Mr Vaizey has again decided not to intervene in a library service that is severely reducing it’s number of branches and budget. In his letter saying he is “minded not to intervene” in Lincoolnshire, he makes it clear that 15 static libraries, online provision and a housebound book delivery service meet the statutory requirement for provision.  It accepts that the other 30 branches can be closed or passed to volunteers but, crucially, does not include them in making its final judgement – they are therefore effectively entirely optional and the council can do with them as it pleases, electorate willing.  The county council of Lincolnshire accounts for around 850,000 people so that raises the bar to 56,000 people per branch library being an acceptable figure.  So those who think that one should have a library in anything smaller than a middle to large town should consider writing to the minister before 24th April.

It’s worth bearing in mind, by the way, that that ratio would mean the secretary of state would be happy with less than one thousand libraries in all of England: 2000 – or two-thirds – fewer than now. One of the reasons for this acceptance appears to be that housebound library services are a “replacement” for those who cannot get into a local library, which is a scary thing where someone delivering the books to an incapacitated person in their own home can be used as an excuse to close down a vital service.


National news

  • Chrissie in the running for national learning award – Eastbourne Herald. ” mother-of-three is in the running for a national award after following her dream of becoming a teacher – with the help of courses at her local library. Hailsham-based Chrissie Price, originally from 
Eastbourne, is a regional finalist in the learndirect
 Inspiration Awards, organised by the online learning provider to recognise people who go the extra mile to develop their skills.”
  • Putting the spot light on Picture Books – Neilsen. “Picture Book loans have done well for this period with a growth of 17.3% to 865k from last period’s 737k, unsurprising as half term fell in this period. Three of the top Picture Book titles of this period appeared in the Top 5 of the same period in 2014. Superworm and Where the Wild Things Are are the two newcomers in the Top 5 this period. Two Julia Donaldson titles, Superworm and The Gruffalo, feature in both this month’s Nielsen LibScan Top 5 chart and the Nielsen BookScan TCM (Total Consumer Market) Top 10 chart for Picture Books”
  • Views on volunteer-led libraries sought – Speak Up for Libraries. “Speak Up for Libraries would welcome hearing from anyone with a view about volunteer-led ‘libraries’ (often called ‘Community Libraries’), whether it be that of a volunteer, a library worker or a library user. What works well and what doesn’t? … A summary of the evidence will be published. All information received will be anonymised unless specific permission has been given to identify the contributor and the names of library or library service.”



The British Council has asked that we encourage UK colleagues to take a close look at an amazing new post. The British Council is opening new libraries in Pakistan (initially in Lahore and Karachi) as part of a bigger programme for a refreshed engagement with local people, to promote British Culture, encourage enterprise and build positive relations with key partners in Pakistani society. The British Council is looking to the UK for a Director to lead the programme. This is a fantastic opportunity to take on a unique and challenging but fascinating role with – you will see – a great package of salary and rewards. The advert is here on the CILIP Lisjobnet. Don’t hesitate to at least take a look and give it some real thought. It could change your life – and will help many others! The closing date is quite soon so take a look now. ” John Dolan (Salary is £90,000 but free flights)

