A very positive (and rare) article in the Telegraph on libraries is a nice accompaniment to a couple of pieces in the Guardian on school and public libraries. Continuing the positive new, there’s three refurbishments of libraries – including one with 3D printers – as well as (well, hopefully positive, it’s too early to tell) the replacement of Nottingham Central Library. Rounding off the national news is a call from CILIP for (gosh) leadership and commitment to public libraries from the Government.

But the main thing I will remember this week is the absolute shocked reaction by US librarians to the news of Donald Trump being elected. They’re a lot more political over there than British librarians, I can tell you. With many on the ALATT Facebook group (normally a bunch of very nice and supportive librarians) almost hitting open warfare when anyone suggested that anyone who voted for Trump wasn’t a sexist or a racist. The battle lines have been drawn there. We will see how long the war goes on and if anyone outside of library staff rooms notice (and the implications if they do).


National news

Time is running out for nominations for Informed’s first Informed Peer Recognition Awards (IPRAs). The awards are to recognise a library and information professional who has gone beyond the requirements of their job to make a positive difference. There are three categories for nominations: Demonstrating a commitment to, or substantial involvement in activities which will contribute to the development of services and/or resources that will provide a benefit to the public; Working to deliver improvements to a service (be it private, public, or voluntary) for the benefit of users and provide them with a better experience when interacting with the service; Working across the profession to improve an aspect of it for the benefit of others. We welcome nominations from all sectors of the profession and for individuals at any stage of their career.  The deadline for nomination is 5pm on Friday 25th November”

  • Giving public libraries strong leadership and commitment – CILIP. “We now call on responsible government departments and the national bodies who are fellow members of the Leadership for Libraries Taskforce to make a public declaration of their commitment to public libraries in England by supporting our principles and working with us to ensure they are reflected in the implementation of the upcoming Ambition for Public Libraries in England. We challenge our Government to provide targeted emergency relief funding in next week’s Autumn Statement.  This need is echoed by Lord John Bird in his address to the House of Lords last month: “Libraries are essential, yet what is happening is that they are being cut. I recommend that Her Majesty’s Government supply some emergency relief money to stop local authorities doing this dastardly deed, this process of philistinising our communities.” As well as emergency relief funding we need ongoing financial support for Local Authorities. We also need to strengthen national development support for libraries, consider all options and carry out realistic long-term planning when considering transferring library services into community ownership, and have a robust national plan for developing and improving libraries. If we don’t take urgent, collective action to deliver these key principles we will fail to meet local needs and national priorities.”
  • John Bird and Jeremy Corbyn urge government to support ailing libraries and bookshops – Big Issue. “Using his position in the Lords to agitate on behalf of those without a voice, Bird has written to Lord Ashton of Hyde, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, recommending the Westminster government provide emergency relief funding for local authorities struggling to keep libraries open.”

“Meanwhile, speaking exclusively to The Big Issue ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, Labour leader Jeremy Corybyn hopes new chancellor Philip Hammond will provide additional funding to reduce the strain on Britain’s ailing libraries and bookshops. “I’m a passionate supporter of libraries and encouraging all of our children to read and indeed I’ve always supported summer reading challenges in my local libraries, getting all the kids to come in, read six books and then they get a prize in the autumn and an afternoon in the library and where they get sort of snacks and food and stuff and they enjoy it. “I fully support [The Big Issue’s campaign]. Once you lose a library, you never get it back.””

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on 24 October (HL2163), what assessment they have made of the case for intervening under sections 10 and 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 in order to ensure that local authorities are discharging their function and meeting their statutory obligations to provide library services to the public.” Lord Hunt of Chesterton (Labour)

“The Secretary of State can request an inspection under section 10 and intervene under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 where there is robust evidence that an authority is failing to comply with the best value duty. To date, the Government has taken the view that failures need to be very serious (and not narrowly focused on one single function) to warrant removing control from an independent council, which is run by locally elected representatives. For a single function such as library services, the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 provides the Secretary of State with a statutory power to intervene by calling a local enquiry when a library authority fails, or is suspected of failing, to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.” Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative) House of Lords 15th November.

