A fair few changes over the last few days, with a fair bit being positive, mixed in with the normal depression.  Interestingly, Wrexham has decided to buck the general trend towards moving to Trusts, with their research showing it would cost £200k more per year to move to that model. Away from the UK, there’s a story from the USA about how libraries are thriving once more due to a revival in investment and there’s a report from IFLA on how libraries are able to meet every single one of the UN targets.


National news

  • Announcing the new bibliotheca product portfolio, the very best of both worlds – Bibliotheca. “. We have direct operational offices in all major continents, together with dedicated distributors who offer our solutions across a further 70 countries. We are proud to have over 30,000 unique libraries as part of our family, with a deployed equipment range in excess of 10,000 individual self-service units, 6,000 security systems and over 650 automated materials handling (sorter) systems. In addition, our digital platform features content from over 1,000 publishers and is available through almost 3,000 libraries. Bibliotheca is financially backed by OEP Capital Advisors, L.P., an independent private equity firm that has managed approximately $11 billion of invested capital over its 15 year history. The firm is principally based in New York, Chicago and Frankfurt.”
  • AskALibrarian: What are the consequences of the EU referendum result? – CILIP. have a clear idea of what you are looking for; know what questions to ask; know your sources; think carefully about your search terms; know when to stop; remain open to different viewpoints.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if he will consider the proposal from contributors to the report entitled Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 to 2021 to redefine what constitutes a comprehensive and efficient service under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act.” Paul Maynard MP, Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

“Responses to the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce’s Ambition consultation are being carefully considered and the Ambition document will be published in due course. There are no plans to amend the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. The 1964 Act does not seek to be overly prescriptive in defining comprehensive and efficient, and it is a matter for local authorities to determine how to provide a public library service to their local community, within available resources. The ‘Libraries as a Statutory Service’ was published in December 2015 and contains information on the legislative framework for library services under the Act. This sets out the factors to which the Secretary of State gives consideration in response to complaints about whether a local authority is providing a comprehensive and efficient library service.” Ed Vaizey MP, They Work For You.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of the Local Government Association‘s recommendation within the report entitled Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021, published on 23 March 2016, that library services should be included as part of the devolution deals for local authorities.” Paul Maynard MP

“In its response to the consultation on the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce’s Ambition document, the Local Government Association supported the principle of library authorities working in partnership, collaborating and harnessing their potential for acting together when they want to do this. It is the responsibility for the relevant local authorities to explore and discuss the feasibility of including libraries as part of their devolution deals. DCMS will continue to work with the Libraries Taskforce to consider how we can support library authorities to engage with devolution discussions and share lessons learned with other local authorities.” Ed Vaizey MP

  • Consultation in austerity 2016: a practical guide – Local Government Lawyer. “Meaningful public participation in the decision-making process, in a context with which the general public cannot be expected to be familiar, requires that the consultees should be provided not only with information about proposals such as a draft scheme or policy, but also with an outline of the realistic alternatives, and an indication of the main reasons for the authority’s adoption of its preferred option.”
Poem and illustration by @duddledum

Poem and illustration by @duddledum

International news

  • Croatia – New vision for public libraries in Croatia – EIFL. “In March and May this year, EIFL convened meetings of over 20 leading Croatian public librarians and library advocates to develop a vision for public libraries in the context of Croatia’s national development strategies and priorities. At the meetings, participants agreed that Croatia’s over 200 public libraries could do more to contribute to national development goals. Participants identified four important areas where libraries could make a strong contribution: provision of advanced digital skills training to improve employability of job seekers and to encourage young people to take up careers in technology; stimulating interest in creative industries; improving access to agricultural information in rural areas, and promoting social inclusion”
  • Eire – Booksellers call for delay to national library tender – Irish Times. “The Booksellers Association said the plan for a national tender for the supply of books to Irish public libraries had “frightening implications” for the wider bookselling and publishing sector in Ireland. The association believes about half a dozen specialist library supply companies in Ireland could close down as a result of a “winner takes all” national tender, estimated to have a value of almost €40 million. Each of these companies employs at least 10 people.”
  • Global – Libraries can drive progress across the entire UN 2020 agenda – IFLA. Poverty, health, gender equality, economic growth, food security, education, water, infrastructure, sustainable, peace, justice, equality. Infographic.
  • USA – Adding Classes and Content, Resurgent Libraries Turn a Whisper Into a Roar – New York Times. “Far from becoming irrelevant in the digital age, libraries in New York City and around the nation are thriving: adding weekend and evening hours; hiring more librarians and staff; and expanding their catalog of classes and services to include things like job counseling, coding classes and knitting groups. No longer just repositories for books, public libraries have reinvented themselves as one-stop community centers that aim to offer something for everyone. In so doing, they are reaffirming their role as an essential part of civic life in America by making themselves indispensable to new generations of patrons. Story time at libraries in Manhattan and the Bronx is now so popular that ticket lines must be formed, while coding classes have waiting lists in the thousands. A library in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, runs a fully equipped recording studio that can be reserved at no cost; many libraries in the borough lend laptops and portable wireless devices to those without internet access at home.”

