An interesting look at the positives and perils of co-location has come from on of the current epicentres of the libraries crisis in Lincolnshire.  The Co-Op has offered to take over six libraries and points to the way it has integrated a library into one of its shops.  Others, however, point out that the library is tiny and is not the way forward.  Faced with cuts and an idea that libraries are no longer necessary (despite the massive protests), however, one suspects which side the Council will choose.

Another alternative to council provision of libraries is, of course, the private sector.  The boss of JLIS has been talking to the Conservative Way Forward Group about the advantages of doing so: a message one suspects is falling onto fertile ground there.  However, all is not as rosy as he suggests with JLIS in Hounslow, as the comments in the article suggest.  Also, my article on the pros and cons of outsourcing libraries raises a few questions too – like how the Council gave them £5 million to run it in the first place.

See the this page on co-location and this page on outsourcing for more pros and cons.



  • 15 Curious Things Found In Library Books – Buzzfeed (USA).  Some curious things, mainly notes, found in library books.
  • British Library’s wi-fi service blocks ‘violent’ Hamlet – BBC. New filters on British Library wifi network means works of Shakespeare banned from users. “Prof Ross Anderson, a security expert at Cambridge University, told the BBC that internet filters were “pointless” and that it was “completely inappropriate” to have one in the British Library.”  See Hamlet is banned – Inky Fool for more information including the fact that the receptionist had to spell out the word “Shakespeare” to the IT department: “the British Library’s wifi service, they seemed sure, had nothing to do with the British Library”
  • Digital age is forcing libraries to change. Here’s what that looks like – Washington Post (USA). Try out different e-readers at the library, use the 3D printer … but at the same time hope that they can still afford books as well. “libraries are really transforming themselves into technology hubs”
  • Fake Britain – BBC (14 minutes to 21 minutes in). Fraud spotted just outside Wimbledon Library – Chinese people were helping those taking the UK Citizenship test within the library, with cameras/earpieces allowing those outside the library to give them the answers, 14 minutes in.
  • For Disaster Preparedness: Pack A Library Card? – NPR (USA).  New York library New Dorp branch came into its own during Hurricane Sandy disaster – used for toilets, registering online for emergency relief.  Library staff knew many of the people coming in and comforted them / acted as de facto therapists. Emergency workers used library as a gathering place.  Library offered free financial advice sessions.  Libraries have also servced this purpose in Louisiana and Florida.

“”The Federal Emergency Management Agency classified libraries as an essential service — like one of the things that would get early funding so that communities could recover,”

“And then there is the recipient, the library, today often little more than an Internet cafe with books. The return of an old library book is an act of pure civic obedience. The old book could just as well be sold, put out with the recycling, left to rot in a basement. To return it to a library is to imply that libraries still matter, that they are the custodians of objects that remain relevant to our society. That we should have libraries, and books, and people who patronize them.”

  • Privatising libraries is better than closing libraries – ConservativeHome. Tim Grier of John Laing Integrated Services speaks to Conservative Way Forward Group to boost the need for more privately-run library services.  “The cost of running the library service was reduced by £1.25m immediately and has reduced by 30% in total since 2008 ” … “within the 30% reduction in cost the percentage back office costs have gone from 39% to 24% and therefore the costs directed front line up from 61% to 76%. Less time on bureaucracy, less waste “
  • Public Libraries and Unconventional Borrowing – Be more with less (USA). Advocates libraries for those who wish to declutter – mentions tool libraries and even clothes libraries and libraries as work spaces for new businesses.
  • Seed sharing libraries popping up across Wisconsin – Wisconsin State Journal (USA). Take a few seeds then return some when the plants are grown – a simple idea that’s proving popular.
  • Unemployed Nazi Hunter now working for library overdue fines department – Newsbiscuit. Superb article about a retired Nazi Hunter chasing up library defaulters in the Isle of Wight: apparently the responses are the same (“the tears, the denials”) but he doesn’t get to go to South America as often.
  • Your Library Card is Your Ticket to Free Streaming Videos – Cost Helper (USA). “Hoopla, a free app available on both Android phones and iPhones, is joining forces with libraries across the nation offering free access to thousands of videos, music albums and e-books. It’s only in a dozen or so libraries now, but by the end of 2013, Hoopla should be available through about 100 of the nation’s libraries”

