Moray Council have voted to close 7 out of 15 of their branches, despite strong legal advice against the move.  The Conservative/Independent controlled council cites improved transport links and broadband as the reasons why libraries legislation does not apply.  However, others take a different view, and legal action is already being talked about.  The council in Sefton is also closing libraries and is also apparently laying itself open to a legal challenge.  Indeed, a councillor there has said that anyone who thinks they’re discriminating against certain areas “can sue the council and see how far they get”.  Subtle.

The CILIP AGM is shaping up to be one of the most important in the last 20 years.  First we have the joy of the suggested rebranding (see my last post on the issue) and then there is the vote of no confidence in Ed Vaizey to follow.  Bob Usherwood (who once lectured me in library school and is a past president) entered the fray today with an impassioned plea for voting for no confidence in the minister responsible for libraries. If you are a CILIP member and can’t get to the AGM, do please consider voting by proxy.  Let me know if you don’t know anyone going and I can help you out with details of some who are.




There may be a few who suggest that we should not rock the political boat, that it will make things worse and more difficult for Chief Officers in their dealings with policy makers. But how much worse can things get? The public library service is being brought to its knees by an ideologically driven and unnecessary government policy. It is time to identify those who are responsible; Ed Vaizey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries,  his government and its cuts. This was the route taken by the respected British Medical Association when it passed a motion of no confidence in Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year.” Bob Usherwood

  • Detroit Public Library Partners to Feed Kids After School – School Library Journal (USA). “The Detroit Public Library (DPL), Forgotten Harvest, and the Chrysler Foundation have partnered to provide free nutritious snacks to school-aged children who attend after school reading programs at 20 DPL branches throughout the city. The snack packs—typically fruit, a drink, and a nutritious item such as yogurt—also are available to children on days when Detroit Public Schools are closed and during special DPL-sponsored programs. During the 2013–2014 school year, more than 2,000 snacks per week will be distributed, Forgotten Harvest estimates.”

“Our librarians see hunger daily in our branches and understand that an after school snack may be for some the last meal of the day.”

  • If They Know About It and They Care About It: Successful Marketing Strategies – Web Junction.  Good advice on marketing libraries by the maestro Ned Potter.
  • Libraries provide space for people to interact – Asahi Shimbun (Denmark). Japanese newspaper surveys libraries in the world.  “Denmark, which has a population of about 5.5 million, has around 500 public libraries. A total of 36 million people visit them each year, and 45 million books and CDs are loaned out.” 90% of items issued by self-service. “Two in three Danes may still be library users, but concerns have arisen that the number of people who actually make visits to libraries will go down. Hopes had been placed on libraries for acting as bulwarks against growing information inequality along age and class lines that has accompanied the IT revolution. The slogan the government came up with in response is “From collections to connections.””
  • Library as Catalyst for Civic Engagment | Reinventing Libraries – Library Journal (USA).  Several views on what a library will look like in 2020: all agree on reduction in importance of book, increase in community and education.
  • Library ranger badges – Kickstarter (USA). “Fun library-themed patches to reward outstanding service, advertise your mad skills, or just start interesting conversations. Library Ranger is anyone who loves libraries and helps support their mission, from librarians, pages, and clerks to teachers, students, and patrons. And now there’s a fun way to celebrate the diverse skills that these good people exhibit on a daily basis: high-quality embroidered badges, designed by Bill & Gene, the Unshelved guys.”
  • Library’s ‘Hatch’ space appeals to visitors’ creativity – Des Moines Register (USA). ““But we have so many groups getting together here at our library — writing groups, knitters, people who are making things — that we wanted to give them a physical space along with the equipment necessary to continue creating,”
  • London CLOA Members Meeting – CLOA. “This Hot Topics session will be attended by DCMS advisor on public libraries Yinnon Ezra. Yinnon is keen to attend the meeting and learn how and what we are doing to both improve services and deal with the on-going pressure to save cash.   Discussion will be confidential and includes, but is not limited to libraries; key points will be fed back to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.”
  • Mayoral Candidates Talk Libraries – Huffington Post (USA). Mayoral candidates asked serious questions about library funding.  Some good answers given.
  • People’s Palace – Culture Show, BBC2.  30 minute look at the new Library of Birmingham including views of people from the street (mixed), people using it (ecstatic), Michael Rosen (not a substitute for local libraries).

