I’m sorry to see cuts being extended in Birmingham to include closing two libraries, including in Sutton Coldfield one of its busiest. In addition, there’s a report that cuts have come to heart of London, with Westminster cutting libraries by £750k.  Both councils expect significant job losses. The decision by the DCMS to look into Lancashire’s deep cuts is also making noise. In other news, it’s great to see World Mental Health Day being celebrated – libraries do so much in this sector – and also, do find a short and simple piece on using social media in public libraries to best effect.



  • Ten tips for embedding social media good practice in your everyday public library work – Public Libraries News. My thanks to Claire Pickering of Wakefield Libraries for the following tips, first presented at the Oxford University Press in September 2016. Includes “Define your audience and play to it”, “Don’t neglect your Web 1.0” and “Seize the Zeitgeist”.
  • World Mental Health Day: Libraries Make a Difference – Society of Chief Librarians. “Monday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, one of the ‘spikes’ on the Public libraries’ Universal Health Offer calendar. Here in Bolton we are marking the day with an event to showcase support for young peoples’ mental health. On Monday evening in the lecture theatre at our Central Library we have put together a programme which involves not just the library service but also features the ground breaking work the Bolton Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services team has been undertaking in the town.”. Also includes look at “Books on Prescription – Reading Well for young people: ‘Shelf Help’ collections – available freely in the safe, neutral space of all our libraries.”


  • Canada – A green branch for Toronto Public Library – Designing Libraries. “Much as the greenery will constantly change, the library itself will also be ever evolving to suit the needs of the surrounding, quickly densifying community. To ensure maximum flexibility (as well as barrier-free accessibility), the open-concept, 14,500-square-foot branch rests all on one floor. All the tables and all the stacks are on wheels for easy reorganisation. The raised podium floor has a grid of moveable electrical and data connections that can be re-arranged as needed. Even the two separate rooms adjacent to the central hall — the innovation hub (with 3D printer) and the multi-purpose room — are portioned with glass walls to allow for visual continuity.”
  • Indonesia – Microlibrary built with 2,000 recycled ice cream buckets tackles illiteracy in Indonesia – Inhabitat. “An adorable micro library constructed with no fewer than 2,000 used plastic ice cream buckets popped up on a small square in Indonesia. Architecture firm SHAU Bandung assembled the buckets using a binary code to embed a secret message into the Taman Bima Microlibrary’s facade. Can you figure out the code?”
  • Pakistan – “Now book will rule”: Library opens in Bara Bazaar as area rekindles to life – Express Tribune. Family of lecturer killed while protecting students builds public library in order to show the power of the book over the gun, to evident success.
  • Pakistan – We need to reclaim public libraries and transform them into ‘clinics of the soul’ – Nation. “Public libraries play a crucial role in any society. They have three major roles. First, they preserve the collective memory of the society. Second, they provide the account of the past experiences. Third, they equip readers with tools through which they can navigate the experiences of the past. In short, they underpin the culture of any society and are symbols of its identity.”
  • USA – Inside the New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments – Atlas Obscura. “When these libraries were built, about a century ago, they needed people to take care of them … the Carnegie libraries, were heated by coal. Each had a custodian, who was tasked with keeping those fires burning and who lived in the library, often with his family. “The family mantra was: Don’t let that furnace go out,” one woman who grew up in a library told the New York Times. But since the ’70s and ’80s, when the coal furnaces started being upgraded and library custodians began retiring, those apartments have been emptying out, and the idyll of living in a library has disappeared. Many of the apartments have vanished, too, absorbed, through renovations for more modern uses, back into the buildings. Today there are just 13 library apartments left in the New York Public Library system.

Supporter’s News

  • Nielsen LibScan Public Library Borrowing data Period 8 (4 weeks to 13 August 2016) – Nielsen. “Nielsen LibScan library borrowing data for Period 8, 2016 (4 weeks ending 13 August) were down year-on-year by 17.8% overall.  The total library loans during these four weeks came in at 6.1m, 21% higher than the previous month.  The ‘summer holiday’ effect is evident when looking at the Children’s category, loans for Period 8 were 49% higher than Period 7 despite a 16.3% decline for the category year-on-year.  There are two Children’s books in the Top 10 chart for Period 8, both Jeff Kinney Wimpy Kid books: Old School and Cabin Fever.  Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins keeps the number one spot with a higher volume of loans against the prior four weeks to 16 July, as awareness of the film starring Emily Blunt grew following the trailer release in July and the lead up to the film release in early October. Specific categories continue to grow despite the overall decline in library borrowing.  Young Adult Interest & Leisure has increased loans by 18.1% year-on-year for Period 8 and Health Dieting & Wholefood Cookery has grown by 14.6% year-on-year through Nielsen LibScan.  Nielsen LibScan panel is free to join – why not find out more?. For more information click here or email: sales.book@nielsen.com.

