Yet more relevant stuff from CILIP this post … this is becoming a little bit repetitive but it’s good to see.  CILIP has sometimes been ambivalent about volunteers replacing library staff in the past but its board has come out in favour of a resolution urging the organisation to fight the amateurisation of libraries.  I know that some senior library staff argue that they have to use volunteers in the face of job cuts, and that is quite right as they have to do what their employers, the councillors, tell them to do but it is also true that CILIP has a strong potential role to play in waving the flag for paid staff. Such a stance should come naturally to a professional association and will garner it some support, not least among public librarians who sometimes feel CILIP is at insufficiently involved in the fight to save their jobs.

It’s also interesting to see the description of the view of Nick Poole of CILIP and Kathy Settle of the English Public Libraries Taskforce on the best strategy for public libraries.  Some good points are made, although complaining about campaigners giving a “negative narrative” due to highlighting cuts and closures is a bit rich. That’s effectively like blaming the media for reporting disasters: a common policy in the more repressive dictatorships but not one that is normally received with much credit elsewhere.  Tell you what, you start giving us good news and we’ll report it.  Frankly, it gets a bit depressing reporting the disasters befalling the sector and I’d much rather report brighter stuff.  So give me some.

Email your news, view and comments to ianlibrarian@live.co.uk


National news

  • 6 Music Celebrates Libraries – BBC Radio 6. “A special edition of the series in which authors discuss their musical influences.”
  • CILIP Board backs member resolution on ‘amateurisation’ of public libraries services – CILIP. “At this year’s AGM members have the opportunity to vote on an important resolution proposed by member Andy Richardson calling on CILIP to oppose the ‘amateurisation’ of public library services. On behalf of the Board I am calling on members to vote in favour of the resolution. In his guest blog Andy explains why his has submitted the resolution – at its core is the value to communities and wider society of high quality library services, which are developed, managed and delivered by skilled and expert staff. ” … “All AGM resolutions are ‘advisory’. However, if a majority of members vote in favour of the resolution the Board will consider it carefully and ensure that it is reflected in CILIP’s ongoing advocacy and campaigning.” … “CILIP’s existing policy on volunteers is already overdue for review. The Board will begin this process based on evidence and research in what is a rapidly changing environment. ” see also CILIP called on to oppose ‘amateurisation’ of library service – BookSeller.
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival: Museums and Libraries – Spaces for Literacy – Edinburgh Reporter. “Libraries in the UK are struggling. Their funds have shrunk – some have even been shut down; in 2013 Moray Council closed seven of its fifteen libraries. We are told that people don’t go to libraries any more – they may like the idea of The Library as an institution, but they buy their books online – if at all. (One local librarian told me that whilst the whole village campaigned if the library was threatened, hardly anyone came near it at other times – and it’s borrowing numbers that councils base their decisions on).” … “In New York the financial situation may have been equally parlous, but New Yorkers didn’t take the cuts lying down (not even with a good book…). There are 217 public libraries in the city; they receive over 40 million visits per annum (more, says Tony Marx, than all the NYC museums and sports teams put together, ‘Just saying…’) and they’ve recently received a huge grant from public funds. This city understands the centrality of libraries; the New York Public Library is one of the most prestigious in the world. In a country that we may see as a monument to capitalist, profit-driven ideology, public libraries are thriving …”
  • Leadership for Libraries Taskforce: busy landscape but one clear, short-term target – CILIP. “Kathy [Settle, CEO of Task Force] said: ‘We recognise that funding is very tight. Clearly we are making the case through the Spending Review process to try to get more money to invest in our current plans to take them forward more quickly, or make them more ambitious. However, whatever the outcome of the Spending Review, the priorities set for the first year remain valid.’””Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, said that without some success in the Spending Review, changes to some public library services may have to take place more quickly: ‘Whatever the outcome of the Spending Review 2015, as a community we have to come to terms with the implications of other delivery models for library services. “Kathy thought libraries should explore building on their unique value by investigating new partnerships to improve their user offer … ‘a lack of real-time, accurate, consistent, open data was a big barrier to improving library services”

