Right, let’s talk about the local elections and not mention a certain anti-EU party. What the media has not talked about, strangely, is what the results mean for libraries.  Well, let’s remedy that odd omission. The three key things here:

  • Hammersmith and Fulham is now Labour controlled.  This will place strain on the Tri-Borough council which, originally, consisted of three Conservative councils (with Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster being the other two). Whether such a cross-council partnership will survive different party allegiances will be closely watched.
  • Croydon is now Labour controlled.  The Labour party beforehand promised to reverse the decision to outsource its libraries to a private company (Laing and then Carillion). It’ll be interesting to see if it tries to do so and what problems it will raise.
  • The Local Government Association (LGA) now has Labour as its largest grouping. One can expect them to be more vociferous against cuts to services because of this … but by how much and to what effect remains to be seen.

By the way, the 31st July of this year will be fiftieth anniversary of the Public Libraries and Museums Act which made public libraries statutory. This completely passed me by.  Is anyone doing anything for this day?  Do let me know.

Please email any thoughts, news or comments to ianlibrarian@live.co.uk




  • Celebrating a year of boosting the North East Economy at Business & IP Centre Newcastle – British Library. “vital part of the North East’s economic growth agenda, the Centre has been a resounding success, helping to launch new North East businesses and help established businesses grow to the next level. Highlights from the past year include: 2489 helped with business and intellectual property enquiries, 220 intellectual property surgeries held, 53 events held, 929 event attendees. Join the team on Monday 2 June to celebrate at Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Going Global. The event will encourage businesses to expand by looking beyond their traditional markets and think internationally to survive and thrive.”
  • Councils should ‘treat voluntary sector fairly when setting budgets’ – Third Sector. “It champions the ability of charities to maintain community assets, such as public libraries, and deliver services from them where councils have been unable to continue doing so directly.”
  • Lego in libraries – Public Libraries News. An international look at using lego in libraries, including the reasons to do it, benefits, costs and practicalities.
  • Longitude Prize gives us a new hero – Independent. “Last year, when plans for the reset Longitude Prize first emerged, the Prime Minister welcomed the chance to escape reality-show trivia and “get the nation engaged on what the biggest problems are in science”. But a democratic infrastructure of research needs more than a fat cheque or two. It calls for communities of understanding and exchange. So don’t close public libraries, but rather expand them.”
  • National Public Libraries Festival – Librarycamp. “We’ve had encouragement from all sides that the idea of a festival celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Public Libraries and Museums Act is a sound, even brilliant, idea. We are struggling to raise the necessary funds. Scratch that: we’re not struggling, we have failed to raise a bean. No doubt this is because we don’t exactly have a proven track record for this sort of thing. We know that organising a free to attend unconference for libraries can’t be compared to running a nationally significant event with politically sensitive connotations.”
  • Pavilion Books’ A Night in the Cells: Publishing world unites for campaign fundraiser – Pavilion. “Leading independent publisher Pavilion Books has today (Monday 19 May) announced a unique fundraiser for charities The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) and the Howard League for Penal Reform, to support their work and highlight the Howard League’s Books for Prisoners campaign.”

Supporter message

  • A Library in Your Living Room : Marketing Support for Public Libraries.  Oxford University Press have created an entire website for public libraries staff and members in order to help promote and discover your digital reference resources from OUP. From marketing materials to logos, and from quizzes to social media templates, you’ll find it all online.


  • Bulgaria’s Black Sea Resort Albena Opens Beach Library – Novinite (Bulgaria). “The library is located on the beach and on its shelves are arranged over 6000 volumes in more than 15 languages. It is completely free and offers world classics, thrillers, mysteries, romantic readings, memoirs. The beach library is the first of its kind in Bulgaria and in Europe, as well. Two new libraries on the beach will be opened in June”
  • Google Glass in Libraries: Disruption or just Disruptive? – Librarian Shipwreck. Concerns over copyright and privacy of customers. “Libraries are filled with technology; they are also filled with people. By taking a strong stance on Glass, libraries can demonstrate clearly that they are putting people first.”
  • Hong Kong Public Libraries Ignore Biggest Minorities’ Need – Global Voices (Hong Kong). “As government funded libraries in Hong Kong fail to serve domestic workers’ need, they have to set up mobile libraries during public holidays across the city.”
  • How libraries will fight hunger in America this summer – Examiner (USA). “14 branch libraries throughout the city will be serving food to children this summer. The meals are free and children can “feed your stomach and your brain at the Library.” Another 4 library sites will be serving meals in association with a summer camp reading program. The number of sites is an expansion over previous years of summer feeding.”
  • Next generation learning commons – Designing Libraries (USA).  “Woodruff Library has 180 public-use workstations in its Learning Commons across four floors. But workstation usage has declined in the last several years. For example, logins dropped from 112,665 in spring 2011 to 87,967 in fall 2013, a decrease of 22 percent. The decrease is due largely to an increase in the move to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), which requires more access to power outlets.”
  • Numbers Game | Data-Driven Libraries – Library Journal (USA). “Librarians today are facing the inescapable reality that data is slowly beginning to govern much of what they do, and they need to determine the most constructive way to deal with this ocean of information that a growing number of software companies and applications are making available” including examples of using market segmentation and use in advocacy.
  • “Working Together: Joint Use Canadian Academic and Public Libraries” – via Library Journal (Canada). “The research purpose was to learn about existing joint use public-academic libraries in Canada including their establishment, structure, benefits, and challenges and to determine the requirements for successful partnerships.”


