The Summer counts as the quiet season for library news but the busiest for public libraries on the ground.  Tons of children coming to the desk asking for stickers and staff encouraging them to read more makes this the best time of year, with more events going on now than any other month. This post we have a report from Lincolnshire on what is going on there and I am sure it is being repeated elsewhere.  Do send me your stories about the great things you have done as well.


The Big Friendly Read in Lincolnshire

BFG at Louth Library during the Big Friendly Read

BFG at Louth Library during the Big Friendly Read

The UK’s leading leisure charitable social enterprise, GLL, have been partnering with Lincolnshire Country Council to run the libraries service since April. Nicola Rodgers, GLL’s Lincolnshire Libraries Operations Manager, gives an update on what they’re up to this summer:

“All across the county, Lincolnshire libraries are enjoying an extremely busy summer thanks to the Summer Reading Challenge. The Roald Dahl theme has really fired-up imaginations and offered staff the opportunity to showcase their natural flair and creativity for displays and activities.

In preparation, our staff have been visiting local schools and we have been pleased to see a number of schools really getting behind the scheme this year. Schools have been offering extra incentives such as merit points for all children that have completed the challenge when they return to school in September. We are offering double the number of activities and events than last year and we have had a significant increase in children participating. Stamford Library is typical, is seeing a major boom with over 250 children signed up in the first week and more coming in every day.

To keep interest and enthusiasm running throughout the summer, our libraries have arranged a host of activities and the Roald Dahl theme has meant there has been no shortage of inspiration. Mablethorpe Library and the team at Louth kicked off their summer of events by making their own BFG (Big Friendly Giant) which is now proudly displayed at the front of the libraries creating a focal point and a conversation piece. Woodhall Spa are bringing the surrounding woods and wildlife into the library by making bird feeders so that children can feed the birds, just like Danny Champion of the World. Other Dahl-themed crafts have been origami Fantastic Mr Fox, Mr Twits beard – complete with leftover food, and lots and lots of sets of BFG ears!

As well as crafty events, libraries such as Market Rasen, Sleaford and Grantham are holding weekly Juice and Jabber sessions where staff can spend quality time with children. These are relaxed and friendly sessions talking about books read so far, writing up book reviews to help inspire others and helping with shelf and catalogue searches for that next riveting read.

Louth Library are working with their local branch of Therapy Dogs Nationwide and have PAT Dogs Jane and Gracie visiting the library each Wednesday over the summer for Big Friendly Reading Time sessions when children can read to the dogs. We want our Lincolnshire libraries to be vibrant places to visit, with something for everyone – we are planning a range of new activities all of which compliment our wide selection of stock, ranging from pre-school messy mornings to Crafts and Laughs sessions for adults, with Brain Training activities and Mindfulness Mornings for adults. There will be Digital Drop-ins as well as opportunities for local organisations to promote themselves to the local community. We are keen to increase the number of author events we hold – and would be delighted to hear from any local authors out there who would be interested in holding book signings or talks in our libraries.”

National news

  • BBC Radio and libraries partner for ‘biggest book club in country’ – BookSeller. “Altogether just under 40 BBC local radio stations in England including two on the Channel Islands are teaming up with libraries in their areas to launch a new Book of the Month slot, to encourage both reading and boost visits to libraries. The initiative, organised in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians, comes amid widespread closures of libraries in England, with a recent BBC investigation finding that 343 had closed since 2010, with a further 111 slated for closure this year. The club, which will see BBC radio stations broadcasting from local libraries, is designed to “get people reading, encourage people to talk about books and draw people to use their local library service more”, a BBC spokesperson said.”
  • Entries sought for NAG Excellence Award – National Acquisitions Group (via email). “NAG makes an annual award designed to promote excellence, original thinking and innovation by a library team or individual within the field of Acquisitions.  Entries are now open and nominations of up to a strict maximum of 250 words can be sent by e-mail to the NAG Office/ The nomination should provide the name(s) of those involved, the organisation they work for, explain the change and innovation and the benefits these gave to the library and its users. Please note that the nominee(s) need to be members of NAG, individually or through their organisation.The closing date is Monday 22nd August 2016, and the winner will be chosen by the NAG Executive Committee and will be presented at the 2016 NAG Conference in Glasgow. The prize includes a free conference place for the winner in 2016”
  • Local Studies Librarian of the Year 2016 – nominations now open – Local Studies Librarians. “We welcome nominations from colleagues, local historians, family historians and anyone who knows a local studies professional who has made a difference.”