  • Public Health England and libraries – potential to work more closely together – Libraries Taskforce. “Public Health England’s aim is to “protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities.” Their responsibilities include: making the public healthier by encouraging discussions; advising government and supporting action by local government, the NHS and other people and organisations; Supporting the public so they can protect and improve their own health. These goals mean there is lots of potential for working more closely with public libraries, and while there may already be some local effective partnerships and centres of expertise, we would like to explore how to ensure a more systematic and nationally consistent picture might emerge.”
  • The Reading Agency, Society of Chief Librarians & Robinson Books to launch bibliotherapy booklet for GPs – Reading Agency. “A new publication from The Reading Agency, Society of Chief Librarians and several partner organisations is to be launched, a booklet which outlines the case for using bibliotherapy with patients in the form of the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme. Books on Prescription: How bibliotherapy can help your patients and save your practice time and money is aimed at primary healthcare professionals and it explains how the Reading Well scheme works, and why it is of great benefit to any practice.”
  • School libraries change lives. Cutting them would be disastrous – Guardian. “The gift of reading, and the joy it can bring, is something that stays with someone for life. This argument, along with the body of research that links reading for pleasure with social mobility and success in exams, should be enough to save school libraries. With so many council libraries closing, libraries in schools are more vital than ever”

“The Crime Writer’s Association’s “Dagger in the Library” award is now open for nominations. The criteria for the award has changed this year and we are now only accepting nominations for the award from library staff.  This is an excellent opportunity to promote crime fiction as a genre and the CWA have designed free downloadable posters which can be used for displays in branch.  It’s also an excellent opportunity to promote this genre with reading groups. You can submit your nominations here http://daggerreads.co.uk/dagger-in-the-library/ – the author must have published at least four novels in the genre and these must be widely available in libraries in either digital, print or audio format.  Previous winners are not eligible. Nominations close on 31st December 2016. Please drop me a line if you have any queries or would like some help with ideas for promoting the award and do spread the word to colleagues and across your service. Happy voting. Mobeena Khan.”

  • Want your students to love learning? Get them to the library – Guardian. “… where services are surviving, partnerships with local schools are still flourishing, allowing pupils to delve into the world of literature beyond the classroom. “The link provides a sense of community for the children,” says Rebecca Butler, associate headteacher at Kingsfield First School in Staffordshire. “We have very close links with our library.” … “Partnerships are in jeopardy in many areas, but where they can still work, they do – and continue opening up the world of books to pupils. The aim, says Butler, is to “hand the power to the child”. “

International news

  • Eire – Library cuts threat prompts Kilkenny industrial action ballot – Kilkenny People. “The union says the extension of staffless arrangements will leave library users in Kilkenny and elsewhere unable to get assistance from trained and qualified staff, or benefit from cultural and educational events. Impact says this would hit less advantaged communities and individuals hardest, because wealthier and better educated groups generally need less help and can afford to pay for more cultural and educational experiences.”
  • USA – How to weather the Trump administration: Head to the library – LA Times. Even now, in this riven country, after this whole entropically hideous year, most Americans still agree on at least one institution. Mercifully, it’s the one that may just save us: the public library. Hear me out. In small towns and large, in red states and blue, libraries poll better across the political spectrum than any public trust this side of the fire department. In districts where millage increases don’t require a two-thirds vote (and frequently where they do, as in California) modest library bonds usually win.”
  • USA – Selected Annotated Bibliography for the Librarian Resistance – Jessamyn West. ” Many people are being thrown into incredibly vulnerable positions as a result of this election — positions that were only getting slightly stabilized over the last decade — and this is happening at a national or international level, not just in our local communities. I’m proud of what libraries have been able to accomplish in the world so far. I offer a reading list and hopes that we can weather this storm together and form an effective and ruthlessly efficient resistance.”

