Lots of changes today, with some new libraries, some closures and plenty in-between. Other notable stories include the launch of Dementia books on prescription and the tale – very rare someone is brave enough to write publicly – of what it is like to be a librarian in an authority that’s trying to get rid of you.


UK national news

  • Libraries – it’s a “question of priorities” – Infoism. “Let’s not pretend that by cutting library services rather than cutting other services you are not having a massive impact on the most vulnerable. You are. It’s just that rather than hitting them directly, you are hitting them in areas that they won’t realise they need until it’s too late. You are not protecting them, you are merely delaying the harm you are doing to them. If it comes down to a “question of priorities” then cutting back and closing library services suggests that your priority is not to protect the most vulnerable, but to protect your own interests.”
  • A Library scheme with no libraries? – Library Stuff / Barbara Band. “But what amazes me about this launch is that Norman Lamb, Minister of State for care and support, and Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for culture and the digital economy, were both there. Now the former could be excused for not being aware of the current situation regarding the mass closure of libraries with the handing over of many others to volunteers but Mr Vaizey has no excuse. Libraries are his remit, he is fully aware of the devastation of the public library system that is occurring throughout the country because he refuses to do anything about it. He knows that the structure for delivering this scheme is probably non-existent.”
  • North Country Leisure becomes subsidiary of UK’s largest not-for-profit leisure firm – Journal. “GLL also has expertise and experience in managing wider cultural services such as libraries, children’s centres and sports development, providing councils a joined-up service solution at a time of financial pressure.”
  • Reading Well Books on Prescription to help people with dementia – Reading Agency. “Public libraries in England have launched the latest Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme to support people with dementia and their carers, it is announced today. The ground-breaking scheme, which we run in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, with funding from Arts Council England, already helps over 275,000 people with common mental health conditions feel better through self-help reading. Now, it is turning its attention to the enormous need for quality-assured support for dementia care in the UK. see also Library scheme to support dementia sufferers – BookSeller.

“The 25 titles on the Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia list have been recommended by health experts as well as people with lived experience. The list includes a range of books offering information and advice about dementia and normal aging, support with living well after diagnosis, practical advice for carers, personal accounts, and suggestions for shared therapeutic activities. The list is unveiled this afternoon at the official launch at the Wellcome Trust supported by Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb and Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey.”

International news

  • Call for participation at sister libraries programme – Naple Libraries (EU). “The programme is open to public libraries situated in any of the participating NAPLE countries/regions that wish to find a partner library in another country in order to establish a cooperation programme. Right now the libraries that can participate are those situated in Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia and Spain.”
  • Financial literacy – Naple Libraries (EU). “Public libraries are “uniquely situated to promote literacy” (IFLA Section on Reading) but today’s complexity demands more than reading, writing, and numeracy skills: Atomic learning has identified a list of  12 of what they call “21st century skills”, including digital citizenship, health literacy, critical thinking & problem solving, etc. Financial literacy is one of them and can be defined as “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being” (President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy).”


  • CILIP Conference 2015 – CILIP. 2-3 July in Liverpool. “Our carefully put-together programme has been designed to appeal to professionals from across the sector. Keynote speakers include the Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabati and author R.David Lankes and they will be featured alongside twenty breakout sessions, delivered from experts across the library and information world. “
  • Library Management Systems Suppliers Showcase – CILIP. 6th March in London.

UK news by local authority

“Think also about the current library staff and those who have already lost their jobs. I believe they are not allowed to speak to the media or anyone else about their plight and what is happening to our libraries. I want to assure them that I, and the residents of Lincolnshire, will be eternally grateful for the service they have given and continue to give, despite great stress and low morale. It is telling that there have been no apologies from the Executive to those staff and no thanks to them either. People reveal their true natures in the way they treat those unable to fight back”

