I’ve had a week off so there’s a lot of news today with the main personal bit I’d like to share with you being how utterly fantastic the Harry Potter Studio Tour is. Gosh, I remember those books when they first came out and getting them in libraries … anyway, in main library news, Dudley (not Dursley, keep up) becomes a mutual in order to meet cuts to budget. Leicestershire has announced yet another major round of cuts to libraries and Powys has also announced many of its smaller branches are under threat.  Meanwhile, at the DCMS, the minister has (as expected) said there’s no problem in Lincolnshire slashing its library services but – to some shock, not least of all by the council one suspects – it has announced it will look into the cuts in Lambeth made famous by the recent sit-in.  But an investigation is actually nothing much. That’s what it did to Lincolnshire. What matters is if it says that the council has not met its statutory duties.  And that I’ll believe when I see it.



  • Decision letter on local inquiry into library provision in Lincolnshire – DCMS. “Letter from Culture Minister Ed Vaizey to Leader of Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Martin John Hill OBE explaining the Culture Secretary’s decision on a local inquiry into Lincolnshire library provision”.  15 libraries seen as sufficient for the county.
  • Designing libraries & learning centres for good acoustics – Designing Libraries. “The design of good acoustics in libraries, contrary to popular belief, is not to lower noise levels, but rather to enable effective communication in areas where it is required, and reduce disruption in areas where concentration and quiet contemplation are needed. Published guidance on acoustic design for libraries is relatively limited, so this Essential Design Guideline produced by FG Library & Learning will help with the main considerations.”
  • How arts funding is helping The Spark Arts animate libraries – Arts Council England. “The Spark Arts is animating libraries across the East Midlands with drama, performance and storytelling. Through workshops and performances, its tours have entertained more than 880 people at over 19 libraries” … “Alongside the performances, Spark offered families a line-up of reading and storytelling activities to get involved with the citywide Summer Reading Challenge. This helped the library service to show the impact great books and stories can have on young people’s literacy”
  • Libraries Taskforce needs to act, campaigners say – BookSeller. “Veteran library campaigner Desmond Clarke told The Bookseller that he was “very sad” to have not seen much “leadership and action” from the Taskforce. He said: “I honestly struggle to think what the Taskforce has achieved of real significance other than to initiate yet another consultation exercise. There is still no sign of a proper plan to build a user centric service that reverses the marked decline in usage and borrowing and addresses the structural, technological and resource management issues. Meanwhile councils struggle to maintain a service by reducing opening hours, by slashing resources and by persuading volunteers to take over libraries to avoid closures.””
  • Libraries and early experiences of loaning digital devices: sharing good practice – Libraries Taskforce / Darren Smart. “The Libraries Taskforce are exploring how libraries could most effectively loan a variety of digital devices, by bringing together those who are actively loaning, or exploring loaning these devices” … “tablets were the commonest devices being loaned – in fact no-one was lending laptops as there was no demand. A range of different tablets were being used, but the commonest were Ipads as these were perceived as being more intuitive to use. Some authorities were lending Kobo e-readers preloaded with free classics, but the general consensus was tablets could do this equally as well and also offered wider functionality.”
  • Libraries without boundaries – Libraries Taskforce / Leon Bolton. Sieghart Report missed several key points, including definition of what a statutory public library service. “I have argued for greater integration of library authorities, the development of a core set of library principles, the setting up of an independent oversight body, and the creation of regional library services. It is gratifying to see some of this reflected in the Ambition document.  However, I would also go much further than the current Ambition document. For me, the way forward is to move libraries out of local authority control – but without compromising accountability – and providing ring-fenced funding.”
  • Marketing Excellence Awards CILIP. “As a profession, now more than ever, it is vital that we advocate the services that libraries can offer and the real difference that they can make to their communities.,If you or your library team ran a successful campaign last year to market all or part of your service, now is your time to shout about it! Submit your entry to CILIP’s annual Marketing Excellence Awards and be rewarded for your hard work. The Awards are open to any library of any size in any sector across the UK.”
