Well, that’s it. Looks like I’m working in the wrong country.  Check out the quote from Jane Purdie below from Wales where they’ve quite clearly been doing things so much better than in England.  They  have a national marketing strategy, with refurbishments, central support and a pile of other stuff which has led to a 9% increase in usage since 2007/8.  England, with it’s emphasis on localism and austerity, on the other hand have not been so successful.  Perhaps those doing the independent review into public libraries in England should know about it – along with any other thoughts you may have about ways forward.  It’s basically your last chance to tell them, though, because submissions end on Friday. Go for it, I say.  At this point, what exactly do English public libraries have to lose?


Quiz Question

This question has been sent in by Sue Charteris [We get a high class of readership on this blog – Ed.]

““xx library finally closed when a ten- day occupation by local residents, library workers and councillors was broken up by xxx Council’s sheriff. The decision to keep it open had been lost by just two votes on the council.  An attempt by the council to get the sit-in declared illegal failed when the High Court judge said the occupiers would obviously not damage the library as they were trying to defend it.  As soon as the council evicted the protesters it crated up all the books and took them away, and suspended two of the library staff who had supported the occupation in their own time “ When, which council and which library?

There is no prize apart from the warm feeling inside of knowing you’re a library genius so don’t email in your suggestions. Answer soon, honest.


“I feel, I suppose, that so many of the people who are making these decisions at the top have no idea of the importance of libraries to less privileged   people. They have absolutely no grasp of it at all. They have gone to schools in which there are massive libraries, presumably grown up in homes in which   there are books all over the place.” Anne Fine

  • Children’s authors vie for Carnegie Medal – BBC. “The winners will be announced on 23 June, along with the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustrated children’s books. Both prestigious prizes are voted for by UK librarians, with previous Carnegie winners including CS Lewis and Arthur Ransome, and celebrated illustrators Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes both winners of the Greenaway.”
  • Public libraries: what do you think? – Gov.uk. Last chance to give your views: Friday 21 March 5pm is closing date.

I thought you’d like to hear about what has been happening in Wales for the past 8 years… we have an all Wales marketing strategy in place for libraries (including FE, HE, Health and Public Libraries).  Our team works on behalf of CyMAL (Welsh equivalent of MLA) to organise promotional campaigns, staff awards, support national campaigns (World Book Night, National Libraries Day).  We have an all Wales offer for both e-books and e-magazines and do national promotion for these, produce generic artwork for library staff to download and use locally, produce targeted pr and advocacy materials and work with Welsh celebrities to promote the library service.  We have a single online bilingual portal promoting libraries in Wales including a staff toolkit, plus social media pages www.welshlibraries.org   Library usage in Wales has increased by 9% since 2007-08 with 14,675,699 physical visits last year. Mainly thanks to the combined efforts of CyMAL funding for library refurbishments, local staff and the marketing campaigns.  Tomorrow we are launching an initiative to sign every primary school child up as a member of their library.”  Jane Purdie, All Wales – Libraries, Archives & Museums on Lis-Pub-Libs

  • Resource sheet on public libraries – Library Campaign.  Useful links to information on standards, statistics, research, legislation, volunteers, outsourcing, mutuals.
  • What’s your favourite book? – Derry Journal. “For me, a library day was a huge treat. And when I got there, more often than not, I used my own quota and some of my mum’s too, heading home with up to ten books under my arm

Supporter message

  • FREE marketing support for your online resources – ‘A Library in Your Living Room’ is the new website from Oxford University Press with everything you need to promote your online digital resources to your library members. From customizable training materials for staff to download, to text and images for your website, print materials to order and display in the library, a regular quiz where your members can win £50 of books, as well as Social Media tips and ready-made tweets for Twitter. All FREE to access now. Visit ‘A Library in Your Living Room’ today!


  • A new way of looking at public library engagement in America – Pew Internet (USA). “Using the data behind our previous report on how people value libraries in their communities, this typology divides Americans into nine groups that reflect different patterns of public library engagement along a general spectrum of high, medium, low, and non-engagement.”
  • Are e-Readers or Tablets better for Library eBooks? – Good Ereader (USA). “If you are thinking of doing business with the local library and don’t want to be limited by the type of content you can checkout, I would recommend a tablet. If money is not an issue, or if you can buy one secondhand, the iPad or iPad Mini is the best investment. Almost all libraries have dedicated apps which you can use to browse, checkout and read eBooks, magazines or newspapers you borrow. It is useful to all do this with a singular app, which makes it a simpler process.
  • Czech Republic: “Family of Readers of the Year 2014” – Naple Blog (Czech). “The SKIP (Czech Librarian Association) announced a new competition for families to support reading and library use. The title “Family of Readers of the Year 2014” will be granted by libraries to the most active family among their patrons.”.
  • If libraries can’t make it here in New York, can they make it anywhere? – Guardian (USA). “I’m a library nerd. But all nerds need a library” … Matthew Zadrozny on the need for public libraries to have books and space in the modern age, opposing the actions of NYPL in reducing study/book space in a “modernisation” attempt.