  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire libraries saga: Martin Hill blames a lack of scrutiny – Lincolnshire Echo. “The leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill says the chance of a libraries outsourcing deal was missed due to a lack of scrutiny. Councillor Hill was speaking at this morning’s audit committee meeting which considered a damning report into his authority’s handling of the future of libraries.” … “Labour has now rounded on the council following the publication of an internal audit’s findings.
  • Lincolnshire – Julie Harrison’s speech on libraries 
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries: Speech to Lincolnshire County Council – Labour Rose. “Charles Dickens would have dropped everything to have been here today to defend Libraries.Just as he dropped everything over 150 years ago when the Mayor of Manchester invited him to the opening ceremony of the first free Library. In his acceptance note he said “The occasion is far too important and the example too noble to admit hesitation’.”
  • Lincolnshire – Reporting from the Lincs Library Frontline – Behind the Gag – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “The ongoing and seemingly endless saga of Lincolnshire Libraries has if we are honest inevitably divided opinion amongst librarians themselves. There are some who just want the whole sorry mess sorted out once and for all and others who think that the continuing fight is worth pursuing. What is clear though is that the people who are the very heart of this; i.e. librarians, feel gagged from speaking out no matter what higher management might say about avenues being open to them. Morale is understandably at an all time low as some staff have been forced to take second part time jobs in order to make ends meet after being given pitifully and laughably short hours”

“It seems somewhat ironic that £22 million has been spent on a ‘library’ to house one book that no one will actually read and it is yet again an example of how Lincoln attracts the investment at the expense of more deprived areas. The Magna Carta celebrations are of course important but in this era of austerity surely a more toned down development at Lincoln Castle would have been in order and more efforts made to secure funding for modern libraries.”

  • Milton Keynes – Library opens to customers today – take a look around!MK Web. “The new Kingston Library officially opened its doors today (Tuesday January 27). The building boasts modern facilities such as a self-service checking out system, unlimited Wi-Fi and sockets for customers to use their own laptops and tablets in the library space. Many are the first of their kind in Milton Keynes. The library will have a community focus, hosting a children’s hour, story time, play activities, screenings and music. Meeting space will also be available for community groups to hire, and the library’s top floor is home to Explore Learning, who are renting the space”
  • Northern Ireland – Future cuts to libraries not ruled out – Fermanagh Herald. “Libraries NI told the Fermanagh Herald that they have £1.4m of worth of cuts to make across the North, and said that there is an ongoing review of budgets heading into 2015 – which could impact on the county’s three libraries: Enniskillen, Irvinestown, and when completed, Lisnaskea. A spokesman said: “As a result of budget cuts, Libraries NI is required to save at least 4.4% of its budget (£1.4 million) in-year by March 2015. Further in-year savings have not been ruled out and immediate steps must be taken to deliver these spending cuts.”
  • Stoke on Trent – Library opens at leisure centre in Abbey Hulton – Stoke Sentinel. “Staff at the Abbey Hulton-based Wallace Sports and Education Centre, in Abbey Hulton, have taken over the running of the book collection service as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s wider volunteer-led library initiative.” … “The mini leisure centre library now houses 250 books, which are replaced and refreshed every six weeks.” … “There are now 10 such facilities including at Ball Green Methodist Church, Swan Bank Methodist Church in Burslem, Blurton Hub, Fenton Hub and the Whitfield Valley Community Centre in Fegg Hayes – to name a few. And more volunteer-led libraries are expected to appear in the coming weeks and months.”
  • Thurrock – The future of Thurrock Library Service consultation – Thurrock Council. “There is a strong commitment to both the provision of a library service in Thurrock and the development of this to make it relevant to resident’s changing needs.  In recent years work to support shared delivery with Community Hubs has been developed along with a move towards an improved service for those with limited mobility who are unable to visit libraries through our Home-link Service. We are now developing the next phase of our library delivery transformation and as a part of this we need to also make a 39% saving due to funding changes. To achieve this whilst developing the service on offer for residents we are consulting on the following proposals:” [Some questionable points:  e.g. “Do you think local communities should be able to run their local libraries and seek external funding to support them?” but fails to explain to people that they already pay through taxation for what is a statutory service. Also lists possible services from the library with no mention of information/reference services at all – Ed.]
  • Worcestershire – Hagley Parish Council steps in to save library – Stourbridge News. “An agreement has been reached whereby the county council will continue to provide a library service through the support of volunteers while the parish council takes over the responsibility for the building and the premises management costs involved. “