There’s a mixture of good and bad news today.  The good news are refurbishments in East Sussex, North Tyneside and Windsor and Maidenhead.  These range from nearly finished projects to plans still on the drawing board but they all show a faith in the future or libraries. Bad news comes from Herefordshire, where council papers, suggest that spending on Culture (including libraries) will be nearly halved over three years with cuts and transfers to volunteers proposed.

Bad news also from Manchester which further confirms closures of six libraries, with £87k to be spent per year to aid volunteers to run alternatives.  Campaigners have noted that all of these closures are all in deprived areas, which raises certain legal concerns, as the quote below demonstrates:

“there would appear to be a prima facie case for intervention – see: (a) reasons given by the Minister (when in Opposition) for pressing the then SoS to intervene in Wirral; (b) the MLA report on Wirral which gave rise to the intervention, and (c) the observations of Sue Charteris on deprived areas and libraries in her report on Wirral” Geof Dron

The results of the local elections have also come under the spotlight.  Campaigners not that the  Isle of Wight has moved to being under no overall control.   Thia may or may not be at least partially due to a sign of the importance the electorate put on public libraries as the previous Conservative administration were prominent in cutting library services despite large public opposition.  Its leader, David Pugh, lost his seat and it was he who gave evidence to the CMS parliamentary Select Committee in favour of his unpopular library policy.  In truth, it’s hard to tell the impact of library cuts on the electorate, as Alan Templeton notes:

“… we do not know if this effect is common to the other high visibility library battles. Until someone does the research, we have to assume that the Isle of Wight result is a one-off, which could be attributed to any number of policy errors.  It is very probable that an administration that is unsympathetic to public libraries is one which is unsympathetic to many services valued by its residents i.e. the council is one which is out-of-touch with the population and has offended a large proportion of its electors – both library users and non-users. However, if all or many of the councils which have been engaged in library battles have suffered similar election reversals, it would be very significant and would suggest an interesting time for several London councils in 2014.” Alan Templeton via email.


  • Elsevier Foundation Calls for 2013 New Scholars and Innovative Libraries Projects – Elsevier. “Grants will be awarded in December 2013 and provide one, two and three year awards between US$ 5,000 to US$ 50,000 per year for a total of US$ 100,000.”  See this page for more info on Innovative Libraries.
  • Libraries to debate open access – BookSeller. “The implications of Open Access for libraries will be debated in Westminster at an event hosted by the Libraries All-Party Parliamentary Group.” … “the debate was needed to flesh out the many questions around how the government’s Open Access policy might impact on libraries and ensure politicians understand the concerns of those employees working on the ground.”

“The public are ahead of us [librarians] and they are dictating what we should do in terms of digital, which is as it should be. In America, the first bookless library has just been opened. If there were no books there would still be libraries, because they support learning and store information.” Annie Mauger, CILIP

  • Library as public space – Making cities for people (Denmark). “The library is no longer a house of books, but a framework for learning, for new as well as old knowledge – both in digital and traditional book formats.”

“Libraries as a sector was not to be incorporated in the study because the business models and the ways in which libraries generate spillover effects in the wider economy were deemed to differ to such an extent as to warrant a separate study” Contribution of arts and culture to the national economy – Centre for Economics and Business Research.  The Arts Council response to the paper does not include any mention of libraries.

  • Marketing Libraries Is like Marketing Mayonnaise – Library Journal.  Ned Potter on library marketing. [those five words alone should be enough to get you to read the article – Ed.]
  • NLT evaluates Reading Stars scheme – BookSeller. “More than half of the pupils taking part in the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars scheme in 2012 made six months’ progress in reading while taking part in the programme, a report from the NLT has said. Seventeen per cent made a whole year’s progress, according to the charity.”
  • RNIB hails Kindle app ‘breakthrough’ – BookSeller. “A new Kindle app from Amazon will help blind and partially sighted people to access 1.5m titles. The app works with the in-built magnification and speech functions of iPhones, iPads and some other Apple devices, while also creating an electronic Braille display. Amazon consulted with blind and partially sighted people in the UK to help develop the app, which has previously been impossible due to compatibility issues with Apple’s own accessibility features.”
  • Paid Content (USA). “Overdrive believe that library lending leads to increased book sales and author recognition. In a two-week trial, they will promote a Sourcebooks ebook on library homepages and see how the promotion affects paid sales and author recognition.”