“The Central Library Plan, now misleadingly rebranded as a “renovation”,  would sell off the Mid-Manhattan Library (the busiest lending library in the country and the place where President Obama got his start) and the Science, Industry and Business Library branches; squeeze users  into a space that is a fraction the size; and divert $150m in taxpayer  money from 87 resource-starved community libraries. The 42nd Street  Library, the most democratic of the world’s great research libraries,  would see its seven floors of historic books stacks gutted to make way  for an airy and hard-to-access atrium, in a shortsighted worship of the digital.”

UK Local news by authority

  • Cornwall – Axe taken to Falmouth and Penryn library opening hours – This is the West Country. “The council says that most Cornwall Council libraries and one stop shops across the county will be open for “one day less per week”, with the changes coming to effect on June 1 this year. The move has been presented as a necessity, to “keep all sites open rather than closing some of them”.”.
  • Essex – Library users paid out more than £500k – Echo. Over last six years, total fines income has been £457k, Thurrock £83k, “Despite the numbers, the trend is improving, particularly in Basildon where revenue from fines has dropped from £47,000 in 2007/08 to £30,000 in 2012/13.”. 50 people banned from libraries in last six years.
  • Halton – Libraries under review as the council faces further Government cutbacks – Runcorn and Widnes World. “Opening times, staffing, the purchasing of books, and the mobile library are among many issues being looked at.   The future of the cafes at Widnes and Halton Lea are also being examined.”
  • Manchester – In pictures: Manchester Central Library through the years – Manchester Evening News.  Historic photographs, including its construction and the thronging crowds when it was originally opened by the King.
  • Monmouthshire – Decision due on Gilwern library takeover – Free Press. “Llanelly Community Council is looking to take over Monmouthshire council’s Gilwern Community Education Centre to ensure a library is kept open in the village.” … “As part of the plans a lease on the current library building on School Lane, which the community council pays the county council £5,000 for a year, would end at no cost.  Monmouthshire council will lose about £83,000 by handing over the building but would no longer be responsible for the maintenance and running of the centre.”
  • Newham – New East Ham library opens its doors – Newham Recorder. “More than 2,000 people passed through the doors of East Ham’s new library and service centre on Thursday.” … “Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales officially opened the £14.3 million building watched by a crowd which included some of the 80 residents who were involved in its construction. The three-storey facility brings together customer services and a state of the art library which contains more than 30,000 books.” … “The open-plan library includes a large children’s library and area for activities and story telling sessions, reading and study areas plus a language lab.”

““Our residents have told us that they value their libraries and easy access to council services and we’ve listened to what they’ve said. At a time when other councils have closed their libraries, we’ve kept ours open and invested heavily to make them more accessible, increased the number of computers and new books as well as enabling residents to access council services in one place.”

  • Norfolk – Public WiFi Access in Norfolk LibrariesNorfolk County Council. Explanation of how to connect (need library card and PIN).
  • Plymouth – Libraries face radical changes – Plymouth Herald. “Since 2010/11 Plymouth’s library budget has been cut by a quarter, from £3.9million by slashing staff numbers and through staff restructuring and halving the purchase of new books.” … Part-time volunteer co-ordinator appointed.” … “A radical plan to cut the cost of city libraries could see volunteer librarians on duty and books giving way to cafes, health advice centres and meeting places.”
  • Staffordshire – Uttoxeter library review e-book offers as visitors down – Uttoxeter News. Borrowing of books down, public use of e-books up.  ““Less and less people are borrowing books, and this is because information is so widely available online, people used to come to the library to research from books whereas now the majority is available online.”
  • Wolverhampton – Reduced opening hours for Wolverhampton libraries revealed – Express and Star. “Opening hours at 13 libraries will be cut from the end of this month” … “Pru Coleman, from the Citywide Libraries Action Group, said: “What we have said right from the start is it is closure by stealth. It’s closure in all but name. “The council is sending a message that they are quite happy for older people to be living in even more isolation then they already are and they are quite happy to take books out of the hands of children.””