National Libraries Day 8 February 2014

Authorities all across the country are gearing up for National Libraries Day.  What is your library service doing? If you work in one, do let me know and, if you don’t, this is a great time to email them to ask – at the least, it’ll help concentrate their minds to get something going.  I understand from the Society of Chief Librarians that every library authority has signed up for it last year and so they expect promotion all across the country.  Please send me what you find out.

There’s also something else that you, personally, can do no matter who you are. We’re looking at getting a libraries video together for the “We Need Libraries” song and need 350 pictures of different people holding their library cards in order to do it. Please send your photograph to  You’ll be joining celebrities like the comedian Robin Ince who has already said he’ll support it.



  • Half late fees if you bring a toy to donate throughout December USA.
  • Kickstarter campaign for art space New Cross Learning.


  • Book Week Scotland – Scottish Book Trust. Some great ideas on this site including murals, a vote on the favourite Scottish novels and “who in fiction are you?”
  • Key to good marketing is to promote one thing at a time – Real Wikiman.  Explains, with excellent example posters, how to promote your library one message at a time.
  • Library Camp 2013 – “200 library fans, workers and users from across the UK and Ireland joined forces at the third annual Librarycamp last Saturday at the Library of Birmingham. Librarycamp is a free unconference with the agenda set by attendees on the morning of the event. This year 36 different sessions took place through out the day. Topics were really interesting and varied and included: Evidence Based Librarianship, DIY MOOCs for Digital Literacy, Open Source for Libraries, Library Box, Proving the Value of Public Libraries, Create a National Public Library Website, Improving Library Publishing and more. The full session list is on a collaborative Google Doc. You’ll also find tonnes of photos on Flickr from Sasha Taylor, @WordshoreClaire B, @SarahGB and Dave Pattern. Session write ups, tweets, reviews and blog posts about the events are all bookmarked at Pinboard. It was a fantastic event and we’re already planning Librarycamp 2014 plus an additional one day festival of public libraries (think mini Glasto for libraries). We will be publishing a collaborative wiki for this ambitious project very soon so you can add your ideas and thoughts, suggestions and offers of help. We especially need help with applying for funding as we’ve not done it before – for the past two years we’ve relied on Crowdfunder, sponsorship and personal donations. It’s not all doom and gloom!

International news

  • Libraries fear ‘ravenous’ NSA – Hill (USA). ““the activities of the NSA seem to go far beyond traditional police work, reflecting an “almost ravenous hunger” for collecting information, ” … “the records that libraries keep — when a user logs on to a library computer, what websites they visit, when books are borrowed and returned — seem to fit the mold of what the NSA is seeking.”
  • Norwalk Library Cuts Late Fees In Half With Toy Donation – Norwalk Daily Voice (USA). Half charges during December if you donate a toy at the same time.

Rageh Omaar supports the Somaliland National Library

UK news by authority

  • Bristol – Central Library decision: School gets nod to create classrooms – Bristol Post. “It is a proposal which has split opinion and prompted months of heated debate in all corners of the city. But tonight a decision was made on whether Bristol Central Library – a cultural hub and one of the city’s most prized historic buildings – should be converted into classrooms for a primary school.”.  Free increased to £60,000 per year. “The plans still need listed building consent, permission from English Heritage and the nod from a planning committee.”

“Objectors told the meeting the library should be left alone, fearing its conversion would destroy its architecture, diminish the library’s archive service and could pave the way for the relocation of the facility. But those backing the plans said the majority of library users would be largely unaffected, as the space being converted into classrooms is used for storage and not open to the public. They also told the meeting the school would create much-needed places and become an inspiring place to learn, with museums and theatres nearby.”

  • Bristol – Mayor to decide on Central Library school plan – Bristol 24/7. “The proposals include: 125-year lease to BCPS/Education Funding Agency; Rent from BCPS at a minimum £50,000 a year; Education Funding Agency to be responsible for cost and delivery of all works at Central Library building; BCC to manage the creation of new book store with an improved online catalogue, with funding from the negotiated premium.”
  • Hertfordshire – Meeting in Borehamwood to discuss future of library service – Borehamwood Times. “Councillors, library staff and council officers were at 96 Shenley Road in Borehamwood yesterday in the ninth of ten public meetings held across the county.” … “ the library service was keeping up a high standard of service while coping with financial pressures”
  • Lewisham – Looking up in New X – KickStarter. “We will use the money to turn a part of the ceiling into a lightbox. We will then work with local groups to create artworks for the lightbox. That might be a print on the surface or it might use the space above the ceiling to create shadows and mobiles that provide a dynamic artwork.  Elsewhere we will replace panels with “whiteboard” ceiling for short term Rolf Harris style artworks to use this newly created artspace.”
  • Lincolnshire – Library Staff Speak – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “I did not hear them {councillors] thank library staff once. Or apologise for belittling them with a plan that maintains they can be replaced by a volunteer on minimal training. And library staff number well over 100 people, people who serve their communities so well.””


