The findings of the Independent Report on Public Libraries included the suggested action to do something like Teachfirst for public libraries in order to encourage new and talented young people into the sector at an affordable price. With the help of the Society of Chief Librarians, The Creative Society and Arts Council England, that suggestion has now become reality.  The details are:

  • 50 paid internships for unemployed 16-24 year olds in England to work in the public library sector.
  • Only for posts where “where job roles and skill sets are common to arts organisations. For example: front of house, education and outreach, marketing, digital media.”
  • Organisations can apply for “part wage grant”, explaining what post it is for, its sustainability etc.
  • For one year or more, “Learning how to do the job by doing it”.

The press release is here and more details are here. If I understand this right then that second point means there is a barrier against the apprentices being used, as some fear, to simply replace paid employees or to fill vacancies.  The challenge for library services will be to find roles that fill the criteria and are sustainable. But that is fine. After all, we want new people coming in doing this kind of thing and if it means that library services can experiment, at cut rates, with new roles then there will be few complaints.  At the not exactly young age of 44, I am often the youngest working in some branches I visit and so an initiative like this is to be welcomed. It is also great that action points in a report on libraries is actually being implemented, rather than being just talked about and bodes well for the other suggestions as a whole.


UK national news

  • Dawn of the Unread and illiteracy in UK kids – Left Lion. A look at the problems of illiteracy and ways to promote reading and libraries to people. “The remit of Dawn of the Unread is not to thrust ‘complex’ books on people to read. It’s to create a thirst for knowledge. To tease, tantalise and inspire. To use digital technology to enable numerous routes into literature, knowing that our reading paths are ultimately solitary and taken at different speeds. And if kids go to the library to get out books, it will be because they want to learn more.”
  • If I were Prime Minister: I would stop library closures and do away with government targets – Independent / Joanne Harris. “most effective way to bring culture to people, and it’s shameful that we are getting rid of them. Libraries are not just symbols of civilisation, they are a civic space that bind communities. Take them away and society becomes fragmented. Compare a community that has a library with one that does not and you will see the difference. And it’s always the poorer areas that lose their libraries first. There’s this idea that poorer people have TVs and the internet so why would they need libraries? Libraries are reduced to a middle-class luxury, and thus more and more members of society feel disenfranchised, that they do not belong …”
  • Poster for national libraries daySarah McIntyre. A colouring-in poster for libraries for National Libraries Dy
  • Public librarianship research is dead in the water – isn’t it? – Information School News / University of Sheffield. “A few months ago in a brief conversation about the state of research in the LIS sector, someone informed me that [public] libraries – and, by association, any research into them – were ‘dead in the water’. Given that I have spent most of the past fifteen years trying to develop a body of research which focuses almost exclusively on aspects of public librarianship, I did not feel hugely encouraged by this comment. In response, I did what any self-respecting individual would do: I sulked, and moaned about it. And then I went back to my work.”
  • Public Libraries Launch “TeachFirst” Style Internship Programme – Society of Chief Librarians. “The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) and arts employment charity the Creative Society, have today announced the creation of 50 paid internship posts for young unemployed people in libraries across England. The internships are being created as part of Arts Council England’s Creative Employment Programme, a £15 million fund to put 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds back to work in the arts and creative industries.  The project comes a month after the government commissioned Independent Library Report For England urged a library recruitment approach, similar to TeachFirst, in order to attract more young people into the sector. The paid internships will see participants gain skills and experience in key areas of library service, such as working on campaigns to improve customers’ digital skills and coordinating summer literature festivals.”

“SCL is working very hard to make sure that young people know about the kinds of professional opportunities they could have in public libraries. Interns will bring fresh ideas to our libraries and we are looking forward to helping these young people take the next steps in their careers.” Ciara Eastell, President


  • Advocating Libraries: Innovate and Thrive: The CILIPS Conference 2015 1-2 June 2015, Dundee. Includes The future of our profession – join the panel for debate and discussion: The New Library Professionals Network, The National Strategy for Public Libraries, The  Learning Lab: unleashing creativity, imagination and learning, After the fire: Glasgow School of Art Rennie Mackintosh Library recovers, Phillipa Cochrane, Head of Reader Development @ Scottish Book Trust, Author and journalist Peter Ross on Libraries and librarians, Dr John Scally, Scotland’s National Librarian, Harnessing technology to engage with local heritage, A mini library camp, 12 parallel sessions addressing our conference theme, CILIPS Marketplace – an opportunity to meet with vendors, Drinks reception and Conference Dinner featuring entertainment, Presentation of student awards.

