16 out of 51 libraries are under threat in Fife.  That’s a lot of buildings and more than I can remember seeing in danger in Scotland, a country that has avoid the cuts better than England.  Doubtless some of those branches are unsustainable in terms of usage or the state of the building (or both) but the scope of the cuts there are more than most people were expecting.  Expect a whole bunch of voluntary (probably not compulsory) redundancies.  This, while it sounds fairly civilized, and may well be welcomed by some in that library service will affect and worry even some others who accept it.  After all, most people work in libraries because they love them (see the great Guardian article on the magic of libraries for more about this) so having to leave them will be a shock and, also, a gamble, for some involved. Working in libraries for twenty or thirty years is not uncommon and voluntary redundancy can feel like being cast adrift. This cut will not disturb the sleep of the DCMS as Scotland does not come under their responsibility so it cannot be used in the debate that Alan Gibbons confirms will go ahead with Ed Vaizey.

Meanwhile. the first annual report is to be debated for Explore York, a mutual which is being seen as a possible model for libraries elsewhere in England.  I look forward to reading it.



  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it: strengthening the value of public libraries – PanLibus / Grace Kempster. A look at how Northamptonshire Libraries are working to publicise what they can do for the council including: basic money management and debt advice, delivering registration and early participation for children’s centres, delivering enterprise hubs, success breeds success, getting the basics right. Other articles in the online PanLibus edition look at Gloucestershire’s library management system and the Solus app for the Summer Reading Challenge.
  • The magic of libraries – Guardian. “Books are magical because they are like doors that open on exciting new worlds – and libraries are where those magical worlds are preserved, says DD Everest. So why are they under threat?” … “the magic of libraries goes beyond books. The magic seems to rub off on some of the people who work there. “

 Jim Dowd, Labour, Lewisham West and Penge: Is the First Secretary aware of the concern among authors that the calculation of public lending rights is being distorted by the increasing number of public libraries being run by volunteers because of the huge cuts in local council spending? Will he ask the Culture Secretary, who is extremely knowledgeable in these matters, to ensure that this is rectified and that writers can reasonably expect the rewards to which they are entitled?
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and First Secretary of State: We have been able to address some of the concerns about lending rights in the past couple of years. I am very happy to look specifically at the issue the hon. Gentleman raises to see if there is more we can do.

They Work For You, Engagements 17 June 2015


1h1 hour ago Kidderminster, England

To keep people informed, the library debate is going ahead. Just starting to discuss the format with Ed Vaizey’s team.”

  • Volunteers in libraries: an alternative to closures, or a risk to the professionals? – Knowledge Exchange. A general look at information and attitudes on volunteer libraries.
  • Why the time is right for a national public library strategy for Scotland – Herald Scotland. “We know that Scotland’s libraries are well loved, trusted and valued assets in communities and our research shows that their role is as critical today as it was when they were first established. However, we need to refresh what the service offers and ensure as many people as possible benefit and that policy shapers and decision makers are aware of their key strengths and potential.” … “The strategy recognises current financial challenges and encourages library services to set out the case to decision makers for library investment based on their impact on the preventative spend agenda and how they support economic and social wellbeing policy goals.”


  • Canadian Libraries Band Together Over High e-Book Prices – Good E Reader (Canada). “Canadian Library organizations have banded together to launch a website that wants to bring public attention to high e-book prices. The Toronto Public Library, Canadian Library Council,  Ontario Library Association and the Canadian Library Association want to bring awareness to the super high prices publishers are charging them for e-books.  They cite number examples, such as the new Michael Connelly novel Burning Room costs $14.99 on Amazon, but their libraries are paying $106.00 per copy.  John Grisham’s Grey Mountain costs $15.99 for a retail edition but costs libraries $85.00.”
  • Free meals again offered to Mason County children – Ludington Daily News (USA). “The meals are free to children who are 18 years old or younger and parents or guardians can buy a lunch for $3.” … “Nielsen said her department has provided the summer meals for about 23 or 24 years and said she hopes to provide 300 lunches a day.”


