Norfolk have started putting donation boxes into its libraries.  While not a new phenomenon (the new Manchester Central Library has them and others), it’s strange to see them at the flagship Millennium Library, which is normally named the most used library in the UK. It’s an odd for one users too: to donate will only beget more donation boxes but not donating may mean deeper cuts. A difficult decision for the user but, doubtless, no easier for the proud Norfolk librarians.

Another library authority is involved in changes which, on the face of it at least, have less to do with budget cuts than may be assumed.  Oxfordshire is more than halving mobile library visits from 463 to 200 but this is not because they’re cutting the number of mobiles but rather that they’re making stops longer.  Anyone living with a mobile that stops for only 10 or 15 minutes each fortnight could probably see the point of this – what if your clock is 5 minutes fast? – but it’s unfortunate for those who lose their stop. It will be interesting to see what happens to mobile library usage there.


UK national news

Martina Cole plus readers

Martina Cole plus readers

  • Top author Martina Cole on tour to champion reading for pleasure – Reading Challenge. “Bestselling author Martina Cole is travelling Scotland and England in October, working to help The Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge reading for pleasure programme achieve its goal of reaching 50,000 participants in 2015 as part of its drive to improve adult literacy in the UK. Yesterday (Mon 6 Oct) she visited NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: Inverclyde Royal Hospital’s (IRH) theatre sterilise services unit (TSSU) and Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley. She did a question and answer session with Six Book Challenge completers and The Reading Agency’s Genevieve Clarke, and signed books. NB: the Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust which won a gold award for achieving 156 Six Book Challenge completers this year.”
  • Have we fallen out of love with e-readers? – Independent. “while it’s true that e-books show no signs of disappearing – the new Kindle Voyage launches next month hot on the heels of the “Kindle Unlimited” subscription service that came to the UK last month – neither does print.” … “In 2013, British consumers spent £2.2bn on print, compared with just £80m on e-books and last November, statistics by the Association of American Publishers showed that adult e-book sales were up just 4.8 per cent in a year, while hardcover book sales had risen by 11.5 per cent. Nielsen BookData analysis showed e-book sales in May and June last year fell by 26 per cent from 2012.”

“I believe the reader of 2020 or 2030 will have two libraries, print and digital, with different types of books and publications in each,” agrees Scott Pack. “While I have no qualms about trying out a debut author on e-book or loading up some holiday reading on to my Kindle, when it comes to my favourite authors I have to own the print edition, and I remain a sucker for a beautifully designed and printed book.”


  • Drop the lawsuit – Change.org (USA). Petition against a lawsuit gagging two female librarians over sexual harassment charges reaches over 1000 names.
  • Libraries and Public Perceptions: A Comparative Analysis of the European Press – Amazon (EU). “What is the future of libraries? This question is frequently posed, with widespread research into the social and economic impact of libraries. Newspapers play an important role in forming public perceptions, but how do newspapers present libraries, their past, present and future? Nobody has yet taken the press to task on the quantity and quality of articles on libraries, however Libraries and Public Perception does just this, through comparative textual analysis of newspapers in Europe”

UK local news by authority

  • Cumbria – Creating inspiring learning environments – FG Library Products. “Barrow Library was a total rework of the existing library and included designing of the library, applying Latitude shelving system, counters, pods and all the furniture and signeage. FG Library took care of the decorating, electrics and new lighting, and all the floor coverings. The timber perimeter shelving was listed which was restored. FG Library also looked after taking the books off the shelves prior to any work being carried out, and stored the books in sequences.”
  • Devon – Devon County Council proposes setting up trust status for library service – Exeter Express and Echo. “The county council is proposing setting up trust/mutual status for the whole library service, which would give people greater opportunity to get involved in the way their local library is run, so it meets their own community’s needs.”
  • Durham – Less choice on offer at ‘invisible’ Barnard Castle library – Teesdale Mercury. “A charity set up to support Barnard Castle library says the team running the service needs to review how it is being operated. More books on the shelves and a greater community focus were some of the suggestions made at the annual meeting of The Friends of Barnard Castle Library.The charity, which was set up to fund activities in the library and pass on ideas, has also thanked staff who have had to cope with upheaval during the revamp.”
  • Halton – Mobile library service faces closure in Halton Council’s budget cuts – Runcorn and Widnes World. £400k cut but all four static libraries will stay open. “The executive board sanctioned cutting opening times to 157 hours a week. This is 86 per cent of the current opening hours and represents a staff budget saving of £360,000. The libraries employ two managers, 17 full-time staff and 44 part-timers and cost £2 million a year to run. It is not yet known if any jobs will be lost.”
  • Kirklees – Public meeting to rally support to save Kirkburton Library – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “A business plan to save Kirkburton Library is being developed. And it could see the Parish Council make an asset transfer bid and relocate to the library.”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries: your say on who runs them – Guardian series. “Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaigner Phil Dilks is urging residents to have their say on the county council’s latest consultation on the future of the library service. The Labour county councillor for Deeping St James says the Tories who run Lincolnshire County Council have “made it clear that slashing funds for libraries is their political choice, not the financial necessity they claimed”.”
  • Norfolk – Poll: Should Norfolk County Council be placing donation boxes at Norfolk’s flagship library to boost income? – EDP. “The two boxes are placed near the entrance of the facility at The Forum, with an official sign saying: “We want to keep our libraries in Norfolk open for everyone. If you are a visitor to our area, or a regular library user who wants to help, any donation will be welcome.” The budget for the Library and Information Service, which welcomed four million visitors last year, was slashed in February from £11.4m in 2013 to 2014 to £10.2m this year.”

