Mr Vaizey has formally launched the Wifi in libraries scheme which will see an initial 100 libraries wifi’d up through the aid of two private companies, with the promise of at least the possibility of more to come. Barclays and BT will also offer on-site help to users. More locally, Cornwall has delayed passing off its libraries to someone else (presumably not Barclays and BT) for a short while and the judicial review hearing over Lincolnshire has included some gems like the council lawyer saying that the case is moot because many library staff have already received their redundancy notices.  This was said, presumably, to suggest that “de facto” beats “de jure”. We’ll see what the judge says about that soon.

Finally, Wirral Council have made the memorable suggestion that due to the libraries with severely cut opening times issuing more books per surviving open hour, they are “more efficient”, despite seeing large drops in actual issue numbers.  Nice one Wirral. That sort of sophistry would never have stood in the old days when there was a possibility of intervention but it’s now safe, and indeed probably resulted in pats on the back in the public relations office. After all, the Minister responsible (and who forcefully argued while in opposition for intervention in the Wirral) is now distracted by more important things. Like getting private companies to offer something that he should have made sure was universal in public libraries years ago.



  • Book packs prescribed for health literacy – CILIP. “Libraries have been created in a neonatal hospital ward and in an opticians practice as part of pioneering initiatives by the National Literacy Trust to place literacy at the heart of public health strategies. We have been developing tailored local solutions to increase health literacy in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country starting from birth. ” … “The book packs are highlighted as an example of partnership working in a new research paper published by the National Literacy Trust. The report, called Understanding the role of literacy in public health, found that literacy is directly related to health because it enables people to understand and act on information about their own health, treating ailments effectively and preventing disease. The research highlighted that families with low literacy are more likely to be in poor health and improving literacy skills can empower individuals to take control of their own health, leading to reductions in health inequalities and the pressure on public services. “

“A copy of the list of libraries without WiFi, referred to in Question HC5223 on 6 July, will be placed in the Library before the House rises for the summer recess.” Ed Vaizey, House of Commons / They Work For You.

  • Closure of UKOLN Informatics – UKOLN / University of Bath. “The timing of this closure is unfortunate. We believe that issues of digital information management, whether involving research data or cultural heritage collections, will become more relevant to society, not less. The skills and expertise nurtured by UKOLN over its 38 years are exactly those needed in today’s networked and data-driven world. It is therefore to be hoped that UKOLN may one day be revived to tackle the new issues and challenges that arise. But for now at least, it is time to say goodbye.”
  • The future of public libraries: some thoughts from a library user – Information School News / University of Sheffield. “In this blog post, Dr. Briony Birdi presents a shortened version of her presentation at the workshop ‘The role of the local public library’, hosted by the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield, 15 July 2015.”
  • Improving access to library services for visually impaired people – CILIP. “Edinburgh City Libraries recently won the annual Jodi Awards for best use of technology to widen access to information, learning, collections and creativity for disabled people in museums, libraries, archives and heritage. These awards are given in memory of Jodi Mattes, a tireless champion of equal access to culture for disabled people. In 2013 we made a decision to expand our service for visually impaired people throughout the 28 libraries around the city. We wanted to make our service more accessible and aimed to attract new clients by offering something innovative. We invested in iPads for all community libraries and deployed experienced staff to deliver professional training and we also recruited suitable volunteers. We knew through consultation with existing visually impaired library users that the location of bus stops and safe road crossings are vital components when deciding whether to visit a library.  “
  • Record breaking this summer in libraries – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “The launch of the SRC took place on 10th July 2015 (I know, I’m so behind with blogging!), with Ken Skates AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism at Cefn Mawr library near Wrexham, north Wales. A grand total of 118 children from four local primary schools set a record for Wales for the largest number of children reading the same passage aloud from the same book at the same time. (They read from The Twits by Roald Dahl – short video clip on YouTube.)”
  • Vaizey to launch wi-fi pilot scheme today – BookSeller. “Culture minister Ed Vaizey will today (22nd July) officially launch a pilot scheme by BT and Barclays to give free wi-fi to up to 100 libraries and community centres across the country. The pilot scheme will run for two years, and as well as free wi-fi there will also be hands-on digital support from Barclays Digital Eagles and BT Digital Friends, who are specially trained and will give free advice. Vaizey will launch the scheme at Nunhead Library in Southwark, London, later today.” … “There will be up to 100 sites in the initial pilot, and an extension may be considered by BT and Barclays at a later date.”


