A further 10% (an eye-watering £10.5 billion) cut to local councils appears on the cards.  That’s ten times more than the annual cost of the entire public library service so expect closures to continue deep into 2016.  Ed Vaizey, in a speech to the Society of Chief Librarians this week, denies (well, he would, wouldn’t he?) that the library service is in crisis and suggests that sharing services and co-locations are a solution to cuts.  His boss, Maria Miller, stressed in a different arena the need to show a clear return on expenditure when it comes to saving the Arts.  Whether such approaches are easily applicable to libraries remains to be seen.

Herefordshire have withdrawn the interlending service, the option of borrowing books from other authorities, from its libraries, citing an average cost of £40 per item.  To get up to this eye-watering figure, the cost must be including staff, offices, transportation etc as the the British Library (among the highest of chargers) would be costing £14.65 and many books would presumably be under reciprocal agreements and thus be considerably cheaper.  Regardless of cost, though, there is also a key legal matter here – that of whether interlending is an integral part of statutory provision under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.  Some argue that such a service is essential if a library service could be considered comprehensive – depending on one authority’s stock is clearly of far smaller scale than depending on the whole of the UK’s stock.  If it is not legally essential then we can expect more authorities to take the dark path of Herefordshire who, faced with massive cuts, are looking around for whatever savings they can.  Of course, there are suggestions that the Act itself could be withdrawn in the next Parliament, in which case every aspect of the service will effectively be in open season.




  • Chicago Public Library welcomes first ‘fab lab’ – Chicago Business (USA). “the city’s first free “maker space” on the third floor of Harold Washington Library in the Loop. The pop-up fabrication lab will offer the public access to 3D printers, laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter as well as a variety of supporting design software.”
  • CILIP East: Leadership and Librarians – Stephen’s Lighthouse. Excellent presentation on leadership and change, including many useful hints and tips.
  • Cleveland Library’s Massive Reading Nest Made of Pallet Boards – My Modern Met (USA). “Inspired by mythology involving griffins, trees of enlightenment, and wise owls, artist Mark Reigelman has created an enormous wooden bird’s nest sitting right outside Cleveland’s Public Library. Measuring 13-feet-tall and 36-feet-wide, the Reading Nest is built out of 10,000 reclaimed pallet boards and uses 40,000 nails to hold it together.” [Great pictures … but doesn’t it need chairs on the inside? – Ed.]
  • Councils ‘face 10% central government funding cut’ – BBC. “”Eric is taking quite a big hit. He has accepted a 10% cut, but he is clawing back £3bn. In terms of spending power (for councils), he can go quite a significant way to make up the 10%. He is also getting some top-slicing from other departments.” [Of course, councils don’t get this funding, which is simply moved from one minister to another – they, and libraries, just get cut by 10%l – Ed.]
  • Hosts directory – CILIP. “For the host it is a chance to meet colleagues from other countries, to share experiences and to contribute, in a small way, to building bridges to international understanding and co-operation within the library and information profession.  For the visitor – the guest – it is a chance to get to know, at first hand, something of the life of a fellow professional in a foreign country as well as the opportunity to stay with a colleague for free or at limited cost.”
  • I argued for the arts … and won. We will keep the philistines from the gates – Guardian.  Maria Miller argues that by concentrating on the economic value of the Arts, she saved them from the philistines. “It’s rarely acknowledged that almost £3bn will go to the arts over the life of this parliament: nearly £2bn in government funding, and over £1bn in lottery funding. This means, in cash terms, more money will go to the Arts Council over the lifetime of this parliament than between 2005 and 2010.”

“What works is pointing to places like Bristol, Bury or Brighton, which are using culture and the arts to underpin their creative industries. As a department we’ll be doing our bit to tackle the crippling deficit Labour left behind – but I’ve ensured that the reduction for arts and culture is limited to just 5%. And this, by the way, means that all the scare stories about museum closures can now be put to bed.” Maria Miller