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Rent library space to coffee shops to prevent cuts and closures say Tories – Birmingham Mail. “Opposition Conservatives have outlined a plan to save Birmingham’s threatened libraries from closure and reduced hours – including renting out space to coffee shops” … “Conservative group leader Robert Alden (Erdington) says the cuts could be avoided if the council made savings elsewhere – including £1 million reductions in marketing and communications and some back office cuts. The group also argues that leasing library and leisure centre space to coffee shops or similar businesses could raise £690,000.” … “Libraries are currently open of 1,134.5 hours per week and would be reduced to 1,019 per week according to the council’s consultation document.”
  • Birmingham – Sutton Coldfield Town Library to close in latest council cut – Birmingham Post. Petition started.
  • Birmingham – Two libraries to shut and 24 jobs to go in Birmingham – BBC. “Aston and Sutton Coldfield libraries are earmarked for closure and a total of 24 jobs are set to be cut across the service. Other community libraries could see their opening hours changed, Birmingham City Council said. Opponents to the plans said the services could be saved by bringing other services into the buildings. The Labour-run council currently has 37 community libraries, and has the equivalent of 112 full-time jobs” see also Two of Birmingham’s community libraries are set to close – ITV News and Two Birmingham libraries close and others have hours cut in major cull – Birmingham Mail. “Plans are being put out for consultation over the next three months and an appeal has been issued to residents and community groups to come forward with plans to run their own services offering access to information, offer internet access or loan books.”
  • Cheshire East – Funny Sunny delights audience with her one woman show – Wilmslow. “Sunny Ormonde, also known as the gin-swigging, chain-smoking Lilian Bellamy from Radio 4’s The Archers, kept the audience entertained as she dipped in and out of Lilian’s character. Sunny also performed scenes from other productions in which she had starred throughout her diverse career. Cheshire Libraries are currently hosting a number of theatrical productions as part of the ‘See it Live in Libraries’ project run in conjunction with Cheshire Rural Touring Arts, which aims to bring professional performers and performances to your local libraries.”
  • Devon – £200,000 Arts Council grant to fund research into impact of Devon libraries – Exeter Express and Echo. Libraries Unlimited and Exeter University say research will produce report useful to all public libraries.
  • Devon – Thousands borrow mental health books from Devon libraries – North Devon Gazette. “New figures released on World Mental Health Day today (Monday) reveal more than 6,500 people have borrowed mental health and wellbeing books since April.” …”To continue the activities and promote positive mental health and wellbeing across the county, Libraries Unlimited will be hosting a range of events and workshops as part of its Active Life Active Mind campaign.”
  • Dudley – Netherton and Brierley Hill libraries to host Halloween bat trails during half term – Stourbridge News.
  • Dudley – Survey wants kids’ thoughts on Dudley borough’s libraries – Stourbridge News. “Between Monday (October 17) and Sunday, October 30, Dudley Council will be running a survey asking how children and young people use the library and how satisfied they are with particular services and with the library overall. From these results, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) library survey gathers information to map the recent trends for local authority run libraries across the UK.”
  • Haringey – #18: My local library – Objects of Interest. “Perhaps most of what we get from books can’t be expressed simply, let alone measured. I can say though that the NHS has already saved something due to the health-related book I read (and subsequently bought a copy of) and might save more if Daniel Lieberman is right and the Paleo diet keeps people healthier for longer.  What I particularly love about libraries is the way you discover things by accident – this doesn’t happen so much on the cookie-controlled web. It happens in bookshops too of course, but those are diminishing even more than libraries”
  • Hertfordshire – First community archive network day – Hertfordshire Council. “Capturing local memories and knowledge is essential to building the local and social history for Hertfordshire. I am sure that this fascinating event will provide a useful resource to all our residents who are passionate about community archives. My thanks to everyone involved for helping this to happen.” The community archive network day is at Welwyn Garden City library on Saturday 15 October, from 10.30am to 3pm. Tickets cost £7 and include a light lunch, with concessions for Herts Memories network associate members and volunteers. “
  • Lambeth – Carnegie Library: Lambeth announce short notice exhibition with wildly inconvenient times – Brixton Buzz. “Herne Hill locals have tried for a full year to find out the truth about Lambeth’s plans to turn their much-used, highly popular Carnegie Library into a ‘book-ish gym,’ and – absurdly – the only hours offered at this week’s exhibition at nearby St Saviour’s church hall are: Wednesday October 12: 9am- 1pm;  Thursday October 13: 12pm-6pm.”

