National news

  • Books do furnish a room: but not for much longer if Jeff Bezos has his way – Guardian / Comment is Free. Kindle inventor argues that end of print is nigh: tongue-in-cheek  blog post writer suggests Carnegie Libraries will turn into workspaces for creative types and cafes.
  • Evidence review of the economic contribution of libraries – Arts Council England. “important first step in our understanding of the contribution public libraries can make at an economic level, whilst also assessing the scale of contribution a library can make to individuals and communities via the social and educational benefits they provide. In a climate where local authorities face significant financial challenges, and libraries have historically been a ‘soft target’, understanding the economic contribution of libraries is particularly important to the library sector. It is a question of some complexity and this report summarises both the available evidence available on the subject, and the ways in which others have approached the question, including the advantages and potential pitfalls of the different methodologies.” See also Libraries’ economic contribution ‘can only be measured long-term’ – BookSeller.

“We always knew this was a complex area, and we are fortunate to be able to build on the work of so many who have explored it both in this country and across the world. It would be great to be able to define the full economic contribution of libraries, and we will continue that work, but nobody should lose sight of the difference they make to people’s lives day in, day out, in communities all across the country.” Brian Ashley, Director Libraries, Arts Council England


  • 5 Ways Libraries Cultivate Community Art – Huffington Post (USA). Host writers in residence, collect local music and writing, show new artwork. host readings and performances, hands-on workshops.
  • …and the Kitchen Sink | Library by Design – Library Journal (USA). “Hospitality-influenced amenities already permeate newer libraries and renovations in the form of lounges, cafés, and multipurpose event spaces. Now, some (literally) cutting-edge libraries are taking it a step further, adding kitchens for demonstrations and patron use. Mike Zuehlke, an architect at Engberg Anderson (see Meadowridge Branch Library), says, “Food is one of those things that we all share—across cultures, races, economic, or educational level. Few things promote gathering and interaction as well as a shared meal.” While a kitchen in the library may seem a surprise or a luxury, these trendsetting buildings are using their new kitchen facilities to help patrons connect to their community, learn more about healthy living, feed their families better, express their creativity, and even make a little much-needed money—all core to the library mission.”
  • Libraries See Light After Years of Cuts – Pew States (USA). “Overall, states slashed funding to public libraries 37.6 percent from fiscal 2001 to 2010, from $1.28 billion to $799.4 million”

“One key to libraries’ success is offering the public the “expensive and scarce resource,” Zickuhr said. While books once were expensive and scarce, people now seek a broader range of services such as laser cutters, 3-D printers and even recording studios.  “You meet a need in your community that no one else is meeting,”

  • Self-published Authors Learn to Market to Libraries – Library Journal (USA). “The final speaker was librarian Jessica West of Rust Library. Her library, she explained to audience murmers, launched its own imprint: “Symington Press, Powered by the Espresso Book Machine.” This “Frankenstein machine,” as West referred to it, can print any book in an on-demand catalog, and has been used at Rust to print materials for and from library programs; its biggest use, however, has been in the production of self-published works. To use the Espresso, West said, authors need only provide two PDFs: one of the cover and the other of the interior text. The library charges only for printing costs, which are about $5-$25 per copy, and the book—with a color cover and black-and-white interior—can be produced the same day. Rust has made 873 books so far, with 200 in the last two weeks alone, as the service is really starting to take off.”

