National Libraries Day was a highpoint for many library workers and visitors on Saturday.  My own library now has loads of post-it notes written by users saying why they love libraries (and lots of “I love stickers” on the board in the children’s section for those too young to write), many happy memories of an animal-handling event (be rest assured, traditionalists, that many of the people attending then took out books) and lots of other happy visitors.   Then, checking twitter and other news channels when I got home, there was a lot of positive messages about libraries.  It was lovely to see.

It was notable as well that, just as libraries mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, the Day itself was being used in many different ways. Library authorities used it – a lot more than last year – to promote their wares: with a particular hats off to Surrey for doing a Storify of their day.  Campaigners used it to highlight problems in their own areas, such as in Newcastle and in Manchester.  Visitors used it to celebrate what they thought about libraries.

And politicians? Well, politicians did what politicians do on National Libraries Day, Ed Vaizey, the minister for Libraries, read to children at a library in his constituency,  He chose, somewhat ironically, to read a book by Julia Donaldson, the same author who has been campaigning against the closures that have been happening under his watch. Dan Jarvis, his shadow, issued a statement hoping that the Government would be spurred by the special day to start doing something.  He had in mind something slightly more useful than a photo opportunity including the Gruffalo perhaps but, as this blog points out, what Labour is often proposing for libraries (be it in power in Newcastle or in opposition in Swindon) is hardly earth-shatteringly different to that of the Conservatives.

Looking beyond National Libraries Day, it looks like when a tactic is found to be successful in one area, it is tried in others. Hot on the heels of the successful squat/protest in Barney an “occupation” took place in Levenshulme and a “sleep-in” is being planned in Newcastle.

National Libraries Day

  • Dear libraries … I love you – World Book Night. “Second only to my parents and my best teachers, you enabled me to become who I am today. I discovered knowledge, wisdom, kindness, humanity and empathy through you. You’ve introduced me to worlds, ideas, people (and words) I wouldn’t have known otherwise. That’s why I love you.”

“Libraries:what we used to have when we believed in equal opportunity, free education for all & the power of words over money. #lovelibrariesJoanne Harris, author of Chocolat.

  • Matt Haig: Why I love my library – Guardian. 10 reasons: librarians, it’s not a shop, it’s quiet, it’s a book in building form. a retreat, a symbol of a healthy civilization, helps writing, it’s paradise, island full of unexpected treasure and “it keeps me human”.
  • MP enchants young audience with The Gruffalo – Oxford Mail. “Communications Minister Mr Vaizey read the book to a rapt audience at the library yesterday, and said he had thoroughly enjoyed himself. He said: “Every parent quickly learns that anything by Julia Donaldson is a sure fire hit, and The Gruffalo is a classic.”
  • National Libraries Day celebrates beleaguered services – Guardian. “Saturday is National Libraries Day, a time when libraries will be celebrated up and down the country. But the mood in the north of England will be sombre, as Liverpool becomes the latest council to announce swingeing cuts to its library service.”

“Communities need their libraries. Reading is the hallmark of a civilised society,” he said. “Authors and library users will stand alongside their elected representatives in protesting against government cutbacks. We cannot support a council implementing such cuts in a way that will damage the educational, social and cultural opportunities of the people it represents.” Alan Gibbons

  • National Library Day: Time to stop the government living in the fantasy section – Dan Jarvis MP. “Saturday’s celebrations continue in spite of the harsh reality that many local libraries face under the current coalition Government. ” … “It’s time for a systematic and dedicated effort to engage and support councils on ways to mitigate the effect of the cuts and get the most out of libraries. This needs a clear system of oversight and standards whilst preserving local leadership. We can’t prevent all closures, but we can do a lot to reduce them. But that needs this government to treat libraries as a serious priority. It is my hope that National Libraries Day helps them to do this.
  • Palace of the Mind: National Libraries Day – Scribe of the Red Rose.  A lovely short poem. “Though she has nothing,
    she can be a princess full of grace, he can be an astronaut, amongst the stars exploring space.”
  • Putting the Librarian into NLD – Books and the City. Westminster Libraries blog looks at role of the librarian.  “Whether you celebrate National Libraries Day by break-dancing or just curling up with a good book, remember there’s a lot more to your local librarian than tutting behind her glasses!”
  • Surrey – National Libraries Day in Surrey – Storify. List of tweets, including pictures, showing the NLD story in Surrey.


