The decision by the membership at the CILIP AGM to approve (130 for, 7 against, no absentions) the following statement has raised a few eyebrows:

“That CILIP actively oppose those public authorities and senior library staff over the “amateurisation” of the Public Library service by offering library buildings and contents to be run by the local community with little or no funding for professional or paid library staff. This is resulting in public libraries being run by volunteer staff and taking away work currently done by paid professional and library assistant staff. All current public library service points staffed by paid local authority library staff should be the current base-line – and where such actions are suggested by the local authority and senior library staff, CILIP should support the opposition to such proposals and say so publicly”

Leaving aside the perceived dig against volunteers (and, really, no-one is saying volunteers are a bad thing, just that they’re a pretty odd way to run a national and important service like libraries) the main problem has been with that statement about “and senior library staff”.  It’s worth pointing out here that few chief librarians actually believe that, long-term and structurally, unpaid staff are better than paid but rather have to do so in order to meet tough budget cuts. Indeed, I’ve heard stories of chiefs in tears, privately, because of what they’ve been forced to do publicly. The task, therefore, on both sides (CILIP and senior library staff) is to accept that it’s actually all about funding – by opposing “amateurisation” CILIP are effectively trying to protect budgets in a world where a volunteer run library is seen as far more politically acceptable than a closed branch. They’re not going to personally attack managers. Likewise, chief librarians should not take it personally but rather see CILIP as an ally to their real cause of protecting the service.  No one should take it personally. Everyone should see that this is how we can all help defend public libraries against the most difficult attacks upon them in history. Let us, in other words, all be professional about this.


National news

  • Cilip AGM 2015 – Leon’s Library Blog. “the subscriptions were raised once again on a vote of 105 for, 33 Against & 5 Abstentions. My opposition to the rise is well known and at the meeting there was a lot of criticism of the £17-£42k band. Mike Hoskings, Cilip Treasurer has indicated  that this will be looked at, and despite promises to the same for the past five years, perhaps this will be the year something actually changes. I remain ever hopeful.” … “One of the most urgent areas to be addressed will be the continuing decline in membership. Apparently, there are now only 3000 members from public libraries left in Cilip. It’s difficult to decide if there is one over-riding factor for the decline but I would hazard a guess that weak advocacy from Cilip over the past 5 years has played a major part. Equally, the loss of 37% professionally qualified staff in public libraries since 2009/10 won’t have helped either”

“This is where the Society of Chief Librarians have a vital role to play. While individual HoS, as paid council officers, have no choice but to implement changes – and many do argue quite strongly behind the scenes – SCL, as the body representing senior library managers, could make an unequivocal statement opposing volunteer run libraries and the loss of paid staff. However, this might not be realistic given that only a year ago the President of SCL as part of her inaugural speech stated that a priority was to “…explore how we might develop resources and a framework to support community-led libraries.” It might be that CILIP and SCL’s positions on this issue are starting to diverge significantly.”

