• Maureen Lipman: Saving libraries is as important as saving your local pub – Camden New Journal. “Libraries are as important to society today as people’s favourite local pubs, actress and comedy performer Maureen Lipman told an audience on Monday night. She appeared at an event at the Royal Free Hospital as part of an ongoing fund-raising push by the group who run the Keats Community Library in Keats Grove, Hampstead. They need to find £60,000 a year to keep it open.” … “Ms Lipman, who revealed how when she lived in Rosslyn Hill in the 1970s and 1980s she was a regular visitor to the library, said: “Some think the book is dead, that libraries are dead, that the written word is only available now down a wire on the internet. But libraries are not only about being a book exchange. They are the hubs of our communities. They are like the Rovers Return in Coronation Street or the Bull in Ambridge.”

“They are for those in communities who may not go to the pub to meet and socialise. They are a safe and warm and cultured environment. It is something we must not give up easily, something we must not lose without a fight.” Maureen Lipman

International news

  • Betting on the Book – Ken Haycock (USA). Steve Coffman, Vice President of LSSI writes pro-book article. “the library is defined by books and the buildings that house them. Yes it is true, we perform all of the roles above and many more – using our books and published information. But take away those books and collections, and we share those roles with many. Without books, for example, what makes our ‘makerspaces’ or creative commons different from that at a science museum, or an Exploratorium, or something a community college might set up?” … “Librarians in Europe are currently engaged in an actual campaign to get the European Parliament to adopt an official resolution that “Libraries today are about more than just books” ( The fact of the matter is, if we take our mission seriously, it is plenty big enough. There is no reason for us to feel that books are somehow not enough”.  Book budgets declining.

“Get over it. The library is about books. Celebrate it. Exploit it. Don’t abandon it.”

  • Budgets Cut, But NYC’s Libraries Thrive: For Now – City Limits (USA). “demand for public library services has risen dramatically in the past decade, even as repeated budget cuts have forced libraries to operate with smaller staffs, reduced hours, shortened weeks and shrinking capital investments. Libraries have been challenged both to expand and to contract—forces felt throughout the systems at every level by staff and patrons alike. In places, record appetite and resource constraints not only cap the potential for further flourishing but threaten to render an incomparable, innovative and vibrant institution less so.” … “Far from being replaced by the Internet and e-books, the CUF report established that libraries are more important than ever in the digital age, an essential institution helping to bridge the city’s digital divide and enable people from every demographic to develop skills and resources they need to navigate an information-based economy. “
  • Libraries: their social and economic value – NAPLE Blog (Spain). “The contribution of the libraries and the library services to society in social and economic terms is often unnoticed though it is, indeed, very important. Last week FESABID, the Spanish Federation of Societies of Archivist, Librarians, Documentalist and Museology presented the study “The Economic and Social Value of the Information Services: Libraries”. The results are a very complete guide of the use and value of libraries nowadays, based on complex user studies and interviews. The study has been coordinated by FESABID and is part of the activities included in the Strategic Plan of the Council for Library Cooperation.  The study is available at FESABID (in Spanish only)”
  • Tennessee Public Library to Publish Books with IngramSpark – Publishing Perspectives (USA). “The first book from the Williamson County library is a children’s book called Bucky and Bonnie’s Library Adventure, written by library staff. “The creation of our first book and the development of our publishing program has been a labor of love and illustrates how libraries of today can move forward in new and exciting ways to serve their patrons,” said Dolores Greenwald, Director of the Williamson County Public Library.”


  • Libraries making an impact on the economic agenda – Northampton. “At this one-day workshop we will share what we have learned in supporting hundreds of budding entrepreneurs and job-seekers through our award-winning, partnership-driven Enterprise Hubs.  The workshop is designed for a small group to grapple in some depth with the practicalities of libraries working in the employability arena, identifying partners and getting their buy-in.   The event will take place in Northampton  on Thu 13 February, 0945 – 1545, and will be led by two people from our senior management team directly involved in delivering the project – both are also experienced trainers.  Places are limited, to keep to the workshop format – intimate and direct, so as to maximise practical learning.  The cost is £225 (includes lunch and all refreshments). “

