• Bradley: libraries seen as ‘glorified book swaps’ – BookSeller. Reviews main comments from Michael Rosen’s radio programme yesterday (see PLN yesterday for complete transcript).  Desmond Clarke comments on piece, arguing that librarians must take some responsibility for their low profile amongst councillors and that action/leadership is necessary urgently.
  • Canada: “As Calgary Public Library Usage Grows, CEO Wants to Do More” + CPL Annual Update – Library Journal (USA). “Calgary’s public libraries continue to see rapid growth, with total in-person visits edging up seven per cent last year to exceed 5.724 million”.  Report includes initiatives like “One Book, One Calgary” which encourages the city to read one book all at the same time and a “Card For Every Child” which encouraged library membership amongst schoolchildren, 2100 volunteers.
  • Future of Local Libraries and Cultural Services – Public Policy Exchange. “This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, government departments, the library sector, shared services teams and other key partners to examine the Government’s latest policy initiatives and explore how libraries can remain a vital local resource in the 21st Century – innovating and adapting to deliver a whole range of services.” Sessions include “Safeguarding Culture and Heritage – The Future of Local Libraries ” and “The Evolving Nature of Library Services – The Challenge for Local Authorities and their Strategic Partners”
  • How Selfies Are Re-Energizing The New York Public Library – Fastcoexist (USA). “The photos look like they could have been taken at a bar, a bat mitzvah, or one of those swanky media parties with sponsored vodka. But they weren’t. These photobooth shots were snapped at the New York Public Library as part of a new social media initiative to engage more with the library’s selfie-loving patrons, and the live photostream is making our hearts melt.” … “t a time when the NYPL was threatened with a severe set of budget cuts, officials recognized that they were going to have to mobilize library fans in a new way. The idea for the photobooth came together in a brainstorming session”
  • Netflix for books is here, it’s mobile, and it makes Amazon look old – Pando Daily (USA).  Netflix for books: pay a monthly subscription and read any book you want.  Beautiful interface too. Currently US and iPhone only.
  • Original Co-Working Space: Your Public Library – Snips Blog (USA). “Co-working spaces have similar characteristics such as offering community-style workspace and be a hub of technology and knowledge. A recent article  by Elizabeth Blair, With Modern Makeovers, America’s Libraries Are Branching Out, indicates that libraries are undergoing a transition period whereby co-working concepts are being applied. While technology is a key driver for change, technology is not consuming the re-invention process. And yes, books will continue to be a mainstay.”
  • ProQuest Sponsors Library Spending Report – Serials Solutions (USA). “Since the economic downturn a few years ago, [USA] library budgets have bounced back or are holding steady.  However, there’s been a shift in spending from print to digital.”
  • Selling off Shakespeare: Arts Council raises concerns – Channel Four News. “The University of London’s Senate House library is considering the sale of a rare set of Shakespeare folios to raise an estimated £3m to £5m to go towards its historical research collection. The proposal incurred the wrath of academics, and now Arts Council England has waded into the debate, telling Channel 4 News that although the decision is up to the university itself, the plan may give the impression that important decisions about the UK’s cultural life are driven solely by financial concerns. “The Arts Council strongly believes that members of the public should be able to access art and items of cultural relevance,” said a spokesman.”
  • Simple Red Clip Turns Park Benches Into Public Libraries – Fastcodesign (Netherlands). “Pivot Creative, an Amsterdam-based architect and designer duo, thought it was a shame that literature-sharing only took place on the train. So they launched Ruilbank, a public project that slyly converts ten park benches into mini-libraries. Implementing Ruilbank was simple: The Pivot team snapped a red metal clip onto the benches, and then started supplying the spots with newspapers, magazines, and books.”

Local news

  • Birmingham – Crowds flock to the “breathtakingly wonderful” Library Of Birmingham – Birmingham Mail. Some lovely pictures of the first day of opening – massive crowds, busy interior, happy faces.  “The building has a 3,000 capacity – but that figure was surpassed many times over as the public were ushered through on a “one out, one in” basis”.  An interesting comment; “Everywhere is just so open; there are no intimate areas for quiet study and contemplation.”.
  • Birmingham – From frozen gas pipes to Harold Wilson: The history of the Library of Birmingham – Culture 24. A look at the history of the several ex central libraries in Birmingham, including some superb old photographs, with my favourite being the chief librarian in the skullcap circa 1880s.
  • Birmingham – Wednesday Wonder No 14 – Library of Lost Books. “Birmingham artist Sarah Taylor Silverwood’s response the discarded Birmingham Library book we sent her was to make drawings of the old Central Library from where the book came.”
  • Brent – Friends of Barham Library to open a second volunteer branch at Sudbury Town station – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The Friends of Barham Library are set to open their second volunteer library and book shop at Sudbury Town underground station. The group has entered into a short lease with Transport for London for the shop premises at Sudbury Town station behind Nikki’s Coffee Bar.”
  • Bristol – Threats to Central Library are shameful – This is Bristol. “Regarding the plans for turning part of the Central Library into a school, is the description “prudent and courageous” accurate? Prudent? Only if one sees it through the school’s eyes as a scheme to save money at the expense of its fellow citizens and the effectiveness of Bristol’s library service. outrageous? Surely only in its effrontery in seeking to spoil a public institution for its own gain.”


“Is it wrong to wish to have the most efficient service for the public as possible and should one have to fight for it against people such as Councillor Cook who are supposed to be providing it? How sad that the same enthusiasm for libraries and empowerment as the council shows in Birmingham is moribund in Bristol.”

“”Because of the internet, because of Facebook, because of gadgets, we don’t need libraries in the way we used to when I was 15.””

“We don’t think you are taking into consideration what these buildings are about, which is social unity, especially in deprived areas.”

  • Worcestershire – New look Pershore library to open in October – Tewkesbury Admag. “The library has been operating from Pershore Town Hall while the building in the town centre was upgraded and extended.” … ” “The new building has been extended to provide not only a Library and Visitor Information Centre but a true community building and there will be an opportunity, before the formal opening of the library, for residents to come and see what has been achieved.”