The fact that the past president of CILIP will be involved in the volunteer takeover of Denby Dale Library in Kirklees is likely to raise a few eyebrows.  CILIP has a policy against supporting volunteer libraries and there is a strong feeling amongst many librarians, understandably, against volunteers (and especially retired librarians) doing library work unpaid.  The feeling is that such behaviour only encourages councils to close more and more libraries to the detriment of their ex-colleagues and the library service as a whole (see this page for a list of reasons against volunteer libraries).  On the other hand, it looks very likely that Denby Dale Library was going to close otherwise anyway and it’s also notable that the librarian was vocal in her opposition to the original plans and that there appears to be some continued paid library involvement with the new venture (see also this page of reasons for volunteer libraries). Indeed, the whole thing shows the dilemma that those who care about libraries face when Mr Cuts comes knocking at their door. From the outside, however, others may see the actions of such a highly esteemed librarian as a ringing endorsement of the volunteer model.  It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to this amongst the profession and beyond.



  • Banned Books Week 2013: The top 10 challenged titles: in pictures – Guardian. “According to the American Libraries Association (ALA), US librarians received 464 requests to take books off the shelves in 2012 – up 42% on 2011. Here we introduce last year’s most frequently challenged books, and the reasons behind those challenges”.  Includes Captain Underpants.
  • Libraries are trusted spaces, but this doesn’t mean they have to stay the same – Guardian / Public service reform hub.  Sue Charteris looks at ways councils can see libraries survive, but with changes that may promote public ire: 1) map out the existing service, 2) see if part of service still needed, 3) see if service can move to cheaper suitable locations,, 4) change with full reference to the Equalities Act and the statutory Libraries duty. Publish your strategy and look for partners. Other options include becoming enterprise hubs, co-locations, joint ventures with other councils, tendering out service.  Communicate well at every stage of the process.


  • Lean:  Libraries as Customer Value Catalysts Thu 21 Nov 13 (0945 – 1545), Far Cotton REC Centre, Northampton, NN4 8LG. For places, please contact Jorge Solis on JSolis@northamptonshire.gov.uk, How libraries can build on their assets to move from process to peopleThis one-day conference will showcase examples of library services that are moving from process to people, by re-designing what they do and by embracing partnerships with growing ambition and boldness.  Confirmed speakers for this conference include: Paul Blantern, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire County Council; Andy Appleyard, Head of BL Information Services & Customer Services, British Library;  Julie Blaisdale, Assistant Director, Library and Community Services, North Yorkshire County Council; Janice Malone, Macmillan Programme Manager, Glasgow Life; Barbara Leigh, Principal Librarian, Northamptonshire County Council. This day is also a great opportunity for networking and sharing best practice with colleagues from across the country – time for this is built into the programme, both morning and afternoon.  The venue is conveniently located near Northampton train station and J15A of the M1 (with access to free parking). Cost: £90 (includes refreshments and lunch).  This is the second mention of this conference as previous did not have contact details.  See this piece for more on the Northamptonshire LibraryPlus model.

Local news

  • Angus – Library cutbacks ‘a crying shame’ – Evening Telegraph. “Library opening times were slashed by 15 hours in April 2012, and a new report has revealed a steep drop in usage since then.” … visits down by 13.68% since 2011/12. 20% lower usage of libraries overall. Kirriemuir Library to be upgraded at cost of £176k.

“Library opening hours were reduced from 54 hours per week to 39 hours per week from April 1 last year as part of a council’s savings exercise. This 27% decrease in the hours available for users has more than likely had the biggest impact on library visits.”

“Due to the continued withholding of corporate permission to promote our services via social media, we have not realised the anticipated increase in virtual visits.”

Biddy Fisher, one the Trustees of the DDCP, who is also a local resident and was President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, said: “Across the country there are a vast number of volunteer assisted libraries emerging, but the way we are going about saving our library service in Denby Dale may prove to be a winning model throughout Kirklees. “Working with the senior staff of Kirklees library service to secure the best way forward has been a really positive aspect of the Denby Dale Community Project.”

  • Moray – Equalities Commissioner to consider Moray Libraries closures in October – Inside Moray. “The main opposition group at Moray Council has received an assurance from the Equalities Commissioner that their complaint over the planned closure of seven Moray libraries will be heard next month. Moray Council’s decision to close the libraries came against legal advice and the recommendations of an Equalities Impact Assessment, prompting the SNP group to write to the Equalities & Human Rights Commission seeking their views on a decision that both Labour and SNP councillors believe to be illegal. Now the SNP’s spokesperson on Education, Mike Shand, has revealed that the Commission has replied saying that they will consider the equalities concerns at their next general meeting on October 14.”
  • Sheffield – Some Sheffield libraries could go private – Star. Only five volunteers appear to have stepped forward, although there have been many community groups and some private companies that are interested.
  • Suffolk – Newsletter  Suffolk Libraries IPS. Monthly newsletter reports record summer reading challenge take-up at 7800 children. Plus a virtual reading group and several fund-raising events from Friends groups.