As well as reading and summarising all the news I see about public libraries, one of the jobs that is also done, is spotting new ideas for the sector.  This is ongoing on the blog but every now again I copy and past them into the “Ideas and Innovations” page.  I’ve just done that again, added them all up and there’s 250 ideas there now. Gosh, that’s a lot of ideas. I’m sure one or two will be useful to you.  Have a look at Ideas and innovations in public libraries here.

Thanks to all those who completed my little survey last week: I’ve had a look at the results and there’s some useful stuff in it.  More on that later this week.


National news

  • Cilip VP Election – Rita Marcella – Leon’s Library Blog. “This post is written by Rita Marcella, one of the two candidates for Cilip Vice-President. I asked each candidate the same five questions with the opportunity for an opening and closing statement. The questions reflect my own interests as a public librarian but are hopefully also relevant for the wider profession as well as campaigners.” … “We need to provide more tangible evidence of the ways in which access to information and knowledge empowers individuals, organisations and societies. It is my view that there has been a steady erosion of the funding of, investment in and commitment to libraries and information service support in all kinds of spheres in the three decades of my career and that this erosion has been mirrored in academia, where our discipline has found itself swamped by an organisational incorporation into ‘bigger’ disciplines to the detriment of the subject. I’d like to bring the whole profession – practitioners, academics and those entering the profession together to assemble the evidence of the impact of libraries and information in an even stronger way. Through CILIP we have the base of professional partnership on which to make that work.”

“I first came across bananas at the German Library conference in Bremen in 2014. Two Americans Meg from Chattanooga and Tara from Reno, had set up something similar to your picture. The bananas are linked to a PC by an Arduino device . They had a piano keyboard on screen and were asking delegates to play the German national anthem by hitting bananas. On their full presentation, later in the week, they asked me to help them and so me and Tatiana from IFLA HQ together with more Americans gave a demonstration using carrots. This time we were linked to a game of Tetris.” Ian Stringer explains the mystery of the image of bananas linked to computers in the previous post (via email).

  • Library closures, cuts and false economies – Guardian. “On 5 November, my family and I marched in the first national demonstration for libraries, museums and galleries. As part of my mission to dismantle poverty, I’ve placed social literacy – and the fight to promote our libraries and local bookshops – at the heart of my work. Make no mistake; if we lose our libraries, if we sit by and watch as our communities are philistinised not only will we have paved the way for the privatisation of leisure centres, parks and social centres but we will have stoked the fires of that false economy – austerity – and passed on yet more “efficiency savings” to our prisons, A&E departments and rough sleepers’ services.” says Lord John Bird.
  • A moment that changed me: stealing the book that saved my life – Guardian. “I never remember a librarian speaking to me, either to advise me what to read or to ask me why I wasn’t at school. Nobody offered me a library ticket so I could take the books home. Harris Library librarians of the mid-1990s – if you are reading this, I’m so, so grateful for that: for being, just for those few stolen hours, left entirely and completely alone.”
  • Should Welsh councils charge more for toilets and libraries? – BBC. “People are divided over whether they should pay extra to use public services including toilets and libraries. The Wales Audit Office has said councils could do more to raise money by charging for more services. In a report, the public spending watchdog urged councils to be more ambitious about outsourcing work and allowing people to pay online or by phone. BBC Wales News asked some residents how they would feel about being charged extra to use public services.”

