A fair bit of good news today, with refurbished libraries opening in Carmarthenshire, Hillingdon and Lambeth.  There’s also some good ideas from across the Atlantic and, footballers promoting books.  To cap it all, Arts Council England have come out with a response to the Sieghart Inquiry into public libraries which makes a fair bit of sense in parts.  I also love a great article by Mobeena Khan on the importance of reader development in libraries.




  • CILIP urges Cable to implement copyright reforms – BookSeller. “Librarian body CILIP (The Chartered Institute of Library Professionals), the Wellcome Trust and the British Library, are among 50 organisations to sign an open letter urging business secretary Vince Cable to implement key reforms to copyright legislation, which they says they fear “could now be subject to delay”.”
  • Five of the most striking university libraries you will ever see – Times Higher Education. “In an increasingly digital world, libraries are surplus to requirements, right? According to the Voices for the Library campaign, more than 10 per cent of the UK’s public libraries are currently at risk of closure by their local authority, and hundreds have been shut down in the past two years alone. For universities, however, both modern and historic libraries are at the heart of campus life.”
  • Lampard launches campaign to get more children reading… but which books are favourites of Premier League stars? – Daily Mail. “Frank Lampard has given his support to the National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars programme urging children to read more books. The Chelsea midfielder, who has his own series of children’s football books, joined 30 children for a football literacy quiz at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as part of the launch of the 11th year of the programme.”
  • How US libraries are becoming community problem solvers – Guardian. “We must fundamentally change how we view libraries and move from a historical idea of libraries as merely physical repositories to seeing them as an opportunity for proactive community engagement.” … “One example of this is Princeton Public Library in New Jersey, which has become the home of more than 2,000 Tech Meet-up members. Entrepreneur Venu Moola and librarian Janie Hermann have shared here how the library is successfully connecting the most techie of entrepreneurs in dozens of networking events, supporting research and development and enabling greater levels of co-working. Moola demonstrates that public libraries can be powerful players in supporting the start-up economy”

“A new report on the future of libraries and teens puts it this way: libraries used to be grocery stores; now we need to be kitchens and our libraries are adding new ingredients to best serve readers.”

  • Reading – #UKLibChat. “We can be quick sometimes, as a profession, to skip over the book part of what we offer. Being under threat, as most public libraries are, we can be incredibly quick to say “We’re not just a building with books, you know!” – and we are indeed, so much more than that. We have free access to computers and the internet, we have services for babies and children and teenagers. We have reading groups and author events and services for housebound users and users whose first language isn’t English. We stretch and stretch and stretch and sometimes, I feel we forget about the books. The books and their magic are part of what draws people in. It’s still the thing that people associate a library with, any library, public, academic, whatever. Sometimes, we forget about the books.”
  • Reading and Rehabilitation – London Review of Books. Questions the government decision to stop the sending of books to prisoners. “The other plan, to send books to prison libraries, has to be a good idea generally. Prison libraries are part of the general public library system, being squeezed to death by cuts. But it reminds me of when we used to argue about sending books to school libraries because school funding had been cut. It accepts the status quo, and fully participates in the government’s plan for charity to take the place of proper provision of essential institutions.”
  • Response by Arts Council England to Sieghart Panel on Public Libraries – Arts Council England. Supports statutory status for libraries and that any new structure should be tested strongly and “not weaken what we have now”.  “Only a relatively modest investment is required” to update delivery of public libraries but cuts in budget may make this not possible.  Volunteer run libraries need more support and many may not be sustainable.


  • Five Cool D.C. Area Library Tools You Should Know About – Kojo Nmandi Show (USA). Ideas inc. “system’s eLibrary to find transcripts and other primary source materials from radio and TV. For literature lovers, there’s the LitFinder tool. The online resource contains full-text poems, short stories, speeches and plays” … “online library includes 24/7 tutoring help. Students can get homework help from expert tutors and live help with foreign language classes from the Language Lab. There’s also a resume service, writing assistance and test prep for adult learners.” …. “Every fourth Monday of the month, aspiring poets can share original poetry and exchange constructive criticism at Arlington County Public Library. The poetry workshop includes an online forum for questions and feedback, and the best poems are published on the library’s website.”
  • Libraries Are Surprisingly Popular, and Oh Yeah, They Also Make You Awesome – Bustle (USA). Libraries create sense of community, make people think more broadly, inclusive.
  • Paul Public Library: Sharing More Than Books – Youtube/Google Stories. “Mobile workplace” car with computers and digital projector goes to local communities to give basic computer training to ethnic minorities.
  • Missouri: Kansas City Public Library Will Launch a Mobile Digital Lab Next Month – Library Journal (USA). “children and teenagers living in the inner-city will have access to a slew of digital tools, including cameras, laptops and a 3-D printer, as well as a group adult mentors eager to share what they know.”


