I’ve just had the honour and privilege of chairing a couple of sessions at the Edge library conference in Edinburgh, which is my most recent excuse for the lateness of this post.  I learnt many things there, which I will be covering in depth later issues but here’s the overview …  Patrick Losinski of Columbus Ohio seriously impressed with his tale of a library service that has effectively “claimed the space” of children when they’re out of school, gaining many millions of dollars in funding as a result.  Artefacto’s Library Wall – downloadable ebooks on a wall accessible via QR code – impressed with the passion and sheer ease with which it was done.  It was shocking that no library authority I am aware of in the UK is doing something similar. Libraries Without Borders talked about their work in refugee camps.  Seriously, all I could do was be in awe of their work. I also heard about the long-term large-scale partnership Glasgow libraries have with Macmillan Cancer Support to put their volunteers and surgeries in libraries.  The budget was in the millions.  That opened my eyes.

But what impressed me equally was the work of Edinburgh. They’re doing great things in many areas, including online and digital.  They also cleverly put on a library conference that pays for itself and they can send a lot of their staff to, meaning new ideas are part of their normal. The library service appears to have revolutionised it’s work with teenagers and I heard about some outstanding stuff reintegrating Polish migrant workers – sadly, often now unemplpyed and suffering from alcohol abuse – into the community.  They were all optimistic and open-minded.  It was a pleasure and well done to everyone.  So the next time you go to Edinburgh (and it was my first visit) make sure you go into a library as well.



  • Going To and Fro – Library Journal.  The US librarian magazine looks at cuts in the UK. “It’s no secret that British libraries are under attack. The latest ones are apparently the Bristol libraries, which according to one editorial might be entering their “final chapter,” because British news writers are just as cliched as American ones.”
  • Government promotes child library membership – BookSeller. “The government has put together an action plan, entitled Reading: The Next Steps, that urges all primary schools to arrange library membership for year 3 pupils (aged 7-8). It is also setting up a fund of £200,000 to support up to 200 primary schools, where reading attainment is low, to set up book clubs, and is providing £570,000 of funding for the poetry recitation competition Poetry by Heart, which is run by Sir Andrew Motion and the Poetry Archive.”
  • Has Alan Bennett found a new game: Hypocritical England? – Independent. “Perhaps public institutions such as the Arts Council (which at least pushes funding towards other genders, races and classes) and Birmingham’s glittering new library are the anomalies residing in a world of hypocrisy and galloping privatisation”
  • Labour and libraries: the shape of things to come – Leon’s Library Blog. “It’s official, the Shadow Culture Minister has confirmed that not only does he prefer a non-interventionist approach, that Labour will not legislate to protect public libraries, but volunteer libraries are also acceptable. In the interview Chris Bryant accuses the Government of a “dereliction of duty” but then states that he will do exactly the same. So a hands-off, localism-centred, volunteer approach to libraries is the wrong path for the current government to pursue but if elected Mr Bryant will do precisely that. Only in politics would you get away with such blatant double-speak and expect the public to believe it! It’s a sad indication that some communities are so desperate to save their libraries that they do.”
  • Lara – Scotland’s first lending library – 23 Librarians. The library acts “as an independent charitable trust called, rather splendidly, The Innerpeffray Mortification, the Library raises all its own funds and, as well as applying for grants, the main focus of my job is to attract more visitors and generate funds to enable us to keep open. I’m the only member of staff, but Innerpeffray has a great team of volunteers who help me show visitors round the exhibitions, I work closely with our Board of Governors, and we have over 2000 visitors a year “
  • Managing Access to the Internet in Public Libraries – Loughborough University. “Key findings from the research include: • Filtering of Internet access appears to be ubiquitous in UK public libraries, with 100% of survey respondents reporting that their public access is filtered to a lesser or greater degree. • Librarians generally accept filtering as a pragmatic solution to the regulation of public Internet access, albeit with some reluctance. • There is a lack of transparency with regard to filtering, with around half of users interviewed in the case studies unaware that access was filtered. • Users were generally supportive of decisions concerning the filtering of access in libraries, particularly where children were concerned. • Decisions concerning filtering policy appeared to have been taken either by senior personnel within the library service or by senior IT personnel in the relevant local authority. • Procedures for unblocking sites on request are inconsistent, and around half of users interviewed would be uncomfortable asking library staff to unblock a site, however legitimate the site may be. • The majority of library services have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in addition to filtering software. • Major breaches of the AUP are rare; minor breaches are most frequent in relation to viewing pornographic material. • Levels of staff training vary, and staff interviewed felt that more formal training to keep up to date would be welcomed • Commercial public WiFi providers operate a diverse set of criteria with respect to filtering, which often depend on the policies and preferences of the company mediating public access.”

