Controversial, at least, to some librarians and some campaigners … and they don’t come much more controversial than Tim Coates, the first of the three. Few librarians have a kind word to say the ex Waterstones chief and current Bilbary boss and outspoken library campaigner. Which is only to be expected, as Tim very rarely has a kind word to say about librarians. However, what he has pointed out today is worth looking at.  One of Tim’s strengths is figures and he has spotted that over a third of the Lincolnshire libraries budget goes into unidentified council overheads but only the non-overhead part (that is, the part actually spend on libraries) is to be cut.  It’s food for thought and one which strengthens the hand of those who believe that councils can cut budgets without cutting services simply through efficiency savings.  This seems to me inherently unlikely due to the massive nature of the cuts involved and the sheer level of waste such a viewpoint implies but it’s evidence that needs to be considered.  Whether this view will help libraries or not is a matter of debate but in Lincolnshire, at least, the overheads need looking at – if only to challenge those like Tim who believe that cuts of such a scale that they have no historic precedent can be achieved with little effect on the taxpayer.

The second idea is the very trendy 3D printing that was going on at Brighton Jubilee Library earlier this month. 3D printing is seen as a great hope by many (including, on occasion, myself) but is seen as a distraction by others. The third is the LibraryPlus programme from Northamptonshire which has taken the focus away from borrowing and into other sections like children’s centres, business and volunteering.  Anathema to some (see the comment on the article) but a possible route to follow for others.  We’ll see what role the three (efficiency, 3D printing and LibraryPlus) over the years to come.

Break the mould

See below some very impressive pictures from the “Break the Mould” 3D printing installation at the Brighton Jubilee Library.  A walk-in scanner that allows three dimensional models to be “printed” from it.  The price was £10 for a scan or £20 for a scan and a copy of the model to take home.

3d printer woman in scanner in Brighton Library

Earlier this month, you could have walked into the scanner ,,,

Brreak the mould 3d scanner frame at brighton jubilee library

… in this library







3d scanned image of person from Break the Mould jubilee library brighton

… and got a plastic figurine of yourself made


  • Blackman: ‘ringfence library budgets’ – BookSeller.  “She added that there is: “surely a strong argument for library services, and in particular children’s library services, to be ringfenced against such cuts”, and cited figures from Public Library News which show more than 105 libraries in the UK have been closed or left local authority control since April 2012. Blackman said: “Libraries switch children on to a love of reading, with all the ensuing benefits, and can make them lifelong readers. Without them, literacy may increasingly become the province of the lucky few, rather than the birthright of everyone”
  • Could Banning Books Actually Encourage More Readers? – NPR (USA). “What do the books “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Invisible Man” and Anne Frank’s diary have in common? They’ve all been banned from libraries. On Sunday, the American Library Association begins its annual recognition of Banned Books Week. Tell Me More host Michel Martin talks to former ALA president Loriene Roy about targeted books, and efforts to keep them on shelves.”

“The decision on the name was always going to be in the hands of members, requiring a two-thirds majority vote. Members have had their say and as a result the name doesn’t change. It isn’t disappointing for anyone at CILIP that members have used their vote and had their say. A question was raised at the AGM by a member about the motion relating to Ed Vaizey, along the lines that they had concerns about the motion as they thought it may instruct Council not to have any further dealings with the Minister – this was confirmed by the proposer of the motion not to be the case. As an organisation we need to engage with more not less people of influence – including politicians in all UK parliaments in a range of departments and parties. As John [Dolan – Ed.] said there’s never been a more important time to advocate for our members skills, expertise and professionalism and this is what we will continue to do.” Mark Taylor via email: CILIP on the decision at AGM to reject the proposed name and also to vote no confidence in Ed Vaizey.

  • So what are libraries for then? – LGC Plus. Grace Kempster from Northamptonshire Libraries describes their strategy to keep libraries open – Libraries are in charge of children’s centres in the authority, helped 575 people set up a business, have job clubs and friends groups as “the norm”. “The focus is not on borrowing, but about people feeling connected – to localities, to their potential and that of their families and to help needed at key times. ” .. “We will be at least 30% non-state sourced by 2016 and our frontline staff for LibraryPlus will spend more time with people than on processes.”

“This ethos is not just about co-location, it’s about why the council needs libraries. We explored trust status but our chief executive responded: why put at arms length my ace card? Why lose this insight? Why miss the opportunity to connect? In short, LibraryPlus is the solution, not the problem.”