Local news by authority

  • Cambridgeshire – Library Services Manager – Cambridgeshire Council. “Cambridgeshire Library Service has a reputation for innovation, and with 4 new libraries planned for the next few years – the first opening in 2017 – you could play a crucial role in these developments. Based in the world renowned city of Cambridge, this role is the professional and functional lead for an innovative and inspiring county library service. It requires an experienced and capable leader, with expert knowledge of the sector, and the ability to shape the delivery of library services as part of a network of multi-agency community hubs. You will be responsible for the effective management of strategic change projects, operational delivery, and strengthening partnership working. You will be expected to maintain and improve the performance of front-line services and enhance the customer experience using the latest technologies and digital interfaces.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Move planned for Chester Library – Cheshire Today. “The public is being invited to drop-in sessions to find out more about the changes taking place with Chester Library between now and the opening of Storyhouse – the new £37m theatre, cinema and library space. The sessions, hosted by Cheshire West and Chester Library Service and Storyhouse, take place on Thursday 1 December from 11am to 2pm, and Monday 5 December from 4pm to 7pm in Chester Library, Northgate Street. Visitors will be able to find out more about the new Storyhouse library including the dedicated children’s library, complete with an arts/crafts messy play area and a storytelling room; dedicated family and local history section; improved digital facilities and services; flexible event spaces; increased opening hours and opportunities to get involved.”
  • Cornwall – Free Wi-Fi in Cornwall’s libraries – Packet. “Mark Read, Cornwall Council service director for customer access and digital services, said: “The introduction of free Wi-Fi, which allows people to access the internet through their own phone or other device whilst in the library, provides a great opportunity for people to have free, instant, easy access to council services online. ” [This seems like something from two or three years go – Ed.]
  • Coventry – ‘We are still being subjected to explosives being detonated around the city– Coventry Telegraph / Letters. “The people of Coventry pay their council tax and should have their say in how the money is spent. Money is wasted in so many areas and a good council would find a way to save these wonderful amenities that have been a way of life for many people over many years.”
  • Enfield – Criticism triggers rethink on Enfield library – Haringey Advertiser. “The detailed plans unveiled at a meeting of Enfield Council on Wednesday last week show that library provision at the Hertford Road site would be slashed by 75 per cent. Instead the borough’s main sexual health clinic will be sharing the ground floor with the adult and children’s library.”

“Shadow cabinet member for leisure and libraries Dogan Delman said: “The plans were so poorly thought through that I cannot believe the council was bringing them forward. How can it be right that the size of the library is cut by 75 per cent with no justification? Simply not good enough. There are also clear concerns that have to be answered about placing a sexual health clinic next to a children’s library. People living in Enfield Highway deserve better.”

