A couple of useful reports on public libraries – one on wifi and one on digital inclusion – to have a read through in this post. Arts Council England have also announced that the procedure for libraries to apply for their grants will soon change. In addition, there’s the amazing news that a Friend’s group in Suffolk has raised £30k for its library.  That’s a lot for a support group but, of course, small scale for a council but, if the council does not have any money …  There’s also an interesting article about the NHS in Staffordshire (there’s more info here by the way).

Speaking of Staffs, the new Culture Secretary comes from around there and has had some dealing with libraries in the past, speaking warmly of coffee mornings and attending the transfer of Werrington Library to a wellbeing centre, staffed by volunteers, So, she has at least shown an interest but, unsurprisingly, is of the same camp as other Conservatives on the way forward for libraries in these difficult times. By the way, Ed Vaizey has, at time of writing, not been promoted (or demoted) as far as I can see but is now a member of the privy council so will now be called “The Right Honourable”.


National news

  • Libraries affected by changes in ACE funding – BookSeller. ” ACE has decided to scrap the specific “Grants for the Arts” libraries fund, which will be discontinued in March 2018. Instead, libraries will compete with other cultural bodies for money from ACE’s new Grants for the Arts and Culture fund after that date. The new stream, which is renamed from its previous title of ‘Grants for the Arts’, will have a broad remit – “to develop great art and cultural activity for everyone”. It will typically supporting applications between £1,000 and £100,000. ACE will develop guidance for libraries in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians over the next 18 months. For the first time, libraries will also be integrated into the National Portfolio funding pot. Any ACE money won by libraries as part of this pot must only focus on arts and cultural activity, with local authorities responsible for funding libraries’ statutory work. More guidance on this will be published on 4th October 2016.”
  • Library Digital Inclusion Fund Action Research Project Final Report – Tinder Foundation. “From October 2015 – April 2016, we funded 16 library services across England to deliver innovative and sustainable digital inclusion projects, targeting vulnerable or isolated people to help them improve their basic digital skills. This final report contains the findings from the project and our recommendations for how libraries can best deliver and utilise digital inclusion activities going forward.”

“We calculate that project beneficiaries moving from face-to-face and telephone to online channels will generate potential cost savings of more than £800k per annum – more than £492 per person supported – across local and national government services in areas where library services participated in the project. This suggests that libraries are an important resource for local authorities and government services seeking to implement digital by default and channel shift agendas, and that investment in libraries to deliver digital skills is justified by a significant potential return on investment. It could be assumed that if similar activities were recreated across all 151 library services in England, over £7.5 million {sic – I think they mean £75 million – Ed.]  of cost savings could be achieved.”


  • NHS partners up with libraries to boost wellbeing – Guardian. “When her local library at Barton-under-Needwood needed volunteers, Fenwick stepped forward to help run it. On 25 April it became the first in Staffordshire to be run by volunteers, and one of eight that has an unusual partner: South Staffordshire and Shropshire healthcare NHS foundation trust. The trust’s decision to add library management to mental health, learning disability and specialist children’s services will be discussed on Wednesday 13 July at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals’ annual conference in Brighton.” … “Under its five-year deal with the council, which can be renewed for further five-year periods and includes a commitment to maintaining opening hours, the NHS trust will receive no payment for running the eight libraries, but retains income from charges. Cardwell says the trust has two employees working on the project, but otherwise the libraries use their existing departmental services.”
  • Switching it on is only the start – Arts Council England. “Brian Ashley, our Director of Libraries, blogs about why ‘Free WiFi’ isn’t always free, and how libraries across the country are going above and beyond to get us online.” … “And switching on is only the start. Now we can confidently talk about free access to WiFi in all libraries all sorts of possibilities are opened up.”… “A new report by Shared Intelligence tells five stories of how libraries in different parts of the country have used their imagination and worked with partners to offer new services for local people. It contains some brilliant examples.” see also Making the most of wifi – Arts Council England / Shared Intelligence.
  • Theresa May, The Opposition and the threat to librarianship – Infoism. ” The elevation of Theresa May (presented as a kind of softer One Nation Tory – see here for more on One Nation Conservatism) certainly suggests that the threats we face to our ethical principles are not about to be brushed away, but instead become more pressing. We know that May has a particularly strident approach to mass surveillance, not for nothing was May named “internet villain of the year” at last year’s Annual UK Internet Industry Awards. It seems highly unlikely that upon becoming Prime Minister, May will suddenly abandon a long-held belief in mass surveillance, a policy that is a very serious threat to our ethical principles as outlined by CILIP. The question is, how will we as a profession tackle this threat.”
  • Theresa May’s cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out? – BBC. Karen Bradley becomes Culture Secretary (her voting record is here).

