News includes the frightening news that South Ayrshire may be closing all their libraries. That seems like an exaggeration to me … let’s see what the real story is when it emerges.  Further south, Bromley is looking at six libraries being “community-managed”.  That phrase can mean a lot of things, from basically “volunteer-run” to volunteers raising funds for a mix of paid and volunteer staff.  In other news, the Guardian reminds Ed Vaizey that he has agreed to debate Alan Gibbons and lists recent cuts announced.  The one about Hertfordshire, though, understates the problem – it’s not just “cuts to mobile libraries” but rather closing all seven of them.  Finally, my thanks to Devon for this view from one of their libraries – it may not be on the beach like Scilly but it’s still darn good.

View from Ilfracombe Library - not bad, my friends, not bad

View from Ilfracombe Library – not bad, my friends, not bad



  • Call for nominations for Honorary Fellows of CILIP – CILIP. “‘Honorary Fellowship is the highest recognition that CILIP can give to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the library and information world.  It is also the means by which CILIP can recognise those people who are not in the information profession but have supported and contributed to its development and profile.’ Honorary Fellows do not have to be CILIP members but must have some kind of relationship or link to the profession. Any member can nominate someone for an Honorary Fellowship.  The criteria ask for people whose work or activity has raised the profile of the information profession in some way, has significant and positive impact on the profession or made a difference to the world of libraries, information and knowledge through their work or activities.”.
  • Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards 2015 – Site for livestreaming of awards 22 June.
  • Ed Vaizey challenged to keep promise of public libraries debate – Guardian. “Vaizey said earlier this month he would “happily debate” Gibbons in public, arguing that “fewer than 100 libraries closed in England since 2010” and the “vast majority” of libraries in England “have been closed by Labour councils”. Gibbons begins his letter by congratulating the minister on his reappointment at the DCMS, before noting the minister “agreed in response to … comments in the Guardian recently to publicly debate the issues around the number of library closures and the future of the service”. “I do hope you still feel inclined to hold such a public debate,” Gibbons writes. “The Library Campaign has indicated that it would be happy to take over the arrangements for such a discussion,” Gibbons continues. “If your office could contact me, I can set the wheels rolling to arrange a venue and date.””

“Ed has confirmed he wishes to have this discussion,” Gibbons said. “I don’t expect a change of mind. It would look evasive.”

“And government too should remember that literacy must first and foremost be enjoyed, if we are to engage our most reluctant readers, and remember too that libraries and librarians, both in schools and in our communities, must be a priority.” Michael Morpurgo

  • Public Library Subsidy cut without consultation – BookSeller. “Librarians and library suppliers have expressed concerns that changes to the Public Library Subsidy (PLS) could impact on the availability of government information in libraries. The PLS was originally created in 1924 as a way of helping libraries to purchase government publications such as parliamentary records, statistical publications and gazettes. However, the National Archives, which administers PLS, has now said that with the growing availability of those publications online, the need to provide a subsidy to help access print copies is no longer necessary, and the PLS will be altered from 20th September with a number of publications no longer covered by the scheme.”


  • 7 reasons libraries are GLAM – ABC (Australia). “Libraries aren’t just books, but a combination of Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums, explains Margaret Kett. Libraries collect, conserve, house and lend anything that tells the story of who we are. This includes books, magazines, movies, music and photos. English writer Alan Gibbons said: ‘Libraries are the temple of story’.” … “But libraries are more than just books. They’re treasure houses just waiting to be discovered. The State Library of Victoria, for example, has been a public library since around the same time that Ned Kelly was born. At various times, the library complex housed the state’s art collection, Melbourne Museum and many exhibitions. Today, you can see Ned Kelly’s original armour for yourself on permanent display or read his famous Jerilderie letter on the Library’s website.”
  • Canadian Libraries Spotlight: Canmore Public Library – Jbrary (Canada). Children’s librarians in a special Canadian library tell all.
  • Toronto Public Library opens 100th branch in Scarborough – Star (Canada). ““The library is our saviour,” she said. It seems many Torontonians agree. More than 75 per cent use the public library in one way or another, according to Ron Carinci, chair of the Toronto Public Library Board. But Toronto’s modern libraries are a far cry from their origin two centuries ago. Since the early 1800s, Toronto’s library system has changed from a private assortment of lending libraries to the public system we know today, featuring branches across the city where over 32 million items are borrowed every year.”