  • New RFID Procurement Guide for Libraries – Changing Libraries. “I am indebted to both the National Acquisitions Group and Book Industry Communication (BIC) for sponsoring me to write a revised version of the widely used (and much copied!) Guide to Library RFID Procurement published in 2011. A great deal has changed in the 5 years since the old guide was published. RFID has found its way into many more aspects of all of our lives, libraries included. The emergence of mobile technologies that can read library RFID tags by using an RFID technology called Near Field Communication (NFC) has opened up even more possibilities for using the technology and new applications are now appearing almost daily – some of them written by enthusiasts and students rather than the big commercial companies. Libraries around the world can now use RFID to help them manage many more processes than simply self-service loans and returns – from building access to stock disposal and everything in-between”
  • Our second six months – Libraries Taskforce. “Completion of the rollout of universal WiFi coverage in public libraries in England, through the collective efforts of Arts Council England and local authorities. 99% of libraries are now providing free WiFi access to their users; Completion of the pilot of new approaches in 16 public library services in England to building digital skills in socially excluded, hard to reach groups, in partnership with the Tinder Foundation. The interim evaluation of this pilot has already been published; the final report is due out in May 2016; Publication of two toolkits: Libraries shaping the future: good practice toolkit (and associated guidance on the legislative framework for public libraries) and the Community libraries: good practice toolkit ; … Worked with partners on a focussed promotion of National Libraries Day (6 February 2016) to achieve a higher media profile than previously”
  • ‘A place of refuge and reinvention’: what my local library means to me – Guardian. “Libraries are facing a crisis, with many at risk of closure because of cuts. We asked people to tell us what their local libraries mean to them” … “, unsurprisingly, when we asked our readers what their library means to them, we received hundreds of responses”.  Many, many, stories showing how important libraries are to people.

“We remain defiant because what else can we do in the face of the senseless plans we are told will go ahead, but in our hearts we are bereft. I’m thankful for what it has given me and my daughter, but heartbroken my little son won’t know the same benefits we have enjoyed, and for all those who will grieve for it while it’s gone. “

  • Public Libraries – House of Commons Library. Research briefing now includes CIPFA and BBC research statistics at the end.
  • Pullman urges publishers to examine their role – BookSeller. ” “Together with the killing of our libraries, which were so important for these writers, and the discounting of books, there has been a catastrophic fall in authors’ income and that is not healthy for society,” “
  • Releasing and re-using library data – Libraries Taskforce / Aude Charillon. “I developed at Newcastle Libraries the Commons are Forever project, which aims to empower members of the public about their rights to use creative works that are free of copyright (e.g. in the public domain or under an open licence) and to, in turn, share what they create with others. This project was funded by the Carnegie UK Trust as part of the first round of the Library Lab programme. Since April 2015, we have worked with local artists to offer workshops where participants had fun remixing images, sounds or films that are available freely and legally. But in 2016, we decided we wanted to explore another way of sharing and re-using information and culture. We thought: “it’s all very well using creative works made by others, but what about the content the library service holds and the information we, as an organisation, collect?””
  • Saving libraries from cuts is crucial, say UK readers in survey – Guardian. “Nine in ten people feel it is “crucial” that their local library is protected from cuts, according to a survey of almost 30,000 participants by Money Saving Expert. The website received 29,856 votes after asking its users to choose the sentiment which most closely matched their perspective on libraries, from “I never visit the library and don’t think it’s the best use of public money” and “There’s no library anywhere near me but I’m not bothered by that” to “I often visit the library, it’s crucial that it’s protected” and “I never visit the library but think it’s crucial it’s protected for others”.”
  • Wellcome update – Libraries Taskforce / Andy Wright. Created workshop that showed “the potential to develop a model to enable public libraries to connect with health practitioners / academics / science and the arts holistically on the subject of health, using the unique strengths of a public library – its physical location, knowledge transfer potential, the diversity of people using libraries and its role as a community hub – in a creative and imaginative way.” … ” I’m confident that my secondment will deliver real tangible opportunities for public libraries and consolidate the sector’s relationship with the Wellcome Trust.”
