Some contrarian stuff from the very first article on the list today, pointing out that the need for quiet study areas is as equally as important in the Pew Research survey than online services. Of course, you cold always give away seeds instead. But whatever you do, don’t expect your website to be much cop promoting it as the SocITM have produced a report on how bad library websites are (answer: very).  Even if you do get it fixed, it’ll be too late for two more libraries (Anlaby and Regent’s Park) as they look set to close as does an important enquiry service in Somerset.  Finally, for those of you into that sort of thing, Northamptonshire have put together a video showing several ways volunteers can work in libraries.


  • Bring back shushing librarians – Salon.  “there’s a lot to be said for that shushing. I’ve long believed that one of the most precious resources libraries offer their patrons is simple quiet.” Pew Internet Research results show “The percentage of people who consider quiet spaces to be a very important element in any public library is 76, only one percentage point less than the value given to computer and Internet access.”

“According the Pew study, quiet matters more to library patrons than special programs for kids or job-search resources or access to fancy databases or classes and events or spaces for public meetings. It matters more to them than the ability to check out e-books or engage in “more interactive learning experiences” — areas that many library experts seem to regard as top priorities for the libraries of the future.”

  • Eric Pickles’ brand of toxicity will kill off local councils, warns NAO – Guardian / Efficiency and risk hub.  “The headline calculation is that councils are barely halfway through the cuts the chancellor, George Osborne, is demanding by spring 2015. In principle, that means that for every library closed since 2010 and for every planning department post expunged, another will have to go during the next two years – barring huge increases in council tax in 2014 and 2015 or depletion of council financial reserves. Neither is likely.”

Get involved: library volunteers – Northamptonshire Libraries advertise for volunteers in video.

  • How to save a public library: make it a seed bank – NPR (USA). “Here’s how it works: A library card gets you a packet of seeds. You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.”

“The library’s director, Barbara Milnor, says in the age of digital, downloadable books and magazines, the tangible seed packets are another way to draw people in. “You have to be fleet of foot if you’re going to stay relevant, and that’s what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevancy,” she says.”

  • How well are library services presented on local authority websites – SocITM.  Looks  at how well library websites are integrated and designed on council websites.  Answer – they’re not.
  • LGA response to NAO report on council sustainability – LGA.  “”Cuts to local government funding, amounting to 33 per cent across this spending period, have been coming from all angles and the report shows that central Government has not taken a comprehensive and coordinated approach to assessing the impact of its decisions on local services. “
  • Penguin library wallpaper Osborne & Little. George Osborne’s family company produces a nice wallpaper on a library theme.  One of the titles is, oddly, “explosives”.  Guardian letter says “Is Osborne & Little’s Penguin Library Wallpaper designed to replace actual libraries, which are closing due to George Osborne’s cuts? Or are we meant to just paper over the cracks? Alice Ronson Liverpool”
  • Questions over Amazon lockers – County Times. / Letters. “I have just read an article in the County Times regarding WSCC providing Amazon space for their distribution lockers in three libraries in West Sussex. Amazon was one of three companies asked to appear before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in November 2012 to answer questions relating to tax avoidance.”
  • Timbuktu is a cultural tragedy: but if e-books burn, no one will see the flames – Independent / Boyd Tonkin. “No one has yet thought through the long-term implications for liberty and learning of the shift towards digital publishing, with a few outsize corporations effectively poised to become the monopoly librarians and booksellers for much of the online world. Why should we trust in their permanent commitment to the principles of freedom, openness and plurality? Given a boardroom coup in a quoted company, the censors could take charge at any time. If they do, and when e-books “burn”, no one will even hear the crackle, smell the smoke or see the flames.”
  • Twitter takeover: Monday, Suncat project officer, Natasha Aburrow-Jones – Voices for the Library. “To celebrate National Libraries Day 2013 we launched the @VoicesLibrary Twitter Takeover. A new library worker each day will take control of our Twitter account. Monday’s tweeter is @TashaAJ “
  • Web-deprived study at McDonald’s – Wall Street Journal (USA). “Joshua sometimes does his homework at a McDonald’s MCD +0.69% restaurant—not because he is drawn by the burgers, but because the fast-food chain is one of the few places in this southern Alabama city of 4,000 where he can get online access free once the public library closes.”
  • What are you doing to celebrate National Libraries Day? – Library Campaign.  “Please tell us by adding a comment to this post, tweeting us details that we can re-tweet @LibraryCampaign or adding details to our facebook page. Please don’t forget that many local authorities, schools and organisations are joining in the lead up to the big day with a week of events. You can send photos and reports to”