International news

  • USA – Purpose-Based Library – American Libraries. “Bill Gates’s quote should have you, as a member of the library profession, doing backflips. Librarians are specifically trained to gather, manage, and use information. If we take Gates’s words at face value, libraries should be the most competitive organizations on the planet.” … “Some of you would argue that your library is a nonprofit organization and is not competing with anyone. We beg to differ. Every customer has a choice and chooses whether to go to the library website or Google’s search bar, to either engage the library or order materials from Amazon. Amazon would much rather have its customers buy a book than borrow, and Google would much rather have information seekers search its website than seek out a reference or research librarian. There is no question that libraries compete head-to-head with these for-profit businesses.” … “No one even comes close to the geographical coverage that libraries possess.”

“To successfully compete, libraries must embrace the words of Bill Gates. Libraries must gather, use, and manage information in a way that large for-profit companies cannot. So the question is: What competitive advantages do libraries have that these organizations do not? Let us count the ways…”

  • USA – The Strange Affliction of ‘Library Anxiety’ and What Librarians Do to Help – Atlas Obscura. “In 2016, students are used to just using the internet at home, says Anice Mills, who has been a librarian at New York’s Columbia University for 15 years. But that doesn’t really work for academia. “As soon as you need to use scholarly resources, Wikipedia isn’t going to cut it,” she says. That’s when students make their first trek to the campus library, where, says Mills, many feel “overwhelmed, intimidated, and embarrassed”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Pokemon Go game pulls youngsters to north-east libraries – Press and Journal. “North-east librarians have revealed their delight that the Pokemon Go craze which has swept the world is now luring youngsters back to books.” … “Our doors are open to children and adults alike and we’re inviting anyone who wants to use our free wifi to catch a Pokemon or two to visit”
  • Angus – Tesco Bank prove ‘every little helps’ at Forfar Library – Forfar Dispatch. “Run by national charity The Reading Agency in partnership with Scotland’s libraries and Tesco Bank, the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland encourages children to read six books during the summer holidays, a time when children’s literacy skills traditionally dip” … “With a grant available to libraries taking part in the challenge, Angus Libraries put the funding towards a number of activities, including Zoolab, which are designed to inspire children and show them just how much fun reading can be. “
  • Brighton – Geoffrey Theobald: Improved library services and a new attraction for the city – Brighton and Hove Independent. “In terms of the new Libraries Extra service, simply by upgrading to a free Libraries Extra Membership Card, residents will now be able to use their local community library, even outside of staffed hours. This will mean that most libraries will now be available seven days a week, more than doubling the amount of opening hours across the city from 362 to 768 hours per week.”
  • Brighton – Historic Hove library now open seven days a week just weeks after closure plan averted – Argus. “Hove library is now open seven days a week – two months after it was saved from closure and being sold into private hands. The Carnegie library building in Church Road, Hove, is now open and staffed on Monday mornings and Sundays. Ten out of the city’s 12 branch libraries will also open for longer and and three-quarters for seven days a week under the council’s Libraries Extra scheme which will allow readers to pick up books even when there are no staff.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Bucks Libraries Could Go It AloneTo Save Millions – Mix 96. “Bucks County Council reckons the library service needs to save £1 million  by 2019, that’s despite saving £2 million in the last five years. The total library budget has dropped from £7 million to £5 million, which has been done by re-structuring staff, new systems, self-service technology and creating new community library partnerships. But the council foresee a problem in the future, they think the library service is likely to face significant financial challenge and will need to save at least £1 million by 2019. ” 3 possibilities: Re-modelled in-house option, Spin Out, Outsource.
  • Derby – Anger as Derby plans to hand over most of city’s libraries to volunteers – Guardian. “Campaigners condemn strategy to retain four council-run branches, but pass the other 11 to voluntary operations” … “The council, which will open a consultation on the proposals in the autumn, has admitted that there would be “a significant reduction in the number of paid jobs” in the city’s libraries as a result of the cost-cutting, and that “if enough volunteers don’t come forward to run a particular library, that library would close”. The grants, meanwhile, would not be sufficient to cover running costs, and “management groups would need to supplement their council grant by fundraising activities or generating some income from other sources”.”

“After it was revealed that Derby Central Library would close and ten of the area’s fourteen local libraries would be handed to volunteers, the local council responded predictably:  it was regrettable but unavoidable, “as the government continues to cut the council budget”. A close look at the libraries chosen for closure suggests this is not a clear-cut case of Tories versus local government, however.  Derby city council is Labour-led and the four local libraries to have kept council funding are located in Labour wards — including Alvaston, the local library of council leader Ranjit Banwait, and Arboretum, whose councillors have made substantial donations to the Labour party.  This follows a Grant Thornton public interest report from earlier this year highlighting the “political point-scoring” within the council — of which libraries seem to be the latest victim. Ruth Skelton, Lib Dem councillor for Blagreaves, tells the Eye that the factors used to rank the libraries were “rigged” to favour those in Labour wards, with deprivation being double-weighted, but little consideration given to the elderly population for whom local libraries are often a vital resource.  Pensioners already play a significant voluntary role in running Mickleover and Allestree libraries, but to make ten libraries the sole responsibility of community volunteers is, says Cllr Skelton, a scheme “set up to fail”.” Derby – Library NewsPrivate Eye [Not available online]

