A big thank you to Post Lib for allowing me to publish their article which includes statements from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens on public libraries.  Since my last post, UKIP and the Lib Dems have published their manifestos.  UKIP barely mention libraries (apart from noting that they’re run by local councils) but the Lib Dems have more to say:

“Complete broadband rollout to every home, and create an innovation fund to help keep local GPs, post offices and local libraries open … Develop the Community Budgets model for use in rural areas to combine services, encouraging the breaking down of barriers between different services. This will help rural services like GP surgeries, pharmacies, post offices and libraries open by enabling them to cooperate, share costs and co-locate in shared facilties … Support local libraries and ensure any libraries under threat of closure are offered first for transfer to the local community” Liberal Democrat Manifesto

To my embarrassment, I had not noticed that the Greens decided to publish their manifesto as a non-searchable image file rather than as a PDF like the other parties.  I therefore missed their statements on libraries (because they did not show up using CTRL-F).  Their full statements are below:

“We need to improve the way the UK is governed, passing power back to the people, back to where they live and work. Local councils have been starved of the funds they need to do their job. That is why requests for social care go unheeded, libraries are shut and public parks neglected …” under Localisation

“Increase government arts funding by £500 million a year to restore the cuts made since 2010 and reinstate proper levels of funding for local authorities, helping to keep local museums, theatres, libraries and art galleries open.” under Media,Sports and the Arts

“We were treated to post-election surprises such as increased VAT and huge cuts to essential public services such as benefits, libraries, children’s centres and mental health support. By contrast, the Green Party produced a worked-out financial plan in its 2010 manifesto.” Chapter 16 Green Party Manifesto

Away from the election, Enfield (Labour) has announced major cuts to libraries while Trafford (Conservative) have confirmed closure of two with significant cuts to others.




  • Exciting operating models – Leon’s Library Blog. Tweet by Paul Blantern (chief of the English Libraries Task Force) spotted: “Paul Blantern really great conference in Nottingham today looking at many of the exciting operating models that now exist libraries in England” … “Among the many exciting operating models I presume are Lincolnshire, which is hell-bent on handing over 68% of libraries to volunteers despite a judicial review and the threat of a second. Sheffield, which has given over 46% of its libraries to volunteers, Coventry, which is suggesting reducing its libraries from 17 to 5, a decrease of 70%, and Staffordshire, which is proposing 50% of it libraries are run by community groups. To name but a few”
  • General Election 2015 – Vote Libraries – Voices for the Library. “We all know how badly our libraries have been hit over the past five years, the extent to which cuts from central government have hurt our public library service. This election is vital on so many levels and, of course, it provides an opportunity to hold our elected politicians to account for their actions over the course of the last parliament.”.  Includes links to library manifesto and posters to promote conversation about libraries with canvassers.
  • General Election 2015 and Public Libraries: statements from Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems on libraries – Public Libraries News / Post-Lib. Full statements from Ed Vaizey, his shadow Chris Bryant, the Greens and Lib Dems on public libraries plus all mentions of libraries in the relevant manifestos. See also Labour slams coalition’s ‘legacy of boarded-up libraries’ – BookSeller.


