There was a pretty much unprecedented response, in terms of blog reads and comments,  to the President of the Society of Chief Librarians’ post on the previous edition of Public Libraries News.  Some, not all, of the responses can best be characterised as extremely opposed, although I personally understood the SCL position a bit better at the end of it, even if I wish they’d start putting their head at least a little above the parapet. I don’t want to enter the fray too much again here, perhaps I have done too much to stoke the fires as it is, but would recommend you read the comments on the previous post if you want to understand it all. For me, I can at least take comfort that all sides genuinely and deeply care for the service and with the fervent hope that numerous chief librarians and library staff will jolly well get on the board with the #MyLibraryByRight campaign anyway. And also that everyone involved will sign the petition for goodness sake, and get people you know to sign it as well.



  • Apply to YA Shot for author visits
  • Community skill sharing – workshops and courses provided by community members. In the village of Red Hook these recently included languages, bee-keeping, brewing and maple tree tapping.
  • Memory Lab – a project funded by the Library of Congress raising awareness of personal archiving and digitising. The Memory Lab will be a free DIY space where the public can transfer obsolete formats such as VHS and audio cassettes to digital files
  • Patron request system – automatically buy one copy of any book or DVD the first cardholder in the service asks for.
  • “Senior Services” – “a relaxed, comfortable area with armchairs, newspapers, book and dedicated programming, giving senior citizens a homelier library space. “

National news

  • How One Library Is Using Content Marketing to Capture the Imagination – Library Content Marketing. “The campaign strategy was to change people’s perceptions of modern public libraries. We wanted a campaign that would be fresh, exciting, and high-profile. It was designed to be fun and appealing to adults living in Leeds to inspire them to engage with the library service. We also wanted to align our online and offline marketing so our offer was more ‘joined-up’ across promotional channels. “
  • Libraries and schools need free author visits, so I set up YA Shot – Guardian. “From Monday 25 January, your library system can apply to be part of a free programme that partners local libraries and schools for visits by young adult and children’s authors. Each year, the scheme goes to a different area of the country, whether that’s a London borough, another city or an area like ‘South Bucks’. If you want to see the scheme happen in your area, please go to your local library and tell them about it and encourage them to get their “library system” (ie the local group of libraries they’re part of for government purposes) to apply. You can help even more by writing a few sentences for your library about why you’d love your school and local library to be part of the programme.”
  • Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing – Future Learn. “This free online course will explore how enjoying literature can help us to endure life. Taking Johnson’s phrase as a starting point, the course will consider how poems, plays and novels can help us understand and cope with times of deep emotional strain. The reading load will be flexible, and you will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and feelings via the online discussions with other learners.” Mooc starts 1st February.
  • My Library By Right revisited; SCL ducks out – Phil Bradley’s Weblog. “This is woeful at best. This is only a political campaign in the very broadest of senses, since the focus is on keeping a strong and powerful library service – a ‘vibrant library service’ in SCL’s own words, to contribute to the wellbeing of communities. Local councils of all colours are cutting libraries; if it was just one political party the SCL may have a point, but they don’t. They’re not even prepared to say ‘it’s a good idea, and we’re entirely behind it, but can’t be any more official than that’. They’re not being asked to be a campaigning body – no-one is asking them to go out on the streets and man the barricades (just as well really) they are being asked to support people who are campaigning. Librarians, libraries, and communities are being let down by the SCL refusal to support them.  With friends like these, who needs enemies?”
  • Open+ Case Study: Cullompton, Devon – Public Libraries News. “Open+ allows us to extend library opening, and provide access to the meeting rooms, outside of normal hours without additional staffing. The library is now open until 8am – 9:30 pm weekdays and 8-5:30 pm Saturdays. At the same time, Open+ has improved security by logging access through the main doors and providing much more extensive (and better quality) CCTV coverage inside the building. There have been no security issues since launch.”
  • Preparing for LGBT History Month – our top tips – CILIP. “If you haven’t planned anything yet, it’s not too late to pull something together! Here are our top tips, based on Liz’s PhD research and John’s experience as a trainer and writer on diversity in libraries, as well as our personal experiences as queer library users. We’ve also included some longer-term ideas so that you can plan for next year, as well as for other queer-themed events and milestones that you can celebrate in the library. These might include Pride (usually held in the summer) and the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised (male) homosexuality.”
  • Radio 2’s 500 Words competition launches and announces a Royal Judge – BBC. “Last year, an astounding 120,421 children put pen to paper and entered the competition – all of the stories were analysed by Oxford University Press (OUP) to find out more about the words and language used by children. In 2015, OUP crowned ‘hashtag’ and the symbol ‘#’ as Children’s Word of the Year …”
  • This new sticker book will make you want to visit the library – BookStart. “You can now find our new sticker storybook, Bear’s Reading Adventure, in selected libraries around England. Free for families with children aged up to five, it was made in partnership with Igloo Books”
  • Toolkit number 2: community libraries – Libraries Task Force. “My next step is to create best practice guidelines for local authorities when working with volunteers and community-led libraries. William Sieghart in his Independent Library Report for England directed the Taskforce “to develop sector-led best practice guidelines to help local authorities when working with volunteers and community-led libraries.” … “I recognise this is a sensitive area as many think that communities should not be asked to take on the running of libraries. I’m not going to debate that issue in this blog, however, the Taskforce recognises that some local authorities are, for various reasons, (including the Locality Act which empowers communities to take on the running of local services), considering heading down this route – and some already have done so. If that path is taken, we want to ensure that  all parties involved make informed decisions: understanding the pros and cons and learning from others who have gone before, so that a high quality service is provided to local people”

