National news

  • Government’s £4million library handout dismissed as ‘too little, too late’ – Chronicle. “Now, with little chance of any significant new Government funds heading to Tyneside, the councillor responsible for keeping libraries open has called for ministers to be honest on the impact of austerity. Councillor Kim McGuinness said: “The utter hypocrisy of this Tory Government makes my blood boil. Local councils have been starved of funding year after year and have been forced to make unpalatable choices about the running of libraries.”
  • Ministers lead fight back against library closures as 10 out of 15 to close by August next year in Swindon – Telegraph. “Rob Wilson, the libraries minister, hauled in officials from Swindon council last week after it said it wanted to close 10 out of its 15 libraries. A meeting with leaders of Lancashire which is also culling libraries is planned shortly. Mr Wilson has powers under the 1964 Libraries Act to investigate and over turn closure decisions.  He is now taking a proactive stance to defend libraries from closures. One source said Mr Wilson was “intervening at a very early stage” and throughout the formal investigation process to hold the councils to account.” … “Mr Wilson has already launched an investigation into a decision by Lancashire council to cut 28 out of its 73 libraries to help save £200million from the council’s budget by 2021, and plans to meet its leader.” … “David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said he was happy for his council’s plans to be scrutinised by the Government.”

“I just wanted someone to know the Telegraph story about Swindon is a load of rubbish. Rob Wilson is not holding Swindon to account. He had a nice cosy meeting with Justin Tomlinson & our lead member to discuss support for a trust. The cuts will go through with his approval.” Email from someone in the know in Swindon

“The Minister has indeed been speaking with the Lead Member for libraries at Swindon Borough Council, but it remains very unclear to library users whether they are holding the Council to account or collaborating in a venture to implement huge cuts. Meanwhile the library staff will be re-applying for their jobs as soon as they return to work after Christmas and library hours will drop to 15 hours from 5 April, so campaigners are looking to Mr Wilson to act very swiftly indeed if any meaningful change to this damaging library plan is to be achieved.” Sarah Church, Swindon library user.

International news

  • USA – Libraries become new domestic terrorism target in Trump wave of hate crimes – Boing Boing. “Authorities say in recent weeks there has been an unprecedented wave of hate crimes targeting library buildings, books, and the people who read them. The officials told the New York Times they’d rarely seen such before. These crimes are intended to terrorize, and they follow a recent report by the F.B.I. which says hate crimes against Muslim people in America shot up over the past year”
  • USA – Why I Do Not Decorate the Library for Christmas – Public Libraries Online. “Those of us who do not celebrate Christmas may be few and far between, but the irony is during this season of love, peace, and good will, many feel anything but those things. For that reason, I do not decorate the library for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza. I stick with neutral motifs of snow, snowmen, and the New Year in order to support all patrons. I want my library to be a safe haven for everyone, and in this way, I try to lead tolerance by not decorating the public, secular space of the library for Christmas.”