“Public Libraries:Written question – 225619
Q Asked by Chris Bryant (Rhondda) Asked on: 26 February 2015 Department for Culture Media and Sport: Public Libraries
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2015 to Question 223186, if he will make an assessment of the accuracy of statistics published by Public Libraries News on library closures and libraries transferred to volunteers
Mr Edward Vaizey Answered on: 03 March 2015
The DCMS has no plans to make an assessment of the accuracy of statistics published by Public Libraries News on library closures and libraries transferred to volunteers. The summary statistics published by Public Libraries News relate to public libraries throughout the United Kingdom. The remit of the DCMS, however, is to superintend and promote the improvement of libraries in England.” www.parliament.uk

  • Reading: the next steps – Department for Education. “Libraries also have an important role to play in children’s reading habits. Research has found that young people who did not use their public library were more than three times more likely only to read when in class, and almost three times as likely to rate themselves as not very good readers compared to library users. Young people who used their public library were nearly twice as likely to be reading outside the classroom every day. The government would like all children to be active members of a public library, and we are asking all schools to arrange library membership for all their year 3 pupils. Our new book club programme will increase the number of primary schools working in partnership with their local library to promote library use; for instance by arranging class visits to the library.”
  • Regus targets universities and libraries as operating profits soar – City AM. “Regus said yesterday it planned to bridge the gap between higher education and working life by launching offices in universities and public libraries. The serviced office provider signed its first deal with Helsinki University last year and has also partnered with the Singapore Government to open facilities within their public libraries. It is now eyeing further opport­unities, including opening in libraries across the UK: “We are opening new interfaces between university life and business life – whether it’s people starting a business, doing meetings, or companies doing milk rounds,” chief executive Mark Dixon said.”
  • Teenagers these days don’t know how to use libraries – Mirror. “A user called Bobby McKenna got thousands of retweets when uploaded a screengrab of a text message he’d received from his teenage sister. “I’m in the school library,” she messaged him to say. “Can I just take books of the shelf? “This is so old school and I don’t know what I’m allowed to do.””


