Anyone would think it was planned this way.  The BBC led #LoveToRead campaign culminated this weekend, with loads of selfies on library twitter feeds and programmes such as Cerys Matthews on Radio 6 being broadcast from Orkney Library, on the same day that around two thousand people protested in London against libraries (and other services) being cut. It was good to see the “soft” #LoveToRead promotion palatable to council services and the BBC going on at the same time as the “hard” campaigning of placards and protest that chimes with protesters and the unions. The comparative merits and strengths of both tactics can be debated but the timing is impeccable to influence the autumn statement to be announced on the 23rd. Those behind both campaigns can both feel proud of themselves this weekend.

A big protest in favour of libraries and others this weekend.

A big protest in favour of libraries and others this weekend.



  • Chat and chill – Acclimatising women [Not men, in this case – Ed.] new to UK to life here.

National demonstration

  • Authors join protest against library and museum cuts – BT. “Authors have joined campaigners on a march to protest against cuts to libraries, museums and galleries. An estimated crowd of thousands gathered outside the British Library before marching to Trafalgar Square, in central London, on Saturday afternoon. Children’s authors Alan Gibbons and Michael Rosen tweeted about being among the marchers protesting against cuts to local services.”
  • British Libraries Under Threat – Inside Higher Ed. “Alas, things are not so rosy in the land of Shakespeare. Last March, the BBC reported that 343 public libraries have closed in the U.K. and another 111 were scheduled to be closed this year. That’s about 15 percent of all public libraries in the UK. Nearly 300 libraries were handed over to community groups to sustain or were outsourced to commercial management. UK libraries have been forced to lay off a quarter of their staff because of budget cuts. Volunteers have been cajoled to fill in gaps. As the opening hours and book budgets have been cut, the number of visits to libraries and books borrowed has declined, which gives library opponents further justification for defunding libraries. Why is this happening? Is the country so broke it can’t afford to have a culture anymore? Is literacy a luxury good? On November 5th British citizens are protesting these closures along with similar threats to museums. If I were there, I’d be joining the demonstration. Since I’m not, all I can lend is moral support from this side of the pond. Closing libraries is a form of austerity none of us can afford.”
  • Campaigners set to march against cuts to libraries, museums and galleries – ITV.
  • Corbyn hits out at library cuts ahead of mass demonstration – Labour List. “Jeremy Corbyn has given his full backing to campaigners and trade unionists who plan to march against Tory cuts to libraries across the country this weekend.” … “He added: “The Tories have devastated our public services using austerity policies as justification. I promise that a Labour Government will act to ‘in-source’ our public and local council services and increase access to leisure, arts and sports across the country. We will reverse the damage the Tories have done to our communities in the cities, towns and villages.”” … “Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Given the clear benefits arts and culture bring to our society and our economy, cuts to libraries, museums and galleries represent everything wrong with the Tories’ approach to public spending.”
  • Fight the ‘burning’ of our museums and libraries – Socialist. “It’s the national demo that library and museum campaigners have been demanding for years – and on 5 November trade unions and community campaigns from across the country will finally march together, united in our demand to save our libraries and museums. “
  • John Bird to speak at a mass rally in support of libraries this weekend – Big Issue. “He will call for chancellor Philip Hammond to include relief-funding for libraries in his autumn budget statement on November 23, and to support school libraries.” … “”We have to fight for literacy, we have to protect libraries,” said Lord Bird. “This is a crisis and not an opportunity,” organisers said. “Users, staff, campaigners and unions need to unite and fight before it’s too late.”
  • Leading authors join protest march against cuts to cultural services – Guardian. “Alex Flynn, Unite’s head of media and campaigns, said: “It’s been very good natured, but people have been clear in the message that libraries are vital to our communities; they are vital for education and empowering people and that libraries should not be cut.” … ““I think it’s exceeded expectations – the level of support and the reception we have got as we’ve marched from the British Library. We would hope the government takes note”
  • London libraries protest: Campaigners set for demo against funding cuts to libraries, museums and galleries – Evening Standard.
  • London libraries protest: Children’s laureate Chris Riddell marches in protest of cuts to libraries – Evening Standard.  Two minutes of video of demonstration.
  • National Libraries Demo: authors and campaigners will ‘fight tooth and nail’ – BookSeller. “Campaigners, flanked by popular authors including Chris Riddell, Cathy Cassidy and Michael Rosen, are to gather this Saturday (5th November) to show that they are prepared to “fight tooth and nail” to protect the public library service. Organised by children’s author Alan Gibbons, Barnet Unison, campaigner Alan Wylie and other activists, the National Libraries Demonstration hopes to “kick start the debate about the value of public libraries and alert the public to the ever worsening situation”. Gibbons cited the examples of services in Walsall, which will see all but one library close, Lancashire, which will see more than 20 libraries shut, and his home town of Warrington, which may see nine libraries go. The march, which has been backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, will begin at the British Library in London at noon. It will then move to the British Museum before ending at the National Gallery where Cassidy, Riddell and Rosen will speak.”
  • Protesters take to Hanham and London to fight the library cuts – Bristol Post. “Around 30 people gathered outside the South Gloucestershire library to show solidarity with those campaigning in London and to highlight the impact of possible changes locally. South Gloucestershire Council has put forward a plan to make cuts in a bid to save hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
  • Swindon library campaigners join national demo – ITV. “The Save Swindon’s Libraries Campaign have putt on a bus for supporters to join them at the National Demonstration in London against cuts to Libraries, Museums and Galleries.”.  Includes pictures of demonstration.

