One of the more wonderful things that libraries provide are events for children.  A theatre group can bring wonder to classes of kids and encourage some major library use.  However, getting funding for such activities is (it will come as no surprise to any of you to hear) is getting harder and harder.  So I was fascinated to see a library theatre group looking to address its funding by appealing online.  So I contacted them to get more info and here it is:

Alice web header

“Open Book Theatre Company creates innovative adaptations of classic novels in libraries.  We are a not-for profit organisation currently fundraising for our second project, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ ( http://www.sponsume.com/project/alices-adventures-libraries). With so many public libraries threatened with closure, our aim is to remind people why libraries are such a vital part of our communities. We bring literature to life among the bookcases, encouraging people to explore their local library and reinventing the space in a lively and exciting way. Our hope is that, by rekindling enthusiasm for local libraries and reminding people of the great stories lining the bookshelves, libraries will see a rise in membership and support.

Our first project, ‘Dracula’, was performed in London libraries in October 2013 and received excellent reviews:

“This production is intimate and engaging and an event not to be missed…sticking two fingers up to the funding cuts which are resulting in libraries being closed…” Hannah Elsy, A Younger Theatre

“highlighting the connection between the great works of literature and the vital place libraries have in our society.” David Norman, Clandestine Critic

For more information, please see our website www.openbooktheatrecompany.com.  If you can help in any way, please to not hesitate to contact us at openbooktheatre@gmail.com. “


National news

  • Consultation on the extension of the Public Lending Right to Rights of holders of books in non-print formats – Gov.uk. “One of the recommendations made by William Sieghart in his ‘Independent Review of E-lending in English Public Libraries’ was that the Government should enact those provisions. The Spending Round 2015/16 resulted in funding for PLR being protected and the 2014-15 levels being maintained in 2015-16. This was specifically to implement and deliver the extension of the PLR scheme to onsite loans of e-books and audiobooks, as provided for in the DEA 2010. Section 43 of the DEA contains provisions to extend the PLR Act 1979 so that the term ‘book’ includes audio-book and e-book and the term ‘author’, in the case of a work recorded as a sound recording, includes a producer or narrator.” … “We would encourage individual authors, translators, illustrators, librarians, producers and narrators to relay their views through a relevant representative group (e.g. the Society of Authors), rather than responding individually.  Comments from individuals and those who are not members of trade or professional bodies are of course welcome.”
  • Inspiring and challenging young readers – CILIP. “If you’re looking to encourage children and young people to read and explore fantastic novels and illustrated books through your library then take a look at registering for the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals shadowing scheme.”
  • Libraries surge in erotic book borrowing   BBC. “The borrowing of erotic fiction from UK public libraries has leapt by 500% over
    the past 12 months, in what is being called the “Fifty Shades” effect.” … “One suggestion for the increase is that automated library checkouts might be helping borrowers avoid any embarrassment when taking such books out. Another is that the popular success of authors such as EL James has boosted the appeal of this type of fiction, meaning there is more of the genre and it has found a more mainstream readership.” … “Hilary Mantel becomes the first Booker winner to make the top 10 since PLR records began 20 years ago, with Bring Up the Bodies cited as the eighth most borrowed book.”
  • Make A Noise In Libraries (MANIL) Fortnight – RNIB. “Make a Noise in Libraries (MANIL) Fortnight is an annual campaign to bring public libraries and blind and partially sighted people together to improve access to books and information.”
  • Which were the most borrowed library books in 2012-13? – Guardian. “There’s something to please almost everyone in Public Lending Right’s latest rankings of library borrowings, covering July 2012 to June 2013. Patriots can rejoice in the top three places being unusually captured by British writers, with a double for Lee Child and EL James picking up a much-needed PLR cheque too (6.20p per book borrowed, but capped at £6,600 per author). Lovers of tradition and continuity will like the fact that James Patterson is the UK’s most borrowed author for the seventh year running, scoring 15 entries in the top 100. Champions of children’s writing can also point to the “most-borrowed authors” chart, in which six of the top 10 places are taken by children’s authors, led by Daisy Meadows, the collective pseudonym of the Rainbow Magic writers.”