“This building unites a whole people so they can become bigger and better … the future of society depends on buildings like this” Culture Show

  • Public urged to “library up” ahead of local elections – Scoop (New Zealand). “n the lead up to local elections, the public are being asked to question their local candidates about their stance on libraries – and to vote accordingly. With over 37.5 million library visits last year, the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA) says candidates need to recognise libraries as an essential service.”
  • Reading Agency helps libraries and schools celebrate Dragonese Day – Reading Agency (press release).  “National charity The Reading Agency is encouraging libraries and schools to join Cressida Cowell, bestselling author of the How To Train Your Dragon series on Thursday 26 September 2013. On that day, schools and libraries will be able to link up live with the much-loved children’s author as she talks about Vikings, dragons, her childhood and much more in a special live stream event to celebrate the third annual Dragonese Day. The event – with an audience of school children – will be streamed live from 1030-1130, and is aimed at Key Stage 2 pupils. The Reading Agency is delighted to have helped broker Southfields Library in south west London as the venue.”.  More details at www.howtotrainyourdragonbooks.com
  • Sally Hall: On the scent of the vital role played by books and libraries – Yorkshire Evening Post.  Columnist muses on the important of books after hearing opening speech of the Library of Birmingham.
  • Seattle libraries to porn watchers: Come on in – Seattle PI (USA). Adults can publicly watch porn on library PCs.  Libraries defend action against complaints citing the constitution. 
  • Starry media launch for Books Are My Bag – BookSeller. Multitude of stars to promote books – more details on event here.
  • Striking librarians. Why not? – Star (South Africa). An article that starts off finding it funny that librarians are striking then turns into a heartwarming article about how important they were during Apartheid and what a shame it is that there are so few left.
  • Talking about Tablets: Lawrence Public Library – Techsoup (USA). Some great guidance from a library already using tablets.
  • Tea Party vs. Public Libraries – Moyers and Company (USA). “The tea party argues that a library tax increase of any size, no matter how trivial, is unwarranted because of economic hardship. A far more compelling argument is that times of economic distress demand a larger, not as smaller information commons. “

Local news

  • Birmingham – At the Library of Birmingham – LRB. “Perhaps the best thing about Birmingham’s newest civic building on Centenary Square is what they’ve called it. No beating about the bush, no equivocation: it’s a library. After all the weasel words – ‘idea stores’, ‘learning centres’, ‘discovery centres’ – it’s cheering to see the book is back.”
  • Brent – Lib Dem Leader Running for Barham Library again – Friends of Barham Library. “Paul’s target is to raise around £500 so that Friends of Barham Library can set up internet and WIFI at their new premises in Sudbury Town Station and offer computer access to local people. “Brent Council expects residents to access Council services on line and yet Labour Councillors made this impossible for many people by closing half of Brent’s libraries including the one in Barham Park Sudbury.” says Councillor Paul Lorber”
  • Brighton and Hove – Mighty dragon on the move – Council. “The six metre dragon model, with a wingspan of ten metres, will be greeting visitors to the library from this weekend. The magnificent specimen has been created by Bec Britain from local community arts charity Same Sky. The dragon installation marks the beginning of the Libraries Services’ contribution to the 2013 City Reads celebration.”
  • Croydon – VOTE 2014: Where does Labour stand in Croydon? – This is Croydon Today. “Can you categorically rule out closing any of Croydon’s libraries in your next term, if elected? .. “I can categorically rule out closing any libraries. We will also look pull out of the contract with John Laing [which has an agreement to run libraries for the council]. I want to see the libraries back initially under the arm of the council and then we want to see a model where local communities, if they want to, can take control and run their libraries.”
  • Lambeth – Council facing £150,000 bill after squatters trash ex-library – London Evening Standard. “Squatters have trashed a former south London library, which is set to be turned into a cinema, leaving town hall chiefs with a huge bill to clean up the mess. They have also disturbed asbestos at Nettlefold Hall, in West Norwood. The clear-up costs for Labour-run Lambeth Council are expected to top £150,000.”
  • Lancashire – Singers take over East Lancashire libraries – Lancashire Telegraph. “A group of 17 singers took part in the ‘Lancashire in Harmony’ event in Burnley Library on Thursday morning. The choir took up residence in the Grimshaw Street library’s music section and performed spiritual and gospel songs from around the world, starting with Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Libraries may not be the most likely venue for a vocal concert, but book-worms were not distracted by the songsters, with many stopping their book browsing to join in with the sing song.” … “The singing session was part of the Up For Arts Project, a joint project between Lancashire County Council and BBC Lancashire which encourages people to try something creative.”
  • Lincolnshire – Labour to urge Lincolnshire County Council cabinet to think again over libraries – Lincolnshire Echo. “Labour leader John Hough said: “Given the overwhelming level of opposition to these proposals we are calling on the executive to take full account of the views of Lincolnshire residents when a final decision is taken in December.”

