You’ll notice a lot more items under the “Ideas” heading than normal.  This is because many of the US “Movers and Shakers” 2014 of the library world have been announced – and many of them are on the list precisely because of the ideas they have.  I’ve read through all of the biographies released so far and the list below is what strikes me as new ideas I’ve not seen in the UK.  Some of it may seem fairly obvious, such as storytimes in cafes, but so what, that’s the beauty of it – how many libraries near you actually do that? Others show differences between the US and the UK that may be more difficult to emulate: for instance, they do a heck of a lot more over the summer holidays for instance in keeping up the educational skills of children.  British libraries do that as well of course, but it tends to be only formally done with Reading, not anything else.  Looks like we’re missing a trick.

Another trick we’re missing is sharing best practice in the way that Movers and Shakers does in the United States.  I hear that CILIP may be instituting something similar to this soon and I really hope it comes off in spades.  I says that because it isn’t just about promoting the achievements of (I’ve seen the phrase, honest) “Librarian Rock Stars” or celebrating success: rather, it is about spreading good ideas and hope.  It’s also about encouraging the taking of risk and being entrepreneurial (in the best sense of that word). There’s never been a time when that is so important for UK libraries to do a bit of that.


Swindon Old Town Library to be reduced to 18 hours per week.


  1. Using what the library already has for education – “Libraries should use available technology to provide opportunities for project-based programs, where patrons can show off what they create.” Over the past two years her Mad Scientists and Math and Science Labs programs have included deconstructing computers and creating chemical reactions with everyday items, like hot sauce packets from Taco Bell. She’s also incorporated more high-tech tools into her technology programming, writing grants for inexpensive Arduino microcontrollers, Raspberry Pi computers, and laptops.”
  2. Collaboration between school and public libraries – “Limitless libraries” program: where stock and membership (and, as importantly, bulk book ordering) is shared between systems for the benefit of all.
  3. Guerilla storytime – Practical sessions at conferences sharing best practice for story times.  Blog Storytime Underground.
  4. Buying ebooks rather than using an e-book provider like Overdrive.  229% increase in issues and increased independence.
  5. LibraryReads – Website showing top ten recently published titles recommended by librarians becomes great promotional tool.
  6. Moving bookstock from Dewey to bookstore model. No sign of how successful this has been though.
  7. LiLi –  A LiLi  is a “souped-up Nissan Cube with more than $25,000 in audiovisual enhancements, an Xbox Kinect, a custom-built mount with a 37″ LCD screen, tower speakers” … “Since 2012, stereotype-shattering LiLi has reached more than 50,000 people through over 160 visits to local community events and social service agencies”
  8. Community cards – ” provide library membership to people with no fixed address: for many authorities in the UK which require proof of address, this sounds like a good idea. Interesting to see how it works in practice (rate of losses etc).
  9. Listening stations – Headphones etc for those with visual difficulty to listen to talking books in the library.
  10. Library as incubator – Providing library space and resources to encourage Arts projects. Website.
  11. Summer Learning Challenge – “Based on research about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and learning skills defined by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, it draws kids into learning through child-centered, active learning experiences—including science experiments, games, and creative activities—that reflect literacy skills”.
  12. 2:1 stock purchasing – If there are two reservations for one book then another copy is bought.  Encourages reservations and popular book stock.
  13. Storytimes at coffee shops to promote public libraries.  People have to know about libraries in order to use them,
  14. Summer reading app – “will offer games, reminders to read, digital badges, and community connections, as well as gather statistics for librarians”
  15. Microgrants – $2500 grants for “initiatives that offer new, innovative library services”.


  • Education, education, education: why libraries should love learning – Leon’s Library Blog. “Rather than endeavouring to mould us into their image ACE should recognise that libraries have a different character and remit and should manage and provide funding accordingly. Instead of bids based around art projects they should support educational initiatives and partnerships, particularly around the universal offers. They should also encourage more development between public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, of which the Hive in Worcester is a shining example.”
  • Survey shows deep class divide in reading habits – Guardian. “The England-wide survey of the reading habits of 1,500 adults conducted by DJS Research for Booktrust [PDF] says that on average, the higher the socio-economic group that someone is in, the more often they read: 27% of DEs never read books themselves, compared with 13% of ABs, while 62% of ABs read daily or weekly, compared with 42% of DEs. Reading charity Booktrust, which commissioned the research, believes its findings should serve as a warning that “Britain’s divided reading culture is a barrier to social mobility” … “Overall, nearly a fifth of adults surveyed (18%) said they never read physical books at all, and 56% said they believe the internet and computers will replace books in the next 20 years. This figure rises to 64% among 18 to 30-year-olds, said Booktrust.” … ” “significant” link between a family’s reading habits and a child’s future attitude to reading, with  89% of respondents whose parents read to them as children reading regularly to their own children, compared to 72% of respondents whose parents didn’t read to them.”. see also Booktrust highlights ‘reading divide’ – BookSeller.