  • In defense of public libraries – South Town Star (USA). Article decries the public controversy over lack of filters on library computers. “The people who work at these places, those who volunteer their time as trustees, generally share a devotion to learning and love of knowledge that ought to inspire their fellow citizens. They tend to be gentle people, however, who are not used to public ridicule and have difficulty dealing with conflict.”
  • In Toronto, the library of the future is here – Globe and Mail (Canada). “They offer not only novels and periodicals of all kinds but DVDs, audiobooks, e-books, Internet access and free WiFi. Their accelerating transformation is on full view in the reference library, now in the final months of a comprehensive, $36-million renovation begun in 2008. The library’s latest bit of razzle-dazzle is a pair of 3-D printers and scanners. Visitors to a new digital innovation hub can get coaching on how to use the desk-top devices, which copy three-dimensional objects by constructing them with layer after layer of plastic. The Toronto Public Library is opening similar hubs at two other branches later this year, offering gizmos like high-definition video cameras and audio mixers” … “The number of e-books borrowed from the 98-branch Toronto Public Library has been roughly doubling each year, and e-books made up six per cent of the 32 million items borrowed in 2012.”

“The common thread here is experiential learning,” says Ms. Pyper of the new digital hub. “It is about providing equipment and technology and letting people learn themselves and learn by talking to other people.”

  • Literacy integral to economic development – Lompoc Record (USA).  “After completing the Library Literacy Program, Jacova has been able to read and comprehend financial and legal documents allowing her to purchase a home. Her new skills also led to her researching businesses plans, applying for the necessary licenses, and starting a child care business she now runs from her home in Lompoc. A relatively small investment in literacy pays huge returns.”

“Local public library literacy programs create employable citizens, taxpayers, and voters.”

  • ‘No women’ in Grand Mosque library surprises Saudi female government expert – Emirates 247. “A Saudi female government social expert said she was shocked when she visited the world’s largest mosque and discovered that women are not allowed into the library. “I went to the Grand Mosque the other day. While I was searching for a place to sit, The ‘Library’ sign caught my eye. “I never knew there was one inside the Grand Mosque until I saw the sign,” said Modi Al-Zahrani, a psychologist overseeing social protection initiatives at the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs. “I was happy. I thought I should check it out. I went straight to the library, located on the second floor, only to discover that women are not allowed in there.”
  • State of Readers’ Advisory – Library Journal (USA). This can be book displays, events or through conversations with the public. “Despite competition from automated recommendation engines, the importance of RA is not declining. In fact, more than half of respondents say RA increased in importance in the last three years, and 54% say RA will be even more important three years from now”.
  • VP Amissah-Arthur’s wife calls for competency and skill training among librarians – Vibe Ghana. “Mrs Matilda Nana Manye Amissah-Arthur, wife of Ghana’s Vice President, has stressed the need for library associations in the country to provide members with competency and skills needed for rendering quality service. Herself a professional librarian, urged fellow professionals to prepare themselves adequately for new challenges of global librarianship in the face of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) through continuous education to its members.”