  • The human side of public libraries – Barbrarian (USA). “People come to the public library for a variety of reasons: study, read, research, learn, engage, discover, connect. The list goes on. But each person comes through the front doors of a public library for the same purpose whether they realize it or not: to know themselves, the world, the future, the past, and one another on a deeper, more meaningful level.  Sometimes that’s reading the latest thriller, attending a community program, improving their computer skills, or practicing another language. And sometimes its recalling fond memories from your youth with your childhood best friend. It really doesn’t make a difference: the important part is that someone was there, willing to help and eager to listen. “
  • Librarians getting Ready to Read with the Rhythm – Public Libraries Online (USA). “iREAD originated in 1982 in Illinois as a statewide collaboration with the goal of providing low cost, high quality summer reading resources for libraries. Since then, libraries in several other states, including California and Minnesota, have taken advantage of the program. Illinois Library Association’s iREAD Committee showcased the 2015 theme at their conference last fall. The presentation included a myriad of suggestions for every age group, from baby to adult. The youngest audiences will enjoy musical story times, which will also tie in nicely with the early literacy skill, “sing.” Offerings for school age children can range from STEM topics, like the science of sound, to exploring new cultures. Dance lessons, lip synching, finish the lyrics, and “Name That Tune” contests could appeal to a wide variety of ages from tweens and teens to adults”
  • Library sorting system ‘world first’ – Otago Daily Times (New Zealand). “The million-dollar radio frequency identification (RFID) project now has the jewel in its crown with the installation of a new automated materials handling machine linked to the return boxes. “
  • Major metropolis İstanbul suffers educational dearth of decent libraries – Sunday’s Zaman (Turkey). “Sivaslıoğlu laments the condition of state-run libraries. “When I was at Koç University I had access to the school’s library, which was quite good. But I was also looking at the city’s public libraries, such as the ones in Besiktaş and Kadıkoy, or in Taksim and the rest of Beyoğlu, and I found them [the books] to be quite old and irrelevant. You could only really find old Turkish classics, history books and school textbooks,” he says.”“They didn’t even offer an ordering facility. Therefore, I was just stuck with the books they had there and never found the selection on offer to be very rich.
  • Raul Lemesoff turns a Ford Falcon into a tank-shaped traveling library – Designboom (USA). “in celebration of World Book Day on 5th march, 7up has teamed up with buenos aires-based artist raul lemesoff in the creation of ‘weapons of mass instruction’, a traveling library that tours argentina in the shape of a tank. the ongoing project, which Lemesoff has built upon throughout the last few years, sees a 1979 ford falcon transform into a military-style vehicle, with a rotating upper chamber and pseudo-barrel. although the tank may look militant, it has a very serious function of peace — Lemesoff tours through Argentina’s urban centers and rural communities, offering free books to anyone interested. around 900 books fit on the car’s built-in shelves, with a varied collection of poetry, novels and biographies.
  • Secret Life of a Public Library Security Guard – Narratively (USA). “Making the rounds at the Portland Public Library means sporadically checking inside the bathroom. It’s not uncommon for security guard Marko Petrovich to uncover suspicious materials, like hypodermic needles and beer cans. Then the gumshoe work begins: Whodunnit? And sometimes whoever done it is still doing it. Long occupancy is call for suspicion. Spend too much time in the john and Petrovich will wind up in there with you, asserting in broken and unabashed English that “you not take shit forty-five minutes.””

“When Petrovich opens the doors at ten a.m. there’s a cluster of people waiting outside, chomping to get in. These first patrons of the day are often draped in bags and have been waiting for the library to open since the homeless shelters closed up at eight. Welcoming all kinds of people into the library pleases Petrovich, but he’d rather see everyone using the library resources — reading something rather than sleeping or using drugs or bringing in drama from the street.”

  • Why Chance the Rapper Loves the Chicago Public Library – Next City (USA). ” Youmedia, a program started in the city’s public library system in 2009. It’s been a critical stepping-stone for all of their rising careers. But more importantly, it has helped to provide guidance for thousands of other creatives, programmers and makers from Chicago’s underserved communities. Youmedia operates teen learning spaces in 11 Chicago Public Library locations, including a 5,500-square-foot hub in the Harold Washington Library Center.” … “Youmedia locations had around 31,000 visits last year from around 4,000 users from all over the city. Bannon says that on average teens travel a distance of five miles to come to the Harold Washington Library Center, and that the program has grown largely through word of mouth. “.  Project “is being replicated in 30 cities across the country”

“The program helps teens build digital media skills through an approach dubbed “HOMAGO,” an acronym for “hanging out, messing around, and geeking out.” The spaces have designated zones for socializing, new media discovery and cultivating hobbies into full-fledged careers.”

