Ed Vaizey has spoken at the Society of Chief Librarians conference, in a speech trailed by the Telegraph in the morning.  He made clear he’s in favour of wifi and of the national libraries task force.  He’s also keen on public libraries moving with the times.  All the non-official comment I have seen about this is of the “that’s easy for him to say” and “try that when you’re facing big cuts in budget” variety.  Certainly, we’re not going to get any funding or protection from him but, rather, he will support those who help themselves.  That’s also the spirit of the new Localities report (funded by Arts Council England) on income generation in libraries, which is worth a read, although there is no easy wins in it.  The message I took from that is that we may lose the ethos of what a public library is – and why people go to these wonderful free, welcoming and neutral places – if one has to chase income.

In a move I have not come across before, Northamptonshire is considering moving its library service into a non-profit along with other “well-being” services run by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Northampton.  This would put libraries in the same organisation as one offering dietary and debt advice, as well as befrienders and stopping smoking. Now, weird as that may be sound, I can actually see some point in that, being aware every day of the health giving and beneficial effects of public libraries. More to the point, the chief of the council is of special importance to public libraries as her is Paul Blantern, chief of the English public libraries taskforce. We can therefore see this thinking as especially influential, even though the council itself seems to bury news of the proposal, with none on the library webpages and it being clear that libraries are being part of the proposals only if you get to the twelfth question of the consultation.

This "green and pleasant" picture of the Kentish countryside was taken from Kemsing Library, Sevenoaks on Wednesday.  No ocean views but, still, what a lovely view

This “green and pleasant” picture of the Kentish countryside was taken from Kemsing Library, Sevenoaks on Wednesday. No ocean views but, still, what a lovely view



  • Calls for a national library card – Herald Scotland. “The National Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland Strategic Group, set up to come up with proposals to shape the future of libraries in Scotland, has also suggested all libraries need to have free wi-fi as well as a greater role in the community”
  • CILIP in Scotland announce £10,000 Professional Development Fund – CILIPS. “CILIP in Scotland President, Jeanette Castle, used her welcome to delegates at CILIPS Annual Conference on the 2nd June to launch a £10,000 professional development fund to support members in Scotland. From 1st July members in Scotland will be able to apply to the Fund for assistance in attending conferences and events. Ms Castle said that the fund “is a demonstration of CILIP in Scotland’s clear commitment to the objectives of the CILIP Professional Knowledge and Skills Base.””
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@HENLEYDARREN confirms £205,00 for @UKSCL development of Universal Offers this year #DigiSCL

— Ciara Eastell(@CiaraEastell) June 4, 2015

  • From building motorways to transforming lives – Society of Chief Librarians. “When I was plying my civil engineering trade on motorway construction sites many years ago (not that many you understand….), I never imagined that I’d be at an SCL conference talking about my role as Chief Executive of the new Leadership for Libraries Taskforce. But here I am, looking forward to meeting all the  amazing  people who are really the heart of our public library network.” … “In my library tours (averaging one day a fortnight; coming to a town near you soon!) and from emails received , I have heard many inspirational stories of how libraries have transformed peoples’ lives.”
  • Income Generation for Public Libraries: learning and case studies from a national pilot project in England – Locality. “This report from Locality explores new and innovative ways in which libraries around the country are generating extra income to make themselves more sustainable.” … “The research is drawn from Locality’s work with five trailblazing library authorities over six months, exploring how they are leading the way in developing their enterprising activities to generate additional income and ensure their services remain sustainable”

“Locality found that library authorities need to become more enterprising and risk-taking and make the most of existing assets – including using existing staff, spaces and collections – to generate new income, without compromising their ethos or core objectives as public library providers.”