“Anyone would think that the whole point of having a public consultation was to try and get as many people as involved as possible. However, Lambeth like to do things differently, with the two short daytime slots automatically excluding most people who have jobs.”

“Obviously this is a first step and it’s important to recognise they are looking into the process of how things have been done,” said Maynard this morning. “One of my concerns was that the outcome of the consultation was announced so quickly that I don’t believe they had sufficient time to properly examine the evidence gathered, so was it genuine or not? “ The council had received more than more than 7,000 responses to its consultation about the libraries’ future”

  • Lancashire – Penwortham library could re-open as a museum – Blog Preston. “plans lodged by Penwortham Town Council outline how a ‘library theatre incorporation information desk and a small museum’ are part of a ‘well-developed business case’. The county council closed Penwortham’s library on 30 September but is facing increasing pressure to review its decision.”
  • Sandwell – Shhh Sandwell libraries invent quiet zones because they are now “community hubs” – Halesowen News. “Sandwell libraries are proving so popular quiet zones for people to read and study are being set up because of the din other users make. Library staff are setting up dedicated quiet ‘sssh zones’ in all libraries for those visitors who want a bit of silence. Over the years all Sandwell libraries have become busy community hubs offering much more than just borrowing books. They are used by community groups, for art exhibitions, craft clubs, children’s holiday activities, for gigs, drama and dance – and now a little bit of them will be set aside during the day for quiet reading.”
  • Sefton – Libraries in Sefton launch new e-lending service – and it’s free – Southport Visiter. “Working in partnership with the Borrowbox platform, Sefton’s Library service are now offering a variety of titles which can be downloaded to a mobile device or pc. This means that Sefton’s library patrons can look forward to reading their favourite authors online, whether relaxing at home or on the move.”
  • Sheffield – Steve Ayris loves Ikea – hates libraries – Star / Letters. “I do not think any of us need lectures from Steve Ayris over business sense or libraries. This is the same Steve Ayris who tried to close Hillsborough Library in 2010 and then seemed hurt when we in Hillsborough got rid of him in 2011.  This is the same Lib Dem Steve Aryis who failed to get elected in 2012 whilst standing for Beauchief and Greenhill as the voters deserted him and his Dodo party. “
  • South Tyneside – BT shows support for new library The Word – Shileds Gazette. “BT is supporting The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, which is due to open near to its South Shields offices on October 22.” … “The company is sponsoring the Market Place site’s FabLab area. FabLab @ The Word will feature 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters which will allow visitors to design and produce items such as fridge magnets, and keyrings.”
  • Stoke on Trent – Library in Burslem run by volunteers is becoming a community hub – Stoke Sentinel. “A volunteer-led library is set to become a community hub thanks to funding from a software firm. Burslem Book Room is currently based in the prayer chapel in Swan Bank methodist church but will be taking over the entire church keepers’ house in the new year thanks to help from Newcastle-based company Synectics Solutions. The business is paying for rooms at the house to be renovated and for computers to be installed.”. 1000 books, provided by the council.
  • Warrington – Councillor vows to fight closure of Penketh Library – Warrington Guardian. ” Linda Dirir has said she will fight the closure of Penketh Library and criticised LiveWire for suggesting elderly people travel to Great Sankey to browse the shelves at a new neighbourhood hub. Cllr Dirir (Lab) criticised LiveWire’s plans to replace nine libraries, including Penketh, with lending lockers and said the company had ignored the challenge of making libraries sustainable.”
  • West Berkshire – Communities to be more involved in library service – West Berks. “In recent months a review of the library service has been taking place as the Council seeks to reduce  costs as part of a wider programme of savings. A report detailing the findings of the review and recommending a further public consultation on possible changes will be considered by the Executive on Thursday 20 October. The consultation will consider a mix of volunteers and library staff across the service. In each option Newbury library would remain fully staffed, one mobile library would remain and Wash Common library would close.
  • Westminster – Westminster Labour anger at Tory plans for huge library cuts – Labour Westminster. “The Conservative Council has produced plans that would cut £750,000 per year from the Westminster Libraries budget and at the heart of these cuts are plans to remove the equivalent of 17 ½ full-time members of staff. Overwhelmingly the roles that would be lost are the qualified librarians whose expertise and passion for reading help make Westminster’s libraries a hugely valued part of our community”