  • ALA invites public to nominate librarians for the 2015 I Love My Librarian Award – PR Newswire (USA). “The American Library Association (ALA) asks library users to nominate librarians that have transformed lives and communities through education and lifelong learning for its coveted 2015 I Love My Librarian Award. The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the public service of exceptional public, school, college, community college or university librarians. Library users can nominate their favorite librarians now through September 28 by visiting http://www.ilovelibraries.org/lovemylibrarian.”
  • App could turn America’s poor into lifelong readers – Guardian (USA). “While the UK quibbles over library ebook lending, American publishers are teaming up with charities and libraries to give away thousands of ebooks to low-income students. This spring, the Obama administration announced an ambitious project to create a free digital book collection for four- to 18-year-olds from poor families. Publishers have donated $250m worth of popular and award-winning titles, which will be made available for a three-year period on a specially designed app, produced with the New York Public Library. Public domain titles, spruced up with new art and typography, will be accessible for students from all backgrounds.”
  • In Australian librarianship there’s room to breathe – Library Marketing Toolkit (Australia). “To take one example – there’s a section on marketing with video, and using nice animation tools to move away from tired talking-head or screen-capture videos. In every single workshop in Australia, participants were already using these tools at their own institutions. In the UK I’m used to maybe one or two institutions in a group of delegates who have used these tools already.”

“I don’t mean this is a slight on UK librarians – I think what it comes down to is that there is room to breathe in the Australian library system. Although they are facing financial cuts there is nothing like the crisis facing libraries in the UK. They aren’t being attacked by their own Government the whole time. And when you don’t spend all your time fighting for survival, that frees you up to experiment, to prioritise, to innovate. It seems to really make a huge difference. (I also spoke to Australians who put their libraries being ahead of the curve down to the fact that they’re an island who traditionally had to find answers by doing, rather than waiting to hear about the rest of the world was up to…)”

  • Shortage of facilities leaves Chennai public libraries in shambles – Times of India (India). “The building looks decrepit and its insides are ill-lit. One has to wade through mounds of garbage and bear with the foul smell from a nearby corporation toilet to locate the entrance. But the pin-drop silence inside the building is precious and priceless in a noisy city. The public library at Sivagnanam Street in T Nagar boasts of a steady footfall of readers – though mostly senior citizens and housewives in the neighbourhood. By 9am, the visitor list in the library register has crossed 90.  This scene will not last too long, however. The library will soon be pulled down to make way for an Amma theatre. “Who is bothered about the libraries anymore,” says an elderly reader. “

