National news

  • Are volunteer libraries statutory or non-statutory? – Public Libraries News.  A look at the issues involved.
  • Call to councils to help local people spring online – PublicNet. “Spring Online is an award-winning initiative that makes it possible for thousands of people, often older people, to try out using computers and tablets and the internet, many for the first time. This year, between 31 March – 4 April 2014, thousands of free taster events and sessions will be held by volunteers and organisations across the UK to help and inspire local people achieve a lasting use of the internet.” … “Over a third of all Spring Online events take place in libraries, highlighting how this community campaign integrates easily with libraries existing IT provision and support.”
  • DCMS consults on closing library advisory body – BookSeller. “The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation into the closure of the Advisory Council on Libraries (ACL), four years after the body was last convened.”

“Bless! After only about two years, DCMS asks us if it’s a good idea to abolish an advisory committee it is obliged to have by law. Well, as it cost just £2,500 a year to run, and as DCMS’s only independent (part-time) library adviser (Yinnon Ezra) has now left, and as the Arts Council has spent £250,000 on research about libraries’ ‘role’, and as DCMS is now about to spend who-knows-how-much on a public inquiry into exactly the same thing…. maybe it might have been a good idea to keep it.” Laura Swaffield, Library Campaign

  • Libraries in Wales: balancing the books in times of public sector cuts – Assembly in Brief. “Over the last ten years visits to public libraries in Wales have risen by approximately 21 per cent (see the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government update), whilst those in the UK as a whole have experienced a general decline.” … “It seems a modern library is a community hub: a place to borrow books, but also to meet friends, learn languages, access the internet and receive help with completing CVs and application forms from friendly and knowledgeable staff. In fact, people who responded to the Committee’s consultation stated that libraries contributed across all of the Welsh Government’s main policy areas, from education and literacy to health and wellbeing and jobs and growth.” … “On average, Welsh local authorities will see a 3.5 per cent reduction in Revenue Support Grant funding from the Welsh Government in 2014-15, compared with the 2013-14 allocation. The Welsh Local Government Association responded to this news by saying that, among other things, councils may have to close libraries to make savings”
  • Poetic justice – Scotsman. Scottish Poetry Library: “The mobile library van was discontinued when the van needed replacing because it was not the books but the poets (who drove the van) who were in demand in schools and libraries, and their work continues.” … “thousands of people listening to Scottish poets reading their work, and podcasts by and about poetry, do fulfil the library’s remit – so providing space for events and recording makes a great deal of sense”
  • Which children are set to benefit most from preventative interventions? – Prevention Action. “Play, reading, and storytelling help children learn. Knowing which groups in society who are less likely to engage in these activities could help target preventative programs that promote reading and play.”


  • Children International Launches Its First Container Library in Kenya – Children International (Kenya). “The 40-foot container can house thousands of books and will give children in Nairobi the opportunity to increase their knowledge through reading” … “According to UNICEF statistics (, in Kenya only 52 percent of boys and 48 percent of girls enroll in secondary school, and only 87 percent of adults are literate.”.
  • Nashville’s Limitless Libraries Hopes to Merge School and Public Library ILS – Digital Shift (USA). “Limitless Libraries, an ongoing partnership between Nashville Public Library (NPL) and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), is planning a move to a shared ILS system, and has requested funding for the transition from the office of Nashville’s mayor. Launched in 2009 as a pilot test involving NPL and four local schools, Limitless Libraries has grown into a comprehensive program fostering resource sharing between NPL and all 128 MNPS schools. MNPS student IDs are recognized as library cards at all of NPL’s 21 branches and three special services libraries, and students can access NPL’s online subscription resources, or use NPL’s OPAC to have books, CDs, DVDs, and other materials delivered to their school for convenient pickup. Collaboration between the two institutions also led to a weeding and centralized procurement program which enhanced and modernized MNPS school library collections, and included the launch of a new collection of Common Core ebooks. The program has become a much-watched success”

UK local news by authority

  • Birmingham – duty to consult but not to listen? – Birmingham Libraries Campaign. Public response summed up  by Council as “Libraries are seen by many as an essential part of the community’ social fabric providing, for e.g., literacy support, digital access and advice… When other advice services are cut, more people turn to libraries for that advice. This view was summed up by an attendee at a public meeting who said: “We offer amazing things in local libraries.”
 He also asked whether Districts were aware of the statutory obligation to provide libraries under the 1964 Library Act.” … however, cuts are happening as proposed anyway.
  • Cumbria – Library to close for revamp – News and Star. “Carlisle, Penrith, Workington and Kendal libraries have already had modernisation work carried out. Now Barrow library will shut on Sunday and re-open, with its new look, on March 5. The work will bring Barrow in line with the other four major libraries, which now include self-service machines and building refurbishments.”
  • East Sussex – Multi-million pound Seaford Library ready to open – Eastbourne Herald. “The final bricks have been laid in a multi-million pound library complex in Seaford. The £6 million development will include a new library and café, supported living flats for adults with learning disabilities and will offer services for older people.” …”We are investing in libraries because we realise that these facilities are at the heart of our communities,” said Cllr Chris Dowling, the council’s lead member for community services. “We are delighted to have received this funding as it gives us the opportunity to add public art commissions and further improve the experience of visiting the libraries. Throughout the process the artists will be asked to make the creative process as transparent as possible and we hope members of the public will enjoy following the artists as they create their pieces. This is also a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work to new audiences.”
  • Gloucestershire – Library books go up for auction in Cheltenham – Gloucestershire Echo. “Gloucestershire County Council’s hoard included books that were unused or in  a poor and deteriorating condition. None of them related directly to the county’s history or heritage and letters  were sent  to the  county’s main museums telling them of the sale. The final figures are still being counted, but the council hopes the sale  would have netted it nearly £10,000 towards the library book fund. Sue Laurence, head of library services said: “This is a great result and will  mean additional funds which will go straight into purchasing more books for  libraries.” … ““As with previous sales the items in this sale have been listed on the public  catalogue but no-one has requested them or has gained any pleasure from them for  many years.”

“With resources stretched, we’re always looking for ways to bring in more money  and this sale should achieve that without affecting our service.”

  • Lincolnshire – County council’s libraries changes ‘unlawful’ – BBC. “A former council manager believes planned cuts to Lincolnshire’s library service are unlawful and has asked central government to intervene. Maurice Nauta, a former assistant director at Lincolnshire County Council, has called for an inquiry into the changes proposed by the council.”

“The service they are putting in will deprive a quarter of the households in Lincolnshire by putting them beyond reasonable reach of a library, and it will cost more per hour open in the new setup, which will be £138, than in the old setup, £82 per open hour,” Maurice Nauta

“The Government believes that the operation of the public library service is best managed by local authorities who are best placed to determine what is best in their area, on the basis of local need.” DCMS spokesman