Lincolnshire have announced that 32 out of 45 libraries, plus an indeterminate number of mobiles, will either close or be passed on to volunteers.  This is part of a major review that cuts a full third  of the budget (£2m from a total of £6m) and will result in a reduction of 170 posts (55 full time equivalent) and, significantly at this time of online everything, 177 less public access computers.  So far, so awful but also so sadly familiar.  But there are two worrying two aspects about these cuts. The first is that they’re not being touted as due to cuts but rather because the current system is “inefficient”. The second is that the council has carefully looked at the recent DCMS decisions not to intervene in other authorities and tailored their cuts appropriately.  So, for instance, the minister made clear that she did not consider computers to be part of the statutory provision and so the loss of so many machines can be contemplated, even at the time when those without online access may have difficulty claiming benefit or looking for a job.  This is the first  authority I can recall whose cuts have been so clearly tailored to reach the minimum statutory provision.  It is also the most clear in stating that, in the brave new e-book and online world, and regardless of finances, there is no longer any need for libraries in smaller towns and villages and, if those communities stubbornly insist that there is, then they can jolly well staff them themselves.




  • Array Interactive Content and Digital Technology Delivers Next-Generation Library Experience – Digital Signage Connection (USA). “the County of Midland’s new Centennial Library in Texas is taking the library experience to a whole new level by integrating touchscreen digital signage, providing patrons with a new way of searching and locating books, DVDs, CDs and other resources. The installation, which is comprised of 13 interactive and 3 conventional Elo 5500L and 3200L displays in portrait mode and Cisco 4600 media players, also includes a multi-lingual, educational touchscreen game designed to challenge children’s spelling abilities.”
  • Google launches kiosk mode for Chrome OS – Library Geek. “Google have announced that they have introduced a stateless “kiosk” mode for their Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Google are pitching this at a number of use cases including libraries but also as shared public PCs in hotels or for employee use say in a staff room.”

“Here in Suffolk we have been investigating the use of Chrome devices – Chromebooks and Chromeboxes for use in libraries.I have been invited with a few others to talk about this at an event at Google’s London offices in Victoria and wonder if anyone else is interested in attending? It’s free if you can make it to London.” James Hargraves on LIS-PUB-LIBS

  • ‘Libraries in Exile’ fights to save priceless manuscripts in Mali – Christian Science Monitor (USA). “Libraries in Exile, an international coalition of librarians, archivists, and historians, has launched an appeal to raise $100,000 via crowdfunding site IndieGoGo to save the Arabic manuscripts”
  • On a Dark Night, You Can See For Ever: Library Burlesque hits Auckland – Books and Adventures (New Zealand). “1st June sees the launch of Auckland Libraries’ Dark Night, a guerrilla festival of burlesque, literary, and cinematic events that question, celebrate, and challenge sex and sexuality on page, stage, and screen. Opening with a screening of Steve McQueen’s Shame, a harrowing portrait of sex addiction starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, the season includes library services in Auckland bars, author talks, and a cabaret evening including the sultry, saucy stars of Auckland Fringe Festival, Oh! Is For Opera.”
  • Paying for library internet access – Phil Bradley’s Weblog. “A good library, staffed by professional librarians should be helping people in all manner of different ways. It is there to provide access to materials in any form – a fact is still a fact if it’s in a book or on the internet. That there are libraries which are charging people to get factual information, or to fill in the forms online that the government is now insisting that they do is a terrible condemnation of the situation that we currently find ourselves in.”
  • Sally Gardner novel Maggot Moon wins Carnegie Medal – BBC. “”Without books I would not be a writer and without the zeal of librarians I would not have won this award,” she said. “I believe teachers and librarians should be free to instil a life-long love of learning, without being policed by an outdated curriculum.”

“Stop praising literacy with one hand and closing libraries with the other. Let librarians be free to do what they do best: encourage a lifelong love of reading in every child, even the ones without a hope of ever getting an A star.”

  • SCL Seminar 2013 – Society of Chief Librarians. “This year’s Seminar aims to explore the cross–cutting nature of the Public Libraries contribution both nationally and locally to key public policy initiatives and objectives. It is about evidencing and demonstrating that a vibrant, accessible and relevant public library service is part of the solution within a local authority – not the problem.”
  • Toronto library study aims to put a dollar figure on their value – Star (Canada). “The economic impact study, a first of its kind in Canada, will be funded by the Toronto Public Library Foundation with contributions from TD Bank Group and the estate of Norman G. Hinton. No city money will be spent.”
  • ‘Unteachable’ author and emerging illustrator enter children’s books hall of fame – CILIP. “I’m honoured that my work has been recognised by CILIP on behalf of librarians, for whom I have nothing but respect. I am always amazed at the passion for reading, looking and understanding that libraries inspire in everyone. The availability of a whole universe of knowledge and inspiration in one place is something highly underrated, as is the importance of encouraging minds, young and old, on the pathway to discovery. I think we all have a lot to learn from libraries.” says winner Levi Pinfold.
  • What’s in a name? That which we call a library by any other name would smell as sweet – Teaching and E-Learning (NZ).

