There are no mentions of public libraries in either the Green or Labour Party Manifestos.  The Conservatives give two or three sentences:

“We will continue to support local libraries. We will help public libraries to support local communities by providing free wi-fi. And we will assist them in embracing the digital age by working with them to ensure remote access to e-books, without charge and with appropriate compensation for authors that enhances the Public Lending Right scheme.” Conservative Party Manifesto

Those who read PLN (and thank you for doing so) will know that this short paragraph hides a multitude of sins but the fact that Labour and (rather shockingly) the Greens don’t mention the sector once is rather shocking, especially given the unprecedented media coverage given to libraries over the last electoral term.




  • Demand 28: Restore and revolutionise public libraries – Demanding the future. Manchester Left Writers guest demand: “We want to be prescriptive about only one thing: They should be split in two, one half strictly silent, another half public and very social, an agora, for debate. Soundproofing technology must be investigated, but they should be places for both silent study and social discourse. Spaces for old and young, writers, researchers and readers of all types, where the lifelong, nutritive absorption of knowledge is encouraged, and Britain’s culture of anti-intellectualism is fought, exactly where it is often the most retrenched: in ‘the local’. “
  • Digital skills, literacy and libraries – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “In recent weeks/months, various reports and announcements in the UK have focused on the essential nature of digital skills and the challenges ahead in order to achieve digital inclusion and digital participation for all. The four items that I’m going to briefly cover here are …”
  • Harsh truth about volunteers – Medley of Extemoranea. Re-posted here due to the 54 comments on this post critical of volunteers.
  • Improbable libraries: unusual places to bury your head in a book… – Guardian. “Regardless of the ultimate fate of the printed book, reports of the imminent death of the library as a physical entity seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Bookless digital public libraries are already starting to appear, the first in San Antonio, Texas, where lines of bookshelves have been replaced by e-readers, computer workstations, laptops and tablets. The simple truth is that, like Roald Dahl’s character Matilda, people like going to libraries. Indeed, going to the library is like getting a pay rise, according to a survey conducted in 2014 by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The survey, which attempted to quantify how happy different activities make us, showed that while dancing and swimming nearly always cheer us up, so does going to the library. The uplift it gives people is apparently equivalent to getting a £1,359 pay rise!”
  • New digital lending option for Public Libraries 3M (press release). “The system offers an experience that makes it easy and enjoyable for borrowers to use library digital lending services. Once they have been issued with their library unique PIN to log in to the 3M Cloud Library service they can choose, check out and read or listen to titles in three ways: Use  smartphones and tablets with  the dedicated 3M Cloud Library apps; via their PCs or Macs; or, Side-load on to their Nook, Sony or Kobo dedicated e-readers. Borrowers will also be able to browse the digital collection in libraries themselves by using 3M’s Discovery Stations, full-sized interactive touch-screens that enable users to select and check out eBooks or eAudiobooks.”
  • Reference Awards and the Walford Award – Information Services Group. “Did you spot the best Reference work of 2014? If you believe you did, why not nominate it for the Information Services Group Reference Awards 2015″ … “Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the world of reference and information services? If you do, why not nominate them for the Information Services Group Walford Award 2015 Nominees can be anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to the world of reference and information services.  Nominations are welcome from anyone who knows and respects the work of the nominee.”
  • Speak Up For Libraries Resource Sheet April 2015 – Speak Up For Libraries. “This resource sheet is for use by existing campaigners, those thinking of setting up a Friends or Library Campaign group, or by anyone with an interest in the UK Public Libraries sector. It lists links to useful information on topics relating to Public Libraries in the UK.”
  • Subversive Librarian Mug Mugs – Cafepress. Michael Moore quote about librarians on a mug for £9.50
  • StoryStarter – Lego. 24 sessions planned out for story-telling with all the lego needed contained within.


  • San Jose Public Library’s Partnership With Ebay, California, USA – New Barnraising (Global). “Jill Bourne, City Librarian, outlines how the Library worked with international corporation eBay to design a new online and app tool for public participation in the traditional Summer Reading Program, and increased involvement to record levels. Jill will describe the process of securing highly skilled volunteers, positioning an organization to attract partners, and the internal assets that are needed to manage these relationships effectively. The app is now being adopted by other U.S. libraries.” http://www.sjpl.org

  • Libraries in the Information Age – Youtube / Commoncraft (USA).
  • No-sleeping rule at public libraries unwelcome change for Edmonton’s homeless – Edmonton Journal (Canada). “It’s hard to get rest at night in a busy shelter, he said. During the day, he walks so much his feet get sore. He goes to the library to “take a load off,” read a book and close his eyes. “If you’re exhausted, you fall asleep. You can’t help it,” he said Monday afternoon, sitting on a comfy chair on the library’s main floor, reading Robb Report magazine. “Where can we go now? There’s no place to go. It’s mean.” Coun. Scott McKeen said the policy change “is a clear reminder that we need some kind of day shelter in Edmonton.””
  • Summer Reading in the Digital Age – Publishers Weekly (USA). “Among the tweaks made to this year’s NYPL Summer Reading Program, instead of emphasizing a list of titles, the 2015 program will emphasize time spent reading. Our goal is to get kids to read for at least 20 minutes every day—more, if we are lucky. If a kid wants to read Rookie magazine on the Web, that’s great. If it is a superhero comic book, go for it. And if it is Stendhal, then thank the heavens and pass the Proust!”

