A really nice piece of pro-public libraries material (“advocacy” as it is often called) has been published today by Carnegie UK Trust. Called “Speaking Volumes”, it “sets out the range of ways in which public libraries can affect the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and how libraries are relevant to four main policy areas: social, economic, cultural and education policy.”. Coming as both a leaflet and as a poster,  I especially like all the nice friendly illustrations too. It’s free to download and print. If anyone would like any further information or a hardcopy of the leaflet please contact Carnegie UK Trust directly at info@carnegieuk.org.  [Please note I did some consultancy work for Carnegie on this and so please treat this square brackets thing as a declaration of interest.  It’s still good though – Ed.]

If only everything was such happy reading. I was sorry to learn today that Tom Roper, recently identified by the BookSeller as a Rising Star (and the only librarian to be so honoured) and a colleague of mine in Voices for the Library, has resigned from CILIP Council.  This has been over what he sees to be a move away from democracy in the proposed new governance structure, where the CILIP President will not be directly elected by the membership but rather by the Council, themselves becoming one third unelected. This governance thing could be shaping up as almost as big a fiasco for the body as the defeat over rebranding in 2013.  Whether it will do anything to reverse the decline in membership (now at a historic low of just 13,342) is another matter.



  • Culture Secretary visits Worcester to salute £60m world class Hive – Bromsgrove Advertiser. “Sajid Javid breezed into Worcester yesterday to tour the city’s £60 million Hive – and hailed it as one of the country’s best examples of a world class library … He also revealed how the complex, the first of its kind in Europe as a joint public-university facility, could help influence Government thinking into how the libraries of tomorrow ultimately develop … He said: “Libraries have not had their day, we’ve just got to make sure they are more relevant to people’s lives”.”
  • Exeter Library celebrates launch of Summer Reading Challenge with the Duchess of Cornwall – Reading Agency. Celebrating the launch of the Summer Reading Challenge, children from St Leonard’s primary school were treated to an inspiring drawing activity with Sarah McIntyre, the award-winning illustrator of this year’s challenge Mythical Maze … at the library The Duchess of Cornwall also met the Memory Reading Group, Heritage services and the Community Enabling Team and visited the Business Information Hub and the ‘Fab Lab’ the first digital workshop space to open in a UK library.”

We’re delighted to welcome the Duchess of Cornwall and Sarah McIntyre to Exeter Library. The Summer Reading Challenge is a highlight of the year for many local children and their families and we can’t thank Sarah enough for reminding us just how fun reading can be. Having the support of the Duchess of Cornwall today sends out a powerful message – that libraries offer fantastic free, inclusive reading experiences – a vital ingredient in building literacy.” Ciara Eastell, Devon Libraries

  • Farewell to Cilip Council – Tom Roper’s Weblog. Tom Roper has resigned as a Councillor on CILIP due to disagreement over the new governance issue: “Most of the proposals are innocuous, but there are two that are profoundly undemocratic, the proposal that a third of Council seats should be appointed, rather than elected from the membership, and the proposal that Council, rather than the members, should elect the President. Council is recommending these to CILIP’s AGM in September; I found myself in a minority of one when suggesting we should not support these when Council had its first opportunity to debate the substance of the proposals.” … “At the beginning of 2010 we had nearly 18,000 members; this year, in March our membership fell to its lowest ever figure, 13,342. At Council meetings it seemed to me that tackling this was not seen as the central concern it should be. It is not worthy of an entry in our risk register. ” See also Tom Roper, CILIP trustee, has resigned – CILIP. “Tom Roper has resigned his place on CILIP Council after serving for a period of six months.  Presenting his resignation to the CILIP Chair, Martyn Wade today, Tom cited his differing views from the other members of Council on CILIP’s proposed governance review which goes to the AGM on 20th September for a member decision, as his reason for stepping down.”.
  • How agencies can help librarians – an unpublished article for CILIP. – Changing Libraries. Mick Fortune looks at standards, RFID and framework agreements in an easy approachable way, explaining what librarians need to know and the agencies involved.  [If you’re involved in this line of business in libraries, or purchase such systems, this is probably a must read – Ed.]
  • Scores of authors lobby government to act on school libraries – Guardian. “Malorie Blackman and Andrew Motion among signatories of letter to the Guardian demanding ‘urgent’ action from the Department for Education  … In the wake of the report last week from the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group, which asserted that it was “vital” that all schools “have a good library to ensure children develop essential literacy and digital literacy skills in order to fulfil their potential”, more than 200 authors have written to the Guardian calling on the Department for Education to “act immediately on the report’s conclusions”. These include instructing Ofsted to look at libraries when inspecting schools, and collecting data on the number of school libraries and librarians.” see the letter at Scrutinise schools on library provision – Guardian.
  • Speaking Volumes: the impact of public libraries on wellbeing – Carnegie UK Trust. “The poster inside this leaflet contains many examples of how libraries have an impact on wellbeing. We have grouped the examples into four areas of public policy, showing the potential which exists for public libraries to really make a difference to the wellbeing of their communities. These examples have been selected from a database of examples of good practice which we have drawn together from across the UK and Ireland. You can look at the examples which  sit behind the poster on our website”