“This is a really unpleasant time for all of us as we have only 5 days to select and inform the council which jobs we are interested in and will have the interviews hanging over our heads over the festive season. In addition, we will be in competition with our colleagues – some of whom we have known for years and, like most teams of workers, know enough about each others’ personal circumstances to make being a successful candidate (at the expense of a friend and co-worker) almost as bad as being an unsuccessful candidate. I am no longer looking forward to our library xmas do as, try as hard as I can, I can’t forget that I will be breaking bread alongside friends and fellow community members who I will shortly be fighting for a job against.”

  • Milton Keynes – New Milton Keynes library taking shape – MK Web. “A new library in Milton Keynes, which forms part of a brand new complex of leisure and shopping facilities, has reached an exciting stage of its development as the exterior nears completion. An artist’s impression of the Kingston Library exterior has been created and will be available on the Milton Keynes Library section of the Milton Keynes Council website for those who would like to see what it will be like once complete. Ideas from the ‘Opening the Book’ planning workshops, which invited members of the local community to share their ideas on the layout and services on offer, held in July 2013 have been incorporated into the design.” … “Milton Keynes Libraries are currently seeking local partners who are interested in renting a space on the mezzanine floor of the new Kingston Library.”
  • Pembrokeshire – Council to review mobile libraries – Milford Mercury. “The council operates three mobile library vehicles which serve communities across the county. The service has operated in broadly the same way since the 1950s, but faces a range of issues. These include: an old fleet of vehicles prone to regular breakdowns, a narrow service without any ICT or wider information provision and a small number of users – about 1% of the Pembrokeshire population.”
  • Sefton – Carnegie Library future on the line after council reject rescue package – Crosby Herald. “Friends of Carnegie Library (FOCAL) had hoped to take over the running of the 108-year-old building on College Road following its planned closure tomorrow. In October, (FOCAL) submitted detailed information to the council describing their proposal to adopt the building and operate a community library run by volunteers. But their hopes to re-open the facility in the new year look to have been dashed after the document, which will be discussed at Sefton Council’s cabinet meeting tonight (December 5), criticised the group’s ability to deliver “financial viability.”” … “The report, which follows Sefton Council’s decision in February to close seven of its libraries, also rejected a similar rescue package for Aintree Library, but approved a proposal from Bridge Inn Community Farm to save Ainsdale Library.”
  • Sheffield – Campaigners have a date with councillor – Star. ” the Friends of Zest Group say the library, which has the longest opening hours of any in the city and shares a venue with a range of community and wellbeing services, needs council funding to survive. Members will meet Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for communities, on Saturday to argue their case.”
  • Sheffield – Pupils urge council rethink over libraries – Sheffield Telegraph. “Primary school pupils took their campaign to save a Sheffield library to the town hall this week. They handed in a survey of youngsters from across the south-west of the city indicating that a generation of children will be lost to libraries if thecouncil proceeds to shut Totley and others. Then four pupils addressed the council at its monthly meeting.” … ” 92% opposed to closure, with 75% saying they visit the library with their schools, do activities with librarians, meet authors and perform plays there. Only 24% would use another library.”
  • Swindon – Library Strategy consultation to be discussed by Cabinet – Swindon Council. “Councillors will be asked to approve a 12-week consultation on the draft library strategy to seek the views of the public and those interested in libraries. The revised strategy will build on the success of the current strategy which has seen more than 200 volunteers and three friends groups working within libraries across the borough. The service also benefits from around 75 RVS volunteers who operate the Home Library Service for more than 200 customers, particularly the elderly.” … “The proposed consultation on the draft library service would run from mid-January to mid-April 2014 with a report on the outcome to be presented back to Council’s Cabinet next June.”