You’ll notice a new advertising banner if you visit PLN for the next couple of months: I’m advertising the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign bid to raise funds for their judicial review.  I don’t live anywhere near Lincolnshire but I’m supporting this as one of the grounds they are challenging on is that the reduced service will not meet the provisions of the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.  If they win on that point then there may be national implications for other councils.  It may also stop all those media reports who call libraries “non-statutory”.

Meanwhile, a Canadian union campaign against part-time paid workers caught my eye.  Yes, over in the UK unions are concerned about paid staff losing their jobs entirely and/or being replaced by volunteers while over in Canada, the situation is so different they’re concerned about workers not working full-time.  I have difficulty in seeing how a standard public library can survive without casuals and part-time staff myself but I envy the Canadians their funding.

National news

  • Can the public sector go ‘digital by default’? – Guardian/Public Leaders Network. “Making available statistics on library usage and costs had helped one local authority show why it made sense to close libraries in certain areas in order to protect other services, as well as persuading people that they needed to make better use of the services they had.”
  • Carbon benefits of homeworking under the spotlight – Guardian / Social Impact Hub. ” The efficiencies of scale gained by office environments but lost through long commutes, says Swift, are best realised in co-working environments such as libraries and communal hubs close to people’s homes. “If you can have an office environment that doesn’t involve commuting, you’re ahead of the game,” says Swift.”
  • The final figure for the Library A to Z is £4,543 (225% funded) – Voices for the Library. “It seems such a long time ago that the initial A to Z list was crowd sourced at Library Camp East and it is fantastic that it has turned into something that so many people have thought was a great enough idea to support. Thank you to everyone who has pledged or shared the idea wide enough for this to be funded, including The Library Campaign, whose £1,500 pledge gave the crowdfunding a huge boost.”
  • Google Chromecast and libraries – Phil Bradley’s Weblog. “Libraries can use this in a variety of different ways. It’s now really easy to cast your screen onto a television and you don’t need to have an expensive projector – though I do readily concede that you need an expensive – or at least newish – television. It’s going to be excellent to display presentations, training materials, videos, photographs and so on. A super little training tool in fact, as well as a promotional resource. If you only have a smartphone (Android or Apple) you can still show what’s on the small screen onto something much larger.”

International news

  • Hoopla transforms public libraries into digital media hubs – ZDNet (USA). “About $11 billion is spent on public libraries and their budgets, every year in the US. California spends about $12 per resident on public libraries, New York has the highest at $53.” … ” Anyone with a library card and a local public library that has joined Hoopla, can borrow a digital movie, music album, or audio book. Typically, public libraries allow up to ten items to be borrowed per member.” … ” public libraries are terrible at any form of publicity and that means Hoopla has to get the message out in each town and city. “
  • Part-time and casual work is eroding our public libraries – CUPENAT (Canada). “Part-time and casual work is eroding services in our public libraries. Full-time professional workers deliver high-quality services to our communities”
  • Public Libraries Are Beating Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster in DVD Rentals – Gizmodo (USA). “According to a survey released by the Online Computer Library Center, US public libraries lend an average 2.1 million movies/day. That’s more than Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster. The libraries’ 2.1 million a day eeks past Netflix, which ships 2 million movies/day, and is clearly ahead of Redbox which manages 1.4 million and sad ol’ Blockbuster who’s at 1.2 million. It’s sort of crazy that public libraries are such a hot bed for movie rentals, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised: nothing beats free.”

UK local news by authority

  • Croydon – Library deal questioned as council blacklists the blacklisters – Inside Croydon. “Croydon Council is set to stop using building contractors that have blacklisted workers for their union affiliations, following Labour winning last week’s local elections, the trade magazine Building is reporting. The policy of the new council could also place Carillion, the borough’s controversial library operators, in an untenable position.”
  • Devon – County promises to ‘look again’ at Braunton Library – North Devon Gazette 24. “A senior county councillor has told a packed public meeting in Braunton he will consider changing the status of the under-threat village library. The meeting at the Parish Hall last night (Wednesday) was arranged by Braunton Parish Council to give people an opportunity to question the county council about cuts including social care, youth services and libraries. Save Braunton Library campaigners have been calling for its status in the ongoing libraries consultation to be upgraded from small to ‘medium to large’ to reflect how well it is used.” … councillor says ““But at the end of the day it does not matter whether a library is in the Devon centre or community led model, we still have to save £1.5m from the library service during the next two to three years.””
  • Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries receives £1000 boost from The Library Campaign – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “A legal fund set up by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group has just received a major donation of £1000 from The Library Campaign, the national charity dedicated to supporting public funded libraries. The fund has been set up by campaigners to help Lincoln resident Simon Draper in his challenge of Lincolnshire County Council’s proposals to cut the library service by £2 million. The challenge will take place with a Judicial Review in the High Court in London on July 8 and 9.  Full details of how to donate online and by post have just been added to the campaign blog at http://savelincslibraries.org.uk/donate/
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Library staff issue volunteer concerns – Barry and District News. “Staff at under threat Vale libraries have taken issue with the Council leader’s position that using volunteers to run services has a track record of success. Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore maintained using volunteers in the Vale’s libraries was already an established practise, but staff assert that volunteers depend on the qualified, paid staff in order to function.”.  He says “The use of volunteers is well established in other parts of the UK, particularly in England, and we are confident that by studying successful examples and entering into a process of consultation with local community groups we can develop an approach that works for the Vale.”

“Not only is this an insult to the staff who will be replaced by volunteers it is taking advantage of the volunteers themselves.”