UK local news by authority

  • Barnet – Public meeting about future of Barnet’s libraries – This is Local London. “The authority is currently consulting on the future of its libraries, and options include: Keeping all libraries open but shrinking all but four and letting out the remaining space, Closing six libraries and staffing the remainder for 60 per cent of their current hours, but using technology to extend opening times, Closing two libraries, shrinking others and staffing them with volunteers, and staffing others for half of their current hours, again using technology to extend opening times, Barnet Council says people will be able to travel to all remaining branches by public transport within half an hour. Labour parliamentary candidate for Finchley & Golders Green Sarah Sackman, Liberal Democrat councillor Jack Cohen and Conservative councillor Shimon Ryde will all speak during the meeting.”
  • Coventry – Legal threat over library closures and council cuts – Coventry Observer. “Unison, the largest union representing 2,600 employees of Coventry City Council, said it would consider a judical review of library closures and other cuts to protect vulnerable people from losing vital community services. The union has formally objected to Labour councillors’ “City Centre First” proposals. Beginning this year, it could axe every council service in most communities in response to government funding cuts to the council of a third so far since 2010. Services lost in the majority of 18 council wards would include libraries, children’s centres, youth clubs, adult education centres and community centres.”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Knight Urges Support for National Libraries Day – Beverley Guardian. “The MP said: “National Libraries Day sends a collective message across the country that we value our libraries and the staff who work in them and recognises libraries of all kinds: public ones and those at school, university, workplace, legal, commercial and government.”
  • Kent – Protesters to gather in Whitstable Library Square to help save library services – Canterbury Times. Blames councillors. “On the day, National Libraries Day, adults and children are asked to celebrate by “chalking” on the pavement outside why they think libraries are so special or drawing favourite literary characters. A Save Our Public Libraries petition will also be launched at the event, with the aim to get sufficient signatures to force a full debate on the future of Kent’s libraries. KCC rules state that 2,500 signatures guarantee a committee debate and 10,000 force a debate in full council. Richard Stainton, of the Whitstable Improvement Trust, said: “Our aim is to protect Kent’s network of 99 libraries – which is something that people in Kent can be very proud of.”
  • Lambeth – Save Lambeth Libraries – Change.org. Petition. “We are calling on the council to keep its promises to Lambeth citizens and invest in a secure future for Lambeth Libraries: Save Our Libraries. No cuts, no closures to Lambeth Libraries. Fund a professionally run public library service across Lambeth”
  • Lincolnshire – Christopher Bryant says the Government needs to do more to maintain libraries – Lincolnshire Echo. Shadow Minister for Arts visits Lincolnshire: ““The big solution is government cannot wash its hands. It has got to take some responsibility, it has to assess what is happening in the country. It is a bit depressing that 60 per cent of libraries in the country do not have Wi-Fi. “I know Karl (McCartney) and I have never heard him say a word about the library in his constituents. Maybe he never uses the library?
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire Libraries Decision – Reactions from Public & The Library Campaign #LibraryPlanNO – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. A look at local and national reaction to the news.
  • Lincolnshire – Lincs libraries – madness – Library Campaign. “Nothing rational explains the decision by pig-headed Lincs County Council to destroy most of their library service – even though they don’t need to. They insist on dumping 30 libraries on to ‘volunteers’, keeping just 15. They have been shown that they can keep them all open, and avoid sacking 160-odd staff – and still make all the savings they want.
  • Lincolnshire – Mass closure of Lincolnshire libraries – Keithpp’s blog. Lincolnshire – Residents hit by £728k bill – Lincolnshire Free Press. “Council taxpayers in Lincolnshire are picking up a £728,000 bill from “the great Tory library betrayal” according to Deeping St James Labour councillor Phil Dilks. Last week Coun Dilks was told the bill would be about £250,000 but he now expects it will rocket to £1million. On Tuesday Coun Dilks, fellow campaigners and library users tied yellow ribbons to railings outside Market Deeping Library in the forlorn hope it might be spared.”
