• Abomination of Ebooks: They Price People Out of Reading – Wired. “The collusion of large ebook distributors in pricing has been a public issue for a while, but we need to talk more about how they are priced differently to consumers and to libraries. That’s how ebooks contribute to the ever-growing divide between the literary haves and have-nots.”
  • Disney and Bookshops in Public Libraries; an exciting opportunity or a conflict? – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Worries about libraries becoming overcommercialised: with special reference to GLL.
  • Do you know a Literacy Hero? – National Literacy Trust. “This year the National Literacy Trust celebrates 20 years of working to improve literacy skills. To mark the occasion we’re looking for your Literacy Heroes – people who have overcome problems with reading and writing, or helped inspire other people to improve their literacy skills.”.  Nominate someone (member of public/librarian/teacher and win invite to VIP reception in London.
  • Even the good news about Britain’s local libraries is bad – Melville House. “These libraries are part of the Enterprising Libraries Scheme, and the money will go into, as The Bookseller describes it, ‘turning libraries into spaces that can help start-up businesses, providing coaching, advice, meeting spaces and IT support.’ There is no mention of books. Or reading.”

“… two worrying trends, which come together in a perfect storm in this new scheme. First, the idea that libraries have to become something else, whether that’s wine bars or business centres, in order to be considered legitimate. Second, that aspects of life which should not necessarily be commercialized or held against the standards of business are becoming so under the Conservatives. “

  • ‘Libraries are key to helping people access other public services’ – Guardian / Local Government Network. Profile of Mike Clarke, the new boss of Tri-borough libraries. Previously library chief of Camden.  Supports self-service (with corresponding cut in staffing) and wifi. All three of the boroughs are either building or seriously refurbishing at least one building.

You’ve argued for continued investment in libraries despite cuts to local government funding. Why is spending money on libraries still so important? I think libraries are a very important public face for councils. They provide a friendly local service. They cover a number of different functions and roles. They provide help with reading, access to knowledge and learning. A new role that libraries are increasingly playing is helping people to access other public services. “

International news

  • Cell phone libraries offer books to every Ugandan home and school – PSFK (Uganda). “South Africa-based telecommunications company MTN Group  teamed up with ad agency Metropolitan Republic Group to increase access to books in Uganda, using just print ads and regular mobile phones, in a campaign called ‘The Everywhere Library.’ Full page print ads in the most popular Ugandan newspapers featured an image of bookshelves, with a unique code on the spine of each book. To access a book, users simply entered this number into any mobile phone, and they would immediately receive the full text of the book on the phone, for free.”
  • Comic convention draws kids of all ages to Manatee Central Library – Bradenton Herald (USA). Convention, in its third year, attracts children of all ages. Dressing up, face painting, activities. Run with help from Friends group.
  • Libraries of the Rich and Famous – Book Riot. Libraries of Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Keaton, Keith Richards, William Randolph Hearst, Neil Gaiman, George Lucas and Sting. There are some beautiful libraries here [but none are as beautiful in concept as the meanest public library – Ed.]
  • Library for Homeless People in the Bronx – Reporting NYC (USA). First ever library especially for the homeless opens in the US: ““Homeless people are eager for information,” … “More and more people with high-school or even college degrees are on the streets”.  Organised by non-profit charity.

“Say no to the closure of Greek Public Libraries. The Greek society is undergoing a profound socio-economic crisis that we all live in our daily lives. Counterweight to this crisis, in every society, are education and culture. There are rumors about closure and merging of public libraries in Greece, institutions that exist for decades serving local communities, providing services to all citizens, regardless their age, educational level, gender, race or beliefs. The Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists (EEBEP) invites you, the citizens of Greece, Europe and the world, to sign this petition in order to help us highlight the significant contribution and necessity of our libraries. “We think it’s high time that people who have been serving and supporting the efforts of public libraries took action and ask the Greek Government:

  • Not to close any library
  • Be staffed with additional specialized personnel
  • To join European projects to develop new and innovative services.
  • To strengthen their social role, amid crisis.

