Nationally, this week marks the start of the interesting “Read On Get On” Penguin Random House partnership – most libraries will have already received some (high quality) material from it, and it’s hopeful there’ll be more. More locally, it has become clear that Herefordshire will be the grounds of a major battle between the council and library users. Similarly, the cuts in Southampton are being bitterly resisted, with celebrity Chris Packham adding his voice to the fray while councillors point to the success of volunteer libraries elsewhere in the UK to justify the suggested cuts. Meanwhile, in Lincolnshire, where library campaigners have recently lost a second round of legal action, it’s full steam ahead with volunteers being encouraged to take over local branches. The  lead councillor there is not exactly setting the bar high for recruitment – if you’re retired and “want to get out of the house” then you’re in. The interviews must be, presumably, pretty relaxed with that sort of qualification requirement.


National news

  • £1.5 million announced to boost free Wi-Fi in public spaces – Scottish Government. “Additional funding is being made available to extend Wi-Fi in Scotland’s libraries, as part of the public wireless programme, it was announced today. The £1.5 million funding for 2015/16 is part of the Scottish Government’s wider drive to enhance digital participation, improve rural connectivity and the uptake of online public services across Scotland. Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Ullapool library in the MacPhail Centre ahead of the cabinet meeting and public discussion to see at first-hand the impact of the public library Wi-Fi programme to date.”
  • Donaldson bemoans school library closures – BookSeller. “Speaking to the Times newspaper in Edinburgh, where she and her husband Malcolm have launched a Fringe Festival children’s show, Donaldson said it is “awful” that so many school librarians are losing their jobs. “We simply don’t have libraries at all now in a lot of our primary schools  and we are getting rid of librarians in secondary schools as well — yet we complain about our poor literacy levels.”
  • Ladybird partners with Read On. Get On. campaign – BookSeller. “Penguin Random House (PRH) imprint Ladybird is providing a range of story packs for the Read On. Get On campaign, which wants all children to read well by 2025. Ladybird has put together a series of the packs, called story starters, with children’s characters such as Peppa Pig and Topsy & Tim, to encourage families to talk to their children about stories and encourage a love of reading. Read On. Get On partners such as The Reading Agency, Beanstalk and Save the Children will distribute the packs in 200 libraries, children’s centres and Save the Children shops in the UK in August. They will also be given out with copies of the Mirror and Daily Record and will be available to download from the the Read On. Get On. website.” … “Participating organisations, which also include the National Association of Head Teachers, Book Trust, the PA, Teach First, the National Literacy Trust, and the Fair Education Alliance, have all pledged to cooperate to encourage childhood literacy, working through schools, libraries and in the home.”
  • Libraries: the real task – BookSeller. Desmond Clarke blog post: “The minister for culture Ed Vaizey MP is hoping that the new library taskforce will help authorities to create a modern library service that reverses the decline in usage over many years. Alas, the task force has been set surprisingly unambitious targets, such as sharing best practice, work force development and installing wifi in every library, and has been given a large bureaucratic committee under the joint DCMS and LGA umbrellas to support its work. There is little evidence as yet of any innovative thinking and radical solutions emulating from this body. So what should the taskforce be addressing? … We must come to accept that libraries require radical and structural change to survive….”
  • Looking back at mobile library’s opening chapter – BBC. “The mobile library is now familiar sight across Britain but its early editions began in Perthshire in the 1920s. Today’s hi-tech version bringing books to rural communities is a world away from the first ever mobile library in the UK. It was a Ford van fitted with wooden shelves and holding between 800 and 900 books. From 1921 it could be seen visiting towns and villages throughout Perthshire. In 1924, Kent became the next area in Britain to start a similar service. …”


  • Auckland Library starts movie club for homeless – East and Bays Courier (New Zealand). “All are welcome at the new movie club at Auckland’s Central City Library. The club gets together at 10am every Monday. Members have a cup of tea and a biscuit before watching a film. Rachel Rivera, delivery service manager at the Central City Library, says the idea for the club came from a Lifewise report that shows many of Auckland’s rough sleepers visit the library during the day. “We saw how important it is to them and we wanted to show support for those sleeping rough and encourage all to continue to visit the library.”

