More details are gradually being revealed about possible budget cuts to Nottinghamshire libraries.  Around 28 libraries are being considered for transferring to volunteers or other outsourcing, making it one of the most wide-ranging cuts so far seen. Interestingly, the council is explicitly pointing to the claimed success of Buckinghamshire’s volunteer libraries as the reason for their move, which will fuel the fears of many paid librarians that volunteers beget more volunteers.  On the other hand, one comment on the article acidly notes that just because both counties end in “hamshire” they may not be quite the same.

Votes for the CILIP council elections have been counted and it looks like those associated with the campaign against the organisation’s renaming and in favour of more strident campaigning against the library cuts have benefitted the most.  On the other hand, Karen McFarlane (a senior GCHQ manager who is contractually not allowed to speak against the government) has also been elected.  Oh to be a fly on the wall at some of the meetings soon to be held in CILIP HQ …


UK News

  • Determined, realistic and focused – Deloitte. “Local public services in the words of its leaders”. Council leaders suspect that council services will drastically shrink, with councils becoming the “provider of last resort”. Volunteers emphasised.
  • Four new members of CILIP Council elected – CILIP. “Four new members of CILIP’s strategic governing board have been elected to serve as Councillors from 1 January 2014. The four new members are Tom Roper, 1,462 votes (19.8% of all votes) David McMenemy, 1,386 (18.8%) Karen McFarlane, 1,366 (18.5%) David Stewart, 1,223 (16.6%) John Dolan (1,008 votes, 13.7%) and Andy Dawson (925 votes, 12.6%) were not elected and will stand down from CILIP Council 31 December 2013.”
  • Library strategy – BookSeller / Blogs / Desmond Clarke. “The level of cuts facing the public library service is likely to increase beyond April 2014. This was the conclusion of a series of meetings between library campaigners, politicians and chief librarians.”.  Emphasises need for “an effective body to provide strategic leadership” … “It can only be described as bizarre that volunteer groups, compelled to take over their local library, are obliged to rely on other volunteers for guidance.” … “The future for our public libraries, other than central libraries feels bleak. We should not be surprised that a planned Guardian discussion is headed: “The future of Libraries—Keeping the service alive”.  Contrasts England to countries with library strategies like New Zealand and (soon) Ireland. 

“It is about time that ACE, the professional bodies and anyone else concerned with retaining a viable library service told Mr Vaizey and his officials to urgently put in place people capable of providing imaginative leadership—before his ministerial legacy becomes the demise of libraries.”

  • Like the library, the public pool is an endangered species – Independent. “Like the public library, the public pool is something of an endangered species, and you cannot do much of a cost-benefit analysis on what one offers a community. For me and many others, however, the cost is small and the benefit what you might call incalculable.”

International news

  • Books Don’t Take You Anywhere – Onion. “A study released Monday by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that, contrary to the longtime claims of librarians and teachers, books do not take you anywhere.”
  • Just-in-time collecting strategy for public libraries – ProQuest (USA). “PDA: It’s not just about public displays of affection. We’re talking about patron-driven acquisition, a topic for which some libraries have no affection. Patron-driven acquisition, which enables patron requests to translate directly into orders for the library, has become a hot topic for public libraries in particular. According to the ALA, the PDA model has gained traction because of “the convergence of ebook availability, patron interest in ebooks, new business models, and the economic crisis.” The ALA also notes a shift from a “just in case” collecting mentality to a “just in time” (JIT) strategy that mirrors the emergence of lean manufacturing and JIT inventory in the production world.”
  • Public Libraries: A Great Resource for New Parents – Parent Savers. 40 minute radio interview on the uses of libraries for young families. [with a chap who appears to be my US twin right down to looking the same, having two kids, 20 years in profession … Ed.]
  • Public Library News Roundup (30 Stories from U.S. and Canada) – Infodocket (USA/Canada).
  • Walk-in access? Seriously? – Sauropod Vertebra of the Week. Suggests that the conclusion of the Finch Report that the majority of academic journals should be provided free in all UK public libraries via “walk in access” is set up to fail and part of a publisher plan to avoid truly open access.

Local news by UK authority

  • Lambeth – Campaigners adopt the Manifesto for Libraries – Voices for the Library. “We were very pleased to hear that Lambeth library supporters recently adopted the Voices for the Library public libraries manifesto formulated in consultation with library supporters.”
  • Lincolnshire – New Library Proposals – Louth Eye. “Of the old set of recommendations, Jenny Gammon said the “over-arching comment was that people did not like the proposals.” These proposals seem ever so slightly better than those put forward in July, but they still constitute substantial cuts which will gut the library service.”
  • Nottinghamshire – The smallest libraries in the county are facing changes – Nottingham Post. The “county council has three tiers of libraries in the county. Tier one libraries are its largest libraries and tier three its smallest. It is expected that the libraries most suitable for community partnership approaches would be the smaller libraries, although the council would be open to proposals from all communities.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Volunteer led library works in Buckinghamshire – Nottingham Post. “Library hours have increased as a result of being volunteer-run, from 20 hours per week to 34.5. The library is now open at lunchtimes and on Saturday afternoons. Its book stock has also increased, by 60 per cent, and the library’s lending year-on-year since 2007 is up.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Volunteers: the next chapter in a tale of hard-up libraries in Nottinghamshire – Nottingham Post. “Notts County Council facing budget cuts of £154m over the next three years, library services are in the firing line like never before. The council is looking to consult the public on a plan to run smaller libraries – with the help of the local community. It is not yet clear how the so-called “community partnership approach” will work but the county council told the Post that it was looking to follow a model similar to that in Buckinghamshire, where volunteers run libraries with some support from the local authority.” … “Burton Joyce Library, in Meadow Lane, already has a team of eight to ten volunteers supporting a handful of paid staff. Volunteers at Burton Joyce Library stepped in after its opening times were slashed from 31 hours per week to 15.5 in April 2011 as a part of the county council’s cuts. The library has now upped its opening hours to 24 hours a week.”.  Volunteers interviewed stressed the need for paid staff too. Long article.