• Important changes to the Public Library Subsidy scheme – National Archives. From 20th September, Government publications available online will not be eligible for discount in printed form.
  • Manifesto for Libraries for the General Election 2015 – Speak Up For Libraries. “This is a once-in-five-years chance to make sure central government understands that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for the work of local councils, and for national agendas such as ‘Digital by Default’ – and deeply valued by local residents and the nation as a whole.” Includes six manifesto points.
  • Poorer children fall behind in literacy and earn less in later life, study says – Guardian. “Campaigners call for all nurseries to have an early-years trained graduate as children from disadvantaged families often fall behind at an early age ” … “among poorer children, those who were the best readers at age 10 go on to earn 20% more per hour on average at age 40 than those with the weakest reading skills. This could be equivalent to an extra day’s wages each week: a 20% increase in hourly pay for those on the lowest incomes would make the difference between earning the minimum wage and the living wage.”
  • Public Library Subsidy – iPetitions. “Do you want to keep official publications available to the general public? or can you rely on finding what you need online without any need for print? We believe print is essential for the following reasons … For a lot of authorities, the only way they can afford the materials is by taking advantage of the subsidy. Please sign this petition if you are in agreement – we will then send it to the National Archives in the hope of stopping this cut.”
  • Read on get on – “At the moment far too many children are leaving primary school without this key skill – including almost four in ten of our poorest children. Our mission is to change this for good so that by 2025 all our children will start secondary school as confident readers. Everyone can do something – just ten minutes reading a day with a child makes a huge difference and helps them fall in love with reading. It will take everyone, parents, grandparents, business, volunteers, teachers, celebrities and politicians, to crack this problem once and for all. Will you play your part? Take 10 minutes a day to read, share a pic of where you read yoursvolunteer or join the campaign now!”
  • Unconnected and out of work: the vicious circle of having no internet – Guardian. “In a modern-day version of the old casual labour scrum outside the local docks, Nick East scrambles for a free computer screen when the doors of Newcastle’s city centre library open. The fourth floor computer room of the glass-fronted library is stocked with 40 terminals, plus a handful of iMacs. Even so, it’s almost always packed, with people waiting for a computer to become free for a designated two-hour slot.”

