Good to see a new library opening in Slough, although it’s somewhat offset by cuts in Gwynedd but, look, I get tired of concentrating on the bad news so, please forgive me, while I give you a list of new or refurbished libraries this year (see this page for previous years):

  1. Blaenau Gwent Ebbw Vale Library refurbished. (June 2016)
  2. Caerphilly £48k refurbishment for Ystrad Mynach Library. (September 2016)
  3. Camden New (replacement) library, combined with Cockpit Arts, as part of housing development.
  4. Cheshire East Crewe Library moves into co-location with leisure centre.
  5. Enfield £4.2m “transformation” of Edmonton Green Library planned: with added IT Centre, study spaces, local history and museum. (Library closed for one year from September 2016).
  6. Flintshire New co-located library opens at Deeside Leisure Centre: replacing Hawarden, Mancot and Queensferry which will close this month.(Feb 2016)
  7. HaringeyMarcus Garvey Library reopens after £3 upgrade (July 2016)
  8. Manchester – Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre opens : replaces Levenshulme Cromwell Grove Library. (Feburary 2016). Chorlton Library to be refurbished (February 2016).
  9. Oxfordshire Bicester to move into new £6.6m co-location on 11 April. Library to be “larger and have better facilities”.
  10. Pembrokeshire £3.4m new library/gallery/café in Haverfordwest.
  11. Slough £22m “The Curve” library and cultural centre opened.
  12. Southampton Woolston Library reopens in new building as part of property deal. (8)
  13. Southend Kent Elms Library to be refurbished: new entrance and meeting room. (9)
  14. Warwickshire – Southam Library opens (part of £12.4m development project) (January 2016) Reopening via refurbishment.  Alcester moved into co-located Globe House.

Yes, a few of these are replacing stand-alone libraries, sometimes more than one, but it’s still good to get to see some genuine investment going on. There’s life in the library yet. Let’s make sure it stays that way as much as possible.


National news

  • Gove’s campaign was an incredible car crash and I was a leading passenger’ – Times. “The longest-serving arts minister in British history, and a Tory, will stand up in parliament today and call for an increase — yes, an increase — in state funding of the arts. There’s one snag. Ed Vaizey was sacked by Theresa May two months ago…”
  • Progress towards Libraries Deliver: Ambition – Libraries Taskforce. “Notwithstanding parliamentary recess, our new Libraries Minister has been very engaged in his new portfolio. As well as numerous briefings and meetings with the DCMS Libraries Team and Libraries Taskforce Team, he’s started to meet Taskforce member organisations and visited a number of libraries. You may have seen the tweets from his trip on 23 August to Wokingham, Bicester, Farnham Common and Slough Libraries.” … “he wants to ensure libraries have a long-term sustainable future, and is clearly going to be pressing authorities to ensure they have considered all options for service delivery before making significant changes to their service.” … “We understand and accept that authorities are having to make difficult decisions in light of their limited budgets but, if short-term savings really are required, it needs to be clear how the proposals developed sit alongside – and in the context of – the overall strategic direction of travel and a future-facing vision. They should not prejudice longer-term ambitions.”
  • Rebuck: ‘libraries and literacy crucial for health of the nation’ – BookSeller. “Penguin Random House chair​ Gail Rebuck has spoken up for libraries in the House of Lords, citing research that found they save the NHS £27.5m a year in reduced GP visits. Baroness Rebuck also made a “plea” for the government to better fund literacy charities. ” … “”Perhaps we should put this figure [£27.5m] on the side of buses. Perhaps we should also put it on the side of mobile libraries and even ambulances, to recognise the value of reading to our health,” she said, in reference to the recent Brexit campaign. “Sadly, however, our libraries themselves have not been in good health; many have died, and the epidemic continues. We have seen more than one library a week close across England since austerity measures were introduced, and Lancashire just announced that it is about to close 29 of its libraries. We must urgently bring the library network into remission.”
  • The time of the library is now – Government Business. “Ian Anstice [For it is I – Ed.], professionally qualified librarian and editor of Public Libraries News, explains why keeping local libraries open is crucial to our local communities” … “One of the cheapest and most universal forms of human empowerment that this country has”

