One week after the election and things are still quiet, although it’s hard to say the mood is optimistic …



National news

  • Industry seconds Franklin’s fears for further cuts to libraries – BookSeller. “When collecting the Independent Publisher of the Year trophy at the Bookseller Industry Awards on Monday (11th May), Profile Books m.d. Andrew Franklin gave a strong speech expressing his views about last week’s general election result, which enabled the Conservatives to form a majority government.  “We have had the worst five days of our lives since 10 p.m. on Thursday [7th May] last week,” he said. “The next five years are going to be very difficult for all of us. Libraries are going to close, it’s going to be hard for bookshops”

“I have absolutely no doubt at all that there will be further cuts. From the librarians’ point of view that is the most depressing because I think we will see many more redundancies. Councils look to cut libraries budgets and staff because that is the first thing they think to do. But whether they will lead to actual library closures, I’m not sure . . . we are seeing at the moment libraries moving more to be volunteer-run.” Desmond Clarke

“1. stand in a good spot in a library, record phone video for 8 secs rotating smoothing in 360 degrees .. 2. load video into MS ICE .. 3. save and export to google tool to add geo data.. 4, upload to google photos/maps .. that’s it ..” How to photosphere your library – Mike Downes. Full video here.

  • Public Libraries in the Digital Age – Storify. “A one day conference exploring digital developments in libraries focussing on Fab Labs and Maker spaces. Friday 15 May 2015 at Exeter Library.” see also Fab Futures: Public Libraries In The Digital Age sold out – Fab Lab. “How can libraries support innovation and creativity in the 21st century? What should the public library of the future be? What opportunities does digital create for libraries to contribute to the cultural, economic and business development of their communities?”
  • Rugby stories – “Libraries, archives and museums have joined forces with the Welsh Rugby Union to hold a competition for young people to celebrate rugby in Wales as part of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup celebrations”
  • Stepping back – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “Just to let everyone know that I’m stepping back from campaigning for a while and won’t be posting anything. Keep up the fight.”

“@edvaizey Please be inclined to fulfil statutory duty by protecting and promoting libraries #VaizeysLibraries” – I have chosen the #VaizeysLibraries for this campaign in the hope that it will be highlighted to a wider audience outside of the library profession by including his name and because, in essence, as Minister for Libraries, they are his to look after and I want to emphasise the responsibility and duty that he has over them. Sending a quick Tweet once a day or retweeting others I feel isn’t a lot to ask of people and is a way that even librarians may be able to get involved with without fear of losing their jobs. With morale so low currently amongst library supporters, a Twitter campaign may serve to offer a little boost to us all in our continued fight to keep our libraries open.”” @libraries4us via email

  • Vaizey remains as culture minister – BookSeller. “The minister, frequently to be heard stating that problems in the world of public libraries are being overstated, recently accepted an invitation from author and campaigner Alan Gibbons to debate the subject, were he to remain in office following the election. Elizabeth Ash of The Library Campaign noted: “No one should be allowed to forget the devastation inflicted on public libraries under his watch.””
  • We’ve got five years… – Leon’s Library Blog. “It’s something of an understatement to say that the results of the general election were  disappointing, not just on a personal level but also for what it means for libraries. It’s difficult not to be despondent over the ramifications” … ” There is strength in unity but too many campaigns for libraries have acted in isolation. ” … “I have decided that now is a natural stopping point and this will be my last post on Leon’s Library Blog. I shall be launching a new site shortly, which will have a stronger political slant as well as advocating for public services, and electoral reform “


  • An Introduction to Pinterest For Libraries and Non-Profits – Infodocket (USA). “the inside guide to Pinterest for non-profits like public libraries and community groups. This video details what people look for on Pinterest and how they find your pins. Examples of Pinterest success stories from commercial and non-profit businesses show you how to get started with your Pinterest business account. “
  • New York Public Library offering free computer coding classes – Eyewitness News (USA). “The New York Public Library offers 80 Tech Connect classes at more than 80 branches throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and the timing isn’t by chance. “We’re really coming up as a tech community,” Project: Code’s Steven Deolus said. “They just want to know if i learn a but about coding, can I actually be a part of that new thing that’s actually growing.””
  • Why Public Libraries Need to Proactively Teach Chromebooks to the Public – Techsoup (USA). “Despite my best efforts, I let down a refugee who was feeling isolated and lonely. I should have been spending more time getting my public library to offer Chromebook workshops and maybe even loaner Chromebooks for people to try out at home.”

