My big thanks to the many of you that took the time to do the quick survey on charges for crafts and drinks. I have put the results in full via this link. The results reveal that, six years into austerity, libraries are still reticent to charge for some small-scale extra services, although those that do report few problems about doing so.  Equally, even having a donations tin out on the table is a rare sight.  It’s a bit worrying to see several not being sure about the licensing laws, although this may just indicate how rarely alcohol is served in many branches. My personal experience is that people don’t mind having a donations tin out for crafts and other events.  In addition, such money can be kept in-branch to pay for future crafts and drinks, which is a real gift in some cash-strapped libraries which may otherwise struggle to supply such things. Moreover, there seems to be a public assumption made by many of the public that “free” means “not very good” and – almost universally – that missing a free event one has a ticket for (despite knowing this takes the opportunity away from someone else) is OK. So many branches may be missing out by giving things out for free, for all sorts of reasons. On the other hand, this does mean that the library is very much a charge-free zone for many people, including parents of young children, meaning that ability to pay, unique in the High Street, is not a concern.


National news

  • 2016 Library RFID Survey Results – UK – Changing Libraries. “A total of 115 UK organisations responded to this year’s survey – down from the 144 that completed the last survey in 2014 ..  In London for example there was no response from London Library Consortium (LLC) members – previously most members had replied individually. This may in part account for the apparent decline of the public library sector’s share of the library RFID market.” … “As might be expected circulation (105) remains the major use of RFID with theft prevention (81) following close behind. However other uses are clearly on the increase with collection management (42), monitoring stock use in the library (35), accession/acquisition management (22) and automated materials handling (mostly sorting) (22) becoming more common than in previous years.” … “In previous years the overall share had been dominated by Bibliotheca and 3M and the newly combined company still retains the lion’s share of the market. 2CQR and D Tech continue to provide the main competition but two new players have emerged since 2014 – Solus and SA Secure (each reported by a single library).” … “there was considerable concern over the merger of Bibliotheca and 3M”.
  • Book reviews from children and parents – SLA. “Toppsta is a relatively new website but already has more than 7,000 reviews written by children and parents. Focusing on children’s books for ages up to 12, it’s an amazing resource for keeping up to date with which books children are really enjoying reading.”
  • Chancellor urged to end ‘toxic’ cuts and provide emergency relief for libraries – BookSeller. “Libraries membership body CILIP has issued a stark warning to chancellor Philip Hammond cautioning that austerity measures threaten community cohesion. Cuts to libraries in particular make “little sense” as they affect wider issues in society such as employment, educational attainment and healthcare, it argued. “The chancellor has an opportunity to distance this government from toxic austerity policies,” said Nick Poole, c.e.o of CILIP. “Unthinking cuts continue to damage frontline services rather than seeing them as an investment in our communities and economy. Not only does austerity threaten community cohesion, it makes little fiscal sense as cuts to library budgets cost the public purse more elsewhere, across employment, educational attainment and healthcare.””
  • Following the Leader… – Leon’s Library Blog. “Certainly Ed Vaizey was no friend to libraries so perhaps Rob Wilson’s view will be more positive. That said, how long does it take to amend an almost complete document. Then again perhaps the new minister’s view is so different to his predecessor that it requires a major revamp? It will be interesting if the final product will be recognisable to everyone who attended the consultation workshops and if it fits with the work done and expectations raised at them.” … “The test to how successful Cilip will be is how closely aligned its vision is to the Taskforce’s and what the fall-out will be if there is a wide discrepancy between the two.”

“What we say is that people have been left behind by the past six wasted years of this Government. They have been left behind by: austerity measures; freezes on wages; zero-hours contracts, which now extend to lecturers; current childcare provision; cuts in grants to local authorities, which have decimated local services and caused the closures of libraries; the bedroom tax, which has now been ruled in two cases to be unreasonable; and the reduction in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs staff, which has stopped us addressing tax evasion and tax avoidance schemes, and therefore stopped money flowing into the Treasury coffers. Will the Leader of the House give us a debate in Government time to analyse how people have been affected by their policies in the past six years?” Valerie Vaz MP (Labour) to Government. Replying minister did not mention libraries. They Work For You.