  • “When they burnt our library to ground, they destroyed the heart of the city…” – CILIP. “What do we lose when we lose a library? This was the subject matter for the conference held at KU Leuven in September 2015.” … “conducted with Librarians and survivors of the Croatian war (1991-1995), the number of people visiting the library was at its highest during the worst part of the war. The ability to provide hope and knowledge in times of darkness is a library’s greatest asset. “
  • World Book Night – Libraries Taskforce / Rose Goddard. “World Book Night is just around the corner, and we’re gearing up to celebrate reading, books and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in libraries across the country on Saturday 23 April. Libraries have a vital and central role to play in World Book Night, acting as collection points for volunteers picking up their books, hosts of exciting author-led events, and even as book givers themselves. This huge, nationwide event simply wouldn’t be possible without their support and reach”


  • Afghanistan – To Feed Hungry Minds, Afghans Seed a Ravaged Land With Books – New York Times. “At first glance, it is not much of a library: two shelves of about 1,600 books and magazines in a basement room deep into a dusty alley of adobe homes in rural Panjwai District, in southern Afghanistan. The mattresses and blankets stacked in the corner still give the vibe of the guest quarters the room once was. But the register shows how parts of the community here, particularly younger residents, have come to value any chance to indulge their curiosity, in a place that was at the heart of the original Taliban uprising in the 1990s and became a watchword for the tragedy and deprivation brought by war” … “the interest of a couple of female readers, who approached women in the Haidary family about their interest in the books, has caused a small dilemma in a society that frowns upon even sharing the names of women in public: How can the library keep track of who took the books out if it cannot write the women’s names?”
  • Germany – Visualising library enquiries – a graphic arts project – Designing Libraries. “The visualisation, which is projected onto a large pane of glass, reveals the most active topic areas. Beside the overall view, little stories are told by highlighting individual items and their titles shortly after they have been accessed via the catalogue. The aim was to create a visualisation of knowledge access the visitors, especially students, can identify with. During the students’ examination time, for example, the most active subjects such as mathematics or psychology will be featured prominently as the virtual camera keeps track of them.”
  • Italy/Global – Apply for the 2016 AIB/IFLA Short Film Contest – A Corto Di Libri. Competition for films in libraries. “An international jury – headed by the critic Fabio Melelli – will select the best film for each section and for the category “Metropolitan Libraries”; one of the winners of the three sections will be awarded the grand prize. The winners of the three sections will receive a plate, books, a subscription to MediaLibraryOnLine Plus, two free entrance tickets to the International Book Fair in Turin (Italy) and the partial refund of the travel expenses to the award ceremony in Turin…”
  • USA – Four Podcasts that Will Make You a Better Library Marketer – Library Content Marketing.
  • USA – The Future of Libraries Is Bigger Than Books – Yes. ““In many communities, libraries are the great equalizers—places where everyone is welcome to gather, work, borrow materials, or just spend time. Whether it’s bridging the digital divide, providing a quiet work space, incubating entrepreneurial projects, or offering a way for people to check their email, libraries are designed to serve everyone and are essential in underserved communities.”
  • USA – In Solidarity: Standing with UK Libraries – Library Journal. “When asked what international peers can do to help, Poole called for “support in fighting back. You can do that by signing the My Library by Right petition and using the comments to share a message of solidarity and support with public librarians in the UK. Later we will need your support in rebuilding our public library network and ensuring that it is resilient and well led enough to weather the inevitable future storms.” May we see that day. The best library is open, well supported, well managed, and one that people use and love. The most tragic library is neglected, rarely open, poorly managed, and not used or cared about. Driving down the required investment in the former creates the self-fulfilling prophecy delivered by the latter. I stand with UK libraries as they struggle to stabilize and rebuild.”
  • USA – Michigan couple faces jail time after failing to return Dr. Seuss library book – Daily News. Dr Seuss “A Hatful of Seuss” returned late means possible 93 days in jail or $500 fine. Tecumseh Library defends its decision to turn its late borrowers into imprisoned criminals by stating it loses $10,000 per year due to unreturned books.

Local news by authority

  • Barking and Dagenham – Feature: What has become of Barking and Dagenham’s libraries? – Barking and Dagenham Post. “after years of public spending cuts, more than half are no more. Wantz Library, in Rainham Road North, and Markyate Library, in Markyate Road, both closed in 2012 – the former is now used by Eastbrook Community Centre, the latter a nursery. Similar fates befell five others leaving only four libraries – Dagenham, Valence, Thames View and the Barking Learning Centre – still open and run by the local authority. There were 96,581 registered borrowers last year with 334,635 library books loaned out in 2015.”
  • Brent – Success of the New Library at Willesden Green – James Powney’s Blog. Figures show usage has more than doubled.

