The headline today is from a quote in the Economist on the impact of e-lending.  Another item of note is an article arguing against the findings of the Capita report.  Both, for different reasons, make compelling reading (Ed.)


  • Access to information: 15 things you need to know to get it right – Guardian / Global Development Professionals Network.  Lots on the need for libraries in developing countries inc. need for rural local libraries, SMS apps, helping those with print disabilities, don’t replace books with computers.
  • Ed Vaizey MP at Locality’s Enterprising Community Libraries – Community Knowledge Hub.  30 minutes of Ed speaking on volunteer libraries, with questions including attempts by Kensal Rise to pin down the minister at 19:20 and 22:40.
  • Facilitating consent: whither the radical librarian? – Infoism. “It is clear to me that the role of the librarian in society is a radical one.  We provide access to information in a society that is subjected to both filtered information from the media, and growing corporate control of the flow of information.  With the growth of neo-liberalism, the institution of the public library has increasingly become a radical idea.  After all, in a neo-liberal society, everything has its price, including information. …”
  • Folding shelves: E-books mean a plot twist for public libraries and publishers – Economist.  Looks at e-lending and libraries, including publishers fears that unrestricted e-lending would end their business. No country has settled the matter yet. “Canada is planning a national e-lending platform, so libraries would not have to have their e-book collections hosted by third parties”. Different other models described. “One critic privately calls e-lending the “Librarian Unemployment Act of 2013”.
  • Four reasons to save our libraries – Book Word.  Reasons are (a) they’re more than books, (b) support authors and readers (c) connect people (d) embody community and democratic values.
  • History of saving Libraries – Books and Library Stuff.  A look at threats to libraries through the ages.
  • Leisure trusts help councils save money – Guardian / Co-operatives and Communities Hub. “”The trusts don’t fit a particular model,” he explains. “While around two-thirds are charitable companies and a third are mutuals, they’re all committed to providing facilities that are as accessible and affordable as possible for everyone.” … “The biggest in the UK is Greenwich Leisure Limited, with an annual turnover of £115m. Launched in 1993, it now manages 110 centres, mainly in London, and was responsible for managing some Olympic venues including the Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box arena. The company is increasingly operating outside the capital, with facilities in York and Oxfordshire. It is now expanding into managing libraries: it already runs 15; another 10 come on stream in April.”
  • Libraries good for the economy – OPB (USA). “Oregon’s state librarian says local communities and residents have an obligation to continue supporting their public libraries, and the local economy will suffer if they don’t” … “In her talk — “We Don’t Need Libraries Anymore, Do We?” — Dahlgreen will describe how libraries are leaving their old role as a place where people come to browse physical books, but will remain a vital part of local communities.”

“The big push is from collections to creations,” she said, with less emphasis on “things from authors and artists.” The new and imaginative growth areas are fan fiction and “maker spaces,” she said. Fan fiction is creative writing in response to novels, in the style of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” she explained, while maker spaces bring people together in libraries for arts, literature and crafts events.”

  • Library services are more than buildings, says Capita – Information Daily. Shirley Burnham argues that library buildings are intrinsically important for local communities and thus to national and local policy.  Concentrating on technology and the virtual ignores this to the detriment of those who need libraries the most. Policy in several other countries is supporting libraries rather than dismantling them.  Concern of private sector involvement in public libraries.

“By all means look to the future, but do not impose it on the public now or use it as a pretext for dismantling the service this year or next. It is grossly premature to discuss a “rethink in terms of what constitutes a public library” based on what are currently little more than dreams of substantial remote e-lending at a future date.”

  • Seattle Public Libraries robot librarian
  • Stephen King And Wife Tabitha King Pledge $3M To Bangor Public Library In Maine – Huffington Post (USA). “Stephen King and his wife have agreed to pay $3 million to overhaul their century-old hometown library in Maine, as long as $6 million is raised from other sources.”
  • Taking Part 2012/13 Quarter 3: Statistical Release: Libraries – 37.4% of population has visited a library in the last year compared to 48.2% in 2005/6.  Decline was sharpers until 2008/9 and has now slowed but is still downward.  The number who visit once a week from 7.2% to 5.1% took a dip from 5.7% 2011/12 to only 5.1% Jan to Dec 2012.
  • Where is Yinnon Ezra ? – Good Library Blog. “It seems that the answer to the nation’s public library problems lie with one man who works part time for the Department of Culture and his name is Yinnon Ezra” … “So far as we can tell he must be on one of those long holidays that people in the DCMS have that seem to run from October to September, all year round – give or take a few expenses-paid conferences”


Local news

Gateshead Libraries will be holding a free event with Reflections, an Ubisoft Studio based in Newcastle, on Saturday 6th April 10am-3pm. The day is aimed at those aged between 12 and 18 who are interested in a career in Computer Gaming. The team from Reflections will be giving talks on working as a team to create a successful computer game and delivering Design and Art workshops as well as running drop in programming activities. We will also have with us Dan Hodgson, Programme Leader BSc Games Design and Production Degree from the University of Northumbria who, along with students form the course, will be providing information about the course.via email.  For more info see here.