There is some discontent in Birmingham as the board of trustees for the big new city Library appears packed with businessmen.  This has raised the ire of those who think it needs to be more diverse.  It comes down to different views of who is best to run a public library:  someone well-connected with money and a knowledge of business / how things work? Who can perhaps raise some money for it in these tough times? Or someone closer to the ground who understands local communities and ensures the library stays relevant to those people who need it the most?  It’s clear which way the council has voted.

The big cuts in Lincolnshire continue to make the news, with the ire now being directed against the council for choosing to hold the consultations sometimes ten miles or more from the libraries that may actually close.  The council argues this is to provide more space and that more meetings will be held if necessary.  Local users suspect darker motives.




  • 49 Breathtaking Libraries From All Over The World – Buzzfeed.  Only one from the UK on the list but which one is it?
  • Christian bookshops get major boost from charity book scheme – Independent Catholic News. “Speaking Volumes, an initiative of The Christian Book Promotion Trust, will pay half the retail value of new books that a church or individual wants to give to any library where books are available to a wide readership.”
  • D.C. creates free incubator space, but there’s just one catch – Computer World (USA).  Washington offers free access to computers/3D printer etc in return for one hour of expert time each month. “The D.C. Public Library took an 11,000-square-foot space and installed 80 computers, including 16 Macs. A 3D printer was added as well as a machine that can print and bind a book from a file in just minutes. There are tablets of all types — Android, Windows, Apple — and e-reading devices, available to try out. It opened last week.”
  • How To Survive The Zombie Librarian Apocalypse Tip #2: Keep Learning! – Adventures of Library Girl. Are you a zombie librarian?  How do you spot one? How do you avoid being zombified? Good tips amongst the humour.
  • Image, Public Perception, and Lego Librarians – Mr Library Dude (USA). A fun look at librarian stereotypes turns into an utterly fantastic showing of 30 (thirty!) different models of lego librarians with their own job descriptions.  Delicious.
  • In praise of public libraries – Poems out loud (USA). Long article with some good points one doesn’t often see much inc. “where else do you learn to pick a title using the rule of thumb? I mean actual thumbs, the thumbs of readers who came before you. In libraries we recognize the judgment of touch; the best books are usually in the shabbiest shape.” … “The system’s defining characteristic, the due date, is as compelling as it is simple. Purchasing a book feels like an end; checking one out is a beginning, a firing of the starter pistol from which we race to finish in the time allotted.”
  • Motion – No confidence in Ed Vaizey. Motion to be heard at CILIP AGM is “In view of his failures to enforce the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, this Annual General Meeting of CILIP has no confidence in Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, and instructs Council to work with all other interested parties to protect library, information and knowledge services”.  Proposer is Jo Richardson and seconder is Tom Roper.
  • Seven reasons to rediscover your public library – Money Talks (USA).  “As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson says in the video below, you’re already paying for these offerings with your taxes, so why not take advantage of them?” Listed are books, ebooks, wifi, films + music, local history, tots groups, courses, quiet study area.

Local News

  • Birmingham – Library campaigners slams disproportionate Business influence on arrangements to run Library of Birmingham – Friends of LoB (press release). “The Strategic Management Board proposal provides equal weighting on the Board to members of the Library of Birmingham Development Trust and to Officers and members of the City Council. The proposed arrangements identifies that the Board of eleven members will include  ‘five Library of Birmingham Development Trustees with connections to Birmingham businesses’. The original Business Case for the Library of Birmingham, published in 2007,  explicitly identified the priority and the challenge of combating social exclusion in the city, and the need to do more to attract users to the new Library from groups at risk of social exclusion.” … “The Library campaign remains concerned that the Strategic Management Board might propose a future procurement and has called the terms of reference of the Board to include and explicit committment  ‘which charges the Strategic Management Board with ensuring that the service will be publicly run in perpetuity.’”.  Trustees are listed here.  See also Library campaigners slam business influence on arrangements to run Library of Birmingham – Communities against the cuts.

The selection of trustees with such a narrow range of business interests and ethnic backgrounds cannot take forward an inclusive vision of the Library of Birmingham as a cultural resource for all of the citizens of Birmingham … By what process did the Library of Birmingham Development Trust select its trustees and how they were chosen to reflect the city’s social and economic diversity? It appears that in selecting people ‘with gravitas and authority and with an interest in education, culture and entrepreneurship and in particular, libraries’ that it has ended up with a group that is so unrepresentative of the people of Birmingham that it contradicts the stated vision for the library.”” 

  • Enfield – Work starts to demolish Ordnance Road Library in Enfield – Enfield Independent.  “Ordnance Road Library, which went through a major refurbishment in 2011, will be knocked down to make way for a new centre containing a library, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and a community hall. Enfield Council has been working with the NHS and Enfield Homes to develop the plans.”
  • Lincolnshire – Fury over library consultation not taking place in Mablethorpe or Sutton on Sea but instead in Louth where services are not at risk – Louth Leader.  “Instead of a consultation meeting taking place in one of the areas which are at risk, locals living in Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Alford were only given the option of attending the meeting in Louth, one of the areas which are safe from the cuts.” Council says that they chose large venues to hold the expected number of interested people.
  • Lincolnshire – Library campaigners secure meeting in the Deepings – Stamford Mercury. “Campaigners fighting to save their library from closure have persuaded the county council to hold a consultation meeting in their town.  Lincolnshire County Council wants to close Deepings Library in Market Deeping as it tries to save £2m from its £6m library budget by 2015. Campaigners were astounded when they discovered the council’s nearest consultation event was 11 miles away in Spalding, where the library is not threatened with closure.”
  • Luton – Libraries face axe in council’s saving schemes – Luton Today. “Leagrave, Marsh Farm, Wigmore, Sundon Park, Stopsley and the Mobile Library Service are being considered for either closure, relocation or downsizing as the council tries to reduce the £2.7million they spend on libraries. A review of Luton libraries, compiled by surveying 2,468 people, will be discussed at the council’s executive committee meeting on Monday.”  See also Luton set for library closures – BookSeller.

“Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said the closure of their local library would have a fairly or very big impact on them and 97 per cent had used a library in the past 12 months.”