Local news by authority

  • Barking and Dagenham – Adding a Chrome finish – Panlibus. “See how the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham switched to Chrome devices and saved £400,000″
  • Bradford – Mum starts online petition to save Holme Wood library – Telegraph and Argus. “Within days of Caroline Heward, 37, starting the petition on change.org to keep Holme Wood Library open and staffed, more than 300 people had backed it. The petition will keep running throughout the summer holidays before it is handed over to Bradford South Labour MP Judith Cummins.”
  • Carillion – Managing library services – rethinking local public libraries – Carillion.  Emphasises partnership with Lego and Wimbletech.
  • Cheshire East – Crewe’s £15m Lifestyle Centre creates waves – Designing Libraries. “For the library, Tom Appleby, Library Manager at Crewe and Nantwich Libraries, said: “Our priority was to make this a library that was accessible to everyone, which is important when you have a space over two floors. We also wanted to recycle as much as we could from the old library and at the same time create a completely new look. The Demco designer was excellent and worked collaboratively with the team from the start of the project to handover.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Tarporley library to close for summer due to building work at school – Chester Chronicle. “It comes after the school announced a £2.5m government funding boost will ‘revitalise’ the school and its Sixth Form College.”
  • Coventry – 10 libraries, kids centres & youth clubs face Coventry council cuts axe – Coventry Observer. “Ten libraries could close if community groups do not step in to run them; six council-run children’s centres would close; council-run nursery provision would end unless private nursery providers take them off the council’s hands; and 14 council-run youth clubs would be lost in the latest cuts. It is expected that around 100 full-time members of staff could lose their jobs – 30 from libraries, 22 in children’s centres, 33 in nurseries and 12 in youth services.”
  • Coventry – Coventry libraries will be ‘devastated’ by cuts say leading children’s authors – Coventry Telegraph. “Best-selling children’s author Cathy Cassidy and children’s laureate Chris Riddell say proposed cuts will devastate the library service in Coventry. Cathy has written a passionate letter to the Coventry Telegraph and Coventry City Council explaining how visits to Coventry libraries set her on the path to becoming an author. The letter is signed by more than 100 others, including children’s laureate Chris Riddell, author of the Artemis Fowl books Eoin Colfer, author of Millions Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Carnegie medal winners Meg Rosoff and Tanya Landman.” see also Protests over closure plans for Coventry libraries – BBC. “Sarah Smith, from Save Coventry’s Libraries Group, taught herself to read at the city’s libraries, and said they serve a far wider purpose for many vulnerable families. “Libraries are no longer just for people to borrow books. They are people to do homework, do job searches, they are a place to go for elderly people,” she said.”
  • Coventry – Several libraries could close if community groups cannot be found to run them – Coventry Telegraph. “Under the proposals Caludon, Cheylesmore, Coundon, Finham and Earlsdon libraries will be shut if community groups do not take them on. They will be able to use existing stock, equipment and in some cases buildings and will receive council advice and support but no staff. It is hoped that libraries in Aldermoor, Canley, Hillfields, Jubilee Crescent and Allesley Park will be run on a partnership basis with other groups and could be located with other community organisations or services.”
  • Gateshead – Six Gateshead libraries face uncertain future as council considers fresh cuts – Chronicle. £700k cut. “Whickham, Crawcrook, Pelaw, Felling, Rowlands Gill and the Mobile Library ” under threat. 20 FTE jobs at risk, with possibility of compulsory redundancy.
  • Herefordshire – New library consultation prompts fears of further cuts – Ledbury Reporter. “The council has started a consultation to gauge a range of views from those who use libraries and customer service centres and those who currently do not. Herefordshire Council said the answers will be used to help make decisions on the best way of using the services in the future and how to prioritise services. But William McMorran, chair of the Hereford Library User Group (HLUG), said: “HLUG fears that this survey is designed to find a way of justifying further cataclysmic service reductions over the next three years.”
  • Lambeth – Library campaigners summon ghosts of Carnegie past – Brixton Blog. “The future of Herne Hill’s Carnegie library continues to provoke controversy as local residents contest its future. Campaigners will tomorrow (9 July) mark with a protest the 110th anniversary of the opening of the library and 100 days since it was closed, while another group has called for more people to join its plans to take over the building from Lambeth council and turnout into a “community hub”.”
