Some bad news from Lewisham, not made any better by the council claim that making the paid library staff redundant and replacing them with volunteers may “enhance” the service.  There’s one for CILIP to get their teeth into, if it becomes official council policy.

Otherwise, the thing I’d like to draw your attention to is the joint SCL and ASCEL statement welcoming refugees to the UK and the short notice from John Vincent below.  For me, one of the many strengths of public libraries is that they provide refuge for all, from the poorest to (if they choose to) the wealthiest.  I remember when hundreds of Poles suddenly made their appearance.  I also remember knowing about a community of East Timorese moving into the town before anyone else, simply because they joined the library first in order to gain online access.  I am sure public libraries will have similarly important roles to play with the Syrians and others coming in and we should be very proud of it.



“As reported in PLN 27 September 2015, SCL and ASCEL have just produced a Statement welcoming refugees to the UK, and outlining the role that public libraries can play in that welcome. It also helpfully reiterates the support that public libraries can offer to “the existing 150,000 refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people who are currently in the country.”

At a time when there are still strong voices opposed to the UK’s taking any further refugees, this is an important and heartening Statement. Public libraries have a major role – as outlined in the Statement – building on the experience gained from the “Welcome To Your Library” initiative (which ran from 2003-2007). The Network website has key reports and other documents available, and John Vincent is collecting examples of current work to add to this – please let John have examples, john@nadder.org.uk”. John Vincent

National news

  • Bedtime story is key to literacy, says children’s writer Cottrell Boyce – Guardian. ““Parents have definitely got the message they need to read to their children up to the age of five or six,” said Catherine Bell, managing director of Scholastic. “What’s really interesting [is that] as children acquire the skills to read themselves, parents back off. It comes across really clearly: when parents stopped, the children wanted them to continue. They thought it was a really special time with their parents and they felt really positive about it.””
  • Pubs minister checks out a book with his pint – Publican. “Pubs minister Marcus Jones popped into the Star Inn at Vogue near Redruth to look at the pub’s library on a recent trip to Cornwall”
  • Young people prefer print to e-books –  BookSeller. “Print is still more popular than e-books amongst readers aged 16-24, although teenagers are more likely to read e-books than their older counterparts, according to the results of a survey carried out for The Bookseller Children’s Conference. Luke Mitchell carried out the survey to mark the launch of ‘SYN: State of the Youth Nation’, a new research tool from market research company xcOut of 1,000 respondents aged 16-24, 64% said they preferred print books, 16% said e-books, and 20% said they didn’t mind.”

International news

  • Canada – Public Libraries and Well-being – Open Shelf. “there may be a relationship between well-being and library membership. If public libraries are improving well-being, the challenge is to identify that contribution and evaluate it. ” … “there is compelling, and mounting, evidence that public libraries are good for the health and well being of individuals and communities. Once this relationship between libraries and well being has been identified it can be embedded within the strategic objectives of the organization”
  • New Zealand – Library song – “Kiwi Kid-song for school singing. Fun song about going to the library.”
  • USA – DHS Is Not the Boss of My Library – ACLU. “The belief that people cannot be trusted and must be supervised to ensure they don’t step over the line is dangerous and wrong. It is this attitude that leads to mass surveillance, censorship, and the chilling of intellectual freedom. “
  • USA – Rent for ousted Mid-City library branch was 10 months overdue – Times-Picayune. “When the New Orleans Public Library system’s landlords said in August that they were terminating the Mid-City Branch’s lease in the old American Can Company building, the library hadn’t paid rent in 10 months, breaking the terms of the written lease agreement. The library has until the end of October to get out. Unless the city can find and outfit a new building before then, which the library has said is unlikely, the neighborhood will have to do without a library.”
  • USA – Want to Raise Well-Rounded Kids? Take Them to the LibraryMothering. “In today’s world of smartphones and tablets, of on-demand information and bookstores large enough to get lost in, do local libraries still have a place? If we want to raise independent, creative and freethinking children, they most certainly do” … “Libraries are the great equalizer, shared by the entire community. As such, they are the perfect place to teach children about respecting shared spaces, using manners and taking care of public property.”

