Protests Local news from all over the place, with the stand out for me being the strike and protests in Lambeth. The Carnegie UK Library Lab winners for this year are announced tomorrow so more information on them with the next post. Finally, due to the horrible events in Belgium, the release of BBC research into changes/cuts to public libraries, including a series of BBC radio (and some television) pieces, have been pushed back to next week.  I was involved in helping out in small ways with the research at various stages but not seen the final report as yet.


National news

  • 5 technical skills information professionals should learn – CILIP. “Part of being an information professional involves watching the current technological trends and implementing them in organisational settings as appropriate. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell whether we are simply ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ by starting to use technologies that will simply go away within a short amount of time, or if they will endure and grow over time. One thing is certain, however. If a new technology is out there, your users are trying it out, and they will expect to see their library doing the same. Adopting these technologies in our professional settings helps us do what we do best as a profession: connect people with the information they need …”
  • Countries of Culture inquiry – DCMS Select Committee. “The Committee invites written submissions from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry on the following areas: The current funding situation for cultural sectors in the regions and sub-regions; The regional impact of local authority settlement on the cultural sector; New funding models in the cultural sector, including use of Lottery funding; Cultural partnerships in the regions, including with National Portfolio Organisations and Major Partner Museums; Skills, management and infrastructure of regional cultural institutions; Physical and virtual accessibility of cultural sectors in the regions, including digital outreach and engagement; Value and impact of culture in the regions”
  • Thousands of UK authors to get extra library payments after accounting error found – Guardian. “Calculations mistake means authors were not paid £264,000 owed in Public Lending Right scheme that remunerates writers when books are borrowed from libraries” … “the National Audit Office had found a mistake in its calculations. It said this was a “manual input error”, which had meant that the overall loans for the London region were under-represented when calculating the total sample.” … “The Society of Authors is also calling for PLR to be extended to the increasing number of volunteer-run libraries in the UK, and that authors be paid “for the significant loans of ebooks” lent remotely, which currently fall outside the PLR’s remit.” see also Authors to receive payouts following PLR miscalculation – BookSeller.

“Let me express my great admiration for councillors of all parties who do their very best across the nation, despite years of cuts, to protect services. Libraries, for example, are one of the most prized assets in any community, but they are frequently the first to go. On Friday, I visited Wyke library in Bradford. The council has managed to keep it open, despite the prospect of losing half its budget in a decade. The library is a beacon of hope and self-improvement, buzzing with learning. I met people there who were studying to better their lot in life. They told me there was no way on earth they could afford to buy the books they could borrow from a public library or to use the internet, which was also available. The priority had to be putting food on the table for their kids, but they were able to come to the library and have access to knowledge. I met one man who was using the internet—publicly provided in a public library—to complete his PhD. Cutting libraries, cutting museums, cutting theatres—all of this is nothing short of cultural vandalism.” Jon Trickett MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. House of Commons.

  • Tinder Foundation’s interim findings from its Libraries Digital Inclusion Action Research Project – Libraries Taskforce.  “The action research project has enabled Library Research Partners to develop a range of innovative delivery models to provide digital skills training for the project’s target audiences. Key elements of delivery models include use of WiFi and MiFi technology; use of tutors, volunteers and library staff; use of online learning resources such as Learn My Way; delivery of sessions in both library and outreach venues; building and working in partnerships (such as with housing associations, Citizens Advice Bureau, and other departments within Local Authorities) and local organisations; and the purchase and use of mobile devices. The availability of WiFi is important for delivering successful digital skills training and engaging with learners, who may have otherwise become disengaged over time. The action research project has increased the awareness of library digital inclusion activities at Local Authority level and the vital work libraries do in relation to supporting the digitally excluded. Tinder Foundation’s CaptureIT tool and it’s online platform, Learn My Way, are both being used by Library Research Partners as tracking mechanisms for the development of learners’ digital skills, which in turn provides management information that libraries can use to demonstrate digital skills delivery and impact. The action research project has enabled library staff to embrace digital and learn new skills.”

