It’s been interesting watching the response on my Twitter feed to an article from a library user complaining about the noise of a tots groups upsetting the peace and quiet of the library. The general viewpoint is that such an attitude is appalling and, indeed, the writer does not give themselves any favours by the angry and undiplomatic writing style. However, in continuance perhaps with my having sympathy for chief librarians in the last post, I have some sympathy for the complainant’s position.  One of the unique selling points of libraries – along with free internet access and free loan of books – is the provision of quiet study space, something which is in short supply elsewhere.  If we completely ignore that USP then we’re going to annoy people, including some dedicated users of our service, while we delight others.  The solution I tend to pursue is, in my ever middle-of-the-road opinion, to be a bit of both. Zone the space in the library so noisy activities can be in one space and quieter activities in another.  If the library is too small for that then zone the time, so people know when there’s going to be extra noise happening. The fashion needle has swung in many libraries from “shush” to “loud and proud”, and that’s great (I love being loud myself and a buzzing library is a happy library) but sometimes I feel that we can be condescending/abusive to some of our users if we ignore their needs. And can we afford to ignore a key selling point or a significant part of our users in 2015?



  • Letter: mother and baby groups disturbing library users – Blackmore Vale Magazine. Complains at noise from mother and toddler group upsetting quiet of library and insufficient response from council regarding it.
  • Libraries that make you want to do it in public – Adventures in Libraryland. “, even with all the 21st Century bells and whistles of “doing” — (“Don’t just sit there,” they seem to shout, “create!) touted by today’s public libraries — maker spaces, 3-D printers, Media labs, STEM studios — you will still find people sitting and reading in a library, whether it’s an old-school print, an e-book on a tablet or a blog accessed via a laptop.”

“Public Libraries: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate his Department has made of the number of libraries that will close in England and Wales between 2015 and 2020. Mr Barry Sheerman MP, Huddersfield .Asked on: 18 June 2015 Department for Culture Media and Sport

Mr Edward Vaizey Answered on: 26 June 2015: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not made any estimate of the number of libraries that will close in England and Wales between 2015 and 2020. It is a matter for local authorities to determine how best to provide a comprehensive and efficient public library service to their local community, within available resources. The Secretary of State’s duty is to superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided by local authorities in England only. Along with the Local Government Association, we have put in place a libraries’ taskforce to provide leadership and to help invigorate the public library service in England.” Mr Edward Vaizey MP” Hansard.

  • Report from Read On. Get On. reveals ‘language skills gap’ at age five – National Literacy Trust. “The report highlights the crucial role of local services, including children’s centres and libraries, in helping to support parents in developing their children’s early language.  It showcases the success of our three National Literacy Trust Hubs, which are partnerships with councils and a wide range of local organisations in Middlesbrough, Bradford and Peterborough to embed literacy services in the local community.”


  • Strong criticism of summer closures to Sligo libraries – Sligo Weekend (Eire). “Sligo County Council has said that it is facing “a short term problem in staffing its branch libraries”. The council say that due to the severe staff shortage, there will be a series of limited, temporary closures which will impact on all of the full-time branch libraries in Sligo town, Tubberycurry and Ballymote. “In order to keep all libraries open with the restricted staffing numbers available, it may be necessary to redeploy existing library staff to the various branches with the result that some branches may not have sufficient staff for short periods”, a council statement said. Council Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes was keen to emphasise that “this should not in any way be interpreted as being an indication of the Council’s intention to close any library”.”

Local news by authority

“… despite our victory, we need to remain vigilant. Cuts of 40% are still planned for the libraries budget, and the fate of the Cambridgeshire Collection remains uncertain. As new proposals are put forward and we’re repeatedly reminded of the absolutely necessity of enormous cuts to public services, perhaps we should also remember that the same edition of the Cambridge News that featured an article about our victory also revealed that the County Council’s chief executive Mark Lloyd earns a salary of £190,000 a year, and that Executive Director of the Department of Economy, Transport and Environment Graham Hughes is one of the other five Council officers earning a base salary of more than £100,000.  There are serious challenges ahead, and we cannot let our campaign lose its momentum. Please remember you can join our discussion group by e-mailing us at camlibrarycampaign@gmail.com. We are currently planning a campaign social to celebrate our victory, and discussing the possibility of establishing a Friends group for Central Library.” Cambridgeshire – We did it – Email newsletter after “the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee passed an amended motion to stop all work on the Kora/Regus scheme and set up a work group of elected representatives, library staff and library users to investigate other options with a focus on cultural and educational ideas for Central Library.”