” in 2015, without a captivating, hugely popular new YA bestseller, and with an increasingly pervasive Internet that’s about to encroach into our wristwatches, our summer reading practices felt out of step. This spring our YA librarians have been surveying a world where kids are not drawing up lists of cool books to read, but are instead engaging with smartphones, reading manga, and playing games on tablets and consoles.”

“One prominent Italian librarian painted for me a sad picture of dusty libraries in towns and in the countryside that serve as little more than warehouses for books, where civil servants flip through newspapers during the day, go out for long lunches, and return only to lock up their unvisited, and unloved, buildings.”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Keep Barnet Council services public – 38 Degrees. “I am asking you to stop your outsourcing plans for the following services:
    • Education & Skills and School Meals services • Library Service • Early Years: Children’s Centres • Adult Social Care • Street Scene Services”
  • Birmingham – Tyburn Community Library/Castle Vale Swimming Pool. Birmingham, UK – New Barn-Raising Webinars. “Like many UK local authorities, Birmingham City Council, has had to make substantial spending cuts. The city’s Castle Vale area has recently seen both the library and swimming pools adopted by social enterprises to keep them open – both ‘firsts’ in the city. A local social enterprise, the Castle Vale Tenants and Residents Alliance, has adopted the library and plays a key role in the non-profit established to manage the pool. Judy Tullett, Head of Enterprise and Development at the Alliance, will reflect on lessons from the two transfers and the business plans being put in place to sustain (and improve) the two assets.  http://castlevale.org.uk
  • Cornwall – Cornwall Council upgrade 22 library branches – Bibliotheca. “Cornwall Council, a long-standing Bibliotheca customer since 2006, will be replacing 43 of its existing Bibliotheca self-service kiosks with latest addition to the company’s smartserve™ range – the smartserve™ 1000. The move comes as Cornwall looks to refresh its self-service facilities across its entire estate, further improving the quality and range of services available to its library users and streamlining day-to-day processes for staff.  “

“The collection was originally donated to Flintshire County Libraries in 1952 by E. R. Harries, a former librarian of the county. Flintshire and Clwyd library services then added further stock and the collection now consists in over 2,000 items, representing a significant addition to Bangor’s collection, which is already of major interest to scholars and general readers alike. The Flintshire Harries Arthurian collection also contains some rare early printed books and deluxe editions of the nineteenth-century Arthurian revival. The collection can now be expertly managed and preserved by the University Library and Archive Service, who have existing links with Arthurian scholars and who plan to widely promote the collection . The collection will be accessible to anyone who wishes to read about or study the subject. Details of how to arrange a visit to use the collection will be available on the Flintshire Libraries website after 16th April. To celebrate the arrival of the Collection, the University is hosting a public lecture and exhibition. The public lecture ‘Arthur: the King that Never Left Us’, is to be delivered by Dr Roger Simpson and will take place in Bangor University’s Eric Sunderland Lecture Theatre at 5.00pm on Thursday  16 April. The Exhibition will be on display in the Council Chamber corridor in the University’s Main Building between 13-27 April. These areas are open to the public.” Flintshire – Arthurian Collection (via email)

