Good news and some quite stupendous bad news today.  The good news comes in the form of two initiatives, both with the Reading Agency and SCL support: the BBC is launching a big reading promotion next year and also money has been obtained to see about extending the reading challenge idea to older people. The bad news is, well, pretty bad and I had to check my figures to see if it was right: Lancashire are threatening to close (or more likely pass to volunteers, parish councils or anyone else who would be interested) no less than forty branches. I’ve looked at the lists and I think that’s the biggest number ever put in threat at any single time, although North Yorkshire has over the course of the last few years, probably divested itself of more, especially if one includes mobiles.


National  news

  • BBC launches year-long campaign to ‘get nation reading’ – BBC. “The year-long programme is in partnership with the Reading Agency, Book Trust, the National Literacy Trust, the Society of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council. Director-general of the BBC, Tony Hall, announced Get Reading today (17th November), a campaign that celebrates great authors and their works in order to galvanise the nation into talking about books as well as reading them. Across BBC One, Two and Four, the campaign will recognise the work of well-known authors such as the Brontës and Rudyard Kipling, while Radio 4 will explore the work of figures such as Alex Garland, Toni Morrison and Jeanette Winterson. Its crescendo will be a BBC-hosted ‘Get Reading Weekend’ featuring specially commissioned programmes across BBC TV, Radio and online in November 2016.”
  • Campaigners must be ‘realistic’ about future of libraries  – BookSeller. “Libraries and campaigners have to be “realistic” about what future libraries can offer as funding cuts mean the Libraries Taskforce is “having to make some trade-offs I’m not thrilled about,” its c.e.o Kathy Settle said.” … “Chair of the Taskforce, Paul Blantern, told campaigners: “If you didn’t have the taskforce co-ordinating a voice for libraries, then you’d have one less significant tank in your armoury.”” … [Nick Poole, CILIP CEO said:] “”We are all trying to fight for the same thing, even if we have a different view of the tactics,” he said. “The simple fact is that we should never have to be in the position of defending people’s right to benefit from a quality library service. In an enlightened society, that right should be inalienable. Lest we forget – we are the third largest economy in Europe, possibly the second, and the seventh largest in the world. This isn’t about money, it’s about ideology.”” see also Speak up for Libraries Speech – Nick Poole – CILIP.
  • The private sector and the digital divide: an unhelpful invasion of public library spaces? – Informed. “Traditionally, public libraries have been a key mechanism to close this so-called divide. Indeed, the People’s Network was borne out of this effort to close the gap and help more people get online. Libraries were seen as the ideal place to provide the support required. They offer a neutral space free from corporate influence, and are staffed by individuals trained to seek out and evaluate information. However, recent years have seen widespread library closures and cuts to staffing levels that have seriously impeded the services they provide. As a result, the libraries crucial role in bridging the digital divide has been severely undermined. Whilst the role of libraries in tackling the digital divide has diminished, private sector organisations have stepped in to fill the gap. In March 2015, for example, BT and Barclays announced that they were going to work together to connect more people to the internet and to provide support to help people develop the skills they need. In order to provide this access and support, BT and Barclays would be working with local authorities to deliver the initiative in public libraries and community centres in England.”
  • Reading Agency receives Big Lottery Fund award – Reading Agency. “The Reading Agency has received funding from the Big Lottery Accelerating Ideas Fund for a research and development project to explore the feasibility of an older people’s reading challenge. Using Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia as the springboard for developing other reading activities, the project will build on existing challenge models used by shared Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians programmes such as the Summer Reading Challenge” … “The project will test different incentives to get people reading, including reading groups, author events and book gifting as well as explore the potential for volunteering and digital delivery. The work will be developed in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians who will provide advice and expertise from the public library sector. “
  • Robotics, Digital Making and 3D Printing: Libraries Offer Limitless Opportunities for Learning – CILIP. “Learning has always been at the heart of what libraries deliver. Libraries are places people can use and explore throughout their learning journey, from age 8 to 88. They are free, and they are inclusive. With the growth in demand for self-directed and online learning, combined with the growing skills agenda at a national policy level, it is a logical step for libraries to be more central in this agenda. The Universal learning Offer, like all our Universal Offers, has been informed but customer research, tested with stakeholders and customers and developed with the support of a range of partners, including the Association of School and Children’s Education Librarians  and Arts Council England. ” … “This launch is just the start.  A year from now, we would expect there to be thousands of new digital making opportunities in libraries supporting children and their families to try out new skills; we expect many more self-organised Learning groups to be happening in libraries and we expect library staff across the country to be developing their skills and confidence in supporting a new, vibrant learning offer in libraries. “

