The Chief Executive of the Publishers’ Association has had a bit of a go at the CILIP-backed Right to E-Read” campaigned.  I can understand his concern about the name (it’s not the right to e-reading, he points out, but rather e-lending) and fear that such unfettered and free access would cut down on author’s (and publishers, naturally) earnings. After all, there has always been a suspicion amongst booksellers that libraries could hurt them.  It has always been the response of librarians (and some publishers too) that book-lending is a different and complementary activity to book-buying.  The current e-book pilots in the UK come as an attempt by all parties, brokered by the DCMS, to see what works best and if publishers etc do have something to fear.

I’m probably not alone as a public librarian in feeling conflicted at least three ways on this one.  I can see that E-lending is qualitatively different to lending in that the book is always “perfect” and there is no time-cost in obtaining it (that is, there’s no delay in actually going to the library/putting a reserve on the item).  Without some limits (be they the hated automatic delete or increased payments – but, if the latter, then who pays?) I know I’d always be borrowing e-books and not buy them (why would I buy them, again? If they’re always instantly there just by a couple of clicks?). On the other hand, one naturally fears that more e-lending will cut physical visits to the building what I am being paid to be in.  On the other other hand, the point of libraries is to allow access, damn it, not to provide me with a job.

What I know is that spats about the issue, while unsurprising, don’t help. It is to be hoped that the pilots/campaign come to a satisfactory conclusion, despite jockeying for position.

Children’s webpages

I was very pleased to receive the following from Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Libraries about their websites for under 16s.  I’ve had a look and it’s pretty good stuff. Worth a check to see if your own library service can pick up a few tips?

“Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Libraries have a quite comprehensive Children’s and Teenagers section on our Virtual Library.  We target the pages at three audiences – Under 6 (aimed at parents mainly), Children’s (7-12) and Teen Turf for 13-16 year olds, I have included links to these below so you can take a look. The content on these pages is targeted and designed for these audiences – the event listings, recommended web sites in QuickLinks, booklists, etc. We feel that it is vitally important to provide lots of useful information for children as they are a key user of the physical library services, but are looking for support and advice outside of library opening hours.”



  • Librarian wins meeting with Neil Gaiman: Competition winner announced – Reading Agency (press release). “Annalisa Timbrell, a project officer with Surrey Libraries, entered and won the competition inviting library staff to a write an introduction to a guide to Neil Gaiman’s Fictional Universe. This guide now forms part of promotional packs made available to libraries by The Reading Agency and Headline to celebrate the paperback publication of Neil Gaiman’s hugely successful novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane – voted Book of the Year in the 2013 British National Book Awards. The promotional packs, for use in libraries during April, encourage readers to explore Neil Gaiman’s backlist.”
  • A publisher’s perspective: Why should libraries lend ebooks? – CILIP. A publisher backs the e-lending campaign pointing out that 85% of ebooks are not available in the library market; Libraries are customers too; Publishers must support libraries by licensing ebook rights.
  • The ‘right’ to read – BookSeller. Chief Executive of Publisher’s Association Richard Mollet criticises EBLIDA/CILIP “Right to e-read” campaign and suggests it should be “right to e-lend”.  “What EBLIDA/CILIP really want is not actually the right for people to read e-books, but the right for libraries to lend them. These are, of course, very different things indeed.” … “The stepping off point is a belief that authors’ and publishers’ exclusive rights should be held subservient to the desires of librarians.”

“It needs to be demonstrated beyond peradventure that granting a European citizen the right to download an e-book from the comfort of their sofa does not occur at the expense of them exercising their right to buy one from an online (or come to that high street) retailer. It also has to be shown to a high degree of probability that, even if there were a PLR rate for remote e-lending, that authors would still benefit … Let’s have an honest and accurate discussion on precisely that, and not some hifalutin slogan, designed to bypass the real issue at question.” Richard Mollet

“Given that CILIP, the SCL, The Society of Authors, the Booksellers Association and the Publishers Association welcomed the Sieghart Report and support the pilot studies commissioned jointly by the SCL and the PA,  it would be much better if everyone waited for the Review Panel’s final recommendations. These will hopefully provide a way forward that can be supported by authors, librarians, publishers and booksellers to the benefit of the book reading public.” Desmond Clarke (via email)

  • We’re all ‘children of the municipal’ – BD Online. ““I’m a child of the municipal. Everything good had this word carved above its grand entrance,” the late Sue Townsend, who died last week, wrote in the Observer in 2005. In Leicester, where the author was born and lived all her life, “there were municipal libraries, majestic solid buildings with beautiful entrances, windows and doors, oak furniture and bookshelves. Then there were municipal baths, which had a swimming pool and what were called slipper baths — private bathrooms for those without baths and hot water at home… There were municipal parks, which were delightful places in which to take the air. A brass band played on summer evenings.””


