National news

  • Libraries – James David Ward. Looks at the reasons why libraries are suffering at the moment: technology, suppy, competition. “in a society that (wrongly) sees every service as a business, you could argue that libraries are a victim of their own success. A library in every city, town, and village, in every school and university – they even have them as buses now – there are probably too many libraries now, providing different services to different groups, which is great in a wealthy, expanding economy, but a liability now the entire service is under threat”
  • Libraries in the UK twin with ones in Europe to boost the service – Guardian / Local Government Network. “Improve a library service by twinning a library with another one abroad – similar to the post-war town-twinning movement. This is being trialled at the moment in Church Street Library in Westminster. Under the scheme, librarians from Paris and London have the opportunity to share best practice and offer residents a better understanding of their European counterparts, as well as to provide residents with increased resources to help improve language skills and boost career opportunities.” … “If the scheme is a success, Westminster city council will consider a roll-out of the programme, with twinning potentially taking place between other libraries in Westminster and those in other European capitals. Other libraries could follow suit, twinning one library with France, another library twinned with Germany, Italy, Spain etc.”
  • National Libraries Day Gallery > What did you do in your library today? – CILIPS. Pictures of library users holding signs saying what they were doing in the library.
  • Our libraries are just as relevant as they have ever been – we can’t afford to lose them’ – Tottenham and Wood Green Journal. David Lammy MP: Libraries are “an important refuge. In a world that shouts at us with music, adverts and our own phones, libraries provide a rare and treasured quiet space in which to sit, read and be alone with our thoughts. Space is at a premium in London and where the average homes is getting smaller, the library is often one of the few spaces to which people can escape. It doesn’t surprise me that there is a proven link between living in a city and developed anxiety and mood disorders. And if libraries are an oasis in the midst of crowding and noise, they have never been more relevant to our lives.” and much more praise for the public library service.
  • Public Libraries to Commemorate First World War with Digital War Memorial – SCL. “SCL has been awarded a grant of £196,110 from the National Lottery supported Grants for the Arts: libraries fund through Arts Council England to support a range of projects that will enable community groups to create their own unique responses to the First World War.  With the help of local artists, libraries’ rich and diverse collections will be used to stimulate reflection and discussion and provide the starting point for deeper engagement and artistic interpretation. The local projects will all have a digital dimension in order to reach as wide an audience as possible”
  • Renewed strategy for reducing child poverty is vital – Joseph Rowntree Foundation. “Later this week the government will publish its new Child Poverty Strategy, along with a change in the way child poverty is measured – a move still being wrangled over in government.”
  • Richard Godwin: Libraries should survive if only to enlighten us – London Evening Standard. “What are libraries for? It’s not an easy question. The Department for Culture seems so confused it has just commissioned its 263rd review to establish “delivery models” and “core principles”. The Arts Council has launched its own investigation, focusing on libraries’ “economic contribution”.”I suspect that it isn’t the technology that is forcing obsolesence so much as ideology. The Arts Council is at least trying to make the case for libraries in terms that the Treasury might understand — quantifying how much the British economy receives back for every pound invested long term. Still, the fact that they resort to utilitarian talk of GDP and financial return is telling. The idea that there might be some worth in a public space that does not make a profit for someone or other is baffling to our ministers. It’s almost ideologically offensive.”



UK local news by authority

  • Carmarthenshire – Carmarthen Library to get new £55,000 refurbishment – Carmarthen Journal. “The new look library will include self service RFID machines with hundreds of new books, new DVDs and CDs available via self service through our new service along with free access to the world’s largest on line newsstand. Another addition is the e-zine service which allows users to view a collection of popular digital magazines titles with no holds, no checkout periods, and there will be no limit to the number of magazines that can be downloaded.”
  • Dorset – Author opens new library – View from Online. “Local crime fiction author, Minette Walters, has officially opened the new Dorchester Library and Learning Centre. She unveiled a commemorative plaque with the Chairman of Dorset County Council, John Wilson. Ms Walters praised the new facility and said it gave local people and visitors a place for inspiration and somewhere to come together to share a love of books as well as a learning resource for people of all ages.” … “since the facility in South Walks opened in July last year, more than 2,000 new library members had signed up”