Local news by authority

  • Dorset – Letter: Praise for Colehill Library – Blackmore Vale Magazine. Library user visits library that was the subject of a letter complaining about how loud children were in it.  Reports a courteous and well-run library that played an important part in the education and eventual success of their children.
  • Enfield – Call for businesses to share space with libraries – Enfield Independent. “Calls have been made for local businesses to share space with one of three libraries as part of new library plans. An open day for businesses to consider sharing a space with Bullsmoor, Enfield Island Village and Ponders End libraries will take place next week at the Dugdale Centre, in London Road, Enfield.” … “Under new plans approved last month, the council will keep all 17 libraries open, the highest of any London borough, but make 11 of them ‘community libraries’, sharing premises with other services. “.  Council: “Under new plans approved last month, the council will keep all 17 libraries open, the highest of any London borough, but make 11 of them ‘community libraries’, sharing premises with other services. “
  • Fife – Community call to save libraries – Courier. “A rallying call has gone out to Fife communities to join forces and fight proposed library closures. The challenge by Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance came as a campaign was launched to save East Wemyss Library, described as a lifeblood of the village. The facility is one of 16 earmarked for closure under Fife Cultural Trust’s cost-cutting exercise, aimed at saving more than £800,000 over three years.”
  • Herefordshire – A young library user says how it felt to have his library threatened, the last time in 2013
  • Herefordshire – Campaigners in bid to retain vital community hub as Leominster Library faces closure threat – Hereford Times. ” the Friends of Leominster Library (FOLL), a group dedicated to supporting and promoting Leominster Library, said it will fight for the cultural and community hub to be retained in North Herefordshire. ” … “”We understand absolutely there’s the need to cut costs. But I do feel with Herefordshire, we are such a rural county that we have a particular need and we don’t have very many large towns in which to send people.”  … “FOLL is urging library supporters to fill in a questionnaire about how much they value the service. These can be found online on Herefordshire Council’s website. “

“Thank you for signing the petition Save Herefordshire’s Libraries first time around. Sadly we all know after initial success in stopping the excessive proposals, it really postponed the scenario with death by a thousand cuts instead, and now we find ourselves back where we started with the original petition, which closed some time back. The time has now come to start version 2 of the petition and we hope (in spite of us all getting petitionitus) that you will support the new campaign.  This is really important. An educated well read society is a much healthier one too. It is a statutary provision so don’t let the council tell you otherwise. Can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends? We must not let our library and museum service be stolen from us. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-herefordshire-libraries-2.
Follow the latest news here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/They-Are-Our-Libraries-Museums/259375180873415Campaigns 4 You

  • Herefordshire – Proposed cuts to Herefordshire Community Services and Libraries – Herefordshire Library Users Group and four other organisations.  Letter to local MPs. “During the last round of budget cuts this Group made a strong case that cuts had already gone far enough. Further cuts would have been counter-productive then and will be even more damaging now. They would generate high social costs by the removal of essential services. The situation has not changed and the arguments remain the same or stronger.” … “We are writing to ask for your assistance and support. It is difficult to believe that the government intended to inflict such damage on our county when they drew up the parameters for the cut backs. Please will you raise these issues with the Council. We recognize the financial problems they face but we need a better way to move forward and are prepared to work with them on this. The cuts to our libraries and customer services, if implemented, would not only have an adverse effect on other aspects of Council expenditure, particularly social and children’s services, but would also have a negative effect on the growth of the county’s economy.”
Swindon Libraries have "the book pedlar": a clever bicycle display used at events

Swindon Libraries have “the book pedlar”: a clever bicycle display used at events. The library bike, acts as a ‘pop-up’ library service to take out and about into the community, promoting the library service and increasing visibility to the public. A tablet is used so that people can be signed up as members there and then.