“Without wishing to be rude, I feel a strong urge to suggest where you should put your toolkit. Am meeting members of the Taskforce in February. If they offer us a toolkit of this kind, the coffee will spill, buns will be thrown and, no doubt, everyone will be very cross.” Shirley Burnham comment on Toolkit number 2.

International news

  • Bulgaria – Stewart Hollenstein Unveil Their Proposal for the Varna Regional Library – Arch Daily. “There is a clear distinction between each floor, allowing each space to evolve as use and demand change over time. A floor designated as a children’s area contains an undulating bookcase, an adventure garden, a youth zone with hammocks, and beautiful views of the Black Sea, among other features.”
  • Canada – Ontario Investing in Public Libraries – Ontario Newsroom. “The investments are part of the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund, a $10 million program to help public libraries support strong, vibrant communities and better meet the changing needs of Ontarians. The fund supports new projects that can be adapted to suit the needs of other communities and have the potential for a positive impact on public libraries across the province and the people they serve.”
  • Dubai – Dubai is going to soon be home to a huge library – What’s On. “the one thing we still really miss from home are fantastic libraries. The kinds of places you can while away hours flipping through books, surfing on your laptop and enjoying the general peace and quiet. Well, the great news is that it looks like such a place is coming to the city: Dubai Municipality has announced a project called Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, which is due to open in 2017.” … “The 66,000 square metre library will be in Al Jaddaf (across the Creek from Dubai Festival City, and near where the Versace hotel is now). It will feature “internet services, various areas for open reading, a stage, a cinema, a visual and auditory library and a borrowing book section.” … “that there will be “1 million international dedicated books” and that there will be a book section for “visitors and tourists”. The municipality has said that there will also be presentations, documentaries and lectures “from around the world” at the library. We have no doubt that it will be world class.”
  • USA – Community Engagement Ideas from U.S. Public Libraries – Travelling Librarian 2015 – CILIP. “If I could only bring back only one key theme from my tour it would be programming (hosting events and activities). In the United States, much like the UK, there is a downward trend in footfall and circulation. However, in the U.S. there has been a cultural shift in public libraries; programming and experiential learning, for all ages, is a key growth area and is a way libraries can further a core activity of knowledge creation. Programming Librarians are now commonplace and in many of the libraries I visited there is now a greater emphasis on programming than anything else.” including “Community skills sharing – workshops and courses provided by community members. In the village of Red Hook these recently included languages, bee-keeping, brewing and maple tree tapping.” … “The use of volunteers varies from state to state, depending on state laws and unions. The most common role is shelving. In some states volunteers are sent from courts for community service hours.”

“Treat programmes as you would your collections – categorise to ensure diversity; offer a range of formats; weed programmes regularly. See communities as collaborators – skills sharing, peer-to-peer learning, intergenerational activities; Get out of the library, deliver in community spaces, serving the whole community not just library users; Don’t charge patrons for programmes – have a programming budget. If it is needed obtain programme funding from grants, businesses, partners, philanthropists, and programming donation boxes.”

  • USA – Once homeless, Boise man creates video game outside library, resets life – Idaho Statesman. “Ryan Zehm lost his job at HP, then his home. For months, he spent days at the library, nights at a shelter. He built a video game that earned enough so he could rent a cheap apartment in Emmett.
  • USA – Pooches help kids have a doggone good time at the library – Missoulian. “Here’s a formula for fun: a frosty January day, a warm library, a bunch of kids and six friendly, tail-wagging dogs. That’s what happened in Billings Public Library’s community room during the second annual puppy party. Dozens of adults and children showed up for a half-hour of storytelling, followed by a craft time and a meet-and-greet with six certified Reading Education Assistance Dogs and their owners.”