  • CILIP votes overwhelmingly against ‘amateurisation’ of library service – BookSeller. “Mark Taylor, director of external relations for CILIP, told The Bookseller an “overwhelming majority of members” voted in favour of the motion, with 130 for, 0 against [this is wrong, I was there and saw people voting against – 7 I think – Ed.] and 13 abstaining. The body now intends to produce a white paper in the next six months analysing the rapidly changing public library environment , he said, and also seek to secure pro-bono legal advice on the 1964 Public Libraries & Museums Act to provide clearer definition on what a “comprehensive and efficient” service means for library services today in England and Wales. Earlier this month, Martyn Wade, chair of the CILIP Board, outlined how the board would review CILIP’s position. He said: “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.”
  • In praise of law libraries, and why defending Inner Temple law library matters – Jack of Kent. “Law libraries are a great levellers within the unequal profession of law; the great chambers of barristers or the top law firms of solicitors may well have their own private libraries; but they cannot have privileged access to legal information when there are well-resourced law libraries freely available to lawyers.” … “a good law library needs law librarians.  There is only so much even the most experienced lawyer can know about legal materials and where to find them.  An experienced law librarian will not only be familiar with the queries all lawyers tend ot have (and so can use that experience to save the time of everyone) but will invariably be able to assist in solving the most esoteric of research problems …”
  • Libraries at the Heart of Communities – Poetry By Heart. “This year 15 Poetry By Heart county competitions will be organised by much admired library services in association with Poetry By Heart. Our second September Blog is provided by not one but two librarians who talk about their experiences of Poetry By Heart. Libraries By Heart 1   by Gareth Ellis (Library Manager Whitley Bay High School) “We’ve found Poetry by Heart to be a hugely positive experience and the competition has become an annual expectation within school, with staff and students eagerly anticipating it. Furthermore, it’s raised the profile of poetry within the school community, generated an excited discussion around literature and given students the chance to explore and develop their own communication and literacy skills” and Libraries By Heart 2  by Ian Anstice (Locality Librarian for Cheshire West and Chester Council) “For public libraries, the Poetry By Heart competition gives us entry into that most difficult of markets, that of the teenager.  Although junior schools are a prime source of readers for us, all that changes when the kids go to Big School. Often we don’t see them again until they come back again while they’re studying at University or when they have kids themselves.  The competition gives libraries a chance to remind students of our existence and how we can help them.  It also hits the spot when it comes to poetry, which again, is not an easy sell. I would also suggest that for those authorities who have school library services, running the competition could strengthen a natural connection between schools and libraries.” [Yes, I’m quoting myself, sorry – Ed.]
  • Library leaders across England and Wales confirm the welcome offered to refugees and asylum seekers from public libraries – ASCEL. “—The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL), along with colleagues in the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians (ASCEL) have confirmed that public libraries are safe, trusted spaces and are able to offer a range of vital free services for new arrivals in local communities across the country. Libraries enable people to connect in new communities and remain connected to the communities and loved ones that they left behind. With the Government’s recent announcement of 20,000 refugees arriving in the country over the next 5 years, the nation’s libraries have come together to extend a warm welcome to new arrivals and to offer practical and free support. This welcome is also extended to the existing 150,000 refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people who are currently in the country.”
  • Rolf Harris, Max Clifford, Gary Glitter and Jimmy Savile still making money from library books  – Mirror. “Britain’s libraries own 15,000 books by the convicted paedophiles and they earn 6.2p every time a copy is borrowed ” … “Liz Dux, a specialist abuse lawyer who represents many of the victims of Savile, Harris and Clifford, said: “It is particularly disturbing that literature written by any convicted paedophile is so openly available and promoted by public libraries, where children have such easy access.” … “The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said libraries’ book stocks were a matter for individual local councils. A spokesman said: “It would be a case of each authority making their own decisions.”
  • Rugby stories tackled by children – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones AM announced the winners of the national Rugby Stories writing competition for young people whilst also officially launching the Kick-offs and Keep-sakes exhibition at National Museum Wales, Cardiff on 16 September 2015. Organised by the all-Wales Audience Development Team, over 500 entries were submitted to the ‘Rugby Stories’ national bilingual competition for young people. The challenge was to produce a piece of creative writing or digital storytelling on the theme of rugby, to coincide with the Rugby World Cup taking place in the UK this autumn (including some matches being played in Wales).”
  • Shape the future: Strategic plan 2016-2020 – CILIP. “The current CILIP Business Plan comes to an end in December 2015. This gives us an opportunity to look ahead to the next 4 years and decide as a community how we want CILIP to develop. Shape the Future is an open, collaborative project to develop CILIP’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020. We want to ensure that as many people as possible have a chance to contribute to this plan including members and non-members, external parties, staff and partners in all 4 nations of the UK and internationally. “
  • Struggling National Library appoints new Chief Exec to turn around its fortunes – Wales Online. “The iconic Aberystwyth site has seen 22 full-time roles lost through redundancy, non-replacement and retirement this year. But the library has warned that at least 18 more jobs must be axed in the coming year.”
  • Unstaffed Open Libraries – Local Government Library Technology. A review of the literature on the relatively new phenomenon of unstaffed libraries with access controlled via library card.