International news

  • USA – 5 Library Blogs to Follow – Library Science Degree. US list includes Teen Librarian Toolbox, Daring Librarian and Library Journal.
  • USA – Courtesy notice: the Microkorg is due in one week – MetaFilter. “Branching out beyond the standard library offerings, AADL has some unusual collections available. The Music Tools catalog is host to a range of synthesizers, drum machines, guitar and bass pedals, amplifiers/PAs, and ancillary equipment. The Science Tools catalog contains microscopes, oscilloscopes, and electromagnetic meters. If you like to have a constantly rotating collection of pictures for your walls, the Art Prints collection is for you! Home tools, telescopes, and assorted other offerings are also available”

Local news by authority

  • Camden – New library for Holborn – Designing Libraries. “the one-acre site is currently occupied by a public library and Cockpit Arts – an award winning social enterprise, which is the UK’s only creative business incubator for designer-makers. U+I’s plans have been designed by the award-winning architectural practice, Coffey Architects, and will see the site completely redeveloped to provide brand new employment studio spaces, a fully remodelled library and local studies archive facility, and new public spaces so that this becomes a busy, creative hub for the community. The redevelopment will also deliver 105 new homes including new affordable units.”
  • Cornwall – Video: Locals Rally Round To Save St Ives Library – Pirate FM. “Janet Axten is on the Friends group and runs the St Ives Archive: “Because we take our libraries so seriously and it’s been here since 1896 and is probably the best loved building in the town we thought we’d look not only to see how much support we could get for it but look at ways we might be able to use it in the future to keep it going as a library.”
  • Croydon – Councillors promise no library closures in Croydon as consultation over future of service begins – Croydon Advertiser. “Croydon Council has launched a consultation about the future of the borough’s 13 libraries including the possibility some will be run by community groups. Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said the survey was a “genuine chance to decide what a modern day library should be and how we should go about funding it”.”.  Opposition councillor notes “”You are now expecting Upper Norwood Library to operate on what is roughly a third of what you said was the bare minimum of what it could possibly survive on.”
  • Darlington – Union members work on rescue plan for Darlington libraries – Northern Echo. “”Unison’s Darlington Branch is working with its members to put forward proposals for income generation and savings to assist the provision of these much needed services in Darlington. “Our libraries serve a social and educational need. They also provide necessary digital and internet facilities for our community.” … “More than 9,200 people have now signed a petition launched as part of a separate Echo campaign to push for a Parliamentary debate on the crippling cuts in grant facing Darlington Borough Council. “
  • Isle of Wight – Isle of Wight among the worst hit by cuts to ‘cultural’ services – Isle of Wight County Press. “The Mirror survey of local authority spending showed a massive decline in spending on ‘cultural’ services such as open spaces, libraries and tourism. It listed the Isle of Wight as the third worst affected, with 60 per cent cut from those areas, behind Camden and Middlesbrough.”
  • Kirklees – Twenty library staff leaving as shake-up begins but no compulsory redundancies – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “The council said 20 staff were leaving voluntarily at the end of March and 14 were moving to different roles. Clr Graham Turner, cabinet member for resources, said he was delighted that no-one had been forced out.”
  • Lambeth – Campaigners confront MP over library cuts – South London Press. “London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan MP was left in no doubt about the strength of feeling of cuts to library services when he visited one of the affected libraries. Mr Khan went to Camberwell library on Saturday and was greeted by protesters who want Lambeth council to put a stop to its planned cuts to the service and instead consider a proposal for a staff and community mutual to take over the running of the libraries.”
  • Lambeth – Cllr Scott Ainslie launches blistering attack on Lambeth’s plans to demolish Cressingham and decimate library services – Brixton Buzz. “In an open letter to the council, he accuses Lambeth of seeming determined to ‘ride roughshod’ over the will of the people, pumping out misleading propaganda to justify their own ends and dismissing practical alternatives out of hand.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth library staff strike to stop Labour council’s cuts – Socialist Worker. “Library workers in Lambeth, south London, began a solid two-day walkout on Tuesday in their battle against the Labour council’s deep and unpopular library cuts. Three libraries are set to close on 1 April, with the borough’s other seven affected by budget cuts. Two of the libraries, Minet and Carnegie, are to be handed over to a private firm to run as gyms. Thousands of people oppose the plan and back the strike. “We’re getting donations in from individuals and union branches,” Brixton library Unison union rep Tim O’Dell said. “At one campaign meeting last week £257 was collected for the strike fund.””
  • Lambeth – Libraries, Cressingham campaigners join forces – Brixton Blog. “The demolition of the Cressingham Gardens housing estate for regeneration and the decision to turn two of the council’s ten libraries in to gyms are the target of their anger.”
  • Manchester – ‘Millionaires’ join Council to launch brand new campaign Read Manchester – Manchester Council. “The campaign has already also won the backing of Coronation Street star Jennie McAlpine, TV presenter Katie Thistleton, from CBeebies, and from Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs – as well as schools, libraries, local businesses, health professionals and academics from the city’s universities.”