“After a 12-year reprieve, Skidrow-on-Sea council is again trying to close Hove’s grade 2-listed Carnegie Library. In 2004 Brighton council library chiefs insisted it must shut forthwith as the lovely purpose-built Victorian building could not possibly have a disabled lavatory and two lifts fitted.  Campaigners showed this was indeed possible and fought to keep the library open (Eye 1127). This time around, the library bosses claim the building needs an estimated £735,000 of work over the next five years.  However, a major chunk of that is to replace completely the out-of-sight concrete tile roof with expensive slate, when more modest repairs to the gulleys would keep out leaks.  Even the Brighton Society, dedicated to preserving historically interesting buildings, says a non-essential slate roof, while laudable, “significantly inflates” the true cost of maintenance. In 2004 the plan was to bung the library in the town hall.  This time it is to be squashed into the museum in a far smaller space than it occupies now.  The sale of the big, much-loved Carnegie building might pay for a modest extension to the museum, but there would be fewer books. The public consultation sought to divide residents by asserting that either the Carnegie goes or small branch libraries do.  Meanwhile Brighton’s PFI Jubilee Library continues to cost £2.4m a year. PS: Library users at the Carnegie Library in Lambeth are keeping up a protest occupation:  the library was due to shut at the end of March, pending plans to turn it into a fitness centre (Eyes passim).” Brighton and Hove – Library News – Private Eye.

  • Brighton and Hove – CCTV to be installed to allow bookworms access out of hours – Argus. “A historic library will be fitted with seven CCTV cameras as a scheme allowing bookworms to browse unsupervised is rolled out. Rottingdean library is being fitted with £23,000 of new surveillance equipment as Brighton and Hove City Council’s Libraries Extra scheme is extended to more community libraries. The scheme allowing adult library users to use facilities after closing time and without librarians was launched in September in Woodingdean and Portslade libraries. Now after an increase in library users and the overcoming of the odd glitch, the council is preparing to roll out the scheme to more community libraries around the city creating a seven day a week service and doubling opening hours to more than 700 hours per week.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Cheshire West and Chester Libraries to celebrate World Book Night – Chester Chronicle. Library staff giving books out in town centres, leisure centres and at a library theatre production.
  • Croydon – Have your say ….the Croydon libraries survey – Save Croydon Libraries Campaign. “The ruling Labour administration claim to be ambitious for libraries yet it is unclear how they could be any more unambitious for libraries or in seeking the views of residents.” … “Those wanting a paper copy have to request one, in person, at a library. Their process advised was that the details would be taken and passed to the council officer who would then post a single copy out.  In some cases at least, the request had to go via the library manager before being passed on. Some residents have received a copy via this route.  Others have not” … “There are no public meetings planned, only focus groups, the location and time of which are secret. There is a public meeting called to discuss the issue, but this is a meeting called by the residents for the residents”
  • Dorset – Dorset’s schools library service set to close this summer – Western Gazette. “At a council meeting yesterday it was agreed that as a result of declining numbers of schools subscribing to the service, along with operational pressures, the service will close at the end of the summer term this year. The seven staff who will be directly affected by the closure have been informed of the decision”
  • Dudley – Dudley libraries to be run by volunteers – Express and Star. “These services will now be run as a not-for-profit ‘mutual’ as part of the authority’s drive to save cash in the wake of Government cuts. All libraries, library links and the archive service will remain open, with the new combined service less reliant on council funding, which means a council saving of 11 per cent in 2016-17 rising to 30 per cent by 2017-18.”
  • East Sussex – Water leak affects electrics at Eastbourne library – Eastbourne Herald. “Library customers are being advised to use alternative facilities after a leak from a drainage pipe closed the library on Friday (April 8). Efforts are being made to reopen the library as soon as possible, but the East Sussex County Council facility will remain closed until next week.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries offer help for young people – Portsmouth News. “Reading Well provides 13 to 18-year-olds with information, support and advice on a wide range of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and self-harm, and difficult life pressures such as bullying and exams”
  • Kirklees – Kirklees Council has broken its promise over Holmfirth library, campaign group claims – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “One of the few Kirklees libraries promised “full council support” will need volunteers to keep it going, it is claimed. Kirklees Council restructured its libraries last year, splitting them into ‘Town Libraries’ and ‘Community Supported Libraries’.” … “Clr Turner told the Examiner volunteers would only be needed to “enhance” the service. But Mr Rudman said he was “mystified” how the council could deny volunteers were crucial and said he was concerned that people thought the eight Town libraries were completely spared from cuts.”
