There will be elections for the important CILIP Council positions this year as more candidates have stood than places.  These voluntary posts are vital for the direction of the organisation which provides essential official representation for the public library profession in the media and other places.  Councillors are also the guides behind initiatives, which can be good or (and the unpopular renaming process springs to mind here) bad.  The aggro that these CILIP volunteers can receive is perhaps one reason that no-one has stood to become Vice-President (and this President next year) this year.  It remains to be seen how this is resolved.

Neil Gaiman has been, as well as a brilliant writer, a high profile supporter of public libraries for many years. He has described himself as being raised as  a “feral child” raised by librarians. So his speech tomorrow in the invitation-only second Reading Agency Annual Lecture on libraries at the Barbican Centre should definitely be one to pay attention to.  I look forward to reporting on it soon.




  • Candidates for CILIP Council trigger election – CILIP. “Nominations were received from Andy Dawson, John Dolan, Tom Roper, Karen McFarlane, David McMenemy and David Stewart. The role of Vice-President received no nominations and a decision about how to proceed will be made by the Elections Panel and CILIP Council in accordance with the bye-laws and will be announced shortly.”

“We are still waiting for the DCMS to deliver the promised public consultations both on extending the PLR scheme to ebooks and audio books and on closing the Advisory Council on Libraries which is prescribed in the 1964 Act even though the Minister announced its closure two years ago. Is there a reason that these public consultations are overdue or has the DCMS parked them in the “too difficult” tray. Surely an explanation is due from the Minister.” Desmond Clarke via email.

  • Lucy Tobin: Don’t let the rules of the road get lost in translation – London Evening Standard. “The Department of Communities reckons the public sector spends nearly £100 million a year on translation services. That money would be better spent on the libraries and schools that help immigrants to learn English” … “my local library is bulging with leaflets on tax credits and local services in myriad languages”
  • Michael Palin: people only realise the value of a library after it’s axed – Telegraph. “People only realise the value of a library after it’s been axed, Michael Palin has said, as he encourages communities to fight closures.” … “Palin, 70, was speaking ahead of a fundraising talk for Keats Community Library in North London, which opened following the closure of Heath Library by Camden Council.”

  • Wot no books? A documentary on saving Stony Stratford Library, one of the key library campaigns so far.
  • Neil Gaiman to give our next annual lecture on the future of reading and libraries – Reading Agency. “Our inaugural lecture was given by Jeanette Winterson in November in 2012. The lecture aims to provide a platform for leading writers and thinkers to share original, challenging ideas about reading and libraries as we explore how to create a reading culture in a radically changed 21st century landscape. In his lecture Neil Gaiman will address the future of reading and libraries with a particular focus on young people. The invited audience will include leaders from government, libraries, publishing, education, the creative industries and culture; and many authors who are champions of libraries and support our work.” [So it’s a shame that Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ Banned at New Mexico High School – Library Journal (USA)]
  • People’s Palace in Every Town Savita Kalhan – Edge. “Well, not everyone can get to the palace. There are people everywhere, most of whom live miles away from a super library. They would be happy enough with a smaller local library, and it is the local library that is under threat. We need a people’s palace in every town, one that everyone can get to.”
  • Reading groups for blind and partially sighted people – Reading Agency. “Anyone should be able to join or set up a reading group whether blind, partially sighted or sighted. Here a few helpful tips from RNIB to consider.”
  • Speak up for Libraries Conference 23/11/13; Resisting, Improving and Promoting – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “For those who see their local library closed it can be devastating and there are many more who manage to save the building but have a gun put to their heads and told “run your library or we’ll close it”, but this is leading to a two-tier and fragmented service, many are not happy doing it but don’t see any other choice. Many more are marching and protesting against the cuts, setting up friends and campaign groups and mounting legal challenges. And this is why ‘Speak up for Libraries’ is crucial, SUFL brings together campaigners, users, union members and library professionals, not only to fight to save library services but also to improve and promote them.”
  • You can get more out of public services for less – Sunday Times (behind paywall but free via your local library).  Camilla Cavendish uses the [in my opinion, methodologically suspect – Ed.] recent BBC survey to argue that the public don’t see a link between public services and cuts in council spending. Triborough: “”Sharing library management means residents can borrow a book in one borough and return it in another, getting access to a million books”

“On careful re-reading, I notice Ms Cavendish is not shy to reveal her party-political bias throughout the piece.  You may agree that this has detracted from the objectivity of any message she was attempting to convey.  Also, where did she get her  “less than 5%”  library closures figure from?  Is her mention of cafes helping to fund libraries anything new?  And why is it worthy of comment (out of all context) that a library in Rutland has merged with a GP’s surgery?” Shirley Burnham via email.

