“BBC Radio 4 wants to hear from library users for a major programme. They would like library users to contact them using the link on the BBC Radio 4 Open Book contact page explaining in not more that 1,000 words “what does your public library mean to you and your family … please encourage everyone to use the link and write about the importance of libraries and local concerns. I stress that they want to hear from library users, young and old.” Desmond Clarke, via email.


Colt Strong Library Strong “Score with Your Indianapolis Public Library Card! The Indianapolis Colts are joining The Indianapolis Public Library to promote using your library card during the “COLTSRONG, LIBRARYSTRONG” campaign through December 31. ” (USA).

  • Number of volunteers in libraries overtakes the number of staff – Civil Society.  “Volunteer numbers have been tracked in the survey since 2007, the third year of its existence. Since then the number of volunteers has increased by 64 per cent from 15,008. Meanwhile staff numbers have dropped by 15.5 per cent from 25,769. However the figures do not compare like-for-like. Staff numbers are calculated based on the number of hours worked, while volunteer figures represent each volunteer, no matter how many hours they work. “”

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to section 1 and Schedule 1 of the Public Bodies Act 2011, what progress she has made towards the formal abolition of the Library Advisory Council for England and the transfer of its functions to another body in compliance with section 2 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 12 December 2012, c320W)

Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative) The Department will consider the formal abolition and transfer of any functions as part of its wider reform work of arm’s length bodies.” via They Work For You

  • Survey of public library authorities – CILIP in Wales.  Compares England’s figures with that in Wales – it looks like the Principality is doing better but it’s hard to tell how much better.
  • Swedes think different: a new model for e-lending – Literary Platform. Swedes get free e-books instantly from the library.  E-book publishers now delaying lending copies for months so as to increase sales, Swede librarians not happy.  Suggests that free unlimited e-lending would affect e-book sales … “despite a small bump in the figures when Apple launched their iBookstore in Scandinavia in 2011, the market for e-books has remained small by comparison to the global market.”
  • UK libraries to run on volunteer supportGood E-Reader.  “The forum-style meeting, attended by representatives of several action organizations who have a vested interest in the fate of public libraries, came to the consensus that times are tough for public libraries but that they will become increasingly vital to their communities, especially as more and more local bookstores are forced to close.” [NB.  I was at that meeting – see here – Ian.].
  • YTS library goes underground with robotics – CIO (Australia).  Books can be ordered via the catalogue and be available within 15 minutes, RFID’d system means books take up seven times less space than before. ““Previously, we didn’t have the capacity to collect data on how those books were being used. With RFID, we can more easily collect data by quickly scanning a run of books that have been retrieved on a trolley, or by having a smart shelf on the trolley. That could collect data like, for example, all the science books are on the fifth floor but they are always used on the third floor.”


Local news

“Ms Bennett, who replaced Caroline Lucas as leader of the Green Party of England and Wales in September, said that the reaction of residents to the library’s closure had been “extremely encouraging”.  “Barnet is an area that is relatively Conservative, but there is real anger and that anger is finding a constructive outlet,” she said.  “The library is a symbol of resistance, a symbol of a community saying, ‘enough – we are not taking this any more, we are going to build something that you are trying to destroy’. ” Barnet – Green’s leader backs library’s occupation – Barnet and Whetstone Press.

  • Bradford – Keighley Library’s jobs clubs help people search – Keighley News.  “Libraries across the district are playing an increasing role in assisting people with IT issues. During the past 15 months, as part of the Government’s Go ON UK 2012 initiative, local libraries have dealt with more than 30,000 computer-related inquiries.”
  • Bury – Library jobs could go to save £240k – Bury Times. “Bosses hope the loss of the nine positions can be achieved without compulsory redundancies. Bury Library will bear the brunt of the proposed staff reduction, with six posts earmarked for the axe under the first phase of library cuts. “
  • Gloucestershire – County Council tells mobile library user to travel 40 miles to use a static library – Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries. “at least three villages in the North Cotswolds had received no contact at all from Gloucestershire County Council about the changes to the service and how it would affect them” … “The only information provided was a small paper sign on the mobile library, during the last trip out, informing people just that the library service was being stopped.” … “GCC have cut this important lifeline down to a skeleton service that is not fit for purpose. we are worried that this will result  in a drop in usage figures which will then provide GCC with justification to make further cuts.”
  • Middlesbrough – Volunteer “army” needs more recruits – Gazette Live.  “The council currently has more than 470 people on its register of volunteers, and of those 34 volunteer at Marton Library. Their efforts helped save the library from closure, and to develop it as a valued resource within the local community.”
  • Sefton – Schoolgirl Kate Bishop launches campaign to save Churchtown Library – Southport Visiter“Kate, who lives in Churchtown and goes to Norwood primary, is a keen reader and is appalled at the thought of her village library closing.”

“I was 2½ when I joined and I went to Rhyme Time with my mum and baby brother then. The libraries are really important to me and that is the same for all the people who have signed my petition. To lose them would hit those who are not as fortunate as us really hard because we all have books at home and can borrow them, too.”

  • Somerset – New strategy for libraries – Weston Mercury. “public services sharing space in libraries and allowing communities to have a greater say in how the facilities are run. The strategy will deliver savings of more than £860,000 over three years and possibly lead to longer opening hours. The council’s spending on books is normally £200,000, but will be increased by an extra £250,000 over the next two years.”
  • Cash for Somerset’s libraries – This is the West Country. “extra £250,000 is to be spent on new library books in Somerset. The county council, which had to back down from a library closure programme earlier this year after a High Court challenge, pledged the money this week.”
  • St Helens – Council to consult on mobile libraries – Star.  Mobile service for elderly/housebound may disappear.