A few items of note today:

UK national news

  • Councils could be stifled from commenting on government policy, lawyers warn – Local Government Lawyer. “Placing the Local Authority Publicity Code into legislation could lead to councils being banned from campaigning on behalf of their residents on key issues, according to legal advice obtained by the Local Government Association.”
  • England’s young adults trail world in literacy and math – BBC. “A major study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England’s 16 to 24-year-olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts. England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries.”

“When this is weighted with other factors, such as the socio-economic background of people taking the test, it shows that England is the only country in the survey where results are going backwards – with the older cohort better than the younger.”

  • Extra £570m NHS funding in Welsh draft budget – BBC Wales. ” funding for local government will see a cut of 5.81% next year. Early calculations suggest that local government cuts are particularly tough. Local government spending will fall from £4.648bn this year to £4.466bn next year, a cut in cash terms of 3.91% or 5.81% in real terms. Their budgets will be around 9% lower in real terms between now and 2015-16.”.  Being education and social welfare count for two-thirds of council budgets. library cuts may be three times that amount.
  • Literacy standards are falling, so why are we closing libraries? – Voices for the Library.  Responds to OECD report: “Libraries, both school and public, can play a vital and important role in addressing the standard of literacy amongst the young. Libraries play a key supportive role in many children’s development, but this supportive role is becoming increasingly difficult as funding is cut and libraries are closed. This is not to say that libraries are the magic bullet to cure low levels of literacy, but it is undeniable that they can play a key role. “
  • Makerspaces in libraries survey – John J. Burke, MSLS, Director, Gardner-Harvey Library. “For a book that I am writing on makerspaces in libraries, I am curious to learn more about libraries that have a makerspace, fab lab, or hackerspace.  These spaces are areas in a library where patrons can use tools and equipment to imagine, design, build, and create all sorts of different things. I’m trying to get a sense of what types of making are happening in various library settings.”


  • 10 Reasons To Become A Library Addict – Laura Grace Weldon (USA). Reasons include water cooler, awe, librarians, free, reservations, online renewals, library “privileges”, research databases, addiction to books and the smell. “To me, every library smells like my place. Bet they smell like your place too.”
  • New Center for the Future of Libraries – American Libraries (USA). “The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the American Library Association a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant to establish a Center for the Future of Libraries. Its goal is to provide library planners and community leaders with information resources and tools that will help them better understand the trends reshaping their libraries and communities and help them incorporate foresight into their planning processes.”
  • Open stacks – Funambulist (Cuba). “is the story of those clandestine informal Cuban libraries that were created as a form of resistance against the governmental censorship of what officially constituted as “ideological diversions”. Liduam Pong, who lived her entire childhood in Havana, gives us a personal approach to describe those libraries at the back of a house, or at the bottom of a bag.  In her opinion, these small and informal spaces of knowledge diffusion are more entitled to be called Public Libraries than the official institutions usually carrying this name.”
  • Vancouver public library waives fines for one week – CBC (Canada). “Vancouver public library will waive late return fines for anyone bringing back overdue items between Oct. 21 and Oct. 27. The amnesty applies to all overdue items that have been checked out and not renewed or with the maximum number of renewals exceeded for six weeks or more. But only items returned directly to a librarian at a circulation desk will qualify for the exemption — not those put in return bins or slots. The week-long waiver is being branded Welcome Back Week in a bid to encourage people to come back to the library and applies to all items borrowed from the library – including books, DVDs and CDs.”


  • Training officer – CILIP Information Literacy Group. Looking specificially for a public librarian.


  • The Future of Local Libraries and Cultural Services – Public Policy Exchange. 5th November in London. “This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local authorities, government departments, the library sector, shared services teams and other key partners to examine the Government’s latest policy initiatives and explore how libraries can remain a vital local resource in the 21st Century – innovating and adapting to deliver a whole range of services.” Janene Cox (SCL chief) and Miranda McKearney (Reading Agency chief) are speakers.

Local news

  • Brent – Light of Learning Relay – Brent SOS Libraries. Torch relay to mark two years since council closed seven libraries.
  • Derbyshire – Revolutionising local studies – FG Library. A look at the new Derbyshire record office.
  • Doncaster – Carol Buck loses Doncaster library funding appeal – BBC. “A disabled woman from South Yorkshire has lost her appeal against an elected mayor over cuts to library funding. The appeal court backed last year’s High Court rejection of a challenge by Carol Buck against Doncaster’s then English Democrat mayor Peter Davies. Ms Buck claimed Mr Davies unlawfully overruled councillors when they voted to change his budget to save two threatened libraries.” … “Lord Dyson rejected her appeal but said the case had “raised important issues” over the division of powers between a directly elected executive and the full council of a local authority.” See also Former Doncaster Mayor wins library legal battle – ITV and Ex-Doncaster mayor wins legal fight on libraries – Yorkshire Post. “Mr Davies, a member of the English Democrat party when he was elected in 2009, came under fire from a local woman after deciding not to spent nearly £400,000 on libraries”

“While it is disappointing that the appeal was not successful, the fate of Doncaster’s libraries may not be sealed. Peter Davies lost his seat and the new Mayor may actually value education and public services, in contrast to her predecessor. There is still the possibility that the library service may have its funding reinstated and that communities will not be forced into the unfair choice of running their own libraries against their wishes or seeing them close.” Lauren Smith in email

  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Get Digital: Directory of East Yorkshire libraries – Beverley Guardian. “Get Online Week is part of the UK Online Centres Campaign to encourage people to give computers and the internet a go with help from library staff. Get Online Week runs from Monday, 14 to Sunday, 20 October and all libraries in the East Riding are taking part.”
  • Kent – Is privatisation the next step for libraries in Kent? – Voices for the Library. “Similar proposals are also coming out of Sheffield City Council, where JLIS (currently running Hounslow, Croydon, Ealing and Harrow Libraries) have been mentioned. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if councils up and down the land were now looking at comparable models of divestment. Kent aren’t the first, and they certainly won’t be the last.”
  • Lincolnshire – December D-day for library plans – Horncastle News. “Lincolnshire County Council’s executive committee – comprised of 12 councillors – will make a final decision on December 3. The county council wants to close 32 of 47 libraries to save £2m for its budget. A public consultation closed at the end of last month. Thousands of people took part with the vast majority thought to be against the cuts. A team of experts from Sheffield University has been called in to scrutinise the responses. The county council’s scrutiny committee will meet on December 2 to debate any recommendations – with the final decision due 24 hours later.”
  • Moray – Call for communities to rally against ‘reprehensible’ cuts – Inside Moray. “People from throughout Moray are being asked to make their feelings known over a raft of Moray Council cuts against the backdrop of millions being spent on a new road that is against the wishes of the community.” … “To help achieve savings, the Independent and Tory council administration says that they will close seven libraries and one mobile library, despite advice from their own officials that such a move could be illegal and the findings of an Equalities Impact Assessment.”

“Libraries are needed now, a new link road is not – the economics are quite simple.”

  • North Somerset – Library building bill hits the £600k mark – Weston Mercury. “cost of building work to transform Weston’s old library into a community asset have been assessed at more than £600,000 – and it could still rise further.”
  • Southend – New library is ‘poor for blind people’ – Echo. “Jill Allen-King, who is registered blind, says she struggled to find the path to the £25million building through the new public square because there is no tactile or raised paving. Inside, she found there were no Braille books stocked.”.  Council says library was built with advice from independent consultant.

“The library is far from bus stops at Victoria Gateway, or the bus station and there is very little disabled parking. This could put off older people from visiting. We should have been consulted about this and it should havebeen thought about in the early design stages.”