The Local Government Association gets all depressing with the unfortunate reality that most councils feel that there are simply no more savings than can be made … and so cuts the public will notice will have to be happen very soon.  Hang on, hasn’t that been happening for a while in libraries? Perhaps, with elections looming, the LGA means cuts which will mean the public may change its vote. Anyway, it especially highlights libraries as one of these areas that this will happen in.  So that’s fun then. Meanwhile, over at the DCMS, the response to the PLR consultation has been announced: in a shock move, the Government agrees with itself. One of the items is putting PLR on e-books loaned on-site at libraries. Not at home, mind you, only if the e-book has actually downloaded in the building itself.  You know, where almost none actually are.  Well, at least that should be fairly cheap. Pointless, but cheap.

“Under pressure” LGA report

  • Councils facing financial ‘tipping point’: LGA – Public Sector Executive.  “In 2015-16, three in five councils say there will be ‘no efficiencies left’ to be made” … “Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, vice-chairman of the LGA, said: “It is testament to councils’ resilience that many people have noticed relatively little difference in most of their local services over the past three years.” … “The LGA research showed that two in five councils will try to stem the impact of cuts by trying to raise more money – through investment, fees and charges. “
  • Councils reaching ‘end of road’ for managing cuts through efficiency savings – LGA. The press release. “Almost half of councils (48 per cent) are set to use money set aside in reserves as a short-term fix to balance budgets and delay the impact of cuts next year. These one-off pots of money are set aside for dealing with emergencies, such as the recent floods, and major infrastructure projects.”
  • LGA: Councils at ‘end of the road’ for efficiency savings – Local Gov. “‘Local authorities have strived to shield residents from the impact of cuts, but with another £20bn worth of savings to be found, we’re approaching a tipping point where options are fast running out,’ vice-chairman of the LGA, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said.”
  • Public service cuts deepen as councils near financial tipping point – Guardian. “The closure of public services such as leisure centres, libraries and youth clubs is likely to intensify over the next two years as councils across Britain deal with a tipping point in their finances, the Local Government Association has warned. A survey of council financial strategies found three in five will have exhausted other ways of making savings by the 2015/16 financial year, meaning they will need to make deeper cuts to public services before the general election and in the following year.” … “The most difficult decisions are likely to come in the year starting April 2015, but some councils could face a crunch sooner.” … “An analysis of official figures by Paul Woods, Newcastle city council the veteran treasurer, showed councils in the 10 most deprived areas of England faced average cuts of 25.3% from the financial years 2010-11 to 2015-16, compared with 2.54% in the 10 least deprived areas.”

“LGA modelling, which factored in reduced funding and rising demand for adult social care, shows money available to provide services such as gyms, parks, libraries and youth centres is likely to shrink by 66% by the end of the decade.”


  • Antiquated library labels – Athemaura.  Some nice old library book labels.
  • Dear prisons minister: Here’s the truth about prison libraries – Politics. “even a cursory glimpse at the reality of life behind bars shows that the prison library service – a legacy of Winston Churchill’s crusading zeal – is in a state of disrepair. The libraries are being starved of funds. Staffing cuts have left prisoners unable to attend the library because there is no-one to escort them.”
  • Government response:  Consultation on the extension of the Public Lending Right to Rights of holders of books in non-print formats -Gov.uk. Government agrees with itself after consultation.  Main issues are: 1. PLR will be extended to ebooks and audio books loaned from a library premises. Can’t extend to off-site loans at the moment due to EU constraints, but they will review this in future. 2. PLR won’t be extended to volunteer-run libraries outside of a local authorities statutory service. 3. Ebooks and audio books will need an ISBN to be part of the scheme. 4. First lot of extended payments will be made in Feb 2016, based on books registered in July 2014.
  • Libraries for Life for Londoners – Summary of presentations by (1) Eric Bohl, Director of Public Services at Activist Group, currently hired by  Haringey council to pull together all past studies and create a Review of the Future of Library Services and (2) Diana Edmonds, libraries chief of GLL:
“Library services are a tiny proportion of spend, but the most fought over by the public … Recognise that Friends groups have enormous power and make good use of it.” Eric Bohl
“Consortia set up to purchase and lend out to other members of the Consortia may save money BUT does a library service lose control of the stock, do some members “freeload” on other members, is money actually saved?” Diana Edmonds
  • Library A to Z Kickstarter is 90% funded – Voices for the Library. “a crowd-funding initiative has been set up by Andy Walsh to raise money to produce a full-colour visual A to Z around positive activities and services libraries provide. To make this happen £2,000 needs to be raised by 28th May. ” … “As well as raising the extra funds we would like further contributions for the A to Z. Some letters, such as K, Q, X, Y, and Z don’t have many words associated with them”
  • “People everywhere are building libraries” – Kickstarter.  There are 85 library-related projects on the crowdfunding site inc. A to Z library book (currently 97% funded), little free libraries, seed libraries, books on bikes, bookmobiles …
  • Radical Librarians Collective (Part One) – Lauren Smith. “Radical Librarians Collective aims to offer a space to challenge, to provoke, to improve and develop the communications between like-minded radicals, to galvanise our collective solidarity against the marketisation of libraries and the removal of our agency to our working worlds and beyond.”  Describes the many items talked about and the various (largely positive) responses from the day.
  • Shameless star Maxine Peake attacks Tory ‘untruths’ over leftwing library – Guardian. “The library, in short, is a temple of socialist history – and in accusing the local Labour party of wasting thousands in supporting it, Salford Tories might have expected they would raise the hackles of leftwing activists. What they got was more dramatic, however: they found themselves on the receiving end of a fusillade of abuse from one of the country’s most distinguished actresses, BBC star Maxine Peake.”
  • Top authors Martina Cole and Andy McNab hit the road to champion reading for pleasure – Reading Agency (Press release). “Included on Martina and Andy’s itineraries are visits to workplaces where Six Book Challenge participation has been high or where reading has been actively promoted by trade union learning representatives with the support of management: these are timed to coincide with national Learning at Work Week (19-25 May).” … We all want to have the best chances in life but reading and writing with confidence are key to this. The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic way for people at work to improve their skills at the same time as enjoying reading and talking about it with their colleagues and friends,”says Andy McNabb,”


