I, like staff in 200 other libraries in the UK will be giving out Diary of a Wimpy Kid books this Saturday.  Of course, libraries loan these as a matter of course but it’s not often we give them away.  Well done to a partnership including the Reading Agency, Puffin and ITV Good Morning Britain have made this possible, showing the strength of national promotion.  Another couple of national things also caught my eye.  I’ve not had much to do with Digital War Memorial but it looks good and let’s hope it fulfils the promise that the Society of Chief Librarians think it has.  Also, Scotland are developing a national libraries strategy.  It’s surprising they didn’t have one already, frankly, especially as there is a chance they’re going to be independent soon.  It’s going to be odd reporting Scottish libraries in the International section if so.

In terms of local changes, the main hot spots are continued moves by Liverpool to withdraw from, or close, the majority of its libraries; the determination of Lincolnshire to keep staffing levels low and abide by the letter of the judicial review against them and what may be even deeper cuts in Leicestershire than what has already been announced and, finally, cuts on the radar in Harrow.  Whoopee doo. You know, public libraries news can be a little depressing at times but I was given real boost by visiting Manchester Central Library this week.  That is a building that shows how great libraries can be (but, guys, please … bigger children’s libraries!) and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you. My review of the place is on a separate page here.



  • Big New Libraries: Manchester – Public Libraries News. A librarian’s guide, with pictures, to the newly refurbished Manchester Central Library.
  • The Case for a National Strategy for Public Libraries  – Scottish Libraries. Why Scottish public libraries need a national strategy. [This has now been accepted and a new strategy is being developed by a working group of The Scottish Library and Information Council – Ed.]
  • The Digital War Memorial: public libraries work with communities and artists to create a War Memorial online – Arts Council England. “The Digital War Memorial, created by public libraries working with their local communities and established artists, has been launched today at the British Library by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and Digital Economy, and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL). The project has helped public libraries to give a wide range of community groups the opportunity to work with artists to create their own highly individual response to the First World War. The project is funded by The National Lottery and supported by our Grants for the arts libraries fund.”

“SCL will work with public library services to create content from every part of England. The Digital War Memorial has also been incorporated into Historypin – a platform created by We Are What We Do for millions of people to share their histories – in order to make it as widely available as possible.”

  • Has RFID any more to offer libraries – or has demand peaked? – Mick Fortune / Library RFID. Powerpoint showing results of global questionnaire on library RFID use. An essential read for librarians interested in technology and RFID.
  • ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ in Puffin and RA partnership – BookSeller. “The Reading Agency is working with ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” and Puffin to give away 10,000 books through libraries, to help get children reading. More than 200 libraries in some of the most socially deprived areas of the country will be given 50 copies of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Puffin), giving them out to local children on Saturday (13th September). Parents will be encouraged to spend 10 minutes each day reading it with their children. A spokesman for The Reading Agency said: “The giveaway will highlight how vital libraries are for the nation’s literacy and that books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid can really help children on their reading journey. Millions of children are readers because of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Jeff Kinney’s work is perfect for turning reluctant readers on to books.”
  • Libraries are a lifeline for remote communities in Orkney and Shetland – Guardian. “We know about the importance of libraries in deprived inner cities. Not everyone can afford a computer, and the benefits system and jobcentre services are online. Kids who may not have books at home come across the wonder of stories. Adults find escape and information. Staff often know their customers personally, and libraries are welcoming places; and a good place to keep out of the cold. But what about in remote communities? In the more sparsely populated areas of the UK, there are fewer libraries and the service needs are different – but the personal contact is equally important. And so are the books. They bring a flavour of the outside world, and an understanding of diversity and difference.”

“The 24 islands/24 hours challenge was dreamt up on an eight-seater plane from the small island of North Ronaldsay to Orkney Mainland in February 2014. I was helping Orkney Libraries celebrate 60 years of its book box programme, which sends books to communities that even mobile libraries can’t reach. There’s a box for each family and the titles are a mix of the requested and the serendipitous” Ann Cleeves

  • ‘Thousands of jobs will be axed and services are at tipping point’: Welsh council leaders’ stark warning as cuts bite – Wales Online. “All 22 local authority leaders in Wales have signed a letter sent to all members of the National Assembly for Wales, the House of Commons and the European Parliament outlining “very serious concerns” over having to find up to £900m in savings. Acknowledging it is an “unusual step”, the letter points to a crisis in services where “more leisure centres will close, more libraries will be shut, day centres will be depleted and thousands of redundancies will occur.”


