Axiell have jumped on the remote-controlled libraries technology offer (for the pros and cons of which see here) meaning that the majority of library system suppliers in the UK offer something in this field.  For councils, this is quite tempting – increase your hours while cutting costs – but there’s down sides to it as well, as those locked out due to IT problems or those under 16 are discovering. In other news, by coincidence, the same company Axiell has sent me a guest blog which includes somethings I’ve not come across before (“Internet of Relations” anyone?).


Top digital trends for libraries to follow in 2016; Influencers that make community engagement better 

A guest post by Boris Zetterlund, Senior Advisor, Axiell.

The world is constantly changing and adapting to new technologies. Understanding these digital trends and identifying tomorrow’s expectations is essential for libraries to plan and incorporate new solutions that evolve both the way they work and how they engage with communities. We are in contact with hundreds of cultural institutions on a daily basis and, to summarise where the cultural sector is heading, our team of library experts has put together the important trends to take note of in 2016…

* Obsession with the present drives people to capture every moment with selfies, videos and blogs – activities that were not possible in the past, only because we did not have the supporting technology. If libraries took a ‘Pinterest’ approach to sharing materials, like those around community events, they would be able to promote content within the community, better engage with the public and build on existing content.

* Blast from the past is becoming a common trend, with people taking a new appreciation to what was popular in days gone by, like vinyls and second hand artefacts. Now more than ever, people have developed an interest in local heritage and history – both trends may be a search for quality and meaning in life through the local and tangible. Libraries have the opportunity to help people share their own and their ancestors’ stories, supported with relevant material, and also digitise previously paper-based content for access online.

* The third place is where you spend time outside of home and work. Libraries can evolve to become a hub for community life, providing physical spaces where people can meet, socialise and learn. However, virtual third places are becoming popular, providing an opportunity for libraries to allow communities to experience and learn on a neutral and accessible platform.

* Big Data is an important trend in the library sector due to the increasingly large data sets that libraries hold. By analysing this data, libraries can gain a rich understanding of its patrons and identify patterns and trends to inform future strategies. Is your library using big data to better your community’s experience?

* Internet of Relations is a similar concept to the Internet of Things, only this sees people connected to each other through sharing content or common interests. The Internet of Relations will cut through the noise on the internet and social channels, ensuring people find the content and opinions they desire from someone within their community, giving it far more influence. Libraries are ideally placed to tap into this trend, connecting people and content in either a physical space (the library itself) or digital space (online book clubs).

* Ex Machina, or the replacement of man by AI and robots, is only one of the big issues that many of us worry about or don’t have faith in. This trend, be it on a personal relations or societal level, requires a forum to be effective. Libraries can step in to enrich this trend, offering more besides the immediacy culture and common shallowness of social media. It is possible to reach out to the community over time by using online solutions to share content like presentations and activities held at the library, with external web resources for anyone to access and by moderating adjacent online discussions groups.

* The AI Advisor is already here – it’s what cookies in your computer help to achieve. But the library will be able to offer alternatives to these “filer bubbles” by setting up autonomous browsing abilities and other search and find paths, broadening the scope at will, offering the joy of serendipity. The result is options for the consumer that are highly individually-biased, but not mechanical, to enrich their experience.

Libraries are no longer confined by space and location and digitisation has played an important part in this evolution, with trends already evident across the sector. However, others are waiting in the wings and,as necessity is the mother of invention, we won’t be surprised to see these trends influence and shape technology and digital solutions in the future.”

National news

  • Axiell Aperio Axiell. Aperio is a platform for libraries, it helps you extend opening hours, automate, monitor and control the entire library, and grow the library service in an efficient way – generating value for your library and patrons. The Axiell Aperio platform enables you to integrate a range of systems and devices for a fully automated library experience for your patrons; one that lets them access the library outside of normal hours.
  • – Axiell. ”  We know that not everyone can be a librarian, but with Spark, anyone can help manage the library.”
  • Reading schoolboy wins a trip to Downing Street with a film about library cuts – Get Reading. “A‎ film about the topical issue of library closures has won a schoolboy a trip to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister. Ronan Cundy and his dad Sean enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the capital on the London Eye on Tuesday April 20, before they are ushered through the famous black door at 2pm. Ronan entered a video competition run by children’s newspaper First News. He was one of 10 children, all aged 10, chosen to go to Number 10 to celebrate the 10th birthday of the newspaper. Ronan, who lives with dad Sean, mum Debbie and brothers Olly, aged seven, and four-year-old Alfie in Waverley Road, Reading, is a regular at Battle Library, Oxford Road.” … “Mr Cundy said: “We are maxed out on our library cards and luckily our library is staying open although the hours are reducing.””
  • UK Doctors to Start Prescribing Books to Teens with Mental Health Issues – Reading Room. ” new initiative in England is attempting to get supportive books into the hands of teens suffering from mental health issues. But this is not run through a library; the initative works by having doctors prescribe these books to their younger patients.”
  • UKeiG Early Career Award Winners – CILIP. “This year’s four worthy winners who will receive their cheque and trophy during the CILIP Conference in Brighton (12-13 July) are Amy Finnegan, Catherine McManamon, Helen Monagle and Siobhan Cottam – the founders of the very successful New Library Professionals Network (NLPN). As a direct result of attending the 2012 CILIP New Professionals’ Day NLPN was founded: a network that aimed to ensure that new professionals in the North of England could attend, for free, events that explored emerging trends and skills in the library and information sector.”