  • Kent – Campaigners deliver library petition to County Hall – Kent News. “The message to Kent County Council was clear when campaigners delivered 3,772 signatures as part of their ‘save our public libraries’ petition. Over 3,000 of the signatures were collected face-to-face on paper, between March 3 and April 8, providing a snapshot of the strength of feeling in Margate, Sandwich, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Canterbury and Faversham. In addition, 720 people across Kent signed the e-petition hosted on KCC’s website. The petition was organised to fight plans by KCC to hand over control of public libraries to a trust. Campaigners argue that under trust ownership, smaller libraries may be at risk of closure.”
  • Kent – Thousands of children receive lessons on online safety – ITV. “Whilst the visits are predominantly in primary schools, they have also taken place at libraries, Scout and Guide groups, shopping centres and mobile police stations.”
  • Kirklees – Friends of Heckmondwike library hand over 2,300 strong petition to councillor David Sheard  – Examiner. “Friends of Heckmondwike Library gathered 2,300 signatures and presented them to leader of the council and Heckmondwike councillor David Sheard, in a bid to highlight the number of people opposed to its potential closure. They are among several communities Kirklees-wide which are rallying to save library services in the light of government cuts to Kirklees Council’s budget. Sonja Martin , one of the Friends, said: “We have had a lot of support with the petition from businesses as well as churches and mosques which has been great.”
  • Leeds – Activities galore in Leeds libraries – Yorkshire Evening Post. “From Frozen to Minecraft, comics to Lego, there’s a host of family-friendly activities taking place in Leeds libraries this week. Once a place where youngsters would be shushed for making a noise, these fun-packed sessions are helping children see that reading can be fun.”
  • Leicestershire – 19 communities on path to take over their libraries from County Hall – Leicester Mercury. “More than half the 36 community libraries under threat because of County Hall spending cuts are on the road to local control. Nineteen community groups have been given the go-ahead to seek transfer agreements so they can open next year. Further work will be done with the remaining communities which need to amend their plans or register an interest in running their library, to encourage more areas to join in. The call to communities to take over the smaller libraries across Leicestershire was made to help the authority balance its books.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire County Council faces second legal battle – Stamford Mercury. “Save Lincolnshire Libraries is gathering witness statements ahead of another possible challenge to Lincolnshire County Council’s decision.”
  • Northern Ireland – Fears over proposed library cuts – Coleraine Times. “Under new proposals opening hours could be reduced at libraries in Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush … Councillor William McCandless, who is the Party’s East Londonderry Westminster candidate, said: “Modern libraries are about much more than simply borrowing books. They provide a focal point for many communities, assist people to get online and encourage employability. I believe that these proposed cuts to library opening hours, coming so soon after the recent cuts in early years learning are a bridge too far.”
  • Northumberland – Mayor fears for Hexham library’s future – Hexham Courant. “library could be reduced in size, or turfed out of the Queen’s Hall entirely, to accommodate homeless staff from Northumberland County Council, according to town mayor Coun. Terry Robson … Coun. Robson claims the council is holding the Queen’s Hall trustees to ransom with its demands for accommodation there. For the trustees rely on the rental income for the library to help with its running costs.” … “A spokesman for the county council said: “The council’s strategy in Hexham and elsewhere in main towns is to co-locate front facing services, such as libraries, customer information and tourist information, along with the teams which need to be there to deliver them to the public. “
  • Suffolk – Friends of Southwold Library launch third Crime Writers Festival – One Suffolk. “The Friends of Southwold Library are supporting the third ‘Slaughter in Southwold’ crime writers festival in association with Southwold Arts Festival and the Crime Writers Association. The festival takes places on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June at Reydon Village Hall and features a range of well-known local and national crime authors giving talks including Nicci French, Simon Brett, Barbara Nadel, Rory Clements, Kate Rhodes, Penny Hancock, Sarah Hilary and Julia Crouch and Margaret Callow. Slaughter in Southwold was launched in 2013 and in 2014 moved from a one day to weekend event. Last year around 100 people enjoyed the events and over £750 of books by the authors were sold”
  • Wakefield – Upton Library reopens after financial issues – Express series. “The community facility, run by Upton North Elmsall Forum (UNEF), could not meet its running costs after a cheque from Upton Parish Council was delayed. The Waggon Lane library closed on Tuesday, March 31, meaning local youngsters missed a planned Easter activity on April 1. The forum informed families of the cancelled event through Twitter, saying: “Easter event has been cancelled due having to close our doors at short notice over lack of funding. @upton_library.” … “UNEF initially received a share of £100,000 from Wakefield Council but has since been partly funded by grants from Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council. “
  • York – Archive is a gateway to history – Designing Libraries. “The HLF-funded £2 million project includes a new environmentally controlled repository built on top of a single-storey wing of the central library to house York’s priceless 800 year old archives, second only to London in importance. The public areas of the archive have been refurbished, creating new breakout and relaxation space as well as study areas retaining some of the original wooden furniture. A new timber installation in the family history room (formerly a stack store) creates a mezzanine level, allowing two new group study areas. Facilities in the main archive reading room are now used for family history classes as well as school and volunteer groups.” … “The new archive repository sits on top of a single storey wing of York Explore, the Grade II listed Carnegie central library”

School libraries

  • Northeast Wales School Libraries Service – Email (result of email request). “The Service has been run as a partnership between Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire with Conwy as a client.  Wrexham gave notice a year ago that it would be pulling out of the partnership with effect from March 2015.  Subsequently Flintshire and Denbighshire decided that they could not continue to fund us so the decision was made to close the whole service down.  Closure will take place with effect from 31st July 2015.  We ceased supplying resources to Conwy schools at the end of March.”