A bumper edition of a week of news today.  The lateness is partly due to library stuff – organising the county final of a schools poetry competition (Poetry By Heart) and staffing a stall at a community event on Saturday.  Anyway, let’s look at what’s going on – more details about the cuts in Hertfordshire and more on volunteers in Staffordshire combines with cuts to Shropshire and the ongoing saga in Lincolnshire.  Breaking news from the last is that the DCMS will be looking into the cuts after it agreed to take a letter of complaint from a campaigner seriously.




  • Dan Brown’s Inferno thrills UK library users as passion fades for Fifty Shades – Guardian. “readers found their thrills elsewhere, plumping for murder, crime and conspiracy in lieu of erotica.” … “The new figures also show that US thriller author Patterson has kept his position as the UK’s most-borrowed author for the eighth year running, with 13 of his books in the top 100 list. Library users continue to hold a soft spot for children’s authors, with Rainbow Magic writer Daisy Meadows in second place, Julia Donaldson in third and Francesca Simon in fourth. MC Beaton, and her PR boss-turned-amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin, is in fifth place, up from seventh the previous year, while Roald Dahl edges his way into 10th place from 14th.”
  • ‘Digital dark age’ could leave historians with no records of the 21st century – Independent. “As the way that we store information about ourselves develops, memories stored in files that use older technology are becoming harder to access, Dr Vinton “Vint” Cerf, vice president of Google, has warned. That could mean that historians of the future are unable to learn about our lives, Cerf said.”
  • Library Workers unite (and tweet) – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “Library Assistants etc. must now surely make up 70-80% of the national public library workforce, in some areas Librarians are few and far between, so it is crucial that they have a voice, obviously many do through being union members but from some feedback that I’ve had many feel left out of the general discussion.
  • Oasis launches mobile store – WWB. “The store, which will tour the country over the next 12 months, features its own House of Oasis interior scheme and is staffed by a dedicated manager and supervisor as well as a driver. … Formerly a mobile library, the Oasis bus will make 250 scheduled stops around the country over the next year. Its itinerary can be found at www.bessiethebus.com.”
  • Say no to libraries without librarians – Leon’s Library Blog. “The biggest and most far reaching change is the belief that untrained volunteers can replace qualified staff. This idea should be anathema to our professional body and individual members so now is the time for librarians to challenge politicians and their attitude towards public libraries and staff.” … “After all, if you believe that your library qualification matters, that your chartership means something, then why stand idly by as the very basis of your professional identity is undermined and demeaned”

“This is the first time in five years, the first time since austerity began, that, as individuals, we have the chance to influence the political narrative about libraries and our professional standing. Let’s not waste the opportunity.” Leon Bolton

  • Youth volunteers can breathe new life into Britain’s public libraries – OPM.”OPM spent last summer evaluating the impact of young people volunteering in libraries to support the annual Summer Reading Challenge (where children aged 4 to 11 are encouraged to read six books during the school holidays), run by the charity The Reading Agency. In 2014, 8,126 young people aged 12 to 24 volunteered in 1,740 libraries – helping to run the Challenge, devising reading related activities and talking to children about books. The report has been published this week with a clear message that volunteering in libraries gives young people the chance to develop communication and team working skills, experience a professional workplace, work with children – and most of all have fun over the summer.  70% of volunteers in 2014 said that they loved the experience of being a volunteer.”


  • Explore Toronto’s libraries, one illustration at a time – Globe and Mail (Canada). “For those with neither the time nor Toronto Transit Commission tokens to explore Toronto’s 99 library branches, allthelibraries.ca lets visitors scroll through illustrations of them all. The site’s creator, Daniel Rotsztain, hopes his drawings will inspire Torontonians to check out the city’s libraries for themselves. For now, he shares the lessons learned over his two months surveying to the farthest reaches of the system.”
  • Libraries push for big state funding boost at Easthampton legislative breakfast – Mass Live (USA). “As budget season approaches, the commissioners are pushing for a 50 percent boost in “line item 9501” — unrestricted state aid to libraries — from $9 million to $13.5 million. They also ask that a “technology and resource sharing” line item be more than doubled, from $2.73 million to $6 million … State aid to libraries is lower than it’s been in 14 years, according to literature distributed at the event, while the demand for services is higher than ever. At the same time, advocates say, libraries have been forced to cut hours and reduce staff due to budget cuts.”
  • Our very own picture books – Western Downs (Australia). “At a very affordable $7.50 per title or $65 per set these great little books are packed full of easily identifiable local content and quirky fun, making them an ideal keepsake for any book lover. This limited edition are available for sale now and orders can be placed online,  so get in quick before stocks run out.”
  • Over 500 Stolen Books Worth 2.5 Million Euros Returned – Web and Techs (Italy). “In April 2012, Massimo De Caro, was fired and convicted for stealing books from the Girolamini Library in Naples, Italy. Mr. De Caro was the library’s director, and he was accused of embezzlement with four accomplices from Ukraine and Argentina. Mr. De Caro was sentenced to 7 years in prison after 1500 books were announced missing from the library.”
    Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua – Devonport Library opens in new home – Auckland Libraries (New Zealand). “As well as the library’s existing collection of artworks and meaningful heritage items, it boasts four significant art pieces. To cater for the library’s resident cat, Benjamin, a micro-chipped cat-door has been installed to allow him to come and go.”. Events programme includes Minecraft group.
    US Libraries Begin Offering Free 3D Printing to Public Amidst Learning Curves and Legal Questions – 3D Print. “You may not be aware that right now there are 250 libraries in the US that offer 3D printers to patrons … The crucial element in libraries getting involved in 3D printing is that it is free. While it’s not so hard to get your hands on or get to a PC or printer, it is for most people nearly impossible to get to a 3D printer or, even further, to buy their own. “