  • Northamptonshire – LIbrary Donation Scheme Not A Threat – About My Area. “Library bosses at Northamptonshire County Council have moved quickly to reassure library users that a charity voluntary donation scheme to raise more funds is in no way is a threat to the service – pointing out the reverse is true and is another example of the constant work in the county to make sure libraries are hubs at the very heart of our communities.” … ““Our charity scheme for libraries – far from being a threat to public libraries – is actually a vital tool in helping us to protect them from front line service reductions. We see our library services as absolutely critical in delivering not only traditional library services but also a whole host of other front line offerings such as some elements of children centre services and business start up advice.” see also Library bosses say Northamptonshire service is not under threat despite fundraising announcement – Northants Telegraph.
  • Sandwell – Five under-threat Sandwell libraries saved from axe – Express and Star. “Sandwell Council has ruled out shutting the sites at Hill Top, West Bromwich; Oakham, Tividale; and Langley, Brandhall and Rounds Green, all Oldbury. But some could move to share buildings with other services while extra volunteers could also be recruited to help run them. While libraries could also start selling school text books in a bid to raise cash.”
  • Sheffield – Public meeting and day of fun at Sheffield libraries – Sheffield Telegraph. “A public meeting is happening on Tuesday to discuss the proposed business model for Walkley Library. The library is set to share space with a cafe bar run by the Forum group. Representatives from the council and Forum are set to attend the meeting in the library at 7pm.”
  • Shropshire – Second phase of Church Stretton Library consultation begins – Shropshire Live. “Shropshire Council has previously held a community conversation on the future of Church Stretton library in which views from residents were sought on a proposal to work in partnership with South Shropshire Academy Trust to provide a library located at Church Stretton School.”
  • Swindon – £200,000 upgrade to library computersSwindon Advertiser. “As well as replacing the computers, WiFi is set to be installed in five of the community libraries as well as upgrading many of the self-service machines … Many of the computers operate on Windows XP, which will be unsupported from March, so the 180 public computers will be replaced by 150, recognising that many people have their own devices”
  • Thurrock – The campaign to save Thurrock’s libraries continues this weekend – Thurrock Gazette. “Campaigners from the Save Our Thurrock Libraries group will be in Corringham and Stanford-le-Hope on Saturday from 11am urging people to sign a petition to help keep the borough libraries open. ” … “A month-long consultation by Thurrock Council – which ends next Sunday, February 15 – is looking into how the library service can save £500,000. One suggestion is the closure of some of the borough’s libraries to save cash, as well asking volunteers to step forward to run the libraries and to seek funding to support them. “
  • Walsall – Library services could remain in Walsall community despite closure threat – Walsall Advertiser. “Streetly Library, in Blackwood Road, is one of eight Walsall Council owned libraries that will close its doors, among plans to save more than £500,000.” but library chief ” revealed that both Streetly Academy and Streetly Community Association have shown interest in retaining a service in the area. But both organisations have said that there are no detailed plans, with library officials adding that both options are currently being “explored and assessed.”
  • West Sussex – Use those libraries, says Susie – Worthing Herald.  “Writer Susie Wilde has organised two Chichester events aimed at putting libraries back at the centre of our community. A murder mystery evening at Chichester library will be followed the day after by the start of a writing group for children – all with the aim of safeguarding the future of our libraries in general.”
  • Wrexham – Wrexham Library Services To Be Transfered To South Wales Trust Wrexham.com. “Rather than reinventing the wheel we are identifying existing trusts we can link in with.” With the likely concern over the South Wales element, he said: “Although the trusts are based in South Wales, the day to day management and running will remain local. Wrexham Council say: “Having considered all the options, the Council is seeking to negotiate with two existing trust that have been established recently within Wales: the Life Leisure Trust (Blaenau Gwent) and the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust. “Informal discussions indicate that it is possible that Wrexham’s Library Services could join one of these trusts providing negotiations on the terms of membership were successful.”