Sign our petition here: (The petition is written in Greek but the above text is its original translation in English)” On behalf of the Association of Greek Librarians and Information Scientists (via email)

  • No-fine experiment at libraries has been a failure, report suggests – Windsor Star (Canada). “The report’s findings sound the death knell for the no-fine experiment, library board chairman Peter Frise confirmed Friday. The library has lost about $200,000 in fines it would otherwise have collected since the pilot started Jan. 1, 2012. ” … “It crippled our ability to renew the collection.” … “In addition, many more items are being returned late, because there are no consequences. Many more library materials are going missing. And customers who place holds on items have to wait and wait because the people who have them face no penalty for returning them late.”


  • Are public workshops more important than public libraries? – Royal Society of the Arts, 10th October in Edinburgh. “Professor Miodownik’s lecture follows on from his recent article in Wired magazine, and explores the current growth in interest in making and the implications which it could have for society. He poses the challenge that whilst libraries solved a need of 19th century, the requirements of the 21st century have pushed ‘makespaces’ and ‘hackspaces’ above them in necessity. “
  • Library and Information Research announces a Call For Papers for a special issue of the journal focusing on public libraries, both in the UK and worldwide, due for publication in April / May 2014.  The issue will be guest edited by Dr John Crawford – full details of the Call For Papers.
  • Library Camp – 30th November in Birmingham. “librarycamp UK is now in its third year and will be at the Library of Birmingham on Saturday 30 November. Tickets are free and available now at  Librarycamp is an unconference about libraries – a participant-driven, powerpoint free zone, with no keynotes, where the participants lead the agenda – in fact, there isn’t an agenda until people make suggestions for what they’d like to talk about at the start of the day. Take at look at some of the session proposals here
  • Making your message stick: presentation skills workshop – Library Marketing Toolkit. 12th November in London.
  • Public Private Partnerships Eurolis. 22nd November in London. “The seminar will explore how librarians are working with a variety of partners in the commercial sector to create new opportunities and develop services whilst managing reduced or static budgets.”

UK news by authority

“Using the phrase ‘giving the opportunity’ to volunteers to run their own services” is
 polite-speak in the extreme: giving them no choice would be a more honest way of putting it.”

“According to figures, there were 235,743 issues in July this year compared with 278,994 in July 2012. Meanwhile there were 246,374 issues in August this year compared with 287,248 in August 2012. In addition, the council says the number of people taking up membership is 922 fewer than last year’s figures for the same two months.”

  • Sheffield – MP backs residents’ fight to save their library – Star. “The Deputy Prime Minister joined Sheffield Council Liberal Democrat members and campaigners to collect signatures for a petition protesting against the city-wide closure scheme. Mr Clegg said of the 12 libraries due to stay open, just one was in his constituency.”
  • Suffolk – Brandon Centre opens – Suffolk County Council. “The Brandon Centre project, funded by Suffolk County Council and Forest Heath District Council, includes: A library, relocated from the nearby Brandon Community Centre. A children’s centre and pre-school. A base for Brandon’s safer neighbourhood team. A Forest Heath District Council public contact point. A new modern entrance to the building. Public toilet facilities during opening hours. Community meeting space.”
  • Suffolk – Health and Wellbeing Month – Suffolk Libraries. “We’re holding several information events across the county with organisations such as Suffolk Family Carers, Richmond Fellowship, Together, HealthWatch and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust”
  • Suffolk – New Suffolk Libraries board chairman – Suffolk Libraries. Background is in academic sector. “He’s led successful bids to national and regional funding bodies, and implemented change management programmes with, among others, Virgin and Norfolk Constabulary.”
  • Westminster – New £12m Library Proposed For Westminster – Addicted to property. “The £12m scheme would provide a much improved library, cafe, exhibition space and computer study areas on Luxborough Street in Marylebone, and would also include nine flats for private sale located on three storeys above the library. The plans follow a period of extensive consultation with local residents and library users which has been on-going since 2009.”
  • Wrexham – Leisure centres may shut and libraries close in Wrexham budget worst-case scenario – News North Wales. “With a potential revenue settlement scenario similar to that experienced in England the report warns that authorities may have to cut expenditure on cultural services by 75 per cent over the next two years, potentially closing art galleries and museums.” … “And it mentions a libraries expenditure cut of 50 per cent over a two-year period, which would keep open half of facilities to act as hubs for welfare reform changes.”