A parliamentary question by Helen Goodman has revealed that libraries will received £93 million in grant in aid from the DCMS in 2015/16.  This appears to compares to £111 million in 2012/13. Another day and another news items suggesting deep cuts in a council’s library service: this time in Powys where two-thirds of their libraries are now considered under threat.  Gone are the days when Wales was seen as being more protected than England when it came to cuts.  Over in Northern Ireland, though, well done to a nice animated feature tooting the fact all libraries there have WiFi. To round off this survey of one news item from each part of the UK, I was delighted to see that the Scottish are providing free online access to many thousands of old English and Welsh maps.  That’s going to be really useful for a whole load of people.  Thank you kindly.



    • Are prison libraries the solution to the ‘book ban’? – Telegraph. “According to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling,   books sent through the post are just another way to smuggle contraband and,   as a result, prisoners are no longer allowed to receive them. Smith thinks   the ruling ludicrous. “Everyone knows most of the contraband comes in over   the wall, hidden in tennis balls or dead birds,” he says sternly.” … “Laura Swaffield, the chair of The Library Campaign, thinks forcing prisoners to rely more heavily on   libraries is a problem. “Library services are getting hacked off at the   knees,” she says. “Local authorities are under enough pressure already to   keep their mainstream services going without these regulations putting extra   pressure on prison libraries.” But what if we can’t afford to have both   well-stocked public libraries and well-stocked prison libraries? Which   should we save? “Well,” she says, “that’s like asking which of your children   you’d prefer to die and having to answer it is heart-breaking. If pushed I’d   say prison libraries are more important than public libraries, but it’s not   something I really want to have to say.””
  • Helen Goodman in parliament: “To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the projected spending is by her Department in 2015-16 by functional flows to (a) museums and galleries, (b) communications, (c) libraries, (d) tourism, (e) the Royal Parks, (f) equalities, (g) BBC Public Sector broadcasting, (h) S4C, (i) arts, (j) sports, (k) gambling and National Lottery, (l) architecture and the historic environment and (m) the creative industries, disaggregating (i) grant-in-aid and Lottery and (ii) capital and current expenditure. [194280]”
Funding for 2015-16
Centrally funded/Grant in Aid Lottery
Areas of spending Resource Capital Resource Capital
Museums and Galleries 289,423 27,614
Communications 11,794 266,000
Libraries 90,160 3,221
Tourism 26,632 186
Arts 356,564 12,749 238,676 40,509
Sport 114,720 25,265 277,568 54,937
  • Historic maps now online covering all of England and Wales – Inspire. “The National Library of Scotland has place online detailed maps that offer a fascinating glimpse into how every area of England and Wales developed from Victorian times to the 1950s. These are now freely available. The six-inch to the mile series of Ordnance Survey maps show how towns and cities have spread into the countryside and how the road and rail network developed.  Individual buildings and streets can be identified clearly and smaller features can be seen including post boxes, bollards on quaysides and mile posts. The maps can be viewed over time for each place of interest.  The maps also show all place names recorded by Ordnance Survey, including all street names in towns, and all smaller farms, hamlets and villages. The maps were surveyed for the whole country twice – first between 1842-1893 and then between 1891-1914. They were subsequently updated regularly for urban or rapidly changing areas from 1914 to the 1940s. The result is that, for many towns there are three to five editions of mapping between the 1840s and the 1950s.They can be searched in a number of different ways, by place names, street names, post codes and grid references. They are also available via county lists.”
  • Pin heads – Question Everything. “The system in Oxfordshire has a lot simplier interface to the supermarket and leisure centre systems I’ve seen and they have very simple transactions: Borrow books, Extend books, Pay fines on account using cash. The only information you see on screen is the books you have out and any outstanding fines on your account. You don’t have to put in your pin number you just have to scan you card. If the self service kiosk allowed access to personal information like address, I could see a argument for having to use a pin number but even then, people junk mail in the bin with their address on it, my address is on the electoral register available online if you want to find it.”

“From a data protection point of view, someone stealing a card to look at what books someone has out or to pay their fines off form them is a nonsense. They could take books out with someone else card but really, its easier to rip the tags out of the books and stick them in your bag than to pickpocket someone for their library card.”


      • ADA University hosts scientific conference on librarianship – Azer News (Azerbaijan). “Opening the event with introductory remarks, Hafiz Pashayev spoke about the importance of librarianship, noting that the establishment of the university also started with the library. “When we were thinking about building a campus for the University, the first central point was the library,” he said. He said the basis of each institution is the library, emphasizing the need to give greater attention to librarianship. Speaking at the event, Abulfas Garayev raised the issue of the current state of libraries. The minister emphasized the successful implementation of state programs related to the development of the librarianship for the period of 2008-2013, adding that the country is preparing a new state program for the development of this area.”
      • Bicycle trek of Arlington libraries in the works – Leesburg Today (USA). “The Tour des Bibliothéque, the Arlington Public Library’s annual staff-and-community bicycle tour of seven of the county’s eight library sites, will be held on Saturday”
      • Library culture: Turning the page Arab News (Saudi Arabia). “Saudi Arabia was not built around the culture of reading and the sparse offerings of library facilities have denied generations of Saudi children the understanding of what it means to take pleasure in a book. Now that video games, the Internet and social media have a firm grip on today’s generation, the prospect of getting young people to read for enjoyment is not particularly bright. This may change with the King Abdulaziz University library and its plans for children activities. It’s certainly a strong signal that the Saudi government is serious in providing an alternative to social media.”

