A couple of national initiatives are in the news today. The first is £450k to be spread amongst ten library services to boost local businesses.  The second is an invitation to tender from the Society of Chief Librarians for the e-lending pilots – even if you’re not directly interested, the document is useful to read to get an idea of the aims involved.  Neither gained the interest of the BBC which has a story about a group called “The Kindness Offensive” who are running what appears to be a volunteer-run library in Islington in what appears to be a gesture of well-meaning goodwill towards libraries and books in general. There are surreal aspects (Mr “Goodfellow”? Really) to the story and one suspects the paid library staff in Islington where it is based may not be entirely on-side with the development.  However, something we should all be on side with is having therapy dogs in libraries. Anyone who has these at their library, do please let me know (via ianlibrarian at live.co.uk).


  • 100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years – New York Public Library (USA).  Includes handy tick-box pdf.  See also item in Daily Mail (but watch out because some of the ancestors of the authors may have once hated Britain – Ed.)
  • All hail the public library – On the Commons (USA). Fort Worth Public Library has rebranded itself as Fort Worth Library “to keep up with the times”. Article suggests that it is precisely because of the times that the word “public” needs to be kept.  “In an age of greed and selfishness, the public library stands as an enduring monument to the values of cooperation and sharing. In an age where global corporations stride the earth, the public library remains firmly rooted in the local community. In an age of widespread cynicism and distrust of government, the 100 percent tax supported public library has virtually unanimous and enthusiastic support.” … “libraries make citizens out of us all” … “A truly public library is there for the long term. A private company has a short-term view.”.  Long readable article on the success of libraries in the US and problems associated with outsourcing.

“This is not the time to take the word “public” out of the public library. It is time to put it in capitals.”

  • Arts Council England announces the ten library services who will deliver economic growth in communities – Arts Council England. “The ten library services awarded funding today are: London Borough of Enfield (£45,000); Devon Libraries (£45,000); Portsmouth Central Library (£44,990); Haringey Libraries, Archives and Museum Service (£45,000); Norfolk Library and Information Service (£41,950); Hull City Council Library Service (£45,000); Northamptonshire Libraries (£45,000); Manchester City Council (£45,000); Cultural Community Solution (run by Hounslow – £45,000); Middlesbrough Libraries (£45,000)”

“Enterprising Libraries recognises that library services and spaces are ideally placed to work with local people and are about making information and advice freely available, in the heart of communities. It builds on the successful model of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre in London – which supports small businesses and entrepreneurs to protect their ideas and exploit new market opportunities through the provision of free access to up-to-the-minute business and intellectual property information and expertise” ACE

““Libraries are the ideal place for people to go and get support for their great ideas. They are now well placed to be the places that kickstart new business and school self-starters. Enterprising Libraries will ensure that the immense potential that exists in communities is tapped into and that local economic growth is supported across the country.” Eric Pickles

  • Beaverton City Library hosts Read to the Dogs: Beaverton best bet – Oregon Live (USA).  “More local libraries seem to be embracing the idea of welcoming dogs into their halls of books, because dogs listen without judgment. This provides a low-stress environment for young readers, as well as a new friend.”Children can book 20 minute sessions with therapy dog [Do let me know if your library does this – Ed.]
  • Girl Scouts Begin Plan to Usurp Public Libraries – Banned Library. Humorous piece decrying Brownies start up a Little Free Library.  Some foul language.
  • Mayor Rahm’s grand experiment: Libraries without librarians – Chicago Reader (USA).
  • Next Time, Libraries Could Be Our Shelters From the Storm – New York Times (USA). “Two big storms and a major blackout have battered New York City since the Sept. 11 attacks. Climate change threatens higher tides and more extreme heat. Architects and engineers look for ways to respond. So here’s an out-of-the-box suggestion: Let’s build more branch libraries.”.  Destinations that are attractive and familiar like libraries will attract people that won’t go to emergency centres.

“Disasters aside, branch libraries are a safe and equitable bet on our social and economic health.”

  • Online Information Manager – Lisjobnet (vacancy). “CILIP is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. We are looking for a committed and enthusiastic person to manage, develop and deliver high-quality online content that meets our users’ needs.”
  • Payday lenders and Crystal Palace – BBC London (22 minutes and 20 seconds onward to 27m). Lauren Smith (Voices for the Library) interviewed on volunteer run libraries. Interviewer argues that it doesn’t matter if staff are volunteers, Lauren argues that volunteer libraries may be poorer substitute.  “Book exchange” as better term.  Misconception about what libraries offer (rhymetimes, communication, literacy). Both presenters have poor memories of scary librarians from their youth.
  • Society of Chief Librarians and the Publishers Association Invitation To Tender – SCL. “Title: Testing the impact of e-lending both on-site and remotely upon the Public Library and Publishing sectors. If you are interested in becoming a pilot authority for the elending pilots see the document in the link below, which stipulates the process and requirements which your library authority will have to demonstrate that it meets.”
  • Wreck-It Ralph: How Ralph Nader became D.C. libraries’ biggest headache (and pissed off a whole neighborhood) – Washington City Paper (USA).  Library Renaissance Project run by Nader is blocking library plans over fears of losses to the public.

Local news

  • Herefordshire – Ross Librarian ‘disappointed’ but ‘realistic’ about cuts – Ross Gazette. “senior Librarian at Herefordshire Council has told the Ross Gazette of her disappointment in the service cuts but expressed relief that cuts were not as deep as first thought.  Jan Nesaratnam, Senior Reader Services Librarian: “Compared to May we’ve gained a lot. It looked like there was going to be a 75% reduction in library budgets. Originally, only Hereford was to survive with the market town being ‘alternative provision’– at no cost to the Council.  “The cut is painful but it’s a much smaller cut than we originally thought and more in line with what we were expecting in February’s budget. We’ve already had cut backs in staffing of 36% and hours of 18% and we are hopeful this will be included.” “
  • Islington – Islington’s The Kindness Project library opens – BBC. Volunteer “The Kindness Offensive” opens in refurbished pub with books from landfill/donations in response to fears that John Barnes Library may close.  Staffed by volunteers, local businesses donating paint etc.

“As much as the council can do and as much as the government’s trying to do, we as people can do quite a lot to put things back into the community and to make positive things happen.” Mr Goodfellow, The Kindness Offensive

“5294 people have joined libraries in Lincs since closure plans unveiled, read full story @LincsEcho out today p11″ Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries via Twitter.

  • Sheffield – Groups seek to take on Sheffield libraries – Star. “Residents in at least five Sheffield communities have been in discussions with council officials about taking over threatened library branches. Coun Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council cabinet member for communities, said he has spoken to groups in Broomhill, Newfield, Totley and Woodhouse – and council officers have spoken to Stannington residents.” … ““We want to take the politics out of the libraries issue. “We want community groups to develop their own business plans and we could support them for the first 15 to 24 months before they can be run independently.”

“Reprieved libraries could even borrow staff from council-run branches in exchange for volunteers providing cover, he said.”

  • Wrexham – ‘Grim’ Council Cuts Probable As Shortfall Predicted To Grow – Wrexham.com. “Wrexham Council currently estimates it will have a funding shortfall of at least £34 million, which is likely to get bigger with an expected settlement figure due to be lower than first thought.” … ““We have been told it is far worse than expected. It’s going to be grim, and listening to the Chancellor it could continue until the end of the decade.”.  Possible outline cuts are “Reduce libraries expenditure by 50% over a two year period, keeping open half of those facilities that will act as hubs for welfare reform changes.”