Local news

“If you lie down people walk all over you, but we stood up and made a fuss”

  • Brent – Forthcoming Wembley Library – James Powney’s Blog. Includes eight fixed iPads in children’s area, bigger floor space.
  • Bromley – Get involved with Adult Learners’ Week in Bromley – This is Local London. Events inc. “nail art, wood carving and ancestry sessions”
  • East Sussex – Tenders invited for Sussex libraries – Argus. 2 refurb contacts going to tender “The new Newhaven Library is a former retail premises in the High Street with 400 square metres of public space- for an expanded library, meeting rooms, dedicated facilities for children and young people along with access to public network computers and learning opportunities for the local community. Seaford Library is a new building under construction with approximately 640 square metres of public space providing public access computers, meeting rooms, dedicated facilities for children and young people, event space and café.”
  • Harrow – ‘Council breaking its promise over libraries’ – Harrow Observer. “Harrow Council and Ealing Council’s Labour administrations are proposing to jointly outsource the day-to-day management of their libraries to John Laing Integrated Services, which already oversees Hounslow’s libraries, from September 1.”

“… the council could save £600,000 a year by outsourcing the libraries and the not-for-profit trust would be able to reduce its expenditure through merging payroll and human resources departments, sharing IT systems and, unlike the council, enjoying business rate relief on the library buildings.”

  • Herefordshire – Public reports pack – Herefordshire Council.  £1.4m cut from £3m Culture and Leisure budget over three years.  Aim to sustain services “with little or no” council funds / outsourcing / volunteers / cuts.
  • Isle of Man – Mobile service helping those who can’t get to local library – Isle of Man Today. “The service was threatened with closure last year, because of funding cuts, but rescued when PokerStars agreed to fund it for three years. Sandra said: ‘They talk about money [the cost of running the service], but you cannot quantify the value in money terms.’ Annual subscription is £15 for adults and £2 for children.”
  • Manchester – Six Manchester libraries face axe within weeks despite protests – Manchester Evening News. “Miles Platting, New Moston, Northenden, Levenshulme, Burnage and Fallowfield libraries will shut at the end of next month if a controversial plan is approved next week.” More than half of 1000 respondents against closures but “council officers are recommending bosses push ahead with the plans, saying it is the best way to maintain a sustainable library services.” £87k per year will be put aside to support volunteer run libraries.
  • North Tyneside – North Shields Central Library set to re-open its doors – Premier Construction.  Library closed Dec 2011 due to heating problems: “£2.6 million plan to redevelop the library, with Kier North Tyneside being appointed as the main contractor. Inside the revamped library there will be new furnishings and interior fittings, self-service library points, better access to the local studies section, refreshment facilities, community meeting rooms, new lift, improved disabled access plus an automated cash payment kiosk. In addition to the new fixtures and fittings a host of council services will also be moved into the library. Some of the improvements have come about as the result of a survey of library users conducted before the Northumberland Square building was shut.” … “The council hopes that the new state-of-the-art library and a range of Council customer services available inside will attract more people to the town.”
  • Southend – Webb joins battle for Southend libraries – BookSeller. “Rights People’s Alex Webb is among those battling to save libraries around Southend with a campaign against cutbacks. SOS Leigh Library is fighting to save Leigh-on-Sea library from cuts by Southend Borough Council”
  • Southend – Dementia Advocacy Surgeries at Southend Libraries – Southend on Sea Council. “Lucy White, Advocacy Manager for Alzheimer’s Society said “The team felt strongly that local libraries would be the best venue for these events, as they are often at the heart of the local community and offer an accessible and calm environment. We hope that by offering these sessions we will open up the service to members of the community that may not otherwise have made contact with us”.
  • Suffolk – Libraries support organ donations – Bury Free Press. “Suffolk Libraries Mental Health and Wellbeing Service has organised the displays to help encourage more people to join the register or to find out more.”
  • Surrey – Libraries to hold “decluttering” workshop in Redhill – Life. “The workshop facilitators, Cherry Rudge and Lynda Wylie, are members of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers UK, and tickets are priced £10”
  • Windsor and Maidenhead – Plans for new library and sensory room to be discussed – Maidenhead Advertiser. “council report due before the panel says: “The extension of services will increase public awareness of the site and its purpose, as it will become a site for community use as well as a specialist facility for adult service users. “Residents will be able to use the library and café, attend activities and view museum displays within the lobby area of the library.” A new sensory garden would be created leading out from the sensory room.”
  • Worcestershire – Public consultation on library has begun – Cotswold Journal. “Options include the relocation of the library and replacing it with a mobile service and the community setting up a group to manage the service. If the plans for a community- led library, which have been approved by Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet, go ahead, the building would be leased to Broadway Parish Council, which would have the option to buy it when funds become available.”