National news

  • Live from Orkney Library – BBC Radio Six / Cerys Matthews. “As part of the BBC’s Love to Read weekend Cerys broadcasts her show live from the award winning Orkney Library. A focal point for the Orkney community the library has gained a host of supporters worldwide via social media, and recent surprise visitors have included JK Rowling who showed up unannounced for their weekly reading group. Cerys will find out why people are so fascinated with this small library whose mobile van brings books to readers in some of the UK’s most remote locations. She’ll be joined by best-selling author Ann Cleeves, a huge supporter of libraries and Orkney regular, and local folklore expert Tom Muir.”
  • Libraries and human rights – caring for the whole community – Eurolis. “A one-day seminar organised by EUROLIS (the consortium of librarians from European cultural institutes in London) and CILIP, focusing on the role of libraries as institutions at the forefront of profound changes in society. Leading experts from Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Germany will present current projects and share their experiences and ideas with the audience.” £50 to £60.

“To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to support library provision.” Mike Wood MP (Conservative, Dudley South)

“The Government, together with the Local Government Association, set up the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce in 2015. The Taskforce has already published Toolkits and case studies to assist local authorities. We have also been developing, with the Taskforce, a draft vision and action plan for public libraries in England and this will be published shortly” Rob Wilson MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. They Work For You / Parliament.  [The report vision has been delayed for several months for unexplained reasons and this still shows no sign on when it will finally be published – Ed.]

