Some impressive campaigning from children’s laureates, past and present, for school libraries plus the Read On Get On coalition notes the impact of their reduction on reading.  It’s good to see school libraries being highlighted.  Because of their less public nature, cuts to school libraries often don’t get the publicity that anything similar in public libraries would receive.  But the impact of the loss of a school library when it  comes to a child’s literacy is incalculable. Moreover, there is a natural partnership between school and public libraries. Here’s wishing them the best.


National news

  • 2 Millionth Learner Awards – Tinder Foundation. “Tinder Foundation and the UK online centres network have helped 2 million people gain new digital skills with Learn My Way. We want to celebrate that milestone and the achievements of some of those 2 million people through our 2 Millionth Learner Awards.”
  • Children’s laureates demand UK government investigate school library closures – Guardian. “: In an open letter to the government, current laureate Chris Riddell warns that school efforts to encourage reading is ‘being undermined through lack of economic and intellectual investment’” … “In an open letter to Justine Greening, the secretary of state for education, Riddell writes that he is “deeply concerned” the work school libraries and librarians do in promoting reading for pleasure “is not fully appreciated and, worse, is being undermined through lack of economic and intellectual investment” … “Riddell, supported by the eight former children’s laureates – Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Donaldson and Malorie Blackman – called on the Department of Education to act on the request from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries to gather official statistics on school library provision so the “extent of this problem can be understood”.”  see also Top authors call for school libraries to be protected – BBC.
  • Community Business Market Social Finance  Libraries are being transferred into community management at an unprecedented rate. Indeed a 2014 report suggested that 10% of the UK’s c.4,100 libraries were likely to be under community management within 5 years. There are significant concerns across the sector regarding the long-term sustainability of many of these services, but the issue is at least receiving considerable policy attention, with the last 12 months seeing the launch of a government consultation, a DCMS taskforce … There continue to be transfers of parks, hub buildings, sports facilities, brownfield sites, arts centres and heritage buildings into community hands, and indeed this is the primary driver of the slow but steady growth seen in many of these sectors. However, it is libraries where our research suggests that the process has become most widespread over the past year, and where acceleration has been strongest.”

“Very few community-run libraries have ceased operations so far, but there is a pressing need to innovate to ensure this continues. Even with a volunteer workforce, the costs of running a library are relatively high and most organisations are currently dependent on grants and vulnerable to large one-off expenses, such as building and maintenance costs. Where there are success stories (and there are a growing number), this is typically through organisations using their asset creatively to offer other services in the library building and turn it into a community hub, such as providing meeting spaces for local groups, running a community cinema, attracting local sponsorship and hosting local events. The challenge now is to replicate these examples.”

  •  Invitation to Tender: Research to Explore and Define Family Learning in Libraries – Society of Chief Librarians. “This research is required to define the concept of family learning and how it is different from other types of learning. As part of this it will also be important to define ‘family’ in order to support public libraries to target and market their family learning opportunities. In addition it will be important to map the current landscape of learning opportunities in libraries and of family learning within that. Finally, consultancy support and recommendations will be needed to help shape a clear and simple offer that can be shared with library services through a series of roadshows due to take place in 2017-18 to promote family learning opportunities in libraries.”
  • Our communities are under threat, what are we going to do? – Infoism. “As noted above, newspapers reported that the defendant in the court case had accessed a range of resources related to extremist political viewpoints. How did this detail emerge in court? It is claimed that his fascination was identified by investigating his internet usage at his local public library.”
  • Read On. Get On. coalition calls for new national measurement of reading – BookSeller. “Read On. Get On. is to campaign for a new measurement of primary school children’s reading, as part of plans to get all children enjoying reading by 2025. The coalition, whose members include Save the Children, the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and BookTrust, said current methods of measuring children’s abilities to read are ineffective and test only the understanding of text. It is therefore hoping to work with government to develop a method of testing both “cognitive” processes and “effective” ones: motivation, enjoyment and engagement. The plan, part of a 10-point strategy, has been revealed in a new report compiled by the NLT and Save the Children. The report claimed that only 66% of 11-year-olds could read at the expected level for their age compared to 80% in 2015, showing a “sharp decline in ability”. The coalition is instead aiming to get 96% of children to read well by 11, and to get all children to enjoy reading.”

