Following on from outsourcing yesterday, we have a bit of a co-location theme going on in this post instead.  The big item is the news that Crewe Library – a big library and the only one in the town – may be demolished, with the services moved into a “Lifestyle Centre”.  If this is the first you’d heard of it, don’t worry, because it seems Crewe councillors were pretty surprised as well and it’s shaping up to be an unpopular move.  Mind you, it appears as nothing compared to what is happening in Bury where two-thirds of the ground floor of the central library is being converted into a – get this – sculpture centre.  It seems that the good people of that town, while fully no doubt appreciating the intrinsic pleasure of shaping materials, really quite fancy a place to get books out instead. The knitters ain’t happy either.

Actually, there are a lot of good things about moving libraries into other buildings or vice versa.  It just needs to be thought about a bit, with the library services not being treated as an afterthought and shoved in a corner somewhere. But what we’re seeing at the moment – and it is perhaps too early to really know about the Crewe and Bury plans so I’m not including them in this – sometimes smacks too much of urgent budget cuts and thinking public libraries are not being used because one doesn’t use them oneself.  Well, think longer term guys. Do some research, perhaps on the digital divide or about the effect of reading on literacy and social welfare and a plethora of other things, before you treat libraries as something that can be pushed around.  Because, if that groundwork is done, then everyone wins and the money can be saved and services can gain from eachother.  And, if the groundwork isn’t done, then it’s a mess and the electorate will know who to blame.



  • Detroit’s Heartbreaking Bankruptcy, Told Through Stunning Photos of One Public Library – Policy Mic (USA). “
  • The mass exodus of people has left the city with roughly 700,000 residents, nearly half of what it was a half century ago; unemployment has doubled over the past ten years; fires plague the streets; and there are abandoned houses with for sale signs and no residents. But most surprising of all, are the abandoned libraries, once housing priceless collections of books, that now look decapitated and ransacked. Photographer Brandon Davis explored what was once known as the Mark Twain Branch of the Detroit Public Libraries before it was demolished. He took these stunning photographs.”

  • Neil Gaiman Reading Agency lecture 2013 – Full video of speech.  “On 14 October Neil Gaiman delivered our second annual lecture at the Barbican Centre. To read the full transcript visithttp://readingagency.org.uk/news/blog….”
  • Carillion Buy John Laing Integrated Services – Chiswickw4. “Hounslow Council was the first public authority to outsource management of its library and culture portfolio to a private sector organisation. The company was tasked with making efficiencies across several areas including library staffing, book purchases and hours of operation and building maintenance of the borough’s eleven libraries.”

“Just last month JLIS signed a contract to manage 23 libraries and home services on behalf of Ealing and Harrow. At the time, JLIS Managing Director, Tim Grier said: “Our contract with the London Boroughs of Ealing and Harrow is a tremendous opportunity for JLIS and our partners to deliver real efficiencies that support the continuation and improvement of library services across London. In addition to the contract with the London Boroughs of Ealing and Harrow, JLIS also currently provides library services to the neighbouring borough of Hounslow and will begin a similar contract for the London Borough of Croydon in October. We are delighted to be working with the London Boroughs of Ealing and Harrow to support their strategic aims for the future and fundamentally, to provide an excellent library service to the Ealing and Harrow communities”. The new deal was signed on 18th October and up to 1,500 staff have transferred over to Carillion.” Ealing Today

  • John Laing Integrated Services bought out just weeks after taking control of Croydon libraries – Guardian series. “The contractor hired to run Croydon’s libraries has been bought out by another firm just weeks after taking control. John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS), which began an eight-year contract to run the borough’s 13 libraries three weeks ago, was taken over by facilities management company Carillion on Friday. It means Wolverhampton-based Carillion will take charge of JLIS’s 1,500 staff, including Croydon’s library staff. A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “We’re in dialogue with Carillion to work through the implications of this announcement.”
  • Marketing Excellence Event 2013 – CILIP. Friday 8th November in Birmingham. “We will be running our annual Marketing Excellence seminar in Birmingham on Friday 8th November 2013. At this year’s event, lively speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds will talk about how they have successfully improved the usage of their library service and the ways in which those services are used. They will share their strategies, advice and best practice and there will be time for questions and discussions. The PPRG will also present their Marketing Excellence awards 2013 and you will hear about the winning projects.”
  • Watch Out For Vampires In London Libraries – Londonist. “During Halloween week some of London’s most atmospheric libraries become the spooky setting for an inventive telling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Open Book Theatre aims to bring classic novels to life in library spaces. This is its inaugural performance. Young children and the faint of heart are cautioned to stay away. It’s an immersive performance but sharpened stakes will be confiscated at the door. What lurks behind the stacks and under the counter? Dare you venture to Tooting on Halloween itself? Get your tickets now for the following performances:”

Local news

  • Brent – Visitors to Wembley Library 150 per cent higher ‘compared’ to last year – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The new library, located in the £90m civic centre in Engineers Way, attracted 146,367 people through their doors between July and September compared to 59,256 at the old branch in Forty Avenue during the same period last year. The number of books being loaned has also increased during that period from 28,607 at the old branch to 52,016 at the state-of-the art reading room. The library, which opened on June 17, also offers visitors free Wi-Fi, use of iPads, DVDs, online magazines and free internet access. It is open seven days a week.”

“Gone are the days of silent, stuffy reading rooms that only open from to five, Monday to Friday. Today’s Brent libraries are cutting edge schools of learning and fun which embrace modern technology and have adapted to fit the busy lifestyles of local residents.” Cllr Roxanne Mashar

  • Bury – Knitters’ fury at plan for library – Bury Times. “Bury Knit and Natter meets at the library every Monday, and is worried that the plans may mean the venue is no longer suitable for its needs. Bury Council previously announced plans to locate the centre in the Bury Library, Museum and Art Gallery complex in Moss Street, which would affect the ground floor layout of the library, taking up two-thirds of the area.”.  Council says declining use and budget cuts mean sculpture centre better option.

“An online petition against the sculpture centre has now reached over 200 signatures, and Sue Smith, of Gigg Lane, who set up the petition, says more than 600 signatures have been collected in a paper version. She added: “We want the council to change its mind — the general consensus is that nobody wants this sculpture centre.”

  • Cheshire East – Library could be bulldozed for lifestyle centre – Crewe Chronicle. “Angry Crewe councillors have demanded to know why they were the last to learn the town’s library could be demolished as part of the lifestyle centre plans. Crewe members were clearly annoyed at Thursday’s meeting of  Cheshire East’s full council when Independent group leader Brendan Murphy questioned why  the council was being asked to approve an additional £1m spend  for the proposed lifestyle centre.”

“When are we going to be consulted in Crewe about knocking our library down? I only yesterday read the most excellent report you could ever wish to read about  our town library”

“Libraries are at the heart of local communities and these days they offer much more than a facility for borrowing books. They are a meeting place for young families through the Rhythm and Rhyme programme, they provide computer classes and internet access as well as access to Benefits Clubs and Health in Mind programmes.”

  • Sheffield – Fight to save threatened Sheffield libraries a family affair – Sheffield Telegraph. “Matt Kik, of Save Totley Library, which organised a family fun day to highlight services for youngsters at the branch, said the offer could be extended to all 16 sites. He said: “It would cost about £140,000 for the council to extend the offer to cover running costs at all branches – provided volunteers could be found to run them. “This is not a large sum, which could surely be found.””
  • South Gloucestershire – One Stop Shop moves to Thornbury library – Gazette Series. “One Stop Shop will operate from the town library starting on Monday. South Gloucestershire Council’s advice service will move permanently to the library on St Mary Street on October 28.”