Staffordshire have started passing several libraries to volunteers while Sunderland have just started a consultation on cutting the library budget. At the other end of the consulting process, Bedford has announced that all libraries will stay open but, perhaps worryingly, have not said what shape that form will take. Councils can mean all sorts of things by “no libraries will close” including the traditional pre-2010 meaning of no change and more recent meanings like retired people staffing them in their spare time or the installation of  remote-control technology. Meanwhile, in Wales, Ystrad Mynach (l’ve always loved that name) Library is having a refurb, Malta is experiencing a lending surge and some USA libraries have installed table tennis tables.



National news

  • Councils slash housing, cultural and transport budgets, new analysis finds – Independent. “New analysis by the Press Association has found that cuts averaging 29 per cent have been made by local authorities to budgets for cultural services, which also includes money earmarked for community centres and theatres.” … “When adjusted for inflation, total expenditure on cultural services across England has fallen by just over £1bn since 2010.”
  • Keeping libraries relevant and enhancing community wellbeing – Libraries Taskforce. “This blog was written by Cllr Ian Stewart following Kathy’s visit to libraries in Cumbria”
  • The National Library of Wales in a new light – Alyson’s Welsh libraries blog. “Although I have not yet read the novel Y Llyfrgell (my Welsh needs to improve a bit more first), I was keen to watch the film adaptation, The Library Suicides (or Y Llyfrgell in Welsh), which has just been released (August 2016) in Welsh with English subtitles. As I’m in Aberystwyth I had the slightly surreal pleasure of watching the film only a few minutes walk away from where 90% of the film is set: the National Library of Wales.”

“As I am lucky enough to go to meetings and events in the National Library, including walking through the staff areas, it was slightly strange to see sections I know in real life up on the big screen. Especially when they’re covered in blood.”

  • Take a walk to the library…… – Libraries Taskforce. “This guest post was written by Brian Ashley from Arts Council England, to illustrate their role in supporting libraries to deliver the culture outcome” … “So how does the Arts Council make a difference? What attracts most people’s attention is the investment – nearly £20 million since we embraced this role in 2012. This investment supports libraries and other organisations to deliver arts and cultural activity; projects like Warwickshire’s Fantastic Fun with Words Festival, or the Book Hive. It has enabled important developments in what libraries offer such as free access to WiFi and how it can be used, and commissioned action research and evaluation that demonstrates the value and impact of libraries”
  • The trouble with philanthropy is that money can’t buy equality – Guardian. “At a time when early childhood has exploded as a lucrative market opportunity, no money is exchanged at the nation’s public libraries. Why? Because in the 1850s, a wealthy guy invited a poor, 13-year-old immigrant boy to spend Saturday afternoons at his private library in Pittsburgh. That boy grew up to be steel magnate Andrew Carnegie … Philanthropy has come a long way since the “Patron Saint of Libraries” took a childhood experience and turned it into a national legacy. Too often, it feels like we’ve lost our core wisdom about how change actually happens.” …. “A note about philanthropists’ demographics: three-fourths of foundations’ full-time staff are white and nearly 90% are over 30. Women flourish at smaller foundations – about three of four fundraisers are female – but at those with assets of more than $750m, women comprise only 28.9% of CEOs and CGOs (chief growth officers).”