  • Lambeth – Carnegie Lesson – BookSeller / Stella Duffy.  “Last Saturday morning I went for a walk with my neighbours – all 2,000 of them. For the 10 preceding days, members of the community had occupied the Carnegie Library in South London. These people are locals, ranging in age from small children to the retired, from all walks of life, and passionate about one thing – that, in a time of austerity, with central government cuts to local government budgets, the last thing it is appropriate to do is to close libraries” … “What the Carnegie Occupation proves is that not only is there huge support for libraries from the grassroots up, but that we also do not have to do as the council says. They are, after all, our elected representatives.”
  • Lambeth – Government intervention in Lambeth libraries confirmed – BookSeller. “The government is to investigate Lambeth council’s plans to turn some of its libraries into “healthy living centres” run by social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Limited. The news comes after protestors yesterday (11th April) ended their 10-day occupation of Carnegie Library.”
  • Lambeth – Government to investigate Lambeth’s library plans – Guardian. “The government is to investigate a council’s plans to turn some of its libraries into gyms with unstaffed book-lending sections, following a protest against the scheme – which won support from authors including Nick Hornby and Ali Smith. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it was treating objections to the Lambeth council plans as official complaints, the first stage in an investigation process that will determine if the south London authority has potentially breached the law.” see also Government seeks answers over Carnegie Library closure – BBC.
  • Lambeth – Government Minister considers formal inquiry into Lambeth Council’s book-ish gyms plans – Brixton Buzz. Letter says “The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has recently received a number of representations concerning the revisions to Lambeth’s library service provision. After consideration of the various issues raised, I can confirm that these are being treated as formal complaints in accordance with Section 10 (1) (a) of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. Under the 1964 Act the Secretary of State may intervene if he is of the opinion that a local authority is failing to carry out its duty under the Act to deliver a “comprehensive and efficient” library service for library users by making a remedial order following a local inquiry.””
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council back tracks over press release that attempted to politicise the Carnegie protestors – Brixton Buzz. ” The Council has scrubbed out a quote in a press release from Cllr Jane Edbrooke [right] about the ongoing Carnegie library occupation. It appeared that the Progress Cllr was using the apolitical Communications Team to politicise her stance against the occupation. This is forbidden under government regulation as part of purdah [pdf], the period leading up to any election campaign. Council Communication Teams are prohibited from helping politicians to put across their blatant political message in the run to an election.”
  • Lambeth – Rebel libraries councillor speaks out – Brixton Blog. “while she said the Conservative government was “the real villain” of the piece, treating her constituents “like dirt”, her statement added several more areas where she believes the council has lost sight of what its communities want and need.”
  • Lambeth – Rosamund Urwin: Lambeth sees libraries as relics and a luxury – Evening Standard. “Is Lambeth council actively trying to alienate its electorate? First it angered the residents of Cressingham Gardens with plans to demolish up to 300 homes on the well-functioning estate. Then it failed to intervene as Network Rail booted out businesses in Brixton’s railway arches. And now — in the most baffling move yet — it has needlessly battered library provision in the borough.” … “Perhaps you’re wondering if austerity is the real cause here. And yes, Lambeth is having to make savage cuts. But there was an alternative, cheaper proposal to keep all 10 Lambeth libraries open and fully staffed. Head of library services Susanna Barnes believed it could be done as a community trust, as has happened in York. Lambeth seems barely to have entertained her idea. “
  • Lambeth – Waterloo Library will leave Lower Marsh ‘some time in June’ – London SE1. “Originally slated to close at the beginning of this month, the existing Waterloo Library on Lower Marsh will stay open for at least another six weeks. However, there is still no clarity over the future staffing arrangements for the new library. The council has previously indicated that there would be no permanent library staff presence at the Oasis Centre. In one of her last actions before handing over responsibility for Lambeth’s libraries, Cllr Jane Edbrooke last week issued an update to local residents. “Thanks to everyone for their patience in waiting for information on the move of the Waterloo Library from Lower Marsh to its temporary new home at the Oasis Centre, 1 Kennington Road,” wrote Cllr Edbrooke. “The building work on the Oasis Centre will be completed by the end of May. It will then take a week or so to prepare and stock the new library. We therefore look forward to an opening date some time in June.”