“To help kickstart the new campaign, Central Library will also be home for the next three weeks to a pair of Book Benches – iconic and fantastically decorated benches shaped like open books and available for members of the public during this time to sit on and consider the importance of reading and what it means to them, perhaps as they read a chapter of the latest book they have on the go. The Book Benches are on loan to the library from the National Literacy Trust – one of them is designed by illustrator Nick Sharratt and is themed on children’s favourite author Jacqueline Wilson, and the other is based on ‘Neverwhere’ by best selling author Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell.”

  • Northumberland – Organisation sets out big changes – News Post Leader. “As it aims to make significant savings, it has also confirmed its proposals for various services such as moving Guide Post Library into the Cleaswell Hill Centre alongside the Schools Library Service.”
  • Orkney – McDermid and Cleeves join Orkney library fight – BookSeller. “Orkney Island Council recently announced that the mobile library service is to be cut by £25,000, as the council has to find £1.4m in savings following a drop in funding. The mobile library service currently travels to the islands of Stronsay and Shapinsay, Longhope and Westray as well as other locations across Orkney’s mainland and isles. According to the Guardian, the council said this cut could mean “reducing visits to each destination served by the mobile library service to once every two months, rather than once a month as at present.””
  • Sandwell – Easter fun at Sandwell libraries – Sandwell Council. “All kinds of events, from storytelling to making Minecraft blocks, are planned at the borough’s 19 libraries”
  • Scottish Borders – Borders libraries get digital upgrade – Southern Reporter. A major £195,000 upgrade of public computers in libraries and library contact centres across the Scottish Borders has been completed. The new equipment includes all-in-one PCs with 23 inch touch screens operated by Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 2013 software” … “The upgrade is the result of a £195k investment from SBC’s Capital programme to encourage and support Borders residents to connect with the council online as much as possible”
  • Sheffield – Stand up for the citizens of Sheffield – Sheffield Star. “Around two years ago, the council took the decision to hand over many libraries in Sheffield to voluntary groups. In the process, they made librarians with links to the communities they served going back decades redundant” … “In light of the high regard that Sheffield’s librarians are held in and the fact that visitor numbers to the volunteer run libraries appear to be falling, I would appeal to all councillors to ensure that ring-fenced funding from central government to reinstate librarians be made a part of any devolution deal agreed.”.
  • South Gloucestershire – Library users urged to attend drop-in event at under threat Chipping Sodbury Library today – Gazette series.  “More than 250 people have signed a petition to save the facility, on High Street, which is earmarked for closure under a savings programme at South Gloucestershire Council”
  • Southampton – Southampton libraries: Community groups to run threatened libraries – BBC. “Volunteers will staff the buildings, while the books and equipment remain owned by the council.”
  • Sunderland – Sunderland libraries to host family-friendly Easter craft activities during school holidays – Chronicle. Long list of crafts.
  • Swindon – Library meeting sham – Swindon Advertiser. “After attending the libraries’ engagement meeting at Park Library on March 14, I came away convinced the decision had already been made and once again the council was engaged in a sham consultation.  The council officer gave us the official explanation for the proposed funding reduction, and was so lacking in interest that, until challenged by an attendee, he did not even bother to take any notes of comments made.” … “The leaflets we were given were shoddily compiled in that they gave the profile of North Swindon Library rather than Parks and advertised a drop-in meeting for Walcot residents the previous week.  The bar charts were unintelligible, giving no explanation of what they were supposed to convey.  We were obviously supposed to be there to suggest ways the cuts could be implemented rather than register our total opposition to the ridiculous proposal that all facilities apart from the central library should be run by volunteers.”
  • West Berkshire – DCMS intervenes on West Berkshire libraries – BookSeller. “Chair of the Library Campaign Laura Swaffield told The Bookseller: “In very rare cases, DCMS does a little arm-twisting behind the scenes when really grotesque cuts are planned. Not nearly often enough. But this public stance is unusual. Maybe it means the minister is responding at last to mounting complaints about his uselessness.” But she added: “I suspect it’ll just be temporary. The plan can probably stay almost unchanged once the council goes through the motions of doing a needs assessment, just as councils can ignore 100% opposition as long as they ‘consult’.”
  • West Berkshire – Theale Library faces closure despite £1m extra for West Berkshire – Get Reading. “Only Theale and Wash Common libraries still face closure in West Berkshire unless villagers can find money to save them” … “This follows the announcement the Government would hand over £1 million in transitional funding to tide the council over an unexpectedly savage cut in the local settlement grant in December. West Berkshire Council held a public consultation when it received news of the extra cash and decided to divide it up as follows” [Graph shows libraries get £475k of £1m – Ed.]

“The library service attracted almost half – 46 per cent – of all the comments in the public consultation and the transitional funding will ensure all but two branches under threat of closure will remain open.”