It’s interesting to note that the Scottish side of the librarian professional body CILIP has issued a statement expressing its “deep concern” about cuts in Moray.  These cuts (7 out of 15 may close) are of proportions familiar enough to those in England but may be a worrying harbinger of things to come north of the border.   CILIP (England) itself has long since given up (if it ever started in the first place) producing announcements for each new authority that announces cuts in its own turf, presumably because their frequency would get a bit monotonous.

Speaking of cuts, as I so often do, I should point out the current bete noir of Herefordshire faces an unconfirmed 9 branches being withdrawn, not 10.  The tenth, Peterchurch, is already volunteer run:  a possibility interestingly missing from a 1976 article on library cuts that is otherwise quite eery in its similarities to today.


  • Children’s Librarians in the Digital Age: Part I: A Call to Action – Digital Media Diet (USA).  Excellent look at the challenge of e-book to children’s libraries; e-reading doubling every two years among kids.
  • From the archive, 13 May 1976: Libraries look at economy cuts – Guardian.  Reprints amazing article from 1976 that basically shows how little has changed “Libraries are bearing a heavy share of this year’s local authority spending cuts and for many people provide the most tangible evidence of those cuts” and how about “Many libraries are closing on Saturday afternoons – their busiest time”?  Interesting, though, how the possibility of closures is little discussed and the possibility of volunteers is just not present:

“if the worst came, libraries could be housed in converted warehouses or department stores, or functional square buildings with bare walls and floors and chipboard shelving from floor to ceiling. There would be no wasted space, no browsing areas, coffee bars or exhibition space, with assistants working longer hours and wearing warmer clothes and chiefs handing out books rather than attending management seminars.”

  • Library card – “Everybody put your card up, everybody put your library card up …” Melvil Dewey on Youtube.
  • There’s no such thing as the wrong sort of book – Independent. “Unfortunately, libraries will be a historical concept as alien to most 17-year-olds as the works of George Eliot by the time Mr Gove’s government has finished with them. A total of 146 libraries were closed from 2010 to 2011, and a further 201 in 2012. The Penguin Classics edition of Middlemarch costs £7.99. The minimum wage for under-18s is £3.68 an hour. Even one of Mr Gove’s fantasy 17-year-olds could do the maths: most teenagers cannot afford to lose themselves in the transcendent works of the English canon. Most are lucky to have the luxury of getting into reading at all.”
  • What’s a Library? – Huffington Post. Post from Michael Rosenblum which has raised a lot of anger amongst US librarians (see this response) because it says that (a) technology has replaced the need for libraries and that (b) the writer can afford his own books and internet access anyway so does not need them.  The parallels to Terry Deary’s UK anti-library piece are worrying.


Local News

  • Aberdeenshire Extreme makeover for Stonehaven library Mearns Leader. “Along with the library in Fraserburgh, Stonehaven has been transformed as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s drive to improve the surroundings for library users and staff. Both branches have reopened to the public following work to renovate the interiors over the winter. The work included fitting new carpets, painting walls and the installation of new book shelves, desks and seating areas.”
  • Brent – May update – Save Kensal Rise Library. “Still fighting … made of stern stuff”.
  • Devon – Top author to visit library – Exmouth Journal. ““I’m not aware of a Booker nominated author ever visiting the library before. Big name authors such as Terry Pratchett have visited in the past, but this is a real coup for the library and the festival.”
  • Lincolnshire – New book service for Bratoft and Irby – Skegness Standard. “Lincolnshire county council has provided a collection of 300 library books for the new community library collection, which can be used by all of the community and is available from the Irby and Bratoft Village Hall, Brambleberry Lane, Irby in the Marsh.”
  • Manchester – Keep Manchester libraries open or face book boycott, say protesters – Manchester Evening News. “Furious campaigners in Northenden – some of them dressed as book characters –  demonstrated against the plan over the weekend outside their library in Church Road.”
  • Manchester – Libraries consultation response – Manchester Council. “Following consideration of consultation responses, it is proposed to continue with plans to withdraw revenue funding for six libraries – Burnage, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Miles Platting, New Moston and Northenden. Council officers will continue to work with community groups to develop alternative community/outreach library facilities. These would be small book collections with some computer access managed by community groups and partner organisations . Each would be linked to a ‘parent’ Council-run library and receive seven hours per week of staff support from that library” (See this extensive analysis of the consultation data for an alternative view)

“Manchester’s City Library Strategy will have the transformed Central Library at its heart with 14 neighbourhood libraries, supported by community and outreach libraries, to ensure a sustainable library network with a good geographic spread. Some 99.9 per cent of Manchester residents will still be within two miles of a library, 99 per cent within a mile and a half and almost 85 per cent within one mile, excluding any additional outreach provision.”

  • MorayCILIPS releases statement on cuts and closures in Moray – CILIPS.  “The cuts proposed in Moray will be significant and damaging, impacting on the ability of the service to work with partners to deliver key policy goals such as employability, digital participation, lifelong learning and health promotion. CILIPS acknowledges the community-led campaigns which have been launched in support of the library service demonstrating the clear value and impact its loss will have on the lives of Moray residents.”
  • Sheffield – Digital by default and the need for libraries – Star. “Department of Work and Pensions offices are calling library services across the country to check what PC and internet provision they offer and urging them to offer hour-long sessions to members of the public who are trying to claim univeral credit. They are doing this knowing that many of these claimants will struggle with both the PCs and the forms. It will fall to library staff to pick this up. Isn’t it bizarre that in Sheffield the council seems to be unaware of this …”