Herefordshire features a couple of times tonight. It could well feature many times in the future as well as what is being proposed there might make the already parched library landscape even more bleak. The council there is proposing just one funded library for the whole widespread county (population: 183,000, 842 square miles) with volunteers taking up the slack.  Moreover, it transpires today that even the one surviving council library, in Hereford, may well be partially taken over as a “hub” for “services for independent living”. As far as seeing how far the statutory aspect of providing library services goes, that’s really taking the biscuit, not that Ed Vaizey would ever intervene. Interestingly, the chief of Arts Council England is making a trip there on Friday to underline the importance of the Arts (ooh, and libraries – ACE always makes sure to add that last word at the end of descriptions of what it does).  One hopes that he’ll find the time to mention that stripping the county of libraries may be seen as a tad bit, well, horrendous.

Horrendous because, as the Libraries Change Lives award nominations show, libraries are not just nice things to have around.  They are refuges, free colleges, life improvers and life-turn-arounders. And cutting them out of ignorance will just increase that ignorance.  And blaming councils for it, as Michael Rosen has pointed out today, is a Government deception that many more are beginning to see through.


National news

  • Call for writers: LISNPN – LISNPN. “LISNPN (Library and Information Sector New Professionals Network)  is looking for contributors to write short blog posts about their library / information ‘new professional’ stories. It could be anything related to being a new professional e.g. your route into the profession, a ‘day in the life’ of your role, tips and hints, conference experiences etc. This sounds right up the street of 23 Librarians readers. Check the LISNPN blog for details of how to take part.”
  • Dear Ms Morgan: there’s no point giving children tickets for closed libraries – Guardian. Michael Rosen letter: “Stupidly, when I made the library ticket proposal to Gibb, I was thinking it would slot into a universal provision of local and school libraries and librarians. But then in today’s government-speak you’re not closing libraries, local governments are. So, there are places in the country where eight-year-olds will be handed library tickets for non-existent libraries, libraries that are hardly ever open, libraries without librarians, and libraries that are more than an hour away.”
  • Jason Farradane Award – CILIP. “The Award is given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the information profession, by meeting one or more of the following criteria: raising the profile of the information profession within an organisation or field of endeavour in a way which has become an exemplar to others; raising the awareness of the value of information in the workplace; demonstrating excellence in education and teaching in information science; a major contribution to the theory and practice  of information science.” … “If you are unsure whether you have a valid nomination the list of recent winners and their achievements, which can also be found from this page, should held to clarify the criteria. It is not too late to nominate an individual or a team who are doing something wonderful for the information profession – there are ten days until the closing date on Friday 11th September.”
  • Jeremy Corbyn hails arts as ‘vital to health’ and pledges £500m to reverse cuts – London Evening Standard. “Jeremy Corbyn will tonight make a major spending commitment of about £500 million to reverse cuts on arts, libraries, theatres and museums. Launching a “national strategy for the arts”, the front-runner for the Labour leadership will say he would reverse cuts made since 2010 and pump funding into local authorities to keep local centres open. Actress Vanessa Redgrave and comedian Jeremy Hardy were among performers expected to endorse the plan, being launched at Dalston’s Arcola Theatre”
  • Local authorities ‘cannot cope with further cuts’ – Guardian. “Councils in England and Wales cannot cope with further funding cuts because government policies have already left with them with a black hole of almost £10bn, the Local Government Association is claiming.” … “Councils have had their government funding cut by 40% since 2010 and local government is certain to be in the firing line again when Osborne publishes his spending review in November. Departments where spending is unprotected, such as local government, have been told to prepare plans for cuts worth as much as 40% of budgets.”
Saving the world, one library user at a time