The Carnegie UK Trust is today calling on policy makers to give libraries more consideration in contributing towards wider social policy goals. The call to action comes following previous research* carried out by the Trust which suggested that decision makers had an outdated view of the role of public libraries as places to borrow books, and did not appreciate their full potential.” Carnegie UK Trust

  • The shops rekindling our interest in books – Oxford Times. ““We talk about social networks and books and libraries are the original social networks. I don’t see the local library as competition – I work with it to organise events ..”
  • Too little, too late – Leon’s Library Blog. “It seems that election time really is looming and definitely on politicians minds. This has been brought home by none other than the Culture Minister, Ed ‘completely useless‘ Vaizey. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph reminding local authorities that libraries are a statutory service and no council should close a library solely to save costs.”
  • Unison to launch public services manifesto – Unison. “Drastically reduced access to a range of services, including social care, day centres for the elderly, children’s centres, libraries and leisure services is becoming a cold fact of life for many in our communities.”
  • What can we do to help children understand what they are asked to read? – Michael Rosen. 2.  Take children to a library and encourage them to borrow anything that they want. Keep doing it”
  • Why libraries are good for you – Carnegie UK Trust / Blogs. “None of these examples lead to the conclusion that public libraries should stop running book related activities. Rather, they intimate that a library’s worth cannot be measured purely in terms of the number of books that are borrowed. I would add to this that libraries’ worth should not be measured in such restrictive terms; continuing as we are will mean that we consistently fail to capture the true value and relevance of public libraries to communities and individuals. One possible result of this ‘mis-valuation’ is that public libraries’ potential as partners in achieving improved wellbeing and wider social policy goals will remain untapped at worst – and ‘under’ tapped at best.”

Supporter’s News

  • Lancashire Libraries Conference: Joining the Dots: Inspire, Innovate and Inform; a two day conference – 14th to 15th October in Lancaster.  This will include keynotes by Wayne Hemingway MBE and Paul McGee (SUMO Guy).   Click this link for full details, where you will also find the programme and a choice of workshops covering topics such as motivation, management, marketing and the arts in libraries.  The event will be held at the prestigious Lancaster House Hotel. Please circulate to your colleagues and appropriate contacts, and if you need any further information please email JoiningtheDots@Lancashire.gov.uk.


  • Forget computer games, library still luring children’s attention – Independent (Eire). “4 out of every 10 books checked out of the country’s libraries are for children – as the lure of reading still stands up against computer games and television.”
  • Libraries transform lives – Fiji Times (Fiji). US Embassy public affairs officer says “when a child goes to a library and borrowed a book to read his or her life started to transform from that point on.”
  • Sunday Reflections: Do we still need Reference? Do we still need Librarians? (aka Why Turning Libraries into Wal-Mart is a Bad Idea)  – Teen Librarian Toolbox (USA). “Every day I interact with patrons who need help researching recent medical diagnosis, finding ways to fix their cars or AC because they can’t afford to pay someone, and more. And every day I help students research topics for papers or science fair projects. I often even help teachers pull materials together on topics that they are teaching in their classroom. They all need a Reference Librarian.”
  • The changing nature of libraries – Squamish Chief (Canada). ““The library has recently joined the Chamber of Commerce. That’s part of an effort to forge a stronger link to that community so that they can better access the services that we provide”