“In short, the modern library is more than just a place with books other people read first. It’s a little breather from today’s fast-paced, go-go-go society. It’s an ever-evolving center where paper and technology come together seamlessly. It’s a place where neighbours gather and knowledge is shared. It’s where our fellow community members not only learn from one another, but also instill that love of learning in our kids. So take that little brain to the library, and watch it grow.”

Local news by authority

  • Gwynedd – Relocating library to leisure centre ‘offers better facilities’ – Cambrian News. A Welsh Government grant of £250,000 has been secured by Gwynedd Council to relocate the lib­rary from Chapel Street to Porthmadog’s Glaslyn Leisure Centre. The authority says the move will provide library users with better facilities and also save them around £18,000 a year. Gwynedd Council say the remaining £60,000 needed for the building work and the relocation will be funded by themselves, including money raised from the sale of the old library building. The new developments would mean the library will be open for more hours, including over lunchtime. Other improvements will include more tablet computers available to library users, a larger children’s section, a video-conferencing room, better disability access and more parking spaces.”
  • Lambeth – Fun Palaces Countdown: Serendipity Tours With Stephann Makri – Signal in Transition. “As the 2015 Fun Palaces launch on Saturday 3rd October approaches, Lambeth Libraries are gearing up for their borough-wide, simultaneous 11-venue celebration of arts and sciences. In the countdown to Lambeth Libraries’ Fun Palaces, I’ll be featuring some of the amazing activities and special guests we’ve got lined up for Londoners this weekend. … “

“On Saturday 3rd October, Stephann will invite Fun Palaceers to step out of their comfort zones, break with old habits, and find new ways to stumble on unexpected and rewarding information within the library. After an introduction to techniques of serendipitous browsing and creative exploration of information, Stephann will send you out into Clapham’s beautiful spiral library to forage for wonder amid the shelves.”

  • Lewisham Savings report appendix – Lewisham Council –  “creation of three Hub Libraries – Deptford Lounge, Lewisham and Downham Health & Leisure Centre – which will carry an enhanced role for face to face contact between the Local Authority and the public to support the digital by default agenda.. 2.the extension of the Lewisham Community Library Model to Forest Hill, Torridon, and Manor House, in partnership with other council services and community 3. Description of service area and proposal organisations. And the integration of the library provision into the repurposed ground floor space within the Catford complex (Laurence House). 3.the regarding of front line staff to include new functions through the re-training and enhancement of front line roles”

“Lewisham has run the Community Library Model since May 2011. The model is both replicable and scalable. It can be argued that the extension of the model will in fact enhance the service overall by extending opening hours at the largest branches while maintaining a library offer at the new Community Libraries”


  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire library to shut for good due to lack of funding – Lincolnshire Echo. “The library at Wragby will shut later today as there are not enough funds to keep it open, volunteers who run it say once rent has been paid there is only £1,000 left to run it for the year. Barbara Bartlett, one of the volunteers set up to run the library, said the decision to shut it was due to a lack of support from Lincolnshire County Council. She told BBC Radio Lincolnshire: “The library will shut at one o’clock today and as I speak now we have no reopening date and I think that is a very poor show from Lincolnshire County Council.”
  • Newcastle – Primary school pupils put new Newburn library through its paces – Chronicle. “Newburn Library has been closed for seven months of refurbishment, but reopened this week …The renovation – part financed by contributions from Newcastle City Council’s local ward funds and a grant from the Good Stewardship fund – has seen improvements including a ramp from the roadside to a set of new automatic entrance doors, a new lift and staircase, an accessible public toilet and baby changing area, a community room, and new shelving, furniture, and carpets.”
  • Sheffield – Sheffield City Council thanks library volunteers – BBC. “Volunteers who have taken control of 14 former local authority libraries in the past 12 months have been praised for their hard work in keeping them open. Labour-run Sheffield City Council relinquished control of the facilities in September 2014 citing government budget cuts. More than 600 volunteers have come forward to ensure they stayed open. Councillor Isobel Bowler said: “We’re deeply grateful for all they work they have done.” Ten of the libraries are classed as “associate” libraries with the council providing up to £262,000 support per year until 2016/17″
  • Southampton – Council can do job – Daily Echo / Letters. “There is only one community group able to run our library service and that is Southampton City Council. Libraries run by community groups are unlikely to provide the same quality of service over the long-term. If the council does not have the resources it needs it is the duty of councillors to secure more funding from central government, businesses or from the public directly.”