The Summer Reading Challenge – this year’s theme was “Creepy House” – was up 9% on last year, which is utterly fantasticd. In other news, Bridgend and Hertfordshire get new (co-located libraries), three libraries turn to volunteers in Leeds and Southend, one closes and Wrexham may cut hours by a quarter. Oh, and Terry Deary gets all controversial again,



On the radar

Terry Deary

  • Open letter to Terry Deary – Alan Gibbons. “You once told me you were an anarchist. It seems that anarchism comes rather lower down your list of priorities than shameless self-promotion.” … “All this blather would be funny if the crisis in the public library service wasn’t so serious. You ought to know that 70% of libraries do provide e-reading facilities, but I suspect you are not really that concerned about facts.”

“You say that library usage is falling, as if it were simply a long-term trend like the weather, nothing to do with the actions of successive governments and councils who have hollowed out the service with nausea-inducing cynicism, cheered on by short-sighted people like you.” Alan Gibbons

  • Terry Deary: Give poor people free e-readers – Telegraph. “Giving poor people free e-readers would be a “hell of a lot cheaper” than keeping libraries “open at all costs”, the children’s author Terry Deary has argued.” … “”Library figures are falling – less than 20 per cent of people, taxpayers, use the libraries in their area. They’re in decline and have been in decline for 50 years.” … “should move with the times” … “”I’m not saying close the libraries, I’m saying lets have a debate that is not purely about keeping libraries open at all costs.”

“A library can be replaced by an e-reader as much as a playground can be replaced by a PlayStation” Mark Taylor, CILIP

  • Why Terry Deary has got it wrong on public libraries and e-readers – Voices for the Library. To buy e-readers for those who need them would cost £500m per year for the e-readers £1.8bn per year for the wifi to download books on them – Therefore £2.2bn in first year followed by £1.7bn for each year after for the most basic service. Therefore libraries (c.£1bn for all of UK) is half the cost and libraries offer far more: “As well as borrowing books, many people, thanks to this government’s reforms, rely on their public library to provide free internet access and enable them to search for jobs (via Universal Jobmatch). You cannot search and apply for jobs on Universal Jobmatch using a Kindle and with no public libraries to rely on.”

National UK News

“The Tory plan to conceal the shifting strands of policy by previous leaders may not work. The British Library points out it has been archiving the party’s website since 2004 … ” it is firmly within scope of the material we have a duty to archive”. But the British Library archive will only be accessible from terminals in its building, raising questions over the Tory commitment to transparency.”

  • Future of sharing books with children – no.2: Libraries – Story Seekers. “maintaining libraries is the perfect way to soften the blow of disappearing bookshops.  They have the chance to offer impartial advice and one of the things people often say they love about bookshops (and especially independent ‘specialist’ ones) is that there are people there with ideas and knowledge who can point them in the right direction when it comes to choosing books” … “So much of a young child’s life is scheduled these days that in an ironic twist I find myself pencilling in time for us to do nothing and the library is one of the most perfect places for it.”.
  • Import your floorplans into Prezi to create an interactive map – Library Marketing Toolkit. “some interactive maps we’d made of the Library, which we used for induction and teaching – they went down very well. The students are much more engaged by a slick Prezi than a tired PowerPoint, and it’s also very practical to have information about the library geographically located in a map, rather than in linear slides. So the maps worked really well as stand-alone web objects to be viewed independently by students and staff, as well as actual materials for live presentations and workshops.”
  • Public Service Award for ignoring the public and privatising (and cutting) public services – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “The Guardian have just awarded their Public Service Awards for 2013 and the one that immediately caught my eye was the winner of the ‘Financial Excellence Award’, Brent, Harrow and Ealing councils. They apparently won the award for; “..combining their purchasing power and driving a hard bargain, three west London councils are turning loss-making leisure centres and libraries that were heading for closure into modern community hubs.””
Summer Reading Challenge 2014 theme