Local news

  • Anglesey – ‘Spiral of decline’ for Anglesey’s libraries – BookSeller. ” the warning has been issued by the Welsh Assembly Government’s museums, archives and libraries body, CyMAL. Anglesey is looking to cut 20% from its £1m library service budget.”  Anglesey seen as an area that has historically underspent on libraries.
  • Brent – August update: act now – Save Kensal Rise Library. Campaign group keen for objections to taking over of library by private developer.
  • Brent – Will the Localism legislation work? – Alan Gibbons. “Library campaigners in Brent are hoping that the Localism Act, which became law last year, will help to save their library building from being turned into luxury flats by the owner All Souls College Oxford and a developer who has entered a binding agreement with the College to buy the building.”
  • Isle of Wight – New mobile libraries take to the roads – On the Wight. “They are replacing the existing two vehicles which are several years old and have recently suffered mechanical problems.” £200k on new Mercedes vans (1200 books each) and wlll have internet access
  • Lincolnshire – Campaigners wary of Lincolnshire Co-operative’s olive branch for libraries – This is Lincolnshire. “Members of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group say they believe the kind of libraries Lincolnshire Co-operative may offer have little in common with the current service provided by Lincolnshire County Council.” … ““Although I genuinely believe that the Co-op is motivated by good intentions, I am deeply sceptical of this ‘generous’ offer. Waddington library, which was ‘saved’ by the Co-op is now minuscule. “Admittedly it has a larger footfall now, and is open longer hours, but the number of available titles is far lower than before.” See full press release from the campaigners at Press statement from Save Lincolnshire Libraries.
  • Lincolnshire – Co-op offers to save six county libraries – Lincolnite. “Co-op has shown an interest in working with the council to maintain library services in Welton, Boultham in Lincoln, Nettleham, Cherry Willingham and Spilsby. Last year, the Co-op took on the running of Waddington Library, with the assistance of local volunteers, and combined a post office, pharmacy and library.” … “Spare space in Lincolnshire Co-op’s Waddington Pharmacy is now used as a distinct library section. It features 4,000 books, a photocopier, a self-service machine, an enquiries desk and seating areas.” … “In the first six months of 2013, there was a 13% increase in the number of active users compared to the same period the previous year, and almost double the number of new members joined”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries are a cost-effective front door to council services – Lincolnite. Local councillor criticises decision to withdraw from Branston Library: “the County Council has a statutory duty to provide a service that is efficient and comprehensive, which everyone can access. Therefore, anyone who cannot get to their library and wants to borrow a book is entitled to a home service. So the saving may well not be there at all.” … “At the last reduction in 2008, Branston Library went from 103,000 visits per year to around 25-35,000 it gets now”.  Library is is also used by local Academy, district council, parish council and police as well as providing computer classes.
  • Lincolnshire – Lincoln ‘save our libraries’ protest march date confirmed – This is Lincolnshire. “A protest march against the risk of closure to 32 Lincolnshire libraries through Lincoln city centre has been confirmed for Saturday, September 21.” 20,000 have signed petition against cuts so far.
  • Lincolnshire – Look North – BBC (7:40 to 13.30) A long slot for the library cuts on the daily television news programme.  Includes conversations users (who point out we shut no libraries in WW1 or WW2 and that they simply can’t travel 45 minutes to the next nearest library), the council saying they’re “looking at all the options” and library use is reducing so the cut is needed.  Interview with Alan Gibbons who points out how well used libraries are and the the council should be boosting them for literacy rather than cutting them.
  • Lincolnshire – “People may not use libraries at all in 15 years” – This is Scunthorpe. “Lincolnshire County Council executive member Nick Worth told library users at a public meeting on the issue: “I am spending half my life answering e-mails about libraries. I can foresee that in 15 years’ time, children will question the existence of libraries.”
  • Northern Ireland – Doctor Who’s K-9 attracts big library crowd – Lurgan Mail. “This was the latest in a series of talks around the libraries of Northern Ireland. Irvine, who has worked on Doctor Who since the 70’s, brought with him the Doctor’s long standing supporting character, K-9. K-9’s creation and appearances on the show, were the basis of the presentation. Fans of all ages flocked to see and have their picture taken with K-9.”
  • Rochdale – All systems go for Rochdale town centre development – Manchester Evening News. “e council reached an agreement with the owners of the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre to surrender the lease of the old town centre library and build a new entrance to the mall off Baillie Street.”
  • Salford – City Council blocks payday loan websites – BBC. “Access to payday loan firms has been blocked from public computers in libraries and other council buildings in Salford. The move is aimed at “saving people from spiralling into even more debt” the council said.”
  • Wokingham – Bumper summer of lending for Wokingham’s libraries – Get Reading. “Around 1,800 people signed up in July, more than four times the total number who registered the month before” … “The summer reading challenge has been exceptionally popular. Children are being encouraged to read six books over the summer period and a lot have signed up.”

“In the last 10 years we’ve never been so busy. We can’t keep up with the applications. It’s really uplifting that people are coming back to the libraries.”