Local news

  • Birmingham – Police called as Library of Birmingham protesters stage sit in – Birmingham Mail. “Students refuse to leave the Library of Birmingham at closing time in protest at cuts in opening hours and staff redundancies … Friday night, and demanded to speak with council management. Eventually two police officers were called to negotiate with the group and they left at 6.30pm. The protesters were angry at the cut in opening times from 73 hours per week to just 40, with the flagship building closed all day on Sundays and in the evenings. Protester Zoe Salnitro said: “The library should be open until 8pm on Fridays. We have students and residents who want to use it, who want to study. The people of this city need it to be open.”
  • Bradford – Social and health care workers could become mobile librarians, claims Keighley-district councillor – Keighley News. “Andrew Mallinson suggests that health care workers who visit the elderly and disabled in their own homes could take along a selection of books. ” … “Cllr Mallinson, who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, made the comments after housebound Silsden pensioner Ailene Wade complained about the current state of the library service. “
  • Brent – Brent Library Visits Top Two Million and Loans Top One Million – James Powney’s Blog. “The General Election has inspired gloom in many, not least in the library sector.  I thought I would take another look at Brent’s library numbers, which are actually rather cheering.  I think people in some other parts of the country might take a look at Brent and see how public libraries have improved here despite massive cutbacks … Annual visit numbers have gone up by 40% by the end of 31 March 2015, topping two million .. Many people find these numbers counter intuitive because in 2011 Brent decided to close half its libraries, and significantly reduce the overall budget.”

“Brent deliberately improved the libraries that were kept open.  Opening hours were extended to seven days a week.  The book fund was protected (although it has now fallen back to a level just above Brent’s CIFPA comparator Boroughs).  Crucially, Brent also had major capital investment to improve its libraries in Kilburn, Wembley and Willesden as well as more minor changes in the other three.”

“The top floor of Cambridge Central Library – one of the UK’s busiest – may be handed to a private firm which hires out work spaces and runs business schmoozing events. Community infrastructure chiefs for Cambridgeshire agreed the deal with Kora, part of the giant Regus Group (which provides desk space, meeting rooms and entrepreneurs’ lounges with wifi and refreshments), in return for a membership fee or a daily hire rate.  The scheme was put on hold last month after complaints of too little public consultation, but it is set to win council approval in June.

Official statistics put Cambridge Central Library in the top ten for use; and its top floor currently houses computer and public meeting rooms, the local studies collection and a cafe.  The Kora deal did not go out to tender since, as a report to councillors makes clear, Kora approached the council with the idea of creating what it calls an innovation and enterprise centre.  The report said Kora was “confident of the commercial potential of Central Library in its excellent city central location” with “an attractive location for their existing international members”.  As well as paying to lease the space, the firm is offering the council a share in the profits in return for a £300,000 investment.  There would also be opportunities for job-seekers, such as, er, dragon’s den events and “inspirational talks”.

The development would create “a progressive journey through the free services available in the library to paying for specialist events and added value services in the enterprise centre”, said the report.  However, it also warns that library users might be unimpressed by the replacement of the current family-friendly cafe with “a facility more tailored to the needs of business users” Cambridge – Library News – Private Eye Issue 1392

