• Class struggle at rehomed Women’s Library – Guardian. “You report that the Women’s Library has a new home (10 March), but its removal from London Metropolitan University to the London School of Economics takes place during an intense period of softening up of higher education in readiness for privatisation.”
  • Is there a class divide in reading habits? – Infoism. ” One minute the Guardian claims it reveals how often people read, the next it talks about books. It hardly needs spelling out, but reading does not necessarily equate to reading books.”
  • Malorie Blackman: Why are libraries mandatory in prisons but not schools? – Telegraph. “Blackman, the children’s laureate, said she was “disheartened” by the way   library services in Britain are being “dismantled” … “We can talk about literacy but if it’s not backed up by a school library   where you can go and get into that reading habit, it’s just talk.”

“The whole point of libraries and bookshops is to go in and browse, pick the   books up, put the books down, have a look, read a chapter, whatever – that’s   what informed my reading.” Malorie Blackman

  • Right to E-Read – Shelf Free. “Did you know that, unlike with printed books, libraries do not have a right to lend e-books?   And did you know that, unlike with printed books, only a small number of e-book titles are made available to libraries?   Most people do not know this, and are astonished to find out.  Libraries should have a right to e-lend because everyone deserves the right to e-read.  EBLIDA, the European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations, agrees and has launched a Right to E-Read campaign.”


  • A library please, not a fishbowl – Chestnut Hill Local (USA). “Books have a feeling of old friends, especially in older libraries that have kept their true character. The hushed quiet is a welcome relief from the everyday world outside. Not a modern fishbowl. Let me explain briefly. I think of this as an open area with no feeling of walls, where everything is seen as one and also at once. No dividing areas, including the muted solace of book corridors. No places to “hide,”which most enjoy. Designed largely to be popular, fishbowls collect people but lack warmth. They are fine in a superficial sense, for social gathering, casual conversation and coffee. But a library they are not. They are a come-and-go place, not a sit awhile and read and relax place.”
  • How Public Libraries Are Solving America’s Reading Problem – Forbes (USA). “Libraries managed tightening budgets successfully through the last decade. Americans made 5.3 visits per person to public libraries in 2010 according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  This continued a ten-year trend that saw library visits increase by over twenty percent.  Libraries also lent 2.46 billion materials in the same year: more than 8 lends for every American.  Finally, libraries increased in relevance as centers for book discovery.  Last year, 2.9% of frequent readers said they’d discovered their last book at a library, a big jump from 1.8% in 2010 (data also from the Codex Group).”

“wouldn’t it be nice if the library felt like a real showroom for books, but with no pressure to buy anything ever?  With all the superstores vanishing, wouldn’t it be great if libraries could refer traffic to the local indie bookstore instead of competing?  Shouldn’t our community come to us first to find new books they haven’t heard of? These libraries began remodeling and remaking themselves.  And the results have been startling … Part of what the renamed Anythink libraries did was to implement visual merchandising standards right out of retailing 101.  They also abandoned the Dewey Decimal System, which allowed them to group books together in more consumer friendly ways (pregnancy, childbirth and baby names all are in different ranges of the Dewey universe, for example). The results have been dramatic.  Between the last pre-renovation year of 2008 and 2012, circulation (items lent) increased by 91%.”

UK local news by authority

  • Cheshire West and Chester – Grange pupils visit library for World Book Day – Winsford and Middlewich Guardian. “Pupils from Grange Community Primary School met Winsford town mayor, Clr Mike Kennedy, at the library as part of World Book Day.   Grange students joined St Josephs Catholic Primary and Winsford Academy students in entering Asda’s short story competition.”  [That bald chap smiling at the back is me – Ed.]
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Winsford High Street Primary School unveil new library – Winsford and Middlewich Guardian. “HIGH Street primary school looked the part for the opening ceremony of their new school library. Winsford librarian, Ian Anstice [That’s me again – Ed.], cut the red ribbon on the new facility, while children celebrated World Book Day with impressive literary outfits.”
  • Lincolnshire – Wainfleet Library and museum cut fears – Skegness Standard. “If the Library shuts the Museum will too, Lincolnshire County Council are responsible for most of the overheads, as well as the fabric of the building, the electricity bill alone is £2,500, money the Museum do not have”
  • Lincolnshire – Wainfleet Library – Our Wainfleet Library and Community Hub. The library closing will mean that the Magdalen Museum, housed on the first floor, and the associated Tea Room and Garden are also under threat as the County council pays all the overheads for the building.”
  • South Ayrshire – A library service for the future – South Ayrshire Council. “With the growth in popularity of digital readers, the way people use libraries is changing – with an increase in demand for our pioneering online services such as E-books and digital magazines – and we’re planning for the future. To help us to prepare those plans and continue delivering library services which meet our customers’ needs, we’re undertaking a four-week consultation exercise, offering residents  the opportunity to have their say on what they value most about the         library service and what they’d like to see, read and hear.”
  • Surrey – Online library use overtakes visits to branches – Surrey Council.  “Surrey County Council’s online library was used 4.2 million times in the 2012-13 financial year – a rise of 20% on the previous year. That outstripped the near four million annual visits to Surrey branches as library users downloaded e-books, got free magazines and reserved items on their Apple and Android devices.” … ““However, our libraries will always be a haven for people who want to study, research or simply browse the bookshelves for a good read while also being community hubs for the likes of children’s events and activities for older people and that’s why we’re continuing to invest in branches.”