As said in the previous post, it is good to see positive library stories in the news and Miranda McKearney from the Reading Agency has been in touch to point out that the Summer Reading Challenge as well as Books on Prescription have been doing their bit to boost the public awareness of the services public libraries can offer.  Her list has been included below, just after the news section.  To see the impact such as scheme can have, I am indebted to Suffolk Libraries for sending this link to me.

However, to concentrate on just the good – such as Mr Vaizey and, it seems, one or two national agencies like arguably Arts Council England do, publicly at least – is to do a disservice to what is happening in just the same way that concentrating only on the bad can do.  Over the last year or two, this blog has moved from a campaigning-the-only-news-printed-is-bad-news-agitprop-approach to more balanced coverage and I hope that this has been better for everyone who reads it.   For instance, today, we have job losses in York but we also have a new library being planned in Halifax and evidence of positive stuff happening on the ground.  To report only the job losses or only the new library would have been wrong.  Public libraries deserve more than single-sided coverage or, worse, two different sides both retailing their own line at the exclusion of the other or the reality on the ground.




  • 2013 Library RFID Survey – Worldwide survey closed Wednesday June 12th.
  • Amazon and Google provide a much better library service than our public libraries do – Good Library Blog / Tim Coates.  “For half a generation Google has already provided a much better information service than public libraries. Shortly Amazon will do the same for book readers” … “If people need buildings to meet and be friendly, they should use the churches – that is what they were built for”.  The comments are worth reading.
  • Battle against privatisation – New Statesman.  A strongly anti-privatisation article looking at the profits made by private companies and what it means to the employees who are outsourced.
  • CILIP re-brand – a non-member’s perspective – Infoism / Ian Clark.
  • Cuts threaten museums and libraries – Independent / Letters. “Evidently, the statutory library service is to be bundled in with the discretionary services, like swimming pools. This is in spite of the UK economy losing approximately £81bn per year from the nation’s illiteracy, as well as concerns that lack of access to a comprehensive network of libraries is contributing to a widening digital divide.”.  [Source for $81bn statement is here – Ed.]
  • Dan Grace, Information Adviser at Sheffield Hallam University – Voices for the Library. “I really can’t stand the word “customers” to describe people who use libraries.”
  • Ingress and egress – Question Everything. Passing Walcot to volunteers has saved a tiny £78k over four years with a 87% drop in issues. Other branches have seen usage stable.  Seen as odd that Walcot was withdrawn where budget was negligible.  Suspects ideological agenda.
  • Jarvis calls for “deeds not words” on libraries – BookSeller. Summarises the shadow minister for libraries’ piece on the Labour List.
  • Our View: Vote ‘no’ on library bond – Standard-Examiner (USA). “$23 million to build a new library in Roy, strikes us as accomplishing little other than accumulating bigger spaces. Spending so much money on this bond is a proposal based in the past, which emphasizes brick and mortar.A library needs to serve its core mission, which is to provide information to folks in the most convenient manner. Over the next generation, we don’t believe having bigger buildings — closer to patrons — is what will define customer service for libraries.”
  • Reading programme for disadvantaged young people shortlisted for national award (13 June) – Reading Agency (press release). “Among The Charity Awards shortlist is a programme that seeks to address the decline in reading for pleasure among young people and improve their life chances. The Charity Awards 2013 winners will be announced on 13 June. National charity The Reading Agency’s Reading Activists programme has been shortlisted from hundreds of entries in the arts, culture and heritage category alongside just two other charities. Oxford University research (2011) shows that reading for pleasure is the only out of school activity for 16 year olds which leads to them getting better jobs. Reading Activists aims to excite disadvantaged young people about reading through volunteering opportunities and helping to reinvent the library as a hub for creative activities
  • Seattle Public Library Puts Books on Bikes – Library Journal (USA). “Librarians on bicycles are traveling to several outdoor events across the city with a custom-built book trailer that can carry 500 pounds of materials and display 75 books at a time. The bicycling librarians will hold book talks, pop-up story times, and information sessions at venues large and small in public parks, farmers markets, and at other community events, such as the Pride Parade and PrideFest, Cyclefest, Umoja Fest, and Fiesta Patrias.” … “Almost all of the books the librarians brought on the trailer ended being checked out by the students and new library cards were distributed to six students who never had one before,”
  • Subway® Restaurants Dig Into Reading with Berks County Public Libraries – BCTV (USA). “The Subway® restaurants reading card works by encouraging students to read or listen to 10 books over 10 weeks. Parents or guardians will initial a series of 10 blocks on the reading card, one for every book their child listened to or read. After ten books are completed, the card can be redeemed at any Subway® restaurants location in Berks County to receive a Subway Fresh Fit For Kids meal.” … “The Berks County Public Libraries Summer Reading Program was first launched in 1986 with just 500 participants. Since, the program has grown rapidly to more than 7,500 students. Magee-Bibi hopes to grow the program to 10,000 young people this summer.”

Summer Reading Challenge

  • The Bookseller: 31 May Lampard pushes Summer Reading Challenge
  • The Sun: 31 MayEngland star tackles new career as kids’ author and talks of becoming Summer Reading Challenge Champion
  • This Morning: 6 June – Frankie’s Magic Football: mentions the Summer Reading Challenge at approx. 7 minutes in
  • The Telegraph: 24 May – Hay 2013: Charles and Camilla Open the Festival, including mention of the Summer Reading Challenge.

Books on Prescription

See Self-help books from the library help Sally-Anne for a practical example of the scheme, by The Reading Agency itself.

