Plans to move certain services away from children’s centres into libraries in Northamptonshire is raising some eyebrows.  On the one hand, there’s a natural fit between libraries and parents, as anyone who has ever been in a children’s library will attest.  On the other, there’s a worry over confidentiality and the suitability of discussing problems over the library counter.  In the final analysis though, it was recently revealed that Northamptonshire’s libraries suffered from over 120 closed hours due to staff shortages and, perhaps not entirely unrelatedly, a reduction in visitors of a fifth over two years.  Anything which will improve these figures is likely to be grabbed,



  • Alea Iacta Est – Tom Roper’s Weblog. Tom announces he’s standing for CILIP Council on the grounds that organisation is losing far too many members (from 25,000 down to 13,500), that CILIP is too opaque and that it has not sufficiently campaigned for libraries.

“If we return to performing the key functions of a professional association, and couple that with an intensive campaign to recruit, then we have a chance. If we carry on as we have for the past few years, the decline will continue, to the point of extinction.”

  • Lucy Mangan: it’s Dolly Parton v the status quo – Guardian. Lucy Mangan chooses Dolly Parton as her literacy hero, in a competition organised by the National Literacy Trust. “the onus is on the individual to outwit what I’m going to allow the hyperbolic teenager in me to call a villainous state. Literacy, books, samizdat skilling via exposure to and mastery of the ideas within: these have never been good news for the status quo.”
  • Radical Library Camp: in the fight over information, librarians start to get organised – Our Kingdom. ” In Bradford, a group of radical librarians gathered to discuss how to defend and extend the openness of one of our most important institutions..” … “We felt that it was becoming increasingly tiresome to constantly argue against the neo-liberal, professionalist view that exists in our workplaces and amongst our fellow workers”.  Several major pointa of discussion summed up.


  • Guinness World Record book domino attempt at Cape Town Central Library – Youtube (South Africa). “The City partnered with Open Book in the build-up to the Open Book Cape Town Festival to host an event that sought to draw attention to the festival and the importance of books and reading. A large crowd gathered to witness a book domino Guinness World Record attempt at the Cape Town Central Library. Event organisers managed to knock down 2 528 painstakingly-placed books in order to break the current record of 2 131 books which is held by the Seattle Public Library in the United States.”
  • Libraries battling membership decline, but some startups using innovative ideas to buck the trend – Economic Times (India). “The library is unique in that it does not have a reading room or charge a membership fee, but collects a refundable deposit and charges its borrowers a tenth of the price of the book they borrow.”
  • Libraries evolving into technology and community centers – Orlando Sentinel (USA). “In the third-floor computer area of the Orlando Public Library, more than 50 people are working quietly — perusing websites, learning job skills, even applying for government assistance. One floor down, construction workers are busy on a 26,000-square-foot technology center that’s supposed to open early next year. And down on the first floor, a loud crowd of preschoolers is dancing and laughing as Mr. Steve — of PBS Kids fame — launches into a live rendition of “I’m Going on a Bear Hunt.” Clearly, the local library is no longer a graveyard-quiet place for browsing through shelves of dusty old volumes.”
  • Library Mystery Tour – Blue Mountains Library (Canada). “Starting on October 1, the public libraries of Grey County will be celebrating Canadian Library Month and Ontario Public Library Week by holding the Library Mystery Tour. Go to any library in Grey County and pick up a clue booklet. The booklet contains all the clues needed to find the letterboxes hidden in each of the libraries. Find all the letterboxes to qualify for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Letterboxing is a fun indoor and outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art, and puzzle solving. It is similar to geocaching except it does not involve using a GPS. “
  • Little libraries bring sense of community to public spaces – Vancouver Sun (Canada) “They’re popping up all over East Vancouver: little libraries housed in colourful hutches along side streets in quiet neighbourhoods. There are no locks, no staff. See a book you want? Take it. Have a book you want to pass on? Leave it. Vancouver’s pop-up libraries have — so far — been created and maintained by community-minded individuals. But Vancouver’s park board is now considering adopting the idea for the city’s parks, field houses and community centres.”
  • Thank God for libraries and librarians…they are a source of hope – Karin Schimke (South Africa). “he piece warmed me again to the role of community libraries, and made me want to seek out the smell and feel of my local library, where the chief librarian always looks flustered and smells as though he baths once a month, but can be relied on to find what I want and always politely enquires about how my own writing is going. It made me want to find Susan again, the children’s librarian, who knew my children’s names and had a reliable hand in guiding them towards books they would like when they were little.”

News by UK library authority

  • Cambridgeshire – Big Society-run libraries in Cambridgeshire never happened – but the big cuts have – Cambridge News. “The plans were to turn libraries into Big Society-style trusts but “no new voluntary run libraries were created as a result of the recent Library Service Review”, Cambridgeshire County Council chiefs have admitted.” … “At a public meeting at Rock Road Library off Cherry Hinton Road, about 120 residents voiced their views on the future of the 75-year-old branch – one of 13 under review as part of spending cuts.” … “There was widespread hostility to plans to run the library as a trust, using volunteer librarians and community fundraising.”
  • Devon – Vacancies – Devon Council.  Posts of Centre Manager and Senior Supervisor: Operations advertised.
  • Moray – Library cuts condemned at Scottish Greens conference – Scottish Greens. “Members of the Scottish Green Party have overwhelmingly backed an emergency motion to their conference in Inverness condemning a decision by Moray Council to close seven rural libraries against the advice of council officers and in spite of an Equalities Impact Assessment Report.”
  • Moray – Protest march against Moray library cuts planned – Scotsman. “Today the organisers called on the public to back their campaign by joining a protest march through Elgin’s High Street this Saturday. They also plan to use the march to highlight growing opposition to council plans to spend over £8million to create a new approach road into Elgin.”
  • Northamptonshire – Parents ‘to use libraries for child advice’ – BBC. “Parents may have to get advice from libraries if 50 children’s centres stop offering general help under new plans. The proposals to restructure the work of Northamptonshire’s children’s centres would see them focus on families with the greatest need. Help in libraries would be provided by advisers who currently give information on jobs and other council services.”

“A report to the council says a consultation process found that some parents welcomed raising the profile of children’s services through the use of libraries. But others expressed concerns that “libraries aren’t the right environment for young family activities (including safeguarding concerns relating to full public access and confidentiality issues)”, and some raised worries about accessibility and location.”

  • Northamptonshire – Plans to change running of county children’s centres – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “The plan, which would mean new contracts for children’s centres being commissioned and the LibraryPlus service enhancing its services for under fives, will be discussed on Tuesday, October 8, at the county council’s cabinet meeting.”
  • Northamptonshire – Plans to offer services at libraries for problem families – Northampton Chronicle. ““Our libraries already do a great deal of work that impacts positively on children and young people, including homework clubs, rhymetime sessions, and reading initiatives. “They also provide advice and information for job seekers, small company start-ups, and social enterprises. The proposals would see them build on those excellent services to further support children and families in their own communities.”
  • Sheffield – Library closures an attack on the poor – Star / Letters. “When I was unemployed and did not have the internet at home, I went to the library to research jobs and to email job applications to employers. The closure of these libraries is tantamount to an attack on the poor and unemployed, not to mention the disabled”