It’s good to see the Carnegie Library Lab programme open for bids again. The scheme led to some notable excitement and creative thinking in a whole pile of public libraries last year and I hope the same happens again. Even if you don’t win the funding and support, the scheme gives library services a chance to think about initiatives and that’s worth a lot. If you win, then it’s a whole new ballgame and I envy you.

An initiative that needs no Carnegie funding I’ve been noticing a lot recently is libraries experimenting with the remote-controlled library technology that is Open+. So many in fact that there’s now a new PLN page keeping track of them all with 15 libraries listed over 8 authorities.



  • Carnegie Library Lab – Carnegie UK Trust. “Carnegie Library Lab is a programme created by the Carnegie UK Trust to support and develop innovation and leadership in the public library sector. We’re looking for applications from individual library staff working in early and mid-management roles across the UK and Ireland. Successful applicants will work with us as Carnegie Partners for 18 months (May 2016-October 2017). Carnegie Library Lab offers participants:
    • Project funding:  £5000-£15,000 to help develop and implement innovative projects in your public library or library service.
    • Online learning programme: An online modular programme to support your skills development. Facilitated by an experienced a learning guide, topics covered include innovation, leadership, managing change and transition, and power and hierarchy.
    • Mentoring: You will have a personal mentor to assist with project management and personal development.
    • A network:  There will be communication and networking opportunities for participants via online platforms and a small number of face-to-face meetings. We aim to foster the development of a cohort of innovators that can share ideas and inspire one another.
    • Evaluation: An external evaluation of the projects to help participants to identify successes, challenges and how to take their work forward; and to enable the Trust to share learning and experience from supported projects with policy makers, practitioners and funders.
    • Please note, the application period closes on Friday 29 January 2016 at 5pm.”
"Libraries are the essential oxygen of the mind’ says Melvyn Bragg

“Libraries are the essential oxygen of the mind’ says Melvyn Bragg

  • Melvyn Bragg speaks up for libraries – Friends of Kensal Rise Library (press release). “Novelist and arts broadcaster Melvyn Bragg has spoken out publicly on his support for public libraries. At an event held by the Friends of Kensal Rise Library, Lord Bragg said ‘Libraries are the essential oxygen of the mind’ and recalled the key role his own local library played during his upbringing in the Cumbrian town of Wigton: ‘I don’t know what I would have done without it. Reading was very important to me. I owe an enormous amount to libraries.’ Lord Bragg was delivering the second annual Mark Twain Lecture on Sunday night at St Martin’s Church in Kensal Rise. He gave a talk on the history of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt, the setting for his twenty-first novel Now Is The Time. The event was held to raise funds for a community library to be opened next year on the ground floor of the old Kensal Rise Library building, the rest of which is being converted for residential use.  Campaigners are looking to raise £100,000 for fitting out and equipping the new library space and to cover its first year’s running costs.”

Volunteer Libraries. We are sad to note the decrease in the estimated loans of books registered for PLR, caused, no doubt, by the cuts in library services and the exclusion of some volunteerrun libraries from the scheme. We urge the Government to include volunteerrun libraries within the PLR scheme so that true figures for library lending can be recorded and remunerated

Library Cuts. We urge the Government to fulfil its obligation to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service and to protect and maintain the library service which is under serious threat.

PLR on audiobooks. We are pleased that PLR has been extended to audiobooks ‘lent out’ from library premises for a limited time. Obviously these claims have not yet been quantified and it will be important to maintain and increase the PLR Fund to pay for them. Increasingly audiobooks are also lent digitally and remotely and this lending should also attract PLR.

PLR on onsite lending of ebooks. We note that PLR has been extended to onsite lending of ebooks but, as we anticipated this is an illusory change since no ebooks are lent out from library premises. ” Part of letter from Society of Authors to DCMS on Public Lending Right.

  • List of unstaffed “Open+” Libraries – Public Libraries News. New page listing those libraries (15 so far) and authorities (8 so far) that have installed or are thinking of installing this technology.
  • Modernising Welsh libraries hinges on local authority support for skilled staff – CILIP. “CILIP Cymru Wales welcome the Deputy Minister’s continued commitment to public libraries in Wales, and his acknowledgement of the role libraries play in delivering a wide range of vital services including digital, cultural and literacy.” … “Professionally led libraries have demonstrated how efficiencies are possible while continuing to provide the public with high quality services. A single Library Management System for public libraries in Wales not only has the potential to save money but also means that a single library card for Wales will be possible. In his statement Ken Skates projects “…potential costs savings of up to 70% compared to current expenditure on this infrastructure” from the shared system.”
  • Talking Books Subscription – RNIB. “Subscribe to our Talking Book Service for free and get access to our collection of more than 23,000 unabridged titles by Digital Download to your favourite device through RNIB Overdrive, or on DAISY CD and USB stick, delivered direct to your door. To be eligible to join the service you have to be a UK resident who is blind, partially sighted, or have an impairment that prevents or limits you from reading standard print.  “