  • Leeds – #Whatsyourstory: Leeds libraries campaign turns its first page – Yorkshire Evening Post. “Leeds Libraries, a group of 36 learning hubs in the city, is 
hoping the #Whatsyourstory campaign will get more people using its free services and workshops. Ma Maposa, who now runs his own production company and record label, has backed the campaign and said the libraries had “changed his life”.” … “The campaign is also urging people to come forward if library services have helped change their life. Coun Debra Coupar said: “Our libraries play a very important part in the day-to-day lives of people of all ages in communities across Leeds, and this campaign is a great way to highlight the flexible and diverse range of services, activities and events that we have on offer.””
  • Leicestershire – Library opening hours are changing – Loughborough Echo. “Leicestershire County Council says it wants to claw back £135,000 over the next four years from the libraries it still manages. “.  Changes to “opening hours at Loughborough and other libraries in the area are due to take effect from July 6. As previously reported in the Echo, libraries at Loughborough and Shepshed, along with others in the county, will be shut every Wednesday, with Loughborough to close on Sundays as well.”
  • Liverpool – Arts Council chief on Liverpool’s pivotal role in ‘Northern Powerhouse’Liverpool Echo. “We will make the best possible case for central government funding for the arts, for museums and for libraries”.
  • Newham – Newham residents urged to help council save £50 million next year – Newham Recorder. “Over the last five years, Newham Council has seen its government funding cut by £106m and according to a statement released by the council, the savings the borough needs to make next year is more than it currently spends on street cleaning, waste collection, keeping the roads lit and running libraries combined. “
  • South Gloucestershire – South Gloucestershire Library users really rate the service – South Gloucestershire Council. “99 per cent of South Gloucestershire library customers would recommend the service to someone else according to a recent survey of more than 3,800 users. The survey showed that 97 per cent of customers thought the service was either ‘very good’ or ‘good’, one of the best results from similar library authorities. The survey also asked users for comments on the service and the majority who commented mentioned the excellent quality of staff, as well as the range of services provided.” … “This year the survey has identified the low awareness of services such as the online e-magazines, the access to UWE which the South Gloucestershire Library card allows and some of the online services. These are areas the libraries will look to promote in the future.”
  • Surrey – Reigate and Merstham library opening times set to change – Surrey Mirror. “Reigate Library will soon be open for an extra six and a half hours a week.” Self-service to be installed. Other opening times to be changed. £227k staffing cut.
  • Swindon – West Swindon Library celebrates landmark with events day – Swindon Advertiser. “… Gwyneth who has spent 12 years in the library industry said the library has evolved from the traditional quiet space. “It’s exciting to see how much libraries have changed over the years; with the new modern technology they’re increasing their appeal to everyone. “They’re real community spaces and something that people are seeing the appeal of every day of the week.””
  • Thurrock – As Thurrock’s mobile library closes on Thursday, Homelink service expands – Your Thurrock. “popular Homelink library service – aimed at those who have difficulties accessing the borough’s libraries – is being expanded. This is to ensure that people who use the Council’s current mobile library service, which closes on Monday 2 July, will not lose out … An earlier call for volunteers proved so successful that Homelink rounds are available at most libraries. All volunteers have received specialist training.”
  • Trafford – Friends of Coppice Library Neighbourhood Support Aviva Community Fund. “The Friends of Coppice Library group was established in October 2014 in response to the local Council’s consultation in relation to the future of library services in Trafford. Whilst some libraries will close, Coppice has been saved by a bid to turn it into a community hub. The Friends Group are working with blueSCI (a health and well-being social enterprise) and other residents to retain library and information services for our community, as the recent consultation revealed that many people in our area cannot afford to travel into nearby town centres.”
  • Trafford – Hale Library – an update on progress – 38 Degrees / Hale Community Trust. “I am sure that everyone in and around Hale was delighted to hear recently that the village will not lose its public library. Trafford Council approved a joint bid by Hale Community Trust and Hillcrest Homes (Nikal Ltd) on 28 May. Library services will be transferred to a new purpose built community hub on the site of The Cottage – the current Hale Village Bowling Green pavilion. The present library will stay open until the new building is completed and the Leigh Rd. site will then be sold for redevelopment. The bid shows that a total of 6 houses, 2 flats and some commercial space are planned for the site.”