Interesting to see how many items today are from Wales: looks like the cuts are having an impact there as much as in England now. In other news, there’s some positive stuff from the SCL and ASCEL.  That last stand for the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians and, to my shame, I had to check that up.  It’s not an organisation that has played a prominent role in public libraries news and that’s odd because there’s no more important demographic for public libraries as children.  I look forward to seeing more from them.



  • 5 highlights from SCL’s “Digital Landscapes: the future for libraries” – CILIP. Darren Smart: “This year’s Society of Chief Librarians (SCL)’s seminar, “Digital Landscapes: The Future for Libraries“, focused on digital innovation and best practice in libraries. Held over 2 days at Warwick University, the conference brought together over 130 library leaders, partners and Government representatives and highlighted how libraries are key to ensuring that citizens’ digital needs are being met. Discussions ranged from the Government’s investment in free wifi in libraries, through the ambitious plans to develop a single digital platform for public library services, to how best to lead, motivate and engage library staff in public libraries’ digital future. However, for me there were 5 highlights, which really honed in on the importance of public libraries to the digital revolution, especially in terms of digital access, literacy and inclusion.”
  • Ambitions and opportunities for Scottish public libraries – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “Public libraries in Scotland were centre stage last week when the first strategy for them was launched at the CILIP Scotland  conference June 2015. Entitled Ambition & Opportunity: a strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015-20, it focuses on 6 strategic aims, each one supported by a number of recommendations and specific outcomes (which are wider national Scottish outcomes).”
  • Children’s and Young People’s Promise – ASCEL. “Every child and young person visiting a public library is inspired by an exciting accessible environment which makes reading for pleasure irresistible. They have the opportunity to engage with imaginative digital opportunities through public libraries, building their skills, knowledge and creativity. They will find a range of inclusive and diverse fiction and non-fiction books and other information resources to support growing confidence in literacy and formal and informal learning. They are able to take part in a wide range of literacy and cultural experiences including reading and book-based activities. They are actively involved in decisions about service developments and are offered opportunities to volunteer. They are supported through library services and activities to improve their health and wellbeing.”
  • Matthew Pilkington Joins The Reading Agency As Director Of Development And Communications – Reading Agency. “Matthew Pilkington joins The Reading Agency this week in a newly created role as the national charity’s director of development and communications. Matthew will help the charity drive ambitious plans to expand the reach and impact of its work.”
  • Wi-fi for all libraries by March 2016 – BookSeller. “The Leadership for Libraries task force has given its backing to the creation of national guidelines for libraries in England, and is planning to roll out wi-fi for all libraries in the country by March 2016. At the second meeting of the task force, set up as part of the recommendations of the Sieghart Review into public libraries in the UK, the panel agreed to look at the possibility of establishing a national framework that could help establish guidelines on how libraries are set up and what they offer.”


  • Library of Congress Chief Retires Under Fire – New York Times (USA). “The move comes after Dr. Billington, who turned 86 on June 1, presided over a series of management and technology failures at the library that were documented in more than a dozen reports by government watchdog agencies.” … “Over the years, I have been asked if I have been thinking about retiring, and the answer has always been ‘not really,’ because this library has always been not just my job, but my life,” Dr. Billington said in the statement.”
  • Number of libraries halved since 1980s – Uutiset (Finland). “In 1980 there were more than 1,600 libraries in Finland; in 2014 there were under 800. While the number of libraries has decreased, the average number of books per library has increased from 1,500 in 1960 to 47,000 volumes in 2014.” … “The rate of decreasing libraries has slowed. Between 1980 and 1990, close to 600 libraries disappeared, whereas from 1990 to 2000 only 200 libraries were shut down, and from the year 2000 to 2014 there have been 150 closures.”
  • Would You Ask a Librarian for a Lap Dance? – Huffington Post (USA). “In the 15 years that I’ve worked at my local public library, I’ve learned that we librarians do plenty of things for our patrons that aren’t in our job descriptions. After a patron asked me to change her flat tire, and another wanted to check out our pencil sharpener, I logged onto my favorite librarian hangout on Face Book and asked: What’s the oddest thing a patron has ever asked you to do?”