Local news by authority

  • Bristol – Bristol libraries could be saved after council u-turn – BookSeller. “A consultation on the future of the city’s library service closed at the beginning of July, with more than 4,600 responses being received. The council wanted to save £1.1m from its library budget for 2016/17, and had proposed shutting libraries in Clifton, Redland, Sea Mills, Marksbury Road in Bedminster, Westbury, Wick Road in Brislington and Eastville. But mayor George Ferguson has already said “fresh proposals” have been made, reported the BBC, which say Eastville could close or relocate, while the other six libraries could remain open, although with reduced staff and opening hours.”
  • Cornwall – Decision Delayed On Future Of Cornwall’s Libraries – Pirate FM. “Following consultation and engagement on the review of the Library and One Stop Shop service, the Communities Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) met on Friday 17 July to consider the report and recommendation (option 2) to formally procure a service provider for the whole Face to Face (Library/One Stop Shop) service. However, having discussed the issue in detail, the PAC is instead recommending that further work is done (in line with Option 3 in the report) before a decision is made on the future delivery of the library and one stop shop service”
  • Cornwall – Do You Fancy Running Cornwall’s Leisure Services? Pirate FM. “Cornwall Council is inviting organisations interested in running its leisure services to take part in a soft market test from 20 July to 21 August 2015. The Council wants to hear from community groups, other public sector organisations and businesses about how they could help deliver its ambition for a sustainable network of leisure facilities for residents and visitors, within the reduced annual leisure subsidy.”
  • Dumfries and Galloway – A temporary Kirkcudbright library is set to cost as much as £157,000 as it moves from sheriff court – Daily Record. “Councillors were told that plans for the interim facility could cost £157,000 – just a month after a £90,000 price tag had been suggested for the same Daar Road project. Members of the Stewartry area committee were told that the potential bill had risen sharply since they’d agreed to place the library on the ground floor of the building last month. Councillor Wyper told the meeting last Wednesday: “We thought £90,000 was a lot of money for a temporary library – now it’s £150,000!””
  • Fife – Young campaigner urges public to fight for future of libraries – Central Fife Times. “Libraries threatened with the axe have been given a temporary reprieve while a public consultation is carried out, but MYSP Lewis Akers, from Dunfermline, is keen that people across Fife make their voices heard. He said this week that an online petition against any closures had already received 4000 signatures and he urged people through the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area to join the campaign and back the petition”
  • Kirklees – Debate on plans to close libraries in Cleckheaton, Birstall and Heckmondwike – Telegraph and Argus. “Just over half of the respondents agreed the local community should take a more active role in running libraries, but only 18 per cent said they would be willing to volunteer. Opinions were mixed as to whether moving services into community facilities would be acceptable.”
  • Kirklees – You are vital to keeping your library running: results of survey on Kirklees Council libraries show public involvement is key for future – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “More than 5,000 people have had a say on the future of library services in Kirklees. The results of a major public consultation show support for community involvement in maintaining local libraries ahead of £1.8m cuts to Kirklees Council’s budget. It leaves a budget of £3.9 million – still some way off the £6m budget the library service once had. So the council is exploring how volunteers can help support library services – with 59% in favour of local libraries having one paid member of staff working with local volunteers. But if local libraries were to close, the service could lose 46% of its users.”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries – Council jumping gun – Market Rasen Mail. “It seems that the County Council plans to close the so called ‘Tier 3’ libraries over the summer period … I suggest that your readers visit their local library to find out what is going on. Please thank the staff for their service and wish them well for the future.” see also Lincolnshire campaigners head to London to seek legal challenge over libraries shake-up – Lincolnshire Echo. “
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library plans ‘perverse’ High Court told – BookSeller. “Lincolnshire library campaigners have called the council’s aim of transforming its library service “perverse” at the High Court.  Lincoln resident Simon Draper, acting on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries, was in the High Court yesterday and today (21st-22nd July) with his counsel Fionnuala McCredie QC, to fight the council’s decision to stop funding 32 of its 47 libraries.  He had already won a court victory last year, when the High Court quashed the plans for library cuts.. However, Draper launched a new offensive this year because the council proposed the same cuts in January.” … “In response, Nigel Giffin QC, speaking for Lincolnshire Council, said the reorganisation scheme was already well advanced and many members of library staff had been handed their redundancy notices.”

“Judicial review adjourned to 10am thursday. Judgement unlikely until Monday #librarieshighcourt ” via Twitter

  • Shropshire – Star comment: Plight of library is a timely reminder – Shropshire Star.  “The savings made at Bishop’s Castle Library are a drop in the ocean. However, the impact they will have is vast. Libraries are particularly important in rural areas. They provide community cohesion, a space for people to meet and they also supply IT equipment to those without access to it.” … “Of course, there are no economic data systems that show the value of our libraries. While accountants can compute the value of, say, a new road or HS2, equations to show the value of libraries are not so easily found.”
  • Shropshire – Residents’ views sought on proposals for Bishop’s Castle Library – Shropshire Newsroom / Council. “The proposals detailed within the consultation document, which people are being asked to respond to are: (1) Transferring the day-to-day running of the library to Enterprise South West Shropshire. This means the library will remain in its existing location and opening times will not be affected. Existing library staff will transfer to Enterprise South West Shropshire, who will continue to provide the same range of services currently available. (2) The library remaining under council management, with reduced opening hours. There is also an opportunity for residents to suggest other sustainable and cost-effective alternatives the council should consider for the future delivery of the library service in Bishop’s Castle.”
  • Wirral – Fewer people using Wirral libraries since opening hours were cut – Liverpool Echo. “The figures show that since then the libraries have seen the average number of visits fall from almost 8,000 to less than 5,000, while the average number of loans has dropped from 5,535 to 3,750. The figures included in a report to the council’s transformation and resources committee also showed the “hourly use” had risen by 45% and the report said libraries were now “more efficient”.