International news

  • CUPE praises public libraries during Guelph event – Guelph Mercury (Canada). Union members hand out pro-library material during Libraries Month. “today’s libraries offer much more in addition to books. That includes digital devices and services, special events like story-telling, literacy aids, research archives, reading programs and related expertise, as well as some public gatherings.”
  • Librarian Shaming – Tumblr.  Librarians can anonymously confess to their shame e.g. using google/wikipedia, eating cake meant for library users, never having read the Harry Potter books.
  • Library surprise honors Scranton mayor – Times-Tribune (USA). “The Rev. Rees F. Warring, a member of the board of directors since 1983, told a group gathered at the library that Mr. Doherty’s work creating the Scranton Reads initiative, which champions a specific book each year, as well as his push for an additional branch library in Scranton, had a lasting impact on the community. More importantly, the Rev. Warring said Mr. Doherty was a driving force in the creation of the Scranton Public Library Authority, which moved the deed of the Albright Memorial Library from the city to library officials.”
  • New breed of teen-services librarians emerges – Boston Globe (USA). “Escobar is one of a mushrooming corps of librarians in Greater Boston working to put books in the hands of young readers. She is part of an increasingly visible group that has almost doubled in size in the past 13 years. At 5,200 members, the Young Adult Library Services Association is the fastest-growing professional organization in the field.” … ““At this age, the books [teens] read really mean something to them,” she said. “This is our last chance to make readers.””
  • Surprise! It’s the Golden Age of Libraries – Policymic (USA) “Queens Borough Public Library, alongside the Chicago Public Library and the Scottsdale Public Library, are reimagining the library as a digital space; one where books will no longer be the focal point.”.  Many participators in MOOCs rely on libraries as do those requiring quiet study space, free wifi and help without having to buy a coffee every hour. “In part, the defunding of public libraries is easy because libraries are no longer about collections; they are about connections.”

“As the books slowly disappear, and the university campus becomes virtual, it is essential that digital libraries maintain a prominent public space for local collaboration.”

  • What to Do When a Book is Being Challenged in Your Library – Center for Children’s Books (USA). Resources for the US [Thankfully, the UK does not overly suffer from this problem – Ed.]
  • Why We Should Let Go of Nostalgia and Embrace the Evolution of Libraries – Huffington Post. “… libraries are not what they were in my youth. They are evolving. And their evolution is causing consternation to some of those who share my memories and expectations of what a library ought to be. Indeed, only the other day I read Peter Mandell’sHuffington Post piece lamenting the loss of the traditional library full of dusty books and severe librarians growling “shhhhhh” if you dared to whisper.” … three “modern libraries of course all have books. But what they really have in common — besides much-lauded architecture and cool views from the top floor — are bright, airy communal spaces, rows of computers, shelves of DVDs, desks to help people apply for various community services/benefits, and teenagers loudly chatting on bean bags. The books feel rather secondary to these other attributes, and I just can’t decide whether to feel sad about it.”

“Libraries were once invented as repositories of books, and evolved as places of learning, and they still are. But they need funding, and they need customers, and for that, they need to be relevant to as many people as possible. As such, they are evolving and innovating with the times and providing valuable services their community wants and needs.”


  • E-readers and other issues: a workshop – London, 26th November evening. Free to CILIP members, £10 otherwise. “Helen Leech is leading a workshop which will explore the range of e-readers currently available to consumers, along with the challenges which e-books and e-lending present to public libraries.  As well as guiding Surrey Library Service’s initiatives on e-lending, Helen is co-chair of Shelf Free (www.shelffree.org.uk), a national group trying to raise awareness of the problems of e-lending in public libraries and she’s been working with the Society of Chief Librarians on this issue.  She is also involved in the e-books section of the online course ‘23 Things’.  For more information and to book a place please contact Helen Renson:  helen.renson at brighton-hove.gov.uk,
  • Lean!  Libraries as Customer Value Catalysts – Northampton, 21s November (9.45-15.45), £90 inc. refreshments. “This one-day conference will showcase examples of library services that are moving from process to people, by re-designing what they do and by embracing partnerships with growing ambition and boldness. Public library services are facing up to the challenge of getting maximum value from resources – to offer better services and lower costs.  ‘Lean thinking’ can be a powerful tool to achieve this.  In turn, being driven by customer value leads library services to examine and consider how best to engage in partnerships for greater impact – going from ‘lean’ to ‘leaning on each other’ for mutual support and growth. ” Book via  www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/libraryasset