UK news by authority

  • Dumfries and Galloway – Terrible message for book town – Galloway Gazette. “In their wisdom, Dumfries and Galloway Council has this week voted to more than halve the opening hours of Wigtown library. The short-sighted move has been condemned by the town’s festival director, Adrian Turpin, who had previously added his voice to the protests against proposed cuts. I agree with his statement that the decision has sent “terrible messages about the value placed on the book town. It is going to look very shabby to people outside the region, including the thousands of visitors to Wigtown each year because they see it as a place that values culture”.”
  • Hampshire – Mobile library services set to be axed – Get Hampshire. “Mobile libraries across Hart and Rushmoor face the axe as part of the latest round of budget cuts. Hampshire County Council is looking to withdraw 115 mobile library services as part of its bid to make £93million in savings by 2015.” … ““It does not matter if its only a half a dozen people using them, these people are going to suffer.” but “In order to be successful, the council would expect a mobile library stop to have 10 or more customers, but nearly 100 of the stops have fewer than five customers, said Cllr Keith Chapman, Hampshire’s executive member for culture, recreation and countryside.”
  • Leeds – Exclusive: Councils cry foul over double counted cash – Yorkshire Post. “Ministers stand accused of using double accounting to mask £200m of cuts to money used for libraries, care of the elderly and protecting children. It has emerged that millions of pounds included in council budgets for the coming year is already being spent by the NHS. The money, known as the Better Care Fund, is supposed to help Yorkshire councils deliver joined up services with the health service.”
  • Lincolnshire – Reduction in village library’s opening hours on the horizon Sleaford Standard. Ruskington Library will only be open six hours per week unless volunteers found.
  • Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigners express their support – Louth Leader. “A group of councillors and local campaigners gathered at Louth Library today (February 14) to hand over flowers and chocolates to library staff. The campaign, Save Lincolnshire Libraries, decided to give the Valentine’s Day gift to demonstrate their support and gratitude for the library staff, in light of recent uncertainty over the future of library services in Lincolnshire.”
  • Milton Keynes – Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, has hit Australian headlines today MKWeb. “As part of Library Lovers Day being celebrated in Australia today, online  news site ABC has remembered the article shared by MKWeb of how residents untied  to stop their beloved library from closing. MKWeb and MK NEWS reported The Save Stony Stratford Library campaign back in  2010 and into 2011. To make people aware of its potential closure because of Milton Keynes  Council’s budget cuts a ‘wot no books’ campaign was set up to ask library  members to take out the maximum number of books, 15 per person, in an attempt to  demonstrate to the council what it would be like if was empty.”

“The reduction in the number of posts as a result of the new operating model and service structure, will be the same, whether or not any co-delivered or independent libraries become operable. It can therefore be considered, that volunteers in community co-delivered and independent libraries are not replacing paid staff.” Sheffield Council explains how volunteers are not replacing paid staff.  Scrutiny committee look at decision on Tuesday, final decision made on Wednesday.

“Cuts are inevitable. We all know that. But what consolation is the blame game to the children who face a lengthy journey to their nearest library, or the old lady suddenly without someone to help her wash or make a meal come the evening?”

  • Staffordshire – Tamworth’s Libraries to Take Part in Children’s Public Library User Survey – Cllr Andrew James. ““This survey is an ideal opportunity for the county’s youngsters to tell us exactly what they think about their local Staffordshire library, to help us to make a great service even better.  The aim of the survey is to find out what children think and help to inform what libraries offer in the future.” The questionnaire asks for information on how children use the library and their satisfaction with the service.  Library staff will be available to answer any queries and to give practical support if needed and the results will be used to improve service delivery, and to better understand our library users.”
  • Suffolk – Raunchy 50 Shades of Grey tops the list of most borrowed books from the county’s libraries – EADT. “The key thing for us is being able to offer people a choice. “We work hard to ensure that we provide books that we know are popular and to be able to meet more specific requests, perhaps for books by local authors or on specific subjects.” There are 88 copies of 50 Shades of Grey in Suffolk, along with four spoken word versions, two large print and one polish language edition.”
  • Surrey – Surrey’s libraries have gone hi-tech – Guardian series. “With a Surrey County Council library card, readers can scan a book’s barcode and instantly see if and where it is in stock.   Using the same app they can then reserve the book from their device.   Helyn Clack, Surrey Council’s cabinet member for community services, said: “There is a generation of young people growing up for whom it is second nature to make apps work for their lifestyle.” … “People using the app can also download more than 70 magazines free of charge, including The Economist, TV Times and Cosmopolitan, as well as any of Surrey’s 2,300 e-books.”