  • Lancashire – Brought to book over cuts threat – Lytham St Anne’s Express. “A ‘read-in’ held at Freckleton on Saturday attracted a large number of library users and a Friends of Freckleton Library organisation has been set up to co-ordinate the campaign. Chairman Brian Willis said: “We feel we have a strong case and hope we can keep the library open. It is so important to so many organisations and individuals in the village and with good parking, it is very accessible to those from neighbouring villages, too.”
  • Lancashire – Fylde MP Mark Menzies in Freckleton Library support – Mark Menzies. “Mark Menzies attended a ‘read-in’ at Freckleton Library to show his backing for the facility. The library is currently under threat after Lancashire County Council revealed plans to severely curtail services as part of its annual budget. While county councillors are yet to reveal where the cuts will fall, Mr Menzies said it was vital communities came together to show their support for their local facilities.”
  • Lancashire – Library closures to go ahead despite big visitor numbers – Pendle Today. “Lancashire County Council will have no choice other than to go ahead with library closures despite figures showing Pendle’s libraries were visited 594,646 times in 2015. Statistics show Colne Library was visited 254,746 times last year while people went through the doors of the Nelson Library on a total of 187,435 occasions”. Cutting councillore says “Although there were 594,000 visits last year to libraries, that clearly isn’t 594,000 different people visiting, there may be one person visiting 100 times.”
  • Leicestershire – Deals could be struck to save three more closure-threatened Leicestershire libraries – Leicester Mercury. “County Hall says it is confident deals can be struck to allow volunteers to take over three closure-threatened libraries. The Conservative-run council is seeking to save nearly £600,000 a year by off-loading 36 of its smaller libraries to community groups.” … “”So far, 16 libraries have transferred to community groups, who have already made a series of improvements like longer opening hours and a wide range of sessions. It proves that local residents have the best ideas to run their libraries and I would like to see all 36 run by communities.”
  • Leicestershire – Leicestershire faces more cuts to library and heritage services – Hinckley Times. “Toddler reading sessions, IT training and the Green Plaque scheme are all under threat as part of continued cost-cutting plans by cash-strapped Leicestershire County Council. Despite a raft of money-saving measures, including off-loading most of its rural libraries onto community groups and shutting Snibston Discovery Park, the authority still needs to slash its budget. For the communities and wellbeing service this means radically reducing spending on libraries, heritage and learning once again. A consultation is taking place until Monday May 2 and people are being urged to have their say on what matters to them most.”
  • Lewisham – Balloting for strike – Concern over changes to library services – South London Press. “Lewisham council is going ahead with its plan to replace paid jobs in libraries with volunteer positions and hand operation of Torridon Road, Manor House and Forest Hill sites to a third party. The council’s decision to press ahead was taken despite public opposition to the changes at consultation meetings and protests by library staff and users including pensioners and families with young children. The strike ballot, could lead to industrial action in May”
  • Lincolnshire – Application made to turn former library into shops – Boston Standard. “Boston Borough Council has received the application from South Lincs Property Ltd which asks for a ‘change of use from library (Class D1) to shops (Class A1)’.
Kirton’s library, on Station Road, was one of those closed by Lincolnshire County Council when it decided to reduce funding due to ‘cuts’.
It has since transferred control of 15 major libraries to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), a not-for-profit organisation.
The library in Kirton has been taken on by volunteers following an appeal by the parish council. It has relocated to the New Life Community Church, at The Junction, on Wash Road.”
  • Lincolnshire – ‘Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.’ – Secret Librarian. “So the not for profit organisation is now in charge of the County Council’s library operation, which is much trumpeted in their quarterly propaganda rag, with claims that as much as £500 000 can be saved in costs on top of the £1.9m already saved by delivering the service more effectively (for that read redundancies and cut hours).” … “So far there has been barely any communication from the social enterprise company to its new staff. Maybe that is because they realise that they have had much to contend with recently and are trying to take a gentle approach. However it does seem bizarre that staff do not have much of an idea so far of what their new employer’s policies and rules are across the board and are in a kind of limbo at present.” see New Lease of Life – “County News”, Lincolnshire County Council (pages 16/17).