“‘We’ve been told to prepare for a 25-40 per cent cut in departmental budgets, which is likely to be handed directly on to Local Authority expenditure. Experience shows that this is likely to hit our public libraries and their users very hard indeed.” Nick Poole “… The risk is that in positioning libraries primarily as the “front door” for Local Government services, we end up confusing the public about the range of other benefits we bring to our communities such as supporting education and raising the level of information literacy.’” …

… “Both Kathy and Nick emphasised the need to be positive about the library offer. Kathy said: ‘I realise that campaigners and lobbyists will quite reasonably want to point out the cuts and the closures. You can see how effective they are too because that is the narrative you see in all the media. “

… ” ‘My biggest concern is that we allow services to be hollowed-out in the name of keeping up appearances, keeping the doors open while reducing the range and quality of services offered by skilled and qualified staff. ” Nick Poole

  • National Libraries Day set for 6th February – BookSeller. “In the past, some groups have used National Libraries Day to protest the local council cuts which have led to library closures across the country. This year in Cardiff, hundreds gathered outside Central Library for a read-in to protest against planned cuts, while protestors in Birmingham joined together to create a human chain hugging the threated library of Birmingham. “

International news

  • India – Public library thrown open at Guru Nanak Bhawan – Tribune. “The public library finally opened at Guru Nanak Bhawan today. Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria and MC Commissioner GK Singh inaugurated the library, which houses nearly 16,000 books with a seating capacity of 48 people and four desks, especially for children. Two computers have been placed in the library for accessing e-books and searching online. Two more computers would be added shortly, Gohalwaria said.” … “He said 25 newspapers and 40 magazines would be available in the air-conditioned library, adding that they would try to keep the library open on all seven days so that residents could have access to it during weekends as well.”
  • Singapore – Singapore libraries use technology for easier, faster service – Channel News Asia. “there is a machine which automatically scans and sorts returned items into specific categories, making it easier for staff, especially the older ones, to shelve the books. Previously, they had to manually sort the items – a time-consuming and laborious process. The machines are now used in Sembawang Public Library and library@chinatown, and there are plans to have them in more libraries.” … “Users can also view digital newspapers and magazines with large-screen tablets. They are now used in Sembawang Public Library but there are plans to have them in more libraries, especially the new ones, and those undergoing upgrading.” … “readers can collect reserved items from lockers that operate even beyond opening hours. The lockers are located at the entrances of Sembawang Public Library and Library@Orchard.”
  • US/Global – Storytime underground – Excellent website providing help with library storytimes, hints, tips and resources.

