A mixed bag today.  The final echoes of National Libraries Day are fading away. The Government is perhaps trying to keep the feel-good vibes going a little longer by announcing £600k of funding per year (half by DCLG, half by ACE and BL) to  encourage libraries to provide intellectual property service for businesses.  It’s a shame, as I have seen pointed out, that all of the authorities involved (including the perhaps slightly reprieved Newcastle) are also having to otherwise drastically cut their library budgets but the initiative itself is promising.

Locally, there’s a real mix in fortunes.  On the negative side, Wrexham may close a quarter of its libraries and nearly halve its number of public computers.  On the balance (depending on how one feels about private companies taking over libraries – I imagine most readers of this blog would be very much against) Ealing appears to be outsourcing its libraries and has cut down its bidders to two,  More positively, it looks like Northumberland is bucking the trend (at least in terms of visits and members) by a rqnge of measures that could bear further examination.


“We are absolutely delighted by the response to National Libraries Day 2013. Library users, staff and supporters really got behind the day, making it a spectacular success. Saturday and the week leading up to it saw a whole host of exciting, interesting and downright wacky events, including pole-dancing fitness classes, Dalek invasions, rock concerts and record-breaking school librarians. Librarians and library staff are true unsung heroes in our communities; they increase literacy levels and provide training and support to those who need it most. It was inspiring to witness such an outpouring of support. Let’s keep up the momentum and make every day like National Libraries Day” Phil Bradley, CILIP President.

  • In praise of public libraries (for National Libraries Day) – Young By Name. “ a post in praise of the public library that I visited regularly as a child.
  • National Libraries Day 2013 – CILIP / President Phil’s Blog. Lists the media that covered the day and points out the work and commitment of CILIP and others in making the day a success.
  • New support for local libraries and businesses – Gov.uk.  “Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced his support for a £1.2 million project to turn 6 libraries into new ‘innovation incubators’ and see them roll-out business support to towns and villages across the country.”.  DCLG to provide £600k to assist libraries in providing “business and intellectual property”.  “Funding will be allocated to local library services through competition, which will foster innovation and new partnerships.”.  Arts Council England and British Library providing rest of the money. Partner libraries are Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Sheffield.

“Patent offices and chambers of commerce can be intimidating places for people not used to formal business environments. Libraries are welcoming and much-loved by their communities and these new centres mean that a library card will now get you more than just books: it could launch a brand-new career.” Eric Pickles.


Local News

“I have lost count of the times that I have seen people walk up to the doors and find it closed, then walk away. Do they ever come back?”

  • Croydon – What councillors say: gallery move is “improved service” – Inside Croydon.  “On the premise of cost-cutting, our council is about to move the local studies archive into an exhibition space at the Clocktower, thus managing to find a way to spend public money on compromising two aspects of cultural provision at a stroke.”
  • Ealing – Statement from Ealing Unison on the privatisation proposals – Stop the privatisation of Public Libraries
  • East Sussex – Plans for multi-million pound library works – Observer series.  “We’re developing the existing library in the Brassey Institute and expanding into 12 Claremont, the building next to Hastings Library. The Register Office will move from its current out-of-town location at Summerfields on Bohemia Road into the new building. This is a great opportunity to bring the separate Children’s Library and Adult Library together on the same site to create a flexible, modern library in the heart of the town.”
  • Lancashire – Graham Liver – BBC Radio Lancashire. From 2.50.30. Interview with One Man And His Beard, David Gorton, interviewed in a library car park.  David celebrated National Libraries Day by singing song around ten libraries. “the tour went so smoothly,so smoothly Im thinking maybe 20 Libraries in a day next year”.
  • Manchester – Protesters lay down in street to demonstrate against council cuts – Manchester Evening News. “More than 250 people blocked a street in Levenshulme to show their support for their local library and swimming pools, which are facing closure”
  • Newcastle – Famous faces join the fight to save Newcastle’s libraries – Chronicle. Val McDermid says ““To me, it’s nothing short of criminal to close a library in an area like this. In areas of social deprivation, libraries become much more important. This is a place where people come to use computers and read books. Some people don’t have that at home.”
  • Harriet Harman halts plans to slash Newcastle arts budget by 100% – Guardian.  Not sure how much less than 100% though. “The council’s draft budget proposed a total funding cut to all the city’s arts organisations, including Live Theatre, Northern Stage and the Theatre Royal. It also proposed cutting its grants to museums by 50% and to libraries by 60%.”
  • Northumberland – Libraries bucking the national trend of decline – Journal. “Shared Intelligence – which was commissioned by the council and Museums, Libraries and Archives North East – said it was clear from users and staff, and examination of the figures, that the service had been “neglected for far too long”. It recommended an action plan to give libraries a sustainable future in the face of continuing financial pressures on the council’s budget. Now a new customer satisfaction survey has revealed that 98.5% now rate their local library as good or very good, compared to 85% in 2009.” … “Scrapping fees charged for ordering books has resulted in reservations increasing from 27,054 in April to December 2011 to 40,333 in the same period last year. All computers in libraries have been replaced, which together with improved network connectivity, means customers have better access to the internet. Continuing investment in buildings which combine a library with other front line council services, including facilities in Seaton Delaval, Prudhoe, Amble, Cramlington and Morpeth.
  • Wrexham – Wrexham council library review could see three shut – Daily Post. “A mobile library could be introduced to replace Gresford and Brymbo libraries so the council does not breach its obligation that 75% of residents should live within 2.5 miles of a library.” … “if, as seems inevitable, further substantial financial savings are required the review further recommends the rationalisation of current library facilities, but with mitigation to still achieve the Public Library Standards”