Local news by authority

“New at Library of Birmingham; afternoon & cream teas in The Ribbon Room,” chirped the troubled library’s twitter stream last week.  The £15 cream teas, to which visitors can “even add a glass of presecco”, are offered by the same catering firm that runs the ground floor café — which offers significantly longer opening hours than the library itself. The library, now described by city bosses as “clearly unsustainable”, is operating reduced opening hours due to budget cuts but still faces a £12m-a-year bill just to pay off the debt on the building  (Eyes passim).  The posh tea-shop idea comes as the city’s chamber of commerce says it is discussing with the council whether spaces within the enormous and splendid new public library could be commercially sponsored or rented out to private firms “to raise cash” rather than used by readers and researchers.  PS:  Plans to hand the top floor of Cambridge city library over to a company offering desk space for hire and business schmoozing events  (Eye 1392) were approved and then quickly suspended this month after it emerged that the firm’s boss, Roger Perrin, is, er, disqualified from being a company director in the UK until 2019.  The company’s other workspaces are elsewhere in Europe.” Private Eye Library News Issue 1394

  • Bromley – Bromley residents urged to take a stand against ‘mass privatisation plans’ – Bromley Times. “Bromley residents are being urged to take a stand against the mass privatisation of council services at the People and Services First march on Saturday (June 13) from 12 noon at Norman Park. Protesters including members of the union Unite, who are carrying out a third wave of strikes, claim the borough’s Conservative-run council intends to farm out most of its services to private companies and reduce the number of council employees from 4,000 to 300. With 14 of the council’s libraries among the services earmarked for privatisation, Bromley-based children’s author, Sam Gayton said: “Libraries have given me so much – my imagination, my love of books, and my future career.”
  • Flintshire – Closure is final word on libraries in Flintshire – News North Wales. “A Flintshire Council committee voted yesterday not to try to block plans to close libraries in Hawarden, Mancot and Queensferry and move facilities to a hub at Deeside Leisure Centre.” … “The proposal had been ‘called in’ by opposition Conservative group leader Cllr Clive Carver, of Hawarden, with Flintshire Tory councillors Adele Davies-Cooke from Gwernaffield and Alison Halford from Ewloe, Independent councillor Dave Mackie from Ewloe and Mancot Labour councillor Glenys Diskin adding their support. The move to close the libraries was approved last month by Flintshire’s cabinet, despite more than 1,000 people petitioning against the proposal. They said then that their views were ignored and a decision had already been made.”
  • Gwynedd – Outrage at plans to close library – Cambrian News. “A consultation is being carried out unt il 17 July which asks residents for their views on the running of the county’s library services. Gwynedd Council has announced the libraries which could be at risk of closure are Bala, Criccieth, Harlech, Nefyn and Penrhyndeudraeth. The council claims the service at the lib raries is not sustainable as it looks to make huge savings over the next three years. Dr Robyn Lewis, of Nefyn, said there is strong opposition to the closure of the Nefyn Library.”
  • Harrow – Harrow Council criticised by MP Bob Blackman for ignoring library campaigners – Harrow Times. “An MP criticised Harrow council in a Westminster speech for ‘rubber stamping’ the closure of four libraries. Four of Harrow’s ten libraries will close this Saturday – Bob Lawrence library and Hatch End, Rayners Lane and North Harrow libraries. In a speech at Westminster Hall yesterday, Harrow East MP Bob Blackman condemned the closures, supporting library campaigners in their attempts to run the libraries as community ventures … Speaking in response to Mr Blackman’s speech, Cllr Sue Anderson said: “Central government has imposed £83m of cuts on Harrow Council and our residents over the next four years – over half of our controllable budget. “The Conservative councillors and MP have refused to condemn these cuts and their effect on our community, and haven’t offered an alternative budget or solution to the funding crisis imposed on us by the Tory Government. “
  • Leicestershire – Volunteer-run community group steps up plans to take over running of Bottesford Library – Grantham Journal. “The Bottesford Community Library Association, which was formed last year, has asked Melton Council for a £1,000 contribution to help with the set-up costs of its library service. Its request will be considered by the council’s community and social affairs committee next Wednesday (June 17).”
  • Lincolnshire – New chapter for Caistor Library Market Rasen Mail. “Based in the centre at 28 Plough Hill, the library has played a large part in local life, being manned by a mixture of Lincolnshire County Council staff and local volunteers. But from July 1 the library will be run solely by the 
Centre and its volunteer staff, although help will be on hand if needed.”
  • Middlesbrough – Volunteers step up to help cash-strapped council save services – Northern Echo. “council which has almost halved its workforce over the past four years. Middlesbrough Council is adamant that unpaid helpers are not being used instead of salaried staff, but say some services were reliant on volunteers to ensure facilities, like libraries, could stay open.” … “The majority of helpers offer their free time in community regeneration (205), archives (56), park friends’ groups (51) and libraries (45” … “A high proportion of council volunteers in libraries and museums are older or retired”
  • Newport – Maindee and Carnegie libraries to close – South Wales Argus. “Maindee and Carnegie libraries are to close and services at Central Library are to be reduced after a vote by Newport City Council’s Cabinet. Nine full time jobs will be lost under the plans, which were approved at a meeting yesterday morning. The stock of the current reference library will be brought into the space where the lending library currently is. Cabinet member for leisure and culture, Cllr Mark Whitcutt said “nobody relished” having to make the changes but it was “entirely necessary”.