National news

  • Children’s reading levels ‘plateau from Year 6’ – BookSeller. “Teachers and librarians are not “encouraging students to attack more difficult books”, a new report out today (March 5th) has said. What Kids Are Reading found that although children in years 1 to 5 are reading books at “levels well above their chronological ages” by year six they are reading books below their chronological ages.”
  • CILIP calls for end to limits placed on library e-lending – BookSeller. “libraries should have the same right to lend e-books in the same way that they can lend print books, in order to promote literacy and foster a passion for reading. Currently only certain publishers, including HarperCollins and Hachette, allow their e-books to be loaned by libraries.” … “CILIP is supporting a Europe-wide campaign for the right to e-read, which is calling for libraries to have the right to e-lend as part of a revised European copyright framework, currently being consulted by the EU. Asked why CILIP was making the call now, while pilot studies into the impact of e-lending are currently being carried out as a result of the Sieghart Review, director of external relations Mark Taylor told The Bookseller: “We want to bookend CILIP’s support for the European-wide campaign for the right to e-read between UNESCO’s World Book Day on the 6th March and World Book and Copyright Day on the 23 April”
  • Edge Awards: The Winners – Edge Conference. “The Physical Category: Macmillan @ Glasgow Libraries [“Our Partnership  will eventually operate in 33 libraries and 2 leisure centres  across the city, providing cancer information, emotional support and access to  benefits advice for anyone affected by cancer.”]. The Social Category: Dementia Awareness for Children, Stockton Library [“The Dementia Friendly Stockton Project, led by Stockton Council and Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Centre, encourages organisations across the Borough to take a number of affordable, achievable steps that will make them more accessible and meet the needs of customers affected by dementia. Through the project local shops, restaurants, libraries and other organisations are being offered support to increase their awareness of dementia and make their premises more dementia-friendly.”]. The Digital/Virtual Category: Get Connected with Suffolk Libraries.”
  • How is your library celebrating World Book Day? Send us your pictures – Guardian. “Today is World Book Day, an annual celebration of authors books and reading. We want to see how public libraries across the UK are celebrating today. What events have you put on? How have people dressed up? How are library spaces being used to promote literacy?”. Pictures from South African cupboard libraries, University of Wales, Blackpool Central, Suffolk, Medway, Halton and Pontypool.
  • World Book Day: libraries are a lifeline for literacy and social mobility – Guardian / Public service reform hub. Alan Wylie on the benefits of public libraries. “Councils and policymakers need to conduct more research and evaluation into the social impact of libraries, as opposed to just relying on footfall, issue and economic data which is seen by many to be a poor indication of their true value. It’s claimed that many local councillors don’t own a library card, or if they do they haven’t used it in years. If this is the case, then today is a great day to start because they will see the joyous faces of children, and adults, enthralled in the telling of tales and the dedication and enthusiasm of trained and knowledgeable library staff. This might even, hopefully, influence them when making the next cut or writing the next strategy document.”


  • Download “The Transparent Library” – Tame the Web (USA). “We have edited together all of the Library Journal “Transparent Library” columns into an e-book that we are making available for free to readers of TTW. Here’s the description: The “Transparent Library” gathers 29 columns from Michael Casey and Michael Stephens. Originally published in Library Journal from 2007 – 2009, the column explored concepts related to transparency, management, engaging communities, social media, strategic planning and constant change. The e-book includes supplemental essays and columns, and includes a new conversation “The Transparent Library Revisited.””
  • Local libraries in La. begin to embrace 3-D printers – Advocate (USA). ““Our mission is to enrich the lives of people who come to the library,” Livingston Library Director Giovanni Tairov said. “That used to mean appreciating the work of others. Today’s library has a broader mission: showing people what they can do.” … “A large part of the public library’s mission is to bridge the digital divide,” Chartier said. “So having this added service perfectly aligns with the role of a public library.”
  • Mitchell Library malaise sign of a deeper struggle – Sydney Morning Herald (Australia).  “It’s years since the State Library abandoned conventional library-type roles. Consciously or not, the vacuous pomo facade of the ‘new’ Macquarie Street building signified this transition to a Qantas lounge without the food. Books? Scholarship? So elitist. So last century. The only books on view are quasi-smart, self-help merchandising. If you’re weird enough to want a book you can actually read you must order it from the dungeons and wait for the elves to cough up. Only a stone-minded utilitarian would think that reasonable. Book-browsing is a pastime of incalculable value, bringing the glorious happenstance by which an adventurous mind thrives, and is only partly replaced by net-surfing. Yet libraries everywhere have been de-acquisitioning. When, in 2011, Sydney Uni’s Fisher Library chucked out half a million books and theses to accommodate more student easy chairs the list was based not on excellence but on – you guessed it – popularity.”
  • Nutter goes off script to apologize for efforts to close libraries during recession – Philly (USA). “While delivering his budget address to City Council, Mayor Nutter briefly deviated from his prepared remarks to apologize for attempting to close some libraries during the recession. “This Council was right on this issue back in 2009, and I’ve been determined to correct my mistake ever since,” he said. “I apologoize to the children and library users of the city for the impact of that decision back at that time.” Nutter this year is proposing a $2.3 million funding increase for Parks & Rec to make all neighborhood library branches open six days per week.


