Lambeth council’s decision to cut libraries dominates the news today, with even a Labour MP coming out against the decision of her own party’s councillors. The decision to keep some libraries open by installing “gyms” – GLL-run mini leisure centres – within them has not gone down well but the main ire is against the council for cutting libraries at all.

National news

  • Actors to transform libraries into theatres – Western Morning News. “A groundbreaking new company called Librarian Theatre is breathing life back into libraries on a national scale by temporarily transforming them into theatres. Formed by actors Tom Cuthbertson, from Devon, and Kelly Eva-May, from Surrey, the company is over halfway through a 25-day Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise almost six thousand pounds towards The Book’s the Thing, a new adaptation of Hamlet with an unusual literary twist. The show will make its initial UK tour in Spring 2016, visiting public libraries across the country, including several Devon dates, culminating in a special gala performance in Bristol’s stunning Central Library on April 23, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.”
  • Civica awarded Scottish libraries management system deal – Government Computing. “A consortium of Scottish public libraries across six local organisations has awarded a £1.5M contract to Civica to implement a new integrated management system for their operations. Under the agreement signed by the Scottish Consortium of Public Libraries (SCoPL), a new web-based system to automate and digitise services is expected to help reduce operational costs over a 36 month period. Serving authorities in Angus, Perth & Kinross, Aberdeenshire, North Ayrshire, Aberdeen City and the High Life Highland charity, the agreement is aimed to enable the automation of library services including bookings, home lending, cataloguing, inter-library loans and stock rotation.”
  • Going to the Library Can Make You Very Happy – Keira Soleore. “Ever since I was young, I’ve visited libraries. I started my kids out at six months of age. I delight in looking back on our checkout histories. Just entering a library is like entering a church: the hushed atmosphere, the special fragrance, the joy the view brings (books as far as the eye can see), and the peace and contentment that seeps into my bones. The older the library, the more heightened the impact on my wellbeing.”

    Library use is massive – Ned Potter.
  • Public Library Online expands services – Public Library Online / Lis-Pub-Libs. “Public Library Online has been updated with new titles and an app for reading on tablet and smartphone. The apps are suitable for iOS and Android and optimize streamed reading of e-books by subscribing library members. A new-tiered offer to all public libraries in the UK and Europe will be launched 1 January 2016. At present libraries pay the annual subscription fee of £ 1 per 1,000 people served. Starting in 2016 this will be supported by a free starter pack for all public libraries with a choice of at least three virtual bookshelves including on average 10 e-books. In addition, a series of premium shelves will be made available including highly popular titles for a fee of £2.50 per 1,000 people served.”
  • Should Hackerspaces Replace Libraries? – Huffington Post. “Technology has made accessing information more equal but as it develops we need to ensure that access to the software and hardware is possible for all and not just the wealthiest. Converting public libraries into hackerspaces might be our way to do that.  Library use is on the decline. Since 2009, the number of branches open in Britain has fallen by 8%. In the same amount of time the number of total visits have dropped by 40 million. The amount of titles available, number of paid staff and size of budgets have also decreased. Despite this, 8 in every 10 people still see libraries as valuable. Why is it that they can be both valuable and under-used at the same time?”

“Libraries are a valuable public institution but we need to accept that their days in their current form are numbered. If we don’t soon reconsider how they can become more relevant to our modern needs then we run the risk of losing them and everything they represent. That would be a serious mistake. Converting some public libraries into hackerspaces would be a step in the right direction.”

International news

  • Germany / Global – Bibliotheca committed to growing Cloud Library  – Library Technology Guides. “Important for existing customers and new prospects alike is that the Cloud Library will now become the primary digital product from Bibliotheca. The unique features of the opus platform (previously only available in the UK) will be incorporated into the Cloud Library product to create an all-encompassing digital experience for library users. The vision for Cloud Library is to create a fully integrated patron experience combining innovative mobile apps, unique touch points inside the library, and deep integrations with third parties to ensure patrons are fully engaged with all of the services their library offers.”
  • Global – September to October 2015 – EIFL. “In this issue we congratulate the Senegalese Library Consortium on its 10th anniversary. We welcome the adoption of a national open access strategy in Slovenia, and share exciting results of three innovative public library services for children and youth.”


