We’re always told that library brands and marketing are important keys to the public library library service but we also need to make sure that they’re done right.  When Seattle announced a rebranding, full of management speak, the public there were unimpressed and have given it a resolute thumbs down, with the reputation of the library heavily damaged and the possibility of future budget increases reduced.  It is too easy for library staff, in our bubbles, to speak in terms that make sense to us in our world without remembering the people that really matter: the public … and forgetting that can be dangerous, as the US example shows. Marketing and promotion, like all library activities, should always start first with considering the user.




  • Celebrating excellence in public and mobile libraries: PMLG awards 2015 – English Public Libraries Taskforce. “The 100 strong gathering of public sector library staff applauded the remarkable customer service, expertise and professionalism of the three winners, who were each in turn presented with a personalised engraved trophy and CPD prize.”
  • How public libraries change lives and build better communities – English Public Libraries Taskforce. “Our second guest post today, this one from Nick Poole, CEO of CILIP: Thanks to the skills and dedication of their staff, libraries across the UK deliver effective low-cost services and innovative ideas every day which help their communities address some of their biggest challenges. The national Libraries Change Lives Award has sought to recognise this body of work and extract powerful stories of lives and communities changed for the better. We look at some of these initiatives which demonstrate how public libraries support four main public agendas and act as key agents for positive change in their communities.”
  • Scoping future options for public libraries in Wales – Alyson’s Welsh Libraries Blog. “The Scoping a new public library service for Wales report has just been published and looks at the changing position of public library services in Wales and considers how services could be managed and delivered along different models in the future. “The report concludes that there are 4 elements to the establishment of a more resilient public library service in Wales: co-located community hubs, regional delivery consortia, a national digital library service and a workforce strategy.” (Para 3)”

“After an extensive renovation, a larger Scottish Poetry Library, ready for the challenges of the 21st century, reopens its doors to the public on Thursday 29 October. The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop will officially open the Library alongside the National Poet of Scotland Liz Lochhead on Wednesday 28 October. At a time when libraries are seen to be under threat, the Scottish Poetry Library has taken the characteristically bold step of expanding its space and facilities … With over 45,000 items, the SPL holds the largest open-access collection of Scottish poetry in the world, together with work by international writers. The added space means the Library can continue to add new titles to its exceptional collection.  A new, soundproofed space so that sound and silence can co-exist in the Library: classroom visits alongside quiet study.  A space for recording. Poetry is spoken as well as written. The new space will allow the Library to make more and better recordings of poets, building on the success of the SPL’s popular podcast series. More places to work and read comfortably. More armchairs! A sofa in a child-friendly area. Plus a terrace for events, conversation and reading outdoors. The Sound Lounge – for listening to recorded poetry.”  Scottish Poetry Library (Press release)

  • Why I’m fighting to get teenagers into libraries  – Guardian. “Like most authors Alexia Casale is fiercely passionate about the value of libraries and the transformative power of books – so she developed YA Shot, a library-based teen lit festival and a year-long legacy programme of author visits – and wants to roll it out nationally” … “Everyone involved in the YA Shot ‘festival’ on 28 October is giving their time for free, but not only have we kept ticket prices down, the money we raise is going into a year-long legacy programme of 35 free author visits to libraries across Hillingdon Borough. The libraries will invite in local disadvantaged schools to encourage a love of reading, a passion for writing and aspirations for careers in the arts. “

“At Hillingdon Borough Libraries’ awards evening for young volunteers supporting readers in the Summer Reading Challenge, one teenage girl talked about how, as a recent immigrant, volunteering at her local library had not only improved her English, enhancing her success at school, but had also given her the confidence to talk to new people – and this had made her new country start to feel like a new home.”

International news

  • France – Craving a Read? Vending Machine Dispenses Short Stories – PSFK. “A number of short story dispensers have been installed in public spaces in the French city of Grenoble, offering residents the chance to pass the time by reading. The stories are printed onto paper and people can choose the length they desire in order to receive an original written piece for free.” … “The one-meter tall black-and-orange machine dispenses a small piece of paper similar to a receipt. Its simple yet elegant interface features three numbered buttons that relate to the amount of time a story takes to read: one minute, three minutes or five minutes. Once a person has pressed one of the buttons, it is left up to chance as they receive a random story that might surprise them, move them, make them laugh or get them thinking.”
  • New Zealand – Life after Dark Night: Auckland’s barroom librarians – Signal In Transition. “Auckland Libraries have just launched Reading Between the Wines, a monthly book club which tours bars in the central suburbs of New Zealand’s biggest city. Librarians bring a selection of books to the bar for patrons to check out and discuss on the first Thursday of each month.”
  • USA – If Librarians Were Honest – Brain Pickings. “That’s what Laura Damon-Moore and Erinn Batykefer, cofounders of the The Library as Incubator project, celebrate in The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (public library) — an imaginative and practical collection of artists’ stories and ideas for how to use the library as a sandbox for creativity, a productivity-booster for your work, and a source of immense nourishment for the life of the mind. What emerges is an invaluable tool for any artist, by the wonderfully loose definition of “a person who learns and uses creative tools and techniques to make new things.””
  • USA – Reinventing the Library – New York Times.  Looks at the history of public libraries. “If libraries are to be not only repositories of society’s memory and symbols of its identity but the heart of larger social centers, then these changes must be made consciously from an intellectually strong institution that recognizes its exemplary role, and teaches us what books can do: show us our responsibilities toward one another, help us question our values and undermine our prejudices, lend us courage and ingenuity to continue to live together, and give us illuminating words that might allow us to imagine better times. According to the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, one of the ancient libraries he saw in Egypt carried above its entrance the words: “Clinic of the Soul.””
  • USA – Public response to SPL survey sharply against City Librarian Marcellus Turner’s rebranding plan – Seattle Review of Books. Expensive proposed $1 million rebranding of Seattle Libraries manages alienates votes and erodes support for library funding.