Supporter’s news

  • Nielsen LibScan Public Library Borrowing data Period 7 (Four weeks to 11 July 2015) – “Overall library loans through Nielsen LibScan have declined by 3.6% between periods 6 (four weeks ending 13 June) and 7 of 2015. There have been 5.8m books borrowed from Public libraries in Period 7 with Fiction experiencing the least decline when compared with Non-Fiction or Children’s.  Fiction loans dropped by 2.1% in Period 7.  Whilst Children’s, Young Adult and Educational loans dropped by 4.9% compared to Period 6.  Trade Non-Fiction and Specialist Non-Fiction loans dropped by 3.9% and 4.8% respectively in the same period. Transport is one sector which has grown in Period 7 (four weeks to 11 July 2015).  The loans for this category have increased by 1.2% whilst loans for Driving and The Highway Code, within the Transport category have increased by 6.1% between period 6  (four weeks ending 13 June) and Period 7.  Looking at the Nielsen BookScan UK TCM (Total Consumer Market) we see that sales of Driving and The Highway Code have also increased in Period 7, by 1.9% on the previous four weeks, which might suggest more people are taking their test at this time of year.


  • Marketing Excellence Awards – PPRG “We are very pleased to announce our annual conference will this year be on Friday 13th November 2015 in Birmingham. At our “Marketing Excellence Awards 2015″ conference you can hear case studies from this year’s Marketing Excellence Award winners as well as this year’s Travelling Librarian, Frances Tout. We will also hold our AGM and provide an opportunity for you to network with like-minded library and information professionals with an interest in marketing and promoting services”
  • Speak Up For Libraries – Saturday 14 November, Central London. “Turning Point? The fifth national conference for public library users, workers and campaigners – backed by a network of campaigners and national organisations: Campaign for the Book (Alan Gibbons), CILIP, The Library Campaign, Unison and Voices for the Library. Deep and damaging cuts have already been made, But there are signs that people are starting to realise what public service cuts really mean. The political scene is getting a shake-up. Campaigners are as determined as ever. And finally, there’s a national agency tasked with getting action for libraries. Here’s campaigners’ chance to meet the people in charge of it – and lots of other key people. The key session is the first-ever national campaigners’ dialogue with the top people in the Libraries Taskforce – Paul Blantern, Chair, and Kathy Settle, Chief Executive. The Taskforce is the new agency charged with bringing real improvement – and funds – into libraries. By November, it will have published its first report. So it’s time to tell Paul and Kathy what campaigners think – and want them to do. Also: talking to a national meeting of campaigners for the first time – Nick Poole, new broom Chief Executive of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals). Plus: Alan Gibbons, outspoken author, education consultant and Campaign for the Book. Plus: John Dougherty, author, library advocate, poet and writer of songs (including the classic ‘What’s wrong with Ed Vaizey?’) – complete with guitar. Places are limited – advance booking is essential. Places allocated on a strictly first come, first served basis, on receipt of payment. Cost: £20 early bird (unchanged since last year) including tea & coffee breaks and a pretty good sandwich lunch. £25 after 9 October. Information/Booking. Full details & online booking form: www.speakupforlibraries.org. Follow us: www.twitter.com/SpeakUp4Libs#SUFLconf15www.facebook.com/SpeakUpForLibrariesJoin us after the conference: The Library Campaign is hosting a get-together, straight after the conference ends, for those who want to network further.”


  • USA – The Benefits of Public Library Foundations – Public Libraries Online. “The report revealed that 79% of U.S. public libraries use foundations, reaping an average annual fundraising net of $2 million and garnering assets of over $12 million. Of the largest public libraries in the U.S. with foundations, the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation is one of the oldest – it has been in existence since 1891 and recent donations were just shy of $7 million. “
  • USA – Our Libraries Are in Trouble. Karin Slaughter Wants to Save Them – Huffington Post. “”Our libraries are being hit with a tsunami and there has been no call to action,” she says. “Staffs are being fired. Hours are being cut. Doors are being closed. Buildings are being razed. Kids are being left behind. Futures are being destroyed.” Slaughter explains how she’s doing her part to Save the Libraries, and why we should be, too.”
  • USA – Weaponization of Library Resources Go To Hellman. “The unencrypted services of public libraries are attractive targets for other sorts of mischief, ironically because of their users’ trust in them and because they have a reputation for protecting privacy. Think about how many users would enter their names, phone numbers, and last four digits of their social security numbers if a library website seemed to ask for it. When a website is unencrypted, it’s possible for “man-in-the-middle” attacks to insert content into an unencrypted web page coming from a library or other trusted website.”


