Protests about cuts in Thurrock may have assisted in reducing the impacts of the cuts there, although the small print may mean the improvements are more apparent than real.  Anouncements of cuts have come out in Hartlepool and more details on deep cuts have come out about Lambeth.

Moving away from the general depression, there’s some interesting initiatives like Raspberry Pi workshops (not a new thing but one I have not highlighted on these pages before) and also, would you believe, literary anarchists.  Finally, for something completely different, there’s an appeal to help out recording a play based in a library and for your local library card to be sent for a collection forming in Australia.



Appeals for help

“Recently, a customer showed me a Library card she got while holidaying in Wales and it was quite different and interesting. My co-workers and I got to talking and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to see cards from all over the world. The card on the image attached is our current Library card design here in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. We’d love to collect as many as we can, representing as many countries, cities etc from all over the world as we can and display them on a giant wall mural in the Library.  We would really appreciate if you could please post us an (inactive) card (or whatever it is your patrons use to borrow books) from your local Library service or if you could please pass this on to some of the Libraries you are involved with and share on your Facebook page if possible. We would be so very grateful if you could please help us with this project. If you’d like to see the finished product when it is done or be sent one of our cards in return please let me know! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152703433907773&set=a.164234827772.118579.702802772&type=1&theater

UK national news

  • Digital Participation in Dumfries and Kirkcaldy – Carnegie UK Trust. Ipsos Mori survey looks at online etc usage including libraries.  Shows half of potential users of digital would like assistance from libraries, in front of everyone else but family and friends.
  • Ed Vaizey MP visit to Northampton called off due to his train being cancelled – Northampton News. “The minister had also been due to talk to Dr Blantern at the library about his role as chairman of the national library task force.”
  • Rosamund Urwin: Our libraries and parks should never be under threat – London Evening Standard. Laments cuts in Lambeth. “The library closest to my childhood home is marked for closure, its archive for exile. Lambeth council wants to sell Minet library to developers, who’ll doubtless build flats. Funding for the borough’s parks, including Minet’s neighbour Myatt’s Fields, will be halved from 2016. There’ll be no gardener, no park manager, the greenhouse and café could go and the children’s fountain run dry. This story is being repeated across the country as government cuts bite. More than 500 libraries are currently under threat. Lambeth’s tale is pretty typical: the council also plans to sell Waterloo library. The cash raised will go into an endowment, which can then be used by residents to run the Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood libraries as the trio’s council funding evaporates”
  • The news where you are: digital preservation and the digital dark ages – Informed. “We do desperately need to raise awareness about the challenge of digital preservation so that solutions can be found and implemented.  Politicians and decision makers are consistently under-informed or unaware of the problem. “
  • UK petitions – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “A page linking to all active UK library ePetitions we could find, to make it easy to sign them all.”


  • Check this out: Halifax councillor proposes finding a new name for libraries – Metro News (Canada). “Halifax’s new Central Library represents a “new era” for Halifax Public Libraries – an era so new, it has regional councillors debating whether it should still be called a “library.”” … “If it’s going to be a community hub, if it’s going to be a technology hub, if it’s going to be a centre of gathering…I think it’s time we start changing the way we think and promote and even call these facilities,””
  • Remarkable Lessons In Innovation From A Public Library – Forbes (USA). “In her hands, the library hasn’t just been a place to get books. It’s been a vibrant tool for bringing out the best in others. The Library offers over 1,600 programs annually. To my eyes, Maxine has no conception of the word “can’t.” Some think that public libraries can’t be noisy, boisterous, provocative, outrageous or entertaining. They can’t buy – and program – robots, or attract thousands of inventors, scientists and hobbyists for a single event. As Maxine gets ready to hand over the reins of the library and start a new career as a consultant, the accolades are pouring in.”

