The imminent opening of the Forum represents a triumph of partnership between different organisations.  The library is a joint one between a local authority, a further education college and a university.  At £27m it represents a serious commitment to libraries from those organisations and firmly places it in the tradition of big new libraries that have served as a counterpoint to the darker news that everyone knows about.  It also continues the tradition (as already seen in Liverpool and Birmingham) of investment in the centre and reduced investment in the branches.

The campaigners in Lincolnshire have had a notably vocal and well-publicised campaign against those in their county.  The council there has been more obvious than most in using its consultation as a way of gaining volunteers to run libraries and also one of the more vocal in saying libraries are less important than once they were.  The widespread opposition to volunteers running them and the demonstrably huge reaction to the cuts does not, so far, seem to have changed their tune.



  • Ode to librarians – Fun rap/song about what libraries do.
  • Rugby Reading for Pleasure – Football Detective. “A massive sporting occasion like this creates a fantastic opportunity to promote reading for pleasure. The public libraries of the north of England have got together to do just that. They’re running 100s of events and promoting reading of all kinds through their website, www.tryreading.org. “


    “Yinnon Ezra, Advisor for Libraries at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS); Brian Ashley, Director, Libraries at Arts Council England (ACE); Janene Cox, President, The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL); Alan Gibbons, author and founder of Campaign for the Book; Phil Bradley, President, the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP); Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government, UNISON; Steve Davies, Lecturer in Social Sciences, University of Cardiff”  List of speakers announced for Speak Up for Libraries event, 23rd November.

  • Fourth National Ebook Workshop – Library of Birmingham, 13th November – “This event is aimed at, but not limited to, public library staff.  It’s an opportunity to find out what’s going on nationally, particularly with the proposed Sieghart pilot projects, and start planning for a proposed National E-Reading Day in 2014.  In the afternoon we are offering breakout sessions where we can learn from each other on the subjects of: Running public workshops – helping people to use library ebooks; Ebook platforms and library management systems; Consortium purchasing”

Local news

  • Herefordshire – Library hours will be halved to save money – Ledbury Reporter. Ledbury Library opening hours to be halved and will relocate to Master’s House in late Summer 2014.
  • Lancashire – Campaign to encourage children to read launched in Chorley – Citizen. “The You Are What You Read, campaign features images of children wearing cartoon hats symbolising aspirational careers – an airline pilot, surgeon and academic. County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The campaign aims to drive home to parents just how important libraries are in giving children the information and knowledge they need to fulfil their potential.”
  • Lincolnshire – Alan Gibbons debates library closures with council leader Martin Hill – BBC Radio Lincolnshire. From 2h 21m 25 seconds to 2h 28m  Council says it has to because of cuts, Alan points out that other authorities are not cutting to same extent and that low usage of libraries is either false or a sign the council was not supporting libraries enough. “If this is what your council is providing then you need to ask questions about their competence”. Council places hope in supporting volunteers and in partnerships.
  • Lincolnshire – County Council libraries consultation ends – BBC. “Councillor Martin Hill, Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said the council had to take a “broad view”. He said: “Things like protecting children, things like highways maintenance are being protected, and I’m afraid things like libraries are being asked to take their share of the savings.””

“We’ve got one of the highest penetrations in the world of smart phones, and that smart phone in people’s pockets gives them access to all the information that they need nowadays.” John McTernan, Once chief librarian to Labour Party before moving into politics directly.

“I have personally had to deal with shutting down libraries. In all cases this saved far less than anticipated. Making staff redundant can cost lots in redundancy payments. In my own case the final equation was that they actually paid me more in redundancy than I would have received in the last two years of my employment. They also incurred the costs of tribunals and medical examinations. On top of that a closed library doesn’t go away. If sold the profit goes into the estates department, if unsold the library service has to continue maintaining it and there’s no budget for it”

  • Lincolnshire- Video: Library campaigners hand petition to county council – Lincolnshire Echo. “A final decision on the cuts will be made by the authority’s executive committee on December 3.”
  • Moray – Council under fire over move to close libraries – Herald Scotland. CILIP Scotland (CILIPS) writes letter warning of the danger of closing the libraries.  Council response is “”The content of the letter is what one would expect from the professional body for librarians”
  • North East Lincolnshire – New chapter for Grimsby library as it closes for big revamp – This is Grimsby. “Grimsby’s main library has closed for more than two months from today. The town centre building has closed so that essential electrical and heating systems to the basement, ground floor and mezzanine floor can be replaced. The top floor will close permanently.” … “it will add five years to the 57-year-old building’s lifespan”
  • Southend – First glimpse inside Southend’s new £27million super library – Echo. “The concrete-and-glass structure, which looks out on the new Elmer Square, offers users 150,000 books, plus DVDs and audio books. The ground floor includes part of the main library, complete with a new children’s library, featuring a den where children can go to read.” [Claim it’s the first combined municipal and academic library in the country may raise some eyebrows from those who have used the Hive in Worcestershire – Ed.]
  • Southend – £27m The Forum library poised to open – BBC. “Angela O’Donoghue, principal and chief executive at South Essex College, said: “It is a very unusual arrangement because it is a tripartite arrangement. It is a joint venture, which is very rare. “We’ve worked together as a really good team. This would not have been done without that partnership.””
  • Suffolk – Museum could be switched to library – Suffolk Free Press. “Sudbury Heritage Centre may be relocated to the town library in an effort to boost visitor numbers and give it extra space.”

“Councillor and heritage member Nigel Bennett said the move faced a large stumbling block as the library was run by the IPS – a charitable body which manages Suffolk’s libraries. This meant the town council may need to rent library space for the centre, as it does with the TIC.”

  • Sunderland – Anger as Sunderland library closures are rubberstamped – Sunderland Echo. “campaign group Hands off Sunderland Libraries was angered by the fact the controversial decision did not go to a vote at Tuesday’s full council meeting, which they had hoped to influence with a planned protest. Campaigners still turned up to make their feelings known before the council meeting at the Civic Centre. Chanting and singing, about 30 of them gathered outside the council chamber, watched by two community support officers.”

“I don’t think a few people at the cabinet should be voting on the future of nine libraries, which are used by thousands of people”