It’s impressive to see Miami deciding to spend its reserves rather than closing libraries.  They have a year to get things sorted there. Over on this side of the pond, Moray have decided to hang the delay and, as we learnt yesterday, to close many of its libraries as soon as possible, despite legal advice to the contrary.  This looks likely to result in legal action – going publicly against legal advice sometimes does that – and has resulted in even the Brent councillor responsible for the closures in that London borough (which was mitigated to some extent by spending elsewhere, unlike in Moray) calling it “foolhardy”.  Mind you, in Scotland, they may actually have a Government that actually cares about libraries.  It’s the first real test of how different things are north of the border.


Reasons for libraries spotted


  • Children’s bedtime stories on the wane, according to survey – Guardian. “Only 13% of respondents read a story to their children every night, but 75% recall being read to every night when they were kids. On average, today’s parents read bedtime stories to their children three times a week.” 4% of kids don’t own any books at all.
  • Library Closure and Judicial Review – James Powney’s Blog. “My eye was drawn to the decision of Moray Council to close half of its libraries.  This was taken despite clear officer advice that the decision could expose the Council to legal challenge.  That goes beyond bold to foolhardy.”
  • Miami-Dade will raid reserves to avoid library layoffs, maintain hours – Miami Herald (USA). ““It’s on us,” Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell said, acknowledging the burden the board agreed to take on. “It’s our responsibility.” Gimenez pointedly reminded commissioners that six of them face reelection in 2014 and will almost certainly oppose a tax-rate hike — in which case they may have just delayed but not avoided the steep cuts. “Eventually, this government is going to have to face reality. I’d rather face it now than later,” he said. “It’s pretty tough to raise taxes when you’re going to election.” But commissioners appeared thrilled and relieved to find a solution for the time being. They voted 9-4 to use $7.8 million in library reserves.”
  • Our Libraries: The Next Chapter: Episode 2 – BBC Radio Four. “In the second episode, Michael visits the biggest public lending library in Britain, the brand new Library of Birmingham. In this cultural centre for the 21st century, the emphasis is as much on access to information technology and cultural events as on the old-fashioned book. What will it do for the city, and how might the new super library affect smaller community libraries in the area? Matthew Nicholls from Reading University takes us on a tour of the libraries of imperial Rome, with their papyrus scrolls and busts of great men. And from Bexar County, Texas, we hear how any busts of great men will be virtual busts, pictures on the screens of visitors to what has been hailed as America’s first “bookless library.” Is this the future?”
  • New Modern Ruins: A Brief History of Public Libraries – Theatrum Mundi.  A summary of the history of libraries including the interesting [to me, anyway – Ed.] that the first public librarian in Manchester was sacked due to his radical politics.

Local news

  • Lincolnshire – ‘Volunteer libraries not the way forward’ – Market Rasen Mail. ” “Who will actually run it? Who will be responsible? Who will do the HR?” Town and district councillor Ken Bridger added: “It costs a lot of money to run a library, you have to pay royalties on every book lent, it adds up.” [One does not need to pay royalties – Ed.]
  • Moray – Fury as cost-cuts vote shuts seven libraries – Press and Journal. “The same week Birmingham open a brand new library costing £188m, Lincolnshire decides to close as many libraries as possible” … “Not one political manifesto told you the truth that a vote for them would mean you lost a library service”
  • Moray – Libraries: Councillors write to watchdog – Scotsman. ““The idea of closing seven libraries out of fifteen and leaving an adequate service is frankly ludicrous. Renowned science fiction author Isaac Asimov once said: ‘When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that….society has found one more way to destroy itself.’ The Independents and Tories in Moray Council would have done well to remember that sentiment.””
  • Moray – SNP question legality of library decision – Northern Scot. “THE opposition SNP group on Moray Council has lodged complaints over the authority’s decision to close seven libraries. It has written to the Scotland Commissioner, Kaliani Lyle, of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and to Scottish Government Minister for Culture, Fiona Hyslop MSP.”

“Moray SNP education spokesman Mike Shand has asked whether the decision by the Conservative-Independent administration is legal under the Equality Act 2010 and whether they are in breach of their statutory duty to provide an adequate libraries service.”

“These new premises, which are twice the size of the old building, reflect the changing nature of libraries in our society. They are modern educational, social and creative centres, offering welcoming facilities which are open to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. “

  • Wiltshire – Libraries land £100,000 Arts Council funding – Gazette and Herald. “The project will involve a touring exhibition of books from various museum collections, opportunities to take part in a community memory project which will reflect upon the lives of people living in rural parts of the county, an exciting performance in three of Wiltshire’s largest libraries bringing storybook characters to life amongst the shelves, and artists working with older people with limited mobility to use the written word to inspire movement and even dance.” … “Creative Libraries will explore new ways of connecting people in rural areas, particularly older and isolated people who may find it difficult to attend cultural events.”