  • 11 Literary Librarians Who Smash Stereotypes – Buzzfeed (USA). A look at eleven librarians who feature prominently in novels.
  • Future of public libraries – Russian Council (World).  Ian Clark’s report on library trends.  In Russian.
  • Libraries Still Loved, a Century After Carnegie – Epoch Times (USA). “Libraries are town squares, art galleries, windows to the larger world, temples of learning, story time palaces, and free Internet cafes. They are makeshift day care centers for the mentally ill, inefficient bureaucracies, and hunting grounds for perverts. They are near death! They are in a renaissance! Happy National Library Week!”
  • Maker movement helps transform our public libraries – Open Source (USA). “The small town of Bethlehem, New York purchased a 3D printer and started teaching classes at its public library recently—jumpstarting the community’s knowledge of advanced manufacturing and building upon a new way of doing things in a world where physical bookstores are dissappearing. It’s true. Public libraries are reinventing themselves. Today they are becoming less of a place that hosts physical books and more of a center where people collaborate, commune, and learn new things. Check out their program to help kids overcome their shyness when reading aloud to others by bringing dogs in to listen!”
  • Philly starts handing out library cards to students who didn’t request them – News Works (USA). “In a year that’s seen budget cuts all but eradicate librarians from the Philadelphia School District’s buildings, the district is now leaning even more heavily on the Free Library of Philadelphia to help make up for that shortfall. The schools and the library have merged their databases and determined that roughly 98,000 of the school district’s 136,000 students do not yet have cards for the city’s public libraries. Based on that data merge, the library and the district will now distribute personalized library cards to every student without one.”

“No matter what your age, no matter what your circumstance, there’s a card that everyone should have” Mayor Michael Nutter

  • The story of Koha, the first open source library management system – Open Source (New Zealand/Global). “A small public library serving a population of 30,000 in New Zealand developed and released the world’s first open source library management system in 2000. Horowhenua Library Trust named the system Koha, which is a New Zealand Māori custom meaning gift or contribution. This is a story of why we developed Koha and how it has changed the way we, and millions of others, work.”

“It is NOT about accepting what you are given but articulating what you want. Librarians need to develop new skills in order to interact or participate fully in the community that is the heart of open source projects” Joann Ransom

UK local news by authority

  • Camden – Exclusive: Council opens talks on major Kentish Town Road re-development – Camden Review. “The huge redevelopment programme would transform the parade of shops and flats running from Kentish Town Tube station to the corner of Islip Street. It would mean moving Kentish Town library and bring disruption for shops in the area”.  Local says “… that a possible move for the library to a first floor was unacceptable. “The library might need sprucing up but moving it from the ground floor would be a disaster and against the spirit of supporting access to our libraries”
  • Darlington – Libraries join initiative to offer thousands of journal articles for free Northern Echo. “Darlington Borough Council has joined the Access to Research project which is a collaboration between librarians and publishers who have made their journal content available for free to British libraries.”
  • Devon – County to look at effect of its cuts as reaction grows to losing services – Mid Devon Gazette. “North Devon MP Nick Harvey said Devon County Council is now consulting on a raft of cuts that has people up in arms. “Despite this local residents continue to pay far higher council taxes than people in urban areas,” he added. “This is a totally unacceptable situation.”
  • Devon – Fight to save our libraries – North Devon Journal / Letters. “The proposed closure of the Northam and Appledore Libraries as they are now run is detrimental to the community, and will ensure the loss of assets both for the young, the in-betweens and the older person, and ensure a further erosion of community spirit. If you do not wish to lose your local library, please sign the petition which is at outlets at both Northam and Appledore and preferably tick the “No” box.”
  • Devon – Wrong way of thinking – North Devon Journal. Councillor “Harrison is surely wrong if he believes that we would have been spared draconian cuts in council services if only his vision of a unitary council for North Devon had come about”
  • Leicester – Protest as residents fear for future of Westcotes library – Leicester Mercury. “Leicester City Council has said it needs to reorganise how it used its community properties in the Braunstone and Rowley Fields, West End and Western Park areas. So far, the authority has not published any firm proposals of what it intends to do with any premises and residents fear that leaves a question mark over the future of  Westcotes library, in Narborough Road.” … “Westcotes ward councillor Sarah Russell is the assistant mayor in charge of the buildings review. She said: “I’ve said before Westcotes library is the one building in the city I would chain myself to if necessary. There is no proposal to close it.”
  • Lincolnshire – UK Shadow Culture Minister plays Robin Hood against Lincolnshire library cuts – TeleRead. “Dressed in Lincoln green, or something like, Helen Goodman reportedly declared that “Local libraries are central to our societies, offering a safe place for all … They are investments in our future through the communities they nurture and skills they foster.” A full video of her appearance is available here.”
  • Liverpool – Public meetings to be held on the future of Liverpool’s libraries – Bay TV Liverpool. ““In future it is doubtful that we will be able to have a library in every community, and people may well have to travel further to access the service. “That is why we are really keen to hear what people think, and their ideas about how we can mitigate the impact, or do things in a different way to enable people to continue to have access to books, public information and computers.””