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Protestors battling to save Sutton Coldfield Library to lead march from Aldi through town centre – Sutton Coldfield Observer. “Members of The Library Lobby will be showing their support for the much-loved facility, which is facing the axe due to Birmingham City Council budget cuts, at a protest being held tomorrow (Saturday, December 10). The group is now inviting everyone who wants to see the facility stay open to join them outside Aldi in The Parade at 11am.”
  • Derby – Online petition launched in bid to save Derby’s Central Library – Derby Telegraph. “Rob Fisher is hoping to have at least 3,000 signatures on his petition, which he intends to present to Derby City Council to demonstrate the strength of people’s feeling against the move.” … “”There would be much less room in the Council House and not a good combination with the other business that goes on there.”
  • Dundee – Visitors up at city pools and libraries Evening Telegraph. “And the city hosted 5,577 digital literacy sessions across the six-month period — a substantial rise from the 3,916 held 12 months previously. The figures were revealed in a report going before the council’s scrutiny committee next week. The report said that library visitor numbers included virtual visits — which are expected to increase in the future. It also detailed how digital literacy volunteers had delivered 1,956 hours of support throughout this period. And the rise in e-reading resources is attributed to the addition of links to library website homepages, to make access easier.”
  • Lancashire – New chapter for axed Trawden Library thanks to community focus – Lancashire Telegraph. “The former Trawden Library will reopen as a community shop, a Post Office and bring back a library service to the village. “
  • Lancashire – Changes to where we provide your services – Lancashire County Council. “The former Fulwood and Freckleton library buildings are now for sale.” [Fulwood had 48,000 visits p.a. – Ed.]
  • Lancashire – Joy as library and community centre saved from the axe – Rossendale Free Press. “Lancashire County Council (LCC) has approved a community asset transfer for the Crawshawbooth Community Association to take over Crawshawbooth Library and Community Centre and for Whitewell Bottom Community Centre to be transferred to Whitewell Bottom Community Association”
  • North Lanarkshire – Big Issue columnist Damian Barr helps to save Newarthill library – Big Issue. “Following an extensive and heartfelt community campaign, councillors have voted to keep Newarthill library open. The library in North Lanarkshire, Scotland had been earmarked for closure along with six others, but a community campaign – which included Big Issue columnist Damian Barr – has managed to prevent the closure of a much loved and used library.”
  • Nottingham – Plans to create a new library in Nottingham will go ahead – West Bridgford Wire. “Nottingham City Council will go ahead with its earlier decision to develop a new Central Library after a meeting to review it agreed to the move. Earlier this month the council had decided in principle to sell the library building on Angel Row to construction and property business Henry Boot Developments Limited, in a deal which would see new Central Library facilities developed, as well as high-grade office space.”
  •  Swindon – An open letter to Swindon CouncilBookSeller. Steve Antony: “As Swindon Libraries Patron to Children’s Reading Services I want to speak up for the hundreds of children whose lives could be negatively impacted by these plans. Since the publication of my first children’s book, in 2014, I’ve visited many libraries in towns and cities across the UK, including my hometown of Swindon, and I have seen first-hand just how effectively our librarians positively impact the lives of children in their local communities. I’ve seen how Swindon librarians inspire and nurture a love of reading amongst children by reaching out to local schools, holding weekly story time sessions, running regular contests and competitions, celebrating nationwide reading campaigns, and so much more.”
  • Swindon – Council’s vision for libraries could change within months – Swindon Advertiser. “The council is now considering adopting a trust model for the service, a move that could alter the financial modelling around which the latest plans are built. “
  • Swindon – We have won Parliamentary support for Library Trust, says MP – Swindon Advertiser. “… following on from my article last week we have had further progress towards establishing a Swindon Library Trust. I arranged a meeting with the minister responsible for libraries on Monday, which I attended with SBC Cabinet Member Mary Martin, despite the short notice.” … “Mary was very impressive and helped us make the most of this opportunity. The Minister spoke of his support for setting up a Library Trust and agreed to provide financial assistance to help with the set-up. This was overwhelmingly supported at the SBC Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and provides a real opportunity to safeguard our library network.”
  • Torfaen – Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Torfaen Council. “The HEEE outlined a report and responded to members’ questions regarding options for the reconfiguration of the Library and Information Service to achieve the Council’s stated budget set for 2017/18. In particular the following was noted: that a consultation on the proposals would be undertaken; consideration had been given to the impact on staff and timeliness of required savings; further cuts make it increasingly difficult to achieve the Wales Library Standards and Torfaen would be placed further down the league table; the options presented require a reduction in the book loan service …”
  • Torfaen – The future of the library service in Torfaen – Torfaen Council. £250k cut. “Reducing the manned book loan service in all three libraries to the equivalent of three days per week. Self-service options will be available on the non-manned days that will enable customers to check out and return books themselves; Reducing the manned book loan service in Blaenavon and Pontypool to the equivalent of two and a half days per week, and Cwmbran to the equivalent of four days per week. Self-service options will be available on the non-manned days that will enable customers to check out and return books themselves. (This option is calculated to recognise the spread of customers using the library service across the borough. It also takes into account Cwmbran Library’s position as one of Wales’s libraries of strategic importance, and the range of the resources on offer there); Closing a library.”

“CONGRATULATIONS to Warrington, which has clawed its way up from the bottom of the culture league table, aka the Heritage Index, to an almost-creditable 296th place. In 2015 the town came 320th in the list compiled by the Royal Society of Arts, with scoring based on both the town’s paucity of either heritage assets or cultural events and activities.  So excited are town bosses about the improvement, they’ve set up a panel to consider making a bid to be City of Culture in 2021. Alas, this seems a trifle premature, as LiveWire, the community interest cxompany that runs the town’s libraries, is still pressing ahead with closure plans that will see most of Warrington’s proper branch libraries replaced with “lending lockers” (Eye 1431).  As automated cupboards that spit out books ordered online are highly unlikely to host literary events, it looks like it will be back to the bottom of the league for Warrington very soon.” – Warrington – Library News (p.33) – Private Eye.

  • Worcestershire – It’s secured a gong again! Worcester’s gold-cladded £60m Hive handed another top British accolade – Worcester News. “The gold-cladded venue, which has become one of Britain’s most popular libraries since opening four-and-half years ago, has triumphed in the Library Design Awards 2016. A panel of experts from the Society of College, National and University Libraries decided it was the best development of over 2,000 square metres floorspace. The society, which represents learning institutions across the UK and Ireland, handed out the gong on the basis of the library’s functionality as well as its appearance.”