International news

  • EU and USAWinston Churchill Fellowship: Designing Public Libraries – British Council. “As the architects for the new Aarhus DOKK1 explains, the library is ‘a place where the life of the city unfolds’.  Designers are playing a key role in their transformation from a warehouse for books into a gathering space for people.” … “During her time in Europe and North America, she interviewed around fifty people, and visited thirty-four buildings, giving her deep and long-lasting insight into the interests of staff and customers, and the role of architects and designers in shaping the public library of the future. ” … “She has also written several articles on her findings, and is in the process of putting together a proposal for research on the role of public libraries in bringing about social equity, focusing on cities undergoing gentrification”
  • EU – EU e-lending ruling sparks book trade concerns – BookSeller. “Publishers and booksellers associations have expressed concern over an e-lending ruling passed by the European Union which will see the lending of digital books in public libraries treated the same as physical books in “certain conditions”. But the ruling has been welcomed by librarians.” … “However librarian body the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has welcomed the ruling. Nick Poole, chief executive of CILIP, said: “While most libraries in the UK lend e-books the choice of titles is limited, and less than one percent of all books lent are e-books. Currently copyright law restricts the choice of e-books the public can borrow and flexibility with which libraries can lend. “This ruling is a welcome step towards balancing fair remuneration for rights-holders with the needs of the public and the benefits that digital knowledge sharing brings to us all.””
  • Global – EBLIP9 Call for Papers and Posters – Drexel University Libraries. “Director of Service Development & Innovation at Toronto Public Library, who will be talking about the importance of encouraging public library practitioners to become involved in creating and sharing evidence of the great work taking place in their sector: “I am keenly aware of all of the good program evaluation and assessment work that goes on in public libraries to inform services and innovation yet it is too frequently not taken the step further, to openly available publication, to build our evidence-base, inform our collective practice, and be available to tell our stories.” (Pam Ryan, 2016)
  • USA – Libraries can be a health lifeline for people most at risk – Reuters. “Public libraries can provide vital support for people at high risk for health problems such as new immigrants and people dealing with homelessness, mental illness and substance use, say U.S. researchers. Their analysis of Philadelphia libraries and how communities use them concludes that libraries can offer specific programs that directly and indirectly improve health, such as classes to improve skills or literacy. Librarians can also act as support figures, connecting people with resources for basic needs like housing.”
  • USA – More Wins than Losses for Libraries – Library Journal. “On a long election night filled with tension and political upset, 79 libraries across the country had referenda on the ballot. The news for libraries was more good than bad. At press time, 54 wins and 12 losses were recorded, with the remainder either not applicable—representing votes to leave a district, for instance—or still too close to call.”
  • USA – The Post-Election Library – Programming Librarian.
  • USA – Pop-Up Perfection: Staging a Pop-Up Library – Public Libraries Online. “It’s been a hard week for many Americans, as Tuesday’s election amplified divisions within communities and flamed feelings of isolation, anger and fear among much of the population. As the dust settles, libraries across the country are coming up with ways, large and small, to make all people feel safe and welcome, regardless of who they are or which candidates they supported. Here are some of those ways…”

Local news by authority

  • Cambridgeshire – Protest: Bookworms in Cambridge furious over plans to slash spending on library books – Cambridge News. “City MP Daniel Zeichner joined bookworms from across the city who are up in arms about Cambridgeshire County Council’s plan to slash spending on library books. They gathered at noon yesterday outside the Central Library in Grand Arcade to demonstrate their feelings and put pressure on county council chiefs to scrap the plan. The protesters held up library books that they plan to #wavetosave. The £325,000 planned cut will mean fewer books available in Cambridge’s public libraries for readers to borrow.”
  • Cornwall – Library changes debated – Cornish Times. “Cornwall Council cabinet members have been debating changes to library services and offices across Cornwall which involve devolving libraries and one stop shops to local councils and community organisations. Geoff Brown, the cabinet member for communities, said the council’s actions meant none of Cornwall’s 31 libraries had closed.”

“’I am, therefore, delighted to confirm that to date we are on target to achieve the £2m savings we need to without closing any of our current 31 libraries.’