Local news

  • Birmingham – Bold and beautiful: the new Library of Birmingham – New Statesman. An article in praise of the new library that can hardly believe it managed to be opened in this time of austerity.  “As we passed a group of sightseers, one touched Houben’s sleeve and said, “This is beautiful. I love it. Thank you.” In these conflicted times, you might think it’s impossible to find a story that’s incontrovertibly good news. This seems to be it.”
  • Cambridgeshire – More than 40 banned from Cambridgeshire libraries over swearing and drunkenness – Cambridge News. “More than 200 incidents of anti-social behaviour have been reported at council libraries over the past three years.” … “There have been 39 acts of vandalism at libraries since 2010 as well as 21 thefts. The number of people banned from libraries in 2010 was 11, increasing to 16 the following year then back down to a dozen last year and there have been five so far this year.”
  • Essex – Colchester town library to temporarily shut for six weeks – Daily Gazette. “The temporary closure was scheduled for facility improvements including the installation of new lifts allowing customers with disabilities access to all floors of the building.”
  • Kent – Payday loan websites could be blocked at all Kent libraries as Kent County Council investigates concerns about huge interest rates – Kent Online. “the Advertising Association has warned a ban could set a dangerous precedent. Chief executive Tim Lefroy said: “Payday loans have no shortage of critics but advertising is covered by two highly competent, well-respected regulators. These moves [by councils] would set a dangerous precedent. Outdoor advertising contracts represents millions of pounds invested in councils.”
  • Lancashire – Campaign launched at Lancashire libraries for improved reading – LEP. “Running from today, and called You Are What You Read, the advertising campaign features images of children wearing cartoon hats symbolising three aspirational careers – airline pilot, surgeon and academic. The adverts will feature on billboards, buses and posters, as well as being advertised in schools and children’s centres across the county”
  • Lincolnshire – Books Not Cuts! The big march through Lincoln – Helena Pielichaty’s diary of a children’s writer. “It takes a lot to get a writer to leave the comfort of their imagination and go out into the real world but on Saturday I had no choice. I joined 400 other people from Lincoln on a protest march against the council’s drastic proposals to cut their library service. I say cut – I mean destroy.”

“We did get some strange looks from shoppers as we walked through the city centre chanting ‘Books not cuts!’ but most smiled when they saw why we were there and many applauded.”

  • Lincolnshire – Letter: Cuts are based on incorrect figures – Bourne Local.  “The library consultation is based on unreliable, often incorrect statistics. As reported, the county council proposes to cut the mobile library service to Thurlby because their statistics say there are “fewer than 100 houses.” There are 968 homes in Thurlby.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire public library service – Good Library Blog. “The last published CIPFA figures for Lincolnshire show that the County Council allocated £11.0 million pounds for the operation of the library service, Out of that amount they took back £4.2 million pounds as a contribution to paying the council overheads – the general HR department, tax collecting, council systems etc, That means that in reality they tried to operate 59 libraries with £6.8 m – and that has to pay for all the library management and some quite large libraries as well as small ones, in seeking to make savings of £2m instead of examining and reducing the overhead charges they propose to close half the libraries”
  • Liverpool – Earl of Wessex opens Liverpool’s Central Library – Liverpool Echo. “Speaking before the unveiling, Prince Edward said: “I am really here to say farewell to Joyce as it’s her last day in library services. “I have to say I think Joyce has strode through the most extraordinary reinvention of a city library. “The space she had managed to create is absolutely fantastic.””
  • Moray – Equality Commission to consider Moray Council library decision – Northern Scot. “”The response from the Commission will clearly be important in guiding those of us opposed to this shocking decision. “People from across Scotland have been speaking of their disbelief at the decision by Moray’s Tory and Independent councillors, including many prominent authors such as Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland.”
  • Sheffield – Clegg’s anger at library threat – Star. “Mr Clegg said: “All local councils are under pressure to save money thanks to the previous Labour government crashing the economy, but I’m hugely disappointed Sheffield’s Labour councillors have chosen to protect office refurbishments and consultants over local libraries. “As the MP for Sheffield Hallam I’m particularly saddened. I suspect when they came to deciding priority, Labour were motivated by political spite rather than looking at how much a particular library is used by the local community.””
  • Suffolk – Lowestoft library to stage literary festival – EDP 24. “he Friends of Lowestoft Library are holding their first literary festival on Saturday, September 28, with a number of local authors giving talks about their work and taking part in book-signing sessions. Jayne-Marie Barker, Terry Tarbox, Suzan Collins, Ruth Dugdall, Patricia van Stratum, Ian Robb and Nicola Upson will all be involved in the day of event and Rebeccah Giltrow, who is a member of the Friends, will be compering part of the festival and showing her own work.” ,,, “As well as engaging local people in reading activities, the Friends of Lowestoft Library are looking to raise money to support the library and the services it provides in the local community.”