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – March planned to protest threat to Barnet libraries – BookSeller. “Campaigners will take to the streets of Barnet next week to protest Barnet Council’s proposed £2.85m worth of cuts to the library service, the Times Series has reported. The ‘Children’s March for Libraries’ will see BAFTA award-winning actress Rebecca Front joining those campaigning. She said: “It’s a pretty obvious equation to me. Children reading books is a good thing. Children being denied free access to books is therefore a bad thing and needs to be stopped in Barnet or wherever it’s happening.” On Saturday 12th September campaigners will start at East Finchley Library at 10.15am, before heading to Church End Library, where they will be joined by a brass band. They will end the march at North Finchley Library…. ” See also Campaigners to stage march ahead of vote on library cuts – Times Series.
  • Cambridgeshire – Friends group to be set-up at Cambridge Central Library in wake of enterprise centre saga – Cambridge News. “A friends group dedicated to protecting Cambridge Central Library is due to be set up in the wake of unprecedented community spirit that saved it from becoming home to an enterprise centre. Thoughts yesterday returned to using the county’s library services as a tool to generate income in the wake of the failure to put an enterprise centre on the library’s third floor. The hugely contentious plans were scrapped after local blogger Phil Rodgers uncovered the fact the man behind the proposals was banned from being a director in the UK.
  • Derby – Council will ask volunteers to help run Derby’s libraries due to cuts – Derby Telegraph. “People will be asked if they would be willing to volunteer at Derby’s libraries as part of a consultation into how they will be run in the future.And councillor Martin Rawson, cabinet member responsible for Derby’s 15 sites, including the new local studies library, has conceded they are likely to need fewer staff.But he said the authority would strive to do this “through not filling posts when people leave”.” … “report drawn up by council officers ahead of the meeting said that a public consultation in 2013-14, saw the 1,000 people who took part suggesting that there should be an average decrease in the city’s libraries budget of 34.45%.It said: “While this result is not binding, it is broadly indicative of the level of savings that many residents want us to consider.“However, given the scale of the budget savings already made since 2010-11, a further reduction of this magnitude would require a fundamental transformation of the current service delivery model.”
  • Glasgow – Survey on city libraries – Evening Times. “Both library members and non-members were asked their views and more than 3000 people responded. Their comments will help form a vision for the library which will include Glasgow Life’s five year commitment to the service. “
  • Hartlepool – Hartlepool libraries’ hours are cut to save cash – but closures are avoided – Hartlepool Mail. “Branch libraries will close on more days as part of cost-saving measures to the service. Hartlepool Borough Council looked at opening hours, possible mergers and greater use of volunteers as part of a library review. It attracted more than 1,500 responses from users, one of the highest ever for a council consultation exercise.”
  • Herefordshire – Library consultation “needs to be suspended” – Hereford Times. “Nina Shields, chairman of the Ledbury Library Development Group believes the present online consultation, set to end on October 9, needs to be suspended and replaced with “real” consultation involving her group and others.” … “Ms Shields said of the online consultation process:”It is difficult to believe that you are serious about this – unless you think seeking endorsement for your plans equates to consultation.”. Council says “”We will continue with the consultation in its present form for the above reasons and would ask you to help by encouraging as many people as possible to respond. We will do everything we can to preserve important services like libraries but would ask you to recognise that there simply is no longer enough money to maintain support for everything at previous levels.”
  • Herefordshire – Threat to our county libraries is absurd – Hereford Times. Letter: “For Herefordshire Council to talk about closing libraries in two of our largest market towns defies belief.  … These are purpose-built libraries, were opened only about 20 years ago, and are busy and well used. ” … “To suggest that Hereford Library becomes the only ‘professional’ library and the ‘central hub’ for the county is absurd. Of course it is the busiest library: Hereford is by far the largest population, but its library was built about 150 years ago and is not fit for purpose as it is – let alone its role in the future. “
  • Leicester – Libraries cut to the bone – Leicester Mercury, Unison warn of further cuts after librarians cut by almost half three years ago and reductions in library assistants.
  • Norfolk – Hope for Norfolk libraries, but cuts fear hangs over museums – Diss Express. “a working group set up to look at the future of the county’s 47 library buildings has concluded all of them should be saved from the axe. The group’s report said: “Libraries are ideally placed to become community hubs and provide not only the physical infrastructure, but the learning support that individuals will need to access a wide range of services.” However, the group added that savings could still be found by introducing more self-service technology.”
  • Norfolk – What could 25% cuts at Norfolk County Council mean for our services? – Eastern Daily Press. “Norfolk has 47 libraries and cutting 25pc from the budget would mean only around 30 would remain in three years. Options which are likely to be put forward include reducing library stock, cutting mobile-library services, shedding staff and reducing the opening hours of the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library at The Forum in Norwich. A new model of delivery, which includes using libraries as venues for early help, is proposed.”


  • Southampton – Council consultation on libraries’ closure was not fair – Southern Daily Echo. “The council maintains that the majority of respondents to the public consultation supported its preferred option (closing five libraries) yet respondents were given no option to maintain all or even most of the city libraries. They could choose between five or more closures. The survey questionnaire was designed to give the results the council wanted to proceed with its intended plan”
  • Staffordshire – In pictures: New chapter for £1 million Stafford library – Express and Star. “The new £1 million facility will open on Wednesday at its new home inside Staffordshire Place in Tipping Street … The opening will please many library users in the town who have been left without a library for almost two weeks because of the closure of the old one in Martin Street.” … “Gone are the lifeless noticeboards which traditionally greet library-users, instead those visiting the new facility will be met by a large state-of-the-art touchscreen display which resembles an iPad and the digital world.” … “The library will be equipped with tablets for web browsing and reading, as well as Raspberry Pi devices which are credit card-sized computers for children that teach programming skills. And one of the eye-catching new additions is the 3D printer where people can see their creative designs come to life before their eyes.”