International news

  • Canada – A library for social connection and creative discovery – Designing Libraries. “The Vaughan Civic Centre Resource Library, Toronto, is a visionary maker-space for community learning, gathering, creating and celebration for the digital age” … “Prominent and visible from the library’s entrance and also around the building is an anchoring outdoor garden courtyard and symbolic red maple “Tree of Knowledge”.” … “Collaboration spaces, meeting rooms, a ‘teen-only’ lounge, public-access computers, a large study hall, and an extensive children’s activity area form a circle around the courtyard, representing a circle of community.”
  • USA – 19 Secrets Librarians Will Never Tell You – Buzzfeed. Unusually for clickbait, this is actually a dead-on accurate list e.g. “They love giving book recommendations (or what us library-types call a “reader’s advisory”). It’s honestly one of their favorite parts of the job. If you’re looking for a new book to read, ask your librarian”
  • USA – Libraries 2016 – Pew Research Center. “Most Americans view public libraries as important parts of their communities, with a majority reporting that libraries have the resources they need and play at least some role in helping them decide what information they can trust. When asked to think about the things that libraries could do in the future, notable numbers of Americans respond in a way that can be boiled down to one phrase: “Yes, please.””
  • USA – Library 2.016 : Libraries of the Future – Library 2.0. “We’re excited to announce the third of three Library 2.016 online mini-conferences: “Libraries of the Future,” October 6th, 2016, from 12:00 – 3:00pm US-Pacific Time (click for your own time zone). As libraries shape their futures – and adapt to the future needs of their communities – what are the near- and long-term trends that point to our brightest opportunities. What can we learn from library innovators and innovators from other sectors and industries that will help us shape the future we want and that our communities aspire towards?”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – ‘It is not a transformation, it is a destruction’ – Barnet’s Unison branch call to save library jobs – Times Series. “Barnet’s Unison members are calling for an extension on the library staff consultation period, as 46% could lose their jobs. A meeting was held in Chipping Barnet library Stapylton Road this morning (Sep 12), where staff and Unison members were told of the cuts. ” … “They are increasing spend and decreasing staff. It is not a transformation, it is a destruction. I have heard of three accounts where people have been unwell at the library, and there have been little or no staff to help them, this includes a situation where one person was very ill.” “
  • Bromley – Bromley council’s plan to run-down and break-up local libraries falls apart Unite the union. “Britain’s biggest union, has won a significant victory in Bromley against the fragmentation of the borough’s library service.  The proposal from the council to turn 8 community libraries into volunteer outfits, effectively killing them off as properly resourced libraries, has been thrown into disarray. ” … “A letter dated 6 September seen by Unite from Colin Brand, assistant director of environment and community services, states Bromley Community Link the preferred bidder for the volunteer library contract has now decided to “withdraw from the tender process and will take no further part .” Over the last year there has been a sustained campaign by workers and residents against the closures and other cuts to services across the borough, including a series of strikes and well supported demonstrations.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Little Chalfont Knit & Knatter Group – Skipton Building Society. Group is in the running for funding, depending on public votes. “The group was founded by Christine Crease and Susan Keir in Little Chalfont Community Library to bring together the ladies of the local community to share their skills and to teach non knitters and crocheters. No charge is made but donations are given towards the Little Chalfont Community Library which is a charity for using their premises.”
  • Coventry – Libraries are a basic human right say campaign group as petition is handed to Council – Coventry Observer. “Campaigners from Save Coventry Libraries last week handed in a petition signed by nearly 2,000 residents against the plans by the Council to reduce library services and replace fully trained, paid, staff with volunteers. Campaign organiser Sarah Smith handed over the 1,886 strong petition – with an additional 456 online signatures – and further protests are planned amid doubts surrounding the future of children and youth services across the city.” … “Community-led libraries are at the greatest risk of closing unless no community organisations come forward to run them – Cauldon Castle School in Wyken, Cheylesmore, Coundon, Finham and Earlsdon fall into this category”
  • Devon – Okehampton Library celebrates 100th anniversary of author Roald Dahl – Okehampton Times. “The [Summer Reading] The challenge had been kindly supported by the friends of Okehampton Library and Merlin Cinemas and was an event organised by The Reading Agency and was available to children in a number of libraries across the UK. The afternoon of activities hosted by the library featured some of Roald Dahl’s most-loved characters and the incredible artwork of his principal illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake.”