Saving the world, one library user at a time


  • Canada – Book ban defended by Quebec school bus company – CBC News. “A Quebec bus company is defending a controversial decision not to allow students to read on their school buses, saying passengers are asked to keep all objects in their bags for safety reasons” … “the school board also defended the rule, saying all personal belongings of students, including books, were required to stay in their bags during the duration of their trip home” [Good grief – Ed.]
  • Mexico – anagrama installs a domed bookshelf inside monterrey’s conarte library – Design Boom. “the design forms a cocoon, surrounding occupants with a latticed wall-mounted bookshelf. in addition to storing various publications, the timber unit has been configured to simulate the inside of a dome. the stands incorporate a graduated finish that attributes depth, while the illuminated half circle found in the back wall forms the vanishing point of the structure, creating a balance between color and perspective.”
  • USA – Nominate a Public Librarian – I love Libraries. For the “I Love My Librarian” Award, USA only.
  • USA / Global – Update on the Library Privacy Pledge – Go to Hellman. “The Library Freedom Project is inviting the library community – libraries, vendors that serve libraries, and membership organizations – to sign the “Library Digital Privacy Pledge of 2015”. For this first pledge, we’re focusing on the use of HTTPS to deliver library services and the information resources offered by libraries. It’s just a first step: HTTPS is a privacy prerequisite, not a privacy solution. Building a culture of library digital privacy will not end with this 2015 pledge, but committing to this first modest step together will begin a process that won’t turn back.  We aim to gather momentum and raise awareness with this pledge; and will develop similar pledges in the future as appropriate to advance digital privacy practices for library patrons. “