International news

  • Finland – Helsinki Central Library emerges from the needs of city residents – Good news from Finland. “The new Helsinki Central Library, due to open in 2018, was designed for the urban dwellers of Helsinki by the residents themselves. That’s the reason why the new library will have, among other things, a movie theatre, music studio, restaurant, open workspaces and a “citizen balcony” – not to forget the traditional library space, of course.”  … and it’s going to be built directly opposite from the Finnish parliament.
  • Nepal – Nepal’s Public Libraries Still in Distress After 2015 Earthquake – Public Libraries Online. “A significant portion of the over seven billion dollars’ worth of damage was suffered by Nepal’s public libraries. Libraries and archives there saw quite a bit of damage after the quakes and aftershocks, one of which measured 7.3. In particular, many of the Rural Education and Development (READ) centers, partners of ALA, suffered damage, along with the surrounding communities. The Nepal Library Relief Fund was set up to rebuild archives and libraries in Nepal damaged by the earthquakes.”
  • USA – Anonymous Republicans Blocking Librarian of Congress Vote – Publishers Weekly. “Public arguments against Ms. Hayden offensively suggest that, apparently because she is an African American woman, she would turn the library into a ‘monument to political correctness.’ Meanwhile, legislators refuse to vote but offer no arguments at all,” the editorial states. “The Senate should give Ms. Hayden the consideration she deserves”
  • USA – Demonstrating the Library’s ROI – Public Libraries Online. “A recent article in the New York Times, “Denying New York Libraries the Fuel They Need,” stated that the New York Public Library had over 37 million visitors in the last fiscal year. In contrast, the combined attendance at major sporting events for the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Jets, and Giants totaled only nine million people, yet the city’s budget for libraries pales in comparison to the budget for stadiums.”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Questions asked over move to up communications team budget at Barnet Council while other services face cuts – Times Series. “Anger has been expressed at plans to increase Barnet Council’s communication team budget by more than £450,000 – while other services face drastic cuts.” Library protesters pictured. Local blogger says ““Library staff are being made redundant and my local library, East Barnet, turned into a volunteer only library open just 15 hours a week. “The council should be there to deliver services to residents not spending money on spin.”
  • Bury – Petition launched to keep Ramsbottom Library open – Bury Times. “The Keep Ramsbottom Library Safe Facebook page and petition were set up by local resident Paul Jenkins. he petition came about as Bury Council launched the library service review. The consultation is designed to look at the services the libraries provide for the public before a decision is made next year about what changes to make. Mr Jenkins said: “The library is a focal point for us in the community and we already know how important it is to the people of Ramsbottom.”
  • Bury – Town hall answers rumours over library closures – Guide. ““Some of these rumours have been going around on social media. The consultation at this stage is just on service provision. “As a council, we have a duty to provide a library service to the public. “There aren’t specifics around budgets in this consultation because we didn’t want to set out a budget at the start and work towards it. What we want to do is look ahead and see what the needs are for the public.” … “It’s two-and-a-half years since the last consultation. To be frank and honest, we didn’t get it quite right last time. We made the savings that we were asked to because that was the first thing in that review. “The savings are the last thing in this one, we are trying to get it right this time so that we can provide a service that’s not only good for now but good for the next five or 10 years or more. That can adapt for the needs of all.”
  • Ealing – Ealing Central Library gets Primark move as council approves downsize – Get West London. “The library will now be housed in a smaller location and will lose 70% of its books as part of a bid to cut costs and improve its technology”
  • East Sussex – Council chiefs may slash library hours to save £500,000 – Eastbourne Herald. “East Sussex County Council’s Cabinet will meet on July 19, to decide whether to agree revised opening hours which could save the authority around £500,000 per year. Residents were asked for their views during a 12-week consultation earlier this year and proposals have been revised to take into account the feedback received.” … “Libraries that currently open later than 5.30pm would retain one evening opening until 6pm on a Thursday, with the exception of Ringmer Library. Following feedback from the public, changes have been made to the proposals for 11 libraries including Seaford Library having one late opening and Ringmer Library opening on a Saturday morning instead of a Tuesday evening.”
  • Lancashire – Rallying call to save our libraries – Blackpool Gazette. “Friends of Ansdell Library has stressed how vital it is that as many people as possible make their voices heard before the consultation period concludes on August 14.”
  • Lancashire – Ribble Valley councillors unite to fight closure of libraries and centres – Lancashire Telegraph. “A six-strong working group, chaired by Whalley councillor and deputy borough leader, Terry Hill, is looking into the impact of the potential losses of the centres”
  • Northern Ireland – ‘Only a matter of time before libraries close’ – Carrickfergus Times. “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has said it is “disappointed” over plans to cut opening hours at local library branches. Under the proposals from Libraries NI, Ballymena Central and Carrickfergus Libraries are to be reduced from 50 hours per week to 45. The reduction forms part of an overall package of savings that Libraries NI is implementing.”
  • Suffolk – Aldeburgh Library set for £30,000 improvements thanks to Foundation’s fundraising – EADT. “Aldeburgh Library is set to close for the first fortnight of September while new decoration, shelving and IT equipment is installed. The work is being funded by the Aldeburgh Library Foundation (ALF), which has raised the five figure sum in just three years using profits from its popular adult education classes, loyalty scheme and charity Christmas cards. Suffolk County Council (SCC) and Aldeburgh Town Council have also provided grants.”
  • Swindon – Letters – Swindon Advertiser. “We all know the decision is done and dusted, so who’s kidding whom? The council merely go through the motions and await their collective Bafta award. What are frail and immobile pensioners supposed to do who live on Swindon’s outskirts? Four wall syndrome will return.”
Swindon: Campaigners were out in force to show their support for Swindon's libraries ahead of a full council meeting