International news

  • Call for Papers: Why is the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies needed today? – Library Juice. “The mission of the Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies is to serve as a peer-reviewed platform for critical discourse in and around library and information studies from across the disciplines. This includes but is not limited to research on the political economy of information, information institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums, reflections on professional contexts and practices, questioning current paradigms and academic trends, questioning the terms of information science, exploring methodological issues in the context of the field, and otherwise enriching and broadening the scope of library and information studies by applying diverse critical and trans-disciplinary perspectives …”
  • Employment Trends in Public Libraries – Public libraries Online (USA). “With a recent Forbes article citing Library and Information Science as the third worst master’s degree for today’s professionals, the thought of breaking into a library career or even changing jobs can be intimidating.[1] Forbes supports its position based on the field’s mere 7% job growth and $53,500 median salary. In my own experience, I have been hearing more and more about my peers accepting positions outside the traditional library or finding work in different industries altogether.”
  • Libraries unite – Toronto Tool Library (Canada). “The Toronto Tool Library (TTL) is super excited to announce a brand-new partnership with the Toronto Public Library (TPL)! After intense back-room negotiations the TTL and TPL have agreed to open a brand new Tool Library at the Downsview Public Library branch of the TPL, located at 2793 Keele Street. For the first time, Canadians can now borrow books and tools under the same roof! For a cost of $50 per year, Torontonians can access a wide range of hand, power and gardening tools for home renovations, repairs and projects. Anyone who has a Toronto Public Library card will get $5 off his or her annual membership.”
  • The Pirate Bay is the World’s most efficient public library – Falkvinge (USA). “Physical public libraries — like the New York Public Library — are universally thought of as good for society. They provide free, open access to knowledge, culture, education, and even just entertainment to millions of people around the world. Anyone who demonizes the mission of these libraries is usually regarded as a wingnut, and not taken seriously. But it’s fairly mainstream to rail against filesharing sites like The Pirate Bay, Tuebl, and All these sites are doing is the same thing as brick-and-mortar libraries, but more effectively. This is a comparison that really ought to have been pushed back when Napster was on the evening news. Filesharing sites and services are the most radically efficient public libraries that humanity has ever created. Never before has anything been better at giving the public open access to culture and knowledge. Mission accomplished. Why is this suddenly a bad thing?”
  • Rosslyn ‘Shark Tank’ Startup Teams with Arlington Libraries – Arl Now (USA). “ZooBean, based in Rosslyn’s ÜberOffices, has launched Beanstack with the library. The program takes the preferences of each child — “like ninjas, princess or even math and science,” the app’s promotional video explains — and the child’s reading level, and an Arlington librarian recommends books in the catalog that apply. Each book recommendation also comes with a brief learning tip, ZooBean co-founder Felix Lloyd told This could be culling a few vocabulary words from the book to review.”
  • St. Louis Public Library has its own beer — and 9 other facts you didn’t know about it – St Louis Public Radio (USA). ” to really mark its 150th anniversary, marketing director Cathy Heimberger said the literary institution wanted to get creative and show it’s “not your grandparents’ library.” So it’s partnering with three local eateries to create special, library-themed treats. Launching Tuesday night is a limited edition “St. Louis Public Library Peated Scotch Ale,” courtesy of Schlafly brewmasters. The ale will be available through June. Up next will be a summer custard treat from Ted Drewes; Heimberger said the tentatively named “St. Louis Public Library Chocolate Soiree” will feature hot fudge, caramel and salted almonds. Pi Pizzeria will finish out the year with a special dish available from October to December.”