  • Local authorities hit as part of Coalition’s new £11.5bn round of spending cuts – Independent. “Councils have been hit hard by the Coalition’s cuts since 2010 and have warned that another squeeze could affect children’s centres, museums, libraries, sports centres, road maintenance and result in higher bus fares and street lights being turned off between midnight and dawn.”
  • New Report Highlights Roles of Libraries and Museums in Preparing Young Children for Success – Institute of Museum and Library Services (USA). “The report, Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners, documents dozens of examples and 10 key ways libraries and museums are supporting young children. It provides a clear call to policymakers, schools, funders, and parents to make full use of these vital, existing community resources.”
  • Plea to Keep Libraries Alive – Geek Empire. “More than ever, we must recognize libraries as places of modernity, not antiquity, that we can utilize in non-traditional ways. It is only in doing so that we can perhaps keep their original purpose, as houses of books, intact. We rarely use the word “patron” anymore, but one of its root meanings, “protector,” is an apt word for any book-lover’s relationship to libraries, both public and private.”
  • SCL publishes annual report – Society of Chief Librarians. Janene Cox says “I have no doubt that 2013/ 14 will present just as many challenges and surprises as 2012/13 but we do have a very solid foundation to tackle these from. We have strong leadership who are all committed to working hard to ensure that public libraries have the best possible profile and are represented in the key policy arenas going forward.” The report itself is here.
  • Society of Chief Librarians Seminar 2013 – Storify / Voices for the Library. Tweets from the SCL conference inc. Sue Charteris on volunteer-run branches, a general feel libraries need to be “more positive”, Aamar Anwar human rights lawyer “I suspect the Coalition will try to abolish the Libraries Act if they win the next election.”.
  • Speech to the Society of Chief Librarians Seminar – Gov.uk.  Ed Vaizey. minister for libraries emphasises the positive news about libraries and denies there is a crisis. Emphasises initiatives, shared services and co-locations.
  • Urayasu library – Picasa.  If you ever wondered what an interior of a large Japanese library looked like then you need wait no more to find out.  Loads of pictures.
  • Urbana library ‘misstep’ upsets patrons – News-Gazette (USA).  Library director orders mass culling of books (blanket removal of nonfiction older than 10 years), ignoring own library guidelines in preparation for RFID’ing of stock.  Photographs show empty shelves.  Known as #bookgate on Twitter.  Emotional scenes at meeting/s regarding the weeding.  See pictures here.
  • Vote for choice: Guest blog post from John Dolan – CILIP. “We increased our new members by 65% last year and 56% fewer members left membership between May 2012 and May 2013 compared to the previous year.” Half respondents thought CILIP name was poor or very poor. “If you vote for the motion you will not get the choice of seeing the outcome of the work that has already been done and deciding if it reflects your ambition for you as a member and for the future of CILIP.” [Some negative feedback on this one, with the hope expressed by some that the guest post is balanced with one from an anti-rebranding perspective.  Members of the Public and Mobile Libraries Group have also received a direct email urging voting against the motion from John Dolan – Ed.]

“The motion argues that the rebrand is “a waste of scarce resources”. With respect, I strongly disagree. To stop the rebrand on the 8 July would be the true waste of resources. Time and money have already been spent on the rebrand process; this would be lost. The time members and potential members spent at focus groups and completing surveys would be lost. We all want to see more advocacy, and the rebrand will support this – by updating our image and making it easier to advocate and be active on a range of issues that are important to the broad range of the library, information and knowledge professions. I urge you to vote against the motion.” John Dolan

“should we be content that John Dolan was allowed to post a “guest” piece on the President’s Blog urging members to reject the Motion before it is debated by members under the chairmanship of the President? John’s post does suggest it is more of the same on the advocacy front rather than a commitment to increase the effectiveness of CILIP’s advocacy at a time when the public library sector is in crisis.” Frances Hendrix on lis-pub-libs

  • What we became – Lib Arts London. “they kept the Matildas of our world supplied. They were havens for the lonely, the studius, foor those seeking knowledge, escape, peace. But then suited men came and the decisions of those in glossy back rooms with transparent walls brought change. The gambles taken with one kind of printed paper removed from us another. The libraries were hacked apart, gradually at first, until the carcasses of genteel buildings were all that was left.”
  • Why I love my #teenreadinggroup – Reading Agency. “For the next two weeks we are running a campaign to celebrate teen reading groups and bringing you lots of great free offers from publishers. We know the great things that happen when teenagers come together to talk about and share reading but we’re not sure enough other people do – hence our campaign.”
  • Why The Library Saved My Life – Screwy Decimal. “I didn’t have the luxury of going to Barnes & Noble, as some of classmates did. I had the next big thing, a library card … So there was this time in my life, where I needed a place to go because I didn’t like to go home, that was the library … Library is home to me, it treated me like I was its child, and I know that sounds like a really weird analogy but hear me out.