  • Hartlepool – Have your say on the future of Hartlepool’s libraries – Hartlepool Mail. “Since 2013, the library service budget has been reduced by almost 16 per cent, but the savings haven’t had a direct impact on the library opening hours or the branch library network. But now the service is having to find savings from 2016, and bosses say this cannot be achieved without reviewing the whole service, including front-line operations.”
  • Hertfordshire – Mobile library faces the axe but council says service will still be available to all – Hemel Today. “The mobile library service, which travels to rural areas without a local library, costs around £14 per customer visit to run and a consultation, held in 2013, revealed that 77 per cent of users also visited another library. Councillor Frances Button, who oversees libraries, said: “It’s vital that we continue to ensure that people who can’t get out and about can still use our library service. I believe that a new approach will offer a better service to the people who need our help while also making better use of taxpayers’ money.””
  • Kent – What will happen to our libraries? – Maidstone and Medway News. “…  libraries will be passed on to a charitable trust despite protest from users. The “Facing the Challenge” Transformation Programme will go before a cabinet committee meeting on Wednesday May 20. The council says that its proposal will engage more customers in the future, expand the roles library buildings play in their communities, and focus on what customers want from their local library. But, a petition, which has been signed by almost 4,000 unhappy users, demanded that the libraries of Kent remained, “free and open to all with current levels of accessibility and opening hours maintained or improved, run by professional librarians and appropriately remunerated staff – with volunteers providing additional support, and democratically accountable to elected councillors”.” see also Kent split over sweeping changes to county libraries – Canterbury Times and KCC committed to using charitable trust for library service, but can’t ‘move ahead’ yet – Kent News. Responses “evenly balanced”. Council wants Registrars included in Trust and so is waiting for a new law.
  • Lambeth – Cllr Edbrooke admits that Council Cultural Consultation has been ’emotive’ as plans are put in place to publish findings – Brixton Buzz. “With the Great Lambeth Cultural Consultation now over, we await with interest to see if Cllr Jane Edbrooke is actually listening to the views being put forward by residents that took the time to respond to the three month feedback session. The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods is due to publish in July the findings on pretty much everything that can be given a ‘cultural’ tag within the borough: libraries, leisure, parks, entertainemnt – all the things that make Brixton such a great place to live. Anyone wanting an early insight into what Cllr Edbrooke is planning might want to get down to the Town Hall on Wednesday evening”
  • Sandwell – Sandwell libraries will be run by more volunteers amid council cuts – Express and Star. Libraries to remain open but be hollowed out: “Bosses are now continuing with a review of staffing levels and looking other ways to save money. Plans will be drawn up by the council and then a second consultation is due to take place with staff, community groups and library users. The council says it council needs to save £700,000 from the library budget over the next two years.”
  • Trafford – Community comes together to develop library plans for Hale – Messenger. “The cost of the scheme would be covered by redeveloping the site of the current 49-year-old library on Leigh Road – six houses, a shop and office with two flats above would be built there. Council chiefs are due to make a decision on the proposal by the end of the month, after cash-strapped Trafford Council announced plans to develop the Leigh Road site and invited bids for it.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Library campaigners ready to throw book at Council – Barry and District News. “campaigning to save Rhoose library from closure are to take legal action against the Vale Council. The Save Rhoose Library campaign group believes there are significant flaws in the way the council has conducted consultation over the future of the library and are poised to challenge the authority in court.” see also ‘Libraries are a necessity to the community’: Campaigners set to take their fight to save Rhoose Library to court – Wales Online.
  • Wiltshire – Official response to Freedom of Information request. “The number of public mobile libraries operating within Wiltshire will reduce from four to two. Consultation with mobile library staff  on the impact of these changes on the team structure is in progress.  A final decision on how the changes will impact on the composition of the staff team will be made at the end of the consultation period. No changes are planned to the number of static libraries operating in Wiltshire or any reduction in library opening hours. Work on reviewing library operating costs and restructuring management and support services will commence shortly. Information on how this will affect the composition of staff teams is not yet available.”

“From October 2015 the number of public mobile library vehicles will reduce from four to two. The council will continue to provide a mobile library service in rural and isolated communities where the need is greatest. To achieve the savings and to ensure the service is within budget the following service criteria has been applied: Usage: A mobile stop should have an average of three regular customers. Frequency: We will change the frequency of visits. Weekly stops will become fortnightly and fortnightly stops will be every four weeks. Location: Stops on the outskirts of towns that are less than 2.5 miles from a branch library will be withdrawn Applying this criteria will allow the service to continue to be delivered to 218 of the current 267 service stops. This means 81% of stops will continue to receive the mobile library service.”

School libraries

  • School launches ‘Go Fund Me’ to save librarian’s job – AZ Central (USA). “After years of absorbing funding cuts from the state, teachers and parents at one West Valley elementary school are taking an extraordinary step to save their librarian’s job — a crowdsourcing campaign.” A Go Fund Me campaign has been set up online to raise $20,000 to save the librarian’s job