International news

  • Global – EIFL Public Library Innovation Award – EIFL. “The award is open to all public and community libraries in developing and transition countries that use information and communication technology (ICT) to improve the lives of people in their communities by addressing any of the following issues…”
  • Kenya – Kenya public libraries to host 46 new e-resource centres – EIFL. “Kenya National Library Service (knls) has received support from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to establish 46 new e-resource centres in public libraries that serve rural and peri-urban communities across the country. The e-Resources Centres Project will provide communities living in under-resourced rural areas and low-income families in urban areas of Kenya with much-needed computer and internet access.”
  • USA – Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn’t to Blame – Atlantic. “On the one hand, Americans still adore their libraries. According to a new Pew Research study, 76 percent of Americans say that libraries well serve the needs of their community. And since 78 percent of Americans say they’ve been to a local public library ever, it seems that nearly everyone who’s been to a local library at least once in their lives approves of them. Yet on the other hand, fewer and fewer Americans are using the institutions every year. In the 12 months before the most recent Pew survey was given, only 44 percent of Americans visited a local library or bookmobile. Three years earlier 53 percent of Americans had visited a library or bookmobile”
  • USA – Why I still love the words Library and Librarian – Renovated Learning. “While I will sometimes interchange the terms library and media center, more and more I find myself focusing on the term library.  This may be in part from my public library background (I’ve never seen a movement to change the term there).  I think that there is a great deal of power in the words library and libnrarian that we have started to neglect.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – On Charlotte Bronte’s 200th birthday council to close library at her birthplace – Express. “The plan by Bradford Council to close down the library in Thornton, where Charlotte, Emily and Anne were born and lived for their early part of their lives, has been branded “shameful”. The Brontes are more famously associated with nearby Haworth, to where their father Patrick moved the family in 1820. But all of the Bronte children, including wayward brother Branwell, were born at a small house on Market Street, Thornton, where Patrick was curate of the local chapel. On Thursday morning Bradford Council tweeted: “Happy 200th birthday Charlotte Brontë, born in Thornton on 21 April 1816!””

“Richard Wilcocks, a former chairman of the Bronte Society, said: “The young Brontës were privileged to have access to a great range of books when they were growing up, thanks to their father Patrick, and it is because of their reading as well as their genius that we have classics such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. “It is shameful that public libraries are under serious threat in many places because they should be crucial centres for everybody to use, well-supplied with books and computers.”

  • Hampshire – Future of 20 libraries in Hampshire up in the air as £1.7m of cuts agreed – Southern Daily Echo. “chiefs have approved £1.7m cuts to Hampshire libraries including the end of the mobile library service. But small libraries could be saved from closure if new technology and other efficiencies are successful, Hampshire County Council told campaigners. Cllr Andrew Gibson, executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: “I don’t think you’ll see me next year closing libraries.” He approved a 14 per cent reduction yesterday which will see mobile libraries shut in June, saving £360,000 per year, but deferred a decision on whether to cut the book fund by 25 per cent.”
  • Hampshire – Pensioner hits out at decision to end mobile library services across Hampshire – Portsmouth News. “Mrs Bradley said: ‘It’s awful. ‘We haven’t really got a lot happening here, apart from the pub. It was just a God-send. ‘I don’t drive. I have good friends who take me out and I use taxis, but you don’t get a taxi to go to the library.”
  • Kensington and Chelsea – Council denies asset-stripping as community vows ‘to fight for future of North Kensington Library’ – Get West London. “It plans to lease the current building to Notting Hill Prep School library in nearby Lancaster Road ” … “Kensington and Chelsea Council has vociferously denied claims it is closing North Kensington Library and stripping the community of its assets. They were made during a protest outside the library in Ladbroke Grove after it emerged that the Grade II listed building is to be leased to a nearby prep school. But the Royal borough said the library was not closing, but moving to a new building just a stone’s throw away from the current site to Lancaster Road.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council Leader continues to mislead residents with confusing information about public libraries – Brixton Buzz. Lambeth council leader claims “Of our ten libraries, two of them, Carnegie and Minet, have closed temporarily but they will reopen next year with books, study space and computers.”” … but article says “The Carnegie and Minet will not re-open as libraries. Under the plans of the Nu Labour group, both will re-open as book-ish gyms.” Plus Peck has ignored the fact that her Labour Council is also planning to shut the Tate South at Vauxhall, and the Durning library in Kennington.”
  • Monmouthshire – Take part in World Book Night at Abergavenny Library – Abergavenny Today, “The celebration event tonight (Thursday April 21, 7pm) will have as guest speaker local author and historian Mr Frank Olding. Tickets are £3 to include a glass of wine – or two.”
  • North Somerset – Libraries launch new scheme to help young people – Cheddar Valley Gazette. “At a time when one in ten young people have a diagnosable mental health issue, North Somerset Council‘s Library Service is launching a scheme to support them with expert endorsed books available to borrow for free.”
  • North Yorkshire – Picnic in Iraq author continues his tour of Craven libraries – Craven Herald. “Philip Caine will speak about his life and debut novel, Picnic in Iraq, at the village library next Thursday, April 28. It is the latest stop on his library tour.”
  • West Sussex – Phone lines down at schools and libraries in Bognor and Chichester – Bognor Observer. “Technical problems have seen phone lines go down at a number of schools, libraries and fire stations today. Residents are being thanked for their patience during a technical glitch affecting the County Council’s Contact Centre in Bognor Regis.”
  • Worcestershire – Opening hours face the chop at Wyre Forest libraries in £1m cutbacks – Evesham Journal. “opening hours are set to be slashed across Worcestershire – with Stourport, Kidderminster and Bewdley libraries all to be hit by cuts. The controversial proposals will mean seventeen libraries across the county will be affected with opening times reduced by a total of 78.5 hours a week. In a leaked email seen by the Shuttle’s sister newspaper, the Worcester News, Worcestershire County Council could axe library jobs, introduce “unstaffed periods” inside the buildings and increase library fees as part of a fresh plan to save £1 million”