There’s a couple of legal stories today – Lincolnshire will be in High Court again next week over their plans to cut the library budget and Vale of Glamorgan is facing a judicial review hearing in September or October over their plans (or, rather, lack of them) for Rhoose Library. The thing here is that, even in these days of ever tighter legal restrictions it’s still possible for campaigners to claim legal aid … and I know of two law firms (Public Interest Lawyers and Watkins & Gunn) with previous (and often successful) experience in public libraries keen to take on new cases.  That’s the good news for campaigners.  The good news for councils is that this is all avoidable. Please consult in good conscience, plan to take into account equal opportunities legislation and take things seriously, even about the supposed paper tiger that is the Public Libraries and Museums Act. Just deciding on cuts and aiming to ride roughshod over opposition is likely to get a council into some quite expensive and entirely avoidable legal problems.  Do it right and things are faster and cheaper in the long term.  And shouldn’t we be aiming to do it right anyway?



  • Humorous signs on library vans – such as “Dr Jekyll’s Pharmacy” (Thanks to Stephen Heywood for this link – do email ianlibrarian@live.co.uk if you spot other good ideas that need publicising).


  • Save libraries by changing them – Prospect (behind paywall). “As hundreds of libraries close across the country, it is time to think radically about how to reinvent them”. The article refers quite extensively to the Sieghart Review.

“My Lords, I declare an interest in that for many years I have been a member of the ALCS—the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society—from which I receive minuscule sums about twice a year when people, in their wisdom, decide either to borrow or to photocopy from any of my published works. Many libraries have lost their paid staff and are staffed wholly by volunteers. Can the Minister say whether such libraries are no longer covered by the public lending right so that those authors whose works are photocopied or borrowed from them no longer receive any financial benefit?” Lord Walton of Detchant (Crossbench)

My Lords, it is for the local authority to determine how best to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. Volunteer-supported libraries are considered for public lending right—the point that was at issue—where they are within a library authority’s statutory public library service. Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative)

My Lords, a very sunny atmosphere descended on your Lordships’ House as the Minister mentioned the PLR and public libraries, which cannot be right. Fully operating public libraries have been decimated in the last five years and, as the noble Lord said, there are now difficulties in interpreting how the PLR operates when volunteers are involved. Is it not time now, given the change in the way publishing operates, for the Government to institute a proper review of the PLR to make sure that our authors, who contribute so much to the creative industries, get proper remuneration from all borrowing that is done? Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Labour)

My Lords, the noble Lord is right that libraries have declined in number, but the new modern libraries are amazing. We still have 3,142, which is an impressive network. I was in one of the modern libraries at Canada Water only last week. The Government are committed to looking at the options to extend PLR to remote e-learning. That was one of our manifesto commitments and I am sure we will be debating some of the related points that he has made in the coming weeks and months. Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative)

 My Lords, in the light of what has transpired in these exchanges in relation to the public lending right, would my noble friend consider encouraging a prize for the public library responsible for raising the most public lending right in the course of a year? Lord Brooke of Sutton-Mandevile (Conservative)

 Lords, I like it when this noble House gives us innovative ideas, and I shall take that back to the Culture Minister, who I am sure will be very interested in the idea. Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Conservative) They Work For You

  • Providing a Map and a Compass: developing Scotland’s first national strategy for public libraries – LibFocus. “the National Strategy for Public Libraries Strategic Group set out to develop a strategy (available here) that would prove to be both a map and a compass: a map to show the terrain ahead and a compass to set a clear direction of travel. The hope? To show libraries how to plot a way through the ever-changing now. The destination? A future where libraries shift from safeguarding and lending information to actively helping citizens engage with information to improve their wellbeing, aspirations and potential.”