  • Chief Executive OfficerScottish Library and Information Council. “The Board of the Scottish Library & Information Council, is looking to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer who is drawn from the Library and Information Community. We want someone who will inspire, be self-motivated, resilient, an excellent communicator with significant strategic and planning skills. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of delivering outstanding leadership capabilities at a senior level. The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government and Scottish ministers on library and information matters.”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Future of Barnet’s library service referred to full council – This is Local London. “Protesters gathered outside Hendon Town Hall tonight, joined by a brass band, as Barnet Council’s children, education, libraries and safeguarding (CELS) committee met to discuss the cuts. ” … “Cllr Thompstone said he had received a number of emails from residents which showed a “great appetite for volunteering”, and said there would be further public consultation. “
  • Bristol – Specialist firm completes Bristol Central Library archive relocation – Bdaily. “Chorley-based specialist removals provider, Andrew Porter Limited, has completed the relocation of more than five kilometres of files and books from Bristol Central Library. The collection occupied a total of 5,728 metres of shelving in the archive of the city’s historic public library.  Eight staff and three vehicles from Andrew Porter Limited, headquartered on Huyton Road, Adlington, spent four weeks carefully moving the archive from the Grade I listed building on College Green to its new home at the nearby B Bond warehouse.”
  • Fife – Lundin Links community comes together for library demo – Fife Today. “…campaigners believe shutting Lundin Links will conserve less than £10,000 a year. Local groups turning out for Thursday’s community gathering included Largo Community Choir, Largo Mums ‘n’ Tots and Largo Preschool Playgroup. Backed also by award-winning children’s author, Chae Strathie, who lives in Lundin Links, they are determined that Fife Council should listen to the strongly-held views of the importance of library to community life.”
  • Herefordshire – Library is badly missed – temporary arrangement needed – Hereford Times. “Hereford Library has been closed for two weeks and is likely to remain so for at least another 10 weeks” … “Around 45% of the people of the county have been deprived of their library services as a result. The whole county has been deprived of the benefits of their central library. This situation demands the speediest possible measures for its amelioration. We cannot leave these people without access to the many services provided by the Broad Street library. ” … “As a matter of urgency, the main auditorium at the Shirehall should be considered for setting up this temporary library. There is already a long tradition of using this building to accommodate other library functions.”
  • Lambeth – Kate Hoey MP criticises Lambeth Labour after Cabinet agrees to convert three libraries into gyms – Brixton Buzz. “Kate Hoey MP has criticised Lambeth Council’s decision to convert three libraries into gyms, and to sell off the site of the Waterloo library. The Labour MP for Vauxhall has written to the Labour Cabinet at the Town Hall questioning the legality of the decision that was passed during a rowdy Cabinet meeting at Dunraven School on Monday evening”

“Most of all can I say that I find the entire way this consultation has been done a sham. You have not listened to what people have said and you have automatically accepted a huge cut without any real fight back. You have not looked at it bottom up and genuinely involved the Friends groups all of whom put in such long hours of unpaid voluntary work.” Kate Hoey MP