Local news by authority

  • Blaenau Gwent – Blaenau Gwent library service ‘one of weakest in Wales,’ claims new report – Wales Online. “The report to councillors highlights the impact spending cuts have had on the library service in the county borough which is battling to reach standards set by the Welsh Government. Senior managers with the council are set to meet with the Welsh Government to discuss the situation and an improvement strategy for the library service. The report by the Aneurin Leisure Trust, which delivers the library service for the council, will go before the authority’s social services and active living scrutiny committee next Thursday.” … “Blaenau Gwent currently maintains five of the nine standards set by the Welsh Government. Those not achieved are linked to financial investment in the service, including purchasing of stock and staffing levels.”
  • Bromley – Bromley council workers to strike – ITV. “Members of the Unite union who are employed by Bromley council have begun a strike over what they call ‘mass privatisation’. They have accused the council of wanting ‘to privatise everything it does not have a legal duty to provide directly’. But the council says it needs to make £50 million in savings over four years from a net budget of around £200 million … Of those who voted in the ballot, eighty seven per cent opted for strike action. Disruption will continue into the 8th of April, with services affected including libraries and parks.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Cambridge Central Library: Petition Rejected – 38 Degrees. “Our petition was delivered to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Democratic Services last Monday. It had 3107 signatures at the time. The petition hand-in had to be done over Easter because the deadline for it to be considered by the General Purpose Committee, which will review the proposal on Tuesday 14 April, was this past Tuesday at 9am.  However, Michelle Rowe, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Democratic Services Manager, has said that the petition can’t be accepted without the full postal addresses (rather than just the postcodes) of the 2,741 signatories who live in Cambridgeshire (Ms Rowe added it was not possible to tell from the petition if the remaining 366 names belong to people who “own a business, work in the area or attend a school or college in the area”, and therefore they would not be considered). It seems that we are being rejected over a technicality, which is particularly worrying in light of the complete lack of transparency (and of a proper public consultation) that has surrounded this proposal from day one. “
  • Croydon – Labour MP Steve Reed calls for Labour-run Croydon Council to reverse Upper Norwood library funding cut – Croydon Guardian. “The Labour MP for Croydon North has piled pressure on two Labour-run councils to reverse their decision to slash Upper Norwood library’s funding. Steve Reed issued a joint statement with library campaigners calling for at least the same money per head of population as the equivalent town-centre libraries in Croydon and Lambeth. It comes after Croydon and Lambeth councils, which jointly fund the library, announced plans to cut its yearly budget from £245,000 to £100,000 from next April.” … “”Why should Upper Norwood receive much less funding than other Croydon libraries given that it serves more than 19,000 Croydon residents?” “
  • Dorset – Dorset Police recruit volunteers for new contact points following front desk closures – Dorset Echo. “A pilot scheme of the counters will be launched at the Dorchester Library and Learning Centre and at Sherborne Library in June, and an open day will be held on Monday to give potential volunteers more information on the new roles. The contact points are to be handled by Dorset Police volunteers who take on a different role to Counter Service Officers who currently operate enquiry office counter services. The volunteers will provide support and guidance to members of the public who wish to make enquiries or contact Dorset Police.”
  • Harrow – Community called to unite against closure of Harrow libraries – Harrow Times. “There’s not much community spirit in Harrow. Some of the little there is can be found at local libraries. Soon half of them will be closed. If Harrow is not to become totally soulless, completely dismal, and entirely free of inspiration, we must not allow this happen. Talk with your neighbours. Gather signatures. Link up. Write to your MP.”
  • Middlesborough – Council to consult on the future of Middlesbrough libraries – Gazette Live. “Middlesbrough Council Executive recommends consultation which could see libraries take on public health and social outreach work … The increasing council focus on improving school readiness for children under five, which is aimed at reducing long-term demand on acute services, could also see hubs offer activities to boost early literacy and social interaction skills. Outreach work to support vulnerable and hard to reach people, and ‘troubled families’ is also part of the plan. This would work alongside a library’s traditional role of lending books, and offering access to computers and the internet. Cllr Thompson said: “The proposal to review libraries and community hubs is necessary to meet the financial demands set by central government. A review of these areas offers the local authority the opportunity to improve and modernise service delivery for communities whilst integrating its work with other core services within Middlesbrough.”
  • Surrey – Save threatened Sure Start centres in Stoneleigh and Ashtead, say parliamentary candidates – This is Local London. “”Given the tough financial climate for the public sector, I can’t criticise one of our councils for taking a difficult decision but I would like them to explore whether there’s an opportunity to turn the Sure Start centres into volunteer-led organisations similar to what Surrey has done with its libraries. “Surrey has been very imaginative in creating community libraries.””
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Vale Council appeals for volunteers to run ‘community managed’ libraries – Penarth Times. “Following consultation with residents and library users the Vale of Glamorgan Council announced in March that it would be seeking to develop community managed libraries in Dinas Powys, Sully, Rhoose, Wenvoe and St Athan” … “Individuals or groups interested in running a community library are now being asked to submit an initial expression of interest by May 18, 2015. “
  • Wiltshire – The Reader South West wins at Wiltshire Public Health Awards – Reader Organisation. “Our Wiltshire shared reading project, running in partnership with Wiltshire Libraries, picked up the prize for improved mental health and wellbeing across the area. Running since January 2014, Library Memory Groups bring the shared reading experience to people living with dementia and memory loss on a weekly basis. With poems and short stories that are read aloud, group members are immersed in a calm and relaxed atmosphere, with the texts being read and digested allowing people to piece together collective personal memories related to the stories and poems, which in turn encourages feelings of wellbeing.”

School Libraries

  • Five-Minute Film Festival: Reimagining the Library – Edutopia (USA/Canada). “April 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of School Library Month. As our libraries evolve in the age of digital information, they need our help more than ever to stay well-funded and supported so they can grow in their critical role as advocates of technology and information literacy. Should they become learning commons, gathering places for trading information, technology hotspots, makerspaces, or all of the above? The possibilities are wide open, as you’ll see in this playlist of videos about the future of libraries.”