Some very useful stuff is coming from a US project to look at innovative ideas in public libraries.  It’s very similar to the Carnegie LibraryLab programme in the UK but, well, bigger.  It’s also more open. I’ve noticed that the (many) authorities going for LibraryLab funding are being a bit cagey about what they’re developing and, possibly quite rightly, seeing other authorities as competition to be beaten to the prize.  That’s the case with the Knight News Challenge too of course but there they’ve hit on the idea of making all ideas public from the time of submission. the result is a beautifully presented list / treasure trove of copyright-free ideas for libraries all around the world to dip into.  Including us.  So look at the pages on Inspiration (47 contributions) and the one on Submissions (67 separate ideas on there so far) and steal away.  Shame so few are about books though.



  • 5 points towards a more sustainable library – CILIP. Points are daylight, natural ventilation, artificial light, management of electric usage and seasonal change.
  • Amazon, we want to talk to you about Kindle Unlimited – CILIP.  Kindle Unlimited offers services similar to a library, but at a cost. Article writer wants to negotiate with Amazon who she thinks is not an immediate threat. In the UK, library e-lending is not allowed on Kindles and many bestsellers are not allowed to be e-lent. Considers using Amazon as one more library supplier. A partnership with libraries would make Amazon “look good”. “We’d like to ask you to tread carefully, Amazon.  Building a relationship with you could cause other parts of the book trade to hate us.  Publishers in particular seem to have a love-hate relationship with you, and it’s my perception that if we were to go into partnership with you, our other suppliers would step back.” [for my view on this – I see it as dangerous – see comment on the post. Ed.]
  • Booking opens for Speak Up for Libraries Conference 2014 – Speak Up For Libraries. “On 22 November Speak Up for Libraries will be holding this year’s national conference on public libraries. It will bring together local campaigners, union members, library users and library workers – and give them a rare chance to talk directly to the people who make the decisions at national level. This is crunch year for public libraries, with a general election due and two major inquiries – on England and Wales – reporting soon. Speak Up For Libraries Conference 2014 will have spokespeople from the three major political parties and the two report panels. It is vital that decision makers understand the real effects of their policies at local level. Already public libraries are suffering unprecedented damage. Government-imposed cuts to local authority funding have – too often – been unthinkingly applied to cut services, close essential local branches or pressure volunteers to take on services previously provided by expert staff. The conference will be structured to enable people to network and discuss their ideas, before engaging directly with the speakers.” … “The line-up for the conference includes Helen Goodman MP (Labour shadow minister); Justin Tomlinson MP (Conservative); Sue Charteris (panel member of the Sieghart Review in England) and Claire Creaser (chair of the Welsh Review of the Public Library Service).” [And Alan Gibbons … and me … Ed.]
  • New Learning Offer to be created: Arts Council funds further development of Universal Offers for public libraries – Society of Chief Librarians. “The Society of Chief Librarians has secured investment from Arts Council England to further develop its Universal Offers for public libraries. The 155,500 pounds in funding will be used to expand on SCL’s four offers—Information, Health, Reading and Digital—and also develop a fifth, the Learning Offer” … Alan Davey of Arts Council England says “We particularly welcome the new Learning Offer and expect it to inspire new conversations within and beyond local authorities, strengthening the crucial role that libraries continue to play.” … “The funding, which is split between each of the five offers, will be used to evaluate the success of the offers, aid the further development of the Health Offer, delivered in partnership with The Reading Agency, and create more learning opportunities for public library staff, including a digital leadership programme”
  • Sieghart: “Beeching moment” for public library service – BookSeller. “Making the keynote speech at the a.g.m. of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) on Saturday (20th September), Sieghart compared library cuts to the devastating cuts to British railways in the 1960s, saying:”We need to do something urgently. We’re at a Beeching moment – the review that led to the closure of railway branch lines – which many regret, and that’s why this is urgent.”
  • What book makes you the happiest? – Guardian. “To celebrate the end of the Summer Reading Challenge, as well as the beginning of Chatterbooks Week, the Reading Agency is holding a “which books makes you happiest” poll. Voters choose from 10 books, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, The Twits by Roald Dahl, and Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. These finalists were selected from 259,000 kid-written reviews and comments, then filtered for the books rated highest in “fun and enjoyment.” The polls close on 3 October and results are released on the 13th, so join in and vote soon!. Chatterbooks Week (11-18 of October 2014) is the Reading Agency’s way to keep celebrating books through the autumn. Across the UK, schools, libraries and individuals set up reading groups in which children ages four to 12 can read, share and talk about books. “
  • Who’s in the house? – Leon’s Library Blog. “Although not able to attend I’m looking forward to the Cilip debate this Saturday (27th September) to discuss the proposition: ‘This House believes Local Authorities are still the best way to deliver the public library service‘, with a panel contesting an issue that might have been inconceivable only a few short years ago. After all who else would deliver public library services! But the days of such surety are long gone thanks to the austerity measures of the past four years.” … “In many ways it is the poor decision making by councils that has given rise to the myth that librarians lack business acumen when actually the reverse is true. Many librarians would relish the opportunity to have greater control and freedom over services rather than having to implement inadequately conceived ideas driven by local political expediency.” .. ” the unavoidable reality is that libraries, however delivered, need sustainable funding, not only to survive but also to develop”

“This is a important issue and the principle of local authorities as the best way to deliver library services has very real and practical implications for how services could be run in the future, so this is more than an academic exercise and should be treated as such. Perhaps this could be used as a prelude to a policy making exercise in which the outcome helps inform the formulation of a position statement for Cilip to take forward. Because while discussion is essential in defining ideas ultimately what good is debate without action?”