Local news

  • Birmingham – Council services firm making £58,400-a-day – Birmingham Mail. “Councillors and MPs have called for the city’s contract with firm Service Birmingham to be scrapped after its profits soared by 52 per cent. Despite the city council’s finances struggling under the weight of cuts the Capita-led firm saw pre-tax profits last year of £21.3 million – up from £14 million during the previous 12 months.” … “98 per cent of the profits of Service Birmingham have gone direct to Capita in £45 million in dividends. The other shareholders, the citizens of Birmingham, get next to nothing from the profits out of their shares”
  • Birmingham – Garden of the week: Rooftop terrace at Birmingham’s stunning new library – Express. “not often that urban gardens are truly impressive, but Birmingham is spot on with The Secret Garden, an excellent roof terrace on the seventh floor of the city’s wonderful new library.” … “Volunteers will continue to maintain the gardens, and many of these have been sponsored by Birmingham Library for a training scheme at the University of Birmingham’s Winterbourne House and Garden.”
  • Camden – Helen Fielding chooses Primrose Hill library to launch latest Bridget Jones bestseller – Ham and High, ““There’s something really lovely about this community,” she said, as she exclusively launched her new novel Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy at an event hosted in association with Primrose Hill Community Library. “This is why I wanted to launch the book here – these are my friends, this is where I live and this is my local library.” … “To top it all off, proceeds from the event went to the Primrose Hill Community Library, which is now run by some 70 regular volunteers since having its funding pulled last year.”
  • Croydon – Campaigners fear for future of Croydon libraries uncertain after facilities outsourced – Save Croydon Libraries. Hopes that Laing does a better job running local libraries than the Council did, noting failures with computer and with publicity,
  • Croydon – Gallery pops up to the aid of Upper Norwood Library – Inside Croydon. ““I am very keen to support such a worthy cause as the Upper Norwood Joint Library while showcasing art to the wider Crystal Palace community. “
  • Lincolnshire – December D-day date for Lincs library plans – Market Rasen Mail.
  • Manchester – Exclusive pictures: First look as Manchester Central Library restoration nears completion – Manchester Evening News. “The long-awaited £48m transformation of Manchester Central Library is now just six months from completion.” … “more natural light, more air, more berths to sit down and read – and, beneath the magnificent stained glass of Shakespeare Hall, spaces for community groups and young artists to use.”. Council hopes to have double the visitors when library reopens in March 2014.
  • Manchester – Volunteers save Burnage Library after council cuts threatened its future – Manchester Evening News. “Burnage Library was one of six to be scaled back after Manchester council’s budget was slashed by the government. Now a deal has been struck that will see the Friends of Burnage Library group take over its day-to-day running from the end of the month. Council library staff will be on hand for about 15 hours a week at the newly-christened Burnage Library, Activity and Information Hub”
  • Moray – Cabinet Secretary to ask Moray Council to reconsider Libraries closures – Inside Moray. “A letter appealing for a change of heart from Moray Council over their decision to close seven Libraries in Moray is to be issued by the Scottish Government cabinet secretary responsible for culture and external affairs. Fiona Hyslop MSP has written to the SNP group at Moray Council expressing her support for their stance against library closures, adding that she is now considering the message the decision is sending to the rest of Scotland about the value of library services.”.  But “Acknowledging that the Scottish Government held no statutory powers over the provision of library services, in her letter the cabinet secretary added:”
  • Moray – Protesters deliver message to Moray Council – Northern Scot. “Opponents of the Western Link Road planned by the council and communities fighting to save their libraries joined forces. The marchers, bearing placards and slogans, walked from New Elgin to the Plainstones in the centre of Elgin. A crowd of several hundred campaigners took part in the good natured protest.”
  • Northern Ireland – Week of events as library ushers in 125th birthday – News Letter. “One of the most recognisable buildings in Belfast city centre is celebrating 125 years in existence.  Belfast Central Library survived the twin horrors of the Blitz and the Troubles, and in honour of its latest auspicious anniversary it will be hosting a programme of free events for the public.”
  • North Yorkshire – Anger over new uniforms for cash-strapped Skipton Library – Craven Herald. “to be issued with uniform shirts or T-shirts so they can be recognised by members of the public. It will bring the High Street library in line with others across the county. The dark blue or lilac shirts bear the North Yorkshire County Council logo and are provided to all library staff and volunteers at an annual cost of around £12,000.” and  £38,000 every two or three years on supplying the shirts.”