  • Hertfordshire – Watford library given new lease of life with £400,000 makeover – Watford Observer. “Watford Central Library has been given a new lease of life with a £400,000 makeover. New facilities at the Hempstead Road building include a state-of-the-art “creator space” – a first for libraries in Hertfordshire – filled with cutting edge technology such as tablet computers and 3D printers available for public use. Charges for the equipment vary but are being kept “affordable”. For example, a 3D printer costs just £5 per hour to use.”
  • Kent – Dartford Library reopens after a £650,000 restoration to mark its centenary year – Kent Online. “Despite the amount of money and time poured into the restoration, the guiding principle of the project was to ensure that the building maintained its heritage. Walls and flooring have been redecorated, new furniture has been installed, art displays are dotted many of the rooms, and original listed bookshelves have been refurbished.” … “Changing facilities and toilets have been added, as has a new meeting room for groups and societies, and a Centenary Room has been created for use for deaths and births registrations.”
  • Nottingham – City council buys Sneinton Police Station for library plans – Nottingham Post. “Sneinton Police Station is set to become a library after Nottingham City Council bought the building – but officers will also continue to work from the site. The remodelled building in Sneinton Dale will be renamed The Dales Centre under plans by the city council, in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police.” … “The council said that previous public consultation conducted in 2016 showed overwhelming local support, with over 80 per cent of responses in favour of the plans.”
  • Nottingham – Huge new office development to be built on Nottingham Central Library site – Nottingham Post. “One of the most prominent public buildings in the city centre is to be transformed into new offices – after Nottingham City Council confirmed plans to sell Central Library to a development company. Nottingham City Council has approved a decision to sell Central Library, in Angel Row, to construction and property business Henry Boot Developments Limited. The site is currently home to the 30,000 sq ft four-storey library – which houses exhibition spaces, meeting and study rooms, a family history research area and a contact centre – but it is set to be transformed into 120,000 sq ft office block. The city council said Central Library will either be retained on the same site within the new development, or an alternative central location will be sought for the facility.” see also Council to invest in new city library for Nottingham – West Bridgford Wire. “The sale of the Angel Row site will mean money becomes available for a new library facility, as the current site is tired and not very adaptable to the changing needs of library users. The sale also allows the City Council to make the most of its resources at a time when councils continue to face significant Government cuts to their budgets – with some closing libraries to save money.” and Nottingham library sale to bring in £4m – Business Desk.
  • Rutland – Controversial proposal to move Visions Children’s Centre to Oakham Library site is approved by councillors – Stamford Mercury. “Councillors have voted to approve controversial plans to relocate the Visions Childrens Centre to a new extension at Oakham Library.” … “Coun Mark Oxley (Ind) said: “The library is an ugly building in the centre of a conservation area. We are proposing an ugly extension on the back of an ugly building.”
  • Swindon – Over a thousand in call to save library – Swindon Advertiser. “A petition calling on Park Library to be saved when the council reveals the future of the service has received 1,100 signatures. Despite serving one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in Swindon, and being among the most visited of the 15 libraries in the town, Park is set for closure amid drastic cuts to the libraries provision in Swindon.”
  • Swindon – Teachers and students praised by author as literature festival inspires more visits to school library – This is Wiltshire. “The festival was launched by children’s laureate and prolific writer and illustrator Chris Riddell, and welcomed in a headline reading at The Wyvern Theatre from Geek Girl author Holly Smale. “
  • Vale of Glamorgan – New hub opens at library – Barry and District News. “Construction of the new facility – which is a result of a £100,000 investment by the Vale council – was completed in October and opened on November 7. The facility includes three classrooms, computer suite, computer suite, office space and crèche. Councillor Lis Burnett, cabinet member for regeneration and education, said: “Education and lifelong learning is central to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s regeneration work and where better to locate a learning hub than the library, the first port of call for anyone seeking information.”
  • Walsall – Peeved parents stage walk-in protest amid proposed closure of Streetly Library – Sutton Coldfield Observer. “VEXED families and users of Streetly Library staged a surprise walk-in demonstration last week (November 4) – in protest of the proposed closure. Walsall Council plan to shut every single one of its local libraries – 15 in total – and just keep Walsall Central Library open in a bid to save £86m by 2020. However, angry mothers and grandmothers stormed into the Blackwood Road facility last week to demand action. Rohanna Preece, who takes her two boys to the library every week, said: “On Friday, November 4 we, the people who use Streetly Library all of the time, held a surprise walk-in to show our support for the facility. “We have other events planned including a coffee morning on December 3 to celebrate the library.”
  • West Berkshire – ‘Where is back-up plan for library volunteers? – Newbury Today. “West Berkshire Council has no back-up plan if volunteers don’t come forward to save libraries, it was claimed this week. Campaigners protested in force when Theale Library was earmarked for closure and now West Berkshire Council is asking residents to step in and save the service. The council is consulting on three options for the district’s libraries, with the most severe cut resulting in all library staff outside of Newbury axed and seven branch libraries run by volunteers. Option B would see would create a ‘hub and spoke’ library network, replacing half the staff at two branches and the remaining five run entirely by volunteers. The final option would see staffing levels at seven branches halved, with volunteers taking up the slack. Discussing the consultation at a meeting on Monday, parish councillors asked what would happen if volunteers did not come forward.”