“Dorchester Library and Learning centre is the first new library in the county for more than a decade. The centre is spread across three floors, and boasts improved  children’s and young people areas, a 20 per cent increase in the books and other stock available, public access computers and free wi-fi as well as areas for reading, studying or to learn something new or develop existing skills and knowledge. Three multi-functional classrooms, an IT suite and a family learning room are dedicated to adult learning and, when not in use, the classrooms are available for use as meeting rooms by local community organisations.”

  • Gloucestershire – libraries make sure to follow guidelines when selling of library books – Gloucestershire Echo. “Following reports in the Echo that Gloucestershire Libraries made £10,000 when it sold a collection of 2,000 unused books, the county library service has been contacted by the Chair of The Historic Libraries Forum, Katie Flanagan.” … ““Sometimes books are left in wills to libraries with conditions that they are to be kept for the enjoyment of the residents of an area. If an organisation just sells those then of course they are then breaking the terms of the will
  • Leicestershire – Consultation on proposals for changes in the delivery of community library services – Leicestershire Council.  Documents are: main council paper and appendices here, here and here.  “The wider transformative change in how services are to be delivered in the future will involve a significant remodelling of service delivery shifting away from traditionally recognised models. In the case of libraries, the focus on working with communities to reduce demand for services, and supporting communities to deliver services, is an approach which is already generating interest in the County.”
  • Leicestershire – Hours set to be cuts at two libraries – Rugby Observer. “Each are currently open for 35 hours over five days of the week, closing on Wednesdays and Sundays. And while county council chiefs have vowed to keep them as well as 14 others open it could be for as fewer as seven hours a week.”
  • Leicestershire – Proposes major library cutbacks – BookSeller. “County Council has proposed handing control of 37 libraries to parish councils and volunteer groups, with just 16 bigger libraries still under council control.” … includes also petition against the move and national news.
  • Southend on Sea – Challenge for library volunteer – Julian’s Musings. “In the recent community managed library meetings a job description was circulated. This detailed the main responsibilities of a library volunteer. It was an impressive list of duties, and though I doubt it was created to dissuade potential volunteers I could imagine that this would be its effect …  I think this demonstrates just how difficult life will be for those libraries that have no full-time staff present. Whilst assurances have been made about training, my inquiries about oversight and management did not uncover anything that consoles me.”
  • Stockton – Libraries to relocate – Northern Echo. “From Monday, March 3 Thornaby Library (Westbury Street) will close and will reopen in the Riverbank Children’s Centre on Gilmour Street on Monday, March 31.   Roseworth Library will close on Monday, March 17 and reopen in Redhill Children’s Centre on Redhill Road on Monday, April 14.”
  • Suffolk – Libraries shortlisted again – Suffolk Council (press release). “… shortlisted in the digital category of the awards for the ‘Get Connected’ initiative which is promoting Suffolk Libraries’ online services including free Wi-Fi now in many libraries, free ebooks and the new Freegal music service. Suffolk Libraries has been promoting these services through information events and helping to improve the confidence of customers and staff in using them. Kirklees Library and Information Service the only other finalist in this category. Alison Wheeler, General Manager of Suffolk’s Libraries IPS, said: “We’re thrilled to be shortlisted again as it shows that innovation in Suffolk’s library service is being recognised at a national level.”: Over 30 of Suffolk’s Libraries now offer free Wi-Fi to customers with the aim of all libraries offering it later this year; The amount of ebook titles Suffolk Libraries offers has risen to over 6,000 and by the end of 2013/14 the service expects to lend around 40,000 ebooks; Suffolk Libraries also offers an extensive range of e-audio books.; Since its launch in November, library customers have used the new Freegal service to listen to 17,000 tracks.”