  • Grant Recipients – Better World Books. Includes Leeds Library & Information Services “. By using Zines as a communication tool, Librarians are helping to increase people’s confidence and literacy skills. Working individually or as part of a group, participants are using words and imagery found in library collections and resources” and Swindon Libraries “We at Swindon Libraries are determined to support people with dementia and their families through putting together specially selected historical local photographs, which will be the basis for a set themed books to help stimulate memory recall of growing up in Swindon”

International news

  • Canada – How Libraries Are Helping Newcomers Adjust to Life in Toronto – Torontoist. “Cang went to the library that day to attend one of its workshops, Tai Chi for Well-being. It wouldn’t be the last time, he’d be a frequent client of the library in the coming years. When Cang lost his Canadian citizenship card last February, he went there again looking for assistance. A woman named Sarah Shi stepped in to help him. They had met before when she taught the Tai Chi workshop. Shi is one of the Toronto Public Library’s settlement partnership workers. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, and she helped Cang fill out government forms so he could get a replacement citizenship certificate. She also helped him renew his Canadian passport.”
  • Eire – Bid to block staff-free opening for libraries – Times (Behind paywall). “An initiative to allow people to visit libraries when staff are not on duty faces opposition from a group of Dublin city councillors. The move would make it possible for a library to open without staff early in the morning, late at night and on Sundays. So-called “staffless opening” is currently in place at three libraries across the country, with plans to include an additional 22 by the start of next year.A motion against such a step being introduced in Dublin was passed unanimously by 14 members of the city council’s strategic policy committee for arts and culture. They pledged to support any move by library staff and their trade unions to resist the introduction of staffless hours and now intend to bring a…”
  • Netherlands – Post: Dutch Public Libraries and the “One Copy, One User” Rule – Digital Reader. “Some folks in the library community took this as a sign that libraries were finally getting rights to lend e-books without having to explicitly take licenses from publishers — for which publishers can charge whatever they want and attach whatever conditions they want, or refuse to do at all.  I said that’s not true: not only because courts haven’t established that libraries actually “buy” (or otherwise “take ownership of”) copies e-books in the first place, but also because that’s not how library e-book lending works in the real world anyway. In most cases, public libraries use e-lending platforms which obtain (single) copies of titles from publishers, process them, and store them in a central repository.  When a library wants to “lend” an e-book to a user, it makes a copy of the file from the repository, possibly processes it further (depending on how the platform’s DRM scheme works, among other things), and sends it to the user.”
  • USA – Library to Farm to Table – American Libraries. “Patrons are rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty with the offerings cropping up at public libraries across the country—farms, gardens, orchards, and food-literacy classes, to name a few—and librarians say the grow-it-yourself movement is only expanding. For some libraries serving vulnerable populations, food-producing gardens and nutrition initiatives are born out of necessity. Others have launched programs to advance the causes of sustainability and education.”
  • USA – NYPL reveals the spacious, $200M redesign of its Mid-Manhattan branch – Curbed.  “Mecanoo along with Beyer Blinder Belle have interviewed staff at the library, patrons, and community stakeholders to assess their needs, and have now produced the first rendering for the project. As part of the redesign, the team of architects has devised a 35 percent increase in public space at the branch by moving the back-office staff from several floors into an adjacent facility, repurposing the lower level as a public space, designed in a way that brings more light from the street level, and using the roof as another public space, thereby increasing the overall accessible area. The standout feature for the library and the architects is what they’re calling a “Long Room,” which is five floors of open and browsable book stacks (as seen in the rendering), and two floors of meeting rooms”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Council plans have ‘crossed a red line’ – Mearns Leader. “Stonehaven and District Community Council Chairperson Phil Mills-Bishop has reacted angrily to proposals by Aberdeenshire Council to transfer ownership of their Sports and Culture services to a charitable trust. Mr Mills-Bishop was referring to a report due to go before Full Council next week (Thursday November 24) which states that a preferred option for the future of services including sports centres, swimming pools, libraries, museums and community centres would see them go into ownership of a charitable trust run by a board of directors.”
  • Argyll and Bute – 250 council staff to be transferred if trust plan gets green light – Helenburgh Advertiser. “Almost 250 Argyll and Bute Council staff will be transferred to a new employer if plans to set up a new charitable trust are approved next week. Members of the authority’s community services committee will be asked to approve the creation of a trust to run the area’s leisure and library services when they meet in Lochgilphead on Monday, November 21. A total of 247 council staff will see their employment transferred under TUPE regulations to the new trust if the recommendation is approved.”
