North Somerset – quiet on these pages for a few years – has announced that libraries and children’s centres will co-locate (with all the benefits and problems that implies) for an overall cut of £500k. Meanwhile, nearby in Bristol, all libraries will be closed for day while staff strike over changes to working conditions which mean, they claim, that many are effectively being paid less for working more. Over in Staffordshire, it looks like quite a few branches have had to close temporarily due to staff shortages and, in addition, the county has received over 6,000 names on a petition over the move of Lichfield Library. People in Brighton and Hove are not looking delighted over the move of Hove Library either.


National news

“CILIP’s International Library & Information Group (ILIG) extends an open invite to join us at our June Informal: Date & Time:  Wednesday, 8th June – 6:00pm to 7:45pm; Location: CILIP Head Office, 7 Ridgmount Street, London. WC1E 7AE; Speaker – Ian Anstice, Public Libraries News [It’s me – Ed.]. Please book online here . … Ian will also be talking about how the site has grown and evolved over time, taking on an international aspect. This includes looking at public library systems overseas and what we can learn from these here in the UK. ”  Post on Lis-Pub-Libs

UKeiG Training: Make your Message Stick: As the requirement to present to an audience and create presentations for use online becomes ubiquitous across many different information roles, Ned Potter’s course equips delegates with the skills and confidence they need to excel at it. Thursday 5th May, London. Post on Lis-Pub-Libs

  • Which Real Life Read gets your vote for National Reading Group Day 2016? – Reading Agency. “Today sees the launch of our National Reading Group Day ‘Real Life Read’ competition – the search for the best narrative non-fiction for reading groups. We’ll be announcing the winner on National Reading Group Day on 18 June. We’re inviting readers to vote in our online poll for the narrative non-fiction book they think would make the best reading group choice. Reading groups can also sign up to read and review the winning title.”

“#uklibchat is running a live Twitter chat on Tuesday 3 May 6.30 – 8.30pm BST. The chat is all about user engagement and attracting non-users to use libraries. Links to our open agenda where you can put your questions, and our feature article can be found here. You can also find out more about #uklibchat and how to join a twitter chat on our webpages, and see past summaries and feature articles.” Post on Lis-Pub-Libs


  • Beyond the horizon – 5 May, Newcastle upon Tyne. The CILIP North East Member Network presents its half-day conference which will endeavour to inspire attendees, share knowledge, raise debate and provide networking opportunities. It is an opportunity to hear about and discuss recent and ongoing projects on topics ranging from recent research on using volunteers in public libraries to a children’s book award scheme that now funds itself, and from digitisation to knowledge management for healthcare and the construction sector.  The conference is open to members of the profession and all who are interested in it. Entry is free for CILIP members and £70 including VAT for non-members. Including Biddy Casselden on “Research on Using Volunteers in Public Libraries”

International news

  • Australia – Library Escape Rooms: Keeping Your Patrons Captive – Unbound. “In the past ten years, Escape Rooms have emerged from obscurity into the mainstream. Largely inspired by video games and interactive theater, this new form of live, participatory entertainment has been growing in popularity and revenue since its inception. Like the Human Library events discussed previously on Unbound, Escape Rooms have great potential to cross over into library programming.”
  • Spain – Boys, girls, books and roses: a literary love affair in Catalonia – Guardian. “In Catalonia, on Saturday, a record-breaking number of books are predicted to be sold as Catalans, like the English, celebrate their patron saint, St George (known here as Sant Jordi). A walk through any Catalan square will quickly land you in literary heaven: piles of books stacked high on tables with readers thumbing through the latest releases, in search of the perfect book for their loved one – and that’s not mentioning the six million roses for sale. With 1.5m books sold last year, grossing €20m, the Catalan publishing industry predicts an increase of up to 6%.” … “With book signings and rose-selling events scheduled to take place in 30 countries, the celebration is global. “
  • USA / Global – Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library – ICMA. “This guide is designed to help libraries engage more with their communities and to re-envision public libraries as key partners in all aspects of community life. The action guide walks library leaders through an assessment that culminates in the convening of dialogues with key library stakeholders, identifying action steps for the library and community to take to transform the opportunities and experiences available to community residents.”
  • USA – Beyond books: Eight things you may not know about libraries – USA Today. Includes e-reading and apps; art prints and other non-book items; activities for teens and kids; gyms, 3D printing and games; Netflix; tax help.
  • USA – Planning Maps – Pima County Public Library. Guides to how to plan events for an audience.
  • USA – Prince made secret donation to support Louisville’s historic Western Branch Library in 2001 – Insider Lousiville. “As if we needed another reason to mourn the death of music legend Prince, it turns out he helped preserve a little bit of Louisville history. Louisville Free Public Library confirmed to Insider that in 2001 the musician donated $12,000 to LFPL to support the Western Branch Library, which over the years had faced threats of closure. He asked that the award be kept silent. LFPL spokesman Paul Burns said the funds were “designated for community building efforts at Western.” … “A little known Prince factoid. When Prince read that Louisville was going close the Western Branch Library ( which is the first full service library for African Americans in country) he wrote a $10,000 check to the Western Branch Library Association to support the library.”