UK local news by authority

  • Barnet – Protesters storm council chamber during Barnet Borough Council meeting over library cuts – This is Local London. “Protesters stormed the council chamber and called on the Mayor of Barnet to resign during a debate on halting library cuts. The meeting descended into chaos after opposition Labour councillors called for a halt to £2.85m cuts to Barnet Borough Council’s libraries and a new consultation on the service’s future at the authority’s budget meeting last night. Dozens of library campaigners, trade unionists and other activists had gathered outside Hendon Town Hall before the meeting, waving books and placards and shouting for the libraries to be saved.” … “Councillors were also presented with a petition signed by more than 9,000 people opposing library cuts by campaigner Alasdair Hill. Mr Hill told the chamber: “Libraries are the temples of civic society. They go beyond books.” see also Campaigners protest over library closure plans – Barnet and Whetstone Press.
  • Barnet – Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant MP visits Golders Green Library – Times series. “A shadow minister accused the Government of a “dereliction of duty” over library closures during a visit to Golders Green. Shadow Culture Minister Chris Bryant visited Golders Green Library yesterday with Sarah Sackman, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, to discuss the future of the borough’s libraries. The Labour frontbencher claimed that more than one in ten libraries had closed since 2010, which amounted to a “dereliction of duty” from the Government.”
  • Bolton – ‘Libraries are vital to this country,’ says award-winning crime writer during visit to Bolton – Bolton News. Anne Cleves says “This country earns £8 million an hour from its creative industries and the arts. “Cutting funding to libraries is like wanting people to go into manufacturing, but not teaching physics in schools.”
  • Bristol – Bristol mayor George Ferguson opposed by deputy over libraries – BBC. “Bristol City Council needs to slash £1.1m from its library budget by 2016-17 and 40 jobs are under threat. Mayor George Ferguson approves of the plans, but his deputy Geoff Gollop, said it does not reflect users’ wishes. The plans are part of a continuing consultation into the future of the city’s library service. Following a council cabinet meeting where he voted against the plans, Mr Gollop said people have been consulted about the library service, but “no one has been asked whether the libraries should close”.”
  • Bristol – Libraries They are now out of date and they need to go – Bristol Post. “my seven-year-old grandson’s confidence in the use of an iPod confirms my opinion of just how anachronistic public libraries are.”
  • Bristol – Reader’s letter: We fear that libraries’ consultation is a sham – Bristol Post. “Can I just say that it is astonishing to see energetic campaigns to save Bristol Libraries by the same two local parties – the Lib Dems and the Conservatives – who as a coalition government have delivered such severe cuts to local government budgets”
  • Bristol – Threat to close seven Bristol libraries is bonkers says one regular userBristol Post. A look at one of the threatened libraries, the work that it does and the consultation process.
  • Bromley – For Sale: Chislehurst Library – Meridian (received via email) “The future of Chislehurst Library will finally be decided following news that Bromley Council has put the freehold up for sale.  This follows cuts of £300,000 from the Council’s library service in the 2014/15 budget.  Commercial and residential options will be considered but prospective developers will have to incorporate a library into the exisitng site or provide a new library on an alternative site.  Alison Stammers, chairwoman of the Chislehurst Town Team said: “After years of uncertainty regarding the future of the library, we are looking forward to moving towards a decision.”  She added: “With 6 local libraries already scheduled for closure, we do appreciate that this way the Council will be safeguarding our library’s future.”  The closing date for offers is 22 April and it is hoped a decision will be made by June.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Library hours could be cut in budget cuts – Get Bucks. £270k cut. “The plan – reducing opening hours between 5.5 and 8.5 hrs a week – affects only the county-run branch libraries at Aylesbury, Amersham, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Marlow, Micklefield and Princes Risborough.  Comments can be made via the County Council’s Have Your Say web page www.buckscc.gov.uk/haveyoursay or in writing at all libraries. “
  • Cambridgeshire – Cambridge library plans for £600K enterprise centre BBC. “Plans for a £600,000 enterprise centre at Cambridge Central Library are being recommended for approval by councillors. Cambridgeshire County Council is looking at teaming up with private firm Kora to create the centre. It would be on the third floor of the library and would work with the council’s career advice service.”