  • Education Matters: Are children allowed to read for pleasure anymore? – Victoria Advocate (USA). “The first step to doing this is giving children access to lots of books. Make frequent trips to the library with your child. If you are a teacher, develop a good classroom library that has books of all topics and reading levels. Parents can give teachers books to add to their classroom libraries. “
  • Smartphones blamed as Hongkongers lose interest in the city’s libraries – South China Morning Post (Hong Kong/China). “Are city’s 77 libraries on borrowed time? 6.2 million fewer items checked out of libraries amid smartphone craze” … “The city’s exam-oriented education system was also criticised for not developing a love of reading among students. And one cultural commentator said many of the “readers” visiting libraries were there for the air conditioning or to kill time.”
  • What’s that book doing in the library? Dr. Seuss among authors targeted for removal – Province. “Every year the Vancouver Public Library is asked by members of the public to remove some books from its shelves, books that have upset someone’s sensibilities, and in 2013 a children’s book by Dr. Seuss was among them. There aren’t a lot of formal requests for removal and they are almost always denied, but not before VPL takes a long, serious look at the book involved.”

UK local news by authority

  • Bury – Opening of controversial sculpture centre is ‘one of the most momentous occasions in history of museum’ – Bury Times. “The new sculpture centre, in Bury Library, covers 306 square metres. As part of the drive for culture to support the local economy, the centre will host a number of international festivals and a conference in 2014, aimed at bringing the best in international art to local audiences and cultural tourists. ” … “Among the VIPs who attended the event, which coincided with the borough’s fourth Text Festival, were guest speakers Greville Worthington, chairman of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Brian Ashley, the Arts Council’s national director for libraries.” [This is fairly controversial – Bury Central Library lost most of its ground floor to the sculpture centre – Ed.]
  • Devon – Jeremy Vine and Margaret Atwood back campaign to prevent cuts to Braunton Library – North Devon Journal. “Ben Hewitt, campaign manager at Save the Children and chairman of Surfers Against Sewage, lives in Braunton and has helped to set up the campaign.”.  Ben believes that Braunton has been chose because it’s technically a village.  Local authors also involved in campaign. Council says it’s not closing the library but wants to explore other avenues of being able to deliver the service “that suits the Braunton community”.
  • Lincolnshire – Martin Hill, Nick Worth et al have forgotten to do something important – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “not one of them [councillors] seems to have remembered publicly to thank those they have made redundant, for their services to the communities they will be leaving, nor to express regret at the discourteous way LCC has treated them. Through your paper, therefore, may we make up the omission by saying that all our communities have lost cheerful, knowledgeable, efficient and loyal friends as our library counters are emptying and the doors beginning to close.”
  • Northamptonshire – Northants Library Serviced Shortlisted For National Award – About My Area. “Northamptonshire County Council’s library service has been shortlisted in the Best Council Services Team category in the 2014 Municipal Journal awards. The library service, which is called LibraryPlus to reflect the wide range of activities and information now on offer, is the only public library service to be shortlisted in this year’s awards across all categories.”

“At the same time as facing up to very challenging financial times, we have kept all of our libraries open, we have improved services and have a greater range available plus we now open on Sundays too. This is all thanks to the hard work and dedication shown by everyone involved with LibraryPlus, including our staff and our hundreds of volunteers.”

  • Sefton – Saving libraries could be a lottery – Champion. “Resort MP John Pugh has had what he describes as ‘encouraging top level talks’ with the National Lottery about their survival. Churchtown, Birkdale and Ainsdale Libraries were all closed down by Sefton Council as a last resort due to funding cuts and, despite vigorous campaigning by local councillors, all three remain shut – with Churchtown already earmarked for demolition. However John Pugh told The Champion that he is hopeful of securing funding from the lottery giant.”