UK news by authority

  • Angus – Libraries launch reading challenge – Brechin Advertiser. “Angus libraries launched Rocket Through Reading (RTR). Each RTR reader will receive a personal booklet to lead them through their mission. Children can keep a note of the titles they have read and receive a star stamp for every genre completed as well as try some fun activities inside the booklet. Every child who reads a book from all six genres will receive a certificate and be entered into a prize draw to win an ereader. RTR is a free, library-based initiative designed by the council’s own staff.”
  • Birmingham – Four Birmingham libraries facing closure because of budget cuts – Bimringham Mail. “The city’s ten cash strapped council district committees have earmarked libraries at Aston, Spring Hill in Ladywood, West Heath and Wylde Green for the axe” …”Four of Birmingham’s community libraries are under imminent threat of closure as part of a £2 million package of cuts to the city’s library service it has emerged. The city’s ten cash strapped council district committees have earmarked libraries at Aston, Spring Hill in Ladywood, West Heath and Wylde Green for the axe unless community organisations or volunteers can be found to take them on.”
  • Devon – Revealed: Inside Exeter library’s £4.2m revamp – Express and Echo. “The improvements will see the library boast a cafe, better heating and better accessibility, increased space for children with a small outside area, an information hub and a teen space. There will also be a training kitchen for adults with learning disabilities as well as facilities for case conferences for vulnerable families. A ‘Fab Lab’ will allow businesses, schools and the public to use specialist equipment such as 3D printers to support learning, innovation and enterprise. The whole rear wall of the library’s entrance is now glazed and forms the new entrance into Rougemont Gardens. This in turn has enabled the creation of a terrace for some seating for the café which is to the right of the front entrance.” … “The “new” library will be officially opened in June. Exeter Board is next week jan 27 being asked to approve spending £5,000 on an opening programme of events and activities.”
  • Glasgow – Opening hours and jobs to be cut at city libraries – Herald Scotland. “Glasgow Life also insisted that, unlike in other parts of the UK, there were no plans to shut any of its 33 libraries and that the changes, which will result in the loss of at least 10 jobs, will see cash invested to help benefits claimants deal with welfare reform changes, a recent additional service.” … “”There will be no library closures and none are planned. Any staff resource freed up by the new opening hours will be ­reinvested in new or improved services which reflect customer needs.”
  • Herefordshire – Customer Services and Libraries – Herefordshire Council. “The purpose of this report is to outline options for Customer Services and Libraries in the light of continued budget pressures and for Cabinet to consider future deliver of centres and services for implementation in 2015/16”.  Report appears to recommend movement of many branch libraries to volunteers or closures.
  • Sheffield – Town Hall ‘hid library review’ – Star. “Following criticism from community groups and opposition leaders about the council’s approach, the decision was referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office. It upheld the complaint and found Sheffield Council was in breach of the legal requirement to respond on time. Andrew White, group manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “During the course of the commissioner’s investigation the council disclosed the withheld information by publishing it on its website. “A public authority should confirm whether it holds relevant recorded information and, if so, to communicate that information to the applicant. “The commissioner’s decision is that, in failing to provide the requested information within 20 working days, Sheffield Council breached the Freedom of Information Act.””
  • South Gloucestershire – Libraries seek young people’s opinions on services – Gazette series. “Children and young people will be asked to take part in a survey exploring their views of their local services. Around 68,000 children and young people are members of South Gloucestershire libraries. Anyone under the age of 16-years-old who visits a library during the survey period until Sunday, January 26 can contribute.”
  • Swindon – Take part in libraries celebration – Swindon Advertiser. “Library users across Wiltshire will be asked to sum up what they love about their libraries using words and images, as part of a national celebration next month. People’s contributions will be collected from February 3 to 8 to create a “love libraries” display.” … “The collage will be used with quotes from the ‘love libraries’ displays and will be available to view at various libraries later in the year.”

This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate what libraries mean to different people and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and see what their local library has to offer.”

  • Westminster – £12m library plan for Westminster gets go-ahead – BookSeller. “Currently, Marylebone library is in a temporary building following the council’s decision to lease the library’s previous home, Council House, to the London Business School. The new library will be built over three storeys, with two below ground. The council said that the project will unlock nearly £10m of investment towards regeneration projects in the borough.”