“Cambridge Central Library would be the first public library in the UK to provide access to Kora’s international network benefitting local communities and attracting international interest. Central Library would provide a ‘proof of concept’ for the model that could be extended to other sites in the county in future.” Council report.

“The phrase “Library Enterprise Centre” is evocative of places like Manchester’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre, but what the proposal consists of in reality is subletting one third of the library to the Regus Group, a multinational corporation that lets office space in prime locations for profit. It’s unclear how exactly this will “support employment prospects and small local businesses”, who are unlikely to be able to afford their rates. The proposal also means that Central Library will lose: much of its stock, with the remainder having to be accommodated on two floors only; the meeting rooms that are currently used for its free events, for the library’s many reading groups to meet, and which are hired out to community groups at affordable rates; and the cafe on the third floor, which is very popular, particularly among older library users. The cafe’s Pensioners’ Special Menu makes it one of the most affordable places in Central Cambridge, and its presence plays a considerable role in making the library a true community space. 

Not all of the news is bad (we welcome, for example, the proposed Maker Space, and also the possible refurbishment of the rest of the library), but, once again, we feel that library users are being misled by the way the information is being presented. This is in addition to the fact that all the above links have been buried on the County Council’s website, and that the library service itself is not posting them on any of its social media platforms, where interested parties would be likely to see them. It feels like the bare minimum legal requirements of transparency are being met, but in practice the bulk of the proposals are being hidden from people until it’s to late for them to have their say.” “Library Involunteers” by email.

  • Camden – Camden library room hires set to be hiked 600% – Ham and High. “This includes tripling the price of hiring the atrium in Swiss Cottage Library on weeknights from £35 to £140 and quadrupling the cost of hiring an office in Kentish Town Library on weeknights from £35 to £180. From April 1, Holborn Library will begin charging £350 for the hire of its fourth floor event space on weekend evenings, more than six times higher than its current price (£45). Cllr Theo Blackwell, cabinet member for finance and technology policy, said: “We have got a £73m gap to fill [over the next three years] and the council went out and asked people if we could raise money from library spaces. “Overwhelmingly people said if it contributes to keeping libraries open they are prepared to see it happen. No one has complained.””
  • Coventry – Alan Gibbons interview -Youtube. Alan argues against a director of the Adam Smith Institute.
  • Coventry – Coventry council leader Lucas’s attack on ‘middle class’ was ‘disrespectful’ – Coventry Observer. “Speaking with the Coventry Observer, Coun Blundell said a large number of Coventry people considered themselves to be middle class, or aspired to be middle class. He said they were entitled to oppose proposed Labour council cuts to services such as libraries, which Labour council leaders themselves have said they could be forced to impose, whichever party or parties form the next government.” … “He accused her of effectively attacking many of his constituents who signed a petition against the potential closure of Finham Library, which provided a range of crucial community services for people from all backgrounds. Coun Blundell added that ruling Labour councillors had publicly mooted closing libraries and most council services in most communities under their ‘City Centre First’ proposal, and had still not identified which might close from next year.”
  • Coventry – Tile Hill Library campaigner – “Why I fought to save our libraries” – Coventry Socialists. “On Monday 23rd February scores of protestors held a “read-in” at Coventry Council House to protest at the councils proposals to close libraries in the city.” … “It’s thanks to Libraries and adult education classes that I learned how to read and write and got diagnosed with Dyslexia aged 25. So when I heard of the threatened closures I knew I had to get involved and started the “Save Tile Hill Library” petition, taking it in to every shop on Jardine Crescent. By standing with a stall in Tile Hill, and thanks to the shops support in having the petition, it has gained further support and well over 1000 signatures.”
  • Devon – Innovative plans to safeguard Devon’s library service – Devon Council. “Plans to set up a new independent organisation to run Devon’s libraries have been unveiled. The new community-owned ‘mutual’ would be commissioned by Devon County Council to run the library service on its behalf. Similar models are successfully running library services in other parts of the country and saving council taxpayers’ money.” … “in response to overwhelming support from communities prepared to work more closely with their local libraries, the council is now looking to set up an independent, community led organisation to continue to deliver an affordable, sustainable and innovative library service that keeps the community at its heart.”