  • Aust aid cuts kill off donkey library – 9 News (Australia / Ethiopia). “The mobile library on the outskirts of is Addis Ababa is part of an Australian-funded Plan International child development project helping 1572 children. The six-year project will now end three years early, despite hopes it would be scaled up to reach more than 4000 children in the next two years.”
“The donkeys are all decorated in colourful pompoms and embroidered blankets and they open up the sides of the cart and there’s books written in the local dialect – traditional stories that the grandparents have told that are illustrated by other children”
  • EU blocks progress on international copyright reform for libraries (again) – Infojustice (EU). “Delegations from every other region around the world, outside of Europe, demonstrated their willingness to participate in discussion on concrete proposals from member states that support libraries and archives. Canada, Australia, Japan, the US and Switzerland from the group of industrialized countries (known as ‘Group B’) that includes some EU member states, also expressed their individual support for moving towards discussion of library and archive issues.”
  • Johnson County Library Trucks – Black Top Creative (USA). Using your library vans to humorously publicise books.
  • Phoenix factor: urban neighbourhoods on the rise – Lonely Planet. “Last year, The European Solidarity Centre opened in a striking piece of architecture, home to a moving exhibition dedicated to the history of Solidarność (Solidarity), a library and research centre.” … “Karaköy has morphed into Istanbul’s hippest ‘hood, where hardware stores rub shoulders with contemporary galleries and chic boutiques. The abandoned buildings of Bankalar Caddesi, the Ottoman equivalent of Wall Street, are being returned to their former splendour: SALT Galata is an arts-cum-library complex and Vault Karaköy, The House Hotel has kept the imposing stone façade and added stylish interiors.”
  • What Inspires Librarians to Innovate? – EIFL (Global). “Researchers surveyed 120 public librarians (mainly library directors or librarians in charge of innovative library services) from Africa, Europe and Latin America. They also conducted in-depth interviews with public library sector leadership (directors of library systems or networks; leaders of library associations).” … “The study found that ‘willingness to make the library more relevant to the community’, and the ‘personal satisfaction’ that public librarians derive from being useful to the community are the two main factors motivating public librarians to innovate. The third most important factor was ‘additional funding and library infrastructure advancement’, suggesting that survey respondents see innovation as a means of generating resources.”