International news

  • USA / Global – Libraries Step Up (in times of crises) – Facebook. “The nominal purpose of this group is to 1. Centrally store documents and links that will help libraries in times of crisis; 2. Offer a location to offer direct aid, assistance with organizing and a voice for libraries and librarians in specific crisis times; 3. Raise awareness for ongoing library issues that are the result of some sort of political or natural disaster. Please note that this group is not for general advocacy or fundraising on crisis topics or general non-crisis fundraising or appeals. There are many wonderful Facebook groups that serve those purposes.”
  • USA – Most libraries close the book on coffee shops – Star Tribune. “When Dakota County asked people in Eagan what they wanted in a remodeled library, the No. 1 item on the wish list had nothing to do with books. It was lattes, cappuccinos and muffins. Today, though, after two agonizing stabs at fulfilling those dreams, the coffee shop space sits empty.” … “The story begins with two undeniable facts: There are plenty of places to buy coffee these days, and the number of people coming through library doors has taken a terrific tumble in recent years.” … “One reason for Roseville’s success, Nemitz said, was the lack of gourmet coffee shops in the area in the ’90s. These days, though, they’re everywhere.”


  • Entries are invited for the E. T. Bryant Memorial Prize 2015 – “The £250 prize is awarded to a student or group of students of Library and Information Science, or to a librarian in their first five years in music librarianship, for a significant contribution to the literature of music librarianship. The application form, together with Terms & Conditions, can be downloaded from the IAML (UK & Ireland) website: www.iaml-uk-irl.org  “