Local news

  • Calderdale – New £9.25m library set to give cultural quarter bid a boost – Yorkshire Post. “Calderdale’s new central library and archive will be housed in a contemporary building that will envelope the grade II* listed Square Church spire and the remaining standing archaeology of Square Church. It will incorporate the remains of the church, such as the rose window, into the design of the building, creating a combination of historic and contemporary architecture.” … “The building will have four floors accommodating a range of services including local studies, West Yorkshire Archives and a children’s library. It will also include an area for 13- to 16-year-olds, alongside a digital media area, a small meeting room in the library and more rooms available in the adjacent Piece Hall extension.”
  • Cheshire East – Opinion: How a housing association ended up running a library – 24 Dash. “The library, together with our adjoining space, will be configured to meet our residents’ requirements. They’re already talking about the possibility of multiple uses including childcare, exercise classes and a police drop-in. More excitingly the plan is that they will train alongside the current librarian to be able to take over effective running of the library as community volunteers after a few months. They’re fizzing with ideas of how to increase library membership and attract more young people along, by offering more tailored products.”
  • Gloucestershire – New app launched to help library users in Gloucestershire – Wilts and Glos Standard. “can now reserve or renew books in any of the county’s libraries with a new app.”
  • Harrow – Conservative group ‘uneasy’ with library and leisure contracts – Harrow Times. ““We’re uneasy that this decision has been made. We have been asking questions about the specifics of the library and leisure contracts for months now, and we are uncomfortable with the answers we have received. “These concerns involve everything from the investment costs to the flexibility the council has to adjust the terms of the contracts if desired. “We’re also very worried at the length of these contracts; at five and ten years respectively, they will essentially bind future administrations.” … ““We would also remind the Independent Labour administration that, though they have left the Labour Group, they were still elected on and have said they will uphold a manifesto which promised no library privatisation – yet this is essentially what they’ve just done”
  • Herefordshire – Leominster info shop set to move into the town’s library – Hereford Times. “The info shop in the Corn Square is set to move into the library after Herefordshire Council received a grant from the regional improvement efficiency partnership (West Midlands) to fund the venture.”
  • Libraries West – Newsletter – Libraries West staff newsletter.  Big success for National Libraries Day, a new library in Bristol, a uniforming of charges … and a lot else … in this multi-authority consortium.
  • Manchester – Community plans for Levenshulme Library unveiled – Manchester Gazette. “Levenshulme High School has brought forward proposals to secure the future of the community library facility in Levenshulme until a new joint library and leisure facility opens in Spring 2015. The proposal is for the school to manage and operate the existing Levenshulme library building, providing the school with much-needed additional space and create a learning facility for the local community. Under the proposals the building would continue to operate as a library between the hours of 2.30pm and 6.30pm on weekdays and 10am and 1pm on Saturdays.”
  • Manchester – Levenshulme library to be run by local high school – BBC. “Levenshulme High School has now said it will manage the existing library building until spring 2015 to provide the school with more space. The library will then move into a new leisure centre which is being built.”
  • North Yorkshire – Free digital magazines for North Yorkshire library members – Harrogate News. “North Yorkshire County Council’s Library and Information Service is launching a new online digital magazine service which enables members to read the latest editions of their favourite magazines on their computers, tablets or smartphones. The new service, provided through the Zinio eMagazine website, will also be available to library members who don’t have their own IT equipment, through the public computers at local libraries.”
  • Southend – Consultation On Future Of Libraries – Heart. Proposal is for a central library (The Forum, Southend –  open seven days a week, have longer opening hours, wi-fi and 25 per cent more stock, cafe, meeting rooms, etc), 2 branch libraries (1 being a merge of Thorpedene and Friars libraries, the other being either Leigh Library or Kent Elms Library) and the others (Westcliff, Southchurch and one in the west) to be taken over by volunteers or closed.   Council also aims to be “increasing e-book lending, developing a Virtual Library, extending the Home Library Service and increasing the use of mobile and ‘pop-up’ library services”.
  • Southend – Branch libraries to remain open – Southend Standard. Council says will keep branch libraries open until volunteers step forward to save them and will not close any until that takes place.
  • Suffolk – Debenham: Library plans ambitious move to Sir Robert Hitcham School – EADT. “Debenham Library, which claims to be the smallest in Suffolk, is looking to expand by moving into a new premises in Sir Robert Hitcham School. Andrew Grant-Adamson, chair of the Debenham Library Foundation, said the move would cost about £5,000. He said: “The project is coming along quite well. We are looking at detailed costing and trying to find exactly how much money it will cost. “This is very important; the library in Debenham was only founded 10 years ago and it was originally the fire station. You hear about library numbers dropping but here in Debenham there’s been a steady increase.””
  • Surrey – Free Surrey library courses help thousands online – This is Surrey Today. “more than 2,200 people Surrey County Council helped to get online for the first time last year” … “The number of sessions, which run in 25 libraries, has increased by 31% since 2011 and even more sessions will be available in the future as more people seek to learn about the benefits of the internet.”
  • Worcestershire – Droitwich library upgrades to save £4,000 a year – Droitwich Standard. “As well as reducing our energy consumption and delivering energy cost savings of around £4,000 per year, the project means that the building will benefit from new and improved lighting.”
  • York – Jobs axed at York libraries – Press. 10.9 full time equivalent library posts lost in £190k staffing cut. £250k cut overall.  Self service machines instead. “the remaining £60,000 in savings would be met through other efficiencies and reviewing contracts for work, adding some roles lost were those of staff who only worked three hours a week.”