  • Birmingham – Autumn statement: Birmingham MPs warn leisure centres, libraries and social care are close to collapse – Birmingham Mail. “Birmingham MPs have issued a plea to Chancellor Philip Hammond to prevent “catastrophic” cuts to the city’s libraries, leisure centres and services for the elderly, ahead of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday. They say the city’s council and NHS services are set to go over budget by £150 million next year. And they warned: “Unless the Government acts we now risk the collapse of some basic services next year and in subsequent years.””
  • Birmingham – Libraries in Birmingham will be closed for 9 days for Christmas and New Year 2016 – Birmingham Mail. “Birmingham’s community libraries will shut down for nine days over Christmas and new year as a result of public and staff holidays leaving too few people to keep them open. The city council has announced that no libraries will be open from Christmas Eve to January 2, leaving residents without access to information and books for more than a week”
  • Bradford – Renewed campaign for townspeople to take over Silsden library Craven Herald. Cost is low but volunteers needed.
  • Brent – Ealing Road Library Redevelopment – James Powney’s Blog. “there is obviously some thought into how to develop the site in a way to help the Town Centre.  I think all Brent libraries have this potential to some extent, with Willesden and Wembley being perhaps the best examples.  I like the way the author is trying to get the open space to fit in with the buildings and be part of a wider vision for the future of Ealing Road in what he calls a “gem chain strategy”.”
  • Brent – Stars to host fundraising entertainment night for Kensal Rise Community Library – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The event by the Friends of Kensal Rise Library (FOKRL) includes live performances of poetry and prose by award-winning actors and actresses who live locally.” … “FOKRL have already hit their £80,000 target of their first phase of fundraising which allows them to turn a community space into a volunteer-run reading room.” … “However they now need to raise the extra cash so they can buy equipment and furniture for the library in Bathurst Gardens. Margaret Bailey, chairwoman of FOKRL, previously told the Times: “£160,000 in total is a lot to ask for the refurbishment of the shell we will inherit.”
  • Cheshire East – Blame our MP – Knutsford Guardian / Letters. “Every week the Guardian carries a report of a threat to, reduction of, or actual closure of a public service. Last week (November 9) it was threats to local libraries and to Macclesfield Hospital’s A&E department. Over the country nearly 400 libraries have closed and 8,000 jobs lost over the past few years. Our regional health authorities are being told to reduce spending by £900 million in the next four years. I’m afraid the finger has to be pointed at our local MP George Osborne. While Chancellor he instigated the policy of “austerity””
  • Essex – ‘Could there be anything more beautiful, more aspirational or more sexy than a public library?’ – Gazette News. “I know it’s probably technically cheating (because you’re only allowed one book) but if I were ever on Desert Island Discs and invited to name the luxury I could take with me Stanway Library would be high on the list. ” … “Sharing knowledge for free, a repository where pages and pages of facts, fantasy and fiction can be the gateway to your soul. “
  • Glasgow – Glasgow Libraries are giving away free books at GoMA today ahead of Book Week Scotland – Glasgow Live. “How often do you borrow a brilliant book from your local library, and wish you could keep it forever?  Well, today you’ll be able to do just that, as Glasgow Libraries pop up at GoMA to give away free copies of the fantastic Secrets and Confessions, a collection of our author James Oswald, said: “I’m fortunate enough to have grown up in a house full of books…”
  • Haringey – Muswell Hill: Row erupts over plans to move library to ‘dark and oppressive pub’ – Evening Standard. “Friends of Muswell Hill Library oppose proposals to move it from a Grade II listed building in Queens Avenue to the site of the Green Man pub, which they say is “a dark, oppressive space with low ceilings” under new flats. Last week, results of a public consultation revealed that 71 per cent of the 1,282 people who responded wanted the library to remain. Just 29 per cent backed moving it to the pub site. But George Danker, 25, who heads the Friends of Muswell Hill Library, said the council was still considering the Green Man site. “It shows that they are not acting consistently with democracy.”