Local news by authority

  • Bournemouth – New location denounced as “death warrant” for library – Daily Echo. “Residents, school children and library supporters at Ensbury Park have rallied to get as many signatures as possible to stop plans to move the services to the Bournemouth Learning Centre at Slades Farm Road” … “”We’re all just doing our bit,” he said. “The council want to move it to Slades Farm; it’s quite remote. There’s no public transport and a lot of older people wouldn’t go there.”” … “The move from the 420 sq ft corner-plot in the heart of the community would be reduced to a 240 sq ft room at the new site,” see also Library move “not the answer” – Bournemouth Echo. “Ensbury Park library is successful because of its ‘high street’ location. Moving it to a ‘hidden’ location – i.e. a room in a shared education building away from residential areas, shops, bus routes and not within walking distance – will simply make the service given by the existing library impossible. “
  • Coventry – Reaction: Coventry library campaigners hit out at £5m cuts plan – Coventry Telegraph. “Coun David Kershaw, the council’s cabinet member for education, said he believed the cuts would allow all 17 of the city’s libraries to remain open. However, he said there would be changes to the way libraries operate, including more partnership working and increased technology use. Mary Courtney, from the Save Coventry Libraries Campaign, said there were concerns over reduced opening times and a smaller books budget.”
  • Denbighshire – Rhyl library sign change causes concern – News North Wales. “Denbighshire Council has removed signs for the library and replaced them with signage for the building which now includes a One Stop Shop, omitting the word ‘library’. A spokesman for Denbighshire Council said: “Just calling it a library doesn’t reflect the new service. ” … Local AM says ““Having recently seen the newly completed library which now accommodates the One Stop Shop, I do feel that the sign should reflect both the library and its new addition rather than focus just on the One Stop Shop.” “
  • Devon – Privately-run Devon libraries plan passed – BookSeller. “The future of 50 Devon libraries was secured last week after council members passed plans to set up a new private organisation owned by staff that will run the library services, Western Morning News has reported. The move to create Libraries Unlimited South West is set to save the authority a future £1.5m in addition to the £3m that has already been saved from its library service budget over the past three years.”
  • Greenwich – Proposals to axe a mobile library has opened fears over the loss of services for communities away from town centres – South London Press. “The council has agreed to launch a formal consultation on the future of future of Royal Greenwich’s Library Outreach Service. The service includes the mobile library which stops at 18 locations, six primary schools and 27 nurseries and the home visiting service which calls on the housebound and 33 residential homes.” … “The council is highlighted that the mobile service costs £126,000 a year and this is set to rise next March as a new updated vehicle will be required with a price tag of £160,000” … “It is being proposed to axe the mobile library and “enhance” the service to vulnerable housebound users by providing them with tablets to allow them to view and choose items from the borough’s full library catalogues. The tablet computers would be purchased by Greenwich Leisure Limited which has the contract to run the borough’s libraries up to 2026.”
  • Herefordshire – Options for Hereford Library to be debated – Ross Gazette. “This £1 million investment is outlined in the capital programme for the council, however Cabinet will consider if there is an opportunity to use that funding to work with the community on an improved library. It is proposed to hold discussions with representatives of the Hereford Library Users Group to see if their ambitions for a modern library with a range of other facilities could be realised if there was a wider fundraising campaign. “
  • Kirklees – Clarity needed on libraries – Dewsbury Reporter. “Senior Kirklees councillors have been asked to make some parts of its library plan clearer. Kirklees Cabinet will consider a report next week by a scrutiny committee that recommended the council make a clearer definition of “town libraries” and “community libraries” in its overhaul of the service, which will include reduced opening hours and around 100 job cuts.”
  • Lambeth – “I beg you not to railroad through these proposals” – News from Crystal Palace. “Tate South Lambeth on South Lambeth Road, Oval is the only library to be nominated for an Accessible Britain Challenge Award in the whole of Britain.  “This is one of the libraries you propose to turn into a gym” Christina Burnett, who heads Vauxhall CIC, a local community interest company, told the meeting. “All our work would stop in 2016. “I beg you not to railroad through these proposals. “They will destroy pioneering and cost-effective work in the community.””
  • Lancashire – Huge cuts to Lancashire County Council services announced – Burnley Express. “Hundreds of public sector workers will lose their jobs, rural bus services will cease to exist and libraries and museums will close under county council plans to tackle its multi-million pound funding gap.” …”Reducing the county council’s library network from 74 libraries to 34, to save £7m” see also Lancashire County Council plans job cuts and library closures – BBC.
  • Leicestershire – Campaigners call for Barwell library closure rethink – Nuneaton News. “The group of Liberal Democrat supporters are opposed to moves by cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council to shut the facility in Barwell. The local authority is currently consulting with residents on plans to close the library and instead replace it with an occasional mobile provision. The campaign group, which includes local councillors, says it isn’t good enough and is hoping the Tory administration at County Hall will withdraw the threat and instead continue to fund it and staff it with professional librarians.”
  • Lincolnshire – Grantham Journal letter: Please be aware of library cuts – Grantham Journal. “Council Leader Martin Hill should not use local newspapers to mislead taxpayers. The first challenge in July 2014 was lost by LCC, because they had not carried out the public consultation correctly, and were ordered by the Judge to carry out a second consultation last October. The second legal challenge was won by them in July this year. Coun Hill has not informed taxpayers how much their failed legal case cost, nor have the public been informed how much the original consultation exercise cost, which was carried out by Sheffield Hallam University in 2013. The County Council has its own in-house legal department, so why did Couns Hill and Worth get it wrong from the beginning?”
  • Lincolnshire – London organisation could run county’s libraries including Grantham – Grantham Journal. “A London organisation called Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) is being recommended to run Grantham library and other major libraries in the county. On December 1, Lincolnshire County Council’s Executive will be asked to take a decision on the future of Lincolnshire’s library services” … “It received six applications, with GLL, Vision and Vivacity being shortlisted. Now, having evaluated the organisations’ final bids, officers are recommending that library services be outsourced to GLL.” … “In the meantime, we continue to work with local groups to get the new community hubs up and running. Eighteen have already opened their doors to the public, with a further 16 on the way.” see also Remaining 15 Lincolnshire libraries likely to be outsourced – Lincolnite.