Swindon: Campaigners were out in force to show their support for Swindon’s libraries ahead of a full council meeting

  • Swindon – Letters – Swindon Advertiser. (1) Letter by Nick Poole. “As the chief executive of CILIP, the UK’s library association, I am deeply concerned about the proposed cuts to Swindon’s libraries. I have written to the council leader, David Renard, urging Swindon Council to reconsider the extent of the proposals – which would see 11 out of 15 libraries in Swindon close. The decision to shut libraries cannot be just a cost-saving, spreadsheet exercise. We recognise the financial pressures that local authorities are under but these drastic proposals would massively reduce investment in Swindon and have disproportionate social and economic costs to the council and residents. I urge Coun Renard to consider the following points in the council’s debate…” (2) “Cameron says the British economy is strong and the fifth largest in the world. The fact that Britain can no longer afford libraries suggests that British economy is much weaker that Cameron has been telling us”
  • Waltham Forest – Campaigners angered by proposals to relocate libraries – Guardian Series. “Campaigners have expressed their anger at the council proposals to relocate libraries. Waltham Forest Council Cabinet voted to consult the public about relocating three libraries in Hale End, Higham Hill and Wood Street. A fourth library, in Lea Bridge Road, will be renovated.”
  • Warwickshire – Pirates and other performers haul in crowds at Warwickshire libraries – Leamington Courier. “Thanks to a £49,900 from the Arts Council, the library service ran 74 Fantastic Fun With Words sessions across 17 libraries in the county.”
  • Worcestershire – Council chiefs scale back cuts to library opening hours in Wyre Forest – Shuttle. “Controbersial proposals to slash 78.5 hours off library opening times across Worcestershire – including Stourport, Kidderminster and Bewdley libraries – has been scaled back, it has emerged. Worcestershire County Council has decided to reduce the cutbacks to 55 hours a week, after it faced criticism during a public consultation. It was revealed in April the county council had hatched a plan to shave opening hours off 17 different sites as part of a fresh plan to save £1 million. But following an outcry, 23.5 hours will be ‘added’ back into the mix, saving several libraries from unpopular changes”