  • Hertfordshire – Library celebrates volunteering award – St Albans Review. “A team of 45 volunteers who run the Chorleywood Library were voted runners up in the Volunteer Team of the Year category at Hertfordshire Year of Volunteering Awards 2016. Teresa Heritage, cabinet member for libraries, presented the award and councillor Chris Hayward, who provided start-up funding for the library, was given a book-shaped cake. The Communities Libraries scheme, launched last year, was part of Hertfordshire’s County Council’s plans to keep 46 libraries across the county open, while slashing their budgets”
  • Lambeth – Act quickly, Carnegie library campaigners urge – Brixton Blog. “Library campaigners are urging supporters of the Carnegie library in Herne Hill to act quickly to comment on a planning application to convert the Grade II listed building into a “neighbourhood library” and gym run by Lambeth council’s leisure provider GLL, now known as “Better”. Comments on the application close in less than a fortnight on 29 November. Campaigners said that the plans would not only wreck a listed building, but also its “unique” garden.”
  • Lancashire – Trawden library will be saved – it’s just a question of who by – 2BR. “Two bids have been put in for the building, which could see the service continue. The first could see a nursery on the site, whilst the other would see it taken over by the owners of the village’s community centre.”
  • Lancashire – Village libraries in Eccleston and Coppull get a reprieve – Chorley Citizen. “A deal between Chorley Council and Lancashire County Council, will ensure a favourable ending for the hundreds who campaigned to save them … The libraries will now retain their current level of provision until March 2018, giving time for a community-based service to be considered. ” … “Chorley Council will provide almost £100,000 funding to allow the county council to maintain the level of service while other options are considered. ” see also Another two years for Coppull library – 2BR.
  • Leicester – Staffless library opening planned as part of £1.3m county council savings – Leicester Mercury. “Officials at County Hall have drawn up proposals to allow people to use their library cards to swipe their way in when there are no employees present. Books could then be borrowed and returned by using existing self-service scanning machines” … “The county council is planning a three-month trial of the idea at Syston library starting early next year. If the scheme succeeds it will be rolled out to 15 of the council’s largest libraries in a move that could save £300,000.”
  • Neath Port Talbot – Residents urge council to save local libraries from funding cuts as it tries to save £11 million – South Wales Evening Post. “Unison members joined the concerned residents at Baglan Library along with Aberavon AM David Rees and MP Stephen Kinnock. They said they wanted to send a message to Neath Port Talbot Council to keep Skewen and Baglan Libraries and Cefn Coed Museum safe from cuts as it looks to save around £11.2 million.” … “”NPT libraries have already experienced more than their fair share of cuts over the last four years, with funding being cut by over £600,000. Healthy communities need decently funded, professionally run library services and therefore, more library cuts is not a credible option.”
  • Nottingham – City Council confirms sale of library to Henry Boot – Business Desk. “Cllr Jon Collins, leader of the City Council, said: “Henry Boot are committed to providing the kind of top end office space businesses have been crying out for and helps us achieve our pledge to provide a new, revamped central library facility to meet the future needs of our citizens and visitors to the city. I understand people’s concerns about the sale and where the library will go but rest assured – there will be a central library in Nottingham.””
  • Nottingham – Hundreds sign petition opposing plans to build offices on Nottingham Central Library site – Nottingham Post. “…, almost 400 people have signed an online petition against the sale of the library. A spokesman for anti-austerity group Nottingham People’s Assembly, which set up the petition 48 hours ago, said: “While recognising that the building is in need of refurbishment, our concerns are that there appear to be no clear plans about maintaining service while the building is renovated.”
  • South Lanarkshire – As the UK’s oldest subscription library reaches a milestone, what is the future for its founding principles? – Herald Scotland. “Later this month, the library, founded in 1741, will celebrate its 275th anniversary; villagers will meet in its single musty room to look at the newly-restored banner, the oldest in the country, and hear about the latest efforts to preserve and, perhaps, digitise the collection. But those who are closest to it – its trustees and committee members – are conscious of an irony: as they work to raise awareness of its significance, the tradition of learning it pioneered is threatened. “
  • Western Isles – Let’s take in a movie- at the library – Island News. “HebFlicks was created to allow members of the public in both Tarbert, Harris and Lionacleit, Benbecula  to enjoy a wide range of film screenings at their local library. The monthly club will screen its first films next Wednesday (23 November), book to film adaptations as part of Book Week Scotland, at both libraries for free. The club will then show a variety of films each month.The two films planned for next week are … The pioneering film club is one of six being trialled in Scotland as part of SLIC’s Film Education in Libraries Project. The £190,000 initiative was made possible through Creative Scotland as part of their Film Strategy and aims to improve the provision of film and moving image education across Scotland.”