  • How public libraries can help 120 million illiterate young people – EIFL (EU). “According to UNESCO, illiteracy among youth stands at an estimated 122 million, and there are 67.4 million children out of school. These young people face futures of poverty and exclusion in a world in which success depends on literacy. For many generations, in addition to book lending, public libraries have been offering free services that promote and develop literacy. These services include the more traditional  ones that most of us know about and have experienced – like storytime for toddlers; book clubs and reading days; family literacy sessions; reading classes for adults; special courses for people with dyslexia and other forms of reading disability, and providing a safe space for children to practice their literacy skills away from the pressures of the school environment …”
  • Jeffco Public Library Lego clubs growing in popularity among kids – Denver Post (USA). “Begun in mid-2013 at the Conifer Library, the Lego days have been growing in popularity in recent months, and now most of Jefferson County’s libraries are participating. Amy Beebe, library supervisor at the Edgewater Library, said the program started there in December. The library received its toy sets via donations, mostly from two men in their 20s giving up their Legos. The program started on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, but Beebe said it was confusing and kids were showing up on off weeks hoping to play, so she made it a weekly occurrence. It’s been a hit so far, averaging about 25 kids per week.”
  • New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries – ALA (USA). ” According to The State of America’s Libraries Report released today by the American Library Association (ALA), academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.”
  • Telling Stories with Games at Your Library – OCLC (USA). “Storytelling games are a natural fit for a library. A library, itself, is a collection of stories. They are in the books, the movies, the media. They inhabit the meeting rooms, the social spaces, the computers. People meet, create and imbue a library with stories. So let us talk about storytelling games. In a storytelling game, one of the main mechanisms is for the players to creatively craft (sometimes) disparate narrative elements into a cohesive story. Perhaps symbols on a die roll need to be interpreted to make sense. Maybe cards are played that need to be linked together with a similar narrative arc. Maybe you do this to score points or race to the finish. Maybe you just want to watch the show and story unfold. Or maybe you just like to watch the world burn …”
  • The world’s best public library to be awarded prize – Kulturstyrelsen (Denmark / Global). “Applications are once again open for the prize for world’s best public library.  And, in 2015, the Danish Agency for Culture will again have the honour of handing out the “Public Library of the Year Award” – this year, with a new sponsor: the IT firm Systematic, which is donating $US 5,000. The prize is given to a library somewhere in the world that has been newly constructed or designed for a building that has not previously been used as a library and which meets the criteria for the Model Programme for Public Libraries.”

Local news by authority

“Pens and books are the weapons that defeat terrorism,” said Malala Yousafzai in her opening speech for the huge £188m Library of Birmingham in 2013.  So it’s a worry that it will now only open for six hours at weekends thanks to cost-cutting, putting the impressive landmark building at the heart of a political row. There will be no more Sunday opening and weekday hours are also being cut.  It’s all a long way from 2013, when the library was hailed as proof that the future for public libraries was “not all doom and gloom”. Library chiefs on Birmingham city council claim their predecessors massively underestimated the running costs.  Of course, one way the library could have saved money would have been to avoid spending £1.2m, plus a £190,000 annual support fee, to Capita’s ghastly Service Birmingham just for its website” Birmingham – Private Eye – Issue No. 1390 (p.29)

  • Denbighshire – 18 – Kara Orford, Denbighshire Libraries – 23 Librarians. “The inspiring stuff? The things that still make me happy every morning to get out of bed and drive to work? Children’s stock purchasing for the county is one area of my responsibility, as is the programming of community reading groups in the libraries that I manage. We have several reading groups, a Chatterbooks group and a Carnegie Medal focussed reading group that I run at the nearby high school. If ever I am having a bad day, an hour spent with any of those groups will soon turn my mood around and remind me why I love my job. I schedule and lead class visits to the library on a regular basis (a real boost to issues and membership that I spend a lot of my time pursuing) I am also often found visiting school assemblies or classes to promote our service and try to instil that all important love of reading for pleasure.”

“After a decade of loving my work, it is hard coming to terms with the fact that progression is less and less likely as each year passes. Posts are deleted and jobs just aren’t advertised anymore. This can be frustrating when I see friends from university working in the private sector who are on the up and up. One thing’s for sure, nobody is a librarian because they want to be rich. We do it because we love it and we believe fervently in what we do. If I can’t work in libraries forever, I know one thing for certain, I won’t regret a second of the time I have spent in them” Kara Orford

