UK national news

“Though denied the oxygen of publicity, members of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals – not the most militant bunch in normal circumstances – has enthusiastically passed a vote of no confidence in Vaizey. This will not surprise him. The other day he was overheard admitting to an aide that he is “completely useless”. So on one level, he and the library rebels agree”

  • Libraries and Librarians in Horror Movies – OEDB. “Here are five horror movies that feature libraries and librarians.” – Horror of Dracula, Bad kids go to hell, Necronomicon, Ninth Gate and Chainsaw Sally. “Sally Diamon is an unassuming librarian by day, and a vengeful serial killer by night in this 2004 horror flick.”.  Bonus: Ghostbusters.
  • Public libraries in the recession: the librarian’s axiom – Emerald Insight. “This paper outlines the results of research analysing the impact of the recession of 2008-2009 on public libraries in the Midlands region of the UK. Specifically, it explores the validity of James’ “librarian’s axiom” in this context, which proposes that use of public libraries increases during a recession” … “The results show that the credit crunch had an impact on use of public libraries in the Midlands, thus supporting James’ axiom. The principal finding is that more people used libraries during the recession, particularly for job-seeking activities, advice and training. It also emerged that public libraries recognised that the credit crunch provided them with an opportunity to promote their free and low-cost activities, as well as develop new services to respond to the information needs of library users in a recession.
  • Reading Agency teams up with BBC Radio 2 Book Club – Reading Agency (press release). “he Reading Agency is delighted to announce that it will be working with the BBC Radio 2 Book Club from Spring 2014 in a drive to involve more people in inspiring reading experiences. The charity runs a Reading Groups for Everyone campaign as part of its mission to help everyone become enthusiastic readers, and is setting up a special new book selection panel for the Radio 2 Book Club with public library and Reading Agency staff from across the UK. Publishers are invited to submit – by 16 October for possible Spring 2014 coverage on the Book Club – their best two fiction books per imprint that they think are most likely to appeal to Radio 2’s 15.4 million strong audience.”

“Just a quick comment on your analysis of the BBC survey ‘Public service Cuts – did we notice?’ – While I agree that the survey findings are weak because of the low level of the sample – the real story is:  (1) that  17% of the population hve experienced a drop in the quality of service provided by libraries. It doesn’t matter that 20% think the service has got better, because their experience doesn’t cancel out the experience of the people who have a poorer service. (2) The BBC effectively conceals this drop in service by the way their analysis is presented: “With recycling for instance, 12% think it has got worse, but 48% think services are better, giving a score of plus 36 percentage points.” While it is a survey of opinion, it is not an opinion poll in the way that a survey of voting intentions is, where intentions translate into votes. Just because the service in say London has improved it doesn’t mean that the service in Cambridgeshire has got better. It is an interesting question as to why the BBC chose to present the results in this way. ” Martyn Everett via email

  • Report shows just ten minutes’ reading a day boosts school achievement – National Literacy Trust. “A new report from the Oxford University Press has highlighted the importance of parents reading with their children. As little as ten minutes a day can make a significant difference to achievement levels, it claims.  The report, Books Beyond Bedtime, also draws on our research which shows that children who read outside of class are 13 times more likely to read above the expected level for their age.”
  • Summary – Across Library Sectors – #uklibchat. Summary of July’s twitter chat that brought together librarians from all sectors.  Some interesting comments and insight about public libraries.  Very useful if you’re thinking of moving to another library sector.
  • Super-libraries herald a new age in the life of a humble institution – Guardian / Local Leaders Network. “The number of people visiting libraries is in decline, and councils have been forced to make cuts, rationalise services, and divest assets. Rather than acting as an exemplar for what’s possible, super-libraries have become shining examples of the growing inequality in the standards and sustainability of library provision across the country.” … ” the emergence of a two-tier library system seems likely” .. “We should remember that libraries are an institution in transition, and that we are living in a time when the future of the library is still being debated and decided.”. Lists the Arts Council England “Envisioning” points as a useful guide to what is needed [The writer of the articles works for OPM which was employed by ACE on the project – Ed.]
  • Wales’s cultural landscape is being bulldozed by cuts – Guardian / Comment is Free. “To residents of south Wales, it seems like councils are rushing to close and downsize art galleries, libraries and museums in spite of public opposition, just to make a short-term economic gain .” … “With even fewer libraries in areas where parents can barely afford school uniforms and food bank use is booming , without access to books and IT facilities, children’s education will inevitably suffer.” … “Closing libraries and museums, the very symbols of cultural aspiration in a region with a proud autodidact tradition, means children who, like me, grew up in workless families have even fewer free leisure facilities open.”