  • Warwickshire – Area Librarian – “This post plays a key role in taking responsibility for the delivery of library services within the South Area. The postholder will be responsible for quality service standards and will be the joint professional lead within the area for stock, information and training. “

Local news by authority

  • Camden – A letter from Camden Unison re proposed library cuts – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. “Whatever the truth of Cllr Angela Pober’s allegations against her former Labour group colleagues regarding the campaign opposing the closure of West Hampstead library, the accusations pose serious questions over the current public consultation over the future of Camden library servicesThe current consultation is set to run until Tuesday 6 October, and Camden UNISON was already concerned about its weighted design that can only prove divisive. If this were, in fact, a genuine exercise to gauge the views of service users, how can West Hampstead already be safe (at least for now)? And if West Hampstead is secure, what other services face the prospect of further cuts or complete closure?  
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Have your say on cultural services in the borough Cheshire West and Chester Council. “Cheshire West and Chester Council is asking for views on the future of its cultural services, which include libraries, museums, arts, events and historic environment (archaeology).  A public consultation on these services has been launched and will continue until Wednesday, December 2.  The consultation document and questionnaire contains background information on each of the services as well as their aspirations for working differently in the future.  Three potential future service delivery options are also explained. These are that the Council continues to retain delivery of these services, that a wholly Council-owned company is established under the direction of the Council; finally an independent social enterprise/charitable organisation could be set up to benefit from the opportunities that arise from having charitable status, e.g. gift aid. ” see also Town’s library and museums could be run by a charity – Northwich Guardian and Have Your Say on Cultural Services in West Cheshire – About My Area.
  • Cornwall – Tax rise could finance Launceston library after survey by Town Council – Cornish Guardian. “Taxpayers in Launceston have said they would be happy to pay more to keep the town’s library open. Launceston Town Council surveyed residents after Cornwall Council began consulting with organisations about taking over local libraries. The town council says it would be willing to take it over but only if they believe they can sustain it long term” … ““The financial stability of the library has to be insured long-term; we don’t want to jump in with two feet and find the water’s too deep.” More than 70 per cent of those responding to the survey said they would be willing to pay more tax if it meant the service remained free, and 88 per cent of responders said they used the library.”
  • East Sussex – ‘No red lines’ as county council looks to cut more than £70m – Rye and Battle Observer. “A report entitled ‘State of the County’, agreed by Cabinet in June this year, outlined initial ‘areas of search’ for next year’s savings. It listed adult social care where work could be integrated with health, plans for closer working with partner agencies in children’s services, the re-letting of the highways contract and a review of winter maintenance policy and routes, as well as the possibility of looking at a commissioning strategy for community based services such as libraries and children’s centres.”
  • Enfield – Council defends cuts after £4.4 million library refurb – Barnet Today. “The plans passed by councillors before the summer mean that the local authority will concentrate its resources on these four libraries, while the 13 other libraries will be run on a smaller scale in partnership with volunteer organisations and even, Ms Orhan has suggested , business groups. Asked about the fears that focusing on four modern libraries will mean that smaller libraries are neglected and will die, Ms Orhan said she was determined to maintain a strong public library service in Enfield despite deep cuts to the local government grant. “When I took over the library portfolio I knew that I wanted to retain our library service, ” she said. “The fundamental issue in my view is that libraries are fundamental to the education, learning and cultural development of people, particularly young people, in the borough. “It was always crucial to me that we retain a strong library service to serve people throughout Enfield.” She said that while the smaller libraries will see their staffing levels reduced, the way in which people use libraries has also changed.”
  • Enfield – Revamped Palmers Green library reopened – Enfield Independent. “Interactive tables have been installed on each floor and a booklet tracing the history of Palmers Green Library has been published by the council’s local history unit, explaining how Palmers Green Library finally opened in September 1939. The improvements come as part of the overhaul of libraries in the borough, with four ‘flagship’ libraries and 13 ‘community libraries’ opening. ” … “All flagship libraries will be open seven days a week once refurbished. ” … “The plans also included new affordable housing built in place of the old Southgate Town hall. A new housing block has been built and the protected areas of the old building have been transformed into single bed flats for shared ownership.”
