I am delighted to see that a set of national awards have been set up for UK public librarians … and it’s about time as the USA has had them (in the form of the “Movers and Shakers” list) for some years.  I can see all sorts of positives from this – good publicity, an awareness by councils of the worth of their employees and an increased drive to be innovative or just plain amazingly excellent at one’s day job.  The down side noticed from the US is some sniping at “Rock Star Librarians” (although event this can be a good thing) but, what the hell, that’s a small price to pay for something so positive.

There are some limitations to the awards – one has to, oddly in my view, for such a public-facing job, be nominated by one’s employer for instance – but these are early days and one hopes that these things will evolve.  It would also be great if the awards had a special name like “Dewey” or something.  Councils may anyway receive nominations for outstanding librarians from the public (and indeed need to provide customer testimonials) and the more farsighted ones may even publicly encourage it.  I can also see profiles of the short-listed librarians appearing in Update (or here on Public Libraries News: guys, talk to me) and the winner even getting some national attention. Spread best practice and the good news all around, I say.

So if you know of a librarian deserving the award (and who doesn’t?) then make sure the chief librarian of the relevant authority knows too.


Ideas noted

CILIP Public & Mobile Library Group’s Annual Awards

“The CILIP Public & Mobile Library Group’s annual awards recognise the outstanding contribution that staff make to their customers, the communities they serve and the wider public library profession.

The awards are:

Public Library Champion of the Year: Recognising the achievements of outstanding frontline public library staff that make a real difference to the people who use their library

Mobile Library Champion of the Year:  Recognising the achievements of outstanding mobile library assistants, drivers or librarians who make a real difference to the lives of the people who use their services

Public Librarian of the Year:  Recognising the achievements of outstanding library and information professionals working in a public library service that make a real difference to the communities they serve and the wider public library profession

A winner and two runners up for each award will be selected and receive greater recognition and profile. The three winners will receive a personal, engraved trophy. The awards will be presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Public Library Satellite Conference in Birmingham on 12th August 2014.

Members of staff must be nominated by their employer. The awards are open to all library authorities in the UK. Closing date for nominations is 18th June 2014.”

Please read the attached guidelines carefully before submitting your award nomination using the form provided.

Email cilipmobilemeet@buckscc.gov.uk or 07707 995812

Related Documents:


  • Novel spaces: the future of UK public libraries – Quadraphene. “And this leads me to a very particular and very special place, namely public libraries in the UK and the question of whether or not they have a future. In short, what is the role—or value—of public libraries and librarians in an age of instant information? Now at this point I have to put my hand up and admit to being wrong. Probably. Some time ago I created an extinction timeline, because I believe that the future is as much about things disappearing as it is about things being invented.” … “I got it wrong, probably” … “because libraries aren’t just about the books they contain, and because the future of books or publishing is not the same thing as the future of public libraries.”

“libraries are about people, not just books, and librarians are about more than just saying “Shhh.” They are also about saying: “Psst—have a look at this.” Librarians are sifters, guides and co-creators of human connection. Most of all they are cultural curators, not only of paper, but of human history and ideas.”

  • Public Libraries UK Plc or the ACE/Locality report on ‘enterprising libraries’ – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “So they are obviously very aware that many will see the raising of significant income from retail and commercial activities highly problematic for a statutory public service especially one that has at its core the belief that reading, learning and information should be free at the point of access. But then again the NHS also has this at its core and it hasn’t stopped them from privatising and commercialising that beloved institution … So the next time you issue a book to someone, if you ever get the chance due to self-serve, ask them the question “do you want fries with that?””
  • Stephen McGinty: Library treasure within our grasp – Scotsman. “Libraries prevent over-spending in bookshops, effectively bestow a pay rise, reacquaint one with the pleasure of waiting and are a goldmine of historical
romances …”: A look at the offer of public libraries in wake of DCMS survey.
So many inappropriate captions come to mind

So many inappropriate captions come to mind

I am organising a naked librarian protest as part of London’s World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday,14 June. This is to raise awareness of the vulnerability of public libraries as a result of savage cuts. We assemble in Regent’s Park at 1430, departing 1500; you will find us by the blue balloons. WNBR details can be found on facebook.   It is a protest against car culture and oil dependency, demonstrating the utility of cyclists.  So, the vulnerability of public libraries fits. I did the ride 2 years ago, and provoked a lot of questions and comments from people watching; a large group will have much greater impact. You don’t need to be completely naked, just go as bare as you dare; some participants cycle in the buff, some in swimwear, many in underwear.   Please write ‘Naked Librarian’ onto your skin or clothing (see photo). You do not need to be a ‘body beautiful’ (I am 57 and everything is going a bit South :-). If you would like to know more, or to let me know you will be taking part, please email tonifranck@talktalk.net Many thanks, and see you there, Toni Franck, MCLIP

  • UK Councils Still Sitting On Millions Despite Severe Budget Cuts – News Reports. “In the face of services and facilities cut or closed down by councils in recent times, many angry people in the UK have called for the instant sale of much of this art that has not been displayed and does not seem likely to be shown off at any time soon. Ironically, art galleries and museums were amongst the first places councils looked towards to try and make budget cuts, as well as libraries.”
  • We have to recognise the huge value of arts and culture to society – Guardian. Peter Bazalgette, boss of Arts Council England: “Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation … about its identity or anything else.”
  • You can’t put a price on joy  – Independent. “It’s official: Going to the gym makes us sad, but people who dance, swim and go to the library seemed to be happier ” … “This conclusion comes from a study of 40,000 people who were asked to report their “subjective wellbeing”. People who dance, swim and go to the library seemed to be happier, it revealed, but going to the gym was linked to a lack of happiness.” … “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: this is the same DCMS whose policies are causing all the libraries to close. “

“Happiness is being well paid, living close to work and having access to a library …”

Supporter message

  • A Journey to the Centre of the Universe! – Read a general introduction to particles, matter, and the universe with this free chapter from Very Short Introductions online. Contact your  sales representative for more information.