Summer Reading Challenge 2014 theme

  • Record numbers for summer reading scheme – BookSeller. Nationally 9% up from last year, with 810,000 taking part. “ “We were so lucky to secure Chris Riddell as an in illustrator this year, which generated a lot of extra PR.” Eight “champion authors”, including Charlie Higson, Frank Cottrell Boyce and children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, as well as “special champion” Frank Lampard, lent their support, as did major publishers, she added. The use of online tools also helped the campaign, and The Reading Agency said visits to the  summerreadingchallenge.org.uk website increased 39%, while page views were up 48%. “Looking forward to next year, the theme for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge will be “Mythical Maze”, about myths and legends, to be created by illustrator Sarah McIntyre.”
  • Tees Valley libraries start new chapter as business centres – Darlington and Stockton Times. “A partnership of Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland,Hartlepool and Darlington Borough Councils, as well as Teesside University, has secured the money as part of the Enterprising Libraries initiative. Venues across the Tees Valley will be used as venues to provide information, coaching, advice, meeting spaces and IT support to residents eager to become self-employed.”
  • Volunteer run library is no library at all – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “We noticed an excellent comment on the concept of volunteer libraries in Plymouth from librarian and internet consultant Phil Bradley.
  • Year-on-year ebook sales fall for the first time, says Nielsen Research – Publishing Technology. “we could be at the end of the period of explosive growth for digital reading, as year-on-year sales fell for the first time.” … “As ebook sales look set to take just under half of the total fiction market in the UK and more than a fifth (22%) of the overall UK book market, according to recent Bowker Market Research, it is only natural that the rate of growth would slow.”
  • Youth Services Showing the Way – Something Different Every Day. “At my library, and perhaps yours too, we are looking at our services and our staff and trying to figure out what changes we should make to adapt to the changing roles of libraries. It will not surprise anyone that I think youth services shows us the way to go.”.  Then lists 13 different pros for youth libraries.

International news

  • 2013 Library Elections “Deep Dive” – EveryLibrary (USA). “Through last week’s Election Day, over 530,000 Americans cast a vote for – or against – libraries in elections all across the county.  From the 47 voters in Athens, New York who punched a ballot about the D.R. Everts Library budget to the almost 160,000 people in Hamilton County, Ohio who weighed in on renewing their Levy, libraries and their advocates have spoken with mixed success to voters.  EveryLibrary has identified 69 local library elections that took place from January 1st through November 5th, 2013 where voters were asked for new or renewed funding, or new authority as a district library.   Libraries, and the communities they serve, won in 41 of these elections.  In 19, voters said No to new funding for the library*.”
  • Google wins digital library legal battle – BBC. “Google has defeated a legal action mounted to stop it scanning and uploading millions of books. In 2005, the US Authors Guild sued Google alleging that its plans to create a digital library amounted to massive copyright infringement. In its defence, Google said its plans constituted “fair use” because it was only putting excerpts of texts online.”
  • Library Looks to Save Some Stacks – Wall Street Journal (USA). “Still under development, the revised design represents a shift by the library in response to outcry over schematics it released in December that called for demolishing the building’s seven-level book-stack structure, which provides structural support for its Rose Main Reading Room.”
  • National Library of Sejong City – Samoo (South Korea). It’s book-shaped. ” The ‘E-BRARY’, a compound word of Emotion and Library, implies a library that accommodates digital in the analog form while reflecting the human touches. Grounded on three strategy concepts of the ‘emotional shape, emotional space and emotional experience’, the National Library of Sejong City aims to be not only a research-oriented library but also an open library to the inhabitants.”
  • New library needs to be more than ‘book warehouse’ – Aberdeen News (USA). “Aberdeen Mayor Mike Levsen said he’s visited with other city mayors who have recently completed library projects, and the consensus is a library should be a focal point, but it’s hard to put a price on it because it’s an investment where the return isn’t measured in revenue. “The point isn’t to get a return,” Levsen said. “It’s to find a focal point and meeting point. A library fulfills an emotional space and practical function.” Levsen said a library is a necessary element for a city.”

“it’s a service center for newcomers and a place where people can find out more about a community. People seek out the library to find out more information, he said. They start with the person behind the desk and ask about day-to-day things they need to settle in.”

