• Be valuable : determine what you are measured on – Audacious Fizz (New Zealand).  Useful post on an ever more important field.
  • Dialogue on public libraries – Aspen Institute (USA), “As trusted institutions, public libraries serve their communities by improving digital skills, helping people access information in new ways, providing a space for learning at every age, and connecting people to jobs, educational opportunities and critical community services. Yet, despite these benefits, libraries face ongoing challenges with budget cuts and the need to adapt in an increasingly diverse, mobile and digital society.To help advance the work that public libraries are doing to address these challenges and to support the transformation of public libraries for the digital age, the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program is spearheading a multi-year initiative to explore, develop and champion new ways of thinking about U.S. public libraries.” [One to watch – Ed.].
  • Government to consult on PLR extension – BookSeller. “”The idea has been around since the Digital Economy Act, which came in just as the last government was going out. The new government decided to park it for economic reasons, and it is the Sieghart Review that has prompted them to revisit it. To make the change will require a change in legislation, so it will have to be consulted on, but it feels like a very positive step.””
  • If we work together, we can keep libraries public – SEIU721. “In 2010, AB-438 was passed. It placed restrictions on when and how a library can be privatized and required transparency and accountability to protect taxpayer funds. But there is a loophole: If municipalities do not declare their intents to privatize, they can simply withdraw from the public library system and can privatize without complying with the law. AB-583 will close the loophole. “
  • Latest UK government moves spell more trouble for libraries, e-lending – TeleRead (USA). “The latest UK government-level developments on library policy and funding have delivered a mixed but predominantly bad newsbag for British libraries and e-lending initiatives. As reported in The Bookseller, the latest round of spending cuts in the UK government’s Comprehensive Spending Review threaten to crimp library services already decimated by closures and cutbacks. An editorial on the UK Public Libraries News website declared that the cuts will force public library authorities and councils to “adapt or die.””

“With such unbelievable penny-pinching driving UK government library policy, just where UK library services are going to find the resources, let alone the leadership and morale, to drive such expansion is really an open question now.”

  • Shirley Burnham, Library Campaigner, Old Town Library, Swindon – Voices for the Library.  Shirley will be taking over the @voiceslibrary hashtag for the next week.  “[Libraries are] are a fantastic, unique resource;  that they must remain as *public libraries*;  that their paid staff are essential and that branch libraries, however small, must be recognised by the great and the good as the sole means of making the Service accessible to everyone … I’d like to share some of the things I have learned whilst campaigning for my own and other libraries and explain how,  over the years, many of my preconceptions about who or what might be helpful in this struggle have been turned on their heads.   The situation for libraries seems impossibly dire at the moment which means I can get awfully cross.  I hope I might also make you smile.”
  • Teachers ‘frustrated’ over Reading for Pleasure – BookSeller. “Teachers have a strong desire to teach reading for pleasure but feel frustrated by a restrictive curriculum, a lack of support from parents and a drop-off in school librarian numbers, according to publisher Egmont.” … “Over half the teachers surveyed said there had been a decline in the number of children who read for pleasure over the course of their career, with the majority observing this trend over the past decade.”
  • Why Would a Library Partner with Kobo? – Digital Reader. “Please excuse me for being dense but I don’t see the upside here for the libraries. The libraries won’t be earning much on each sale (assuming they earn the same 5% commission as ABA members), while at the same time they will be stuck with providing tech support and customer service on behalf of Kobo. Libraries are neither bookstores nor electronics stores, so why are they selling ereaders and tablets, much less renting them?” See comments too.

Local news

  • Calderdale – Public remain split on new library plans – Halifax Courier. “Critics cited the change of location and expense for reasons for objection along with criticism of Calderdale Council for wanting to relocate the library and redevelop Northgate. Others favoured a cultural section in town centred around the Piece Hall and welcomed a new, modern library … Roy Coble, 84, of Halifax, said he and others with mobility problems wouldn’t be able to access the new library as it was too far from the bus station. And, with the move to online shopping he said retailers might be reluctant to move into town.”
  • Croydon – Hundreds sign petition declaring “last chance to save Croydon’s libraries” – Guardian series. “More than 300 people have signed a petition protesting Croydon Council’s decision to hire a private company to run the borough’s libraries.  The council last month confirmed 13 public libraries would be outsourced to John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) after a protracted tendering process. “
  • Kirklees – Round two in the fight to save Kirklees libraries as campaign group Save Our Libraries formed – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “Groups formed last year to oppose cuts to rural library services have joined forces to form one new super group in a bid to retain a professional-led library and information service. And they have research which shows volunteer-led library services elsewhere in the country are not working.” ,,, “Many of the campaigners have done battle before – they fought against the removal of professional staff at libraries in Slaithwaite, Golcar, Lepton, Shepley, Honley, Denby Dale and Kirkheaton. Denby Dale has opted for the community-run model via a charitable trust.”
  • Lincolnshire – ‘Proposals to cut libraries by more than half won’t affect the quality of service’ – Guardian / Service delivery hub. Decrease in lending and increase in e-books/tablets etc mean libraries not needed as much as before.  Nearly a third of the county will be more than half an hour away from a library by public transport. Volunteers are invited to run the 30 closing libraries. Comments strongly against attempt to justify closures and note that £4.6m of £11m existing budget goes on corporate support costs and there are comparatively few library staff.

“If no one in the local community comes forward to run these community libraries, then the fall-back position will be to provide a four-hour fortnightly mobile stop. We will also provide 126 mobile stops covering 66 different communities in Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire county council believes that this will offer a comprehensive and efficient library service.”

“After almost 30 years, we have closed a vital community facility that provided local people with a place to learn, to study or to use a computer to look for a job or a service. It wasn’t our biggest library or our most high-profile one, but it made a massive difference to the community it served and I’m sure it will be sorely missed. He said that closing libraries was one of the council’s most painful budget decisions and done with a ‘heavy heart’.”

  • Northern Ireland – Minister seeks Libraries NI board members – Belfast Telegraph. Eight members sought: ““This is an excellent opportunity for individuals with an interest in the public library service to play a role in shaping its future. I want to appoint Board Members who have the ability and experience to support Libraries NI in its future endeavours.”
  • Southend – Professor Brian Cox to open new Southend library – Echo. “The Wonders of Life and Wonders of the Universe presenter, credited with making science interesting and accessible to a whole new generation of people, is bringing his magic to Southend’s new £27 million public and academic library and learning centre.” … “As well as housing a new public and academic library to replace the existing Southend Central Library it features a new teaching facility for the college and new research and learning facilities for the university. It will also be the new home for the Focal Point Gallery and includes the lecture theatre for speakers starting with Professor Brian Cox.”