  • New Pew Report Explores Young Americans’ Library Habits – Publisher’s Weekly (USA). “A new report from the Pew Research Center Internet Project offers mixed news for public libraries. While the findings indicate that young adults are more likely than their elders to have read a book in the past 12 months, and that Millennials are still using libraries—and using library websites even more—the report also found that most younger Americans remain unaware of all the services libraries offer.” see also Is the library dead? The answer is complicated – T-Lounge.
  • Public Library Use of eBooks – Primary Research Group (USA/Global). “This study gives highly detailed data on the eBook purchasing and use habits of a sample of 70 public libraries. The survey helps its readers to answer questions such as: how much are public libraries spending on eBooks? How much do they spend on specific vendors and publishers such as OverDrive, Baker & Taylor, EBSCO, Recorded Books, Gale and Harper Collins, Penguin/Random House and many others.
  • UK libraries could learn a lot from Switzerland – Swiss Odyssey. “In contrast to the speedy dwindling of libraries in the UK, libraries are incredibly successful in Switzerland, having moved with the times and fulfilling a real need in the community – and they are everywhere – we even have a library in our local village (population c 2000) Apart from our village library where I am a devout regular, I mainly use Winterthur Library in the centre of our nearest town. To join I had to pay 58CHF (roughly £38) which includes an annual membership (50CHF) and the cost of the library card (8CHF) Now I imagine this would be unpopular in the UK but it makes so much sense – bear with me. I do not begrudge paying the equivalent of £32 per year for a service which includes …”

UK local news by authority

“Nick Worth kept hiding behind the Judicial Review, and used it as an excuse on at least 3 occasions. “His hands are tied by the judge.”

  • Liverpool – Campaigners’ emotional plea to save Liverpool’s under threat libraries – Liverpool Echo. “Campaigners fighting to save 11 of Liverpool’s libraries urged councillors to halt closures they said would rip the “heart and soul out of communities”. More than 50 protesters attended a culture, tourism and events select committee meeting at the town hall last night. But councillors voted in favour of a further four-week consultation on the cuts, after saying tough decisions had to be made.”
  • Liverpool – Liverpool libraries: Council in talks with ‘interested parties’ to run closure-threatened centres – Liverpool Echo. ““The sad fact is that Liverpool city council used to receive £514m in funding from Central Government, but by 2017 we will have only £264m. “This means making extremely difficult decisions, and we are trying to make sure we protect services for the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and children in care. “We are in discussions with a number of different organisations, and I am hopeful that we will be able to hand some of the buildings over with some form of retained library service. “It is also an opportunity to take a fresh look at our libraries service, because we have to accept that the way in which people access libraries has changed over the years due to shifts in the city’s population. “There have also been great advances in technology which is why we are expanding our increasingly popular Read Liverpool e-library service.” see also Talks begin over the future of Liverpool’s libraries – ITV.
  • Liverpool – Pleas to spare Liverpool libraries from closure – Liverpool Confidential. “Being presented at the meeting today is a report detailing the running costs of every individual branch library in the city. From the most expensive to run (Childwall at £305,000 in the past year) – to the cheapest (Lee Valley at £146,666), the chart reveals the wages bill, rents, and other costings for each library.
  • Merton – West Barnes Library to be closed while site is re-developed to include flats and hall – This is Local London. “A library will close down while the site is re-developed to make way for a new library, affordable housing, toilets and a community hall. A five storey block could replace West Barnes Library, with temporary facilities for book-lovers elsewhere while building work is completed. A new library would be built on the same site in Station Road, New Malden, and could feature improved facilities, larger floor space, public toilets and a community hall.”
  • Oxfordshire – Writers join forces to open a fresh chapter for Oxford library – Oxford Mail. ” part of efforts by the Friends of Summertown Library and Oxfordshire County Council to give the South Parade building a £400,000 refurbishment. Next month, residents including BBC arts editor Will Gompertz and author Mark Haddon will give talks, with tickets to the event at the North Wall Arts Centre raising money for the campaign.”
  • Renfrewshire – Barrhead ladies speak up over leisure plans – Barrhead News. “Council bosses approved the plans to move all leisure centres, community centres public service buildings such as libraries over to an East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust in an effort to save costs. Trade unions were consulted by East Renfrewshire Council as the wheels towards an independent trust started rolling.”
  • Sheffield – Library to be co-run by groups – Star. “the authority has handed the library to both Walkley Community Library Futures Group and Forum Café Bars together.
Coun Mazher Iqbal, council cabinet member for communities, said: “I’m delighted the Walkley Community Group and Forum have agreed to come together to prepare a joint plan to manage Walkley Library.””
  • Southwark – Times and Sun publisher donates tablet computers to libraries – London SE1. “News UK, which publishes The Times and The Sun, is moving into its new offices at The News Building next to the Shard at London Bridge. The company has donated a total of 88 Google Nexus and Apple iPad tablets to public libraries in Southwark. Free subscriptions to The Times and Sunday Times apps are included on each device. Over the last year Southwark libraries welcomed over two million visitors, a figure which is expected to increase as libraries continue to benefit from investment.”