UK news

  • Are Councils using framework agreements to destroy the UK Public Library Service? – You decide. – Mick Fortune. Looks at the purchasing of RFID material in Lambeth and other services using “framework agreements”. “’m not suggesting for a moment that anyone is doing anything wrong here. I am however suggesting that supplying something as complicated as integrated council IT services using a system designed to manage library loans might go slightly beyond the remit of the framework agreement – but since we can’t see it, we can’t know.” … “using a framework agreement designed to buy hardware for a library may to buy hardware to do something entirely different might fall foul of European legislation on competitive tendering”
  • Campaigners attack SCL on CIPFA – BookSeller.  “Laura Swaffield, chair of the Library Campaign, attacked the SCL in an open letter, and said she was “shocked and disappointed” at the body’s “bland acceptance”. She added: “When branch closures, and the creation of volunteer libraries, are accelerating with no control and no sensible assessment, few would agree that ‘libraries are working to achieve the right balance between maintaining and building upon the service that communities depend on and the necessity to reduce costs’.”
  • Christmas library challenge encourages kids to snuggle down with books – Guardian. “Christmas comes early to UK libraries this week, with the launch of a Christmas Mini-Challenge that encourages children to read three books during the holidays.”
  • Library spending down £3million in the last year – North Devon Journal. “In total, local authorities in the South West spent 72,887,000 on library services in 2012-13, a fall from the £76,160,000 spent the previous financial year”
  • Reader Organisation: Liverpool – Impact 48. “he Reader has high hopes for the weekend and is looking for volunteers who can build apps, develop a website for the Liverpool – City of Readers’ project and create a marketing campaign that uses social media to promote the project. One app which the Readers think would be great would be a reading tour of Liverpool linking stories, authors and events to a mobile app – but a key aspect of the weekend is to find new exciting ways to get the city reading using technology.”
  • Shelfie: show us a photo of your bookshelf – Guardian. “We want your shelfie. What’s more telling than a bookshelf? You can share a snap of a single shelf or your entire bookcase – you decide. If you’re feeling in a particularly adventurous mood, you could even film yourself giving a guided tour of your shelf, explaining your categorising methods; do you, for example, only place novels together if you think the characters in them would get along?”
  • Yorkshire Music Library move hits the right note – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  “The service relocated from Wakefield to Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield, last year and now houses over half a million music scores and orchestral sets” … “A social Enterprise which brought the UK’s largest music lending library to Huddersfield is on tune for success. The service relocated from Wakefield to Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield, last year and now houses over half a million music scores and orchestral sets. The Yorkshire Music Library provides music to over 2,000 choirs and orchestras nationwide. This month sees the launch of the library’s new online reservation system.”
  • You say it best…! – Leon’s Library Blog. “This was a no win situation in which the SCL were damned if they did or damned if they didn’t criticise the volunteer figures so perhaps they should have taken inspiration from the song lyrics, ‘you say it best when you say nothing at all’ or  for those of an older persuasion ‘silence is golden’. The biggest disappointment is that although this is an official statement from SCL many individual heads of libraries will be just as dismayed as library campaigners.”


  • 32 Library Stories You May Have Missed in November – OEDB.  Some good stuff here.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Brookline (MA) Public Library’s TARDIS “Awesome Box” – SLJ (USA). Library builds box in shape of tardis for users to insert books which they liked into.  These then get scanned and automatically put on a website showing books recommended by users.
  • Jessamyn West Documents Vermont Public Libraries – Seven Days (USA). “might be the librarian laureate of Vermont, if there were such a thing.” … “Each of Vermont’s libraries, no matter how small, West says, is a source of “unbiased advice about the things that are interesting in their areas … and a way to get to know a community [better] than going to see a tourist attraction.” … “Above all, West values libraries because they are committed to providing access to information and knowledge. And access is a topic about which she is well informed and passionate. She’s written a book, Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide, that addresses the challenges of delivering widespread access to information technology” … “West is regarded within the library world as a bit of a rabble-rouser.” further comment on this piece can be found at Metafilter.
  • Libraries reinvent themselves for the 21st century – Chicago Tribune (USA). “Library leaders nationwide are adapting to this shift by reimagining the library as an engaged community center. The role of librarians is being re-branded to reflect their expertise as content curators and trusted navigators in an ever-expanding ocean of information — in whatever format it may exist.” … “Walk into Arlington Heights Memorial Library, whose renovations were completed this year, and you’ll see an expansive, open space. Several dividing walls have been removed. One section of the library, Marketplace, mimics a supermarket aisle, with 20,000 books, DVDs and music CDs. Books are divided by category — Cookbooks, Health, Jobs & Money and Trending — and shelved with covers, rather than spines, facing out. The attractive display is so popular, reports library executive director Jason Kuhl, that although it occupies only 10 percent of floor space, Marketplace accounts for more than one-quarter of the library’s 2.6 million circulation. “
  • Model programme for public libraries – Model Programme (Denmark).  A complete website showing how to design a new or refurbished library, to zone it, with case studies.
  • Ten librarians from across the nation receive prestigious public service honor – ALA (USA). “Ten librarians from various types of libraries joined the company of a select few as recipients of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award today. 2013 recipients were selected for their dedicated public service and the valuable role they play in our nation’s communities in transforming lives through education. Only 60 librarians nationwide have won the I Love My Librarian Award since its inception in 2008.”

