A newspaper reports that a book in Sheffield has not been loaned since 1997 and is still on the shelf: other books noted have been similarly friendless since 2000 and 2001.  Other reports I’ve seen from there suggest that this isn’t due to poor stock management in the city but rather lack of new books over the last few years.  After all, it’s easy to weed books – quite apart from going through each shelf by hand, you can just get a printout of all the books that haven’t been taken out for x number of years and remove them from the shelves and then automatically delete off the computer any you can’t find.  Generally, if a book has been on the shelf since 1997 and not been taken out, it means there’s not enough money and books have been left on the shelves to make them look full … or there simply has not been enough staff to take them off.  There’s also a small chance that the book has been left on the shelf because it fills a vital stock gap of course but that does not appear to be the case here.  For more information on this, see the PLN page Stock management – A complete beginners guide.

Please send any news or comments to ianlibrarian@live.co.uk




  • Bitterne Parker: Dan O’Farrell – Bitterne Parker. “Tell us a secret. Libraries let you read books for free. Tell a friend.”
  • Favourable outcome – Leon’s Library Blog. Looks at the Lincolnshire libraries campaign.  “Although the challenge has been allowed on four grounds the area most of us will be watching closely is: ‘That if the cuts go ahead Lincolnshire’s Library Service will no longer be comprehensive and efficient and therefore will breach the national requirements’. However – and unfortunately there is always a ‘however’ – defining what those national requirements are will be a tricky business indeed. Even if the review is successful I suspect it will be beyond the Court’s ability (or remit) to define what a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ service should be and the outcome is likely to depend on the Court interpreting that the extent of the cuts undermines the principle of comprehensiveness and therefore the Council will fail in its obligation under the 1964 act.”  Also looks at another grounds of the lack of due consideration being given to a GLL bid: “Potentially this could mean that GLL will be given the opportunity to bid to run library services in Lincolnshire once again. The big question will be are they able to do it without implementing reductions and closures themselves? It would be a bold assertion to say they could until the Council actually commits to a figure that it’s willing to pay for the operation of the library service.”


  • Bottled cobras found in dumpster at public library – KITV (USA). “Three of the bottles contained cobras while the fourth held a gecko and seahorse. It was easy to tell from the red labeling that the product is known as snake wine and came from Vietnam.”
  • Carnegie Library teams with Allegheny County Jail inmates for unique programs – Trib Live (USA). “For the past year, the Carnegie Library and the jail have brought the library to 1,000 inmates through an unusual partnership called Literacy Unlocked. About 7,000 children in Allegheny County have one or both parents incarcerated, statistics show.” … “Once a month, librarians read, sing or play games with the children — anything to distract them — while the inmates return to their cells.”
  • Docklands library choices not just for the bookish – The Age (Australia). “A recording studio, editing facilities, a big-screen TV and even a table tennis table – this is what a new library looks like in 2014. Happily, books are still part of the picture at Melbourne’s newest library, opening on Saturday”
  • Borrow Your Education Online: E-Learning in Public Libraries – Goethe Institut (Germany). “These days public libraries in Germany are no longer being viewed as mere lending libraries, but more and more as places of learning … Today the Bücherhallen has over 100 interactive online courses, what they call web-based training (WBTs), in its program. Most of them focus on such subjects as IT/EDP, languages, business administration, as well as Microsoft Office applications … With the launch of the Scoyo platform in March 2013 there is now an additional e-learning site for children. In line with the type of school, the grade level and the syllabus of the individual German federal state pupils can freely select exercises and tests for the most important school subjects taught from grade one to seven. ” … “Instinske could well imagine the concept of “blended learning” as an option in the future. This would involve a combination of e-learning and traditional classroom instruction. This has in fact already been successfully tested at the library in Norderstedt. Course participants first work independently on their computers. They then later get together regularly at the library with the course teacher to discuss questions and to work through certain chapters again together. Local adult education centres would serve well as partners for this type of course. “
  • No more silence in the library – Toronto Sun (Canada). “Walk into your local library today, and you’ll probably find a bustling community space as likely to have a digital gaming station as it is to house ceiling-high stacks of books … it’s exciting time in libraries.” … “Her southwestern Ontario library features a green screen, a 3D printer, “makers’ spaces” where people create personal projects, and a help desk where librarians will help with any digital task.”
  • Precarious work in libraries: A lose-lose situation for workers and the public – CUPE (Canada). ““CUPE has witnessed a decrease in the number of full-time permanent jobs in the library sector, and an increase in the number of part-time, temporary, casual or on-call positions,” said Dawn Lahey during the panel discussion. “Precarious employment in the library sector is slowly eroding the opportunities potential library workers will have for fulfilling full-time employment where they can earn a living wage and have pride in the work they do.” … “Precarity reduces loyalty and moral in the workplace, it makes retention more difficult, it reduces opportunities for training, it produces a loss of skill, it increases stress and health problems, and it ultimately reduces services and quality. Workers have less benefits, lower wages, and worse work-life balance. It is a lose-lose situation”