UK local news by authority

  • Barnet – Hendon MP Matthew Offord speaks out against proposed library closures by Barnet Borough Council – Times Series. “Mr Offord said he was concerned about the proposed closures, and was calling on the Conservative-led council to keep the libraries open. The Conservative MP said: “As someone to whom books mean a great deal, I share the concern of my constituents regarding possible reduction in libraries and library services. I have been liaising with the leader of Barnet Council for some time to see how the situation might be resolved.”
  • Barnet – Library campaigners write open letter to Barnet’s Conservative councillors urging them to support Labour motion and halt cuts – This is Local London. “In an open letter to the Conservative councillors, library campaigners from across the borough emphasised the “traditional Conservative values” of the service, and warned cuts would damage the chances of “budding entrepreneurs”. The letter states that libraries “offer a place of warmth and compassion for all ages in the community and allow the self-determination of today’s students in reaching their goals.””
  • Birmingham – Tories: ‘We would keep Library of Birmingham open seven days a week’ – Birmingham Mail. “Birmingham Conservatives say they would keep the Library of Birmingham open seven days a week and scrap the £35-a-year ‘garden tax’ in their alternative council budget. The main opposition party has highlighted libraries and bins as priorities for funding ahead of Birmingham City Council’s annual budget meeting on Tuesday, March 3” … “The Tories also said they would keep all 39 community libraries open at a time when the council is believed to be considering cutting at least four.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Baby groups in libraries in pipeline to be saved from cuts as more proposals retracted – Argus. “The groups, run by the Early Years Project, were at risk of closure if funding reductions to children’s centres and related services was introduced when “the council set the 2015/16 budget. The council told The Argus there were plans to stop financial support for groups in September – but interim funding would be provided until then so other options could be explored.”
  • Coventry – Coventry council budget finds cash for communities to run services – Coventry Observer. The “council has found £500,000 to help community volunteers and organisations who want to step in to run public services including libraries and youth clubs – as it passed a £15million cuts budget with a 1.9 per cent Council Tax hike.”
  • Hartlepool – Hartlepool library services under threat amid fresh cuts – Hartlepool Mail. ” since 2013 the Library Service budget has had to be reduced by almost 16 per cent. Despite this savings have been achieved without any direct impact on library opening hours or the branch library network.” but now deeper cuts: “Among the aspects being looked at in the review are opening hours, whether the branch libraries are still in the best locations to serve the needs of communities, potential for volunteers and external organisations to play an increased role, possible further development of the libraries’ online services and the potential for the libraries to generate additional income.”
  • Hertfordshire – Strategy to boost Herts libraries over next 10 years agreed by county council – Herts and Essex Observer. “However, following a petition signed by 1,209 supporters, members of the council’s customer service, performance and libraries panel decided that staff should be kept.”
  • Hertfordshire – Litfest 15: Programme of library events for March and April – Hertfordshire Council. “Our annual programme of events presented by Hertfordshire Libraries takes place in March and April. We recommend you book early to avoid disappointment”
  • Kent – Concerns over future of Sandwich Library as Kent County Council launches consultation – Kent Online. “Residents in Sandwich say they are being asked to vote blindly on a consultation to offload library services to a charitable trust. At a meeting of Sandwich Library Guild at the Guildhall last Wednesday, chairman Margaret Simpson said the consultation seemed to be taking a “cart before the horse” approach. No clear business model means residents feel they are left in the dark over exactly what would happen if services were handed over.”