  • Hertfordshire – Buntingford groups unite to save library – Mercury. Buntingford in Transition, Buntingford Civic Society and Save the Buntingford Library groups are seeking to make the library a community asset and taking over the service.  Groups disagree with council proposal to move the library (a “commercial magnet”) into fire brigade building due to it being away from the High Street
  • Lincolnshire – Library volunteers plea ‘putting an end to council cuts politics’ – Lincolnshire Free Press. “A Lincolnshire county councillor at the forefront of plans to scale down the library service says volunteers coming forward to run a community hub in the town he represents are ready to put politics behind them and focus on the future. Coun Nick Worth is appealing for help to run Holbeach Library and prepare for when services are transferred in the middle of October – and the response so far has been “very positive”.” … “Four training sessions will be provided, which will be informal and relaxed and will cover the basic requirements of managing information, safeguarding children and adults, equality and diversity, health and safety and the operation of the library itself.”

“There are a lot of people in the area who may have retired and want to get out of the house. “Becoming a volunteer would be perfect for them.” Cllr Nick Worth

  • Lincolnshire – My many reasons for supporting Save Lincolnshire Libraries – none of them political – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “I  am one of the people at the heart of the Save Lincolnshire Libraries campaign. Martin Hill has now written an open letter (dated 29 July 2015) attacking me and other campaigners, claiming our actions are political and unnecessary. I must now make it clear I have several motivations for opposing Mr Hill’s plan. None of them are political, and people can judge for themselves if my concerns are well founded.” … “I was also one of the directors on Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot scheme, and I can say with absolute certainty that finding enough good volunteers with enough time to spare in a rural location was an Achilles Heel” … “finally, who is monitoring the progress of the hubs, so everyone knows the outcome and lessons can be learnt? It is now vital that other UK councils know how Martin Hill’s plan works in reality, so they do not blindly follow the same path.”
  • Southampton – Chris Packham criticises cuts to his childhood library – BBC. “Mr Packham said he was “really, really angry” on learning his childhood library was among those facing cuts. The presenter, who grew up near Cobbett Road library, says he spent every Saturday afternoon there from the age of five to 16. The council says it is hopeful community groups will run them instead. Mr Packham, whose father is still a frequent user of Cobbett Road library, said it was an invaluable resource for the community. “I can remember every single one of those books I read sitting in these musty, dusty rooms,” he said. “It gave me the framework to help me understand the natural world.””
  • Southampton – Cobbett Road Library: ‘What was the purpose of the huge consultation?’ – Bitternepark.info. “The Friends of Cobbett Road have argued throughout the £26,000 library consultation process that there could be a ‘third way’ for the library other than closure or community asset transfer. Finally the outcome of the consultation, which saw 7,706 people take part, has been published, with recommendations that the council stop running five city libraries including Cobbett. We spoke to the Friends of Cobbett Road Library chair Kevin Lancashire, pictured, to get his reaction.” … “We’ve looked at what’s involved at other libraries which are run by volunteers, like at North Baddesley, and the task is huge. Cobbett is a much larger enterprise, and we feel taking on more for the Friends group is unrealistic. I can’t see it operating without council input.”

“Regarding the huge consultation that we had – and I quote from an email that was sent out to staff – “generally there is no change to the proposals which were briefed to staff in November 2014″, which means to me: what was the purpose of the huge consultation?”

  • Southampton – Southampton libraries face axe unless volunteers come forward – BBC. “Five libraries in Southampton are set to be shut unless volunteers come forward to run them. The city council has been consulting on the plans since last year as it tries to make budget savings.” … “”The consultation showed that Southampton can have an efficient library service if we implement the preferred option, with 99% of households being within a 1.5 mile distance from their closest library. “However, the findings of the consultation also show the important role that libraries play in Southampton’s communities, so a decision on whether to introduce a community package will also be made, to allow this to continue.”” see also Southampton libraries to close unless volunteers come forward – BookSeller.
  • Southampton – Opposition groups have branded Southampton City Council’s plans to shut libraries as ‘irresponsible’ – Daily Echo. “Cash-strapped council bosses will next week take a decision whether to stop running five libraries and the mobile library from next year. And while they say they are “optimistic” groups will come forward to run them, opponents have attacked them as “irresponsible” saying they could deprive thousands of people of cherished community hubs.”