“one can’t help notice that public libraries, whether in America or in Europe, are jam-packed with people hungry to read whether for entertainment or study. The time is right for Saudis to have the same experience.”

      • Love libraries? This assignment’s for you – CNN (USA). “In honor of National Library Week (April 13-19), we want to hear from people who love to tour and photograph libraries around the world. Tell us about the libraries you love the best and what makes them so special. Share your original photos and you could be featured in a story on CNN Travel.”
      • The place to toot the worth of libraries is NOT in library mags – Blue Skunk Blog (USA). “Remember your audience. Why should a principal be interested in libraries anyway. What’s in it for the reader? Use non-technical language. Don’t impress – inform and convince. Don’t put “library” in the title. Sorry, don’t talk about libraries in general. Speak of them in relationship to other programs that may be important: 1:1, literacy, differentiation, 21st century skills, etc. Have a co-author who is a member of the group for whom you are writing. If you are writing for a professional development publication, get your PD coordinator to co-author. If you are writing for an association publication, get a member of that association to co-author.  Don’t advocate for libraries or librarians. Always, always, always frame your arguments in terms of how libraries benefit students, staff, and your community. Library users.”
      • Treasure Trove – Hindu Times (India). “Located on the busy Bodhan road on huge premises the ‘vachanalayam’ (library) was set up by freedom fighters when the ‘granthalayodyamam’ (movement for libraries) was at its peak before independence. Thereafter, it was expanded with the financial assistance extended by the Domakonda dominion. The library thus has 90 shopping rooms, two fuel stations on its three-acre land which is centrally located. It is being run by a 13 member trust now headed by Bantu Rajeswar, on sound lines without seeking any financial help from the Government.”

UK local news by authority

      • Derbyshire – Council trends after Nick Clegg’s ‘overstaffed’ remark – Star. “More than half of county council employees work in our 400 schools. They are the teachers, teaching assistants and other school staff who work to give Derbyshire children the education they deserve. The remaining non-school staff equate to around 8,500 full time equivalent positions. The bulk of these provide vital front line services and include our home helps and school crossing patrol staff, the people who mend the county’s roads, work in our libraries or providing essential support for vulnerable children.”
      • Devon – Are half of Devon’s libraries set to close? – Mid Devon Star. “The Devon County Council briefing paper, lists 28 public libraries in Devon where communities will be asked to take over services after much of the council support is removed.   The remaining 22 libraries, which would be know as known as Devon Centres would be kept under council control and expand the services they offer, with adult learning classes, cafes and business support services suggested”
      • Devon – Major cuts proposed at BIA-winning Devon Libraries – BookSeller. “Devon Libraries have previously received praise for the huge range of services they offer beyond books and how they increased visitor numbers and loan figures despite earlier budget cuts, being crowned joint winner of the Library of the Year title at last year’s Bookseller Industry Awards.”
      • Lincolnshire – Battle to save libraries goes to Cameron – Spalding Today. “Campaigners from The Deepings take their battle to stop the axing of county libraries to Prime Minister David Cameron in London next Tuesday. They will join protesters from across Lincolnshire at a meeting in the House of Commons to press their case for a county council run library service in the county.”

“What this is about is ensuring our case is heard not only locally but at national level. While we want the county council to start talking to us about how a better library service can be delivered, the Government and MPs need to understand how important libraries are.”

      • Northern Ireland – Come and See what Libraries NI has for FREE – Youtube. “We’re delighted to announce that we are now offering FREE WI-FI to members in libraries across Northern Ireland! Not a member? Don’t worry! Signing up is simple — just head to your local library complete a short form and you’ll be connected right away. Easy! “
      • North Yorkshire – Have a say on North Yorkshire County Council services – Gazette and Herald. Council “expects to have to save £74 million between 2015 and 2019, by which time it will have cut £168 million from its budget in eight years.”
      • Powys – Public libraries under threat in service review – BBC. “Powys council has launched a review of its library services in a bid to save £350,000 from next April. Options include closing 11 of the county’s 17 public libraries. It will launch a two-month long consultation on proposals later in the spring.”
      • Swindon – Old Town Library opening hours to be maintained – Link. “Under the new arrangements, proposals were being considered to keep the 18 core library hours per week, plus unstaffed time whenever the Arts Centre was open for performances.  However, to enable continuity of access during the Arts Centre transfer period, it has been agreed that the existing 38 library hours will be maintained and provided by library staff.”