UK local news by authority

  • Cheshire East – Middlewich Library to celebrate World Book Day – Middlewich Guardian. “Children aged 14 or under are being urged to write or draw an exciting review or interpretation of their favourite book, author, character or scene.”
  • Carillion / Croydon – Croydon’s libraries advertise no events for World Book Day – Croydon Advertiser. “Library campaigners including Alan Wylie and Elizabeth Ash have accused Carillion of having no track record in library management. A spokeswoman for Carillion said there were planned events for World Book Day in Croydon’s libraries but because a lot of them were for children they felt advertising online was unnecessary. She added that there were vouchers being handed out to children and that an author was visiting one of the libraries on Saturday.”
  • Gloucestershire – World Book Day – What is your favourite book and how do we get more children into reading? – Gloucester Citizen. “Events are taking place at schools and libraries across the county today in a bid to encourage young people to get into reading.”
  • Leicestershire – Petition against library service proposals – Melton Times. ” A Melton councillor has launched a petition opposing cost-cutting plans which would see parish councils and voluntary groups take over responsibility for running the county’s smaller libraries”
  • Lincolnshire – Resident’s Evidence for Sieghart Libraries Review – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. An effective response from a library user whose library helped him to achieved three degrees and a PGCE.  Very much in favour of paid and qualified staffing.
  • Northeast Lincolnshire – Council analysing results and meeting groups after libraries survey – Grimsby Telegraph. Council is “currently meeting with organisations who have expressed an interest in delivering library services in North East Lincolnshire. Sue Wells, assistant director of culture, leisure and sport, said that while the number of groups who had come forward was not huge, all the responses were viable.” … “The most important part of the questionnaires asked our local community if they had an interest in getting involved and possibly running a library.”
  • Sheffield – Libraries row to fore as council sets new budget – Sheffield Telegraph. “Opposition Liberal Democrats will press for all libraries to be kept open as the authority confirms a £451m budget that is based on a fourth successive freeze in council tax. The annual debate will see the ruling Labour group defend its overall spending in the face of severe Government cuts, and insist that its strategy of aiming to place some branch libraries in community hands is the most practical way of trying to avoid closures. Its majority will ensure it wins any vote.”

“1. A climate of fear in several areas; library groups (fear of losing library, fear of victimisation if council proposals opposed); councillors (following party lines and not free to vote with conscience); library staff (loss of jobs and not allowed free expression; lack of Union support); 2. The use of the term “Associate”. Given the behaviour of the Council not many people wanted to be “associated” 3. There was a strong feeling of being manipulated by politicians and there was a perception that some groups were being taken over by politicians. At the same time there was a perception that the ‘grass roots’ had not been tapped into and half the city were comparatively unaware of what was going on as their libraries were ‘allegedly’ unaffected. Given that by the council’s own assessment a very small minority supported the councils proposals it was felt the implied opposition should be galvanised into support.” Letter by Sheffield library supporter, seen by Public LIbraries News.

  • West Berkshire – Mad hatters tea party at Newbury library to mark World Book Day – Newbury Today. “Newbury library is hosting a children’s mad hatters tea party, with chance to dress as favourite book character and crafts, followed by a tea party – with goodies to eat and drink. Join artist Suzanne Stallard from Jelly Arts before the party at the library, to make cup cakes from plaster of paris.”
  • Worcestershire – Worcester people say they’d be prepared to join the ‘big society’ Worcester News. “A major annual Worcester survey has shown an unprecedented appetite among the general public to join the so-called ‘big society’ and get their hands dirty for the greater good.” … “29 per cent say they either volunteer now or would like to do so, and another 32 per cent they would consider it. Of those respondents, improving Worcester’s green areas and open spaces was the most popular task they’d like to help with, followed by helping old people, libraries and public transport” … “The county council’s Act Local campaign has already led to around 3,000 volunteers working in areas like museums, libraries, the arts and archaeology services”.