“Introducing donation boxes is just one of many ways that we have looked to generate income for the library service. We have started to charge for some events and activities taking place in libraries and are inviting organisations to sponsor some upcoming events. These are sensible measures given the need to generate more funding.”

  • Northern Ireland – Lurgan Library cuts ‘will affect services’ – Lurgan Mail. “Three agency staff in Lurgan, two of which were also covering in Brownlow have been let go as has another agency staff member in Portadown.” … “It is understood 21 posts have already been identified and the dash for cash will also involve a review of agency cover staff and vacancies not being filled, as well as the prospect of reduced opening hours across all libraries. In the meantime there will be temporary reductions in opening hours as there may not be enough staff to cover during times of illness.”
  • Oxfordshire – Shake-up afoot over the way mobile libraries serve county – Herald. Stops by “mobile libraries across the county is set to be halved, but council bosses have pledged this will not affect the level of service” … “It will mean the council’s five mobile libraries will only make about 200 stops across in average every fortnight across Oxfordshire rather than the previous 463. But the council has said the service’s budget will remain unchanged and the remaining stops will last longer than before.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff – New ‘enhanced’ RCT library service fully up-and-running after 13 libraries axed – Wales Online. “The ‘enhanced’ mobile library service for Rhondda Cynon Taff is now fully up-and-running following the closure of 13 libraries this year. An extensive mobile service now makes more than 500 stops to communities and locations a distance from a library building, loaning thousands of books to ensure residents can access the service.”
  • Sheffield – Extra ‘transition period’ for Sheffield libraries – Star. “Sheffield Council is to continue to pay rent and utility bills on behalf of the city’s libraries which have been taken over by the community for another month. The extra transition period has come about as some groups taking over the running of their library were not able to get their charitable status in place in time.” … “Plans have still not been agreed for the facility at Burngreave and further work continues with the community group involved. A joint plan to take over Walkley is still being prepared by the community and the Forum Café group of bars.”
  • Solihull – Shirley Library – Designing Libraries. “The idea was to recreate a piece of Shirley inside the library, from which the interior design concept ‘Suburban Shirley’ was born. Vinyl roadways, green grassy carpet interfaces, cloud-shaped lighting rafts and many other special touches were used to create this suburban feel.”
  • Somerset – Burnham and Highbridge libraries safe in county council shake-up – Burnham on Sea. £500k cut for council: may include loss of management jobs, loss of CDs and loss of mobile library.
  • Staffordshire – Decision on proposed Stafford Library move due next week – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Plans to move Stafford town centre’s library from historic Shire Hall to the newly built Staffordshire Place will come under the spotlight at a meeting next week.” … “If approved Stafford’s main library would relocate from the three storey Shire Hall in Market Street to the ground floor of Staffordshire Place 1 in Tipping Street by May 2015. The sensory centre in Shire Hall would be unaffected by the change.”
  • Staffordshire – Last chance today to have your say on future of Staffordshire’s libraries – Staffordshire Newsletter. “I’ve been clear from the beginning that this is not a closure programme, nor is it cost driven: we’re saving five per cent from the budget over three years. “This is entirely about finding ways to take a service suffering from falling numbers in the face of changing social habits and keep it popular and cost-effective to safeguard it for the future.”
  • Staffordshire – South Staffordshire villagers of all ages join forces to fight for their library – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Brewood Library is one of 24 across the county earmarked to become a “library local” service, run by volunteers, if Staffordshire County Council’s proposals go ahead. Residents have until midnight tomorrow to have their say on the council’s plans. But Brewood residents, including 140 children from St Mary and St Chad First School and 20 tots from Bouncing Bunnies Under 5s playgroup, voiced their objections to the proposed changes to their village library on Friday.”
  • Staffordshire – Villagers’ Knutton Library closure fears Sentinel. “Only six people attended a consultation on the future of Knutton Library, one of 24 which county councillors are proposing to hand over to the community to run. They want to save £1.3 million by re-shaping the current service. But the poor attendance at the consultation has sparked fears for Knutton Library’s future.”
  • Swindon – Protesters aim to stop library move – Swindon Advertiser. “A campaign has begun calling for the Link Centre library to retain its place front of house as a private operator prepares to take over control of the building. Greenwich Leisure Limited has now agreed a date of November 1 for the handover of a number of assets from Swindon Council, including the Link Centre. Under the proposals, the library would remain under the control of the borough, but is likely to be moved upstairs. Now, residents are calling for clarity into the plans and have bucked against the notion that the library could lose its prominent location.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Public urged to fight Vale of Glamorgan library cuts – Wales Online. “Proposals to cut library opening hours at the local authority’s four major libraries, and to recruit volunteers to run the remaining five community libraries have been approved by councillors, despite local opposition. The council was split on the decision – with 25 voting in support and 18 voting against.”