The last post reported on Ed Vaizey’s appearance and talk about public libraries at a Society of Chief Librarians’ event.  The main news from this post is that his opposite number, Helen Goodman MP, is starting to take an interest as well. The Labour shadow minister’s statements are hardly showing revolutionary fervour – she’s OK with volunteers, for instance, running small branches as long as there’s paid qualified staff elsewhere – but they do show an awareness by someone on her team of what is going on.  I suspect if you parse carefully what she says then there’s not that much difference between her and Ed, who has always been careful not to disparage paid staff, but there’s a difference in emphasis – she’s coming across as more keen on standards (to avoid a “postcode lottery”) for instance.  Helen has started a brief enquiry into public libraries (there’s lots of those going on at the moment isn’t there?) and it will be interesting to see what the results are.  I hope that whatever they are, they’re far more different to her opposite number than what we’ve seen so far.  The general election is next year by the way.



  • Is there still hope for public libraries? – Telegraph. “As Britain is besieged by library closures, Lynne Truss is overjoyed to find herself attending a library opening – especially one where you can get a cup of tea ” … “what a cheerful and stirring thing it was, to help launch this little ship of literacy on to the vast waters of indifference and philistinism. Godspeed, little library! Godspeed. “
  • Labour’s Goodman warns on library volunteers – BookSeller. “Libraries should remain free, and there “should not be a postcode lottery for quality”, Goodman said. She added that the definition of a core professional service still needed to be discussed with “all relevant stakeholders”, but that it “must include paid fully qualified librarians, alongside other trained library staff”.”
  • Letter on Libraries – Helen Goodman MP. “I am very concerned about what is happening to libraries across the country. The Library Campaign thinks we’re in a process of losing up to 1,000 libraries and last month I visited Lincolnshire, which has been hit particularly severely by library cuts. Below I have set out the current situation faced by local libraries, as well as a case study of what is happening in Lincolnshire. As we continue to develop our policies and move into our manifesto writing phase, it is vital that Labour has a proactive approach to a modern library ector, where the Conservative-led government has so badly failed. I have posed a series of questions and would be grateful to hear from you by 30 June if you have any thoughts.”
  • Literary treasures go online to engage youngsters – Information World Review. “Over 1,000 titles from authors such as Blake, Dickens, Hardy, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, have been uploaded to the Discovering Literature website, together with other artefacts which shed new light on their life and works.”
  • Naomi Wood: Author – British Library. “Author Naomi Wood was one of the Eccles Centre for American Studies Writers in Residence. She used our American collections to research her book, Mrs Hemingway, about the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and his four wives.” … “I always use the British Library for writing and researching. I used the imaging and sound archives and as a novelist, to get such a clear image, it was amazing. I can’t imagine writing another book without the British Library collections. There is no better place to go where you have all the books, newspapers and magazines all in one place. I think they’re an essential and central part of the creative process.””
  • Reply from Helen Goodman – Leon’s Library Blog. “After comments made during a speech to campaigners in Lincolnshire I wrote to Helen Goodman asking the following questions and for a reply for inclusion on this blog: • You have stated Labour is committed to maintaining a core professional service. In your view what constitutes a ‘core professional service’? • Does your party support the creation of community/volunteer managed libraries and if so under what circumstances? • Do you believe that volunteers provide the same quality of service as paid library assistants and professionally qualified staff?” Her reply (below) is hopeful and one which I give a cautious welcome to. It’s encouraging that the shadow minister is willing to engage with librarians and to listen to our concerns, more than can be said for the present Minister for Culture. I do have some reservations about the wording concerning volunteers as personally I would prefer to see volunteers being used in complementary roles only.”
  • SCL Annual Report – Society of Chief Librarians. “The Society of Chief Librarians published its Annual Report after it was approved by SCL Membership at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 5 June 2014. President Janene Cox delivered the Annual Report, which highlighted SCL’s achievements over the past year. The full document is available to download “
  • SCL Conference 2014: Ed Vaizey – Leon’s Library Blog. “One comment that does stand out is his apparent support for the establishment of a development agency for libraries. This from a minister who has all but abolished the Advisory Council on Libraries. I’m sure I am not the only one to see the irony of his ‘dreaming’ of a body to develop libraries while at the same time actively attempting to abolish a body that provides impartial advice on libraries” … “As usual with Ed ‘completely useless‘ Vaizey his actions are far removed from his words.”
  • Welsh public libraries review  – Welsh Government. Call for evidence. “The panel has invited responses to the following questions: What services should public libraries provide in the future to meet the changing needs of the people of Wales? What should be the roles and functions of the public library workforce in the future? How can libraries in Wales work together in the future to offer an efficient and effective library service on a local, regional and national basis? Do we require a new legislative framework and/or delivery model for public library services in Wales? Send your responses to the above questions, and any other comments, by 20 June 2014”


