UK News

  • A Westminster Life: These local cuts are dismantling the last vestiges of civil society – Independent / Chris Bryant MP.  “In my little patch of the Valleys five libraries will close” … “nothing can quite compare with what is coming. Put simply, the Council has to find £56 million of cuts over the next four years, roughly £20 million this year. So the first list of closures is out. In my little patch of the Valleys five libraries will close, along with seven day centres.”

“… some of these services were originally built by the voluntary subscriptions of miners. In some leafy stretch of suburbia perhaps modern charity could fill the gap. But with so many people locally on short hours, low wages and diminished benefits, that’s a pipedream. So it feels as if the last vestiges of civil society are being dismantled and a bonfire of local services is being lit on the altar of austerity.”

  • “Big shiny super libraries” and “Community Libraries”? It’s not an either/or – Lis-pub-libs.  Debate started by John Dolan who argues that the building of large-scale central libraries (e.g. Birmingham) is additional and complementary to branch libraries and does not mean that the latter suffer.  Later comments are concerned that budget cuts mean that there may be a move towards professionally run central library islands surrounded by a sea of volunteer-run branches.
  • Boost family learning to close skills gap argues report – BBC. “Involving the whole family in learning can boost educational attainment across generations and should be integral to schools says the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).” … “Adults whose parents have low levels of education are eight times more likely to have poor proficiency in literacy than adults whose parents had higher levels of education,”
  • CILIP Election Hustings: Find out about your 2014 candidates, 6-8pm, London – CILIP,  “Come along on the day or watch the event live online, and make sure you make a difference to the future of the profession. Attendance is free but please register your place in advance. The event is open to both members and non-members of CILIP – and questions will be accepted in advance, on the day from the audience or via Twitter (hashtag #CILIP2014). A link to the live stream of the event will be available here on the day of the event.”
  • Creating a comprehensive library service: getting the equality duty right – Local Government Association / Sue Charteris. Goes through key things authorities need to know when changing their service, with Lambeth used as an example.
  • Ebulletin – The Network. Guide to current awareness and funding opportunities, with special emphasis on social exclusion.
  • Leadership: Libraries are necessities, not luxuries – TES. “These underappreciated facilities should be given the credit, and cash, they deserve”.  Their importance in terms of reading for pleasure, improving literacy and generally improving school results (quoting National Literacy Trust research) is used to say that “School leaders should be building libraries into their strategic plans and exploiting the potential for better, more joined-up use of school and public libraries. Even if technology facilitates reading for some children, it will not do so for all, or contribute the full experience and benefits of a library.”

“Public libraries are currently under threat and everyone is discussing whether it could spell the end for libraries,’ he said. ‘Personally I love them and I wanted to show what an amazing history they have. ‘People’s perceptions of libraries are largely based on their own experiences of them, so most have no idea what a Roman or medieval library looks like. ‘I wanted to bring all these fascinating buildings together.”

International News

  • At Yale, novelist Umberto Eco reflects on information and inspiration – New Haven Register (USA). “He mentioned Euripides, Aristotle, Nietzsche and Cicero. He explained that “an educated person” is not someone who knows every detail of every battle, but rather someone who knows where to find that information. That’s where the great libraries emerge, he said. They are the places where we can find neglected information and return them to the encyclopedia of knowledge, by “putting them in an idea microwave oven” for new use.”
  • Development of Public Libraries through Public-private Partnership in India: Issues and Challenges – DESIDOC (India). An informative look at the state, past and present, of Indian public libraries.
  • English Public Library Service is beyond repair – Good Library Blog. Tim Coates argues that there is no-one in British public libraries with the power and the will to be able to change matters and, as such, the service is doomed.
  • Hawaii Public Libraries Renting Out Laptops With Mobile Internet – Honlulu Civil Beat (USA). “The state is piloting a free laptop rental program that’s already available at 36 public libraries across Hawaii. The netbooks, which can be rented out by any library cardholder for three weeks at a time, are equipped with broadband capacities and don’t need to have access to WiFi to connect to the internet.The state purchased the equipment with a Library Services and Technology Act grant. “
  • Here’s to the new blood surging into the profession – American Libraries (USA). “. A new idea, proposed by a recent hire, floats across the table at a meeting. There’s a moment, pregnant with possibilities, as the assembled staff considers. Then a voice from the corner emerges, from a face weary with decades of experience, perched above a body leaning back, arms folded: “I don’t know….We tried something like that 20 years ago, and it didn’t work then, so….”
  • Kentucky Tea Party will murder public libraries, for freedom – Wonkette (USA). Some swearing in article. Tea Party has changed law in Kentucky so that public library funding is cut by 75%.  “And if the court decisions hold, Kentucky libraries will have to win elections in order to stay open and provide services. On the other hand, with the rollback of library taxes to rates from decades ago, Libraries will close, but homeowners will save an average of $50 a year, which is almost enough to buy a single new video game, or two hardback novels, or fifteen bags of Doritos, so it’s pretty clear who comes out ahead on that deal.”
  • ‘Librarians vs. search engines’ in UC Berkeley report – San Francisco Business Times. Report into University of Berkeley say cuts should be reversed with the library becoming a safe, welcoming environment with sufficient expert staffing and resources.

“The report is wary of digitized collections such as those created by Google and academic publishers. University brains tend to think in terms of centuries; their counterparts in the private sector often plan by quarter or year. Ivy Anderson, director of collections at the California Digital Library, warns in the report that “publishers are not reliable long-term stewards of scholarly information. Journals change hands, and publishers come and go.”

