Tim Coates (ex boss of Waterstones and now boss of e-book company Bilbary), on the last Public Libraries News post, commented on Phil Bradley’s article on 3D printers.  Phil has responded to the comment below.

“I’m not sure what point Mr Coates is trying to make, since even a cursory reading of my article makes it perfectly clear that I’m considering the role of these printers across the board. Indeed, the specific point that I make regarding public libraries is that they are NOT yet appropriate. With regard his other issues with my statements; he says that libraries should provide people with information when they want it. I agree entirely, and that is what libraries do, and in some instances this helps people back into work, improves or empowers them and by doing so, helps to improve their community. I’m sorry if he thinks that this is ‘pretentious’ or ‘ridiculous’, but since he’s in agreement with me I’m not sure what else I can say.” Phil Bradley, via email.

In other news, the importance of internet access in libraries is underlined by a report that says a third of poorest pupils do not have it available at home.  There is also considerable coverage of Chris Packham’s criticism of cuts to his local library and to the ongoing Newcastle library cuts.


  • Chris Packham attacks Cobbett Road Library plan BBC News. “Packham, 51, has described proposals to reduce the number of hours by half at Cobbett Road Library in Southampton as “short-termist lunacy”.”
  • Department for Education: ensure that all school students have access to a well-run school library – Change.org.  692 signatures on petition so far.  “One in 5 children have no books at home. Many more have limited access to public libraries, or to the expertise of a professional librarian. By ensuring that all schools have libraries, and that they are properly run with professional library support, either full-time in the case of scondary schools, or part-time in the case of primary schools, the government can ensure that all children have good access not only to books and information but also the support necessary to use these effectively. Making this provision statutory would stop the current uneven provision and give all children and young people access, regardless of family income or easy access to a public library. Far too many schools have either no school library, or no professional library support, with consequent lack of access for their students.”
  • Libraries can’t buy many of Amazon’s ebook hits: January 2013 ebook report from DCL – American Libraries (USA). “As the first pricing comparison of 2013 shows, fully half of Amazon’s top 20 bestsellers are not available from either OverDrive or 3M. Of those that are, none of them is available to us at the consumer price. Some of them cost over 5 times as much. “

“By way of contrast, at the end of 2012, Douglas County Libraries spent $40,000 to purchase almost 10,000 titles from Smashwords. These self-published titles —mostly genre fiction, and many already solid sellers—are actually owned by the library, allowing us to fully integrate them into our catalog, and begin helping our readers discover writers new to them. The prices for these books are set, incidentally, by the authors themselves. Apparently, they want their books in libraries.”

  • Springwatch presenter speaks out against library cuts – ITV News. “BBC TV Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has spoken out and signed a petition against proposed cuts at his local library. Packham, 51, was speaking about proposals to reduce the number of hours by half at Cobbett Road Library in Southampton, Hampshire, as part of spending cuts by the city council.”
  • Third of poorest pupils “without internet at homes” – BBC. “A new breakdown of Office of National Statistics (ONS) data also showed that children from the wealthiest homes all had internet and computer access. Campaigners say this ‘digital divide’ can harm poor pupils’ education. Valerie Thompson of the E-Learning Foundation says children without home internet “lose out big time” …”The data shows that while 99% of children in the richest 10% of households can access the internet via a computer, this dropped to 57% in the poorest 10% of households with children.” 624 comments.

“The root issue is deeper. There are many parents who choose, or are unable to, support their childs education needs. Sometimes it is for financial reasons, other times it is that they have no quiet place to work, or are not encouraged to focus on schoolwork.I found our library essential for homework. It was warm, quiet, and was an environment in which knowledge appeared valued and precious.” Redkamishibai comment on article above

Local News

  • Barnet – Council “disappointed” by Friern Barnet Library squatters’ plan to appeal eviction – Times series. “Barnet Council has threatened to pursue full legal costs from the Friern Barnet Library squatters should they lodge an unsuccessful appeal against their impending eviction.” … “The authority had earlier postponed the group’s eviction until January 31 to allow discussions over granting their supporters, comprising a number of community groups, a formal licence to run the building. The council decided not to pursue legal costs from the defendants who contested the council’s initial application for a possession order but says no such generosity will be shown if they are dragged through the courts again.”
  • Gloucestershire – Much-loved author launches new era for library – This is Gloucestershire.  “Town crier Tony Evans heralded the launch of the county’s newest community library – by one of its biggest fans. In full regalia, Tony, from nearby Nailsworth, rang his bell to announce the official opening of the volunteer-run Minchinhampton Community Library Trust’s free book loan service.” … “On hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon was bestselling local author Katie Fforde, who declared Minchinhampton was her favourite library.”
  • Newcastle – Library closure protests in Newcastle – ITV News Tyne Tees.  One minute video on the cuts.