  • Lancashire – Council grants £10,000 to help save under-threat Hyndburn libraries – Accrington Observer. “Two one-off grants have been approved by Hyndburn council to look into how best to save Rishton library and secure the long term future of the library and civic hall in Clayton-le-Moors. Both buildings were earmarked for closure by Lancashire County Council (LCC) as part of plans to shut 54 libraries and children’s centres. Rishton library campaigners have been granted £5,000 to work with community group Mercer House 1842 to look at the feasibility of keeping Rishton library open. Another £5,000 has also been approved towards options for preserving the long-term future of the Clayton-le-Moors civic hall – without county hall involvement.”
  • Lancashire – Fight to save library threatened with closure – ITV. Video. “Campaigners have formed a human chain around a library that’s threatened with closure. Lancashire County Council’s trying to save £85 million a year. But people in Adlington say the library’s a vaulable community resource.”
  • Lancashire – Julie Hesmondhalgh letter pays tribute to our under-threat libraries – Accrington Observer. “Julie Hesmondhalgh argues that the range of benefits these public buildings bring is ‘better than gold’. It comes as a campaign has been launched to save Oswaldtwistle library, which is under threat of closure along with Rishton and Clayton-le-Moors libraries.The Save Oswaldtwistle’s Unique Library (SOUL) group has received hundreds of petition signatures. Chris Brindle, of SOUL, said they have put in an ‘expression of interest’ to Lancashire County Council (LCC) and are now working on a business plan to take over the running of the 101-year-old library.”
  • Lancashire – Lancashire Reading Journey 2016 – Lancashire. Library service decides to continue with it’s own Summer Reading Challenge rather than buying into that created by the Reading Agency.
  • Lancashire – Politicians should be careful with our cash – Blackpool Gazette / Letters. “When David Cameron ordered the remain leaflet, I suppose he never even thought about the library and museum staff he could have saved from redundancy and the residents denied access to local libraries. The Prime Minister has fallen on his sword, though unlike library staff he has a second job as an MP”
  • Manchester – South Manchester libraries to get £250,000 makeover – South Manchester News. “The Wolfson Foundation has provided the grant to improve the offer for children at Gorton, Longsight, Withington and Wythenshawe Forum libraries, as well as Newton Heath and North City (Harpurhey). The funding will also allow a new programme of digital activities for children to be developed within all six libraries. New furnishings such as sofas, picture book boxes, new shelving, wall motifs and some quirkier and more striking book display units will be installed across the libraries, creating brighter and more welcoming spaces for children and their families to enjoy.”
  • North Somerset – Consultation on closure and merger of North Somerset libraries and children’s centres – North Somerset Times. “North Somerset Council, as previously reported by the Times, hopes to save about £500,000 by altering the community services. It is launching a 12-week consultation from today after unveiling last month a raft of possible changes. Options under consideration including merging children’s centres in Yatton and Congresbury and even possibly closing libraries in Long Ashton and Congresbury”. 76% of people in poll say they use the library.
  • Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire mobile library service is a reading lifeline throughout the county – Herald and Post. “It might not seem like a large number of people but it is a vital lifeline for those it serves in remote communities.Northamptonshire County Council’s mobile library service visits villages and towns across the county which do not have one of the county’s 36 ‘bricks and mortar’ libraries. Every year the service is reviewed, including where it visits and what impact it is having in each location.”
  • Northern Ireland – Dungannon students win UK-wide accolade for cancer treatment books – Irish News. “They recently secured a deal with Libraries NI to stock the books in libraries across the north including Belfast Central, Coleraine, Derry Central, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Portadown.”
  • Northern Ireland – Nipsa is deluded over library service battle – Belfast Telegraph / Letter. “A circular sent to library branches by public service union Nipsa to discourage members from supporting the Hands Off Our Libraries campaign must be condemned. The circular claims the campaign has the potential to undermine the Nipsa campaign and distract from legitimate debate with Libraries NI. The community – as well as the unions – have had a pivotal role in defence against library cuts. Many Nipsa members are involved in the Hands Off campaign. The Nipsa officials delude themselves that they are the sole and legitimate campaign against library cuts. The Hands Off Our Libraries campaign is backed by Unite the Union, the Labour Party NI and other socialist parties.”

“The village of Lingfield in Surrey found itself with no library staff at the end of June thanks to council cutbacks.  Despite local opposition, Surrey county council has told the community it must run its own library using volunteers. The library is housed in a 15th century, grade II-listed building which is currently held in a trust by the council.  Back in 2012 council leader David Hodge told villagers the trust was going to be transferred into local hands.  He assured them on several occasions their library would not be made into a volunteer-run community partnered library (CPL) until the new trust had been up and running for a year.