  • Library, book store employees hope old-fashioned way is here to stay – WFAA (USA). ““Absolutely and without a doubt, libraries are vibrant and thriving,” she said. “All locations are busy.” Ask the director and she’ll tell you libraries will survive the e-Book revolution, but they’re doing it by changing. “They really prophesied that within a couple years books were going to just disappear, and libraries were not going to be relevant,” Giudice said. “Well libraries are much more than books. We do classes, story time, we teach people to use computers — it’s not all about the book.””
  • Marketing to teens: a study of two New Zealand public libraries – Emerald (New Zealand). “Library managers can review their development of marketing strategies for teens in the light of the findings described in this paper. A closer application of marketing concepts can help with the development of marketing plans.”
  • Umberto Eco on “How to organise a public library” – Pantheron Books. “10: loans must be discouraged”, “17: is possible, no rest rooms”. [Hopefully, a parody – Ed.]
  • UK news by authority
  • Birmingham – Library Landscape – 4HGlibrary.  Campaign to save Hall Green Library puts the Public Libraries News figures onto a blackboard.
  • Derby – Libraries to collect donations for food banks – This is Derbyshire. “Food collection points will be created at the city’s central library, and those in Mickleover, Allestree, Chaddesden, Sinfin and Alvaston.” … “People using the libraries can donate tinned food or packet food by placing it in a specially designated bin.”
  • Devon – New library plans to be unveiled – Exmouth Journal 24. “Topsham residents will be given the first chance next week to find out how the town’s library could be transformed into a charity-led community hub.” … “Topsham-based charity the Estuary League of Friends is in talks with Devon County Council about ways of making greater use of the existing library building, to serve as a focus for community activities as well as continuing to lend books and other media.”
  • Herefordshire – Leintwardine library has been saved – Leintwardine Online. “Parish councillors decided on Thursday to fund local running costs while Herefordshire Council maintains the book and computer provision. Plans are being laid for the service to be run by a combination of professional staffing, at least in the early days, and volunteers. A Library Committee has been set up and a ‘Champion’ appointed to oversee the launch of the scheme in the new year. It is understood more than 20 volunteers have already stepped forward to staff the project but more would be welcome to share the load.”
  • Kirklees – Libraries service wins BASE award – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “…  won one of the categories at the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence” … “Kirklees took the award for “An Outstanding Library Service” which recognises a library service which has “actively promoted, encouraged and championed the art and enjoyment of oral storytelling among its workforce, in its libraries and/or within the local community both for adults and children.” … “Eighty local authorities entered the category and Kirklees was one of just three shortlisted – alongside Hertfordshire Libraries and York Explore.”
  • Lewisham – Shared services and community engagement: the case of the Lewisham Library and Information Service – Local Government Association. Presentation shows background to Lewisham’s decision to withdraw from several libraries and pass them on to non-profits and charities.
  • Merton – Transforming library services – Local Government Association.  Looks at service – notably high use of volunteers (6 per every paid member of staff).  £100k funding from Team London for volunteering project. Positive results.
  • Monmouthshire – Usk library campaigners set to meet – South Wales Argus. “The Save Usk Library Action Group was formed by library users and residents amid fears the service could be under threat. The group’s Facebook page has attracted more than 450 ‘likes’ and a petition, signed by 265 people, is calling on the council’s chief executive, Paul Matthews, to keep the library open. Nearly 150 people attended a public meeting in Usk Memorial Hall last week to show their support for the campaign where they unanimously agreed the library, which is behind the Community Education Centre on Maryport Street, should remain open.”
  • Oxfordshire – Hypothetical oversight – Question Everything. ” I made a complaint about the dodgy consultation, MP dictating policy and even councillors publicly admitting it was all a sham. I naively and honestly expected them to do something about it, unfortunately they refuse to act.They have been setup in such a way as to make them as useless as a marzipan hammer.”
  • Sheffield – Campaign to save Sheffield libraries hots up – Star. “Today, the Save Totley Library group was hosting a family fun day between 9am and 12noon, to promote use of the library and attract volunteers to help keep it open in future years. Meanwhile, residents in Greenhill and Frecheville are holding meetings to discuss forming groups to take over their branches. And an online petition has been launched to keep Broomhill Library open.” 800 signatures so far.
  • Sheffield – Hope for libraries – Sheffield Telegraph. “Hopes rose this week of community deals to save some Sheffield branch libraries. The council said there had been a “marked increase” in numbers of groups coming forward wanting to run them. Talks are being held with representatives in areas such as Walkley, Broomhill, Stannington, Frecheville and Ecclesfield, and the council has said it is willing to help with training and support, as opposed to direct cash.”
  • Westminster – London’s newest wedding venue opens at Mayfair Library – London 24. “The first floor of the 120-year-old Mayfair Library, on South Audley Street, will play host to weddings, civil partnership and citizenship ceremonies, following the temporary closure of Old Marylebone Town Hall.” … ““We’ve decorated the rooms to retain that connection to the library, filling shelves with books donated by Marylebone library”
  • Wiltshire – How good is your library? – Swindon Advertiser. “Seven to 16 year olds will be quizzed when they visit their local library on book and computer use, resources, and staff and volunteer support.”
  • Wolverhampton – Devastating news – Save Wolverhampton Libraries. “To put things in perspective: the proposed cuts to the library budget amount to 53% or the loss of 38 members of staff. Wolverhampton Council has identified several ‘risks’ associated with their proposals to cut library services. Top of the council’s list is the damage this will do to their communications strategy. This begs the question…. and what about standards of literacy, education and well-being  across Wolverhampton? Do the council see no risk there?”