Well, a lot going on today, in the headlines and behind them but the key stuff is fairly obvious.  In no particular order, we have two London boroughs (Camden and Islington) looking to merge library services, with a view to rationalising library provision where they both have branches close to eachother on the border.  Think of this, perhaps, as a Labour-run Bi-Borough to rival the Conservative Tri-Borough (Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham).  Because that’s how it seems to go: the councils need to be of the same party in order to get along, at least initially.  

Secondly, we have Kent – one of the very biggest councils in terms of branches at least (nearly a hundred depending on your definitions) – thinking about moving libraries (and Registrars and Archives) into a charitable trust similar to that currently being run in Suffolk or York.  This model is getting a lot of attention at the moment and I expect to see more going this way soon.

Finally, we have the refurbished Exeter Central Library reopening.  From the pictures I have seen it looks weirdly retro – the building is 1960s and it was decided to go with that look – but it also has the country’s first public library library Maker Space within it.  This opening is coming at a time when Devon is going through a painful review with 28 out of 50 branches being potentially under threat (although definitions are disputed) and it is notable that there is a certain “that’s nice, what about us with our library maybe closing?” chatter on Twitter on the subject.  But I am sure Exeter needed the upgrade and I’m not going to diss a new library project in this day and age.  I really hope it goes well and I’m looking forward to seeing more about it.




  • After the local elections … we need to talk about the cuts – Guardian. “There needs to be a bonfire of conceits. The first conceit to abandon is the weasel-word euphemism “efficiencies”. Efficiencies were by-and-large taken out six years ago. Local government is now cutting to the bone. The second conceit is for leaders and managers to stop saying “the frontline won’t be cut”. First, “frontline” is a nebulous term that – outside the context of the first world war – can’t be defined. Those who are seeing their library closed or its opening hours cut will not buy it.”
  • Library A to Z Kickstarter funded to 190% – Voices for the Library. “Fundraising for the Library A to Z is not yet closed, but with one week to go it is already 190% funded. On Monday, after three weeks, we’d reached around £2250 with 120+ backers, but The Library Campaign showed their support for the project by becoming the main sponsor and pledged £1,500, which is fantastic, and gratefully appreciated,. As is the £2250 all of the other individual backers have also pledged. This means that the current total pledged stands at just over £3,800! This funding means that the full colour book, posters and cards will be produced, along with press packs featuring this material. We still have a week to go and further stretch goals we can achieve, dependent upon the money we raise. We’re already wondering if we can reach £4500, and if we did how much more we could achieve with this project. A huge thank you to everyone who has generously pledged and promoted this project.”
  • National Library management ‘no confidence’ threat – BBC. “The move comes after the library’s board gave two members of the executive team responsibility allowances equal to a 10% payment. It comes as unions are unhappy more than 200 of their members have not had a consolidated pay rise since 2009.”


  • A Leader for African Libraries – Indiegogo (Zambia).  Crowdfunding bid to send Zambian library manager to the University of Illinois to get a Masters in Library Science.
  • Economic and social value of libraries – FESABID (Spain). “FESABID, the Spain’s Federation of Archive, Library, Documentation and Museum Science Associations has published the translation into English of their interesting study about the impact that information services, and in particular libraries, have on the economy and society. What’s the value of libraries to users and non-users? And the return on investment? Find the answer to these questions and more in this study:”
  • Public Works: Maximizing the Potential of Your Local Library – Torontoist. “The Outside the Box program promotes the use of public libraries as central neighbourhood gathering spaces in communities with strong local leadership, high ethnic diversity, and low median income. Led by DVD-rental giant Redbox; librarians cooperative Online Computer Library Center, Inc.; and non-profit planning, design, and education organization Project for Public Spaces, the program is expanding into 20 American communities this year after last year’s successful five-location pilot project.”
  • Smashwords and OverDrive to Bring 200,000+ Indie Ebooks to 20,000+ Public Libraries – Smashwords. “Smashwords today announced an agreement to supply more than 200,000 titles to OverDrive, the world’s largest library ebook platform.  OverDrive powers the ebook procurement and checkout systems for 20,000 public libraries around the world, including 90% of US public libraries.  This agreement marks a watershed moment for indie authors, libraries and library patrons around the world.  It’s also a big deal for thousands of small independent presses around the globe who now have a convenient onramp into the OverDrive network. “

UK local news by authority

  • Camden/Islington – Islington and Camden council chiefs accused of cover-up over plans to merge legal departments – Islington Gazette. “He said Islington’s libraries and leisure centres, especially those near to the border with Camden, could be at risk of closure if the councils decided to share services. He said: “Camden is building a brand new swimming pool and library at King’s Cross so what does this mean for Cally Pool and the Lewis Carroll Library which are all within walking distance of Camden?”.”
  • Ceredigion – New Quay council anger over Tregaron library funding – BBC. “The library in New Quay will be taken over by the town council next month and run by volunteers. Meanwhile the county council will continue to fund a reduced service at Tregaron library. Both were to be axed under Ceredigion council’s drive to tackle a budget deficit of £20m over three years. The libraries were due to be replaced by a mobile library before a last minute deal was brokered to keep them open.” … “New Quay town councillor, Julian Evans, said: “Our town council will have to find up to £2,500 to keep the library open this year. “But we want to know why Tregaron library is still being funded by the county council and which department is funding it.””
  • Devon – Cuts ‘shame’ as meeting comes to nothing – North Devon Gazette. “Cries of ‘Shame!’ showered upon Devon’s county councillors after a special meeting failed to halt the public service cuts juggernaut. A packed public gallery looked on at County Hall in Exeter during the three-hour summit to discuss proposed cuts to care homes, day care centres, libraries and youth centres.”
  • Kent – Kent County Council could hand libraries over to charitable trust to save money, says Cllr Mike Hill – Kent Online. “The library service is among the first expected to be hived off from Kent County Council as it embarks on a major outsourcing programme. The Conservative-run council says it could save the taxpayer millions by transferring a number of its services to a mixture of charitable trusts, arms-length companies and joint ventures. In the case of the county’s 90-plus libraries, KCC would continue to own them but they would be run by someone else. One advantage is that a trust, operating with charity status, would be eligible for tax breaks, such as exemptions from paying business rates. It would also have greater freedom to apply for grants from organisations like the National Lottery.”

“While the idea of libraries being run by a charitable trust is a route several other councils have gone down, in some cases, the results have been mixed. While there are advantages, some believe they are less open to scrutiny. Trust boards would have councillors as members but would have to place the interests of the trust above those of the council. And some suspect that the government may act to close down tax benefits as more councils go down the route of passing services to charitable trusts.”

  • Leicestershire – People urged to speak out on library changes – Burton Mail. “Leicestershire County Council revealed that it had received around 1,400 responses to its survey and hundreds of people have attended public meetings during May to discuss plans that could see £800,000 cut from its £5.6 million libraries budget.”