UK news by authority

  • Barnsley – Council: Library service needs to be modernised – ITV. “We would encourage anyone interested in the relocation of the central library to make their views known through the council’s consultation process which, in light of feedback from the public, has been extended by a further four weeks to midnight on 31 December. It can be completed online and is easily accessible via the welcome page of our website www.barnsley.gov.uk Alternatively library users can pick up a paper copy at any of our libraries.”
  • Barnsley – Hands around the library – Youtube. “A massive thanks to all the people who took part in the hands around Barnsley Library campaign on the 16th of November 2013.”
  • Birmingham – Birmingham Library Campaign and the Friends of the Libraries of Birmingham respond to the Green Paper on library cuts – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Campaign group response is “an absolute cracker”.  Full response included.
  • Brent – Friends of Barham Library say THANK YOU to Brent’s Planning Committee – Friends of Barham Library. “Councillors at the planning committee were convinced by the impassioned case presented that the Sudbury Community needs continuing access to its most important local building and voted 6 votes to just 1 to refuse the application for change of use.”
  • Brent – November update – Save Kensal Rise Library. “There is disquiet in the community that another planning application for the library is being considered while the police investigation is ongoing and we are looking into the legal aspects of this”.  Plus other plannin details. 140 square metres is the total usable space being offered for library at the moment.
  • Bridgend – Self-service library opens – News Wales. “To celebrate the beginning of its new chapter, the library has given commemorative mugs designed by local illustrator, Rianne Rowlands to the first 50 members who used its state-of-the art ‘self-service’ machines.” … “Replacing the library’s previous premises on Wyndham Street, the all-new library is a larger, more modern space with a host of brand new services and features. As well as thousands of new books, the new library contains extra computers and ‘tablets’, new furniture, comfortable seating, reading corners, and an exciting space for children which includes a giant book they can sit in and read.”
  • Bristol – School plan for library is a backward step – Bristol Post / Letters.  Concern that school in library would increase road traffic. The other bring more firmly pro library and urging people to use it or lose it.
  • Cardiff – Fines total £57,000 for books returned late to Cardiff’s libraries over the past year – Wales Online. “the maximum fine its libraries can charge is £10 for an adult book and £30 for a DVD. But if the item is lost, the customer is also responsible for paying the cost of replacing it.”
  • Croydon – Local campaigners criticise Croydon council decision to turn over the boroughs’ 13 libraries to blacklisters Carillion – East London Lines. “Campaigners have renewed their criticism of Croydon Council over the decision to outsource the borough’s libraries, after the company running them was sold to another business which is at the centre of a blacklisting scandal.”.  Elizabeth Ash (Library Campaign) says ““John Laing must have known well before taking over Croydon libraries that they were going to give up the contract just three weeks into it. They must have known in advance that this was the case. At least John Laing had some experience of running libraries. Carillion is a construction company with no experience of running libraries.”

“Croydon Council said they found out about John Laing’s decision to sell four days before the operation, and they had limited authority in the decision to choose the new library contracter. They said: “There is a clause in the contract that allows us to look at the company that has taken over after the sale, and decide if it is appropriate, if it is detrimental or if there has been a unauthorised change in contract. We asked the questions that we had to ask”.”

  • Hertfordshire – New community complex opens in the heart of Borehamwood – Hertfordshire Council. “96 Shenley Road is a modern purpose-built building serving the whole of the community and offering local residents: new state-of-the-art library across three floors, including books, talking books and DVDs to borrow, free wi-fi, public computers, student study space and activities for children and young people: new look museum, next to the Local Studies Area in the library, which will showcase Elstree and Borehamwood’s film and screen heritage. Anyone interested in local history will find a wealth of objects and memorabilia, some of which have never been displayed before. The museum features touch-screen kiosks showing local photographic collections and next year will host an exhibition celebrating 100 Years of Film History in Elstree: Youth Connexions offering information, guidance and support to young people aged 13-19 (and up to 25 years for those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities): community rooms and areas that can be hired and include a large hall, which can be partitioned into two smaller halls for wedding receptions, conferences, theatre, film, dance rehearsals and displays; meeting rooms, a music practice room for rehearsals, together with an exhibition area and coffee bar with free public wi-fi.”
  • Leeds – New Rawdon Community Library set to open – BBC. “Rawdon Community Library, in Leeds, is now to be run by volunteers after plans for an independent library were agreed by Leeds City Council in 2012. It had been one of 20 city libraries earmarked for closure by the council.” … “Ms Speers, a qualified librarian, said the community group had about 45 people who would work at the library counter and a further 20 doing jobs around the building.”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries: Extraordinary meeting set for November 22 – This is Lincolnshire. “On the agenda are a presentation of library proposals in the light of public consultation and a debate on the moves following feedback from residents. The council’s communication team said it had always been the plan to brief all members on the revised proposals on November 22.” See also County Council set to reveal new library plans – Horncastle News and New plans for under-threat libraries set to be revealed – Rutland and Stamford Mercury.
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries: More signed than voted for executive – Guardian series. 23,000 sign petitions: less than 10,000 had voted for entire executive: ““The mandate for those rejecting cuts is therefore stronger than that of the councillors deciding the issue and their democratically stronger voices must be heard. I would ask readers to urge Lincolnshire County Council to come forward and confirm that they will now listen to the facts presented to them and act accordingly, and to secure the fate of the Deepings Library as a fully funded Tier two or one library, as requested by their electorate.”
  • Luton – Libraries of Luton Arise – “There is great concern over the lack of focus by the Luton Cultural Trust with regard to keeping a viable library service in Luton and the so-called consultation process was a major failure in the democratic process. Consultation documents were apparently made available in schools, clubs and libraries and on the Council website. This means 90% or more adults had no chance to see it or have their say! Libraries of Luton Arise is here for three reasons” … “Maggie Appleton, CEO of the Trust, described 10,000 and 1,000 petitions as “just signatures”; did not consider them and look at all ways to avoid closures, as instructed in September, and published a press release announcing the closures 3 weeks before she was due to return to Council.”
  • Moray – Council seek more time over suspending library closures – Inside Moray. “Earlier this week it was revealed that solicitors acting on behalf of Save our Libraries Moray campaigner Vivien Hendry had written to the Chief Executive at the local authority asking that they place a temporary halt on their closure plans until the decision had been reviewed by the Court of Session. Moray Council had been given until today to respond to the request – and if they failed to do so then an Interim Interdict would be sought to force them to do so. However, it has emerged that the local authority has requested an extension to that deadline until 5pm on Wednesday – the day that the issue is set to be discussed at a full council meeting.”
  • Oxfordshire – Take it away OCC– Dumb Librarian. “Fewer public libraries, volunteer support, cash donations, pay to send your kids to school – if you can afford to, eye-watering social housing costs, ZERO care for the elderly. Welcome not to the Big Society but to the Ryanair Society. Anything and everything you thought was covered by council tax is now an optional extra. Just to be clear, if you want it then please pay for it…twice. So, pull the lens in and focus on librarians, OCC are now planning on statutory redundancy terms, just to screw those who will find themselves surplus to requirements in the new financial year. Luckily they have spent several months making way for contingencies that will absorb stock etc from failed libraries. Rather like digging mass graves on the off-chance of failure.”

