It’s an hour long and from the other side of the world but it’s worth listening to: the boss of one of the most forward-thinking US library services describes the best things his libraries are doing now and where he sees libraries in the future.  One of the notable things, from a UK perspective, is how brave and optimistic he is – and also how open he is to change and well-funded.  But there’s a lot of things there to think about and some ideas can be cherry-picked if not all of it.

“If we’re all things to all people then we’re going to be below average in lots of things … what’s important in your community? What can you do to rise above the noise so it’s not just a library for today but a library for all time?”

Please send any news or comments to ianlibrarian@live.co.uk.




  • Simply Connect: Libraries breaking social isolation – 12th June at Northampton. “Public libraries’ role as safe, stigma-free places at the heart of communities is well-documented and often mentioned – but what opportunities does this offer to tackle social isolation? How about the other assets libraries bring to the table? These include project management and engagement expertise, a track record of community involvement, and deep, ongoing customer insight. This one-day conference will set the framework and showcase examples of great, innovative practice of libraries helping to break social isolation.”

UK local news by authority

  • Devon – WMN Letter: What happens to shut community centres? – Western Morning News. “Under the “Tough Choices” programme it intends to close all the youth services, women’s refuge and hostel homes, elderly homes and respite facilities. The latest proposal is reduction and closure of some towns and villages libraries. Most of these are currently in the “consultation process”. I have attended several of these consultation meetings and was left with the impression that decisions were already cut and dried.”
  • Doncaster – Redundant libraries to go under the hammer – Epworth Bells. “Carcroft Library, on Skellow Road, is believed to be worth about £75,000 and is said to be ‘in need of refurbishment’. Both buildings were emptied of books after the first round of major council cutbacks in 2012, when the local authority ceased funding 14 libraries across the borough. Volunteers now run a community library at the Holmescarr Centre in Rossington.”
  • Lincolnshire – Bank on books and invest in public libraries: do it, David! – Christina James. “If libraries are worth so much to the well-being of the individual, you’d think that, by now,  the government – and especially David Cameron, with his slightly suspect ‘well-being index’ – would have latched on to this and decided that it was a bad idea to keep on closing libraries and cutting their services.  Just think how they could keep inflation down if every time someone asked for a pay-rise, they could be told that £1,359 of it would be paid in library benefits”
  • Lincolnshire – High Court action delays sell off or lease of Lincolnshire Libraries + JR date confirmed – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. ““I welcome the decision of the County Council not to implement its plans to get rid of 30 libraries until the court decides. “However I am very disappointed that it is still pressing ahead next week with its plans to get rid of jobs, to cut away the mobile library service from large numbers of villages in Lincolnshire and to slash the hours of the remaining libraries. Thousands of people are going to be losing their library service on the 6th of May. It is not good enough.”
  • Lincolnshire – High Court date due in library fight as council announces opening times – Boston Standard. “Campaigners who are fighting against cuts to Lincolnshire’s library service will have their case heard in the High Court in London on July 8 and 9. In the meantime the county council has announced new opening hours for libraries, while pledging to give community groups who want to take over their library extra time to come forward.” … “The council says it is continuing to work with a number of groups that are interested in setting up their own ‘community hub’, including a library service, as well as seven areas wishing to create brand new facilities. Councillor Nick Worth, executive member for libraries, said: “We wanted to give volunteers enough time to lay firm foundations for the future. So, we agreed to run the libraries at these locations at reduced hours, until they are ready to develop their own community hub.”
  • Lincolnshire – Programme of library cuts goes ahead despite campaigners’ battle – Grantham Journal. “The council said the changes come as the council works towards creating a new-look library service that “offers better value for money and is more tailored to local needs”.”
  • Lincolnshire – Short-term reprieve for Lincolnshire libraries – BookSeller.Lincolnshire County Council has approved plans to close 30 libraries across the county, encouraging volunteer groups to take over the running of the service. However, campaigners successfully lobbied for a judicial review, which could quash the council’s decision.According to the Lincolnshire Echo, the council has now confined that grants and leases with community groups can not be entered into until after the High Court has ruled on the council’s decision.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Libraries give us power: say protesters opposing cuts – Penarth Times. ” concerned residents gathered at the UNISON-organised demonstration said the proposals could mean a reduction in activities and information available to disadvantaged groups. And using non-qualified volunteers would mean a lack of expertise available to library users, a less reliable service, and issues surrounding data protection. Protesters also voiced concerns that groups such as MIND in the Vale and Ty Hapus, which caters for people with early onset alzheimers and dementia, would, as service users, suffer as a result of changes to the system.”
  • West Sussex – Volunteers extend Angmering library opening hours – Little Hampton Gazette. “Angmering Library began a trial of opening on Saturday afternoons last weekend after the parish council recruited volunteers. The parish council has worked alongside West Sussex County Council’s library service to provide basic training for the first wave of volunteers. The library was open from 1pm and 5pm.”
  • Western Isles – Looking to the future of the library services – Stornoway Gazette. “94 % of members are very satisfied with the service provided, with 91% think the Library Service is very important to them (Customer Satisfaction Survey 2013). A debate is on-going at national level about how libraries should respond to the opportunities of the digital age, and changes in people’s lifestyles.”