“#uklibchat is running a live twitter chat on Tuesday 1st April 6.30 – 8.30pm BST. The chat is about Reading! Join us! The agenda is here: http://uklibchat.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/agenda-uklibchat-on-reading-tuesday-1st-april-2014/ – please help to shape it by adding your questions.”

UK local news by authority

  • Carmarthenshire – Carmarthen’s newly refurbished library opens to 1,000 people – Carmarthen Journal. “… newly refurbished library opened its doors to around 1,000 people on its first day. The official opening by Carmarthenshire’ councillor Meryl Gravell was celebrated with a bagpipe player, Superbook and Richmond Park School Choir. The first 100 people through the doors qualified for a free CD or DVD, and free tea and coffee was provided throughout the day.” … “£55,000 investment in the library which included self service RFID machines with hundreds of new books, DVDs and CDs available, along with free access to an online newsstand.”
  • Cornwall – St Just Library campaigners slam timing of Cornwall Council hours cuts – Cornishman. “The fact that the reduced hours will start in June has been particularly galling to St Just residents, who rely heavily on tourism in the summer months. Councillor James said: “In terms of local tourism, the reduced hours could not start at a worse time.”
  • Croydon – Housing and dirty streets on agenda as Labour fire Croydon Council election starting gun – Croydon Guardian. “Libraries, wages and domestic violence are also set to at the forefront of the party’s campaign ahead of the vote on May 22.” … “He added the council would enter into negotiations with Carillion, the private firm hired by the current adminstration to run Croydon’s libraries, in a bid to find a way out of the contract”
  • Hampshire – No chance of saving Kingsclere library – Gazette. “Emotions ran high at a meeting in Kingsclere when residents were told there is no chance of saving their library. The village club, in George Street, was packed with almost 70 residents last Wednesday evening, all keen to make their voices heard.” … “While a majority expressed an interest in opening a community library, a vocal minority argued the parish council should look into taking legal action over the impending closure.  The meeting was told that around 24 volunteers would be needed to make the option of running a community library a viable one and, of those present, around 18 said they would be prepared to volunteer.”

“there was fury when they learned from Alec Kennedy, head of library operations at Hampshire County Council, that the final decision to close the facility had already been taken by the council.   One member of the public said: “This isn’t a consultation. This is a fait accompli.””

  • Hertfordshire – Library consultation demonstrates “how important” the service is – Watford Observer. “At a meeting of the county council’s customer service, performance and libraries panel on Monday councillors were told that key themes to emerge from the consultation including embracing new technologies, sharing existing libraries buildings with other services and better promotion of services.”
  • Hillingdon – New-look Uxbridge Library to reopen on April 7 – Get West London. “The borough’s flagship library in High Street closed in March last year for the renovation, and now has more computers, a new spacious layout over six floors, an expanded local studies and archives service, and a cafe. It will also have longer opening hours. The ribbon will be cut at 1pm on Monday, April 7. It caps off the council’s £10million investment programme, with all of the borough’s 17 libraries having been improved.”
  • Lambeth – Streatham Library – Lambeth Council. “Streatham Tate Library has re-opened its doors following a £1.4m refurbishment of the library. We are looking forward to welcoming you back to your library, which now offers an exciting array of new stock, computers, WiFi and self-service facilities. As well as the refurbished Mark Bennett Streatham Centre.”
  • Monmouthshire – Library help to get Caldicot confident on computers – South Wales Argus. “internet taster events to help people learn more about using computers as part of the national Spring Online campaign.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf – Groups unite to arrange mass protest over council cuts – Wales Online. “Lyn Bond, chairwoman of the Rhydyfelin Library Support Group which has taken RCT Council to judicial review over the decision to close the library at the eleventh hour, addressed the crowd. She said: “RCT spent money on a quality impact assessment and then totally disregarded it. Then, in Phase Two we learned we could be losing the bus service we were told we could catch to go to the other libraries. “People do not know what to do or where to go. We have found a way. We are fighting this decision because we believe it is wrong. Our group wishes all the best to the other groups and hope you can make progress.””
  • Waltham Forest – Council has agreed to display the leaflets but a community group leader remains sceptical of library’s long-term plans – Guardian series. “The club’s leaflets were taken by the library manager, who said theywould be handed out “on request”.   The council claims the reason for the disagreement at the newly refurbished library is because it is implementing a digital system of displaying community information on a screen in the library.”

“Posting information on the council’s website and displaying on screens in the library is an option we are looking at exploiting to a greater extent, but we accept at the moment that is not the only option and that this system both needs to be perfected and only used where appropriate.”