  • Lincolnshire – Secretary of State declines to launch an Inquiry into Lincolnshire’s Library service – Save Lincolnshire Libraries. ““I am very disappointed with the response received, but not at all surprised. Despite my sending a great deal of evidence, Mr Ed Vaizey, M.P. has indicated that there will be no Inquiry.  This is despite the fact that he has used no standards to measure what a Comprehensive and Efficient Service would look like. The letter fails to address how the Secretary of State concluded that there will be a comprehensive and efficient service after reducing the core libraries to just 15.” … “My personal response to the Secretary of State’s decision not to intervene is that it must be a political one. He is saying that he will not intervene, yet the only 2 enquiries that have been undertaken at all have been to Labour controlled councils. One was the Wirral some years ago when Jeremy Hunt was the SOS (the details of which I compared with Lincolnshire in my own representation and it showed that Lincolnshire was making far worse cuts) the local authority was subsequently required to make changes. The second has only just been declared and is the Carnegie library in Lambeth.”
  • Liverpool – A Love Letter To Central Library – Independent Liverpool. “BBC Culture just announced Liverpool’s Central Library to be one of the ten most beautiful libraries in the world. We think we speak on behalf of all bookworms when we whole-heartedly agree. In an ode to the recent prestigious title, we’ve decided to write a love letter to Central Library and libraries everywhere. Eleven libraries were due to close last year but were thankfully saved. Our mirage of a cultural desert did not come to fruition but it shouldn’t take the immediate closure of somewhere for us to appreciate them. So, whilst we try to articulate the sheer beauty of the building in a couple hundred words, we deep down realise that words are not enough. And that is kind of bittersweet as it has to be seen to be appreciated, making your visit all the more significant.”
  • Newport – Angry about cuts to Newport Libraries – Public LIbraries News, “Catherine Finch recently contacted me about cuts to the library service in my home town of Newport in South Wales.  I remember using the Central Library there as a child. There was little to recommend the town apart from the library at the time.  I include this article here to stand for the many hundreds, thousands, or angry and disappointed library users who are looking on while their services are being destroyed. April, 2016.”
  • North Yorkshire – Major achievement for library saved by volunteers – York Press. “Town library saved by volunteers has been so successful it now plans to expand. Volunteers have been running the Barlby Library and Community Hub in Howden Road, for about four years, following national and local funding cuts. Last month, Barlby and Osgodby Town Council bought the building from North Yorkshire County Council for a nominal sum of £1, and now plans to bring even more activities to the centre.”
  • North Yorkshire – Volunteers save Scalby Library from closure – Scarborough News. Scalby Library has been saved from closure thanks to a new group of volunteers supported by the parish council. The library had been earmarked for potential closure in February 2017 unless a community group came forward to run it.”
  • Powys – Some libraries could close, council warns – Brecon and Radnor Press. “The council’s library service must find a quarter of a million pounds by April 2019 towards the authority’s overall £27m savings target. 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.”
  • Renfrewshire – Book in to avoid late library fines – Daily Record. “really tasty project launched yesterday means readers with overdue books can dodge fines by making a foodbank donation at their local library. The “fines-for-food initiative”, which runs until May 7, has been kicked off by Renfrewshire Libraries as part of World Book Night celebrations. It is believed to be the only library service in Scotland offering the food-for-fines swap.”
  • Sheffield – Community libraries in Sheffield – Libraries Taskforce. “Of the 16 libraries vulnerable to closure, 15 are now being run by community organisations: 5 are co-delivered and 10 are associate libraries and one is currently in transition to become an associate library. Although these libraries complement the service to the city, they do not form part of SCCs duty under the 1964 Act.”

“We have concerns with the misleading account of events published on the Shropshire Council website and in subsequent media material regarding the Church Stretton Library Support Group’s (CSLSG) campaign to keep the library in its current location.  This is unhelpful and does the council little credit. On the day of the hearing, it was Shropshire Council that made an offer to concede, which we had then to consider, not Mr Williams or CSLSG. We were informed that the council made this offer after taking a pragmatic view to not incur significant legal costs and to avoid any risk that the case may go to appeal causing further delay. At no stage did we suggest that the proceedings should be compromised on the basis that Mr Williams would not seek his legal costs, the council’s unwavering position was that it would only agree to quash the decision and re-consult if there was no order as to costs. Until the day of the hearing, Shropshire Council had not invited Mr. Williams or CSLSG to submit an expression of interest to run the Library using the Localism Act 2011. We do not understand why the council has appeared to mislead the public as to the reasons for its decision to concede Mr Williams’ claim but we, nevertheless, remain keen to reach a positive resolution that keeps the library where it is.” Shropshire – Michael Imperato acting on behalf of Church Stretton Library Support Group.