  • The NAG Award for Excellence – National Acquisitons Group. “Entries are sought for the National Acquisitions Group Award for Excellence, sponsored by Nielsen Book. NAG makes an annual award designed to promote excellence, original thinking and innovation by a library or individual within the field of Acquisitions. Entries are now open and nominations of up to a strict maximum of 250 words can be sent by e-mail to the NAG Office  (nag.office@nag.org.uk). The nomination should provide the name(s) of those involved, the organisation they work for, explain the change and innovation and the benefits these gave to the library and its users. Please note that the nominee(s) need to be members of NAG, individually or through their organisation. The closing date is Friday 3rd July 2015″

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – More registered – but loans fall at libraries – Times Series. “The number of people borrowing books from libraries dipped dramatically in the past 12 years, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. But more people are registered at libraries in Barnet than ever before – and last year 187,759 people were members – a 14 per cent increase from 2002 when the figure was 164,190. The figures also revealed that 2,519,760 items were borrowed in 2002, falling to only 1,264,125 last year.”
An impressive number campaigning to save public services in Bromley

An impressive number campaigning to save public services in Bromley

  • Devon – Axminster: Councillors call for ‘ignorant’ library officials to resign – View from Online. “Axminster town councillors have passed a vote of no confidence in the the two people leading Devon County Council’s (DCC) Library Service – Councillor Roger Croad and head of libraries Ciara Eastell. The action followed a letter by the former, ruling out increased opening hours at Axminster Library for the time being. The motion was proposed by town councillor and former Axminster Mayor Jeremy Walden, who told Pulman’s View his main problem is not necessarily the lack of longer hours, but the “unnecessarily dismissive and ignorant” attitude of the library service chiefs. As a recent example, Councillor Walden pointed to County Councillor Croad’s written reply to Axminster Town Council. In his opening paragraph, Councillor Croad queried if town clerk Hilary Kirkcaldie wrote on behalf of the town council or as an individual – despite the letter being on headed town council paper, according to  Councillor Walden.  Councillor Croad then closed his letter by writing: “I trust this draws our correspondence on this matter to an end.””
  • Devon – Axminster: Former mayor says sorry over library campaign web link storm – View from Online. “Former Axminster mayor Jeremy Walden has apologised to a local couple seven months after getting embroiled in a social media war. It was in November last year the then Axminster mayor claimed that the wife of a library campaigner had suggested that a link to a pornographic website should be forwarded to all town councilors. Councillor Walden made a partial U-turn only days later, saying the ‘link’ was not a link as such.”
  • Fife – Sixteen libraries in Fife earmarked for closure – Courier. “The cost-cutting proposals, put forward by Fife Cultural Trust, would mean the closure over three years of Abbeyview, Bowhill, Colinsburgh, Crail, Crossgates, East Wemyss, Falkland, Freuchie,, Glenwood, Kinghorn, Lundin Links, Markinch, Pittenweem, Pitteuchar, Thornton, and Townhill libraries. Footfall, access to alternative provision and the sustainability of buildings have all been used as criteria to identify the hit list. However, the trust says the proposals, if agreed by councillors, will “transform” Fife’s libraries.” see also Fife Libraries Threatened with Closure – BookSeller. “Fife currently has 51 libraries along with three mobile libraries and a housebound service. Under the proposals that will be considered by councillors next month, 16 libraries could be closed as the structure moves to a “hub and spoke” model”, with larger hub libraries open for 40 hours or more each week, and smaller spoke libraries open for between 20 and 40 hours a week. “Satellite” libraries will be open for less than 20 hours, while others will be closed. Liverpool previously considered a hub and spoke model, but the scale of the closures was reduced following community protest and the involvement of volunteer groups”
  • Hampshire – Emsworth community divided after dramatic library u-turn – West Sussex Today. “… the Emsworth Community Association (ECA) said the U-turn was a ‘shock’: “Although there was initial reluctance on the part of ECA, we decided to fully support the move in the long term interests of the Emsworth community. This is a set back to our plans to make the centre a hub for advice, knowledge, culture and leisure. Along with most Emsworthians, we want a modern functioning library to remain in Emsworth and we will work with HCC to ensure this happens.””
  • Hampshire – Joy as plans to move library are dropped – News. “More than 1,000 people signed a petition to stop Hampshire County Council switching Emsworth library from its own building in The Square to the back room of the centre. The council said it would have saved £30,000 a year with the move but further investigation proved work that needed to be done to the community centre to bring it up to scratch was too expensive.”
  • Harrow – Letter to council reveals government will review library closures – Harrow Times. “The government is to look into claims a council has failed to carry out its duties after the shutters came down on four libraries for the last time. Last week, Harrow East MP Blackman led a debate in Parliament against the need for closures, asking the Secretary of State to intercede”
  • Harrow – Library closures a ‘bitter disappointment’ as books sold off and staff face redundancy – Harrow Times. “Shutters fell for the last time at four libraries across Harrow – Bob Lawrence, Hatch End, Rayners Lane and North Harrow – on Saturday. Books published before 2014 were sold off to former library users at £1 for three, while the newer books were boxed up ready to be redistributed to the remaining libraries in the borough.”