International news

  • Australia – State Library Wants You – Weekend Notes. “The State Library of South Australia is one of our best-loved cultural institutions. Every week thousands of people are drawn to the State Library in Adelaide, seeking knowledge, entertainment, help or even just a quiet refuge.” … “Even after dark when library staff have long gone, the animated Story Wall outside the State Library continues to make the library a sought after Adelaide attraction with its colourful illuminations.” … “The State government is now proposing massive budget cuts to the State Library which would see the loss of 20% of their staff. Under threat are the Family History Service, ELLIS service for non-English speakers, processing of SA Heritage items, Oral History services, and the very popular Ask Us service for the public to lodge quick enquiries. “
  • Malta – Book loans from public libraries rose by 22.5% in 2015 – Malta Today. “Data provided by the Central Public Libary show that in 2015, book acquisitions increased by 31.5% over the preceding year, reaching a total of 39,337. Almost two in three of these book acquisitions were given as a donation.  Year-on-year, the number of new members increased by 1,682 persons, a 36.8% rise. This was mainly due to a 33.8% increase in adult membership and a 38% increase in junior membership aged 0 to 13 years. An increase was also registered in both adult and junior foreign visitors.”
  • USA – Borrowed time: US library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books – Guardian. ” library in Alabama has reportedly warned its customers that it plans to enforce strict new borrowing rules that include the possibility of jail time for anyone who fails to return a book on time. In an effort to recoup about $200,000 worth of overdue books, the Athens-Limestone public library will be enforcing a new policy that includes fines of $100, a city jail term of 30 days or possibly both, according to the News Courier. Library director Paula Laurita said the harsh new rules were necessary because offenders were effectively stealing from the library and taxpayers.”
  • USA – No, the Internet Has Not Killed the Printed Book. Most People Still Prefer Them – New York Times. Pew Research shows “Sixty-five percent of adults in the United States said they had read a printed book in the past year, the same percentage that said so in 2012. When you add in ebooks and audiobooks, the number that said they had read a book in printed or electronic format in the past 12 months rose to 73 percent, compared with 74 percent in 2012. Twenty-eight percent said they had opted for an ebook in the past year, while 14 percent said they had listened to an audiobook.”
  • USA – Ping Pong at the Library – Public Libraries Online. “My current library, Queens Library at South Hollis, has a ton of teens and kids. Many of them are play ping pong for the very first time. I like to think that when these kids grow older, they’ll remember their first experience of ping pong at the library, and they’ll be ardent supporters of the library! Ping pong is a great fitness activity that helps teens release energy after school. But teens aren’t the only ones who play”
  • USA – San Francisco couple opens free public library – ABC 7 News. “Rick and Megan Prelinger have spent decades collecting old maps, advertising magazines, and technical handbooks. They call it historical ephemera. “We’re not good on sports, we’re not good on nursing, we have relatively little on fashion,” said Rick. “We collect what we like.” They started in collecting in 1982. When the collection outgrew their home, they moved to San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Some of the books were purchased, others were donations or came from old libraries. It is all carefully curated to meet the Prelinger’s hope of preserving the past.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeen – Aberdeen libraries make plea for lego – Evening Express. “Inspired by the success of Lego Literacy clubs in libraries all over the world, City Libraries decided to establish a free club in the Central Library and launched an appeal for unwanted Lego.”
  • Bedford – Consultation may have saved Bedford Borough’s libraries from closure – Bedfordshire on Sunday. “No libraries will be closed across Bedford Borough if a recommendation to the council’s executive is approved next week. This year Bedford Borough Council undertook a two-stage consultation, asking people what they felt about the library service and what was important to them.”
  • Caerphilly – Ystrad Mynach Library to close for £48,000 refurbishment – Caerphilly Observer. “The library, on High Street, will close its doors to members of the public on Monday, September 5, while £48,000 worth of improvement works take place. It is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 10. The improvement works will include new furniture, shelving and central staff desk, as well as new carpets and a fresh decor throughout the interior. The refurbishment will also ensure the important town centre amenity is able to offer modern facilities for years to come.”
  • Lancashire – Council jobs at risk when buildings close – 2BR. “More than 125 staff risk losing their jobs and countless others could take pay cuts, as a result of building closures in Lancashire.” but “Following the proposed closure of council owned buildings, the County anticipates that a similar number of [library] jobs will be available, but it’s likely that staff will be forced to take pay cuts, change jobs or work bases. A spokesperson from Lancashire County Council was unavailable to comment on the staffing implications until the proposals have been discussed at cabinet next week.”
  • Lancashire – ‘We’ll carry on fight for our libraries’ – new petition launched – Lancashire Telegraph. “Cllr Atkinson said: “The Conservative Group has an alternative proposal which would enable all of these facilities to remain open. “These issues will be debated at an LCC Scrutiny meeting on September 6 at 2pm.”. The petition will be distributed county wide by all Conservative county councillors and physical copies will also be placed in the library in Whalley, Clitheroe and Longridge as well as the Youth Centre in Berry Lane, Longridge.”