Local news by authority

  • Camden – 600 sign petition to save West Hampstead Library as Camden consults on closures – Ham and High. “The admission has prompted nearly 600 people in West Hampstead in just five days to sign a petition opposing the proposed closure of their library, while many others across the borough have also rallied against the plans. West Hampstead Labour councillor Phil Rosenberg, who launched the petition last week, said: “We understand the council has to make cuts with their funding slashed by 50 per cent, which is hard for anyone to stomach, but closure should not be an option.”
  • Cardiff – Anger as 10,000 damaged books from Roath library are ‘pulped’ by council – Wales Online. “Cardiff council say the books at the library, which is in the city’s Adamsdown ward, were damaged after a ceiling collapse and leak. But campaigners say it shows a lack of respect and dispute all the books were so badly damaged they had to be destroyed.” … “The council said the market value of the books was just 28 pence each, as that was the price it received on average when it sold second-hand books, giving the entire collection a value of £2,800.” [This is a very low value – normally one would expect replacement value, in which case assume £5-10 per book – Ed.]
  • Cardiff – Do right thing and reopen city library – Wales Online. “The fate of Roath Library is due to be decided tomorrow during a cabinet meeting. There will be a protest outside from 3pm, as we try to put some brakes on this process, where our local stand-alone libraries are systematically removed from the cultural landscape. There are deep and widely held concerns regarding the efficacy of the process so far.” … “Their local library was abruptly closed a fortnight before consultation began – with no information, planned continuation of service, or sign on the door, for three months. The lack of awareness was then used to imply low interest (page 36 item 5) in the cabinet report, when this was not true. Subsequent petitions calling for the refurbishment and re-opening of Roath Library, or an equivalent service, garnered 1,000-plus signatures within four weeks.”
  • Derby – Crunch talks with Government over Derby City Council debt – Derby Telegraph.  Libraries may be “affected by the cuts” and “paring down the bare minimum” of statutory services. Consultation.
  • Dorset – Doreet joins LibrariesWest Consortium – Dorset County Council. “From Spring 2016, anyone with a library card will be able to search and reserve items via a shared catalogue, as well as borrow and return items in over 140 libraries stretching from Porlock to Poole and Bristol to Bridport.”
  • Lincolnshire – County council refuses to reconsider its plans to get rid of staff from libraries – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “On Tuesday 21st July the High Court in London will once again hear the case against Lincolnshire County Council’s plans to get rid of staff from most of its libraries … Speaking on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries, John Hough said “We appeal to the County Council even at this late hour to discuss with Simon Draper and Save Lincolnshire Libraries a way out of legal proceedings that are costly and unnecessary. “Despite repeated attempts to get the Council to come to the table to discuss the issues they have refused to engage with the people of Lincolnshire on finding a way forward for the library service that offers an alternative to closure or to withdrawing valued and experienced staff from the existing libraries.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library campaigners head to high court – BookSeller. “The Stamford Mercury said Lincoln resident Simon Draper, acting on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries, will be in the High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday (21st-22nd) July to fight the council’s decision to stop funding 32 of its 47 libraries. Labour county councillor John Hough, speaking on behalf of campaigners, said: “We appeal to the county council even at this late hour to discuss with Simon Draper and Save Lincolnshire Libraries a way out of legal proceedings that are costly and unnecessary.”
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library cuts in High Court once more – Rutland and Stamford Mercury. “Despite repeated attempts to get the council to come to the table to discuss the issues they have refused to engage with the people of Lincolnshire on finding a way forward for the library service that offers an alternative to closure or to withdrawing valued and experienced staff from the existing libraries.” … The council’s executive member for libraries Nick Worth (Con) said the council had prepared “the strongest possible defence.” He added: “In the meantime, we’ll continue to implement our plans to create a new-look library service, including working with local groups to develop the network of community hubs.””
  • North Yorkshire – Campaigners win battle to save Norton Library from closure – Gazette and Herald. “The library was given community status by North Yorkshire County Council at a meeting to debate the future of libraries across the county last week. A steering group was set up earlier this year to help transform the library in Commercial Street into a community hub ahead of financial cuts from the county council.” … “They would also be providing a temporary pop-up café in the library throughout August on the days and hours that the library is normally open. ” … “However, the mayor of Kirkbymoorside Councillor Chris Dowie said she was very disappointed with the decision to turn the town’s library into one funded and run by the community. “
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries are for all ages – Blackmore Vale Magazine. Mother or rhymetimer says sessions are there to instil love of reading.
  • Staffordshire – Penkridge Library campaigners urge residents to have say on opening hours and mobile library – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Campaigners fighting for Penkridge’s libraries will hold their own information events over the summer amid fears not enough people know they could lose services. Earlier this month Staffordshire County Council launched two consultations on the future of opening hours at the library. But there is also a consultation at the same time on the future of mobile library services, which could see Penkridge losing out. Both will run until September.”
  • Swindon – MP helps to launch primary school reading campaign – Swindon Advertiser. “North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson is urging youngsters to join this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, which launched on Saturday(July11).” … ““I hope parents, grandparents and carers in North Swindon will take their children to the library over the summer to pledge their support for children’s reading and sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge. It’s free, inclusive and makes reading fun – a vital ingredient in building literacy. Last year 3578 children in Swindon took part in the Challenge. I hope we can increase that number this year, show local libraries what a valuable asset they are to us and our community and help set a world record at the same time.” “
  • Vale of Glamorgan – ‘Libraries are a necessity to the community’: Campaigners set to take their fight to save Rhoose Library to court – Wales Online. “The Save Rhoose Library campaign group believes there are “significant flaws” in the way the Vale of Glamorgan Council carried out its consultation over the future of the library. The group has secured legal aid for a judicial review of the council’s actions and is preparing to challenge the authority in the High Court. The campaigners claim alternative ways of achieving budget savings were not adequately considered. Under the council’s strategy review, councillors voted to close Rhoose library as part of a budget-saving plan, unless volunteers come forward to take over the library and run it as a community-funded service.”
  • Wolverhampton – New round of cuts for Wolverhampton: Libraries and children’s services in the firing line – Express and Star. “Hundreds of jobs will go under the latest measures being drawn up as part of five years worth of austerity measures to save £134 million, as councillors warned ‘there is more pain to come’.” … “The measures will see the city’s 16 libraries, most of which have already lost staff and had their opening hours scaled back, lose a further £500,000 of their remaining £1.7m a year funding. Councillors have warned that even Central Library, which has so far been spared the same fate as smaller branches, may also have its opening hours reduced along with others facing the axe again. They appealed to volunteers to come forward to save services but cuts already imposed have not resulted in enough people coming forward to help branches to re-open full time.”
  • Worcestershire – Council accused of “ducking and diving” over mobile library reductions – Malvern Gazette. “The report, which includes all the responsibilities under Councillor Lucy Hodgson, the cabinet member for localism and communities, makes no mention of February’s changes which saw 38 per cent of mobile library stops deleted. At the time, bosses decided to reduce the number of stops from 420 to 267 and visit each area once every month instead of every three weeks to save cash. The report does not detail those events but does highlight how the council has allowed community groups to take over the running of some libraries, which has been credited with no closures taking place.”