UK local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Rally for the Library of Birmingham 7/2/15 #rally4LOB #NLD15 – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Text of speech by Alan Wylie.
  • Cardiff – Big names welcome Cardiff libraries reprieve after seven branches given year-long stay of execution – Wales Online. Various celebrities welcome the news.
  • Cardiff – Scrapping Trident would save millions – Wales Online / Letters. “Libraries are a vital public service, and I was delighted that the voice of the people of Cardiff has been heard and the libraries saved – at least for a year. Our job now must be to ensure a long-term plan to sustain and develop our libraries so that we don’t face such threats of closure in future years”
  • Cardiff – Why we should consider a 5p a book charge to save Cardiff’s libraries – Wales Online. A look at the history of public libraries in Cardiff, ending with “Is it blasphemy to suggest that maybe, just maybe, a small payment, perhaps 5p per book, might be made by those who could afford it? Or better still, scrap the Trident programme that cost us £1.4m a day during 2014 and contemplate the waste of £6.2bn on two aircraft carriers. That could pay for a lot of hospitals, houses – and libraries.”
  • Derbyshire / Staffordshire – Budget cuts takes toll on library services in Staffordshire and Derbyshire – Burton Mail. Burton under Needwood Library to become volunteer in Staffordshire. Derbyshire has cut its mobile libraries from 10 to 2.
  • Hertfordshire – Inspiring Libraries moves ahead – Hertfordshire Council (press release). “ ‘Inspiring Libraries’ aims to make the Library Service more accessible and increase usage, while costing the taxpayer less. By doing things differently at a time of significant financial challenge, we aim to save £2.5million each year while building a more modern service and without the need to close any of our libraries.
  • Hertfordshire – Overhaul of library system planned by Hertfordshire County Council – Hertfordshire Mercury. “Remote video-link assistance, a mobile app and organised public transport are just some of the ways the libraries are being brought into the 21st century.” £1m per year cut. “The new mobile app also allows customers to read e-books, renew orders, and access account information, among other things.” … “For towns with a small library and retained fire station, the two may be combined via a £700,000 grant, although finer details of this are yet to be finalised.” … “Although no libraries are shutting entirely, full-time staff will be lost at all centres on the bottom rung of the council’s new tier system.” see also Paid staff to stay at Sawbridgeworth Library and Stortford’s to pilot new technology under council plans – Herts and Essex Observer. “The council has three main aims for its libraries – to take them into the digital age, to enhance them as gateways for reading, and to make them community assets shaped by local people.” and £2 million cut from libraries budget in the next three years – Review.
  • Kent – Bid to “save” public libraries in Kent – Courier. Campaigners against libraries being run by a trust. ““We demand that KCC councillors ensure that this integrated network of 99 libraries continues to be free and open to all with current levels of local accessibility and opening hours maintained or improved; run by professional librarians and appropriately remunerated staff – with volunteers providing additional support and democratically accountable to elected councillors and bound by Freedom of Information.”
  • Lancashire – Libraries could share with cafes as County Hall looks at ways of balancing the books – LEP. “County Hall chiefs looking for economies have pledged not to shut a single branch down – even if it means books sharing with beverages to save cash.  … Austerity measures mean that the county’s library service will have to be slimmed down, even though the number of branches will remain the same. That could mean some libraries moving into smaller buildings, sharing with other council services or joining forces with local businesses such as cafes.”
  • Lincolnshire – Campaigner told “Your representation is being treated as a formal complaint” – Save Lincolnshire Libraries (press release). “The Department of Culture Media and Sport’s ‘Library Team’ has, in a letter dated 13th February 2015, confirmed that a complaint lodged with them by Mr Maurice Nauta on behalf of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign will be proceeded with, in accordance with Section 10 (1) (a) of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. The Department’s letter (attached) clarifies that they will be writing to Lincolnshire County Council to inform them that a formal complaint from Mr Nauta (also attached) has been made to the Secretary of State concerning the proposed changes to Lincolnshire’s library service provision.  The DCMS ‘Library Team’ further confirms therein that the council will be advised that the matter is being treated as a formal complaint, and that it will request appropriate information and clarification on relevant issues relating to the county council’s duty under the Act to deliver a “comprehensive and efficient” library service. “
  • Lincolnshire – Council have lost the plot over libraries – Louth leader / Letter. “Its not right that Sutton on Sea and Alford could end up with nothing if the community volunteers do not take it over fully. The mobile library would not be suitable for so many people to use at 1 time as has already been proven through the residents association. “
  • Lincolnshire – Councillor attacks library cuts –  Horncastle News. The “controversial decision to hand the running of libraries to volunteer groups will “rip the heart” out of rural communities. That is the stark warning from County Councillor Colin Mair who has admitted Coningsby/Tattershall Library looks almost certain to close. Coun Mair (UKIP), who represents the Tattershall Castle ward, said he was bitterly opposed to the County Council’s handling of the libraries saga which he said “stank.””
  • Lincolnshire – Changing Lincolnshire’s library set-ups isn’t arbitrary – we must find a way to save £2 million – Lincolnshire Echo. Conservative councillor says “Since 2010, the council has had to find annual savings of £150 million. And there’s more to come – around £120 million per year. To put that in context, by the end of this decade our budget will have been more-or-less halved. This is partly due to the disastrous mismanagement of the nation’s finances by the previous Labour government …”
  • Lincolnshire – DCMS tell Lincolnshire Libraries Campaigner: “Your representation is being treated as a formal complaint” – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “The Department’s letter (attached) clarifies that they will be writing to Lincolnshire County Council to inform them that a formal complaint from Mr Nauta (also attached) has been made to the Secretary of State concerning the proposed changes to Lincolnshire’s library service provision. The DCMS ‘Library Team’ further confirms therein that the council will be advised that the matter is being treated as a formal complaint, and that it will request appropriate information and clarification on relevant issues relating to the county council’s duty under the Act to deliver a “comprehensive and efficient” library service.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire Library Campaigners Interviewed by Tokyo Academic – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “This week, Save Lincolnshire Library campaigners Maurice Nauta and Angela Montague discussed the Lincolnshire campaign with Chie Suga, academic and scholar famed for her knowledge of the UK library scene. Ms Suga is a Lecturer at the School of Library and Information Science, Keio University, Tokyo.”