  • 2 lovers of libraries book a wedding among the stacks – Herald Net (USA).  “Friday morning, in a place that’s sacred to them, Barbara Morrow and David Kurland exchanged vows. Librarian Theresa Gemmer officiated at their wedding in the Everett Public Library’s Northwest History Room. Gemmer, ordained by the Universal Life Church Monastery, said she has performed about 20 weddings.”

  • 1947 Libraries Vocation film (above) – “If you love books and you love the public of all ages and types, then librarianship could be for you”
  • E-lending for libraries – IFLA. An important “thinkpiece” on e-lending.
  • Libraries – More Adventurous. A library worker describes her path into libraries and how wonderful they are.  Also, some views about her experiences of people campaigner for libraries.
60 - JJB speaking + trophy

Jamie Jones-Buchanan speaking, with RLWC 2013 trophy

  • Libraries and rugby league champion the Six Book Challenge – Reading Agency. “families and rugby fans packing into Leeds Central Library to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy, meet top player Jamie Jones-Buchanan, and celebrate The Reading Agency’s major new partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2013 (RLWC 2013), to promote and run its Six Book Challenge for less confident readers in locations used by rugby league fans.”
  • Opposition is the enemy in exile – Question Everything. “if the party seeking office intends to do exactly the same as those that are in power then what is the point? Dan Jarvis MP has been making all the right noises on libraries, yet when he travels to Newcastle to speak to one of the worst councils for proposed libraries cuts he has not a single negative thing to say about the council and their clearly dodgy statistics”.  Unimpressed about what is happening in Swindown “two back office officers are worth more than the library service it seems.”.

  • Library closures and toffee (above) – Bloke in car not happy with library closures.  He has a puppet also, and he feels strangely angry about toffee.


Local News

  • Barnet – Polite revolution – Vimeo. 15 minute video published to high standards on what people felt like the closure and eventual reopening of Friern Barnet Library.  Shows how strong feelings can be when a library is closed and what a council takes on when it chooses to close one. Includes interviews with Noam Chomsky.
  • Croydon – National Libraries Day: a pledge for Croydon – Inside Croydon. “the victory of resident power over Town Hall bureaucrats and poor quality political leadership has led to a toxic mix of cuts to library opening hours, the closure of the mobile library service, the closure of the Braithwaite Hall and the fund to buy new books at an historic low of only £250,000 (that’s 67p per resident). In its heyday, the book fund was the subject of much argument at the Town Hall, as it was felt that at £1 million a year, it wasn’t enough.”
  • Dudley – Celebrations to mark Netherton Library’s new home – Dudley News. ““Although Netherton Library moved into the Savoy Centre last year we wanted to mark the partnership of these two very important community facilities. This event will give people who have not yet had chance to experience the library’s new home a great opportunity to see the types of activities that take place at Netherton Library and indeed at all our libraries across the borough.””
  • Gloucestershire – Campaigners from Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries hit out at Gloucestershire County Council’s “patchy and amateurish” approach to libraries – Standard series. “GCC recently launched its new mobile library service serving 56 communities across the county. However, Johanna Anderson of the pressure group Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries said she did not believe residents had been given a fair say on how this is run and that they had not been told the previous service was stopping in November last year.”
  • Hampshire – Freeze on council tax in Hampshire as more savings are found – Daily Echo. “Now departments – including children’s services, adult social care, transport, libraries and country parks – are being asked to find further savings of two per cent in 2013 and 2014 to shave 20 per cent of its budget over four years.”.  In 2012, “The book fund was reduced and Winchester’s Stanmore Library moved to the Carroll Centre, where it is now run by the charity, while a volunteer group is to staff the library in North Baddesley.”
  • Hull – Campaign launched to save popular Anlaby Park Library – This is Hull and East Riding. “”I am absolutely appalled at the idea of the library closing,” said Mrs Bourne. “The council is talking about creating these new civic titles of Sheriff and High Steward yet at the same time it is proposing to close something like this, which is really at the heart of our local community. “What good will all these titles do for people who use the library regularly?”
  • Manchester – Firefighters to the rescue of cash-strapped libraries – Manchester Evening News.  “Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is considering a ‘groundbreaking’ plan to host collections in its buildings. The service wants to help Manchester council, which plans to shut and relocate six libraries as part of £12m cuts to leisure services, find a solution by March.”

