CILIP have, through freedom of information requests discovered that the gov.uk webpage promoting volunteer libraries was not signed off by a minister before publication.  They call it “deeply worrying”.  The immediate Past President, Phil Bradley, has also noted in his blog that Ed Vaizey is no longer meeting with Annie Mauger, the boss of CILIP, presumably due to feeling hurt about the vote of “no confidence” in him at the last AGM.  That pretty much proves that members were right to make the motion then.

Phil also says in his post, and I agree with him, that we need to stress one message – that libraries save communities money.  In a world gone philistine, where only the buck counts or else it stops, this is the strongest argument that we have.  Those who preach austerity can have little argument with this message or otherwise they’ll be exposed for the ideologues so many of them are.  So let’s do it, let’s do the research and get it out.  I know Brian Ashley announced late last year that Arts Council England are hoping to do something in this line.  Let’s hope they do.  Have a think about if you can as well.  Remember, people, as Phil says, “”A pound spent on a library isn’t a pound wasted, it’s a pound invested”.  

By the way, Yougov research shows around half the population of the UK has used a library in the last year.  They headline the comment “libraries: not dead yet”.  Many of the comments suggest that some with online access and big salaries think that this is a shame.  We need to bring home the point to them that it is their attitude that is shameful, nothing else.

National Libraries Day


National Libraries Day logo

The official National Libraries Day logo

Available for download at the National Libraries Day site. Twitter hashtag #NLD14.  There will be plenty of blog posts and news announcements will be added to the site over the next couple of weeks too at http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/news/.


National news

  • Public libraries: not dead yet – Yougov. “A new YouGov survey finds that despite the fading presence of libraries on British streets, use remains strong: almost half the population (47%) have used a public library in the past 12 months.” Wide ranging (and very poorly informed) comments.
  • Revealed: Government advice promoting volunteer-run libraries had no Ministerial sign-off – CILIP.   “Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals have revealed that key advice on the Government’s gov.uk website about setting up community managed libraries does not appear to have Ministerial sign-off.”

“The website gives the impression that the government is trying to encourage volunteers to take over the running of their local libraries. It is hard to believe that the Minister is happy that official Government advice seems to suggest volunteer-run libraries are in any way a suitable alternative to a professionally managed service delivered by the local authority. Not only does it go against the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act, which clearly states local authorities have a duty to provide public libraries, it also dismisses the role of librarians and library staff. The fact that the ‘advice’ does not appear to have had Ministerial sign-off and is not put in context is deeply worrying” Barbara Band, CILIP President

  • Vaizey ignores CILIP – Phil Bradley’s Weblog. Past CILIP President reports that Ed Vaizey is now refusing to meet with CILIP, probably due to being childish over the vote of no confidence in him last year.  Questions whether any government politicians at the moment are behind public libraries.  Suggests that those who care for libraries should emphasis what services one can gain from them and to stress value for money.

“What’s very clear is that there is a worsening of the relationship between the profession and the minister in charge of libraries. I’m not entirely sure that this should come as any great surprise really – and if anyone IS surprised, they are either hopelessly naive about the workings of government or they have held Mr Vaizey in rather too high regard.” Phil Bradley

  • Vote now for Christian Book Awards 2014 – Speaking Volumes (press release). “Members of the public are invited to vote on shortlisted titles, chosen by a panel of experts, before the 31 March deadline. Every two years, Speaking Volumes runs an award for the Christian books that are most accessible to a wide readership and would best help readers have a better understanding of Christianity. There are shortlists of five books each for both adults’ and children’s categories.” … “Votes can be cast at www.christianbookawards.org until 31 March. Every vote receives a free ticket to the International Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) at Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, where the awards will be made by BBC presenter Pam Rhodes (Songs of Praise) on 13 May. The public is welcome to attend the awards presentation in the Parkview Suite at 11.30am. Shortlisted authors will also be there, to sign copies of their books.”