  • Derby – Petition launched to keep Allestree Library open – Derby Telegraph. “A petition has been launched to keep Allestree Library open. It is one of 11 libraries in Derby which would either be handed over to the community or closed under plans aimed at saving the city council cash.” … “Their methodology in identifying which libraries should remain open is fundamentally flawed and is seeing decisions being made according to deprivation stats rather than usage, on which point Allestree being one of the most used libraries outside of the city centre. Everyone should have access to a library and none should be facing closure.”
  • Herefordshire – Library users and supporters urged to fill in survey to help safeguard ‘jewel in the crown’ of Leominster – Hereford Times. “Library users and supporters in Leominster have been urged to complete a questionnaire to avoid losing a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the town. Herefordshire Council‘s customer services and library survey runs until Friday (August 5), with feedback from the consultation to be used to help shape how the services will operate in the future. The Friends of Leominster Library (FOLL) held a stand at last Friday’s market where they handed out 150 questionnaires to people in a bid to revive interest in safeguarding the town’s library.”

“For years I’ve used the Oxford English Dictionary online, thanks to the Isle of Wight’s subscription. Now it seems we no longer have access. I feel utterly sick.” Isle of Wight – Email received.

  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council denounce library protest ‘mob’ throwing plastic eyes to chants of ‘we’re watching you’ – SW Londoner. “A campaigner described the spat as ‘childish’ but today Lambeth Council suggested police could be involved in future meetings as tensions between library protestors and councillors hit an all-time low.” … “There have been incidents of glitter being thrown directly into a council officer’s face, plastic eyes being thrown at councillors with intimidating chants of ‘we’re watching you’ and repeated abusive and threatening language.” The meeting in May was abandoned but protestors say it was the councillors who refused to engage with protestors who had been denied the opportunity to bring a deputation (a form of public lobbying made by groups with concerns to present to the council).”
  • Lancashire – Calls to extend library and children centre consultation in Lancashire – 2BR. “The elderly generation is being excluded from consultations about the future of Lancashire’s services. That’s according to a Whalley Borough Councillor who wants locals to be given more time to have their say on proposals to close a number of buildings across the county. Ged Mirfin, who represents the Billington and Old Langho Ward, says the online nature of consultations excludes a large portion of the population who aren’t web-savvy.”
  • Lancashire – Rossendale Scribbler: Small cost of keeping libraries open should shock us all – Rossendale Free Press. “what is the price of giving children access to the knowledge and information they need to get on in life? When it comes to our local libraries currently at risk – around £60,000 a year. The recent revelation in the Rossendale Free Press that closing several of our local libraries will save such small amounts of money should shock us all. Up until now, Lancashire County Council has focused its public defence of its cuts on the scale of the overall savings it needs to find. Between now and 2021, it needs to save around £221m, an eyewatering figure in anyone’s books – and that’s on top of the tens of millions of pounds LCC has already saved.”
  • Lancashire – Teenage pop sensation Grace the latest library guest – North West Evening Mail. “As part of the Get It Loud In Libraries programme, the BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 playlisted singer-songwriter will play Kendal Library on Tuesday October 4.”
  • LibrariesWest – LibrariesWest Consortium Goes Live with SirsiDynix Symphony and SaaS = SirsiDynix press release. “July 27, 2016, Watford, UK—In July of last summer, the LibrariesWest consortium grew to incorporate two new local authorities and achieve a ‘coast to coast’ service in South West England. As part of the evolution of LibrariesWest, the consortium concurrently chose to adopt SirsiDynix Symphony as their new library management system. Following a seamless migration, all authorities in the LibrariesWest Consortium are now live with Symphony and Enterprise.”
  • Norfolk – Library workshops help children entering Write on Norfolk creative writing competition – Eastern Daily Press. “A fairy detective agency solving a crime at Norwich Cathedral, and a pair of cheeky otters living on the Broads, were just two of the ideas at the first creative story writing workshop for children entering the Write on Norfolk competition.”
  • North Somerset – Older, fewer and ‘overworked’ – Weston’s library books – Mercury series. “The library buys fewer new books than all but one library in England, and the situation is expected to get worse if it does not receive additional funding. Data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy shows Weston’s books are issued around 5.8 times a year, compared to the England average of 3.3 times. The library buys 57.9 books per 1,000 people every year. The England average is 145 books per 1,000 people. Figures show the library also has the lowest quantity of books, at 844 per 1,000 people, compared to 1,452 per 1,000 people across England. Books in Weston are generally 10.9 years old, compared to the England average of 8.7 years.”.  Population increases while budget stays same.