“Libraries are vital but have been “negatively affected” by the closure of school library services. “School libraries have an impact on attainment when they are effectively managed, have strong and diverse collections and are integrated with the curriculum. Sadly, few primary school libraries meet these criteria.”

  • uklibchat 1st Nov – Leadership, Mentoring & Coaching – Storify. Collection of all the tweets from this discussion, which was so popular it ended up trending on Twitter.
  • Welsh Public Libraries Select SirsiDynix Symphony to Support Nationwide Library System – SirsiDynix. “SirsiDynix is pleased to announce that the first six adopters of a national Welsh library system have gone live on Symphony. In autumn of 2015, the Welsh Government announced a major step forward in their momentous project to unite the country on a single library system. Following a competitive tender process, the Welsh Government chose SirsiDynix to support its public library services. ” … “The new Wales system allows patrons to use a single card to check out materials from any public library location, rather than restricting users only to the local authority to which they are registered. In addition to the benefit of expanding patron access, the move from individual, local systems to a single, unified system will save authorities up to 70% on automation costs “

International news

  • Eire – Librarians to resist future without staff – Connacht Tribune. “Mary McGinty, library assistant in Westside Library, said “many of the library staff in Galway and around the country are deeply concerned” over plans to roll-out the open-library scheme. Meanwhile, trade union IMPACT began an industrial action ballot of the country’s library staff over fears that the introduction of ‘staffless’ library services will lead to poorer services and job losses. The union said management plans for a large-scale pilot of staffless services during evenings and weekends will ultimately lead to completely staffless libraries with sharply limited services to the public.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Volunteers celebrate five years running Denholme Community Library – Keighley News. “The trailblazing team will highlight the success during their annual general meeting on Tuesday, November 15 at 2pm in the village’s Mechanics Institute. The volunteers are also running hosting a coffee morning at the Institute – which is home to the library – on November 26 from 10.30am to 11.30am. Annette Bell, coordinator of the library, said the dedicated volunteers had run the library successfully for five years with support from Bradford Council’s Library Service.”
  • Cumbria – Public consultation into library plans – Times and Star. “People will be consulted over plans to turn Cockermouth Library into a community hub run by the town council.” … “Cumbria County Council’s Allerdale local committee has supported the proposal, which would see the tourist information centre move into the Main Street building. But concerns have been raised about the effect the changes would have on the library service. The county council has now agreed to consult on the plans.”
  • Lancashire – Let’s rejoice that we still have libraries – Burnley Express. History of Burnley Library.
  • Oxfordshire – November news from Cholsey Community Library – Cholsey Community Library. ” At the end of October we had out latest and last County book exchange. Please do take a look at the lovely new titles available to borrow now for our usual 3 weeks. Sadly this is our last exchange from the County Library service. As you may be aware Oxfordshire County Council are facing large budget cuts in all areas of their service and as we are a well stocked library our Committee and County agreed to allow these books to used in other Libraries with greater needs than ours. We have had a wonderful service and support from County since we opened and we hope that other Libraries can continue to enjoy these books as much as we have.  We are such a well stocked library due to the wonderful support from Friends, committee and volunteers who fundraising and donations allow us to keep our shelves well stocked and up to date …”
  • Rutland – Plans go on display for refurbishment of Oakham Library – Rutland and Stamford Mercury. “Oakham Library was built in 1972 and is the largest of Rutland’s libraries. The service is incredibly well-used, receiving about 90,000 visits every year, but has changed very little since it first opened.Earlier this year Rutland County Council agreed to invest up to £280,000 in Oakham Library to refurbish facilities and ensure it can continue to serve residents over the next 25 years. This will include work to the lighting, flooring, ceiling and electrics, as well as repairs to the roofing outside. “
  • South Tyneside – The Word – design thinking for our time – Designing Libraries. “The focus of The Word is very clearly regional, but it has for its strapline ‘The National Centre for the Written Word’. How much of this is hyperbole and how much a genuine ambition to become a beacon for the transformation of libraries as cultural and civic centres, combining the tradition of the printed word with new technology and individual creativity, remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that The Word has set the standard for design thinking in the UK.”
  • Waltham Forest – A history of library cuts and book burning in Waltham Forest – Guardian series. Looks at reductions in stock and other cuts over the last decade”.