  • Libraries must embrace the digital age to meet “changing needs and expectations” of public – Telegraph. “Libraries must embrace the digital age to re-invigorate services and meet the “changing needs and expectations” of public, Ed Vaizey will tell the Society of Chief Librarians today. Mr Vaizey, the culture minister, will say installing free wifi in every public library is a “no-brainer”, as he offers government support for making libraries and librarians fully digitally savvy. Calling library staff the “heart and soul” of the service, he will speak of a coming challenge thanks to the high and changing expectations of users”
  • Libraries urged to find innovative fund raising strategies – LocalGov. “Libraries need to become ‘risk-taking’ fundraisers if they are to stay afloat yet must retain their ‘core ethos’, a report says. A research paper from community network Locality has urged libraries to become ‘more enterprising’ to cover the combined pressures of declining borrowing rates and mounting austerity measures.”
  • Libraries urged to innovate to raise money – BookSeller. “Libraries have been urged to find a new ways of raising money – such as offering paid-for holiday clubs in the school holidays – if they want to stay afloat. A report by community organisations network Locality, funded by Arts Council England (ACE), calls for libraries to look for new ways to bring in funds, without losing their core values.” See the comments as well. <blockquoteclass=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Beth Jefferson @bibliocommons explained that the library must be an experience, free is no longer enough. #DigiSCL

— Chris Edwards (@chris_edwardss) June 4, 2015

  • Vaizey keen on national library framework – BookSeller. “Libraries minister Ed Vaizey has said he is “keen” on the idea of creating a national libraries framework, and urged senior librarians to contribute to discussions on how it can be achieved. The framework could set out guidelines on how public libraries are structured and what they offer.” … “Vaizey devoted much of his speech to the digital future for libraries, urging libraries to “embrace and encourage this”. He said: “As more services become available online then increasingly libraries will be the place to go for people who don’t have the access or the confidence to use digital services. The presence of a member of staff or volunteer to help people navigate this digital space is invaluable.”

“Vaizey did not directly address library closures, but referred to “challenging” circumstances that the service faced. He said: “The people who work in our libraries are still the heart and soul of this fantastic service. They are the people who we look to to help shape and influence the future direction of libraries – a future that is exciting – but also challenging, not just because of funding but also because of the changing expectations and needs of the people who use the service.”


  • Public Libraries Embrace Self-Publishing Services – Information Today (USA). “For authors who want to self-publish their books, the public library may be the best place to find services that can help. One such place is the Seattle Public Library (SPL), which offers a variety of self-publishing initiatives. David Christensen, virtual and instruction services librarian, has been part of the team managing these initiatives since 2013. Don’t try to replicate other libraries’ self-publishing programs, which may not be a good fit with yours, he says. “Start small and figure out what works well for you.””

Local news by authority

Sunday Funday: Game On! is our second Sunday event and the theme is Game on and digital innovation. It also coincides with the Manchester Day Parade which also has the Game on theme. However, in the library we’ll be running a large Coderdojo and young people will be programming and creating their own Manchester Day Parade float via Minetest – an open source sandppit game simliar to Minecraft. We’ll also have Minecraft costume making and Minecraft VJs. Fablab are bringing in a laser cutter and folks can get hands on with that making Minecraft themed keyrings. Plus we’ll have 2 3D printers on the go plus a doxen 3D Doodler pens for people to try. There’s also green screen special FX action plus an animation worklshop from Aardman Animations. There’s also an electronic music workshop and live digital music and games with Foxdog Studios. All in all there will be a dozen digital activities taking place across the whole library complex including a story telling tent and all the activities are free. Only the Shaun the Sheep (Aardman) workshop needs to be booked as places a limited for the three sessions” Manchester – Celebrate Manchester Day at Central Library with more than a dozen free events for all the family – Manchester Libraries.

  • Lincolnshire – Shortlist announced for Lincolnshire libraries contract – Lincolnshire Echo. “Nick Worth, executive member for Libraries, said: “The successful bidder will be responsible for providing the new-look service approved by the council’s Executive earlier this year. “In the meantime, we’ll continue to implement our plans to create that new-look library service, working with local groups to develop the network of community hubs over the next few months.”
  • Northamptonshire – Wellbeing Community Interest Company (CIC) – Northamptonshire Council. “Book onto one of the Wellbeing Community Interest Company Road shows being held across Northamptonshire during June. The road shows are an opportunity for residents, voluntary organisations, current service providers and other interested partners and public bodies in the county to: hear about the Wellbeing Community Interest Company concept / understand what will change / share your views on the ideas for the Wellbeing Company.”

“Partnership working is a key component of the “Next Generation Council”.  Together all the three founding organisations (Northamptonshire County Council, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Northampton have a shared vision for improving the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the population of Northamptonshire. They see the Community Interest Company as the first step to creating new and innovative ways of developing other services which are part of this vision.”