Locals made it clear they wanted the two long-serving members of staff, who both live locally, to remain in post, arguing that their salaries could be paid out of the new trust’s funds. The trust is yet to be set up; and in February Hodge ignored his previous assurances and announced that from June the library would no longer have its staff and would instead become a CPL run by volunteers.

Surrey has now made ten of its small libraries into CPLs and is keen to promote volunteer-run libraries as a great success.  The statistics tell a different story, with the number of books issued to users falling in all the libraries since staff departed. However, there is some good news for Lingfield:  this month the council said villagers could apply for a share of £3m for hanging baskets.  They may not have a professionally run library, but the people of Lingfield can at least now console themselves with a prettified village.” Surrey – Library News – Private Eye 1422 (not available online)

  • Surrey – Reigate, Merstham and Horley libraries earmarked as sites for new homes under Local Plan – Surrey Mirror. “the council says retention or replacement of the current library service would be required to support any development. Merstham’s library, in Weldon Way, is also a designated site for ten homes and community use . According to the council’s consultation document, a search for an alternative site is already underway as part of regeneration activities. Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has previously said that the community hub on the Triangle site, in Merstham, will include a library, training rooms, a cafe and staff rooms.”
  • Swindon – Campaign as council plans to cut 75% of its libraries – ITV. Includes two video interviews.
  • Swindon – Council to cut 11 out of 15 libraries within next 12 months – Swindon Advertiser. “The task of providing a library service in those areas will now be down to volunteer groups, charities, community groups and local residents. A one-off pot of £500,000 will be made available to support groups looking to provide some sort of library service locally” … “The suggestion is that pubs, coffee shops and community centres could apply for some of the transitional funding with a view to providing a library-related service, such as a book-drop facility, albeit not in a building that is actually called a library.”

“Even with the cuts outlined in the proposal, an additional £318,000 of savings will still need to be found to bring the four library model within the required £1.1 million budget. As a result, the council have said they can only commit to meeting the building costs of the four libraries until April 2018.”

  • Swindon – Let’s create innovative library service, says David Renard – Swindon Advertiser. “In fact, if community-led solutions can be identified in Parks and Wroughton, for example, 95 per cent of people in the borough will be within two miles of a library. The strategy also proposes investing in self-service technology so we can keep libraries open for longer, while provision will also be made for increasing volunteering within the service and providing targeted outreach and learning services.”
  • Swindon – Libraries strategy met with concern from campaigners and councillors – This is Wiltshire. Labour councillors says “We’re really concerned about where the volunteers would come from but mainly, our biggest disappointment, is that the Council have gone out for consultation on this but they haven’t listened to the clear overwhelming voice of Swindon residents.””
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Barry library to be upgraded to learning hub – Barry Gem.  £100k to add adult learning centre with three classrooms.
  • Waltham Forest – Plans to relocate libraries put forward to council cabinet – Guardian series. “The proposals would apply to Hale End Library, in Castle Avenue, Highams Park; Higham Hill Library, in North Countess Road, Walthamstow; and Wood Street Library, in Forest Road, Walthamstow. In addition, Lea Bridge Library, in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, will be refurbished. The council says the plan is part of its commitment to ensure everybody in the borough lives within one-and-a-half miles of a library.”
  • Wiltshire – This is what Wiltshire’s councillors have done for you – Reform Together. “Library services slashed”. “We are committed to the valuable service libraries offer in Wiltshire and to ensuring provision across our cities, towns and villages. We believe that libraries are not a luxury but play a vital role in the social, educational and cultural value of our communities: for families with young children, school children without a place to work at home, job seekers trying to gain new skills and employment, elderly people living in isolation, and community groups”
  • Worcestershire – Bewdley Library to temporarily close ahead of its move to new home – Kidderminster Shuttle. “The current library, in Load Street, will move to the Medical Centre site, in Dog Lane, ahead of its reopening on Monday, August 8. While the building is out of action, the nearest libraries will be at the Stourport Civic Centre, in New Street, or Kidderminster Library, in Market Street. A spokesman from Worcestershire County Council said the relocation will offer Bewdley residents a brand new library, benefit from a shared location and achieve savings which will help ensure the sustainability of the local library service.”
  • Wrexham – U-turn over plan for Wrexham’s libraries to be run by a trust – Daily Post. Council decides to keep libraries in-house, saying transferring service to a trust would cost £200k more per year.
  • York – Library to shut due to fears over building’s safety – Press. “Ongoing structural concerns” mean Haxby Library will close from 16th July while building work goes on. Books to be transferred to school so summer reading challenge can continue.