“My interview was a part of my academic research about library campaign in UK. Cuts of the public library budget occurs also in my country. It may be a global common problem in our time. I feel the people of my country can learn a lot from your experience in UK, and develop the solution with you” Chie Suga

  • Lincolnshire – Moves to cut library funds are endorsed – Lincolnshire Echo / Letter. “The recent public budget consultation exercise has endorsed this approach. Even so, we are trying to protect front-line services and, in the case of libraries, we came up with a plan to keep more open, encourage volunteering and save money, which unfortunately fell foul of a legal technicality [the council lost a judicial review – Ed]. We are now legally obliged to put the whole library service out to tender under EU rules, even though we have had several expressions of interest.” see also Libraries are a soft target for critics – Lincolnshire Echo/Letter. “In fairness, there is hardly a major council in England that is not considering altering its library services in some way.” and Library campaigners pledge to fight on – Skegness Standard.
  • Lincolnshire – Parish: ‘running library fiscally imprudent’ – Boston Standard. ” “The parish councils both looked into it and said ‘we can’t go on and we’re not putting the precept up by £12,000 a year’. He said the library, which included a number of computer stations, housed the parish and county councils and allowed access to the Job Centre website, was an important location serving two villages which he says has a higher population combined than Horncastle – which is keeping its library. He said: “It’s a hive of activity and we’re going to lose it.””
  • Lincolnshire – United Kingdom-Lincoln: Library services – Tenders Electronic Daily. “Lincolnshire County Council is considering running a competitive process in the spring of 2015 for the delivery of a comprehensive library service including provision of relevant IT that meets the following requirements: — To meet the Council’s statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. Lincolnshire County Council is therefore seeking Expressions of Interest for the provision of the Library Service. Estimated cost excluding VAT: Range: between 25 000 000 and 50 000 000 GBP”
  • Manchester – Manchester Central Library: Fears that tens of thousands of books may have been pulped during £170m restoration of building – Independent. “Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and Jeanette Winterson were among the writers who had called for an end to the pulping of non-fiction titles during the library’s £170m restoration in 2012. They described it as “cultural vandalism on an industrial scale”. Nothing more was heard until the Friends of Central Library group recently submitted a Freedom of Information request. Neil MacInnes, Manchester’s head librarian, wrote in an email that about 240,000 items, representing more than 40 per cent of the reference stock, were “withdrawn and are no longer available”.” … ” There were no losses to the special collections, rare books, local history collections or the City Archives, but most non-fiction books were sold to a local company, Revival Books, which disposed of them.”

