The UNISON strike ballot over pay has resulted in a 3:2 vote in favour of action.  The average salary of a local government worker was frozen 2010 to 2013 and then went up only 1% in 2013.  This means that, due to inflation, workers – including public librarians – have experienced a cut in theirs spending power of 15% or so.  Which, in case if you’re in any doubt, is pretty majorly life changing.  That sort of cut means that many (especially in a household where there is no other income or both work in local government) will be not only forgetting such things as holidays but starting to be worried about mortgage payments.  Indeed, taken in that context, that margin of 3:2 is looking surprisingly small, probably because of a combination of worries over (a) losing yet more pay if one strikes (b) a strong doubt the Government will back down and (c) a feeling that such a move may backfire and cause a loss of sympathy.  Certainly, the Government and the majority of the media seem to positively enjoy strikes from the point of view of showing how militant and greedy unions are.  It’s also true that others are suffering equally as much and many of those cannot strike. Strikes are polarising things, therefore, but those who vote yes may feel – with the rich getting richer and the poor being seemingly penalised – that things are polarised enough.


  • Local government workers vote for strike action  – UNISON. “The low paid, mainly women, workers have faced a 3 year pay freeze and have now been offered a 1% pay rise. The lowest are paid just above the statutory national minimum wage and did not even receive the £250 that Chancellor George Osborne promised they would get two years running. * Voting was as follows: For: 49,836  (58.7%) Against:  35,062   (41.3%). The union’s national committee will now be meeting to decide next steps.”

“These workers care for our elderly, clean our streets, feed and educate our school children and keep our libraries running, but they receive no recognition in their pay packets.  They are mainly low paid women workers, stressed and demoralised, and they deserve better from their employers and from this Government.  This is the group that has borne the brunt of the Government’s austerity agenda.” Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary

  • PMLG Newsletter – PMLG. Copyright activism, digital inclusion, Public Library Award nominations, bibliotherapy and other stories.
  • Time to speak out – Leon’s Library Blog. “it would be wrong to leave advocacy only to campaigners and professional bodies. As individual librarians we also can make a difference. The general election is only 11 months away so now is the perfect time to start engaging politicians about public libraries. As citizens and constituents we can be a powerful voice in advocating for libraries at both local and national level with potentially thousands of library staff throughout the country standing up and defending an important public service.” … “Remember, your MP is not an expert on libraries but you are and you can use this opportunity to educate them about the value of public libraries.”
  • When the UK goes ‘digital by default’, who will be left behind? – Guardian. “At the Jobcentre, Taylor was given a list of all of the local libraries in Newcastle with internet access. “They think everyone has the internet, but I don’t. They don’t understand how hard that is. They’ve clearly had it explained to them that there are plenty of places to get online to fill out job applications, but they don’t know how cut-off I feel.” … but CAB says ” Libraries have proved unsuitable because of lack of support from staff, no privacy for users and short time limits on shared computers. “


  • infoDOCKET’s Public Library News Roundup (25 Stories from Around the U.S.) – Library Journal (USA). Stories include stolen e-readers, a man openly carrying a gun (legally) in a library, Seattle Library being used for a mass screening of World Cup games.
  • Public lending libraries see decline everywhere – Times of Malta. “The number of books lent from public libraries amounted to 767,548 last year, down by 9.5 per cent from 2012.”
  • We like e-readers – but library users are still borrowing books – Conversation (Australia). “There are some 181 million items loaned every year by the nation’s 1,500 public libraries, branches, mobile libraries and other service points but, according to the latest survey-based report from the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), for the majority of these libraries, ebook loans represent less than 1% of the total.” … “It is an exciting time for public libraries to explore the potential of the digital environment. There will always be cynics to question the role of public libraries in an increasingly online world, but one only has to look at the usage figures to realise that, whether their collections are print or electronic, libraries are thriving. Ten million Australians can’t be wrong.”
  • Why should cafes be allowed to replace public libraries? – Talking under random dribble (Australia).  Points out cafes are fulfilling the function of libraries for many people – place to get information (via wifi) in a neutral place and to share ideas with others (via conversations).  However, libraries should win here because they’re free … if only they were louder so people did not hear other people speaking.  Suggests music being played.  Warns against aping university libraries which have a captive, not a voluntary, audience.

Sponsor news

  • Promoting Your Digital Resources from Oxford University Press – A Library in Your Living Room collates all the information about your online resources from Oxford University Press into one place, with a site that is quick and easy to use. Quick and easy access to everything you need to promote your products, from downloadable materials to help with Social Media, as well as everything your library users need to access them, from user guides, to videos to help them log in. Visit A Library in Your Living Room today!

UK local news by authority

  • Croydon – Ashburton Library faces uncertain future after new council pulls out of sale deal – Croydon Advertiser. Local evangelical church had thought it had secured a deal to buy the old library from the previous Conservative administration.  New Labour control meant that deal fell through as Labour think they can get more for the building.
  • Devon – South Devon residents fight to save libraries – Torquay Herald Express. “Andy Stokes, chair of ‘Buck The Trend’ and member of the ‘Save Buckfastleigh Library’ campaign committee, said: “Despite Cllr Croad insisting that a plan would be found to keep every library open, local residents are obviously not convinced that such a magical solution exists just because Mr Croad wishes it.” … “Townsfolk across South Devon were worried about the loss, not just of access to books and audio books for the young, the elderly and those who are not able to or can’t afford to make a round-trip to Totnes or Newton Abbot to access a library, but also of the computers which are heavily used by jobseekers searching for work and others who don’t have internet access at home”
  • Suffolk – Aldeburgh Library Foundation wins Learning Project of the Year – Suffolk Libraries. “The Aldeburgh Library Foundation has won ‘Learning Project of the Year’ at the Suffolk Adult Learners Awards 2014 … The library foundation won the award for its extensive programme of adult learning courses for local people which range from absolute beginners courses in computing, iPads, Italian and Spanish, to improvers’ development courses; from the works of Benjamin Britten (who played a key role in the creation of Aldeburgh Library itself), the movies, history of opera, and weekly politics and current affairs, to painting, garden design and creative writing.  Aldeburgh Library Foundation was one of the first community groups to start working with Suffolk Libraries to support the county’s libraries.”