Local news by authority

  • Bristol – Library battle Children march to save facility – Bristol Post. “The Save Wick Road Library Campaign Group has arranged a walk for next Tuesday, May 26, to highlight the difficulty people in Brislington will have if their local library shuts. Wick Road library is one of seven – along with Clifton, Eastville, Marksbury Road in Bedminster, Redland, Sea Mills and Westbury – that could potentially close next year. Campaign organiser Val Cobbin, 41, of Brislington, said: “People in this area love Wick Road Library, and it’s always busy with children and with older people.”
  • Bristol – Save our ‘life saver’ libraries – Socialist Party. “Protecting libraries is an important part of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigning. In Bristol, the independent mayor plans to close seven. Scandalously these cuts were fronted by the Green assistant mayor. Saving libraries and other services requires principled, consistent opposition to the cuts – in actions, not just words. Local people will fight for this and we will stand with them. Sean R spoke to the Socialist about how vital the library service has been to him.”
  • Bromley – Community groups are being invited to submit proposals to manage some of Bromley’s libraries as the service undergoes budget cuts – News Shopper. “Residents were asked their views about handing over management of some libraries to external providers in a public consultation which ran until February this year. ” … “Under the plans, local volunteer or community groups would manage the community libraries of Burnt Ash, Hayes, Mottingham, Shortlands, Southborough and St Paul’s Cray. Bromley’s remaining libraries and the core library service would be subject to full ‘market testing’, which could see management outsourced.”
  • Edinburgh – 125 years of Edinburgh Libraries – Tales of one city. “Book now for Future Libraries – the next 125 years  – a panel discussion with National Librarian John Scally, the Scottish Book Trust’s Philippa Cochrane, Professor Hazel Hall of Napier University and Duncan Wright, Librarian at Stewart’s Melville College.”
  • Flintshire – Deeside leisure centre ‘Hub’ library gets the green light, Hawarden, Queensferry and Mancot to close – Deeside. “Queensferry, Mancot and Hawarden libraries are set to close following agreement at today’s Flintshire County Council cabinet meeting. In return, a new £130,000 ‘hub’ library within Deeside leisure centre will open early next year.”
  • Gwynedd – Libraries under ‘serious threat’ – Cambrian News. “Local library services will face “fundamental changes” as the current level of service is “no longer sustainable”, a councillor said. Gwynedd libraries will have at least 25 per cent less money to maintain current operations and so the council is holding a public consultation over the coming months for local people to have their say on which aspects of the library service that they value the most.”
  • Harrow – Library shake-up after Harrow Council reorganisation – Get West London. “Harrow is set to receive a new library under proposals confirmed this week. The library, with state-of-the-art facilities and self-service technologies is part of a new Harrow Council strategy to increase the range of facilities that the libraries in the borough have to offer. Other libraries in Harrow will be refurbished, ensuring they meet the needs of library-goers for years to come, as part of proposals put in place on Wednesday (May 20). Improvements include LEGO studios for children, from primary to secondary school age, as well as extended library opening hours, something highly requested by residents. But, four of the borough’s libraries will be closing from June 13 as part of the new strategy put in place.”
  • Hertfordshire – Mobile library to be axed in £2.5m savings plan – Watford Observer. “The county’s “expensive” mobile library is being axed with a council looking to expand its home delivery service and save £2.5m a year. Hertfordshire County Council will put the brakes on the mobile library, which it says costs three times as much as a trip to a library.”” … “The authority said the mobile library cost £14 per customer visit. “
  • Lincolnshire – Six organisations are bidding to run Lincolnshire’s library services – Lincolnshire Echo. “The authority has received initial applications from: Compass Point Business Services; Greenwich Leisure Limited; Leisure in the Community; Lincs Inspire; Vision; Vivacity. Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Although we’re facing a second legal challenge, we believe we took the right decision and took it lawfully, so we intend to push on with our plans. “The way in which our libraries are used has changed and it’s important they adapt with the times.”
  • North Yorkshire Library threats Gazette Herald / Letters. “Many campaigns for libraries – across the UK and in North Yorkshire – are magnificent, though too often acting in isolation … In North Yorkshire, crucial dates will be June 5 when North Yorkshire County councillors, who are members of the council’s scrutiny committtee, will meet to examine the proposals for our library service. “
  • Shropshire – Shropshire libraries funding to be slashed by £1.3m – Shropshire Star. “While the council has pledged to keep libraries in towns as council-run facilities, it says it cannot sustain the funding for smaller libraries. Consultation is under way to look at how the buildings and the book lending service can survive and, as one council chief claimed at a meeting, even improve. Almost 50 people attended a public meeting in Gobowen to look at how its library could continue despite council funding cuts. Similar consultation are to be held in towns across the county, from Broseley to Pontesbury and Ellesmere.”
  • South Ayrshire – South Ayrshire Council prepare to swing £12.5 million axe on public services – Daily Record. “All libraries could close, two swimming pools jettisoned and seven schools are at risk, we can exclusively reveal. In a shocking cull of vital services, green bins may only be emptied once a month. Desperate South Ayrshire Council has been forced into a slash and burn policy to make savings of £12.5 million.”

“Our senior source said: “Welcome to Armageddon.”

  • South Lanarkshire – Library campaigners in East Kilbride call it a day after talks with council officials reach a stalemate – Daily Record. “A campaign to save Calderwood Library, which got the backing of film star John Hannah, has been shelved. Those battling to save the facility say they have hit a brick wall with the council and South Lanarkshire Leisure & Culture (SLLC) after the library was earmarked for closure under budget cuts.” … ““There has been, at no point, any firm commitment from SLLC or from the council that funding could be found. Rather the opposite in fact as it was made clear that the vision for East Kilbride was to have a main hub library (EK Central) and only two branch libraries (St Leonards and Greenhills) going forward, with further potential savings coming down the line for SLLC in the coming years. All discussions with SLLC have hit this same vital issue – funding.”
  • Staffordshire – Penkridge Library campaigners urge villagers to have their say on opening hours – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Claire geoghegan, from the group, told Penkridge Parish Council: “We are concerned about what this consultation will mean for the library. “We have concerns as to whether it could result in a reduction in hours. If we want longer hours we would have to staff the extra hours ourselves. “We have also been led to believe to consultation will be over the summer months, which minimises people being aware of it. “We are writing to the county council to put our concerns formally and we hope the parish council will support us on that.”