International news

  • Call for participation at sister libraries programme – NAPLE Sister Libraries (EU). “The NAPLE Sister Libraries programme seeks to help libraries foster cooperation links in themes they are both interested in. This could also be a great opportunity for libraries serving multicultural populations whose origin is in another European country to improve their services to these communities and to help foster links with the countries of origin as well as to introduce the language, culture, etc of these groups to the local population. The programme is open to public libraries situated in any of the participating NAPLE countries/regions that wish to find a partner library in another country in order to establish a cooperation programme. Right now the libraries that can participate are those situated in Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Library Experience: Things I Wish I Could Tell My Librarian – Librarian in the cloud (USA).  Customer service suggestions like looking at what Starbucks and Disney do.
  • More than 3 out of 4 public libraries in the U.S. serve communities of less than 25,000 people – LRS (USA). “As might be expected, rural areas have more difficulty obtaining broadband access than their urban counterparts. However, rural libraries are working to ease this divide by increasing the number of public access computers” … “both rural and small libraries have seen increases in overall circulation and visitation from FY2009 to FY2011. In fact, visits per capita are higher at rural and small libraries—7.6 visits per year and 5.5 visits per year—than at their more urban and larger (serving 25,000+) counterparts at 5.7 visits per year and 4.5 visits per year, respectively.”

UK news by authority

  • Brent – New venue for councillor’s surgery as Lib Dem Leader forced to leave old Barham Park – Brent Council Liberal Democrats. “For years Councillor Lorber has held his surgeries in the Barham Lounge – part of the Barham Park complex of buildings gifted to local people by Titus Barham in the 1930s. However following Labour’s closure of Barham Park library Labour councillors have sought to rent out the former library space and make other changes to the buildings.”
  • Brent – October 2013 – Brent Libraries monthly newsletter. “Our target for joiners of the Summer Reading Challenge was 4,431 children, and we achieved 4,483 sign ups across Brent libraries. The target set for finishers was 2,360 and once again we wanted to do even better with 2,401” … “Word Up” celebration of Black History Month … temporary location for Willesden Library during rebuilding (full details here) … World Mental Health Day events … Books on Wheels volunteers … online newspapers … survey … winner of competition … Tamil reading group.
  • Croydon – Campaigners fear for future of Croydon libraries uncertain after facilities outsourced – SW Londoner. “the future of Croydon’s libraries is uncertain as all 13 were outsourced to John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) in an eight year contract which started on the October 1.” … “Councillor Timothy Godfrey, the Labour Member for Selhurst Ward, said that Labour will terminate the contract with JLIS and develop the library service in co-operation with local residents if they win next year’s elections.” … ““The council has decimated the arts by privatising libraries and selling off the Riesco collection of Chinese pottery,” said Elizabeth Ash, founding member of the Save Croydon Libraries campaign and trustee of Speak Up For Libraries.”
  • Devon – Paws for a book: dogs helping kids – Devon County Council. “Barnstaple Library is very proud to have joined forces with Dogs Helping Kids to provide a programme that will improve children’s reading and communication skills by children reading to a highly trained D.H.K. School dog and its owner. The School Dogs who will be helping your child have been highly trained in the role of a DHK Listening Canine. These special dogs will be incredibly calm and happy to have an individual child read to them.” {If anyone else does this or similar please let me know – Ed.]

“Here at Barnstaple Library we are supporting DHK- dogs helping kids to read with weekly sessions and receiving some great feedback.” via email

“Every recent report (and not least application of common sense) on routes to help develop and sustain future economic vibrancy within town centres identifies the need to facilitate the presence of footfall providers, including libraries and surgeries, onto our High Streets.”

  • Lincolnshire – I am just as concerned as anyone over threat of library closures – This is Lincolnshire. “I know from my postbag and coverage in The Echo that a great many of my constituents are very concerned about proposals being put forward by the county council for the future of library services in Lincolnshire. So am I. I know that times are tough, but I have been encouraging the council to bend over backwards to try to keep as many of our libraries open as they can.” … “I very much hope solutions will be found to enable us all to continue to enjoy the facilities that the wonderful places our libraries are have to offer.”
  • Moray – Libraries campaign is set for debate at Holyrood – Save Our Libraries. “Banffshire and Buchan Coast SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson lodged a second parliamentary motion on the library closures that has so far received support from 25 MSP’s. Mr Stevenson’s motion follows an earlier submission from Highlands and Islands Independent MSP Jean Urquhart, which attracted support from 11 members at the Parliament. Parliamentary motions have a greater chance of sparking a debate in the Parliament when they have cross-party support. While MSP’s of most political groups at Holyrood have indicated their backing for the Save our Libraries Moray campaign against the closures, the response from Tory members has been described by the group as “luke warm”
  • Sheffield – Save Totley Library – Sheffield Council / Epetitions. “We the undersigned petition the Council to : maintain Totley Library as a community library if it is not able to be kept open as a hub. It is the only council funded public building serving Totley, Dore and Bradway and is a vital meeting place for pensioners and children, as well as many groups who meet there regularly.”
  • South Gloucestershire – Unison in possible strike action at libraries tomorrow – Gazette Series. “Unison, the largest trade union in the country, is planning further strikes on Friday, October 11. It follows strikes for the past two Saturdays where various public services were affected including libraries, health services and some council services. South Gloucestershire Unison is opposed to new contracts being imposed on South Gloucestershire Council staff which will cut pay for Saturday and night shifts. The union says some works will have their wages cut by 10 per cent as a result of the changes.”
  • Swindon – West Swindon Library Readers’ Group celebrates 10 years – Swindon Link. “Swindon Libraries run 16 groups in libraries and also support independent groups to run their own meetings in other locations.”