I get tired of writing about libraries occasionally so it’s great that I sometimes get sent people’s thoughts that I can publish.  The one below is a rather wonderful letter (I’ve transcribed it, keeping in the original spelling and grammar) from a ten year old girl to her pro-library grandfather.  It’s a bit of a gem.  Enjoy.

“Dear Grandad

Below, I have written a letter attempting to to persuade the government and county council to keep librarys going. xxx

Critics of libarys have had the idea to demolish the treasure trove of books, causing hundreds of people to be sad or / and angry. This would destroy some hapiness for all the community – Mothers, Fathers, babies, children and senior citizens. For these reasons, it has come to the attention of many people why libarys should be kept alive.

Many critics would argue that children no longer need books or enjoy them and are much more intrested in gadgets. However, without books, children’s literacy levels would shoot down. So therefore books help childrens spelling and vocabulary. In addition to this, children discover lots of new facts and information from books, and it is impossible to argue with the fact that they cannot learn of the information they need from their own books at home. If a child was collecting a series of books, they can find a new one that have not brought yet in the library for free.

Although some people against the idea may say no-one goes in the library any more so there is no point in it, it is a well known fact that it is commonly used as a meeting point. It is a safe point and is useful for preparing children in year 5 and 6 for there next school, as they will be used to walking with friends and by themselves. Furthermore, older children can arrange to meet their friends by it, as everyone knows where the library is, because it is a safe environment to be in.

Even though critics argue that it lies unused by teenagers who are uninterested by books, that is untrue. It is obvious that librarys have computers that teenagers can use for homework if they do have one at home. Moreover, teenagers would enjoy watching the range of films that the library holds. Because of this, it is clear that teenagers do enjoy libarys.

In conclusion, the points about keeping libraries open are more powerful and compelling then the points against. Therefore why do we have to close out wonderful librarys, when they do not cost much and are part of our community? Can you imagine having to get rid of a member of your team? Therefore it is obvious that we must keep our libarys open!

I also recommend reading the article on the “Real Purpose of Libraries” by the wonderful Scott Bonner below.  It’ll set you up for the week.


  • Exchequer gains from health benefits of the arts, report suggests – Arts Professional. “People who engage in the arts as an audience member, visit heritage sites, libraries or museums, or participate in sports are more likely to report good health, saving significant amounts of money from the public purse, according to a new report. The latest analysis of the value of the health and educational benefits of sport and culture also found that young arts participants aged 16 to 18 are more likely to go on to further or higher education, bringing financial benefits to the economy through increased tax receipts.”
  • Help for museum and library access in Wales – BBC. “Museums, archives and libraries across Wales will benefit from almost £2.7m of Welsh government funding to help ensure they are accessible to all. The money will include £1m to modernise seven public libraries in a bid to make them community hubs. The funding will also be used to increase the number of visitors to museums and libraries, particularly from more deprived areas.”
  • What have they done to my library? – Times / Caitlin Moran. “I went up and saw some of the austerity last month. I hadn’t intended to – I was just visiting my old home town – but I ended up in my local library: the one I lived in between the ages of 5 and 15. And there, in the library, was some austerity. A visible thing. Something you could mark on a map” … “”Everything had gone. All that was left were racks of Andy McNab and erotica” … “This is a tactic we must all grow furious about. That when something cannot be axed straightaway – because it is important, because it is loved, because people protest – that thing is then starved or bled until it is a weak, mutant ghost. Until no one wishes to defend it. Until no one can defend it, becase all the words they could have learnt and used are now heaped up by the door, for sale.””


  • Manitowoc Library holds edible book contest Saturday – HTR News (USA). “The Manitowoc Public Library is hosting its second annual Edible Book Festival on Saturday as part of National Library Week where participants create an artistic piece representing a book of their choosing. The catch? Each piece has to be made of only edible ingredients.”
  • Metro Money: Growing Number of New Yorkers Are Using the Library for Office Space – Wall Street Journal (USA). “App designer Jay Collins loves his free office space. The building features fireplaces, hardwood floors, oversize windows and oak bookcases. The Wi-Fi is excellent. The research facilities, superb. The location? Staten Island’s Port Richmond Library.”
  • Million dollar donation for new public library – New Talk 770 (Canada). “TD Bank deputy chair Frank McKenna today presented the Calgary Public Library Foundation with a million dollar cheque. McKenna says one of the best ways the bank can help make a difference in communities is by making an investment in reading and overall literacy. The library says the money has the power to help transform the library and generations of readers. A reading room at the new central library opening in 2018 will be named the TD Great Reading Room.”
  • New Orleans’s Once-destroyed Public Libraries a Strong and Necessary Component of Civic Infrastructure – NPQ (USA). “City Councilman Jason Williams equated a good library system with good crime prevention and told the Library Board chairman, “Closed doors on a library are closed minds.” Other public servants and their extended families championed the libraries as fundamental asset in the fight against illiteracy.”
  • The Real Purpose of Libraries, by Ferguson Library Director Scott Bonner – Reading Rainbow (USA). “Libraries are the public institutions that exist to nurture cultural literacy, lifelong learning, and bringing its community together.” … “Lifelong learning is just what it sounds like – libraries help you learn and improve yourself, from cradle to grave. We pick up before and after vital traditional schooling leaves off. This includes toddler story times and adult book clubs, of course, but also free tutoring, lego parties, science displays, Minecraft building competitions, guided learning courses for history and art and philosophy, computer classes, professional online databases for specialized research, and more. Above all else, we provide librarians – trained professionals who specialize in finding not just any old answer, but the right answer”