  • Croydon – Croydon, ‘Jack and Jills’ and stamping books or selling stamps with books? – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “It looks as if Labour have wrestled back control of Croydon Council from the Conservatives which could mean, if they keep their promise, that the libraries contract could be reviewed and the service brought back in-house? This couldn’t happen soon enough in my opinion, Croydon Libraries are a mess …
  • Devon – Braunton Library campaigners launch plan of attack – North Devon Gazette. “Around 50 people including councillors, North Devon MP Nick Harvey and parliamentary Labour candidate Mark Cann attended the meeting on Wednesday at the Black Horse pub in Church Street. Community campaigners now say the library is in the ‘wrong category’ of Devon County Council’s library service consultation and plan to make a formal submission calling for it to be changed.”
  • Devon – One Direction guitarist pledges support for Braunton Library – North Devon Journal. “Guitarist Dan Richards is currently working with the band, having performed with them on their sell out 2011-2012 UK tour. Today Dan tweeted to show his support for the village library which is currently under review as part of Devon County Council’s plans to save £1.5 million over the next three years. Dan, who is known as @GuitarmanDan told his 649,000 followers on Twitter: “They are trying to close the library where I got my first books, not cool @SaveBrauntonLib #savebrauntonlibrary”
  • Leeds – Tour de Leeds Libraries – Tom Palmer. “This summer, during the two weeks running up to the Tour de France beginning in Leeds, I will be cycling to all Leeds’ libraries.  I want to talk to children about how libraries changed my life and to read a story that I have written to celebrate what libraries can do for us.” … “This tour has been funded by Leeds Inspired and the pack by Europe Direct Leeds in partnership with the fantastic Leeds School Library Service.”
    Leicestershire- Cuts to library services will ‘destroy music making’ in Leicestershire Leicester Mercury. Printed music service to be cut as will inter library loans service for borrowing music from other councils. Orchestra calls it “bean counting” and says “It will destroy music making in Leicestershire”.
  • Edinburgh – Book now for the Central Library Open Day – Edinburgh Reporter. “TheCentral Library, George IV Bridge, will be holding an Open Day on Saturday 7  June 2014.  There will be lots of events and activities for all ages, including musical performances, meet the author sessions, crafts, a sketching workshop, family history drop-ins and a chance to find out what your council neighbourhood team can do for you. Learn how to stream music via Naxos or borrow free e-books and audio books.”
  • Hampshire – Hampshire’s library service ‘still has options’ Southern Daily Echo. “… bosses say “all options are open” on the future of the service in Hampshire. It comes as consultation closes on plans to shed jobs, mobile libraries and man some libraries with volunteers, with the results expected to be published in September. But Tory recreation and heritage chief Keith Chapman could not rule out future branch closures on top of the cuts already announced.”
  • Kirklees – Charity finds digital inclusion work is booming – UK Authority. “”Digital skills are vital for people unsure about how to use Universal Jobmatch, and also with an increasing need to submit CVs and job applications online. But there is limited provision available elsewhere in these communities and neighbourhoods: there is simply not a lot of opportunity to access IT for free outside libraries.””
  • Lincolnshire – Pupils speak out in support of Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign – Grantham Journal. “A campaign group which is fighting county council plans to cut library services invited schoolchildren to design posters, pictures or poems explaining ‘what my library means to me’More than 200 schools were invited to take part and the winning school was Sleaford Church Lane School Primary. Competition organiser Councillor Charmaine Morgan awarded certificates and book tokens. She said: “The quality of work overall from the school was excellent, and it was noticeable that the school made a real effort for every year to be included in the competition.” … “Despite the judicial review process the county council shamefully ignored the ongoing campaign to save library services and has already cut the budget for staff this year – it has resulted in cuts to services already being implemented.”
  • Luton – Library campaigners protest from closures – Smart Esearch. “Campaigners “incensed” by the closure of two Luton libraries have held a protest in the city.”