  • Lambeth – Lambeth approves ‘omni-shambles’ libraries closure plan – Inside Croydon. “This means a statutory provision will be replaced with a “neighbourhood service” that will include Wifi, computers, study space, and reduced book stock. Books will be borrowed in a self-service system. Staff will visit but not be permanently stationed there.” … “strange unaccountable and unaccounted hotch-potch approach shrouded by toxic spin and a lack of transparency.””
  • Lambeth – Local library campaigner criticises Lambeth Council for playing ‘political football’ with public service – Brixton Buzz. “Following the claims by Kate Hoey MP that the mini-me leisure centres are “obviously ripe for a judicial review,” Robert Gibson of the Upper Norwood Library Campaign has stated that the sham consultation passed by Cabinet on Monday evening is open to a legal challenge.”
  • Lambeth – No gyms, Jim! say protesters – Brixton Blog. “More than 200 people packed into the assembly hall of Dunraven School in Streatham and several times interrupted proceedings with shouting and jeers, while the excluded protesters – who were eventually admitted – could be heard banging on the door. At one point, as cllr Jim Dickson was speaking, they broke into a chant of “No gyms, no gyms”. As well as dozen or more opponents of the scheme, who made detailed and emotional comments on how the changes to Lambeth’s libraries would affect their communities, Helen Hayes. MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, spoke at the meeting. Herne Hill’s Carnegie library in her constituency is one of those affected. She said she fully recognised the problems that massive cuts in government grants posed for the council and for the most vulnerable people in the community who relied on it.”
  • Lambeth – Oasis sets out plan for Waterloo’s temporary library – London SE1. “Now [Christian charity] Oasis has published a few new details on its website. “The current redevelopment of the Oasis Centre will create a large amount of community space and it was agreed with Lambeth Council that this would provide an excellent temporary solution to the challenge caused by the closure of Lower Marsh library, while work is continuing on the process of planning for the new permanent community provision,” said Oasis in a statement.”
  • Lambeth – Waterloo Library closure rubber-stamped by Lambeth cabinet – London SE1. “Lambeth’s library service will lose around a quarter of its staff under the cost-cutting plans approved by the borough’s Labour cabinet on Monday night.”
  • Lambeth – Writer Toby Litt rallies against Lambeth’s library cuts – Brixton Blog.  “Toby Litt, a Lambeth resident, writer and lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, has written an open letter imploring  Councillor Jane Edbrooke to reconsider Lambeth’s proposed drastic cuts to library services. ” … “In his letter Toby Litt quotes his recent interview with author Neil Gaiman, published by the Guardian: “Here’s what I found the most persuasive thing he said – ‘For me, closing libraries is the equivalent of eating your seed corn to save a little money.’” He goes on to state Lambeth’s Council’s “greater responsibility for the long-term future of Lambeth” urging them to consider the impact of decisions and cuts which will very seriously undermine them.”

“By closing libraries and sacking librarians, you close the door forever not just on some books on shelves. For many people, you effectively shut them out of society. You shut them off from a safe place to study, from access to legal advice, from the chance to improve their knowledge and skills.For some children, you shut them out of a place where society seems to be giving them something for free because it’s on their side, you shut them out of world of fact and imagination, you shut them out of Hogwarts, Narnia, Middle Earth – you may also be shutting them out of college and university.” Toby Litt

  • Leicestershire – Saving our Libraries – Leicester Mercury. Letter suggests charging per issue: “could help to pay staff wages, and it’s nothing really for what you get in return
  • Reading – Reading libraries: have your say on the future of the service – Get Reading. “The first phase of the consultation runs until Monday, November 23. Reading Borough Council is having to cut £39 million from its spending over the next three years and it is looking at the way library buildings are being used to see if savings can be made. This might mean moving other services into an under-used library building – as has been seen at Reading Central Library which now houses a number of employment and community services on its top floor – or moving library services to another location.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Rhoose residents go to High Court to oppose library closure – Barry and District News. “The Save Rhoose Library campaign group have instructed one of Wales’ leading experts in Administrative and Public law, Michael Imperato of Watkins and Gunn Solicitors to help secure legal aid and pursue a judicial review. The basis of their complaint is a claim that the council’s consultation was “flawed” and unlawful. Michael Imperato has acted for individuals and campaign groups in a number of high profile judicial review cases against national and local government in Wales over the last few years.”