Local News

  • Barnet – No eviction for squatters as Friern Barnet Library deal with council comes “very close” – Times series. “Bailiffs will not be called in to evict squatters at Friern Barnet Library after the council moved “very close” to an agreement with an interested community group this week. The occupiers were given until today, February 1, to vacate the premises or face forcible removal after the authority won a possession order in December. But no eviction has taken place as the council continues to draft an agreement with the Friern Barnet Community Library group to take over the premises.”

“It is a major victory for the people of Barnet and raising awareness of the power of squatting more generally. “Myself and all the crew want to stick around and help out while the library is handed over to the community.”

“We don’t feel that there’s anything to celebrate in being forced to take over the library. “I asked volunteers’ opinions and they said they didn’t feel it was appropriate. “When we open our extension we will celebrate but at present we are mourning that we are not part of the statutory library service anymore.”

  • Hull – Households told to expect council tax rise – This is Hull and East Riding. “he budget also includes plans to shut Anlaby Park library in west Hull and three customer service centres as well as end funding support for three motor-based youth projects in the city.”
  • Lincolnshire – Spilsby library proposals are a “criminal shame” – Skegness Standard.  “A mother whose young family recently moved to Spilsby, fears proposals to relocate the town’s library to a supermarket or church are ‘short-sighted’ and a ‘criminal shame.’.  Councils says protests “unfeasible in the current financial situation.”.
  • Newcastle – Protestor’s day of action over council’s “attack on children” – Sunday Sun.  “Crowds of families gathered to warn of the consequences of savage budget cuts that would hit youngsters in Newcastle’s West End hard. Moorside Library faces closure, while play and youth services provided at the Nunsmoor Children’s Centre and Murray House Community Centre are to be scrapped under city council budget cuts. But yesterday the community hit back, starting with a mass book withdrawal and protest at the Beaconsfield Street library.”.  Tony Durcan, libraries chief, says many libraries will survive, especially with the help of volunteers.
  • City Library spooky sleepover – Save Newcastle Libraries. “An all-night sleep-over that celebrates libraries as a cultural, inspirational and educational hub. The event promises to be an unforgettably unique experience of a spooky, eerie night in the ghostly central library … Bring you own sleeping equipment such as sleeping bags, floor mats, pillows, etc. No tents allowed.”
  • 6th February lobby of Newcastle City Council – Save Newcastle Libraries. “Due to the 5000+ people who signed our petition, the full council meeting on Wednesday 6 February 17:30 (Newcastle Civic Centre) has been forced to debate the proposed closure of 10 of the cities libraries as a separate item on the agenda of this meeting.”
  • Writers take over libraries under threat of closure on National Libraries Day – Save Newcastle Libraries. “Writers take over libraries under threat of closure on National Libraries Day, Saturday 9 February, 10.30am Writers including Val McDermid and Ann Cleeves join forces with musicians, artists and storytellers and actors such as Charlie Hardwick and Libby Davison to show support for libraries facing closure”
  • Rotherham – Centre could close as part of cost cuts – South Yorkshire Times. “Swinton Customer Service Centre could be closed as part of a cost-cutting measure by Rotherham Council. A range of council services offered at the town centre facility, such as council tax and benefits enquiries, would be transferred over to the library next door. Drop in sessions would be offered as a replacement two days a week. It is also planned to extend council services available at nearby Wath Library.”
  • Somerset – Proposal to cut the Library Enquiry Service in Somerset – Stop the Privatisation of Public Libraries.  Taunton library enquiry service may be cut over two years (£100k cut). Four specialist staff to lose their jobs.
  • Swindon – Book up for celebration – Swindon Advertiser. “Treasure hunts, an acoustic music session and the chance to meet a hawk are among the activities available in Swindon’s libraries as part of National Libraries Day.”
  • Worcestershire – Free activities on offer at Droitwich Library – Advertiser. “Droitwich Library, Victoria Square, will hold an Oliver Jeffers story marathon, drawing activities for children, a book and DVD display and a free DVD loan offer for new members on Saturday, February 9.”