Local News

  • Brent – Wembley Library – Brent Council.  Several images of the new Wembley library interior, including an impressive children’s library, iPads and cafe.
  • Camden – Closure decision ‘a betrayal of a place that needs library’ – Camden New Journal. “Regulars at the library in Robert Street, along with teachers and community campaigners, voiced their anger at the shutdown during a meeting at the Dick Collins Hall on Monday night. Much of their criticism was directed at leisure chief Councillor Tulip Siddiq, who lists saving libraries during budget cuts among her achievements. She is one of the local ward councillors. The Regent’s Park building was shut at the end of March”
  • Croydon – No to Privatisation of Croydon’s Libraries – 38 Degrees. “Serious concerns have been raised about the tendering process and the company which is due to run the libraries. Repeated requests for information have been refused. We have to let Croydon Council know that they cannot and must not ignore the wishes of the residents that they serve. If enough of us sign the petition we can force them to hold a debate on this issue so we can expose the truth and foster proper engagement and accountability: something sorely lacking in Croydon. The Council claims no buildings have or will be closed but a library is so much more than just a building.”
  • Croydon – Community to lead tidy up of Upper Norwood library car park – Croydon Guardian. “”Our much loved library is a very important part of our community and an anchor to our high street feeding additional customers into our independent retailers who do so much for our local economy.”We are expecting a great turnout. As our library serves all five boroughs that make up Crystal Palace it would be nice to see some of our local politicians get involved too.””

“From Wednesday 19th June, and with the support of the Assistant Director with responsibility for Cultural Services, the provision of an inter-library loan service will be withdrawn.  This means that it will no longer be possible for us to obtain books or periodical items for customers from outside the Herefordshire Library Service stock.  The decision has been taken because

* A reduction in the number of staff at Stock services means a reduction in capacity to deliver the service

* A recent review of the costs associated with providing the service showed that, including staff time, the average cost of providing a book through the inter-library loan service was around £40 per item. The cost charged to the customer for this service is just £6 per item. Given the current financial position this is not something we can continue to subsidise.

Any requests for items which are already being processed will be honoured, but with effect from Wednesday 19th June please do not take any new requests.”

Herefordshire withdraw interlending provision

[British Library pricelist shows £14.65 for books in UK but that is the most expensive “lender of last resort”.  Reciprocal loans between authorities are cheaper  e.g. LASER consortia members have them as “free” this way .  It is assumed Herefordshire cost must include the salary of inter-lending library staff, internal transport etc – Ed.]

  • Lincolnshire – Proposed consultation for Lincolnshire library service – Lincolnshire Council. “The library service needs to change if it is to remain affordable and efficient. Despite the need for change, the council’s ambition is to keep all of Lincolnshire’s libraries open. However, this is only going to work with the support of our local communities.”
  • Lincolnshire – Proposed library cuts in Lincolnshire will hit the most disadvantaged – Voices for the Library. “they are also proposing to cut the number of PCs available to the public (see section 2.46 of the committee report). This development is particularly worrying as it comes at the same time as the introduction of the online ‘Universal Credits’ system, the e-gov agenda and the implementation of the Public Libraries Information Offer (PLIO) by the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL). Public Library provision of PCs is not, in our view, “nice to have”, a luxury or a welcome bonus, but is intrinsically linked to tackling the digital divide and reflects a commitment to the ethos of free and accessible information and knowledge for all.”
  • Lincolnshire – Councillor concerns at proposed closure of Market Deeping library – Local. “County councillor for Deeping St James Phil Dilks (Lab) is worried. He said: “I recognise the library service may have to take a hit but I will be fighting our corner. “Libraries are a key service and at every level we try to encourage people to read – closing libraries is not the way to do that.”Coun Dilks said the Deepings had a bigger population than some of the towns where libraries could be kept.”
  • Lincolnshire – Revealed: libraries facing the axe – This is Lincolnshire. “Cost-cutting plans to transfer the running of libraries to community groups were today branded “disgraceful”.

“residents have slammed the proposals. Father-of-two Nigel Fisher, from Lincoln, says children’s education will suffer as a result of any cuts. “It’s a disgrace,” he said. “It is the council’s responsibility to provide the service – not relying on hard working volunteers all of the time. “Libraries and the resources in them are very important, especially for children. Kids can have a decent day out at a library and learn so much.”