  • Gwynedd – Four libraries to close in Gwynedd as part of major shakeup to service – Daily Post. “Deiniolen councillor Elfed Williams described the news as a “massive blow” for the community. Cllr Williams said: “I’m really disappointed as the community have made so much effort to oppose these plans with petitions and letters”
  • Gwynedd – New strategy for library service – Cumbrian News. “The ‘More than Books’ strategy which will be considered by the council’s Cabinet will set an objective of maintaining an efficient and comprehensive library service for the people of Gwynedd that will be within reach to anyone wishing to use the service, while simultaneously meeting national requirements at a time where money available to sustain services is decreasing.”
  • Hertfordshire – Buntingford Library to stay on the High Street but modernisation improvements delayed – Hertfordshire Mercury. “Campaigners were left with mixed emotions after Hertfordshire County Council decided to keep Buntingford Library on the High Street – but delayed improvements for 18 months. A meeting of the Public Health, Localism and Libraries Cabinet Panel voted overwhelmingly to support a recommendation to keep the library in its home after public opposition to plans to move it to the fire station. However the councillors also passed a motion that the director of resources at the council would review the position and opportunities of the Buntingford Library in 18 months.”
  • Lancashire – Adlington Community Library – Survey Monkey. “LCC have sealed the fate of Adlington Library and it is set to close at some point between 1st Oct-30th Nov. Friends of Adlington Library (FoAL) aim to set up and run an Independent Community Library in conjunction with Chorley Borough Council. We would love to know if you use Adlington Library, how you use it and what you might like from an Independent Community Library. Please complete this quick survey.”
  • Lancashire – Final chapter for Burnley libraries – and community centres also get the axe – Burnley Express. “The death knell was sounded for numerous Burnley libraries and community centres in the latest round of county council cost-saving measures. Four Burnley libraries – Briercliffe, Rosegrove, Pike Hill and Burnley Campus – will close on September 30th after the county council’s cabinet met to approve major cuts to services, reorganisation of others and the closure of more than 100 of its buildings.”
  • Lincolnshire – Book loan period reduced for Grantham Library customers – Grantham Journal. “Visitors to Grantham Library will only be able to loan a book for three weeks, instead of four, from the start of next month. The move is aimed at enabling a greater turnover of stock so customers get a wider selection of titles to choose from. It is part of a drive by charitable social enterprise GLL to improve the library service across the county”
  • North Yorkshire – Letter: Library cuts caused by governmentBridlington Free Press / Letters. “When this present Government states that they have created a good economy, yes they have but at the expense to the general public with cuts to public services. “
  • Shropshire – Work to start on turning Shrewsbury Library into council’s new home – Shropshire Star. “Builders will moving into Shrewsbury’s Library next week to begin work for the historic building to become the new home of the town’s council.” £200k. “Shrewsbury Town Council is also in negotiations with Shropshire Council to take over the running of the library service at the building. Shropshire Council has been seeking to reduce its libraries budget and has been seeking new management for its libraries across the county.”
  • St Helens – Arts stars to shine in TV appearance – St Helens Star. The ” team behind the success of St Helens libraries’ Cultural Hubs will feature in a TV awards ceremony tonight (September 12) as they celebrate being voted the nation’s best arts project in this year’s National Lottery Awards. They will be joined on the red carpet by celebs including actor John Barrowman, singer Kimberly Wyatt and many of Team GB’s Olympic heroes as they accept their honour in front of a star-studded audience. Millions of TV viewers will hear about the project, which was recognised for its inspirational work using £249,600 of Lottery funding to run a series of arts, music and drama sessions in libraries for more than 4,000 people across St Helens.”
  • Slough – Heart of Slough transformed as The Curve opens – Slough and South Bucks Observer. “the heart of Slough was transformed overnight last week as the town’s new £22million Curve library and cultural centre was finally opened to the public on Friday morning. Suddenly the 90m long, 15.5m high building covered by boardings and steel barriers for so many months was open to reveal a library boasting 44,000 books, a 280 seater performance space, 35 public computers plus exhibits from Slough Museum all scattered over all three floors. The building may have been pure 21st century. But a sense of history was everywhere – and not just in the museum exhibits.”

“We just received the court judgement and unfortunately the judge ruled against us. Unless we get leave to appeal … and an injunction is applied this means the council can go ahead with the community run plan. We can expect them to want to move forward on this rapidly.” Vale of Glamorgan – Save Rhoose Library – Facebook.