  • Kirklees – Two libraries, 80 jobs go at Kirklees – BookSeller. “The council’s cabinet members have “reluctantly” agreed to a “huge cost-cutting shake-up” which will see only eight of its current 26 libraries fully controlled and opening hours “vastly” reduced. The plans will mean the loss of 88 full-time roles, which could possibly amount to more than 100 employees as many hold part-time positions. The council has said they will support communities to run a further 16 small libraries with one member of paid staff to advise volunteers.”
  • Manchester – Reading Hack Launch – Mako Education. “We are running a Reading Hack event…… So what’s a Reading Hack event I hear you say. Well basically it’s an event that gives young people aged 13-24 year olds who are interested in books and digital media a chance to try their hand at a range of digital media activities. During this event everyone will get the chance to try their hands at:   * Green Screen  * E.book Creator
    * Stop Motion Animation  * Digital Music Making. The participants will also have the chance to get involved in World Book Night, become a book mentor, help devise digital activities in libraries as well as sign up as a volunteer to gain work experience; accreditation and be able to add to your CV.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Library needs your votes to win cash and reopen – Grimsby Telegraph. “Your Community Hub – the organisation that runs the former Humberston Library – and local charity Care4all have gone into partnership to take over the library, based in Durban Road on the East Marsh, with plans to transform it into a popular community centre. After seeking ideas and input from local community members on how to use the library spaces for the benefit of the local area, the plans have gained further momentum with a Hub In The Park bid being shortlisted for a share of a £400,000 Community Energy Fund run by retailer Marks & Spencer. The competition, which is judged on public votes, is being hotly contested by groups from across the country, and in the South Yorkshire category, the Hub In The Park project is top of the leader boards.”
  • North Yorkshire – Meetings organised for potential library volunteers – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “From March, 2017, libraries in Cross Hills, Bentham, Ingleton and Settle will become completely community run, with support from the council, whereas the district’s “core” library in Skipton, will see a 40 per cent of current staffing levels replaced by members of the public. “
  • Oldham – Sweet Dreams…. Bedtime Stories with Oldham Council Libraries (0-6 years old) – Oldham Libraries. New extended storytimes from 6 to 7pm. “Sharing books with your baby or child at bedtime is a fun and loving experience. Ending the day with a story and a cuddle will help your child settle down for a peaceful night’s sleep.”
  • Sandwell – Residents’ opinions sought as council warns frontline services may be cut – Express and Star. “Under the scheme, services will be ranked in order of priority – meaning if more resources are allocated to one service it will mean cuts to another, lower ranked, service. All departments will be under review – with services including libraries, leisure centres and social care all under threat” … “Residents will be asked questions in face-to-face interviews, a workshop, a disabled residents workshop and also with a web-based survey.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire Council’s plans to hand libraries over to groups opposed by campaigners – Shropshire Star. “Protesters handed a petition to Shropshire Council yesterday against plans to close or reduce services at Shawbury Library, while others met to fight the issue affecting towns and villages across the county. Last night the Shropshire Libraries Yes Campaign was launched during a meeting at Shrewsbury United Reformed Church.” … “Meanwhile, Shropshire Council said that consultation into the proposed closure of Shawbury Library is set to continue – despite a 1,200-strong petition against the plans. The document was presented by Shawbury resident Kevin Richards at a full council meeting yesterday amid fears the library could be cut to a mobile service

“They recognise libraries as safe and neutral spaces where they will be able to deliver a range of complimentary health and wellbeing services alongside the library offer within that locality. They demonstrated a real understanding of the universal nature of the library offer and are genuinely excited by the opportunity that both the library asset and the current range of services and partnerships which exist via the libraries that they will be managing and delivering will provide.” Staffordshire – Janene Cox on why South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust are taking over eight libraries

  • Sutton – Have your say on £1m cuts to Sutton’s libraries – Sutton Guardian. “The authority said it had been forced to make the cuts by “unprecedented” budget constraints imposed by Government. The mobile library service and Beddington Library could be closed. At a heated meeting last week Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Penneck said: “I want us to try and avoid closures as far as we possibly can. “[But] the fact is that the mobile library is a very expensive service. The cost for each user is relatively high because there are not a large number of users.””