“The panel agreed that children should be given the gift of a love of reading but were divided over the role of libraries, with Fox [MP Liam Fox, commissioner of the Child Poverty Commission] pondering whether it would be more effective to give children a Kindle. “Youngsters are used to getting information in a different way. I don’t really care if kids learn from a book or from their ipad, the reading is what’s important,” he said. However Blackman [Malorie Blackman, children’s laureate] argued that libraries were vital, saying that the way the service was being dismantled was “very disheartening”.

  • Why public workshops should replace libraries – BBC Radio 4. Mark Miodownik on why laser cutters and 3d Printers should replace books. “There should be a workshop in every school, every university, that promotes this because it’s a form of human expression.” … “Announcer: I know you’ve given public lectures on why hackspaces are more important than public libraries? Mark: Yes, it’s not that I don’t like public libraries but I think that a public workshop is more important these days than a public library. You can have access to more books that you could ever had in the past in the comfort of your home from your smartphone but you can’t have access to tools and workshops.  In fact, less and less people in big cities in particular have that access to tools and workshops and that’s what’s really needed so I would really hope that the local authorities out there convert their libraries into workshops.  I would really like to see that.”

“I would really hope that the local authorities out there convert their libraries into workshops.  I would really like to see that.”

International news

  • From Crisis to Collaboration: Pima County Public Library partners with Health Department for Library Nurse Program – Public Libraries Online (USA).  “In talking with the Health Department, library staff learned that a public health nurse (PHN) would be a better fit for the library’s needs. PHNs are population-focused, and their work in the community highlights health promotion and disease prevention. Moreover, PHNs provide nursing assessment, education, and case management to patrons of all ages.Together, PCPL and the Pima County Health Department (PCHD) outlined the scope of what would become the Library Nurse Program. The PHN position was located within the library department, PCPL funded the full-time position, and the PHN would be stationed at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library. PCPL and PCHD would co-supervise the position, with PCHD providing clinical oversight of the program. Both departments would be involved in the hiring process.”
  • Movers and Shakers 2014 – Library Journal (USA). “The 50 individuals recognized here are passionate about what all types of libraries can do to enhance lives—for adults, teens, schoolchildren, infants, and toddlers. If there’s a common theme among their profiles, it’s that as much as the library is a place to go, it is also a place on the go—to wherever patrons or potential patrons are.”
  • New Survey Demonstrates Rise in Library Spending Good Ereader (USA). “The unfortunate reduction in print book purchasing could go either way; while ebook spending did increase for most libraries regardless of size, overall materials spending decreased in library systems who had suffered branch closing, reductions in staff, and reductions in operating hours. In even better news, every category of library size reported an overall increase in circulation for a total 2% increase. In a finding that speaks to the vital role that libraries play, it was those libraries that serve rural communities that reported the highest book circulation numbers, largely due to the lack of bookstores in these communities and the unavailability of “one day delivery lockers” or Sunday delivery from online retailers.”
  • Video advocates covering over “Sea of Japan” label on atlases in public libraries so it says “East Sea” instead – Youtube (South Korea).  Oh dear.
  • Swedish library retracts defence of ‘child porn’ – Local (Sweden). “Graphic illustrations of child molestation in a vintage book have landed librarians in southern Sweden in a spot of trouble with police, despite claims it was not their job to “clean up history”.  A book meant to counteract pornography that glorifies violence has brought a library in Växjo to the attention of the National Bureau of Investigation’s (Rikskriminalpolisen) Child Pornography Task Force.”

UK local news by authority

  • Southend – Southend gets £6m City Deal to boost economy – Echo. “As part of the planned regeneration, £1.35million will be spent on transforming the former Central Library into a “business incubation space” to allow new companies to thrive with the right support.”
  • Swindon – Loss of library hours – Swindon Advertiser / Letters. “To be in an arts “hub”, with the ability to check out books when no library staff are present, was considered the big plus. But this easy access to books, public computers and expert assistance from library staff – things people have taken for granted since the library moved from Victoria Road – is in jeopardy again.   My understanding from the March 5 public meeting with council officers, held in The Arts Centre, is that Old Town Library’s actual opening hours will be reduced to only 18 per week. Why? Because the building, under its new operator, will be closed much of the time.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Council tax hike approved – Barry and District News. ““Plaid Cymru want to protect public services and jobs while being fair on council taxpayers in the Vale. That’s why we recommended a 3 percent rise that would have been one of the lowest council tax rises in Wales. “Unfortunately, Labour wouldn’t listen to our reasoned amendment, while the Conservatives called for cuts in non-statutory services, which can include libraries, leisure and bus services.””