Local news by authority

  • Bridgend – Books the height of Roald Dahl on show across Bridgend Libraries for summer reading scheme – Wales Online. Piles of book by Dahl, who was six foot three, are on display.
  • Brighton and Hove – Phelim Mac Cafferty: Hove Library is a treasured cultural asset for us all – Brighton and Hove Independent. “Despite the Labour councillors ignoring the petition to save the building at the last full council meeting, the petition continues to be signed and the campaign to save the building continues to grow. It is a sign of the passion residents have for our library and its impressive history. I have not received more correspondence on a single issue from residents than on Hove’s treasured Carnegie Library.” … “The business plan has us believe that flogging the purpose-built Carnegie library would make a good restaurant while the upstairs would be turned into flats. Why would a buyer risk the potential cost of dealing with the listed interior of the building as well as the £750k of urgent repairs that we are told the building needs? (despite the last survey stating the library is “in good serviceable condition.”)”
  • Brighton and Hove – Plans to merge Hove library with its museum have been put on hold – Juice Brighton. “The issue was due to be discussed at council committee on Thursday as the libraries plan was put forward to councillors. But in a last minute decision, council leader Warren Morgan says the decision has been deferred” … “Throughout this process, senior officers from the libraries team have answered all of the points and queries put forward by councillors from all Groups, and have tabled a twenty five page business case setting out the financial case for the Libraries Plan as a whole. “However I am keen that further time is given for exploration of the financial options involved if that is what is needed to secure a consensus.”
  • Bristol – Strike to force all Bristol libraries to close for one day – Western Daily Press. “All Bristol’s libraries will be closed on Thursday (April 28) due to strike action called by Unison. Library Assistants have taken the decision to strike over a dispute about new shift patterns due to revised opening hours which have been in place since April 4.” … “Bristol City Council has said the new hours were implemented following a comprehensive consultation with the public, who highlighted the importance of access to their local library and their preferred hours of opening” see also Bristol’s libraries will be closed on Thursday due to strike action – Bristol Post. “The 95 part time library assistants now have to work shorter hours but more days – including every Saturday – which increases their travel costs and wipes out any chance of taking a second job to make up their wages. Unison says the library assistants are paid from £7.25 upwards but the council claims they are paid between £9.18 and £10.23 an hour and are among the highest paid in the region”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Giving an Author Talk – Do You Write Under Your Own Name? / Martin Edwards. ” am a big fan of libraries,and I’m glad that those in Cheshire, like those in Nottinghamshire I visited recently, are coping well despite the severe financial pressures. Much depends on the initiative and enterprise of the staff, and those I’ve met in both counties are doing a great job in adapting to the brave new world in which libraries now exist.”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Free WiFi at East Riding libraries – Pocklington Post. “Customers visiting East Riding libraries, including the ones in Pocklington, Market Weighton and Stamford Bridge, can get online for free. East Riding Council has announced that all its branches now offer WiFi. The authority successfully secured a £61,000 grant from Arts Council England to fund the installation of the WiFi network in its library branches.”
  • North Somerset – Libraries and children’s centres could be located under one roof as part of council cash saving plan – Bristol Post. “Cash strapped North Somerset Council – tasked with shaving an additional £8.5 million off its budget over the next year – is drawing up options to co-locate some of its services. The authority currently either owns or leases 41 buildings across the district to house its libraries and children’s centres. The changes could see children’s centres and libraries come under one roof, with some perhaps being moved into existing leisure centres. The council currently operates 15 children’s centres across the district as well as 13 libraries and one mobile library. The changes would come into force over three years and save the authority an estimated £500,000.”
  • Northern Ireland – Want to learn something new? – Coleraine Times. “Libraries will host a series of free events to help your health, confidence and career and have a positive effect on your family, friends and colleagues. Events will cover a diverse range of subject such as art, crafts, local history, eBooks, eMagazines and IT sessions. Building on the success of 24 years of Adult Learners’ Weeks, the Festival of Learning (www.festivaloflearning.org.uk) is a national celebration of lifelong learning – because learning changes lives. “