Local news by library service

  • Essex – Harlow’s Mark Hall library to close for upgrade – Harlow Star. To be converted to self-service.
  • Herefordshire – Campaigners protest over Herefordshire library cuts – BookSeller. “”Herefordshire Libraries Support Group is seriously concerned about the potential harm that will be done by the budget cuts to be announced in the New Year. Within the West Midlands, Herefordshire has the fewest number of libraries, but also the highest level of active borrowers. The Library Service has been praised for how well it engages with the population—especially children, older people, job seekers and people isolated within rural areas . . .  This Group is strongly of the opinion  that cuts have gone far enough and further cuts will be counter-productive generating high social costs and eliminating the possibilities of raising revenue.””
  • Hertfordshire – Final countdown to have your say on libraries consultation – Council (press release). “Already more than 11,000 people have completed questionnaires to give their views on what sort of library service they would like to see in the future. Frances Button, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “We have had a very strong response and we hope more people will take the opportunity to have their say before the consultation closes on 31 December 2013.”

“The MP said: “I will in essence say that we are not closed-minded about a solution for Deepings Library – the only thing I have got a closed mind about is its closure. It must be saved.” He says the library plays a pivotal role in community life and it’s not feasible for residents to travel by public transport to Stamford Library.”

  • Luton – Libraries in Sundon Park, Wigmore and the mobile library service to CLOSE next month – Luton and Dunstable Express. “Luton Culture has said Sundon Park Library, Wigmore Library and the Mobile Library are due to close on January 31, 2014.” … “Residents who visit one of these libraries during the next six weeks will be given an information booklet about how the changes to the library service may affect them. The booklet contains information for affected library users about how to reach their two closest libraries by public transport and car, as well as how to use Luton Libraries Online.”
  • Moray – Council may not meet ‘basic legislative requirements’ on Libraries – Inside Moray. “Moray Council looks set to lose its five-star status in library provision – and looks likely not to be meeting basic legislative requirements. That was the view expressed at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday as MSP’s debated the Council decision to close local libraries in Findochty, Hopeman, Rothes and Portknockie. The claim was made by SNP member Fiona McLeod MSP, who ahead of the debate declared a personal interest in library closures in her capacity as chair of the Scottish Library Information Council (SLIC).”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Michelle Hurst: Libraries: a thing of the past? – Grimsby Telegraph. “It needs to make savings of between £300,000 and £500,000 a year. And with the current 10 libraries costing the council £3 million each year, you can see the maths suggest that libraries will close. I expected a furious response. I have to say I was surprised that it has been tepid so far at best.”

“unless parents want to get their children interested in reading, what will be the point in libraries in decades to come, when the current older generations have passed away?”

  • Nottingham – Libraries and arts organisations to suffer as Nottingham City Council cut £25m from budget – Nottingham Post. “more than 70 jobs will go as the city council slashes £25 million from its budget.” … “the council has forecast it will need to save more than twice that amount – £55m – in years to come.”
  • Somerset – Street Library to close for make-over – Central Somerset Gazette. “Street Library is set to close for almost two months shortly after Christmas, so that self-service machines can be installed.” … “While the library is closed, building works including the fitting of energy efficient lighting, a new enquiries desk, new windows, re-carpeting the lobby and entrance area and general decoration will also be carried out.”
  • Southend on Sea – 45% of library jobs axed – Echo. “The number of staff looks set to be cut from 25 to 14 after Friars and Thorpedene libraries in Shoebury close, Westcliff and Southchurch libraries are handed over to volunteers.” … “The branches have had no fulltime paid library staff since 1992, but the change in man hours is the equivalent of dropping from 14 to six or seven full-time staff.” …”The budget for the so-called “hub” libraries, which will retain paid staff, will be slashed by half, the Echo can reveal. Running Friars and Thorpedene, which are set to be replaced by a new hub in Delaware Road, Leigh and Kent Elms, cost the council £381,000 over the last financial year. But the council has only put aside £200,000 for the hubs in future.” See also Major job cuts at Southend’s libraries – BookSeller.
  • Stoke – Library a lifeline for all residents – Sentinel / Letters. “a blow were any of our libraries to be closed, but it would be devastating in the Meir, which is one of our most disadvantaged communities. That is why it is so busy.”
  • Warwickshire – Volunteer sought for Alcester Library – Advertiser. “The role would involve encouraging customers to take part in surveys which are designed to give feedback to Warwickshire County Council on the library, council and community services, as well helping shape future plans.”