  • A sense of community – Libraries Taskforce. “These 2 examples show how different services are meeting the needs of their users in completely different ways.”: Hampshire Good Neighbour scheme. “Good Neighbours are nominated people – family, friends or neighbours – who select books and deliver them on behalf of someone they know who can’t get to the library. In recognition of the contribution these volunteers make, and in order to support them in providing a good and tailored service to the people they support, library staff assist the nominated person in choosing books and there are no fines are charged on items and free requests for books are allowed”  … and … ‘Chat and chill’ sessions in Suffolk … “The ‘Chat and chill’ model is aimed at women who are newly arrived to Britain and whose English is very limited. It’s not an ESOL course; it’s a group to help women acclimatise to British culture and it equips them with everyday skills such as making doctors appointments, how to chat with your child’s teacher, etc. “
  • Time for some big thinking on community assets – Public Finance. “Given the evidence of today’s report, the wonky world of community asset policy is going to become more and more relevant in the years ahead. Libraries, community halls, leisure centres and the like are going to move across into the hands of local people. We had better get it right.”
  • Vaizey criticises arts community for ‘relentlessly left-wing groupthink’ – BookSeller. “Vaizey was appointed culture minister in 2010, and disappointed library campaigners by a lack of action in office, despite bullish talk while in opposition. His repeated mantra, that there was no crisis in the library service, despite the evident widespread cutbacks and closures, was a cause of particular anger.”
  • What makes a great community hub – Tinder Foundation. Looks at three “community hubs” including Cumbria Libraries and EcoCommunities, the latter running several volunteer libraries and community centres. Also Starting Point Partnership in Stockport. “All of these examples have people, and not services, at the centre of their strategy. They don’t just do books, or computers, or just do craft, or job clubs, or anything else. Their priorities are all about people. And that’s the key to being a true community hub. “

International news

  • Canada – War of the words: Corner Brook cuts down Yellowknife in public library showdown – CBC. “The final bell has rung for an epic library smackdown, and the Corner Brook Public Library has defeated Yellowknife. Throughout the month of October, Corner Brook and Yellowknife were waging a literary war on three fronts — highest circulation, most new members and highest program attendance.” … “”We always have a lot of programs on the go but just the extra bump and the promotion of it, it was constant.” Now that the challenge is over, the two libraries are putting their differences aside and working on a joint program called Socks for Soldiers.”
  • Norway – The library – 100 years from now – Oxford University Press. “Mitchell raises a thought-provoking point. In a world so rapidly advancing as ours, with technological feats being accomplished daily, is there any reason to believe that texts will be printed in the future, or that a physical library will house these texts? Will the remnants of a printed past still remain in the digital future? It’s hard to say. But with Paterson’s project, at least there is hope that books will still be printed, bought, and more importantly, read.”
  • Russia – Russia puts Ukraine library boss on trial for ‘inciting hatred’ – BBC. “The director of Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature has gone on trial charged with inciting ethnic hatred against Russians. Natalia Sharina is accused of disseminating banned literature classed as extremist. She denied the charges in court and her lawyer told the BBC he believed the case was politically motivated. The trial opened with a feisty exchange between the librarian and the state prosecutor. First the prosecutor cited a long list of Ukrainian publications that are either prohibited or which she said experts had deemed “degrading” to Russians. She formally accused Natalia Sharina of acquiring the books and brochures and a CD and making them available to the public.”
  • USA – New STEM Resources for Libraries – Webjunction. “New free sources of robust information and resources on STEM specifically for libraries have just been released by STAR_Net and by Kitsap Regional Library”

Local News by authority

In Newcastle Libraries we feel strongly about our role to facilitate the access to and sharing of information, knowledge and culture. Traditionally we library and information professionals facilitate access to information and content created by others: we loan books, CDs and DVDs, we subscribe to magazines, we provide access to the Internet. But we realised that as a library service we also create information: we maintain a library catalogue, collect statistics on the usage of the service, compile customer feedback… We felt that this information did not belong to us: it belongs to the citizens of Newcastle, and we are only the custodians of it. We felt that it was our duty to give it back to them.

We therefore decided to share this information as widely and freely as possible for the benefit of our community – this brought us to open data. Open data is information that can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose (including commercially). Our next step was to publish our information as open data sets: in simple terms, spreadsheets with a bit of text specifying how the information can be used, downloadable from the Council website.

But that wasn’t enough. We were sharing our information, but we also needed to facilitate access to it. We are well aware that a spreadsheet is not exactly the most attractive document (!) and most people would not know what to do when faced with one. So we set out to show citizens just like you and me – the ones who are comfortable with using a computer but aren’t developers – what they could do with our data. At Datamorphosis on 1 October at City Library people learnt to visualise data on a map, timeline or infographic using free online tools.” Aude Charillon  via email.