  • Oldham – Popular Live@thelibrary returns to Oldham Library with exciting new season – Oldham Libraries (press release). “Discover a world of drama, poetry and storytelling at Oldham Library as the popular Live@theLibrary returns for a new season. Oldham Council Libraries is bringing an exciting and jam-packed three-month programme of live events to the borough – taking audiences on an adventure of laughter, fun and theatrical drama with new work by theatre companies and authors. Live@theLibrary – which takes place from May to July – includes Richard Burton’s nephew, Guy Masterson in Under Milk Wood, best-selling crime writer Peter Wood and comedienne Jackie Hagan.It also features a feast of children’s theatre including Roald Dahl’s The Twits and Walter Lemonface – a show combining live animation with music and storytelling. Hans Christian Andersen’s enchanting stories The Nightingale and The Ugly Duckling will also be performed.” More details here.
  • Powys – Have your say on Powys libraries as £250,000 is looking to be saved – County Times. “People  will be able to have their say on the future of the county’s libraries with £250,000 savings earmarked by April 2019. With Powys County Council (PCC) needing to save £27 million in the next three years, the council is appealing to users, residents, businesses and voluntary groups on how best to deliver services. The current proposal is that the six main libraries – Ystradgynlais, Brecon, Llandrindod, Machynlleth, Newtown and Welshpool – and the two mobile library services for North and South Powys form the cornerstone of the service”
  • Sheffield – They did so much more – Sheffield Star / Letters. “Informal social work, such as providing social interaction for the elderly and vulnerable, educating and entertaining young and old people, promoting literacy and helping people find employment were among the many important tasks to society they carried out. The dramatic fall in visits to the libraries in which they used to work, since the staff left, indicates that library users have voted with their feet”
  • Sheffield – Volunteers put in £1m of time running Sheffield librariesSheffield Telegraph. “Fifteen of the city’s public libraries are now volunteer-run, and about 800 people have given up their time to help keep them open since Sheffield Council stepped back about 18 months ago. The authority said it could no longer run the libraries because it needed to save £1.6m from its library services budget after a 50 per cent cut in government funding.”.  Volunteer says ““We have had some excellent help from the council, and succeeded in a lot of local fundraising, but there are still some areas in which we are looking to them for support, for example long-term leases and continued inclusion in the delivery system that transports books around the city.” … “Teams at the 15 volunteer-run libraries have come up with an range of ideas to try to bring in more visitors. Alongside book, DVD and CD loans and computer access, libraries now offer film clubs, special events and festivals, and games groups. They have also introduced new books either bought with funds raised or donated by library users and supporters.”
  • St Helens – St Helens Libraries launch scheme to support youngsters with mental health issues – St Helens Star. “Part of a national scheme, Reading Well will provide 13 to 18-year-olds with quality information, support and advice on a wide-range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, as well as difficult life pressures such as bullying and exams. “
  • Staffordshire – Campaigners ready to hand in Lichfield Library petition to Staffordshire County Council – Lichfield Live. “Staffordshire County Council has unveiled the proposals to switch the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square, with the current site at The Friary redeveloped as residential accomodation. A Save Lichfield Library petition was set up by Robert Pass, chair of the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party calling on the authority to hold a public consultation. More than 6,300 signatures have ben collected – enough to trigger a fresh debate at the council.”

“Staffordshire is also experiencing branch closure due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ which I have been advised is down to 40+ staff lost, plus other staff leaving as what was offered to them in terms of hours, locations etc. did not suit.” Staffordshire” – Via email

  • Swindon – D-day looming for views over Swindon’s libraries – Swindon Advertiser. “Save Swindon’s Libraries are urging residents to get all submissions on the library service in to Swindon Borough Council by the deadline of April 29. Sarah Church, chairman of the Save Swindon’s Libraries campaign, said: “It is vital that all library users tell the council exactly what they need in a library service. We are encouraging individual users, friends groups, readers’ groups, and any other bodies of residents to submit their views to the council this week.” … “The campaign continues to fight the decision to cut 60 percent of the libraries budget by 2020, although £300,000 has already disappeared from the service this year. “
  • Waltham Forest – Interactive Leytonstone Library event puts the fun back into reading – Guardian Series. “An interactive event featuring talking books and moving shelves hopes to change the idea that no fun can be had in libraries. The Librarian by Inspector Sands event for children over four is heading to both Leytonstone Library, in Church Lane, and Hale End Library, in Castle Avenue, Highams Park.”