“As well as the considerable budget savings, members of Devon County Council’s Cabinet will hear on Wednesday (11th March) that a new independent organisation will also offer a number of other benefits for both the future running of the library service and the wider County Council. These include greater control over running costs, accessing new funding sources, freedom to innovate and develop services to generate income, flexible staffing, a more concentrated focus and greater opportunities to engage more directly with customers, communities and partners.”

  • Devon – “Mutual” approach for Devon libraries – Express and Echo. “The new community-owned ‘mutual’ would be commissioned by Devon County Council to run the library service on its behalf. The authority has already shaved £3 million off its library service budget over the past three years, and aims to save a further £1.5 million by April 2016. Despite the cuts no library has closed in Devon.”
  • Dudley -Libraries top of cultural experiences – Stourbridge News. “Aimed at exploring how people experience art and culture, the survey showed libraries scored the highest, followed by theatre, art galleries and museums. The survey took place during a 24 hour period and took its findings from 2,303 people from across the area. When asked about their participation in the arts, 72 per cent of those surveyed said they read a book in the 24 hour period, while just more than half watched a television drama.” … “This positive news follows the fantastic results showing an increase in library use, which is reaching up to almost 23,000 people visiting Dudley borough libraries each week. ”
    Isle of Wight – Further cuts to library service – Isle of Wight County Press. “Saving money by moving the headquarters store at Cowes into Newport’s Lord Louis Library cuts the space available to the public there by half. What we’re left with is a ‘main’ library that is actually smaller than several of the branch libraries across the water in Portsmouth. The most obvious casualty is the reading room — which many would regard as a core facility.”
  • Kirklees – 3000 have a say on future of Kirklees library service as museums come under the spotlight – Huddersfield Daily Examiner.  Councillor says he “understood why the library service “was something dear to the hearts of people”. He has been touring libraries and speaking to groups keen to save the service and is due to visit libraries in south Kirklees soon. Later this week he will also visit York libraries to learn more about the community trust model to see if it’s something Kirklees Council should explore.”
  • Lambeth – 10 things that are wrong with the Culture2020 proposals for libraries – Herne Hill Forum. Many issues including “They will create a £10m endowment fund from the sales of the Minet and Waterloo libraries, to “promote literacy and the love of reading”. This fund is supposed to replace the library budget for the 3 libraries (including the Carnegie) whose council funding will be stopped in 2016. But nowhere is it stated that the fund will actually be ringfenced for these libraries. Instead it will “support charities, social enterprises and community groups in Lambeth” and “the closures and withdrawals of library services will leave large areas of Lambeth without any library service, requiring Herne Hill or Vassall residents to travel to Brixton to access a Lambeth library. In the Friends of Carnegie survey of 2800 local households, 40% of respondants said they would stop using libraries altogether if the Carnegie closed.”
  • Leicestershire – Community groups for libraries in Leicestershire step up – Burton Mail. “Richard Blunt, cabinet member for libraries, said: “I appreciate that some groups have not expressed an interest yet, so we’re going to carry out further work to encourage them to come forward. I’m confident that local groups know how best to make their libraries the vibrant heart of their community.”
  • Leicestershire – Villagers set to take over their library – Hinckley Times. “Volunteers in Market Bosworth are pressing ahead with plans to take over the village library amid county council cutbacks. The steering group behind the project has submitted and had accepted a formal register of interest and work is now ongoing into preparing an outline business plan. This must be sent in to Leicestershire County Council by March 13 with a decision as to its viability expected in April.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire County Council to improve online library service – Lincolnite. “Lincolnshire County Council’s online management system Discover Libraries will be in place from March 19 with a new look and feel.”
  • A five day transition period will be in place from March 14-18 so that the council can make the necessary adjustments.
  • The council is extending the return date for items due back during this period to April 15.
  • Northamptonshire – ‘Thriving’ Northampton library praised by culture minister who says donation scheme is a great idea Northants Herald and Post. “Mr Vaizey toured the Weston Favell Centre library this morning (Thursday) with Northamptonshire County Council chief executive Dr Paul Blantern and Northampton North MP Michael Ellis to find out more about the work of Northamptonshire libraries. During the visit, which fittingly comes on World Book Day, he was introduced to a wide range of services for adults and children at the library – such as after school homework classes, lessons in how to use computers and book clubs.”