  • Haringey – Muswell Hill library to stay in its historic home – for now – Ham and High. “Plans to move the Muswell Hill Library from its beloved and historic home to the site of a former pub have been put on hold” … “Of the 1,282 people who responded, 71 per cent said they wanted the library to remain in its Grade II-listed building. Just 29 per cent supported moving it to the former site of the Green Man, under a new block of flats. In response, Haringey Council said on Tuesday it will revisit all its options, and make a decision in spring 2017. The option to use both sites has been put forward.”
  • Lancashire – Cat Smith MP on libraries – YouTube. “Unfair Conservative Government cuts have meant that Lancashire County Council can’t afford to run the services they want to run. They don’t want to close libraries or other services but when independent financial assessments say that there is no way that the council won’t go bankrupt in 2 years there aren’t many options on the table. I joined local community campaigners outside Cleveleys Library making the case for fair funding for our councils.”
  • Lancashire – Lostock Hall library next in Lancashire closures – Lancashire Evening Post. “Lostock Hall Library will close its doors for the last time as more than 200 buildings begin shutting. It has been confirmed the library will close on November 30 at 12.30pm. The children’s centre will close on the same day at 5pm.”
  • Lancashire – Two more Lancashire libraries saved – 2BR. “Coppull and Eccleston were set to see their libraries close and become ‘satellite libraries’, but will continue running as normal until March 2018. That’s because they’ll retain their current level of provision whilst the community can make plans to take over the libraries themselves.”
  • Leicester – ‘Wow – just wow’: People power saves Leicester library – Leicester Mercury. “Officials have ditched controversial proposals to close Belgrave Library after working out it would “not be cost-effective“. Leicester City Council had proposed, as a cost-cutting measure, to shut the building in Cossington Street and transfer the service to the nearby Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, in Rothley Street. But following a determined campaign by Belgrave residents to oppose the move, the council has decided to keep the status quo.”

“We know this is a well-used and much-loved library, and when we looked into the costs of moving it, we found that it didn’t make financial sense.”

  • Northern Ireland – First chief of Libraries NI announces her retirement – Belfast Telegraph. “Irene Knox, the first ever chief executive of Libraries NI, which was established in April 2009, is to retire early in the new year. Ms Knox (59) has spent the last few years trying to maintain the standard of libraries here against the backdrop of relentless redundancies and stringent budget cuts. Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Knox said she was extremely pleased with what she had done in her role as creator and boss of Libraries NI.” … “Since its formation in 2009, Libraries NI has lost nearly 150 employees through voluntary severance schemes rolled out every year, and stock has never been lower”
  • Plymouth – Fines could increase at libraries across Plymouth – Plymouth Herald. “Plymouth City Council bosses are considering increasing fees at the city’s 17 libraries, as they continue to address a £37million budget shortfall over the next three years.  This could mean an increase in overdue book fines, currently 13p per day for adults and 2p per day for children; borrowing DVDs, journal articles and musical scores; hiring musical instruments and toys; photocopying and scanning; research services; and hiring library meeting rooms.”
  • Suffolk – iPad lending in Suffolk – Libraries Taskforce. “The project began with a request from a library that wanted to find a way to make tablets available to customers who did not own that kind of technology and were unable to get access online services. The first step was to trial a number of different tablets. Library staff and the local friends group road tested a range of different devices and agreed that the iPad Mini would be best suited to library customers because of its ease of use, durability and compatibility with our digital services.” … “This project also created a valuable partnership with a local electrical retailer. They had been supportive of a programme of digital skills development called ‘Get Connected’ events in the past. Now they supply the iPads as well as providing expert staff for launch events in libraries.” … “One library is using its iPads as part of a training programme for older people; customers attend a training session, borrow a device for 3 weeks and then return to a further training session to cement their learning.”

“Despite some initial concerns, the project has been well received by both staff and customers in Suffolk. So far, we’ve fortunately not had any devices damaged, lost or stolen and haven’t needed to revisit the user protocols. We did consider other approaches, such as asking for a deposit, but were unable to find anything that offered sufficient ‘security’ without compromising inclusivity. ” … ” It is becoming increasingly obvious from waiting lists in libraries that there is a need for this service and more libraries are deciding to offer it as a result of its success.”