Local news by authority

  • Bristol – Eastville Library to close as Bristol City Council’s cabinet agree to cuts – Bristol Post. “Eastville Library will close and others will have their hours cut as Bristol City Council finally decided on controversial cutbacks. The library shake-up will affect all 27 in the city as the council strives to save nearly £500,000 from its budget. Despite protests from more than 600 members of the public, staff and councillors the cabinet agreed it would close Eastville’s library, which is its only community centre.” … “Mr Ferguson confirmed the closure of Eastville Library would save £58,000. But he denied that was the reason for the closure.” … “The council had planned to close down seven libraries but after outcry from the public it agreed to keep all but Eastville open, but reduce the opening hours at 26 of them.”
  • Cumbria – Library service is unpredictable – Westmorland Gazette. Letter: “Several weeks ago I went to Kendal Library and found it was unexpectedly closed ‘due to staff issues’. Recently I have been again and found another unscheduled closure. On investigating I find that random closure of libraries across the county has been happening for well over a year and is becoming increasingly frequent. Where is the management and the planning? This unreliable and unpredictable service is not, as the county logo says, ‘serving the people of Cumbria’.”
  • Devon – Roommates: local library moves into town post office in face of budget cuts – ITV. “Ashburton in Devon has become the first town in the UK to trial an innovative way to try to save its local library in the face of budget cuts. The library – with its 7000 books – has moved in to the town Post Office, and occupies what used to be the sorting area.” [It is not the first in the UK: there’s one in Suffolk – Ed.]
  • Flintshire – Mancot Library saved after determined fight from campaigners – Leader. “Mancot Library will be run for an initial five-year period by volunteers hopeful it will remain open for “the foreseeable future”. The building is being transferred on a community asset transfer basis to Save the Mancot Library Action Group (SMLAG) and principles agreed with Flintshire Council will see existing book stock, shelving and computers retained.”
  • Herefordshire – Arts council chief to visit Hereford – Ledbury Reporter. “Mr Henley said: “‘I want our museums, our libraries, our artists and our arts venues to be genuinely popular. “That means I want them to be a part of the life of everyone in England, no matter who they are or where they live.”
  • Herefordshire – Hub plan for Hereford LibraryHereford Times. “Hereford’s  Broad Street library has been marked for a £145,000 conversion scheme that creates an “information and advice” hub for Herefordshire Council’s contract partner Services for Independent Living (SIL). The council says the cabinet level decision saw several other potential sites ruled out as not meeting the scheme’s “essential requirements” which included the need for a city centre location, disability access, availability, and very limited revenue running costs.” … “The building works – pitched as the minimum required – will convert existing library office and storage areas into interview, reception and office space for the hub, improved accessible toilets facilities on the ground floor and a “working area” elsewhere in the building for library staff displaced by the move. “
  • Kirklees – Jo Cox MP – “Our libraries are a lifeline.” – Dewsbury Reporter. “In the last few weeks and months, the public consultation on our local libraries drew to a close and its findings were published. The process rumbles on. Many people don’t realise just what a valuable lifeline libraries can be.” … “I was approached in one library by a woman desperate that it remain open. She’d been an avid reader but lost much of her sight. As a result she stopped reading altogether. She even lost the ability to hold a book in the right way. It was the librarians who reignited her interest in reading, taught her how to read in spite of her sight issue and helped her learn how to hold a book.”
  • Lambeth – Library-Cinema plans – West Norwood Press. “The planning application for West Norwood’s library – cinema in the refurbished Nettlefold Hall at 1 Norwood High Street SE27 9JU has just been submitted.  The plans are for a refurbished library,  4-screen cinema, community space and a café/bar.”
  • Leicestershire – Second Leicestershire library to be handed over to volunteers to cut costs – Leicester Mercury. “The library will be managed by a group of 50 volunteers and parish councilors. It will offer new possibilities to hold events for the under fives and older children, and adult IT classes with many other ideas in the pipeline. Profits from the café will help to meet the running costs of the library.” … “Glen Parva Parish Council is taking over the running of Glenhills and Leicestershire County Council is about to hand over the keys.” … “The library used to be open for just 13 hours a week, and we now plan to open for 36 hours, with the café open every morning till 12.30pm”
  • Shropshire – Costs put brakes on plan to relocate Ellesmere Library – Shropshire Star. “All Together Ellesmere, which runs the market hall in Scotland Street, wants to see the library move in as part of a wider project to breathe new life into the building. The plan includes building a mezzanine floor, opening a café and providing art and music rooms. But Lincoln McMullan, chairman of the group, said early obstacles had been met that would be too expensive to get past – including news that a feasibility study could cost up to £30,000. It has left a question mark over the future of the market hall, as All Together Ellesmere’s lease runs out in 2018 and it is not known if it will have enough money to carry on running the venue.”
  • Southampton – Resist these cuts – Southern Daily Echo. “Surely you and your colleagues in the Labour party and the Labour Group should end the hollow cries “we have no choice” and the shrugging of shoulders “we don’t like shutting respite centres, care homes, libraries, or sacking council staff, but we have no choice”. How about robustly taking on the government, rather than raising the white flag and doing the dirty work for them implementing the ongoing cuts. “
  • Staffordshire – Have your say on future of Staffordshire’s mobile library service – Staffordshire Newsletter. “Since July 1 people have been able to give their opinions at one of the service’s regular stops, or at one of 36 drop-in sessions across Staffordshire, but there’s still time to submit a response online or by completing a form at one of the county’s 43 libraries. The initial proposal concentrates on prioritising the service for those who need it most. Suggestions include retaining popular stops, which are more than two miles from a library building, and maintaining a service for deprived areas.”
  • Swansea – Has Barack Obama been taking inspiration from this Swansea library? – South Wales Evening Post. “Perhaps he got the idea when he visited Wales last year, but Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of Swansea library service. The US President has announced the American government’s intention for all school pupils there to receive public library cards, a scheme first introduced in Killay Library a number of years ago. The initial Swansea Council pilot project saw all primary schoolchildren within the Killay catchment area given membership to their local library. Membership gave children free access to books, talking books, e-books, e-magazines, comics, homework help, computers, the internet, library clubs, games, events, activities and classes. It has since been rolled out for eight and nine-year-olds at schools across the city with support from the Welsh Government.” … “The original Every Child a Library Member project at Killay Library won a Gold Award at the Welsh Libraries Marketing Awards. The Scottish Government is also getting in on the act, with pilot projects being developed in every local authority area in the country, to enroll children in libraries during their early years.”