UK local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Councillors To Vote On Local Council Cooperation – Now Bath.  Aim for closer relationships with North Somerset Council. “The councils began working together almost 20 years ago in 1996, sharing resources in areas including libraries, planning and economic development, and most recently, audit and land charges.”
  • Devon – Axminster: Call for town to turn out in force to oppose library downgrading – View from Online. “Buoyed by the 400 plus turnout for the recent drop-in consultation event, members of Support for Axminster Library hope for a repeat when Devon County Council (DCC) bosses visit the the town council on Monday,  June 9th in Axminster Guildhall (7pm).” … “Author and illustrator Jason Chapman helped set up Support for Axminster Library. He said: “The more we have turning up on the day, the bigger difference it will make. It is about showing how passionate Axminster is in retaining the library as it is and not going down the volunteer route.”
  • Lancashire – East Lancs library users asked views – Blackburn Citizen. “Julie Bell, county libraries manager, said: “We want to help people get the most out of all the services on offer at their local library, and this means making sure that libraries are open at the times when our customers are most likely to use them. “
  • Herefordshire – Partnership saves library opening times – Herefordshire Council. “Along with other libraries in the county the centre at Belmont was at risk of reduced hours as a result of the budget challenges faced by Herefordshire Council. However, with a contribution from Belmont Rural Parish Council and a reduced rent for South Wye Community Association the current level of service can remain for the next year. Along with the support from these two partners, and continued investment from the council this makes Belmont a “partnership library”.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire County Council slammed for pulling library support with £41 million in the bank – Lincolnshire Echo. Labour councillor says ““I think it is morally wrong to be collecting money and not using it on services and doing what they did last year by topping up the reserves. This is a rainy day, libraries have been around for 100 years and they are really valued.”  Council says “Thanks to careful financial management, the council has a one-off underspend of £41m remaining from last year’s budget. “There are various competing pressures for which this money could be used, and a decision will be taken by the full council in the autumn.” Campaigners unimpressed and say “They say their plan means more provision, but this is by unpaid volunteers so it means that provision will vary from area to area, and volunteer exhaustion will soon set in. Their ‘solution’ is just a distraction from the fact that they are destroying the library service in in slow motion.”
  • Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries Fund passes £2000 mark – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “Alongside the £1000 donation from The Library Campaign already reported, people from across the UK and the rest of the world have been making use of the new online donation facility (launched on May 29) with PayPal donations nudging £500. People from Oxford, Brecon, Devon, Tyne and Wear, Durham, Reigate, Glasgow, York and Norwich have given to the cause this way, as well as international donations from Australia and the USA.” … ” “I must thank celebrities like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Chris Addison, Johnny Vegas and Ian Rankin for sharing the link on Twitter, giving it much more publicity that we could on our own.”
  • Newcastle – Lending rise in Newcastle as e-books are trialled in libraries – Journal. “The e-book pilot is being run through the Publishers Association and the Society of Chief Librarians at four locations around the country, including Newcastle’s libraries. And since the start of the scheme in April, e-book loans having increased by 78% from last year. In the first month of the scheme alone, 3,358 e-books were borrowed, while 46% of all borrowed were books not normally available to loan from public libraries.”
  • Northamptonshire – Funding For Northants Children’s Centre Services Maintained – About My Area. ““Our libraries will become the default local venue for non-specialist services such as registration and advice while the children’s centres will focus on targeted support for families in need of extra help and expertise.” … “This new model of providing services will see children’s centre services developed as early help specialists with this being supplemented by the county’s libraries and health services.” … ” In addition to commissioning the new contracts, the council will expand the range of services currently provided by its library service to incorporate: information and advice, registration services, activities for children, recruitment of volunteers for children’s centres services.”
  • Southend – Labour to form part of new council administration – Southend Labour. “‘We are undertaking to review a number of decisions taken by the previous administration, such as those on Shoebury flood defences, the future of the council-run care homes and the stripping of paid staff from branch libraries’.”
    St Helens – Get It Loud in Libraries: Thumpers Gig – Pinterest. “Thumpers (supported by The Lottery Winners & Cut Ribbons) play St Helens Central Library, Friday 30th May 2014.” … Lots of pictures of the event.
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Children’s section of Penarth Library hoping to reopen after flooding – Penarth Times. “Part OF Penarth Library has been closed after a corroded pipe burst and flooded the children’s section. A Vale Council spokesman said that it was hoped the children’s section, which is located on the lower floor, would be reopened by next Monday, June 9.”