Local news by authority

  • Berkshire – Welcome to Berkshire Education Library Service – Berkshire Education Library Service. “We are very sorry to have to announce that the decision has been made to close the Education Library Service and that the service is due to close on 31st March 2017. At this point there is considerable uncertainty about arrangements for the future. It is possible that the date for closure may be brought forward. In addition the five local authorities have yet to confirm their plans for library books and other resources currently on loan to schools. The website will be updated as soon as we have any further information. In the interim we would like to assure you that Education Library Service staff are committed to continuing to support schools until the service does close and will work with schools to plan for the long term future of their school libraries. ELS events and training courses will continue to run as normal. On behalf of everyone at ELS we would like to thank you for your continued support of the service.”
  • Borders – National Library Day is celebrated – Southern Reporter. “the council’s library services team has organised a number of free events. These include: writer and illustrator Tim Archbold holding a fun-filled session of family storytelling and drawing at Hawick; a library champion is being sought in Selkirk to have their ‘Shelfie’ taken to help spread the word by sharing their images through social media at #librariesday; and Duns Library Contact Centre has a special Therapet guest in the shape of Pip the Golden Retriever, a pet therapy dog in training to be a listener for children and adults who need encouragement with their reading.”
  • Dudley – Dudley Connect to roll out at borough libraries – Dudley News. “The new free, public access wi-fi will no longer require library visitors to log on using their membership card”
  • Essex – Holocaust survivor shares his inspiring story with prisoners – Chelmsford Weekly News. “An Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor has shared his inspiring story of survival with prisoners as part of a special event to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Leslie Kleinman and his wife, Miriam Stein, visited the prison library at Her Majesty’s Prison & Youth Offender Institution Chelmsford (HMP &YOI Chelmsford) on Wednesday to speak of the atrocities he witnessed at the Nazi death camp.”
  • Fife – School library cuts will deepen rich-poor divide, claims EIS – Courier. “Cost-cutting measures like getting rid of professional librarians, which some Fife headteachers have done, is central to the decline of school libraries and is undermining the fight for equal opportunities, according to the Literature Alliance. Teachers, authors, librarians and unions have thrown their weight behind a petition from Save Scotland’s School Libraries, which is before MSPs today.”
  • Lambeth – Save Lambeth Libraries Lobby of Lambeth Council, 7pm 27th Jan – Brixton Buzz. “Campaigners will be at the full council meeting at Elm Green School in Tulse Hill from 7pm, and are expected to loudly lobby councillors as they fight to defend the future of Lambeth’s libraries. As they say on their Facebook page: “If we do win we will have secured 10 libraries for the future generations of Lambeth citizens – quite a prize””
  • Lancashire – Current e-petitions – Lancashire County Council. Includes twelve separate library petitions, one for the county library system as a whole and the others for individual libraries. Numbers signing range from 1 to 312.
  • Lancashire – Last chance to save our libraries as consultation deadline nears – Accrington Observer. “Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) consultation on whether to axe up to half of Lancashire’s libraries is due to end on Sunday, January 31 – leaving just days to oppose the cuts. Since starting our campaign against the closures in November, the Observer office has been flooded with responses from people, who, like us, believe that libraries play a vital role in our communities. Now we have until the end of this week to boost the final total before we deliver our petition to the county council’s head office.”
  • Lancashire – Library campaigners hold peaceful protest – Chorley Guardian. “Campaigners fighting to save their village library from closure amid funding cuts are organising a sit-in. And they will be supported by well-known faces, including comedian Dave Spikey”
  • Lancashire – Villagers called to action over looming council cuts – LEP. “The local Parish Council will be discussing Lancashire County Council’s proposals to axe the only bus service between villages and the possible closure of Longton Library, during it’s meeting from 7.30pm on February 2 at New Longton Village Hall.”
  • Leicestershire – Hathern Library community partnership launches  – Loughborough Echo. “Leicestershire’s latest community partnership library will open its doors today (Monday, January 25), when the county council hands over the keys to a group in Hathern. John Wigley, from Hathern Community Library, said: “We’re really looking forward to the challenge and to seeing the community working on this project. Hathern has a good tradition of pulling together as a community when it needs to.”
  • Lincolnshire – Maurice writes to the Secretary of State … Again – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “That our Conservative-controlled authority is provoked into launching a “scathing attack on the government for its cuts to the council’s budget over upcoming years” is unprecedented, but it explains why Lincolnshire proposes cutting a crucial service like public transport. I trust that you will now issue your decision on my request for intervention within 28 days, as the delay in dealing with the same leads me inexorably to the conclusion that your officials are trying to create a fait accompli because they ignore residents’ stated preference to continue to be able to access a public library as specified within the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.”