  • Australia – Is this the world’s wildest library? Geelong’s $45 million ‘big brain’ about to open up to the world – Sydney Morning Herald. $45m public  library opens. ” Designed by ARM Architecture, which last week won a major national award for its redevelopment of Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, the spherical structure sits wedged between a Victorian bandstand in adjoining Johnstone Park and the mid-century, low-lying Geelong Art Gallery. Like a giant golf ball or an igloo opened up, with panels of glass reaching almost the full height of the dome, it looks nothing like the functional building that preceded it.”

“The first floor has a kids’ space furnished to resemble the children’s story The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There’s also an area for older children and teenagers, with TV screens (including a monster 100-inch gaming screen), game stations that utilise the building’s super hi-speed wifi and an enclosed couch space cheekily dubbed the “kissing booth” (which may require some patrolling).”

  • Bhutan – The National Library and Archives of Bhutan – Dissertation Reviews. “In Bhutan, as with many Himalayan Buddhist cultures, key texts were considered auspicious objects that were traditionally kept in temples, monasteries and private homes, for ritual use and/or propitiation. When the National Library and Archives of Bhutan (འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དཔེ་མཛོད་དང་ཡིག་རིགས་གཏན་འཇོག་ཁང་། or NLAB) was founded in 1967, the country did not yet possess a strong library or research culture. This has changed drastically, and at present NLAB is a national leader in research, conservation, education, and publication, providing otherwise unavailable material on Bhutanese history, religion and culture, as well as on the broader Himalayan region”

“Be aware that there is no centralized heat or air conditioning in the buildings, and accordingly, the environment reflects the season. It can be quite cold indoors in winter and space heaters/heating elements are not allowed.”

  • Eire – Library Ireland Week – 16th to 22nd November 2015 – Library Association of Ireland. “The theme of this year’s Library Ireland Week is that of libraries and books being a portal into a world of ideas and opportunities: a world of imagination and creativity, of study and travel, of new opportunities in all areas of life.” … “Promotion of the services now includes downloadable posters and a vibrant social media campaign. We are also receiving media coverage under the RTÉ Support the Arts scheme.”
  • USA – Chicago’s subway is a mobile library with the “Books on the L” initiative – Roadtrippers. “The books, which could be anything from Harry Potter or Confessions of a Shopaholic, to works by Junot Diaz or Toni Morrison, have bright yellow stickers on the front so you know that you’re allowed to take it. And, since there’s no way you can finish it in one sitting, you’re welcome to bring it home… as long as you drop it back off on the L when you’re done. And, if yous search the “#BooksOnTheL” hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, you might be able to see who else was reading the book you just found. Pretty cool!”
  • USA – Librarians! Who’s Ready For A Game Of Library Bingo? – Humor Outcasts. Some familiar, some not so familiar user sayings … and it looks like books drops are very common in the USA.

Local news by authority

“Library users in Anglesey face a variety of awful options for their cash-strapped service as this island consults over cuts.  The new Library and Information Service Review is a wonderfully grudging report which opens by noting that it would be difficult “to achieve a quality library service model which is more cost effective than the one currently in place”. It isn’t as if Anglesey has been splashing out on libraries — the service is already failing to hit Welsh government targets on staffing and the report says “the authrity must accept that it will not achieve this standard”.  The report notes that a £38,370 increase in the book fund is needed to hit targets.  This is described as “also unlikely”.

The report lays out the possibilities, including outsourcing to a private library firm, handing over to volunteers, reducing hours and closing libraries — all options pursued in other areas.  A colour-coded grid in red, amber and green shows where these options would have a negative effect on the service procided.  Printing it requires a good supply of red ink.  Only keeping the service as it is, or squeezing some extra services into the library buildings to get more use out of them, get a green rating.” Anglesey – Library News – Private Eye