  • Do Libraries Matter in Paul Ryan’s World? | Advocate’s Corner – Library Journal (USA). “The Ryan budget blueprint proposes the complete elimination of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) … Representative Ryan justifies this draconian approach by saying that the services offered by IMLS are “not a core federal responsibility. This function can be funded at the state and local level and augmented significantly by charitable contributions from the private sector.” … but … “so many of our donors want assurances that their contributions to us will not make local elected officials feel complacent, thinking that they could in turn reduce public support for libraries, given our outside support”
  • eReading rooms now available at public libraries – MySA (USA). “The San Antonio Public Library has started eReading rooms for children and teens that allow readers to browse within its digital library. Through a partnership with OverDrive Inc., Children and Teen eReading Rooms are now available … The new service is free for users with a library card.”
  • Oregon County Aims To Replace Volunteer-Run Libraries with Publicly Funded Model – Library Journal (USA). “probably not a library in Oregon or anywhere else that doesn’t rely on its volunteers” … ” “Right now, people who come in have a good experience,” JCL executive director Kate Lasky said. “But you have a long line, and you can’t get in when you want to get in. We’re not open enough hours to meet demand. This model cannot open for enough hours.”
  • Digital Divide » Queens Library Tests Job Application Kiosk with Real-Time Video – Digital Shift (USA). “Queens Library patrons can create a “passport” profile with essential resume information; search for job openings using a variety of filters including location, company, industry, posting date, keywords, or job titles; and record video responses to questions provided by specific employers, which are then included as part of their application. The kiosks can also be used for real-time video interviews.”


  • Manchester Central Library Tour – 27th May via CILIP. “Free tour of the newly refirbished Manchester Central Library. Four years and £48 million have been invested in bringing this historic gem of a library up to date with top-of-the-range facilities. Join Head of Library and Information Services at Manchester City Council, Neil MacInnes, and Central Library staff, for an insight into Manchester Central Library’s Archives+ interactive exhibition, the refurbished historic reading room and Henry Watson Music Library, to name just a few highlights. This is a treat not to be missed.”

Local UK news by authority

  • Devon – Library service “must be sustainable” – This is the West Country. “Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for the library service, hopes the period throws up a number of “sustainable” solutions. He said: “Libraries are well-loved and highly valued by local communities, but we need to find the most sustainable way for them to continue in future.”
  • Doncaster – Closed Doncaster village libraries to be auctioned – Star. “The closed libraries at Carcroft and Rossington are being offered for sale by Doncaster Council in separate lots at a property auction in Sheffield on Tuesday afternoon. The biggest site, covering nearly two-thirds of an acre on a corner plot, is Rossington Library and housing office, on McConnell Crescent, which has a guide price of between £75,000 and £100,000 and is listed as having potential for redevelopment.”
  • Islington – Islington poet John Hegley leads the line-up for this year’s Word Festival – Islington Gazette. “Islington Council’s head of libraries, Rosemary Doyle, said: “Our Word Festival is a celebration for all and a key part of our Islington Reads programme, promoting the importance of reading for enjoyment, as well as for residents’ health and employment prospects.”
  • Leicestershire – Get involved in running libraries – Melton Times. “Leicestershire County Council is holding workshops for any community groups interested in helping to run 36 of its smaller libraries – which include Asfordby, Bottesford and East Goscote”
  • Leicestershire – Have Your Say On Future Libraries In Leicestershire – About My Area. “The consultation is taking place from April 7th till July 7th. Full details including the questionnaire and where your local event is taking place can be found online at www.leics.gov.uk/haveyoursay/futurelibraries.”
  • Leicester – Save city’s music and drama library – Leicester Mercury. “One such consultation is taking place on proposed changes to the Leicester libraries’ music and drama service.” … “A short visit to the Southfields library will serve to demonstrate the borrowing of music and drama sets is as vibrant as it always has been. The users – members of choirs, choral societies and drama groups – must number in their thousands and the proposed changes are bound to impact upon the cultural life of the city and county.”
  • Lincolnshire – Campaigner warns of complacency over Lincolnshire libraries – Lincolnshire Echo. “Mrs Harrison told the council it was not too late for a u-turn on the controversial decision. She said: “While I welcome the interest of the Prime Minister it is now time for action. It is pleasing to know that he has taken notice of our campaign and the issues have been passed forward, alongside our submission to the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.”
  • Northamptonshire – Alan Moore’s Open Letter To Northampton Council Makes The Front Page – Bleeding Cool. “Alan Moore is a keen supporter of public libraries and for a number of years has made public appearances to support them, in the face of government cutbacks. We’ve covered a few of those efforts”.  Removal of key worker without explanation from excluded pupils project has annoyed graphic novelist Alan Moore.

“You’ll understand that henceforth I will never again be able to trust you or any related body, including institutions like the library which are dear to me. In contrast to those badly let-down youngsters that I met, your behaviour is consistently to the detriment of this town and its people and I believe you are far superior candidates for exclusion.” Alan Moore

  • Suffolk – Booked Out – Woodbridge Library April 2014  – Suffolk Libraries. “Sophie Green is joined by Will Taylor, Anne Lalaguna, Tricia Andrews and Linda Firth  to review books available to loan from Suffolk libraries.”
  • Torbay – Council’s Consultation Caravan  – Torbay Council. “Torbay’s consultation caravan will be visiting sites in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham throughout April as part of its ongoing consultation to gain customer views regarding the usage, importance and value of the wide variety of services currently available through libraries; and Torbay Council’s subsidised bus services and Fare Car service.”