So here’s an idea I came up with recently that you can have for free: public libraries are often the first council service to know about an influx of a new ethnic group.  Why?  Because the first thing a newcomer does is join the library in order to use the internet … and if they don’t need other council services then they will otherwise invisibly appear (can you invisibly appear? you know what I mean) in an area and the council is none the wiser.  Even more nicely, many library services automatically collect data on what is the main language of a new joiner so you can see, almost in real time, what new minorities are coming in, into which libraries and over what time period.  This can be passed on (anonymised obviously) to the rest of the council so they get to know what’s happening and can tailor their services accordingly.  Even even more nicely, the council could then put leaflets in the relevant language by the public access computers, giving the new users a chance to engage if they need to and jolly well go around their own business otherwise.  This gives the council a chance to engage and the newcomers a chance to engage or not with everyone’s dignity still intact and the group as empowered as is possible to be. This is just one of the many ways that libraries can make themselves useful to the council and show their value to the decision-makers.  I’m sure there are tons of others.  Try to think of one today.


National news


  • Re-imagining learning: a new opportunity for libraries – CILIP. “Online learning and in particular MOOCSs, has a potentially disruptive impact to learning at all levels. Public libraries, through a single national discovery and delivery service, are now able to offer their users free access to millions of academic journal articles. All these factors combine to present huge potential for libraries to re-imagine the way they support learning. This event will help to define the opportunity to be seized and suggest ways in which libraries can respond.

UK local news by authority

  • Derbyshire – Worst fears confirmed as thousands in South Derbyshire to lose mobile libraries – Burton Mail. “The county’s fleet of vehicles is to be cut from 10 to two from January as part of plans to trim the overall budget by £157 million over four years.” … “More than 200 communities across Derbyshire will lose the service “
  • Devon – Future Direction of the Library Service – Devon County Council. “Recommendations: That Cabinet (a) Note the results of the recent public consultation on the future direction of the library service; (b) Agree the plans to investigate trust/mutual status for the library service as part of the future strategy for the service; (c) Agree the proposal to seek up to 10 communities willing to work with the library service as part of the first phase of moving to a new model of delivery and agree that the Head of Services for Communities be authorised to develop a programme to assess and take forward applications from communities willing to be pilots in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Community and Environmental Services; (d) Note the plans to achieve the anticipated savings for 2015/16; (e) Agree the plans to improve access to services in rural libraries through investment in new technologies further analysis of the impact of the plans on those served by rural libraries with particular focus on those with protected characteristics; (f) Agree the specific immediate plans in relation to Topsham Library and note the proposals for Barnstaple Library.”
  • Devon – Union welcomes revised Devon library plans – Herald Express. “After the council launched its public consultation in the spring, the union set up a campaign to Save Devon Libraries, claiming the council’s proposals would lead to cuts, closures and paid staff being replaced by volunteers. However, the union has hailed the Council’s revised proposals as a ‘step in the right direction’.

“We congratulate the Council for revising its original plan following unprecedented feedback from the public and local campaign groups. It just goes to show that if you shout loud enough there are times when the powers that be do sit up and take notice!”

  • East Sussex – Speaking Volumes – Brighton and Hove Libraries. “”Speaking Volumes is a storytelling project that allows the voices of hidden, stigmatised and marginalised people to be heard. We are currently working with HIV positive people to enable them to share their experiences of living with the condition. Beginning in Hastings Library, where it will be on display from the 1st – 31st October, it will then head to Lewes Library from the 1st – 30th November, before launching itself at Eastbourne Library on the 1st December with a World AIDS Day event. Head on down to one of those establishments to see the beautiful books and listen to the stories, two of which came from East Sussex residents.” … “We were thrilled to be invited to the Houses of Parliament today to bring the Speaking Volumes shelf of stories to the Halve It! gathering of MPs with an interest in HIV and halving the rate of undiagnosed infections by 2015.”
  • Lincolnshire – Dear @NickWorth, about that library proposal from Mrs Palmer… – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “Mrs. Palmer submitted a full alternative previously which met your original criteria of 1.94million savings per year and gave a true comprehensive and efficient service but it was altered by officers and Mrs Palmer is convinced that it was altered to make it unpalatable to council. Her proposal did not include any reduction to hours of opening different to LCCs first recommendation on Tier 1 and 2 and yet that was portrayed that she had all the way through to and including LCCs defence at the Judicial Review. Which is why the judge said that he was not surprised that LCC had rejected the proposal from Mrs Palmer.”
  • Lincolnshire – Labour bid to restore library service fails – Sleaford Standard. “A bid to have Lincolnshire County Council’s library service restored to the position it was in before the executive approved cost-cutting plans has been rejected. Members of the Labour opposition made the call at Friday’s meeting of the full council.”
  • Lincolnshire – Second library consultation starts after High Court battle – BBC. “A second consultation over the future of Lincolnshire’s libraries has begun after campaigners won a High Court battle against cuts to services.”
  • Manchester – ‘Chaos to Order’ brings unique opportunity for young musicians at Manchester Central Library – Manchester City Council. “The residency, curated by Ivor Novello Award winners and Mercury Award nominees Everything Everything, is part of Library Live – a series of events that take inspiration from Central Library’s stunning architecture, ambience and special collections. The residency features a range of artists and creatives from all disciplines and media, challenging perceptions of libraries and testing the limits of what a 21st century library can be.  Young musicians are now being invited to join the exciting project. 
  • Manchester – Watch: Emma Thompson gives Oscar-worthy reading of her new Peter Rabbit book at Gorton Library – Manchester Evening News. “Actress and writer Emma Thompson treated children to an Oscar-worthy reading of her latest book as she officially opened a new reading area inspired by the tale at Gorton Library.”

“it’s so fantastic to open a space in a library – in a local library that’s not being closed, like so many are – and to be allowed to read to children in it” Emma Thompson

  • Northern Ireland – Get on the march to safeguard our valued libraries – Belfast Telegraph. “Roy and Emily didn’t manage to save Weatherfield Library, despite their feisty sit-in and a petition signed by every customer at the Rover’s Return. Somebody burned the building down before they could bring the issue to a head. Coronation Street is more grittily true-to-life than other soaps. Its producers strive to attach storylines to emerging social issues. They will have been aware of the slow-rising tempo of protest at library cutbacks and closures.” … “Late-night opening is likely to be available only at larger libraries and on one or two nights a week. At Christmas, libraries will be closed not just for the statutory holidays, but from December 23 to January 2. The budget for maintaining stock is being slashed by £489,000. The bill for newspapers and magazines will also be significantly reduced.”
  • Staffordshire – Petition launched to safeguard the future of Werrington Library – Stoke Sentinel. “Staffordshire County Council is considering handing over the running of Werrington Library to volunteers to save £36,560-a-year. But residents fear it could close if not enough volunteers come forward to run it. Now parish councilllor Lisa Martin has started a petition against any changes.”
  • Wandsworth – Anonymous Conservative councillor discloses document revealing library closure plans – Guardian series. “An anonymous Conservative councillor has broken ranks to disclose a confidential document in defence of another councillor who dramatically left the Tories last week. In a shock announcement on Wednesday, September 24, West Hill councillor Malcolm Grimston said he was leaving Wandsworth’s ruling party amid concerns Southfields Library could close.” … “However, an anonymous Conservative councillor broke ranks after seeing the council’s response, and contacted the Wandsworth Guardian disclosing a private and confidential Conservative Party document that reveals a number of proposed savings, including “consideration of closure of non-town centre libraries”.