  • Northern Ireland –  Hands Off Our Libraries campaign ‘celebrating victory’  Newtownabbey Times. “Minister for Communities Paul Givan announced that extra funds have been found to prevent cuts to opening hours at 14 branches, including Glengormley. The campaign organised a day of action on Saturday, June 25, supported by Unite the Union, which saw protests and campaigning at all the libraries under threat. The campaign also picketed Minister Givan’s constituency office in Lisburn and delivered thousands of petitions against the cuts to the Department of Communities”
  • Northern Ireland – Libraries to avoid cuts to opening hours with extra £225k funding – BBC. “Under proposals made in May, some libraries were set to close for an extra day every week. A public consultation on the plan received more than 8,000 responses. But, the Department for Communities has said that the public library service, Libraries NI, will receive £225,000 to help avoid curbs on opening hours. Communities Minister Paul Givan said the money was allocated to his department in a reallocation of government funds in June.  He said the views of the public had “been clearly heard”.”
  • Northumberland – ‘Not fit for purpose’ – backlash over a Northumberland town’s library move – Chronicle.
  • Stockton – Fairfield Library could be saved from the axe thanks to new co-location plan – Gazette Live. “Fairfield Library has been the subject of much debate over the last few months after plans were revealed to close it. Closing the library would save Stockton Council £77,000 a year – but the plan to axe it was met with strong opposition from its members. Now Labour councillor Carol Clark has teamed up with Cabinet members in an attempt to preserve the library’s presence in Fairfield by incorporating nursery provision.” … “A petition set up by supporters of the library gained over 3,000 signatures, and was presented to council last month”
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries chief recalls letter received from Roald Dahl 30 years ago – Ipswich Star. “When Alison Wheeler was a librarian at Chantry library 30 years ago, she sent a letter with the summer reading club kids to Roald Dahl as it was BFG themes.Now with this year’s reading challenge also BFG themed, Alison has found the letter.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Community group officially takes over running of Sully Library – Penarth Times. “Sully Library was officially handed over to the Sully and Lavernock Community Library Trust on Wednesday, July 27. Sully is the first of the five planned library handovers from Vale of Glamorgan Council control. The other four libraries which are still to be officially handed over are Dinas Powys, Wenvoe, St Athan and Rhoose. The Vale cabinet agreed in February to the establishment of community libraries which is estimated to save the council more than £500,000.”
  • Wandsworth – Wandsworth bucks London’s library closure trend with three branch rebuilds and expanding services – Wandsworth Council. “A new report explores how Wandsworth has managed to keep its entire local library network fully open while delivering a wide range of service improvements and branch upgrades. The paper, which was discussed by the council’s community services committee, shows that all 11 branches have gone from strength to strength since 2013 when the day-to-day management was outsourced to charitable social enterprise Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) following a competitive tendering exercise.”. Coping with £300k cut in budget per year. “Work has now started on a brand new Wandsworth Town centre library on Garratt Lane and the council is also developing plans to replace another two existing branches, York Gardens and Roehampton, with new state of the art buildings offering a wide range of modern services” … “The report goes on to say that in 2014/15, the last year for which comparative statistics are available, almost a million and a half books were issued to Wandsworth library users – the second highest level among the 33 London boroughs.  Meanwhile three quarters of a million children’s books were issued – more than in any other borough. “
  • Warrington – LiveWire introduce new library management system – Livewire (publicity email). “LiveWire will introduce a new library management system at all of its libraries this month which will enable members to access more services online. The new system is called Koha which means ‘gift’ in Maori. It will offer an improved service to both staff and customers with a more intuitive interface and the ability for staff to access the system outside of libraries at community events. One of the key benefits to the public will be that from the launch date any future items library users borrow will be recorded so they can view their own borrowing history both in libraries and at home”
  • West Berkshire – Theale Library: parish councillors question West Berkshire’s figures – Get Reading. “Parish councillors in Theale will be making Freedom of Information requests for the costs incurred in building and running the library” … “After originally planning to shut all the branch libraries in the district, West Berkshire Council settled on a plan earlier this year to close Theale and Wash Common libraries and reduce the mobile library fleet to one. Then the council launched an independent review being run by library service experts Red Quadrant which will report at the end of August. Theale parish councillors who attended a meeting with Red Quadrant said they felt “more positive” about the future of the library.”
  • York – Plans for new community hub at Burnholme – Minster FM. “Residents and businesses in the Tang Hall area of the city will get chance to have their say on proposals for a new community hub, including a new library, on the site of the former Burnholme School from this week.” … proposals include “Development of an Explore library learning centre and café.” see also Have your say on new library and care home – The Press.