UK local news by authority

  • Carillion / Croydon – Carillion’s Curse…part 1 – Save Croydon Libraries. Main entrance is shut – users have to come in through the “Exit”. Low staff and light levels. Damaged furniture. “Ripped seat cushion by a partly dismantled shelving unit, complete with metal shelving protruding beyond wooden side of unit.”.  Many signs including “referring to not plugging in lap tops at points where no sockets existed”.  Too few staff to help with computer bookings.  Toilets not properly stocked and in poor condition. “There is also a sign in both to advise that perfume and deodorant is not to be sprayed to avoid affecting people’s allergies. Never mind the stench and unsanitary state they were in”.  Lift out of order. Out of order new PCs.  Books improperly and messily shelved, almost none on display shelves.
  • Cornwall – Cuts hit library opening hours – Cornish News. “Changes to opening hours at Cornwall Council libraries and One Stop Shops will come into effect on Monday. Hours have been reduced across the county as part of a £400,000 cutback to library and One Stop Shop services. Libraries will, broadly speaking, lose an average of one of their opening days each week. In Liskeard, the library will be closed on Mondays as well as Wednesdays, and will shut earlier on Thursdays and Saturdays”
  • Leicestershire – Have your say on library cuts – Hinckley Times. “Consultation is continuing on sweeping measures which would see village libraries shutdown or be run by local volunteers. The move, which could affect a series of libraries across Hinckley and Bosworth, is part of the county council’s cost cutting strategy in the face of a £137.5 million budget shortfall. Shedding responsibility for rural libraries could help claw back around £800,000 – which Shire Hall chiefs say they need to chop from the overall £5.6 million budget.” … “Up to 36 libraries could be offloaded by the county and offered to the community but most at risk are small, part-time village libraries such as Burbage, Market Bosworth and Sapcote.”
  • Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries establishes fighting fund – BBC. “Campaigners fighting to stop libraries being run by volunteers have set up a fund for legal bills. Save Lincolnshire Libraries successfully applied for a judicial review against council plans to cut jobs and opening hours. It welcomed a £1,000 donation from a national charity as well as gifts from individuals. Lincolnshire County Council said its plans would save £2m and keep libraries open.”
  • Lincolnshire – Donation of £1,000 to support library campaigners in legal challenge – Sleaford Standard. “Chair of The Library Campaign Laura Swaffield said: “The Library Campaign works to support library users and groups. We’re happy to help Save Lincolnshire Libraries, because their campaign benefits all of us. Our experience indicates that Lincolnshire County Council’s planned cuts are unworkable and unnecessary.” … “This amount of support from a national institution indicates the crucial nature of our campaign. People across the country have been horrified by the destruction of the Lincolnshire library service, and it’s now clear that people outside of Lincolnshire believe in our fight too.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff – Angry protesters chain themselves to bookshelves in last ditch attempt to save library – Wales Online. “Protesters chained themselves to bookshelves for around four hours in a last ditch attempt to save their local library. Police were called after a group of campaigners chained themselves up at Rhydyfelin Library, near Pontypridd, as it officially closed its doors on Saturday afternoon. The library closure is one of 14 made by Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) Council as the authority tries to save £70m over the next four years.”
  • Sheffield – Sheffield politicians’ bid to tackle voter apathy – Star. “The council has forced through some controversial decisions – like the closure of libraries – and it’s important people have the opportunity to voice concerns.”
  • Sheffield – Sheffield’s most unpopular library books revealed – Star. “the biography of a 19th century slave who escaped to become a leader of the abolitionist movement – has not been borrowed from Burngreave Library since January 1997.” … “At Totley Library, children’s book Planes by Victoria Parker was the least popular and has not been borrowed since September 2000, while the Illustrated Encylopedia of Wildlife, Volume 2, has remained in Woodhouse Library since January 2001.”
  • Somerset – Somerset County Council to replace and upgrade library computersWestern Gazette. “Work has begun to update the software on computers across Somerset to offer Windows 7 and the latest Microsoft Office software, to offer better internet access and more features”
  • Southend – ‘Rainbow coalition’ could scrap Tory schemes – Echo. “Controversial plans to build a seawall in Shoebury, close care homes and remove librarians could be scrapped under a new rainbow administration at Southend Council. Independent, Labour and Lib Dem councillors are set to team up and take power at the Civic Centre – ending 14 years of Tory rule.” Plans include “plans to remove staff from some libraries across the borough, which more than 3,000 people campaigned against.”
  • Wandsworth – Plans For Putney Library To Become Cultural Centre and to develop the music library into a centre of excellence – Putney SW15.com.  An interesting look at GLL and libraries,