A murder of an MP as she was leaving a library. Not many people think of violence when they think of libraries but it’s there. I’ve personally called the police numerous times, broken up fights before they started, called the ambulance after they ended, seen a few knives, dowsed the flames of an arson attack. But (and I’m aware there are one or two US readers of this who would disagree, sadly)  I would before last week never think that anyone would ever be shot in one, least of all an MP. Words cannot express. My best wishes to the staff and volunteers who were there on the day and to all the library staff, everywhere, who know that violence may be part of the job. May it not be the part in any MP’s job again any time soon.


National news

  • Book clubs pick non-fiction favourite in online poll – Reading Agency. “The winning book in this Real Life Read poll received over a quarter of the total votes registered via our Reading Groups for Everyone website, which hosts reading group resources and publisher offers for over 4,000 registered groups of all ages and interests. 19 titles, all published between June 2014 and June 2015 in paperback, were submitted overall by the charity’s publisher partners. “
  • The government are waging war against the poor on a new, quiet frontier – Palatinate. “Books, more than anything, are tools for social mobility. They are bombs that tear apart our firmly held, yet misguided, views on society, life, and love. Books are facilitators of latent hopes and desires, with the potential to empower all.” … “Governments have been cutting library services for years, meaning that many who can’t afford to buy such books, are deprived of the knowledge they hold. This is probably because the government thinks no-one will care. Some areas in which cuts have taken place, such as disability benefits, have been rightly challenged. For other areas, such as libraries, a quick search on the internet shows that it is difficult to find a national campaign devoted to preventing library cuts.  “
  • Libraries to Invest Time and Resources in Art and Culture – Society of Chief Librarians. “The Society of Chief Librarians today announced the creation of a new Universal Culture Offer, as part of its popular Universal Offers for Public Libraries. The Culture Offer recognises public libraries as welcoming places where children and adults can immerse themselves in every form of art: learn from local artists; create their own art; watch theatre, music and dance performances; and learn about art and culture through books and reading.” … “The Universal Culture Offer will sit within the existing Universal Offers for Public Libraries—Health, Reading, Information, Learning and Digital—and is being developed in partnership with Arts Council England. Library staff will be trained to become confident Cultural Champions for their communities, and SCL will provide resources for libraries to maximise partnerships with local and national arts organisations.”
  • That Was Then… – Leon’s Library Blog. “I gave a cautious welcome to the appointment of Nick Poole as the new CEO but within a few short months I could detect a sea-change in the organisation; a willingness to listen and engage, advocate for the membership, and address the difficult issues and decisions facing the profession. Quickly Nick began to raise the body’s profile during a round of radio and TV interviews talking about library closures and advocating for the profession.” … “Now I understand and sympathise that for some campaigners Cilip is not as radical or political as they would like it to be. But I would argue that it is still early days and more has been done to change and improve Cilip in the past 12 months than in many years previously. Cilip is also a broad church so has to strike a balance between the different aspects and sectors it represents.”
  • What if…public libraries could anchor a platform cooperative? – Common Libraries. “We’ve spoken to a number of library users about their ‘frustration’ at not being able to contribute books they’ve either read or, else, written to their local library – whether because they’d welcome new/different stock being made available or would like to work with library staff to promote their creative efforts at the local level. We’ve also talked to lapsed library users about their interest in/willingness to donate books to libraries. They told us they would welcome an opportunity to re-engage as avid readers who, for one reason or another, no longer use their public library but fully appreciate the benefits they offer to the whole community; just imagine – crowd-sourcing books from lapsed users as a means to re-connect with them and promote the range of contemporary services libraries now offer (services they’re so often unaware of).”

