I’ve had a professional award-winning photographer contact me – he wants to take pictures of public library users for an exhibition.  He’s also interested in photographing campaigners. Initially, he’s most interested in Northwest England but may go national.  Let me know if you think you could help him out.

In addition, I’ve had a member of the public contact me who is concerned about her local town centre library being moved out of town to a place with no public transport.  She wants to know the following:

  • should there be a public consultation?
  • are there any studies/research that shows the impact of when a library is in the heart of the community?
  • are there any studies that show the impact when they are located out of town?

If you are interested or can help in either case, please contact me at ianlibrarian@live.co.uk.  I am also of course interested in any news stories, comments or thoughts you may have on public libraries.  Thanks for reading.


“I noted from the Public Libraries News website the reference to the comparative library data published by CIPFA.  The reference comments on the cost charged to local authorities, as well as the number of authorities listed on the CIPFA website.  On the former the DMCS Press Release comments that the funding of the reports is being provided for a second year by DCMS, so there is in fact no cost to Local Authorities in England.  On the latter point about the number of Authority reports published, the article rightly stated that only 78 Authorities were listed.  CIPFA has confirmed to me that there was an initial technical fault and that this has now been resolved and that all relevant Authority reports are now on the CIPFA website.” Colin Gibson, Libraries Policy Advisor, DCMS.


  • California librarians irked by governor’s appointment – Calcoastnews (USA). “California Governor Jerry Brown appointed a politically connected journalist to the position of state librarian, frustrating librarians across California. [LA Times] “A former reporter? What the hell? said Librarians’ Guild President Roy B. Stone. “I’m tired of political appointments everywhere you go for everything.” … “The state librarian receives $142,968 annually. Job duties include overseeing the State Library, collecting and preserving historical items and providing technical and financial assistance to local libraries.”
  • 404 Day: A Day of Action Against Censorship in Libraries – Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Join EFF on April 4th for 404 Day, a nation-wide day of action to call attention to the long-standing problem of Internet censorship in public libraries and public schools. In collaboration with the MIT Center for Civic Media and the National Coalition Against Censorship, we are hosting a digital teach-in with some of the top researchers and librarians working to analyze and push back against the use of Internet filters on library computers”
  • Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four – Lulu. “Your public library is in competition with a lot of other agencies–city, county, district, even state–for money. You want your library to sustain its current services and expand them in the future. You know you get a lot of bang for your buck, but how do you show that to the people who hold the purse strings? One way is to use the data in Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four. Walt Crawford has compiled, analyzed, and organized library funding and service data from all around the United States. Give Us a Dollar will let you compare your services to those of other similar libraries at a glance and will help give you the data you need to show your funders how much you already stretch their dollars–and how much more you could provide with even a few dollars more.”
  • In it for the Money: Your Public Library – Ann Arbor Chronicle (USA). “The library is very unique among taxing entities, in that you pay a flat fee up front, and then the value you receive from it is in direct proportion to how much you choose to use it, with no additional cost required.” … Ann Arbor library costs $128 per year per taxpayer but is worth every penny – the columnist wanted an oscilloscope and the library got it for him. “I don’t mean to imply that the AADL bought these scopes just because some big important local newspaper columnist asked. Mine was only one of a small handful of patron requests for oscilloscopes. But chatting with staff over email, I was given the distinct impression that even a single sufficiently impassioned request might well have triggered the purchase. That’s because there was already a strong sense from within the library that an oscilloscope might be something their patrons would want, if they knew it was there for the asking”
  • Libraries are branching out into digital – CNN (USA). “Independent record label Ghostly International has teamed up with the Ann Arbor District Library to stream and download its catalog to cardholders. Is this a way for libraries and the record industry to survive?”
  • Public Library as Publisher – Library Journal (USA). “Unlike previous library publishing efforts, Provincetown chose to follow a curated model, using a selection jury made up of staff from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Provincetown Art Association Museum, and local artists and authors. Provincetown Public Press will publish a small number of quality ebooks each year, primarily due to cost—the Library serves a population of 3,000 with a $300,000 budget —but also because the Press is “striving to become a respected outlet with the ability to provide exposure to up-and-coming writers and artists,” said Clark.”
  • Skinny on Harvard’s Rare Book Collection – Harvard Crimson (USA). “Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. The details make it sound more like the elements of a novel than of real life. One book was found in the Langdell Law Library, another in the Countway Library of Medicine, and yet another in the Houghton Collection. One book deals with medieval law, another Roman poetry and the other French philosophy.”
  • Thinking inside the Ideas Box – Wall Street Journal. ” Libraries Without Borders will unveil its latest project: a library in a box. More accurately, it’s a library in multiple boxes—lightweight, durable and waterproof—designed to be packed onto shipping pallets and sent to refugee camps. The idea is that food, water and shelter aren’t enough, said Patrick Weil, the group’s founder and chief executive, and a visiting professor at Yale Law School. People who have lost everything, he said, need books, films, games and Internet access to feed their minds, connect with loved ones, pursue education and rebuild their lives.”


  • Libraries for Life for Londoners, 26th April.  A chance to 1. Present a picture of your library service which currently exists in your borough. 2.  How do you visualise the future of the Public Library Service in your borough? 3.  Share your experiences, successful or not, of dealing with your Library Authority. 4.  Rate your difficulties, obstructions, misinformation and secrecy OR cooperation, clarity and openness in dealings with your council. 5.  What have you done effectively?  How have you been treated by politicians, local councillors, officers? 6.  What have you achieved in defence of your library service? 7.  What do you do next?”  1.00 pm, on Saturday 26th April 2014 for a 1.30 pm start in Room 416,  Birkeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Contact Patricia Richardson mhlibraryusers@yahoo.co.uk

UK local news by authority

  • Barnet – Library that lived: and who saved it? A joint post by Barnet bloggers – Broken Barnet. “Barnet Conservative candidates in Coppetts Ward have been distributing an election leaflet claiming the credit for saving Friern Barnet library. This indefensible attempt to rewrite history is something that cannot go unchallenged.” … “The closure of Friern Barnet, as some have forgotten, was justified by Tory members on the basis of a new library to be created in the Arts Depot at North Finchley. This plan came to nothing.” … “The Council has refused to fund a full time librarian. The Council has refused to allow the Library to access the council book stock. There are even allegations of other Barnet Libraries refusing to allow posters promoting events at FBCL”
  • Devon – Not looking at long term – North Devon Journal. “The council is now earmarking residential care homes, day centres, youth centres and libraries as the next places to wipe out to save money. It is not looking at the situation in the long term.”
  • Leicestershire – First Person: Volunteer-run libraries rarely sustainable – Leicester Mercury. “Three or four years ago, the opening hours of all 37 small libraries were halved to 13 hours a week. With reduced availability,  footfall declined – a self-fulfilling prophecy, providing an excuse for further cuts. Now, village libraries are under threat of closure in  budget plans which raise the possibility of transfer to “community management” … “A recent report, On Permanent Loan, by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, found  where volunteers have had to take over libraries or see them closed, they are not a sustainable solution to budget cuts.”
  • Leicestershire – Save Leicestershire’s Libraries – Leicestershire County Council E-petition. “We the undersigned petition the Council to reconsider its decision to close or transfer 37 of Leicestershire’s smaller libraries. We believe the libraries are an essential part of our communities and should continue to be run and staffed by the County Council.”
  • Portsmouth – New service helping small businesses launches this week – Portsmouth Council. “The new business support service, from Portsmouth City Council, is based at Central Library. It can help people set up a business and support them once they’re trading.”