Two bits of good news today.  The first is that the author Lesley Pearse has become the very first National Libraries Day Ambassador.  Frankly, the fact that the Day is starting to having Ambassadors is another piece of good news by itself, let alone that it is someone so well known.  It shows that the national event is finally gaining full acceptance and that the fear of some authorities and others that it was somehow dirtied by association with those fighting library cuts has finally gone.  Well, we can hope, anyway.

The second bit of good news is that South Korea has announced that it is increasing the number of its public libraries from 828 to 1100.  It says that this will mean that it will be “born anew as an advanced country of library service”.  This is presumably on top of the 180 built there a couple of years back. This will help the arguments showing libraries are not a thing of the past and are needed if the UK is to be a competitive modern country.


UK news

  • Best Places To Swot Up About London – Londonist. Lists and reviews top places: London Metropolitan Archives, Guildhall Library, London Library, British Library, Bishopsgate Institute, City of Westminster Archives Centre, Search Room Museum of London Docklands, “Londonist Towers”.
  • Best-selling Author Lesley Pearse Becomes First National Libraries Day Ambassador – Booktrade.info. A long, very positive and uplifting explanation of why best-selling author Lesley Pearse like libraries. “I love Libraries and it’s my mission to make everyone else value and love them too.”.  See also Pearse becomes National Libraries Day ambassador – BookSeller. “National Libraries Day will be the culmination of a week of celebrations at public, school and academic libraries around the country. Libraries hosting events can add them to a map of events on the National Libraries Day website.”

“To me libraries are one of the most important assets we have in the UK, and should be kept going at all costs.” Lesley Pearse

  • Find and add events – National Libraries Day. “Are you looking for a way to celebrate National Libraries Day? Or maybe you’d like to let others know about an event you’ve organised? Look no further – just check out our Google Map showing what’s happening on the day.”
  • No innovation in Welsh councils obsesses with “salami slicing” services – Wales Online. Thinktank says councils need to strategically review whole services for the long-term rather than cutting a little each year.
  • The government is investing in libraries! (But which government?) – Alan Gibbons. “Unfortunately the country in question is not the UK which has been closing many libraries and handing over many more to volunteers. It is South Korea.” … “South Korea is widely admired for its efforts. People look upon the UK government as cultural vandals for what it is doing to its library service. South Korea is one of the top performing countries in the world when it comes to education. The British government has shown great interest in some aspects of its educational practice. The library development programme is not one of those aspects.”

International news

  • Do not go to library school. Librarianship is a dying profession. – Hiring Librarians (USA). “Do not go to library school. Librarianship is a dying profession. But if you are going to go, get as much technology training as you can and get a wide array of experiences in a library so you know what you want to do and have a better understanding of how libraries work.”
  • Public Libraries Show Why Sharing Culture Should Never Have Been Banned in the First Place  – TorrentFreak. “You’ll have a hard time finding a copyright monopoly maximalist who insists that public libraries should be banned. This would be political suicide; instead, they typically tell lies about why it’s not the same thing as online sharing.” … “online sharing of culture and knowledge is the Analog Equivalent Right to the public libraries we’ve had for 150 years. Lobbyists will sometimes try to change the subject around this, or more commonly, lie using one of three myths. Here are those myths and lies, and why they are untrue:”
  • South Korea to greatly increase public libraries by 2018 – Yon Hap (South Korea). “The government on Tuesday announced a plan to greatly increase the number of public libraries, their books and manpower as part of efforts to realize its goal of building a culturally thriving country. By 2018, the government will gradually increase the number of public libraries to 1,100 from 828 as of the end of 2012 and make 2.5 books per eligible user available, up from 1.53 books per user in 2012, the presidential committee on library policy said during a press briefing here.”

“We expect south Korea will be born anew as an advanced country in terms of library service in 2018 when the development plan is set to complete,” Choi Eun-joo

UK News by local authority

  • Ceredigion – Volunteer plan to avoid closure of Tregaron library – BBC. “The council’s cabinet has decided to close Tregaron library as part of its aim to save £9.6m in the next financial year. It plans to replace the six-day-a-week service with a mobile library at the town three days a week. But a plan is now being considered to keep the library open with the help of volunteers.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries and lollipop patrols face axe in latest council cuts – Southern Daily Echo. “Under plans that could see more than 1,000 job losses, services will be hacked back yet again as county bosses bid to shave off 12 per cent from their budget.” … “More libraries will be expected to shed staff for volunteers, including Milford-on-Sea. If no one comes forward branches will be closed and residents will have to make do with a weekly mobile library stop. Yet mobile library vehicles could be reduced from five to three across the county and the number of stops from 350 to 250.”
  • Isle of Wight – Isle of Wight TV launches ‘Pimp My Mobile Library’ – NewsBiscuit (Humour). “With the advent of the internet, and multi-channel TVs, the island’s library service had feared that their future might be in jeopardy. ‘We had to modernise and diversify if we were going to survive’ said head librarian Marjorie Harrison. However an enquiry is now under way as to whether it is appropriate for a mobile library that normally lends hardback romantic fiction and Mills and Boon, should also sell crack cocaine, ecstasy and low-grade heroin.’”

“Dem rides is like well sick bro’ said librarian Edith Whiteside. ‘If any hoe touch my shaggin wagon, I put a cap in their ass, innit.’”

  • Hertfordshire – A new chapter for Herts libraries thanks to share in £93k funding pot – Hemel Today. “Awarded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, the money will help library services to work with young artists and volunteers to create unique reading activities, including summer holiday workshops and activities for older children.”
  • Nottingham – £1.9m plan to revamp library and create community centre – Nottingham Post. “The plans involve a six-month revamp of the old Strelley Road Library, in Strelley, with improvements to computer  equipment, interview and meeting rooms for the local community and a coffee bar. The new centre will be part of a “campus” site with the nearby Broxtowe Children’s Centre – and Nottingham City Council is now asking people for their views on the plans.”
  • Stoke – Dave Proudlove: Rethink future of Hanley Library instead of selling it to highest bidder – Stoke Sentinel. “After a lot of pressure and criticism, a compromise has been reached which sees some services retained at the Civic Centre, and a more rationalised approach to the council’s property portfolio. One of these sites is Hanley Library. I always suspected that the project would have a major influence on the future of Hanley Library, and I guess the biggest factor in their decision is the rather large price tag that comes with their new offices.” … “Hanley Library is probably the most impressive piece of Modernist architecture in the city, and you have to wonder – if the council do sell the building – what its future prospects are.”

“The closure of libraries is undemocratic, even more so in deprived areas where levels of literacy are generally lower than more wealthy areas, and access to the internet is probably not as prevalent.”

  • Torbay – Mayor defends Riviera Centre spending – Herald Express. “Torbay Council had discussed merging its library service with Devon County Council, the meeting heard. But the discussions fell through and now Torbay is going out to consultation to establish what residents want from their libraries in future and what their needs are. The four libraries are facing cuts of £364,500 over the next two years.”
  • Wrexham – Brymbo and Gresford libraries closer to shutting in Wrexham cuts – BBC. “Gresford and Brymbo libraries are earmarked for closure unless the local communities can step into fund them before April. Other libraries will see their opening hours cuts.” … “A report considered by the council’s executive board warned the cuts would lead to the authority failing to meet statutory targets for library services by 16%. But it warned that “in view of the severe financial constraints facing it, the council has no alternative”.”