“One member of staff, who wished not to be named, said: “This is totally ridiculous when the library service is pleading poverty and closing branches all over the place.”

  • Oxfordshire – Democracy Delusion 3.0 – Question Everything. “The pieces I have pulled together show that most undemocratically, David Cameron, the leader of the conservative party and MP for Witney, intervened and the council back tracked on their first plan for cuts and came back with another flawed analysis of the data that suggested other libraries would be cut and would be ran by his widely discredited big society. The problem is Dave hasn’t done anything in his life outside of politics or PR so he has no idea what libraries do, he piled in, without a mandate and prescribed a policy that doesn’t save money, doesn’t save libraries and he has left the mess for others who have refused to clean it up because of the s((tbox that is politics.”.  Also records councillor saying consultaiton is a sham.
  • Portsmouth – Eager readers rise to the challenge in style – News. Creepy House summer reading Challenge: “This year has been the most successful ever, with more than 1,500 children completing the challenge. That’s one in 10 primary school pupils and an increase of 27 per cent on last year’s figures.”

“Children were really excited by this year’s “Creepy House” theme and we’re delighted that so many children have taken part this year, reading over 9,000 books,’ he said. ‘We were able to send our librarians out to every primary school in the city as well just before the summer holidays. ‘That carried real excitement around the challenge and got everybody inspired.”

  • Portsmouth – Tracy Beaker author ready to delight fans – News.”Marie Telford from Hayling Island Bookshop, which is organising the book festival with Portsmouth City Council library service, said: ‘Dame Jacqueline is a strong and consistent supporter of both independent bookshops and library services so we are delighted that she has agreed to support us with this event.”
  • Sheffield – Clegg’s anger over library closure threat – Sheffield Telegraph. “Meeting members of the ‘Save Totley Library’ campaign, he said: “You have no idea how angry I am. In the grand scheme of things library funding is very little money for a huge benefit, and tiny compared to the money they’re wasting on other things such as refurbishments and consultants.””
  • Sheffield – I prefer a library to a council office makeover – Star. “I think our council need to look closely at how they spend their money, as I am sure the majority of the communities across Sheffield would prefer a library to a council office makeover.”
  • Somerset – Sound workshop at Shepton Library – Shepton Mallet Journal. Shepton Mallet Library is “a place where silence is usually golden, is hosting a workshop about the science of sound. The library has teamed up with the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) and the University of Bath to organise a family learning event: What’s all the noise about?” Limited to ten places
  • Suffolk – Council should not pass up a chance to help our library – Ipswich Star. “A new item which has appeared on the “planning gain” list is a contribution towards extra library facilities. Councillors were asked to approve 190 homes at Walton Green South, Felixstowe. The county council said Trinity College, Cambridge, should contribute £84,240 towards library facilities for the increasing population. Sadly Suffolk Coastal said “it is not felt that there is appropriate justification” for a contribution. So more than 500 people will live in these properties and will expect access to books, CDs, DVDs, computers and activities at Felixstowe Library and the chance to get some extra cash towards these facilities is being rejected.”
  • Sunderland – Final chapter:  Condemned Sunderland libraries close their doors today – Sunderland Echo. “Elaine Palmer, from Southwick, said the closure of her local library in Beaumont Street would leave children from less well-off families without access to books. Elaine regularly visited the library with son Andrew, nine, and daughter Carrie Anne, seven. She said: “My children go to Grange Park Primary School, and since my son started reception, the school has been very much about improving literacy and getting children to read, and obviously in this kind of area, in order to get the children to continue to read you need a library.”
  • Sunderland – Library occupation ends peacefully – Sunderland Echo. “Southwick Library was due to shut its doors at 5pm, but it was gone six by the time protesters from the Hands Off Sunderland Libraries group left the building. Organiser Gary Duncan said: “We have achieved what we set out to do and kept the library open beyond the scheduled closure time. “Children and elderly residents could not use the toilet, so we had a meeting to determine what to do, and the consensus was that we should walk out in a dignified manner. “The campaign is not over, it goes on from here. We are going to reopen the library.””
  • Sunderland – Nine libraries set to shut doors in Sunderland – First News. Nine libraries to close.  “The closures come after World Book Week, and will reportedly savve Sunderland City Council £850,000. Hundreds of libraries are thought to have been closed across the UK in the past few years. Nine-year-old Ross Newton-Taylor visits his local library every day. He was told directly by Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson that his campaign to keep it open hadn’t worked. “Libraries are important because they help children to learn,” Ross told First News. He added that closing libraries will “stop the young people from learning”.”