UK local news by authority

  • Brighton and Hove – New Woodingdean Library and Medical Centre now open – Brighton and Hove Council. “We are very pleased to announce, in order to maximise access for the local community particularly parents and carers of school children and patients, we will be increasing the opening hours of Woodingdean Library by two hours a week by opening at 9am rather than 10am on the two weekdays, Monday and Thursday. The new opening hours will therefore be “
  • Cornwall – Endorsement for library service as it faces major budget cut – Western Morning News. “More than 2,500 people in Cornwall gave the county’s library servicea ringing endorsement during a make-or-break consultation to determine it’s future. Cornwall Council Partnerships Portfolio Advisory Committee (PAC) will be meeting on June 16 to consider options regarding the mobile library and mobile one stop services which face a 50% budget cut.”
  • Cornwall – In praise of public libraries – Carina of Devon. “Thank you to the wonderful and creative staff at Truro public library for giving us such an unexpected treat. And to anyone who thinks that libraries are an unnecessary waste of taxpayer’s money I suggest you spend a couple of hours in a local library – you’ll soon change your mind. Not only do they open up worlds of reading to children and adults, but they provide an essential space to people who want to develop skills, look for jobs, or who simply need a quiet space to think.”
  • Devon – New site sought for Exmouth Library – Exmouth Journal. “the current location of Exmouth Library, in Exeter Road, is not thought to be good enough. The council’s proposal reads: “We recognise that this library has limited potential to provide a wider range of services to the local community due to its poor accessibility and limited size. We would like to find an alternative site for the library to provide a more modern service and would anticipate that we could co-locate the library with a range of other services, depending on the site available.” … “if other services for the library cannot be found, alternatives will need to be looked at such as reducing library hours, and/or increasing the use of volunteers. If it goes ahead, staffing and running costs would reduce by ten to 25 per cent.”
  • Lancashire – Celebration as volunteers take on greater role – Harrogate News. “Throughout this week the county’s libraries are holding information fairs about volunteering opportunities. In addition, volunteers at the North Yorkshire Learning Disability Partnership Board will be given certificates on Friday to mark Volunteers’ Week.” … “The programme – “2020 North Yorkshire” – envisages a smaller, more flexible council enabling and supporting communities to deliver for themselves – running more libraries for example; supporting young and older people in many different ways.”
  • Lancashire – Lancashire Sinfonietta: Orchestra to fold due to cuts – BBC. ” the orchestra ensemble funded curriculums with schools, worked in children centres with under fives on Mini Mozart classes as well as in libraries. We are going to lose that particularly thrilling moment when you have an orchestra playing in a church or library right up close to you with no conductor.”
  • Lancashire – Preston library hours proposal sees evening opening times slashed – Blog Preston. “Lancashire County Council are consulting with the public about opening hours after they were changed at many libraries in Preston and across the rest of the county. It sees a swathe of Preston libraries losing their evening opening and becoming day time operations with no more closures for lunch breaks and earlier opening times on many weekdays.”
  • Leicestershire – ‘A fiver to keep library open’ – Leicester Mercury. “Burbage Parish Council has launched a consultation on a possible community takeover of the £24,500 a year service in the village, which had 16,300 visitors last year.” … “”We do not want to prejudge the outcome and are asking if they would be prepared to pay an additional average contribution of £5 a year or volunteer their time to help run it.”
  • Leicestershire – 2,500 speak out about libraries – Loughborough Echo. “More than 2,500 people have had their say on the county council’s proposals for communities to run up to 36 local libraries. And the council is still calling on local people to have their say regarding the proposals.”
  • Lincolnshire – Authority’s £40m could save libraries – Spalding Today. “We have now discovered that the surplus collected in council tax this year by the county council, up to the end of March, is over £40million. They have collected £40million more than they needed to spend yet they are telling us they can’t keep the libraries open for the sake of £1.9million – it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the money that’s sloshing about.”
  • Lincolnshire – Library legal fund reaches £2,000 – Stamford Mercury. “The group, led by Lincoln resident Simon Draper, needs to raise £7,500 by the first week of July, when the case will be heard in the High Court. Charity The Library Campaign has already donated £1,000 and a further £1,000 has been donated online. Money has come from all over the UK and even from Australia and the US.”
  • Merthyr Tydfil – Trust could run Merthyr Tydfil’s Cyfarthfa Park and Castle – BBC. “A not-for-profit trust could take over responsibility for some of Merthyr Tydfil’s council-run services in a bid to save £330,000 a year. Cyfarthfa Park and Castle as well as libraries and leisure centres could be handed over to the new organisation.
  • North Yorkshire – Annals of secret history – Yorkshire Post. Petyt Library: “The collection, in Skipton Town Council’s trust, includes 15th century Bibles, 17th century atlases and a vintage copy of the work on which Shakespeare based his history plays.” … “In a modern world of libraries offering wi-fi, creches and coffee mornings, the Petyt is a collector’s item in itself, particularly for people interested in legal and religious history and the English Civil War.” … “With thanks to North Yorkshire County Council Libraries, which runs Skipton Library. The Petyt Library can be visited by appointment”
  • Reading – Council launches public consultation on arts, heritage and sport  Get Reading. “Short questionnaires are available at venues in the town including libraries, sports and leisure centres and the civic offices. A more detailed survey will be online at www.reading.gov.uk/yoursay.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff – Library protestors can take case to judicial review – Aberdare Online. “Residents protesting against the Rhydyfelin library closure have won their appeal which allows them to move forward with their judicial review.”
  • Suffolk – Ipswich: Futura Park John Lewis at home store makes presentation to Suffolk Libraries – Ipswich Star. “Department stores firm John Lewis is to work in partnership with Suffolk Libraries on the Get Connect initiative to promote library eBooks and eReaders. The employee-owned business has already been working successfully with Cambridgshire’s library service, Its John Lewis at home store, at Futura Park in Ipswich, has also presented Suffolk Libraries with a copy of a book marking the 150th anniversary of the business.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Library proposals – Barry and District News. “It had been a major disappointment to hear of the plans to diminish the service that these four libraries offer to local residents. In the case of Wenvoe we are particularly dismayed as the developer has offered, as part of the application for new housing, a considerable sum towards enhancement of the village library service. The Vale of Glamorgan proposals also implied that before our librarian lost her job she would be asked to recruit and train local volunteers to take her place. We feel that’s an appalling position to put any employee in.”
  • Worcestershire – More than 4,300 volunteers helping Worcestershire County Council out – Bromsgrove Advertiser. “The council currently has 4,304 volunteers including 406 in libraries, 578 in countryside services like parks, 250 in transport, 218 in care and 2,840 in museums and heritage. “