  • Kirklees – Credit card device called Raspberry Pi creating new programmer revolution in Huddersfield to help everyday people control anything from cars to robots – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “In an unassuming room in Huddersfield Library, a mini technological revolution is under way. And those involved hope to create a new generation of computer whizzes-come-inventors. Robots, computer games, apps and CCTV systems are all springing to life, which are being created by people as young as four and as old as almost 80. And it is not a large, hi-tech lab that is making all this possible, but a mini device no bigger than the size of a credit card, called Raspberry Pi.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council Cultural Consultation: Libraries hardest hit as residents asked to patch up service – Brixton Buzz. “We were expecting Lambeth Council to announce the possible closure of the Minet Library and the moving of the Lambeth Archives. We weren’t quite prepared for what was to follow.” … “Lambeth Council wants to close the Minet and Waterloo Libraries. It proposes to flog on the land to developers. £10m is expected to be raised. This will then be invested in an endowment fund. Profit from this will then ‘enable’ residents to run the Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood Libraries. Council funding for these three will stop.”.  “this online push appears to be coming from Lambeth Council itself. Like we said – how very odd that a local authority is about to close two libraries and stop funding for three others, yet then tries to invent an online campaign saying how much they love libraries.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Libraries in peril History & Social Action News and Events. “The financial plan to support so-called ‘community libraries’ simply doesn’t add up. They are being set up to fail. Lambeth’s plans are totally flawed – and show that it has no idea what public libraries do for the council and its residents.” see also Lambeth in line for library closures – BookSeller. “Laura Swaffield, chair of the Library Campaign and a member of Friends of Lambeth Libraries, said: “The service itself has been under-funded for decades. Yet it is improving on all measures, and expanding its activities dramatically. Thanks to enormous efforts by staff, it is winning awards and government praise. The libraries’ beautiful buildings have been neglected for years, almost to the point of destruction. Lambeth has recently invested in repairing this damage – and it is paying off, with attractive spaces that people want to use. Much of this is now to be wasted.””
  • Manchester – Book in to hold your wedding at Central Library – Manchester Council. “The Grade II* listed Central Library, which fronts the city’s most desirable new destination St Peter’s Square, is now licensed to host civil ceremonies and is primed to become the most prestigious new wedding venue in the city. The much anticipated wedding package offers couples the opportunity to be married in the privacy of one of Manchester’s best loved spaces, with exclusive access to the building being made available on Sundays”
  • Southampton – In denial over closures – Daily Echo. “Despite being the people closing the library, there was an abundance of Labour councillors in utter denial that they were responsible for closing the library” … “In a couple of years, when the libraries have been shut for a while, I predict that Labour will be explaining in their leaflets how they did their utmost to keep the libraries open.”
  • Southampton – Views on Cobbett Road Library’s future – Bitterne Park Info. “Monday saw a packed meeting at the Church of Ascension as residents and politicians from various parties explored options to keep Cobbett open”
  • Staffordshire – Library shake-up for Lichfield and Burntwood is ratified – Lichfield Mercury. “Plans to shake-up library services across Staffordshire have been ratified by senior county councillors. Lichfield Library has been earmarked to become a ‘library extra’ – a centre of excellence, with the widest range of services, and the most comprehensive of the three new models for the facilities in the future.” but other libraries not so lucky and job situation unclear.
  • Thurrock – No Thurrock libraries to close (but you may want to read the small print) – Your Thurrock. “Council leader, John Kent was responding to a number of petitions across the borough as well as a consultation with the public by Thurrock Council. Councillor John Kent did stress however, that “libraries have to change”.” see also Council leader ‘never considered’ closing any libraries… but the mobile service will stop – Clacton Gazette.
  • Thurrock – Thurrock libraries saved from closure – Thurrock Gazette. “An added and unexpected announcement also heard that a new library will open in Purlfeet – taking the number of libraries in the borough to 10. A Thurrock Council consultation looking at ways to save £500,000 suggested one way was to close some of the libraries in the borough when it launched last month.”
  • West Sussex – Literary anarchists strike in Littlehampton – Littlehampton Gazette. “Anyone can be an anarchist of this literary leaning – simply head for one of five points around Littlehampton where a selection of books have been left in sealed, weather-tight plastic bags and make your choice. You might want to leave a book of your own behind, too, perhaps with a note wishing the new reader well and saying why you enjoyed the book. The initiative is another creative idea from the Littlehampton Organisation of Contemporary Art (LOCA), which left five books at each of the five places on Friday. Three were titles for grown-ups, one was for teenagers and one for children. By Monday, several had been taken and the stock will be topped up tomorrow.”