  •  Brent – Lord Melvyn Bragg gives talk at Kensal Green church to raise funds for library campaigners – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The library, in Bathurst Gardens, was opened by Mark Twain in 1900 and donated to All Souls College in Oxford who in turn donated it to Brent Council who handed it back. FKRL had their library listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in 2012, before it was sold by All Souls College to a private developer.”
  • Ceredigion – Libraries under threat in major shake-up – Cambrian News. “Three options are due to be put before council Cabinet members today, as part of a planned public consultation before a Cabinet decision. All three proposals include the closure of Llandysul library, but it appears Aberystwyth’s library is safe”
  • Cornwall – “Golden opportunity” on the table to run library services, says council – Western Morning News. “Communities in Cornwall could be running the library services on their own doorstep within months after being offered a “golden opportunity” to take control despite “Draconian cuts.” The futures of up to 27 libraries and one-stop-shops across the whole of the county are up for grabs in a deal aimed at saving £1.8million.” … “Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities said community groups had enthusiastically embraced the challenge.” … “He also thanks staff working in the libraries during a period which he said they understood was full of uncertainties”
  • Fife – Support for Lundin Links library campaigners – Fife Today. “North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, Willie Rennie, Mid Scotland and Fife MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrats leader, Tricia Marwick, MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, and local councillor David Alexander, met with young library users to hear more about the impact any closure might have on the community, with Fife Council due to announce its decision on December 8.”
  • Glasgow – Fifty jobs may go as Glasgow libraries cut £2.4m – BookSeller. “More than 50 jobs may be lost at Glasgow’s libraries after £2.4m worth of cuts have to be made. The Evening Times has reported that the leaders of Glasgow Life, the organisation that manages Glasgow libraries on behalf of Glasgow City Council, have said that consultation with workers and trade unions has started. Altogether 51 management and supervisory posts are set to be cut, although all job losses will be achieved through early retirement or voluntary redundancy, officials have said. Glasgow Life, which needs to save up to £2.4m by 2018, is working to avoid compulsory redundancies, with bosses stressing there will be “no impact on frontline services and no closures planned.””
  • Hertfordshire – New chapter for Chorleywood Library… – Hertfordshire.com. “From Monday 9 November, Chorleywood Library will be one of the first libraries in the county to open its doors with volunteers at the helm. More than 100 people have expressed interest in volunteering at the new Community Library, where 60 volunteers have already been trained. The Community Libraries scheme is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s Inspiring Libraries strategy, which aims to deliver a modern service while keeping all 46 library buildings open.”
  • Lambeth – Hundreds march to save libraries – South London Press. “Campaigners say changes are part of a plan to reduce spending on cultural services by £4million in the next three years. More than 600 campaigners gathered in front of Brixton Library at 10.30am on Saturday, to hear speeches before marching through Stockwell to the Tate South Library in Oval. Laura Swaffield, chairwoman of The Library Campaign, said: “There is no market research and no basic feasibility study for what they want to do. It’s a completely daft plan.””
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council Scrutiny response shows setting up of book-ish gyms will take £1m of funding away from other Lambeth leisure services – Brixton Buzz. “Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) has agreed to a £1m reduction in the management costs for leisure centres in Lambeth to allow the book-ish gyms to open in three libraries in the borough. Brixton Buzz has had access to the answers prepared by the Council ahead of the Scrutiny meeting that takes place at the Lilian Baylis School on Tuesday evening.” … “The papers that Brixton Buzz has seen show that it is a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul as part of the re-shuffling of finance within the borough.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth library campaigner pens open letter to Cllr Jane Edbrooke addressing her bonkers book-ish gyms – Brixton Buzz. “A Lambeth library campaigner has written an impassioned plea to Cllr Jane Edbrooke about the planned library changes ahead of the Lambeth Council Scrutiny Committee that will be considering the book-ish gyms on Tuesday evening. Robert Gibson, a Friend of Lambeth Libraries & Upper Norwood Library Campaign, has worked tirelessly to help protect Upper Norwood Library. He has had to balance the joint management between a Lambeth Labour Council, and a Conservative Croydon Council. He now finds that his work has been utterly betrayed back in Lambeth with the absolute U-turn following the sham of a Cultural Consultation.”
  • Neath Port Talbot – SOS issued over cuts to public services in Neath Port Talbot – South Wales Evening Post. “Trade union Unison has said it will continue to fight against cuts to services, job losses and outsourcing, just weeks after it was revealed that more libraries in Neath Port Talbot are facing closure.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf – Library staff could face redundancy in the latest round of RCT council cuts – Wales Online. “Further details about Rhondda Cynon Taf council’s latest £1.1m cuts have been revealed – with 15 staff members facing redundancy in the library service alone. The council’s cabinet members met on Tuesday afternoon over five new groups of cuts – affecting libraries, youth services, bus routes, day nurseries and customer care” … “For libraries, Tuesday’s meeting revealed 20 staff posts could be affected by a loss of pay, while 15 staff could potentially be at the threat of redundancy. Single-staff libraries could be introduced in Hirwaun , Ferndale, Mountain Ash , Pontyclun and Rhydyfelin, while mobile libraries will be reduced from four to three. Spending on magazines and newspapers bought by the libraries could also be reduced, and branch libraries could be reduced to 31.5 hours per week, per library.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Tilley Judgement – High Court of Justice. Full judgement on the Rhoose Library case.