“We’ve discussed potentially using fire stations as library book collection and drop-off points as our fire stations are already open to and part of the communities they serve – this would also give us the option to integrate our fire safety work and reach out to more members of the public.”

  • Levenshulme library occupied against closures Unite the resistance. Two minute video of 50 people occupying Levenshulme overnight in an “occupation” against closures.  “This is how you save services”.  Chanting of “no ifs, no buts, no council cuts”.  Occupiers left one minute after midnight after police arrived.
  • Dozens occupy Levenshulme library in protest against council closure plans – Manchester Evening News. “Several hundred people including adults and children took part in a protest march in Levenshulme against cuts by Manchester City Council that will see the closure of the local swimming pool and library”.  Council says “”Our proposal for Levenshulme library involves creating a new library, which will share a premises with a brand new swimming pool. “Both will open in the centre of Levenshulme in 2015. “In the meantime, it is proposed that the library is temporarily replaced with a community book collection.”
  • Liverpool – Author fights to stop library closures – Liverpool Life. Alan Gibbons say ““I think it’s distressing to lose over half of libraries after we’ve lost three. “I’m dubious about it on a national scale because children’s borrowing has gone up 6.9% and the borrowing as a whole has only gone down 4%, which is still considered to be healthy. “ Young and old have the least independent transport in our communities and are most dependent on our central library. “Let’s work together to improve our libraries before they close – because once they do face closure, it will be forever.””
  • Newcastle – Stars join in demonstration to save North East libraries – Sunday Sun. “Award-winning crime writers Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves were joined by other famous faces, including Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick, to stage a mass protest over council plans to close libraries in some of Newcastle’s most deprived areas.”.  See also plans for Sleep-In.

“This place is buzzing. How could anybody want to close this? Especially in Cruddas Park, where many people haven’t got computers at home and they can’t afford books. “The council will say it’s only a mile and a half into the city centre but for disabled people and kids, that’s a long way to go.” Ann Cleeves

  • Southampton – Fears for toy library service as budget axe looms Daily Echo. “The Toy Library Service has been providing toys to thousands of city children who otherwise wouldn’t enjoy what should be a fundamental part of childhood. But now the organisation fears it may not make its 40th anniversary after funding was pulled by the city council in what has been described as “a slap in the face” by volunteers and staff.”
  • Southwark – Poetry Festival – Celebrate My Library. “Southwark Libraries is currently in the mist of Rhyme and Reason 4 – a packed 16 days of activities for poetry enthusiasts, whether just interested, a novice or accomplished published poet (or somewhere in between). Now in it’s forth year”
  • Swindon – Campaigners ready to fight library cuts in Swindon – Swindon Advertiser. “Shirley Burnham, of the action group Save Old Town Library, said the group would launch protests and a petition because the move could lead to libraries closing, adding that savings should be found instead in senior management.”
  • York – Campaigners protest against proposed changes to York’s libraries – Press. “nearly 1,000 people have backed their petition against proposed changes to York’s libraries. Ruling Labour councillors want to hand over the running of the city’s libraries and archives to a social enterprise organisation”