UK local news by authority

  • Cornwall – Write to read! Stop library closures in Cornwall – 38 Degrees petition. “As an avid reader, it came as a shock to me that the opening hours of my local library were cut and were not seen as a priority for Cornwall Council – I think that these actions to cut the hours of the libraries should be halted immediately.  Libraries are the only places where you can get books for free and the books are varied and of good quality. Please assist me in my quest to save Cornwall’s libraries. Sign this petition and help further by spreading the word. Leon Remphry, Age 10.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – N E Lincolnshire libraries: five to be handed over to community – ITV. “will be kept, with extended opening hours. However the Council will no longer operate the centres in Grant Thorold, Willows, Nunsthorpe, Humberston and Laceby. A decision regarding the future of Scartho library will be made in three months.” see also Future of community libraries in Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Waltham, Immingham, Grant Thorold, Willows, Nunsthorpe, Humberston and Laceby has been decided – Grimsby Telegraph.
  • Oxfordshire – Residents celebrate staffdeal to keep library open – Henley Standard. “The Friends of Benson Library signed a formal agreement with the council to keep the service going at the end of last year. In April, the amenity became a “community library”, meaning that the council will continue to provide the building and facilities as well as 20 hours of staff time per week and the Friends will fund another five hours to ensure that library manager Hilary Rust is always present.”
  • Redbridge – ‘A really good start’ – New £600,000 South Woodford library announced – Ilford Recorder. “A new £600,000 development to bring a new gym and refurbished library to South Woodford has been hailed as a “really good start” by the new deputy leader of the council.The plan will see the current South Woodford Library site, in High Road, South Woodford, redeveloped into a gym and studio in the current children’s library area, which will move elsewhere in the building.” … “The library will be spread across one floor instead of three, expanding into current storage areas and the meeting room, allowing easier access to the library. The space will also have moveable shelving and furniture so it can be used for larger events and activities which are a popular part of the library’s programme.” … “The reinvestment will be made back through income from gym membership, so residents can benefit from modern facilities while future gym income will be used to make savings for the Council. “
  • Southend on Sea ImagiNation – Southend on Sea Council. “Two of our libraries will be providing art workshops; where you’ll work with professional artists and get the chance to explore different art forms. In Southend the two libraries providing workshops will be The Forum: Southend-on-Sea and Westcliff Library. We have already worked with a team of young people from Belfairs Academy to choose the arts organisations – Signal Media Arts Cente and Metal. Then in May planning workshops took place with more young volunteers and the artists. Photos from the workshops can be seen on the Imaginationeast website.”
  • Staffordshire – Call for radical changes to Staffordshire library service as consultation begins – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Over the next 12 weeks Staffordshire County Council is visiting every library in the county at least once to talk to people about ideas for the future said Mike Lawrence, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Localism.” … “We need to change, radically, over the next three years to reinvigorate our libraries so they are better used within their communities, as well as developing the online service, but I must emphasise this is not a closure programme – we understand their value and their importance and we are committed to them remaining a valued part of local life.”
  • Staffordshire – Thousands of people expected to have their say on the future of the county’s library service – Stoke Sentinel. “Mike Lawrence, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Localism, said: “Over the next 12 weeks we are visiting every library in the county at least once to talk to people about our ideas and see what they want. “I expect a lot of people will come to the meetings to find out more and have their say, but with online and postal comments, I think thousands of people will have their say.”
  • Westminster – Five myths to launch a mythical summer for children – Westminster Libraries. “So, have you heard that the bronze lions at Trafalgar Square will come alive if Big Ben chimes thirteen times? There’s also the myth that if the lion heads along Embankment start to drink the water from the Thames, it means that London will flood. And have you ever wondered how Green Park got its name? Westminster City Council celebrates the myths on its own doorstep in the hope they might inspire young readers to head to their local library this summer in search of more stories.”.  Includes five myths about London [imaginative and fun – Ed.]