International news

  • Delta Ahead: Diversifying the Value of Libraries for the 21st Century (Eli Neiburger – Keynote Presentation LIANZA ’13) – Youtube. Very watchable and useful.
  • Launch of new national strategy on public libraries – Clare County Library Blog (Eire). “the new public library strategy 2013-2017, Opportunities for All: the public library as a catalyst for economic, social and cultural development sets out a progressive plan to makes these dreams a reality. Published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Opportunities for All was launched on 19th December 2013, by Minister Phil Hogan at the Institute of Public Administration, Dublin. Split into seven strands of activity, Opportunities for All sets out concrete action plans to revitalise the public library service to meet the needs of the 21st Century community. “
  • Libraries a worthwhile public investment – Vancouver Sun (Canada). “The investments we make to support public libraries deliver impressive returns. And not just for those who use them. Last fall, the Vancouver Public Library commissioned Mustel Group, a local research firm, to survey a representative sample of 1,001 Vancouver residents. People were asked questions about their willingness to pay taxes for library services and alternatives for the types of services libraries provide. Ninety-six per cent support spending tax dollars to continue library services even if they don’t use the library themselves. Why? Because of the benefits the library provides to the community.”

UK news by authority

“The wonderful thing about the challenge is that people who don’t normally read, or who think that reading isn’t their bag, are encouraged to pick up a book.” Martina Cole

  • Rhondda Cynon Taff – RCT cuts: ‘We fear for future of the Valleys’ – Wales Online. “Libraries, day centres, youth clubs, meals on wheels and nursery education have all been targeted by Rhondda Cynon Taf council as it seeks to plug a £70m budget gap during the next four years.” … “libraries in Treherbert, Ton Pentre, Penygraig, Maerdy, Ynyshir, Cwmbach, Penrhiwceiber, Ynysybwl, Cilfynydd, Beddau, Tonyrefail and Nantgarw will close. Porth and Pontyclun libraries, which were both earmarked for closure, will remain open and Tylorstown and Rhydyfelin will close in their place. The local authority says this will making an estimated annual saving of £800,000.”
  • Sheffield – Council leader’s fight for fairer funding deal – Star. “Coun Dore said: “I would urge Nick Clegg to put party differences aside and join me in meeting with Eric Pickles to argue for a fair funding deal for Sheffield. If he is genuinely interested in saving libraries he will work to give Sheffield a fair funding settlement. If not his intervention on libraries will be seen as nothing more than empty words. “We don’t want to see any libraries close, but the amount of funding we receive from the Government is being cut by half and this is meaning big changes for all services across the council.”
  • Sheffield – Group wants to run threatened Sheffield library – Star. “The nine residents aiming to save Frecheville Library also have plans to expand its services, from offering coffee and cake to running children’s parties–transforming it into a community hub.” … “Two members of the action group have visited independent libraries in Wakefield to see how community groups took over their management. Three have experience as librarians.” … “A £1,000 sum from ward funds is expected to go towards the group’s first year costs if their business plan is approved.”
  • Solihull – Libraries block “payday loan” websites – Silhillian. ““The websites of more than 200 payday loan firms such as Wonga and QuickQuid will no longer be accessible on computers within the borough’s 14 libraries.””
  • Swindon – Council seeking views on draft library strategy – Swindon Council (press release). “The public have their chance to comment on a strategy designed to enhance Swindon’s library service and make it more sustainable. Swindon Borough Council has today (15 Jan) opened a consultation on its draft library strategy and is keen to hear the views of the public and anyone with an interest in libraries. The revised strategy will build on the success of the current library strategy which has seen about 200 volunteers and six friends’ groups working with libraries across the borough. The volunteers include those from RVS who operate the Home Library Service for more than 200 customers, particularly the elderly.” … “Members of the public are being asked to tell the Council what libraries mean to them and how they would like to see the library service delivered in the future. The draft library strategy can be viewed at: www.swindon.gov.uk/librarystrategy. The consultation will run until 5pm on Monday, 14 April “
  • Wrexham – Council Cuts Decisions Made And Cans Kicked – Wrexham.com. “Revenue budget, library closures, budget cuts and community centres were just some of the items at a lengthy Council Executive Board meeting” … “Councillors also voted in favour of closing libraries in Brymbo and Gresford in April unless an alternative options are found. This is alongside a reduction in library opening hours by up to 19%. The closure of the two libraries combined with the reduction of opening hours would save £92,000. Discussions on cuts to library services began in February of last year, when the Council were initially looking to make library savings of around £123,000 to £198,000. The closure of libraries was initially rejected and it was proposed that alternative solutions were looked at. Speaking about the proposed closure and reductions in opening hours, Lead Member for Communities, Partnership and Collaboration Cllr Hugh Jones said: “Library and information services cannot be immune.”