  • Shropshire – Letter: Close down library and we will lose that facility forever – Shropshire Star. “Unless another organisation, be it Ludlow Town Council, a private concern or a community group agree by September to take over the running of Ludlow Library, it is liable to complete closure from April 2017. Shropshire Council is being typically close-lipped on the details, to the extent of forbidding its employees from discussing it or disclosing any details to the public. Another example of the cult of secrecy so loved by the council.”
  • Somerset – Librarian Theatre to visit Yeovil Library on Apil 25 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – This is the West Country. “The Librarian Theatre will be performing ‘The Book’s the Thing’ – a retelling of Hamlet by William Shakespeare…but as it’s never been seen before, on Monday April 25 at 7.30pm”. Tickets £7/£4.50.
  • Staffordshire – Campaigners say petition shows strength of opposition to Lichfield Library plans – Lichfield Live. “Campaigners say a 5,000 signature petition shows the strength of local anger over plans to relocate Lichfield Library. Staffordshire County Council has put forward proposals to move the facility to St Mary’s in the Market Square, allowing its current home at The Friary to be converted into residential accommodation.” … ““Many, many people in this city are angry that decisions regarding the future of a vital public service and a much-loved Lichfield landmark have been taken behind closed doors without any regard for their views. They’re angry that the relocation of the library and the sale of The Friary have been presented as a done deal.”
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries introduces scheme to help young people with mental health issues – Bury Free Press. “It is part of the successful Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme which is already available through the library service and has been developed with the help of a panel of young people who have had experience of mental health issues.”
  • Sunderland – Libraries sell-off could raise £500,000 for Sunderland council – Sunderland Echo. “Change of use for former libraries will net the six-figure sum as part of a council ‘property rationalisation programme’, which has seen the authority sell off or lease assets to help with financial restraints. Of the nine sites, three are currently being leased for community and charity projects, while four have been sold off for housing or commercial developments.” … “Hendon Library, in Toward Road, is under community rent and is being used by charity Back on the Map, which provides various courses, a community library and hub for residents.”
  • Swindon – Anger as councillors discuss library petition – Swindon Advertiser. “Dozens of people gathered on the council chamber steps to protest against proposed changes to the library service ahead of a lively meeting on Thursday night. Swindon Borough Council has said to balance the books, the fund will need to be reduced by almost 60 per cent in the coming years, meaning many will need to be run by volunteers. Since the announcement was made, thousands of people have signed several petitions against the move, arguing libraries are too important not to fund.”
  • Swindon – Council left in no doubt about public opinion after passionate meeting of library campaigners – Swindon Advertiser. “THE first public meeting of the Save Swindon’s Libraries campaign was held yesterday, with the council left in no doubt that residents are determined to fight them all the way. The Community Centre at Christ Church in Old Town was at standing room only, with organisers putting the attendance at 124 people. Best-selling guest authors Alan Gibbons and Jake Arnott spoke in support of Swindon libraries before the meeting was opened up for questions and answers. The campaign was formally launched six weeks ago after it became clear that Swindon Borough Council planned to make savings from the libraries budget of up to 65 per cent by 2020.”
  • West Berkshire – Thatcham residents’ views to be sought on future of town library – Newbury Today. “the council said that no library would close until a detailed needs assessment had been carried out. Thatcham councillors discussed their next moves at an extraordinary meeting, where they heard that around 54,000 people used the library last year and that it employs five part-time staff. Town council leader Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said he didn’t want to see any library close, but added they were expensive. Nevertheless, he said the town council would see if it could do anything to keep Thatcham Library open and to enhance the service.”
  • Wiltshire – A question of age at the library – Gazette and Herald. “Ten weeks after repeatedly calling on Wiltshire Council to publish their proposals for Calne library, which include adding unstaffed hours, they finally did so on Friday, April 1 (possibly an appropriate date). They will not be consulting on these plans – indeed work is due to start on the library on April 18. It may be of interest to your readers to note this insight into the council’s thinking. In the leaflet they have just published they write, under Frequently Asked Questions: ‘How will you stop this [library] being used as a meeting place for young people after hours?’ What is the problem with young people – ie under 16s? Are they not to be welcome in the library? Are public libraries not as much for children as adults? What kind of library is being created if children are not wanted at certain times?”