  • Durham – Block self-harm websites on council PCs – report – Advertiser. “The study also suggests computers in council-run buildings such as libraries should block access to social chat websites focused on self-harm.”
  • Enfield – Mobile libraries might face axe in round of funding cuts – North London Today. “In the draft library development strategy, officers have summarised findings from the consultation that took place between November last year and February 2015. Now councillors will have to decide where the axe should fall. One of the options detailed in the report involves “bringing to an end the mobile library service and explore providing an expanded, volunteer-led home delivery service for the homebound” … four libraries would remain as “flagship” seven-days-per-week open libraries but “The remaining, smaller libraries would be removed from local authority control and given “community library” status and would be run by groups or volunteers, rather than the council. Officers say that results from the consultation process showed “general support” for “community libraries” and add that they [the officers] should be given the go-ahead to start talks with volunteers and organisations who could take over the majority of smaller libraries.”
  • Flintshire – Petitions’ bid to save libraries in Flintshire News North Wales. “Petitions carrying more than 1,000 signatures have been handed into Flintshire Council in a bid to safeguard libraries in Hawarden and Mancot. And following a closed public consultation event on Tuesday night in Hawarden fresh fears have been raised for the future of Flintshire’s famous Record Office. Flintshire Council maintains its stance that the libraries in Hawarden and Mancot, as well as Queensferry, will not be closed but moved to a ‘library hub’ at Deeside Leisure Centre. The move will cost £130,000.”

“I am writing as co-Chair of Friends of Meltham Library group.  No decision has been made as to the future of Meltham Library as yet.  We are waiting for publication of the consultation report as consultation has only just ‘closed’. We will not accept a volunteer led Library Service as we do not believe this will meet either Kirklees obligations or the needs of the users of Meltham Library.  We know there are going to be cuts but are fighting for a ‘volunteer supported’ model in Meltham so that we can retain the support of Kirklees Library service and the professionals that work within it.” Kirklees – Friends of Meltham Library Group

Campaigner and former head teacher Julie Harrison has issued a statement on the latest activities by the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign group: ‘Our position is that we are exploring the possibility of launching further legal action. However we are exploring not only action against the Council but also against the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport who seem blind to the effect of cuts by councils crippled by central government cuts. DCMS’s decision to accept the complaint by Maurice Nauta but then be minded not to set up an enquiry is a disgrace. We are submitting further evidence and considering our options.” Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries

  • Nottingham – Library and housing office in Broxtowe to close ahead of £5m joint service centre redevelopment – Nottingham Post. “A joint service centre is due to open in spring 2017, featuring a new library, improved IT equipment, information desk for council and housing services, meeting rooms and an outdoor area. Stepney Court, a 28-home independent living complex behind Aspley housing office that was built in the 1970s, will also be redeveloped into a similar scheme with 31 upgraded modern flats above the centre. Ahead of demolition work, Strelley Road Library will close on Saturday <18/4> at 1pm and the Nottingham City Homes (NCH) housing office will close on Friday, April 24.” … “A reduced afternoon library service will be available from Monday to Wednesday at nearby Broxtowe Children’s Centre, while there will be a drop-box at the Co-op for returning books. Library groups will be held at the Sheila Russell Centre, in St Martin’s Road, while computer access and after school clubs will be available at the Broxtowe Education, Skills and Training (BEST) in Denton Green.”
  • Suffolk – Readers unable to judge a book by its cover with library’s new ‘blind’ book project – Ipswich Star. “Rosehill Library in Ipswich launched the project shortly before Easter, with 15 books wrapped in plain white packaging with only the first line of the story and the genre of book for readers to see. Sarah Watt, 23, a branch assistant at the library came up with the project, and has been thrilled with its progress so far. She said: “People are really enjoying it. Some are not sure about it at first but people would like to take the plunge, and because it’s a library book you can just return it if you don’t like it.”
  • Trafford – Changes to Trafford Library Service – Trafford Council. “Following two periods of public consultation and Trafford Council Executive decision on 25 March 2015 a number of changes will be taking place within Trafford Libraries. Here is an overview of the changes with current target dates; this page will be updated regularly.”: Bowfell will close 27 April, Davyhulme will close 3 May, Woodsend fewer staff but Open+ may maintain hours, Lostock will transfer to college (school library with public access), Coppice will be transferred to BlueSCI mental health and wellbeing group, Timperley will reduce in size and be part of GP surgery, Hale will be sold to private developer who will need to maintain library for two years.