  • Lincolnshire – Stop, we want to get off – Secret Librarian. “The private organisation chosen by the council to operate the library service including the community hubs already heavily relies on volunteers where it operates elsewhere. It is currently attempting to turn some libraries into a healthy living centres replacing most of the book space with gym equipment. The increasing reliance on volunteers is not sustainable and will soon reach a saturation point and then rapidly fall away.” … “Is the library of the future a place where you surf the net whilst running on a treadmill? Well let’s please stop this headlong rush into madness now whilst we can still get off.”
  • Lincolnshire – “This devastating report exposes the disgraceful con-trick” – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. “A damning report out today (Monday) reveals how Lincolnshire Conservatives were secretly planning to slash library opening hours – at the same time as making county-wide election promises to “improve library opening hours”. The official internal audit report shows that they put off public consultation on their draconian plan to close 30 libraries until after the County Council elections in May 2013.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Pop-up theatre coming to Retford Library – Retford Times. “Pop-Up Flashback will be performed in seven libraries in February during half term – the latest show in the county council’s Children’s Pop-Up Theatre project in partnership with The Spark Arts for Children. Performances will be supported by a number of poetry making workshops.”
  • Redbridge – Council leader guarantees no library closures in next two-and-a-half years – Guardian series. “The leader of Redbridge Council has given a “cast-iron guarantee” that there are no plans to close any libraries in the borough before the next elections in 2018. In response to public concerns about library closures, council leader Jas Athwal pledged Wanstead Library in Spratt Hall Road will still be open at the time of the 2018 local elections” … Woodford Green: “”The current library is tired, so we have proposed a new state of the art facility a few yards down the road, which will run a bit like the one at South Woodford. But the library will not close until the new one opens.””
  • Southwark – Dolly Parton to give books to children in Southwark – BookSeller. “The scheme will give a every child born in Southwark from December 2015 to December 2016 a free book every month from birth until their fifth birthday. The project is being run through The Imagination Library, which began in 1995, and is supported by Parton’s Dollywood Foundation, which promotes early childhood literacy internationally, and travel company, DialAFlight. DialAFlight is the locally-based funder of the Southward scheme and is allocating £750,000 to the project from its own charity, Make My Day Better, as a part of its community outreach work with the aim of improving literacy in the borough.”
  • Staffordshire – Check out your library to help RSPB big Garden Bird Watch – Burton Mail.
  • Staffordshire – Staffordshire people urged to love their libraries ready for National Libraries Day – Staffordshire Newsletter. “People of all ages can join in the celebrations by taking part in a week of events and opportunities, including author appearances, reading and poetry competitions, a science fair, craft sessions, computer games evenings, local history, and health & wellbeing activities. Staffordshire County Councillor, Ben Adams, cabinet member responsible for libraries said: “With the emphasis on fun and creating a buzz around our libraries, Saturday 6 February will round off a week of special celebrations showcasing the very best the county’s libraries have to offer.”
  • West Berkshire – Council tax increase and cuts to buses and libraries on the cards – Newbury Today. “Bus services and libraries are also among the latest public services to face the axe, it was confirmed today” … “It is now holding a second public consultation on the latest round of cuts before setting its budget in March. The budget consultation will begin on Monday February 15 and close on Monday March 7. Details of the proposals will be published at the beginning of the consultation and will be found at: www.westberks.gov.uk/budgetconsultation.  “
  • West Sussex – Week of celebration for West Sussex’s library service – Worthing Herald. “To celebrate National Libraries Day, which is on Saturday February 6, customers will be able to try any borrowable stock for free, as all reservations from Monday February 1 to Sunday February 7 will be free of charge. Customers can choose from any items in stock across West Sussex; no matter which library the item is in, it can be delivered to the customer’s local branch.”
  • Wiltshire – Something for everyone at Westbury Library – White Horse News. “The library on Edward Street will be hosting four one-off events throughout the week including talks, games and workshops.”
  • Wokingham – Wokingham Council plans to expand and protect libraries – Get Reading. Wokingham “could be going against the national trend and investing more into the borough’s libraries. Councillors could be consulting on plans to protect and expand its libraries in February, if proposals are approved on Thursday, January 28. The eight week consultation would see a discussion on keeping library services in all areas open and includes some ways for them to open for longer.”