“For [library staff] to have quietly and systematically disposed of 240,000 publicly owned library books with no public notification… is,  we think, morally reprehensible… what has been lost are the irreplaceable collections of reference and lending non-fiction books, covering every conceivable subject, giving that extraordinary breadth and depth of subject coverage that only long-established libraries can provide.” Friends of Central Library

  • North Yorkshire – Stokesley Library: Over 1,600 residents sign petition against volunteer proposals – Gazette Live. “1,685 residents put their name to the petition opposing plans for Stokesley Library to run as a ‘community-managed’ model to save cash” … “The locals believe the library should run as a “hybrid” model instead – where volunteers work with paid members of staff.”
  • North Yorkshire – Starbeck Library campaigners’ 444-signature petition – Harrogate Advertiser. “A petition, with 444 signatures, has been delivered to the council offices in Northallerton in a bid to get NYCC to change its plans for the future of Starbeck Library. It is hoped that this, along with several letters, sent to residents by the Starbeck Residents’ Association, will go some way to getting the community’s views across. Chair of Starbeck Residents’ Association Geoff Foxall said: “Though I phoned beforehand I didn’t exactly have a welcoming committee waiting for the petition.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire library boss’s pledge over service changes – Shropshire Star. “Changes to services at Shropshire’s libraries as a result of budget cuts will be made on a case-by-case basis. That is the pledge from Michael Lewis, head of the library service for Shropshire Council, who today said people will be asked what is important to them in their libraries.”. see also We’ll try to keep Shropshire libraries open despite £1.3 million cuts, say council chiefs – Shropshire Star. “council chiefs said today they could not rule out the possibility of some closures as part of a review into the county’s 22 libraries over the next three years”
  • Staffordshire – Victory for Penkridge Library campaigners as Staffordshire County Council rethinks plans – Staffordshire Newsletter.
  • Staffordshire – Volunteers set to take over three North Staffordshire libraries – Stoke Sentinel. “The libraries in Silverdale, Loggerheads and Werrington are among six facilities which will become ‘early implemen ters’ of a new community managed/community delivered model”
  • Stoke on Trent – Library visitor numbers in Stoke-on-Trent one of lowest in UK – Staffs Live. “Statistics from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa), show the city’s libraries ranked 183rd out of 187 local authorities last year … But Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the latest figures show its libraries dealt with more enquiries compared to the previous year. Computer logins were up 15,601, and people actively using the library service was up by 1,956. This is despite the number of people borrowing books going down, blamed on the growing use of the internet and e-books.”
  • Surrey – Streetview of Epsom LibraryGoogle. Full walkaround streetview of the interior of Epsom Library.
  • Thurrock – Campaign to save our libraries is gathering pace – Braintree and Witham Times. “campaign to save Thurrock libraries is gathering pace with the petition to save Corringham Library reaching more than 2,000 signatures. Campaigners say they are struggling to keep up with the level of demand for forms” … “Peter Saunders, of the Chadwell St Mary Community Forum, said: “It seems to us that the library service in Thurrock has been singled out for a particularly savage cut by the council, and if that is allowed to go through, it will have an irreversibly detrimental effect on leisure, education, training and jobseeking locally.”
  • Trafford – Hale Library must stay says Altrincham MP Brady – Messenger. “Mr Brady said: “I support the campaign to ensure that it remains open and available for local people, either in its current building, or in a new facility following redevelopment.” According to Mr Brady, Hale Library is used by thousands of people including mums and toddlers, community groups, people who need access to the internet, artists, charities and many more. He added: “It is efficiently staffed by both paid staff and volunteers and is one of the few public libraries in the south of the borough.”
  • Wirral – Seacombe Library is occupied as protesters battle against cuts in opening hours across Wirral – Liverpool Echo. “Protestors were tonight staging an occupation in Seacombe Library to express their opposition to plans to reduce several libraries’ opening hours. A group of 17, representing campaigning community group Wirral SOS and the TUC, entered the library shortly before it was due to close at 5pm.”. Chief Exec says ““It’s a group of people, they are being very quiet and very well-behaved and they are reading and they are making their point, and that’s fine. The only problem is that I have got a member of staff who finished at five who wants to go home.”
  • Wrexham – Calls To Create Local Trust For Wrexham Libraries – Wrexham.com. A look at the pros and cons of passing libraries to a trust based in South Wales.