“For a community to grow and improve, it has to have a means to come together, someplace safe and welcoming, where no one is trying to sell you something, and no one will look down their nose at you for your class, race, creed, sexual orientation, politics, religion, or pop culture preferences. Libraries are that place”

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – The Library of Birmingham and the wider issues surrounding funding of public libraries – Libraries and Education. “The Library of Birmingham was one of the UK’s top ten tourist attractions in 2014 – and the only one outside London. This would seem to indicate that the fortunes of the library are on the up, but look a little closer and this is revealed to be far from the case. Despite this popularity, the building is in crisis. Since its opening in September 2013, the Library of Birmingham has become increasingly beleaguered, despite such high visitor numbers. Within six months, it was deemed “unfit for purpose” and “farcical” by seething patrons, who found books inaccessible because staff couldn’t reach them. Fast-forward to the end of 2014 – and a squeeze on council resources meant that the flagship library was facing the threat of slashed opening hours and 100 redundancies.” plus looks at national picture … “we must move away from policies determined by a business case that determines whether libraries should be axed or saved. It is the duty of today’s councils, as our civic representatives, to reposition libraries once again as places of inspiration, imagination, education and enfranchisement. But of course, if the branch library is to be not only saved but sustained, the question inevitably arises: what other community services will have to be cut in its place? The Conversation
  • Blaenau Gwent – Blaenau Gwent’s libraries struggling to invest in staff and stock – report – South Wales Argus. “Blaenau Gwent council is currently meeting 6.5 of the nine standards. Its libraries are unable to meet the “acquisitions” standard, as they are only acquiring half the amount of stock needed. The authority also does not meet the standard for staffing levels – but only five local authorities in the whole of Wales do.” … “The net expenditure in Blaenau Gwent on public library provision per 1,000 population was £15,971. “

“The point is, it’s really hard to run a community library. We don’t have the money for acquisitions, so the books are out of date. We don’t have trained staff, so there’s little we can do in terms of helping with research and so on. We don’t have enough staff, so we’re only open 7-8 hours a week. We barely have the money to keep the building upright: it’s an old portacabin, joyously full of asbestos (fortunately still safely intact and sealed). Councils are making a big mistake by handing such an important service over to the community, because no matter how dedicated or enthusiastic, the community lacks resources.” Cardiff – Lisvane Community Library (Comment)

  • Powys -Philistines at the gates – Calmgrove. “To my mind the litmus test of a civilised community is the presence of either a bookshop or a library, preferably both. Whenever I visit a new town or city I can’t help but keep an eye out for a bookshop or, failing that, a local library, because that suggests that the locals value the life of the mind at least as much as branded clothing, a sofa outlet or a supermarket chain …”.  Looks at national libraries scene and trends … to cut a long rambling story short, the upshot is this: despite the advice that one should never volunteer, I found my hand going up to be on a steering committee to draft a constitution for a new group, the Friends of our local library. To resort to cliché, I shall be on a steep learning curve. That’s lifelong learning for you.”

School library news

  • Access & Choice: the importance of libraries – Leon’s Library Blog. Guest post by Barbara Band. “For a developed country, the UK has appalling low literacy levels. One in five children aged 11 years cannot read at the expected level and this figure increases to one in three in disadvantaged areas. Children with low literacy levels will grow into adults with literacy problems, they do not just suddenly become able to read and understand text. This will impact on their job prospects, their health and well-being and, by default, have an economic impact that affects everyone.” … “Access and choice – those are the key words when it comes to engendering a love of reading and improving literacy. Schools and communities without libraries have neither.”
  • As renovations near, Lusher asks, “What will the library of the future look like?” – Uptown Messenger (USA). ““We don’t know what libraries are going to look like in 20 years,” said operations manager Frank Israel. “I don’t know, in 25 years, that it’s going to be a big giant room full of books.” The $140,000 renovation of the Fortier campus library — part of the school’s overall $17.7 million budget for next year, currently under consideration — will include traditional expenses such as shelving and furniture. But Israel said that planning for the project has also included conversations about what form the library will take as ever more education goes digital.”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Local ‘Outstanding School’ Loses Library – HU17. “One of the first casualties of the inevitable cuts that are likely to follow if this continues has been the librarian at the which only recently received a rating of ‘outstanding’ from Ofsted. , Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Beverley and Holderness, who is herself a published author of children’s books, spoke out angrily at the loss of the library, she said; “”Books change students lives. It seems unthinkable that a school of the calibre of is put in a position where it has to close its library and lay off its librarian.””