  • I Love My Librarian Award – I Love Libraries (USA). “Up to 10 librarians will be selected. Each librarian will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the awards ceremony and reception in New York City, hosted by The New York Times.”
  • Meeting the information needs of communities at the public library – Knight Blog (USA). “Knight News Challenge: Libraries offers applicants a chance to share in $2.5 million by focusing on the question, “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” Below, Amy Garmer, director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, writes about the need for libraries to become community learning platforms.” see also Innovation (tons of public library ideas to inspire) and Submissions (loads of ideas yet to come to pass).
  • ‘Staff crisis’ in libraries – Evening Echo (Eire). “The ongoing recruitment embargo in the public sector has meant staff cannot be replaced.
    It has led to reductions in library services throughout the city and the withdrawal of the mobile library service which serves Mahon and Blackrock.”
  • Swets Files For Bankruptcy – Library Journal (Global). “A story on the German publishing industry web site boersenblatt.net (in German) reports that Netherlands-based Swets (Swets & Zeitlinger Group B.V.) is insolvent and has filed for bankruptcy. We’ve reached out the company for comment. With the caveat the mechanical translation is far from perfect, we do learn a bit more by translating the boersenblatt.net article into English using Google Translate.  The company was granted bankruptcy protection by a court in Amsterdam. “The company is dismissed for the duration of the arrangement of its payment obligations to creditors (mainly publishers so).” Precisely what this will mean for customers, publishers, and others is to be determined.” [NB. A google search appears to confirm the bankruptcy story – Ed.]

UK local news by authority

  • Barnet – Library closures “likely” with 60% budget cut – Barnet Labour. “Labour councillors have calculated that the Barnet Tories are planning to cut the libraries budget by up to £2.85m or 60% – a cut that would likely mean library closures, privatisation of libraries or substantial reductions in opening hours. The savings target of £5.1m allocated for “redesigning services” for the Children, Educations and Libraries’ Committee (CELS) was announced in the budget planning report at the June meeting of Policy & Resources Committee (P&R). This includes the Education & Skills service, the Early Years service/ Children’s Centres and the Libraries Service.
  • Derbyshire – 80% of Derbyshire’s mobile library service set to be axed Derby Telegraph. “A county council report recommends the move as it would save £530,000 a year. The service currently costs £720,000 a year to run. The proposal – which is likely to be rubber-stamped by cabinet members on Tuesday – comes following a public consultation that saw almost 8,000 residents have their say”.  “If cabinet members approve the report, it is expected the revised mobile library service would start on January 12 next year.”
  • Devon – Case to be made to keep library – Exmouth Journal 24. “There has been a question mark over the library’s future since Devon County Council announced, in April, that small libraries such as Budleigh risked closure if they did not find greater community involvement in their services. County bosses are currently considering the results of their public consultation, but in the meantime a small steering group has been formed, with members from town, district and county councils, the library and residents, to come up with a solution for Budleigh Salterton. County councillor Christine Channon, a member of the group, said that there were some exciting ideas for how the library might move forward – however, the first priority was to draw up a business case to prevent its closure”
  • Hampshire – Library bus to stop visiting some rural areas – The News. Mobile library and family link library will cease from January.
  • Leicestershire – Labour candidate Jamie McMahon sets out to save libraries in North West Leicestershire – Burton Mail. “Jamie McMahon spoke at an adults and communities meeting at Leicestershire County Hall, where he called on the council to follow through on its proposed pause on deciding the future of local libraries and ensuring their protection.”
  • Lincolnshire – UKIP leads no confidence bid in Lincolnshire County Council bosses on libraries issue – Horncastle News. “An online petition calling for the leader and the executive of Lincolnshire County Council to stand down has been launched. The campaign follows UKIP councillors, including Tattershall member Colin Mair, trying to dump the council leadership in a vote of no confidence this Friday.” … but “He doubted UKIP would gain the numbers to beat the ruling Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in County Hall: “We feel we needed to stir things up to say this sort of thing is not good enough,” he said.”
  • Lincolnshire – Why we supported the Save Lincolnshire Libraries Campaign – Quality Solicitors. “As Lawyers we have spent more than our fair share of time in libraries. We know the importance and power of a library.” … “Importantly as a post script we believe it is important that individuals and community groups can challenge decisions that affect them. It would have been highly unlikely that the case would have been fought had legal aid not been available. Whilst the effect of the decision is ultimately still uncertain it has at least required the Local Authority to take note of public opinion and reconsider its position. The current Justice Secretary seeks to remove legal aid for these types of cases. Legal aid is only available where there is merit in the case and it is not easily obtained. We feel there are currently sufficient safe guards to ensure that public money is not wasted. We remain proud to be able to provide legal aid services to our community and are pleased we were able to offer initial support to the campaign in this case.”
  • North Lincolnshire – Isle library opening hours to be extended – Star. “The decision will affect Crowle, Epworth, Haxey where the users clearly expressed a preference to extend the opening times to include more late nights or more time on Saturdays. Library staff will now be consulted ahead of the changes coming into effect in January 2015.”

“Councillor John Briggs said: “At a time when many councils are closing libraries, we must be one of the few in the country to be increasing library opening times. Our residents tell us they value the services that libraries offer, and we wanted to commit to improving the opportunities that residents have to use this excellent service.”