’s legal approach towards the ownership of Arbroath Library as “bizarre.” Last week the Herald reported that councillors were yet again being recommended to approve the transfer of the library from the Arbroath Common Good fund into the authority’s general fund.”

“What all of us forget sometimes is that one day, we may well be old and infirm. Money comes and money goes. The friends we have when we are doing well, disappear when times get rough. Ill health robs the strongest of us of our dignity and our authority. They say that only the good die young. Maybe the real curse for those who rape our public services is that they will have to grow old and lonely in the world they created. I remember seeing my mother on a geriatric ward in Barnet following a stroke. The forlorn stares of the pateints staring out of the window was quite the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. For those of us who have tried to do our bit to preserve and improve our community, we will at least have consolation that we tried to make a difference, tried to do the right thing. I shudder to think what those of us who have spent our lives ripping apart communities think about when they find themselves in that position? Barnet – Friern Barnet library court case: my final thoughts – Barnet Eye.

  • Birmingham – Library architect: it should be a “living room” for everybody – Birmingham Post. ““The libraries are the cathedrals of these cities, the big living room of the city. LOB is not just services. It also has an archive of very high quality. We’re showing the archive off in a very high way. It was an almost emotional decision. “It is the social heart of the city. I’m very much aware that it is a gut and heart decision. Each city is different and I felt that regarding books the UK has more traditional values than Denmark or Holland.”
  • Brent – Library campaigners spread festive cheer throughout the borough – Brent and Kilburn Times. Campaigners are active at the start of the third year campaigning in “pop-up libraries” and in events throughout the areas where the council closed its libraries.
  • Bristol – One millionth book checked out – This is Bristol. One millions books issued on “library self-service machines since they were introduced in Bristol 18 months ago. ” … “the installation project cost £650,000 and over 400,000 items were tagged so they could be used with the new machines. But the hard work is paying off with staff freed to help library-users with more detailed enquiries and saving time queuing for customers.”
  • Croydon – Save Croydon Libraries – Shirley Life.  Full page advert for the campaign and several pages of library related news from page 62.  Anti-privatisation article on page 66.
  • Dorset – New chapter in Chickerell library story – Dorset Echo.  “Puddletown, Chickerell, Wool, Colehill, Stalbridge, Burton Bradstock and Charmouth libraries will all be under the control of the communities by February 28. Negotiations are still ongoing with the community in Corfe Castle with a view to it becoming the county’s eighth community-run library.”
  • Enfield – New library borrowing system introduced by Enfield Borough Council throughout Enfield’s 17 libraries will mean “no excuse” for late books Enfield independent. “The system, which will come into force in Enfield’s 17 libraries from Monday January 7, will enable people to renew books, CDs and DVDs online as long as they are not wanted by anyone else. Emails will also be sent to people reminding them that their items need to be renewed, and people with items between 15 and 50 days late will receive letters calling for them to be returned.”
  • Islington – Lucy Harrison – A Million Minutes. “Lucy Harrison is being hosted by Archway Library between September 2012 and January 2013 and hopes to work with staff and visitors to create new work reflecting the library. Lucy works on projects in specific places which often have several outcomes, including events, walks, audio recordings and publications such as books or newspapers.”.  A very good blog is linked to it.
  • Lambeth – Nine libraries and 100 books: reconnecting with libraries and their books Reading groups for everyone. In Lambeth, “9 libraries and 100 books is an opportunity to fall back in love with libraries and their books. Natasha has taken up the challenge to read more and reconnect with libraries to make them an important part of her life once again. Until August 2013, she’ll be reading the entire BBC’s Big Read 100 Top list. For every title on the list, she’ll visit one of the 9 libraries in her borough to borrow the books, blogging about her experiences along the way.
  • On the Road by Rebecca Gray – 100 Books.  Looks at the new CLR James Library. “While reading about CLRJ, I came across this sentence on the CLR James Institute’s website. ‘The most common response we get for our range of activities is that the Institute provides a space, and access to resources, which many people cannot find anywhere else.’ And that’s exactly what libraries do. If you’re living alone, or you haven’t got a home, or you’re a bit of an insomniac, or retired, or for whatever reason you have time on your hands, you might read two or three books a week. Easily. And not many people have a salary that can support that kind of habit. So the library is your friend. More than that, it’s an absolute necessity.”
  • Lincolnshire – Library funding cut – Spalding Today.  “Sutton Bridge Community Library will lose £500 a year from its county council grant and will be looking for cash from other sources.
Coun Chris Brewis said the county will give £3,500 for the next year, but it will fall from then.The village is also losing three of its eight mobile library stops.
Coun Chris Brewis said the three stops going are the ones closest to the library at The Curlew Centre.
He said the phased loss of grant for the community library will give volunteers time to find funding elsewhere.”
  • North Tyneside – New deal on council discounts at North Tyneside libraries – Chronicle. “Anyone who signs up for the ease EXTRA Library Premier card, issued by North Tyneside Council, before January 31, will get a 13-month subscription for the price of 12. Holders of the card receive a variety of benefits at North Tyneside libraries including unlimited free use of computers, discounts on DVD hire and free reservations. One of the key attractions is access to almost 100 top magazines online for free.