“”Libraries are constantly evolving and we can’t leave them stuck in the past. Computers and access to internet have now become as important a function to libraries as books on shelves. “But also a thriving library like this one at Weston Favell is a library service that offers a whole range of community services. You can come in here now and apply for council services, if you’re engaged in adult education, if you’re a parent with your children who are learning to read and plenty more. “Obviously books will always remain the core of libraries, and there are great places to study and read. Every library should have a space to have a quiet contemplation. But they are also busy places it’s quite rightly that parents can come in here with their kids in the day and start to build their love of reading, so in order to do that I think we have got to be allowed to play about and make some noise.”” Ed Vaizey

  • Northern Ireland – Government funding cut for Northern Ireland – BookTrust. “Booktrust are very disappointed to announce that the Northern Ireland government will no longer be funding the Bookstart programme. Up to 50,000 babies and children could miss out on the Bookstart packs, which are given to babies aged 0-1 and children aged 3-4.” … “The new system will use Open+ self-service technology, currently used in libraries in Leeds and London, which will enable people to access libraries for 383 hours per week as opposed to the current 261. Staffed hours would be reduced from the current 261 to 149.”
  • Peterborough – Just three weeks left to comment on changes to Peterborough libraries – Peterborough Today. “Originally the new model would have saved £350,000 in a full year. However, at the Cabinet meeting on 23 February 2015 councillors agreed to recommend to Council that £45,000 is put back into the libraries budget, reducing the saving to £305,000. “
  • Poole – Bookworms celebrate as first community library opens in Poole – Bournemouth Echo. Bearwood Community Library “Borough of Poole library staff have been working with a team of dedicated volunteers to set up the new library, an initiative to replace the ageing mobile library, which last December was reprieved until the middle of this year.  The library is being run by the community centre and its volunteers, opening every Wednesday morning between 10.15am and 12.30pm.”
  • Powys – 19 – Jayne Evans, Hay-on-Wye – 23 Librarians. “I am the Branch Librarian at Hay-on-Wye Library, which is no ordinary joint because there is a little annual festival held down the road and there are a few bookshops about the place. Hay has a population of about 1400, and many of  our users live in the surrounding villages in Powys and Herefordshire” … “Naturally folk feel positive when they come to the library because we are seen as enablers, which is a great basis for any relationship.”

“although we count ourselves as very privileged to be able to meet some of the most famous people in the universe I would have to say that the best part of our job is the community aspect. To watch my colleague Paul gently and sensitively help a very vulnerable woman to fill in her Blue Badge Form is worth all the words in Proust. To welcome the young women who now come here on their own after visiting here with their school is a privilege. To be able to give some small comfort to someone whose partner has just died is just a basic human kindness.”