  • Norfolk – Head of libraries service to retire after 35 years – Eastern Daily Press. “Jennifer Holland, Assistant Director for Cultural Services and Head of Norfolk’s Library and Information Service is to retire from Norfolk County Council at the end of September, after 35 years working for the authority. Steve Miller has been appointed as Acting Assistant Director for Culture and Lifelong Learning, pending any decisions on a permanent replacement, and will take up his role when Jennifer retires. Steve is currently Head of Museums and Head of Arts and in addition to his new role will continue to lead on museums and the arts. Jan Holden has been appointed Head of Service for the Norfolk Library and Information Service and will take up her appointment at the beginning of October.”
  • Northamptonshire – Tell the county council what you think of the library service in Northamptonshire – Northants Herald and Post. “The library service, delivered by First for Wellbeing on behalf of Northamptonshire County Council, is carrying out a survey of its customers to find out what they think about their library and what could be made better. It runs for the whole of September on the mobile library and for one week in county libraries from October 10 to 16. The Adult Public Library User Survey (APLUS) is a national survey which is carried out every other year.”
  • North Yorkshire – Volunteers take on South Craven libraries provision – Keighley News. “South Craven Library Services will be based at the current Cross Hills premises. Residents will run it, with backing from parish councils. The Stronger Communities programme has provided £200 to help cover start-up costs and the group is seeking charitable status to unlock more potential funding avenues.”
  • Nottingham – Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature appoints Director – Leftlion. Sandy (Sandeep) Mahal appointed. “Sandy worked in libraries for ten years and was named one of the UK’s top ten librarians by the Love Libraries campaign; was formerly Head of Partnerships at The Reading Agency; and for the last eighteen months was director of BBC/Arts Council The Space – a commissioning agency supporting greater digital access to the arts.”
  • Staffordshire – Community group to take over management of Shenstone Library – Lichfield Live. “The Shenstone Community Group will take on the management of the library after being offered a contract.” … “The council says the plans will “re-energise” libraries which have seen the number of people using them decline.”
  • Staffordshire – Second round of community library transfers announced Staffordshire Newsletter. “Eight contracts have been offered to community bodies, schools and a business enterprise group in the second phase of transfers, bringing the total number of libraries transferred from council management, or in the process of transferring, to 19.” … “Twenty of the council’s 43 libraries will be managed and staffed by the county council’s library service, while 23 will be supported by not-for-profit groups in the community.” … “Management groups still have to be appointed for the libraries at Cheslyn Hay, Great Wyrley, Loggerheads and Talke and they will be the subject of a third round of bid development.” … “Community libraries are supported by the county council to take over the day-to-day running and management of the library. They will have access to the library service’s stock and IT network, while the county council remains responsible for agreed utility and maintenance costs.”
  • Sunderland – Future of Sunderland library services to be discussed as part of seven-week consultation – Chronicle. “The council is asking both people who use the libraries and those who don’t what is most important to them about what’s on offer in the city’s libraries, if they don’t use the service, what could be done to change that. Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for Public Health, Culture and Wellness at Sunderland City Council, said: “We want to find out how people are using library services, whether they’re aware of the range of library services available and what we can do to encourage them to use them more within the reduced budget we have available. “When we last reviewed library services in 2013 it was on the understanding that the Government’s austerity programme was due to end in 2015.”
  • Swindon – Campaign to save Park Library is launched ahead of public meeting showdown – Swindon Advertiser. “Save Swindon’s Libraries campaign is calling on library users across the town to turn out for a public meeting next Tuesday to make their voices heard. The event, which will be held from 7pm to 9pm at St Joseph’s College on Ocotal Way, forms a key part of the ongoing consultation into the council’s library strategy. It is the only opportunity for councillors to hear the views of the public in an open forum setting as all the other events are in the form of drop-in sessions.”

“Forum secretary, Martin Wicks, said: “The council knows that the area is one with high levels of social deprivation. “They want us to run a ‘voluntary library’ but there is no way that you can maintain a genuine library without professional staff and book renewal.”

  • Wigan – Trend-bucking council defies the savage cuts – Wigan Today. “while many parts of the country have seen mass closures of such institutions, Wigan has managed to maintain virtually all such services, perhaps by reducing staff and/or hours or, through the council’s Deal, by handing over the running of operations to volunteers, trusts, charities and other organisations.” … “Beech Hill Library did close but has been replaced with a Book Cycle outlet where people can still obtain books for free.” … “. Aspull library, which is now being run by the community.”