International news

  • Canada – Libraries need to embrace change to remain vital – Guelph Today. “Libraries have a public image problem, says Stephan Abram, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. Rebranding that image and embracing change is the best way to ensure libraries remain a vital part of every community, Abram said in Guelph recently. “We can’t control change only our attitude toward change,” said Abram. He said libraries are traditionally underfunded and that is largely because they haven’t done a very good job at defining their business model.”
  • Eire – Threat to local libraries prompts industrial action ballot – Kilkenny People. “Fifty staff in Carlow and Kilkenny are balloting for industrial action in a dispute over plans to amalgamate library services in the two counties. Their union Impact says the proposals would see libraries in both counties managed by one local authority, which would threaten service provision in the other county. The scheme, drawn up by a Dublin-based planning group, would immediately leave either Kilkenny or Carlow without a county librarian. And Impact says the medium-term future of services in both counties would also be threatened as library budgets come under increasing pressure.”
  • European Union – E-books fair game for public libraries, says advisor to top Europe court – Ars Technica. Maciej Szpunar, advocate general to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said in an opinion published (PDF) Thursday morning that public libraries should be allowed to lend e-books so long as the author is fairly compensated. A 2006 EU directive says that the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit rentals and loans belongs to the author of the work. However, countries may opt out of this rule for the purposes of “public lending,” provided that authors obtain fair remuneration.”
  • Global – We need to talk about robot librarians – Melville House. “Funding that would pave the way for similar automation would likely be better spent in the short term on staffing, programming, and community engagement”
  • USA – Inside EveryLibrary’s National Campaign for Local Library Support – Publisher’s Weekly. “What would a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency mean for public libraries in America? That question will understandably be on the lips of many library advocates as the 2016 presidential election enters the homestretch. But in fact, 90% of the tax revenue that supports libraries is appropriated and collected at the local level—often within single zip codes, notes John Chrastka, founder and executive director of the library advocacy group EveryLibrary. Launched in 2012, EveryLibrary is the first and only national organization dedicated to campaigning for library funding at the local level. In its first year, using a Kickstarter-like fund-raising model, EveryLibrary raised close to $50,000 in small donations. And, by February of 2013, the group had notched its first campaign win: a $1.6 million special levy for the Spokane Public Library.”
  • USA – Quiet Majesty of America’s Public Libraries – CityLab. “Over the past 18 years, in between other projects, the San Francisco-based photographer Robert Dawson has done just that, capturing nearly 700 public libraries across 48 states.”

Local news by authority

  • Darlington – Crown Street Library set to re-locate to Darlington’s Dolphin Centre while Cockerton Library avoids closure – Northern Echo. “Thousands of protesters, campaigners and volunteers, dedicated to protecting the landmark gifted by Edward Pease 131 years ago, had hoped it could have been protected from council cuts. But despite receiving support from internationally acclaimed authors and arts groups, Darlington Borough Council has decided to go ahead with relocating the library in an effort to save more than £100,000.”
  • Dorset – Dorset to lose all but one of its mobile libraries – Bournemouth Echo. “Members of Dorset County Council’s people and communities overview and scrutiny committee agreed to withdraw three of the county’s four mobile library vans. This decision follows a consultation with library users and local town and parish councils to look at alternative ways to access the library service. A decline in the number of users and “unprecedented” budget pressures have been cited by Dorset County Council to justify the plan.”
  • Greenwich – Council’s plans to scrap mobile library ‘retrograde step’, says union – LocalGov. “Councillors will debate a proposal next week to scrap the mobile service in a bid to save an annual £126,000.” … “Onay Kasab, Unite’s regional officer, said: ‘The £126,000 figure is a drop in the ocean compared with the benefits to children’s literacy and reading ability, which are the keys to obtaining decent employment in the future.” … “The council believes the outreach service which will replace the mobile library will protect literacy levels”
  • Lancashire – Glimmer of hope for the future of Lancashire’s libraries – Lancashire Evening Post. “During the debate Culture Minister Ed Vaizey called on Lancashire to engage with borough councils in the search for a solution, at the same time acknowledging a drop in the number of users.” … ““If the county council were not engaging properly with borough councils, I would find that extremely surprising and it would cause me significant concern. It is very important that county councils get out of their silos and talk to the local borough councils. Indeed, one of my hobby-horses ​is that councils should talk to their neighbouring councils, so the county council should talk to other councils outside Lancashire as well.””
  • Northern Ireland – Many ageing library staff not IT-literate – Belfast Telegraph. Libraries described as overstaffed, with older people who live in dread of being asked about computers. Storytimes are good but do not require a full time staff. “I suggest CEO Irene Knox leave her ivory tower and see for herself the number of staff not IT-literate and superfluous to her needs.”
  • Sheffield – Community library: Frecheville, Sheffield – Gov.uk / Libraries Taskforce. “Frecheville Library and Learning Centre is an associate library and a registered not for profit charity. Community volunteers took over the running of the library on the 29 September 2014 and are supported by Sheffield City Council (SCC).” Looks at deal with Sheffield council, role in the community and numbers and roles of volunteers.  35 volunteers. “The library is open for 23 hours per week. This is an extra 2 hours per week than when it was run by the council as the library no longer closes for lunch.”. Challenges include maintenance and updating technology.
  • Warwickshire – Community library: Harbury, Warwickshire – Gov.uk / Libraries Taskforce. A look at the staffing, role and funding of a volunteer library. “The library was previously open for 2 days per week and is now open for 5 full weekdays and a half day on Saturday.” … “The library has worked hard to encourage usage by local children and in addition to holiday book schemes initiated by the county library service, they have organised “Tunes and Tales” which has brought in families with babies and toddlers. ” …”A major factor in the success of Harbury Village Library has been the 3,100 books donated by villagers or purchased through the library’s Buy a Book Scheme. These books are administered by a separate computer system (Book Cat) which allows them to be kept within the library. ” £10,000 income per year due to café and other ventures.
  • West Berkshire – West Berkshire libraries: have your say on their future – Get Reading. Consultation sessions, chaired by RedQuadrant consultants.