  • Somerset – Somerset libraries measures to save £472,000 a year – Somerset County Gazette. “Free wi-fi and computer usage and an extra £10,000 a year for outreach library services are among changes being made to Somerset’s Library Service. The initiatives, approved by Somerset County Council’s cabinet today (Monday, March 2), will help save £472,000 in the year from April.”
  • Somerset – Somerset mobile libraries cut as services handed to volunteers – Western Daily Press. “Mobile library services in Somerset are to be cut back from August, with “a number” of stops amalgamated or withdrawn. The Home Library Service will be handed responsibility for 17 stops at sheltered and residential housing, with the county council increasing its budget by £10,000. The savings as a result of the cuts will contribute to an overall reduction in the council budget of £472,000. Groups wishing to use the Performing Arts Library in Yeovil will also have to pay a subscription.”
  • South Gloucestershire – New campaign to get people in South Gloucestershire reading is launched – Gazette Series. “Through South Gloucestershire Council’s Time 4 Reading scheme, the council is challenging people to take five minutes out of their day to read and talk about books … For more information visit www.southglos.gov.uk/time4reading”.

“As a child reading didn’t come easily to me, and this turned me away from books for a long time. Today my shelves are full and books are a huge part of my life. I find something a bit miraculous about them – these perfectly portable, no-batteries-required objects that we can pick up for free in our local library, and that might just change the way we think about something forever. South Gloucestershire Council’s campaign to encourage and support people of all ages to read for just a short while each day, and to share the books they love, is a wonderful initiative. It will truly enrich people’s lives.” Nathan Filer

  • South Tyneside – The Word is on the street – South Tyneside.info. “‘The Word’ has been revealed as the name of the new library and digital media centre which will be the jewel in the crown of the £100 million regeneration of South Shields town centre. The state-of-the-art facility will be a regional centre inspired by all aspects of the written word. The three-storey building, being built on the town’s Market Place, will celebrate the Borough’s literary heritage.”
  • Southampton – Just days left for campaign to save Southampton libraries – Daily Echo. “So far more than 3,000 people have responded to consultation on the proposals, which ends on Friday, and civic chiefs have urged more people to have their say. “
  • Stoke on Trent / Staffordshire – Do libraries have a future in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire? – Stoke Sentinel. “Trentham Reads is one of 10 community libraries which have been launched by volunteers in the Potteries. Stoke-on-Trent City Council closed down Trentham Library as part of budget cuts last year, but residents have set up a replacement service, using stock supplied by the authority, at Trentham Mews Medical Centre. Ann George, organiser of Trentham Reads, believes the success of the service shows people do still love libraries. She said: “It’s going very well. We’ve got well over 70 customers now and so we’ve had to order more books from the library service. Last Thursday we were rushed off our feet.”
  • Sunderland – New chapter for Sunderland library building – Sunderland Echo.  Library “closed following budget cuts to the public purse – could soon be turned into an office for a media company. “
  • Thurrock – Job losses expected as part of library cuts – Thurrock Gazette. “Documents made available online by Thurrock Council ahead of next week’s cabinet meeting confirm that the authority are looking to “reduce staffing costs” at a number of the borough’s nine libraries by introducing more volunteer workers. The documents also suggest that the one proposal being looked at is relocating the Thameside library in Orsett Road, Grays, to the Civic Offices. “
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Shake-up of library services given the go-ahead – Barry and District News. “Campaignershave failed in their bid to halt radical changes to library services after the Vale Council announced final plans for community led facilities today. Following a public consultation last year, the Vale Council announced a timetable for implementing plans to ‘safeguard the future of library services’. Opening hours will change and community groups are invited to help run Dinas Powys, Rhoose, St Athan, Wenvoe and Sully following Vale residents’ endorsement of the strategy to reshape library services.”
  • West Lothian – Chapter closes on mobile libraries – Linlithgow Gazette. “The council’s budget cuts are starting to bite with news this week that West Lothian is set to axe its mobile library service. Customer demand for the mobile library van service is low which makes the cost of delivering the existing service unsustainable in the current financial climate.”