Welcome not to the Big Society but to the Ryanair Society. Anything and everything you thought was covered by council tax is now an optional extra.”

  • Scottish Borders – Watchdog highlights sicknote surge at SBC – Hawick News. “Visits to the region’s libraries in 2012/13 totalled 384,681, compared to 398,370 in 2011/12. However, the library usage figure in 2010/11 was 434,208, revealing a significant fall in custom over the past two years.”
  • Sefton – Churchtown library closed after brave campaign to save the service – Southport Visiter. “Volunteers have vowed to try and provide a replacement service following the closure of Churchtown library. The library will shut tomorrow as part of Sefton Council’s budget cuts. Birkdale and Ainsdale libraries are expected to close in the coming months, despite attempts by campaigners to save services. Volunteers at North Meols Library Association are now working to try and set up a community library to serve the north Southport area.”
  • Sheffield – Community fights on in bid to keep library – Sheffield Telegraph. “One idea to be examined is a partnership with the library at the University of Sheffield”.  Meeting of 100: “The feeling was one of “frustration, annoyance and even anger” at the suggestion that the second busiest community library in Sheffield could be closed, leaving only one, at Ecclesall, for the south west of the city.”
  • Sheffield – Unison’s stance is an open book – we fight on to save threatened libraries – Sheffield Telegraph. “Public libraries are, like the NHS, a cradle to grave service. 
Apart from a source of education and recreation for the older members of our society, they are also a starting point for the children of today. It will be a lucky few if Sheffield City Council succeeds in closing almost half its libraries” … “Cuts to services and staff are being made across the Council. £1.66 million is the library service’sshare of the burden. Yet suddenly the council has announced it will put up £900,000 to facilitate the Tour de France coming to Sheffield in 2014. £900.000 that would help keep present services going. Public libraries in Sheffield have been around since 1856. The Tour de France will have come and gone in a day – and what will the city benefit from it?Unison is working hard in campaigning to prevent the reduction in the city’s library service, and to keep the jobs of professional and dedicated library staff.”
  • Southend – Read? On! – Yellow Advertiser. “Leigh and Kent Elms libraries are to stay open after overwhelming public opposition to their closure. The libraries will be run by a mixture of paid staff and volunteers. A council consultation saw thousands of people oppose the proposals, which aimed to save cash. “
  • Swindon – Story time fun for children – Swindon Advertiser. Celebrations to mark 70th anniversary of service. “From a single library opened during the Second World War, Swindon now has 15 static libraries, including the volunteer-led library at Walcot, a mobile library, and a home library service delivered in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service.”
  • Wrexham – Committee Votes Against Closure Of Three Wrexham Libraries – Wrexham.com. “the Committee instead voted in favour of an amended recommendation from Councillor Alun Jenkins, which opted for a reduction of opening hours across libraries in Wrexham by 26%. Along with an investigation into the use of community hubs as a method of housing local libraries.” Long article. See also Libraries at Brymbo, Gresford and Rhosllannerchrugog given hope – BBC and Wrexham councillors run gauntlet of protesters fighting for library – News North Wales. “before the meeting about 30 protesters had gathered outside the Guildhall chanting “Save Rhos library” as councillors walked in. Placards were also held up proclaiming “Hands off our library” and “Save our library” with pupils from Ysgol ID Hooson and Ysgol Y Grango supporting the campaign.”