“The council say they want to save £2m – but how much money do they think it is going to cost them to make redundancies? … The council also says they are going to help volunteers with some financial funding – but when you consider £5,000 per library may not even cover the business rates for that premises.” Catherine Mellors, Unison.

  • Newcastle – A story worth reading about: Heaton library saved by local community group – Chronicle. “Campaigner Dr Lewis Moncrieff, who lives next to the library at Newton Place, said their business model is based on them raising £25,000 a year and manning it with volunteers.” … “keep it open for three days a week. They also plan on renting out its kitchen and cafe area to another business. Thirty members of the group have also become £1 shareholders in the Friends’ limited company, which is also in the process of becoming a registered charity.”
  • Shropshire – Mixed reaction to relaxing rules at Shropshire libraries – Shropshire Star. “Plans to abolish strict rules on eating, drinking and the use of mobile phones in libraries across Shropshire have been met with a mixed response from Shropshire Star readers.” … “More than 200 readers responded to a Shropshire Star online poll yesterday, with 61 per cent opposing a relaxing of rules and 39 per cent voting in favour.”
  • Solihull – Outrage as Shirley Library move approved – Solihull Observer. “Lib Dem MP Lorely Burt has slammed Conservative-controlled Solihull Council for ‘completely ignoring the people of Shirley’ in its decision to relocate the town’s library to the new Parkgate complex.Councillor Kate Wild, Cabinet member for Environmental and Community Services, approved the controversial move, which she originally proposed, at a meeting on Tuesday.”
  • Southwark – New library is latest part of Camberwell’s regeneration – Net Lettings. “The library is set to provide areas for adults, children and young adults; ensuring that the needs of all age groups are met. Plans also include public access computers to allow those that do not have internet at their home to go online. Meeting rooms will also be available for public use via a booking system. The main part of the library is to be built on the ground floor, allowing for easy access. Meeting rooms and a series of study rooms will be on the first floor. The triangular shaped building will be complemented by a hard and soft landscaping scheme that will create a space for people sit”
  • Stockport – Library consultation set for second round – Manchester Evening News.  “The MEN and our sister paper the Stockport Express reported last week that Stockport Council is currently consulting on proposed changes to opening hours at six – Bramhall, Bredbury, Brinnington, Cheadle, Edgeley and Reddish libraries, with residents urged to have their say before July 6. But on July 9, town hall bosses will begin consultations on reduced hours at seven Cheadle Hulme, Great Moor, Heald Green, Heatons, High Lane, Offerton and Central libraries. Stockport Council plans to cut hours at 13 of its 15 libraries when they have the least number of visitors – but insist all of the borough’s facilities will remain open.”
  • Suffolk – Friends group formed for Haverhill Library – Haverhill Echo. “The Friends of Haverhill Library is a group of people who are passionate about their local library and include its newly-appointed chairman Karen Richardson, who represents Haverhill East on St Edmundsbury Borough Council. It also includes in its ranks Suffolk County Councillor Anne Gower, who has already pledged some county council locality funding to help provide free wifi at the library in the near future.”
  • Sunderland – Library closures move step closer – Sunderland Echo. “As revealed in the Echo, opposition is mounting to Sunderland City Council’s proposals to axe services at Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green.” … “In a statement, the council said: “Library provision continues to be an important service for our communities. However, the economic situation we find ourselves in means that we have no choice but to look at different ways of delivering to our residents.”A report on the final proposal is due in September.”
  • Swansea – Morriston Library to get £345k upgrade – This is South Wales. “he improvements will include the removal of internal partitions, the remodelling of the IT suite, new shelving and a new community room.The entrance will be improved and there will be new signs and lighting outside the building to improve access and visibility.” News screen in front of the library. “Other aspects of the scheme will include new stock and new sliding doors. A new energy-efficient heating and lighting system will also be installed.”
  • Telford and Wrekin – Wellington Library use soars after move to civic centre – Shropshire Star. “Wellington’s new library has been a roaring success with a 50 per increase in usage since it moved home a year ago. Against a national trend of closures and dwindling use, the library in Wellington’s new civic and leisure centre has proved that there is a demand for libraries that provide modern services and opening hours.”

““Wellington library was relocated to the new civic and leisure centre just over a year ago and use has increased by over 50 per cent with visitors able to access the library seven days a week, whenever the centre is open, through self-service technology.”