Lincolnshire cuts

“”In Lincolnshire, 82% of the population are not active borrowers, and book stock issued in the county in the last 10 years has dropped from five million to under three million. “New technology is changing the way we do things. The library service is changing, like it or not, and our vision for the future of the service is a comprehensive one, but one that remains both affordable and efficient. Despite the need for change, our ambition is to keep all of Lincolnshire’s libraries open. However, this is only going to work with the support of our local communities”  Cllr Nick Worth.

“Where are the outcries from the profession? Why are the librarians not picking up the pitch folks and manning the barricades? The library service I love and cherish is being destroyed and you should be coming together to oppose it, you get het up when they propose changing the name of your sodding professional organisation but library closures doesn’t seem to get a rise out of you. What will it take for you to actually fight? There won’t be any of you to fight soon.” Trevor Craig

  • They shut libraries, don’t they? – Alan Gibbons. “Lincolnshire is the latest county to join the philistine swarm …Why, when some councils are closing no branches, are others threatening to cull over half? Why, when some councils have thriving branches, do others have falling usage? The sad truth is that some councils have been paring their services for years and the public has lost faith.”

Local news

  • Aberdeen – Access Aberdeen library services 24/7 – Aberdeen Council. “”We want to encourage people to utilise the library service and with so many people leading such busy lives this app and 24 hour telephone line mean people can access the city’s library service at a time that is convenient for them. “Whether it is to reserve a book, check opening times or renew an item the service is only a phone call or click away.””
  • Doncaster – Tribute to man, 101, who improved Doncaster libraries – Doncaster Free Press. “The avid reader and artist spearheaded its expansion which included establishing a Local History library and creating a network of branches. He also introduced services to schools and the Doncaster Royal Infirmary and formulated a music library and picture loan service. In 1969 he oversaw the move from the old St George Gate library to Waterdale.”
  • Lambeth – Council’s ‘welfare’ – cutting benefits, fighting for police – Izzy Koksal. “Whilst struggling to deliver a decent library service in the face of long-term underinvestment and the more recent cuts, library staff have been under increased pressure as well as surveillance and bullying from management. Council staff are not allowed to speak out against the council, but anyone who visits a library can see the diminishing welfare of the staff as well a witness a service that is only just functioning. Now the staff have been told that they will be providing welfare advice as well as the library service (which always doubled up as social services anyway as vulnerable people sought assistance here).”
  • Northumberland – Archive boosts Northumberland libraries service – Chronicle. “The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) is a free resource which  allows customers to go as far back as 1741 with new articles, family notices, letters to the editor, obituaries and advertisements. It provides a  great resource for school homework and research, and for people looking into their family and local history. Val Tyler, Northumberland County Council’s policy board member for community infrastructure and culture, said: “This is a fantastic addition to our libraries. As a council we are working hard to develop services that people love.””
  • Oxfordshire – Inclusive or mutually exclusive? – Dumb Librarian. “Recently imposed charges are hitting all users but arguably job seekers, children and the elderly hardest as many had relied on free access to the internet and computer services at their local library. Over in Witney, and in fact the rest of Oxfordshire, many people who were entitled to borrow DVDs and CDs free of charge now have to pay charges ranging from £1.25 to £4.50.”
  • Shropshire – Libraries ‘are not under threat from e-reading” – Shropshire Star. “libraries will not die because everyone has got a Kindle and predicted that none of the county’s libraries will close in the next few years. He said they would continue to play a relevant role in their communities.” … “Mr Lewis said that one of the ways the library can remain relevant and viable is to work with other organisations in order to provide other services. He used Oswestry Library, where the council has opened a customer service “hub”, as an example of the way forward.”
  • Shropshire – Privacy fears over Oswestry library hub raised – Shropshire Star. “The hub opened in the library in September, taking over as the town’s main contact point for Shropshire Council services. In April, following its first six months, a consultation was carried out among visitors, and the results were revealed at a meeting of Oswestry Town Council last night. Chris Westwood, customer services manager at Shropshire Council, said the plan was to make the hub somewhere where people could go to “self service” their issues by making phone calls or using the internet, but where they would also be able to talk to an adviser if they needed to. However, he admitted that the privacy of users was something that needed to be looked at. “Some of the people don’t seem to be as aware that they can be overheard,” he said.”

“Councillor Duncan Kerr said : “I find the privacy issue completely unacceptable. I’ve seen people there in emotional distress and other people have clearly been concerned.”

  • Southend – New library is almost finished – Echo. “The state-of-the-art building,a venture between Southend Council, South Essex College and Southend Council, is almost complete with contractors from Wates Construction now focusing on the interior.”
  • Sunderland – TV agony aunt joins fight to save Sunderland libraries – Sunderland Echo. “Denise Robertson wants to meet Sunderland councillors over plans to axe nine libraries. The TV agony aunt believes everyone on Wearside should have access to a library. However, she admitted that savings needed to be made by the city council, whose ruling cabinet will meet to discuss the plans tonight.”

“Libraries mean everything to me. Thousands of times a year, in my role as an agony aunt, I direct people to libraries in their cities. To me, libraries are the most important part of the set-up anywhere in the city. But you have to cut your cloth according to your means.” Denise Robertson

  • West Sussex – Newsreader Nicholas Owen to visit Worthing library – Argus. “a special talk to mark the 75th anniversary of a library. The veteran journalist will be at Durrington Library in Salvington Road, on June 24 to talk about his career and sign copies of his book. The library opened on June 30 1938 and cost just £3,000 for the building and all the books.”