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Author’s plea to stop library cuts at demo – Barnet Today. “Nicole Burstein was speaking outside Edgware Library on Saturday before a march by Save Barnet Libraries. Protesters walked to Mill Hill Library via Burnt Oak Library – two buildings which could be closed altogether under Barnet Council’s plans to cut 60 per cent from the libraries budget. Nicole, who grew up round the corner in Penshurst Gardens, said: “I have been using Edgware Library for as long as I can remember. It is because of my passion for reading that I ended up doing a degree in English literature, and a masters in creative writing.””
  • Birmingham – Birmingham moots library cooperative model – BookSeller.
  • Croydon/Lambeth – Upper Norwood Library investigates who got the loot – Inside Croydon. Impressive events list.
  • Hackney – The secret’s out: advocating for housebound library services in Hackney – CILIP. “Hackney’s best kept secret” was the tantalisingly modest claim in its promotional leaflet when I joined the Community Library Service in 2008. I realised that the key to success could be letting people in on the so-called ‘secret’ so that they could help us grow, improve our service offer, better serve our users and – ultimately – safeguard the service for the future. But how to proceed… We started a targeted promotion of our service.  We used the skills, time and expertise of our staff and local people to make a short film about the service which was shown in common rooms and daycentres and uploaded on YouTube.  Our worth was recognised outside libraries when a link to the film was prominent on the front page of Hackney’s Adult Social Care ‘iCare’ webpage. We had tables at health related events and I ran and presented training for health-associated workers and professionals. With national news reporting the growth of isolation in the elderly and the pressure on doctors to prescribe more than drugs, we were a perfect fit. A free service that provided regular calls to the elderly and disabled taking them books, talking books, films, music and jigsaws to entertain them, inform them and fill lonely hours.” … “Today, we’re one of Hackney’s worst kept secrets, much to our delight. The latest CIPFA survey results show that we have the largest number of housebound service users in London. People come from all over the UK to see how we operate. “
  • Harrow – Harrow library strategy 2015-2018 – Harrow Council. Full details of proposed changes to the service.
  • Hertfordshire – Merger plans look healthy for Knebworth library and surgery – Mercury. “Hertfordshire County Council has been given the green light to negotiate a fee to bring Knebworth’s surgery and library together. The Knebworth and Marymead Medical Practice has decided its demand has outgrown the current building, in Station Road. The move to the library was suggested to the council by General Practice Investments, which is footing the bill for the redevelopment.”
  • Kent – Last chance to have a say on libraries consultation – Kent Media Hub. “An extensive 12-week public consultation on KCC’s plans to modernise its Libraries, Registration and Archives service by the creation of a charitable trust closes next week (Wednesday, 8 April). Since the consultation’s launch on 12 January, KCC’s Libraries, Registration and Archives service has organised a series of 27 roadshows across the county to give Kent residents the chance to learn more about KCC’s plans. In addition, residents have been invited to register their views online at www.kent.gov.uk/libraries and a questionnaire contained in an explanatory booklet has been available in county libraries.”
  • Lambeth – Anger at cultural cutback – Brixton Blog. “Friends of Lambeth’s libraries and parks, including those in Brixton, have criticised Lambeth council for its proposals to reduce cultural services. They have branded its Culture 2020 consultation “pointless” and said that the council do not understand the seriousness of what they are doing. The proposals include the sale of Waterloo and Minet Libraries, having community groups take over running three others, cuts to the remaining five libraries, as well as cuts to park budgets and having friends’ groups or communities take over the running of the borough’s green spaces as “charitable trusts”.” … “The consultation is open until April 24 and we really want to make sure people get involved and tell us their views and ideas.””
  • Lincolnshire – Letter :  Ed Vaizey MP to Leader, LCC | Local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire – Gov.uk. Government decides 15 static libraries, online provision and a housebound book delivery service meets statutory requirement for provision and accepts that the other 30 branches can be closed or passed to volunteers. Comments required before 24th April.

“As you all know, we are currently thinking about another court case to fight the last consultation. We are looking for people who are willing to give witness statements, which is basically to explain how you feel the County Council decision to cut the Libraries has effected you. These will be read by the Judge, our solicitor/barrister and the Council’s barrister/solicitors and will form the basis of our case…” Save Lincolnshire Libraries on Facebook

  • Newport – Public consultation open on hours-cut proposal for saved Malpas library – South Wales Argus. “PUBLIC consultation is open on plans to save a Newport library which would see its opening hours cut, … During a Malpas ward meeting last night, residents were informed that Newport City Council’s initial decision to close the Malpas library had been overturned, with the council now proposing to keep the library open for 20 hours per week. Malpas residents now have until April 29 to voice their opinion, with the council running a public consultation on the new proposal.”
  • Pembrokeshire – ‘Adventures start at the library’ says TV wildlife expert – Western Telegraph. “Pembrokeshire County Council libraries and primary schools have joined forces to provide library cards to children in 12 local schools. The move is part of a national initiative called ‘Every Child a Library Member’, launched in ten Welsh counties. Launching the initiative in Milford Haven Library, Dr Rhys Jones – best known for his hit BBC series ‘Rhys to the Rescue’ and ‘Dr Rhys Jones’s Wildlife Patrol’ – said: “Libraries are such an important resource – they are a great place for children to let their imagination grow and to develop and it is vitally important that we encourage our children to read more not only to improve their literacy levels but also to help them with life skills and future opportunities.””
  • Sussex – New way of working for police officers in Bognor – Bognor Regis Observer. “The policemen and women are being equipped with the latest hi-tech equipment, like the phones and tablet computers, to enable them to stay connected while they are out on the beat around Bognor Regis … Officers will be using their mobile phones while they are sitting in Costa Coffee or the local libraries. That has got to be a good thing. “In the future, I would encourage my staff to be out there and engaging with the public in that way”