“We will also be moving an amendment to a finance paper to create a reserve fund of £1.9 million for next year to allow the libraries to stay open. “Doing that will give breathing space for the money to be found from other sources to keep our libraries safe”

  • Lincolnshire – North Hykeham Town Council unanimous in supporting library fight – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. ” North Hykeham Town Councillors voted unanimously to support the town and county’s residents in campaigning against the closure of county libraries.”
  • Medway – Libraries ‘lose’ more than 1,000 items in a year – Kent Online. “Figures requested by the Medway Messenger show that from April 2012 to the end of March this year, 1,072 items have disappeared from its 18 libraries – almost three a day. The figures include 978 books, 33 audio books, 40 DVDs, 11 CDs, four jigsaws and three computer games.” … “It seems many loans turn into ‘thefts’ because some new joiners are using false IDs and fake addresses, making it difficult to track them down.” … “a Medway Council spokesman said libraries lent 1,130,527 items to the public last year, with less than 0.1% of those going missing.”
  • Moray – Council vote to close seven libraries – Northern Scot. “That is despite a 150-page Equalities Impact Assessment which recommended Dufftown, Cullen and Burghead should be reprieved. The Tory-Independent administration on the council voted the closures through 13-10, sticking with a budget proposal made in February which will save £357,000″.  Council argues that “the retention of eight libraries, with improved transport and broadband connections across Moray, would still provide an adequate service.” See also Moray – Half of Moray’s libraries to close under cuts plan – Scotsman and Seven Moray libraries to be closed down – BBC and Moray Council to press ahead with controversial library closures – STV.
  • Moray – Opposition gathers as Moray Council admit legal challenge likely – Inside Moray. “Allan Wright, admitted in a national television interview that he accepted the council were now liable to a legal challenge over their decision to close seven libraries in Moray – ignoring the EIA that they themselves commissioned, and which advised the retention of three of the libraries. It now appears likely that individual community campaign groups in the affected communities will join together to study their next move, with a legal challenge under the Equalities Act 2010 an increasing possibility.”.  Officers were “surprised” by councillor decision.
  • Sefton – Council Discriminating Over Access To Library – OTS News. “Over 80 per cent of people who use libraries walk or use bicycles to get there, including virtually all the children who use libraries. So, making it impossible to walk to libraries is effectively denying those residents affected a comprehensive and efficient library service as required by law” … but … “Anyone who believes that Sefton Council is discriminating against the people of Southport and Ainsdale over library provision can sue the council and see how far they get, says Labour Cabinet Member Ian Moncur.”  See also Library closures ‘discrimination’ – Champion.d
  • Somerset – Children’s centre closures “would hit poor families” – BBC. “The council said the centres’ services could instead be moved to village halls, libraries or GP surgeries to save money.” … “In the consultation document, Proposals for Change, the plans show 27 centres would be “deregistered”, with 11 to 14 to have their services run out of other public buildings such as libraries”
  • West Sussex – Crawley library closing for maintenance – Crawley and Horley Observer. Upgraded self-service machines to be installed in library,