Local news by authority

“However difficult it may be to reduce the provision of library services without causing a reduction in service to some individual users, it is the task of the county council to meet all its competing duties. There is nothing in this challenge which demonstrates that the defendant has reached these decisions in a manner susceptible to successful judicial review.” Mrs Justice McGowan

  • Lincolnshire – Deeping Library is Saved – Friends of Deeping Library. “After more than two and a half years, it is with enormous pleasure and relief that FoDL is able to announce that Deeping Library will be opening again. We plan to open it, initially, for 15 hours a week and with a paid member of staff who will be supported by volunteers.  In partnership with the Deeping Community Centre and Lincolnshire Library Services and supported by the local town and parish councils , FoDL will manage a library that truly is a community service run by, and for, the people of the Deepings. At the moment, we are waiting for the building to be handed back on October 30th and for the the building lease to be prepared and signed. Once these have been done, the library will be reinstated over November, staff appointed and volunteers trained before a grand opening, we hope in January. Meanwhile, the mobile will continue to provide a skeleton service as it does now. “
  • Lincolnshire – Sad Day for Lincolnshire – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “Having broken their promise to keep libraries open with the closure of three libraries already confirmed, the leader of the county council Councillor Martin Hill and Councillor Nick worth are trying to blame everyone else for the fact that they acted unlawfully before the first judicial review,” said John Hough on behalf of Save Lincolnshire Libraries. ” … ““When Greenwich Leisure came along offering to keep services at a price the Council could afford, they should have snapped their hands off and gone with this. Instead they were determined to ignore this sensible option and to force communities to try and save their libraries.” see also Library campaigners hit back at ‘unlawful’ Lincolnshire County Council – Lincolnite.
  • Norfolk – Controversial cuts to fire service and libraries could be scrapped – Eastern Daily Press. “Among those proposals recommended to be abandoned is one which could have seen 27 of Norfolk’s 47 libraries shut to save £1.6m and the most extreme £2.9m cuts to the fire service, which might have led to the closure of 18 fire stations and the loss of hundreds of firefighter jobs.”
  • Oxfordshire – ‘County’s library service faces being suffocated by cutbacks’– Oxford Mail. “Friends of Grove Library group member Eoin Garland warned the cuts would have a devastating effect and said he was concerned libraries would end up without staff. “
  • Poole – A book with a view: community library opens at Upton Country Park – Bournemouth Echo. “Visitors to the harbourside park can now relax with a cup of tea and a good book after the community library set up in the tea rooms. ” … “The library offers a great selection of books to borrow and enjoy. Staff and volunteers at Upton Country Park have chosen a new collection of books for Poole Libraries, inspired by their interests and experiences in and around the park” … “Community libraries have been set up to be run by volunteers after Poole Council decided to axe its mobile library service, which will be withdrawn towards the end of this year. The council says this will save £50,000 a year. “
  • Shropshire – Last thing we want is to close libraries, says Shropshire councillor – Shropshire Star. ““The last thing we want to be doing is closing libraries. It’s not the way we want to do it. Closing them would be the easy option.  We’ve pulled the libraries into two pots, we’ve got the bigger libraries in market towns who we are looking to work with community groups and other organisations, and the smaller libraries”
  • Southwark – Brand new library plans take next step on Aylesbury – Southwark Council. “Southwark’s Cabinet members have given the go-ahead for their development partners to submit a planning application for a brand-new library and community hub at the centre of the Aylesbury.The new library will be built on the old Amersham Site, now referred to as Plot 18, along Thurlow Street, next to the Aylesbury Medical Centre and where the temporary huts are based. The new development will also contain a new GP and health centre, early years’ facilities, a stay and play service, retail space including a new pharmacy, and a public square, plus around 120 new homes – at least half of which will be a mix of social rent and shared ownership for residents on the Aylesbury Estate.”
  • Staffordshire – Fewer people registered to visit Burton and Barton libraries – Burton Mail. “Burton membership has fallen from a high of 41,919 in 2010, to 35,765 in 2014-15, a decline of 15 per cent. The library in Barton under Needwood, which is now staffed by volunteers, has seen its numbers fall from 2,956 in 2010-11 to 2,589 in 2014-15, a fall of 13 per cent.” … “”The decision to make Barton a community library is exciting and I think people will see a real change there in the next 12 to 18 months, as residents have the opportunity to get involved”
  • Staffordshire – Mail Says: Changes in the air for our library system – Burton Mail / Editorial. “While visitor numbers and members are falling, it is by no means the end of the library. It just means the library that we have all known will have to change in order to survive in the long term.”
  • Walsall – Closure of Walsall borough libraries considered – BBC. “The move could see Beechdale, Blakenall, New Invention, Pleck, Rushall and South Walsall libraries shut. Walsall Wood book exchange would also relocate to Oak Park Active Living Centre, Walsall Council said.” see also Axe to swing on Walsall libraries and jobs, and council tax to rise as cost-cutting budget aims to save £25m – Express and Star. “The budget will include a 1.99 per cent hike in council tax – the absolute maximum the authority can impose without resorting to a referendum.” … “Seven out of 16 libraries and the mobile library service would shut, along with 13 jobs, as part of plans to save £328,854 next year and £159,058 the year after.”