“There were only two librarians on staff. Tired, overworked and they had skipped their breaks simply because there was no reinforcements to manage the busy desk. At closing time they were in tears, frustrated and saddened by the situation”

  • Leicestershire – Library hours are cut to help balance books – Hinckley Times. “Opening hours are changing at Hinckley Library as Leicestershire County Council led cost-cutting changes begin to take affect. The library will be shut one full day a week and the opening time will drift back from 9.30am to 10am – but closing time will be extended to 6pm. Changes will also take place at Earl Shilton, Blaby and Broughton Astley libraries with longer opening times on Saturdays but an overall reduction in opening hours. The move, agreed by the county council cabinet last September, comes into effect on Monday July 6 and follows a consultation on proposals to save £800,000 from the libraries budget.”
  • Sandwell – Sandwell librarian gets Queen’s Honour – Sandwell Council. “Julie McKirdy, who has worked at Thimblemill Library in Smethwick for 37 years, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).  The 53-year-old, who started work at the library straight from school aged 16, today said she was shocked and delighted at the news.”
  • Staffordshire – Consultation to start over plans to scale back mobile library service in Lichfield and Burntwood – Lichfield Live. “The future of the mobile library service in Lichfield and Burntwood will be up for discussion after a consultation programme was approved. The proposals would see the service axed for places currently served such as Hammerwich, Burntwood, Chasetown, Streethay, Curborough, Weeford, Chase Terrace, Fazeley and a number of other areas in Lichfield. Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet has now given the go-ahead for the consultation to go ahead next month.”
  • Staffordshire – News in brief from across the Staffordshire MoorlandsLeek News. £350k per year cut to mobiles. Nine week consultation from June 17.
  • Stoke – New library at community centre will replace scrapped council-run service – Stoke Sentinel. “The facility will be based in Blurton Community Centre and will provide more than 500 books for loan.It comes after the Stoke-on-Trent City Council scrapped its mobile library in 2011. Now an appeal has been launched to find volunteers to run the new service.”
  • Wrexham – ‘Spend merger plans cash on frontline services’ – News North Wales. Proposed mergers of councils could protect frontline services like libraries.
  • York – Police called in after yobs target York library – Press. “drug takers plagued York’s central library with intimidation, violence and antisocial behaviour for months when it reopened after a seven month long refit. The group caused such trouble that police had to be involved when the gang ignored a ban and continued to abuse the site and intimidate staff. The problems have come to light in Explore York’s report to the city council after its first year of operation as an independent mutual organisation.” … “The report, which will be debated by a learning and culture committee next week, includes praise for the hundreds of people who have got involved in the libraries since the mutual organisation was launched. More than 500 people have joined as Community Members, while 150 are active volunteers. In addition, the popular toy library has been relaunched, the libraries are to start loaning out music scores for York Music Hub, and are even considering a similar scheme for garden tools.”