Library media heatmap - watch out for the red dots

Library media heatmap – watch out for the red dots

I’m going to be trying out a new feature for a while – making  a note each post of those library authorities under the most media scrutiny.  This will be done making use of the map of the UK which has been on the right hand side of the website for some time now.  Made by a clever coder, this map links every “Local News By Authority” mention I make and puts them in the correct place on the United Kingdom (expect for the Isle of Man which, for some reason, ends up in Lancashire – go figure).  Because every link is attached to a dot, differently coloured due to the number of media mentions, it’s easy to spot the areas under the most scrutiny.  It’s worth pointing out that such mentions may theoretically be for positive reasons as well as for negative ones but I’ll keep an eye out for those and mention them if they occur. They haven’t done so yet.

So, for the first one, the red “danger” areas are Lancashire, with a massive 27 mentions reflecting the sheer number of branches being cut there, and Plymouth with 13.  In the still-scary orange dot category are Bath and North East Somerset, Birmingham, Darlington, Swindon, Warrington and (seemingly everpresent) North Yorkshire. I hope that by doing this I’m hoping this will give the reader an at-a-glance heatmap of the state of UK public libraries.  We’ll see how it goes.


National news

  • ElucidateCILIP UKeiG. “Amy Icke, recipient of UKeiGís Early Career award, reports on the IASL (International Association of School Librarians) Conference 2016, held in Tokyo, 21st – 26th August 2016. The theme of the event was ìA school library built for the digital ageî and Amy outlines and discusses key conference themes illustrated with examples delivered by librarians working in a range of countries including Japan, Australia, Sweden and Canada. Key messages for our readers in all sectors includes..”
  • Family Learning in Local Communities – Libraries Taskforce. “A new project from Common Vision sets out to study the informal activities that lay the foundations for healthy, resilient communities and contribute to intergenerational mixing and exchange. With the decline of the traditional town centre and new forms of technology facilitating social interaction, the ways in which we form and strengthen relationships are changing. This applies to relationships within families as much as other social groups” [There is a survey you can take part in.  I found it, though, quite obtrusive when I completed it, as it demands your personal contact details right at the start, with no explanation as to why.  You can put false information in the fields easily if you would prefer anonymity. Let’s hope this apparently professional company learns to do surveys correctly next time – Ed.]

“To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many public libraries have closed since February 2016. ” Tim Farron MP

“The Department for Culture, Media and Sport monitors proposed changes to library service provision throughout England, however the Department does not hold complete figures on total public library closures since February 2016.” Rob WIlson MP – Public Libraries: Closures: Written Questions – Parliament UK. [My working theory is that the only reason the Government is not keeping these figures is because they do not want to know / do not want to have to answer this sort of question because they’d find it embarrassing – Ed.]

International news

  • Canada – Arnprior’s librarian named Public Librarian of the Year by the Ontario Library Association – Inside Ottawa Valley. “One of her major achievements has been the launch of the iPod Project, where the library partnered with the Grove Nursing home to provide its residents with iPods and personalized playlists. ” … “The library raised nearly $4,000 to purchase 60 iPods and the music for the individual playlists”
  • Global – 10 most extraordinary mobile libraries – Ebook Friendly. “From donkey-drawn trolleys to huge ships, you’ll see here outstanding vehicles that are designed to carry the most important cargo in the world – wisdom.”
  • USA – Library Cats Leave Some Sneezing, Others Feline Fine – American Libraries. “Though everything turned out all right for the lucky kitty, the incident illustrated just how contentious having a cat in a library can be, even when the cat is popular with patrons. Perhaps that’s why the number of library cats in the United States has declined drastically in recent decades.” … “In an attempt to minimize the allergens present on library materials, staff members swipe each book with a Clorox wipe. Still, Sharp knows patron allergies are an ever-present concern.” … “Before adopting Stacks in 2009, Zumwalt consulted local veterinarians about allergies. “They said that as long as we kept the hair vacuumed, we really shouldn’t have any problems,” ” … “Frannie Shue, Centre County library director, is a big fan of “Saturday Caturday,” saying, “It’s a nice alternative for libraries that do not have cats—but love cats as much as books.””
  • USA – Mirrors and Windows: Diversity in Children’s Picture Books – Public LIbraries Online. “Working for an inner-city library, I am very conscious about choosing books that reflect what my storytime children look like and the culture to which they can relate. When searching for non-white main characters in picture books, I find it is much more dif­ficult than it ought to be.” … “Books are windows, but also mirrors. We often can relate to most any story in some way, however, if we cannot connect to the illustrations that do not mirror us, we will become apathetic to stories.”

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Job Opportunity: Library Manager based in Barnet – Inclusion Barnet. “We are a voluntary organisation in Barnet, North London and we are about to take over the running of two branch libraries as community-based ‘partnership libraries’, working with the London Borough of Barnet.” … “we can offer an attractive salary, a positive and inclusive working environment and a warm and supportive team around you, including a CEO with a background in library management”
  • Bradford – Volunteers urgently needed to help run Thornbury library – Telegraph and Argus. “Unless more volunteers respond to an appeal soon to help keep Thornbury Library open, it will close on April 1. Bradford Council announced in February last year that the branch based in the Thornbury Centre in Leeds Old Road would be one of fourteen libraries across the district to shut unless local communities could find enough helpers to staff them. But the take-up at Thornbury Library has been “a bit slow so far” according to parish priest and chairman of the Thornbury Centre, Father Nicholas Clews.”
  • Darlington – Crucial vote delayed again as Tory councillors force deferral in the battle to save Darlington’s Crown Street Library – Northern Echo. “The proposals would see the town’s mobile library service axed, Cockerton Library given over to volunteers and the historic Crown Street library closed, with the majority of its resources to be transferred to the Dolphin Centre” … “In an unexpected move, opposition councillors have provided the much-loved library with a last minute stay of execution by demanding further scrutiny of Darlington Borough Council’s long-opposed proposals. Responding to concerns repeatedly raised by campaigners, Conservative councillors have ‘called in’ the agenda item concerning library services ahead of Thursday’s final vote on the issue.” see Library Call-In – Darlington Council and Forward Plan – Darlington Council.
  • Hounslow – Library to re-open partially after two month closure following ceiling collapse – Get West London. “Part of Brentford library will reopen this weekend more than two months after the ceiling collapsed. The Grade II listed building on Boston Manor Road has been closed since November 10, last year, after the plaster from one of the ceilings in the children’s section fell overnight.” … “However the children’s section will remain closed until works are completed with the aim of fully re-opening on March 11”
  • Leeds – Chief Librarian – Leeds Council. “Leeds City Council is delivering an ambitious programme of more locally determined and integrated services which help ensure that all who live, visit and work in the city have access to quality public services. As part of this development, an exciting opportunity has arisen to lead and develop the Library and Information service across the city, an integral part of our proposition to deliver more integrated and accessible services.  ”
  • Leeds – Mannequin Challenge – YouTube. [I’ve seen a few of these now and this is pretty good – Ed.]
  •  Plymouth – Anthologia: Library Closure Special  – Tall Tales. “In response to the local library cuts suggested in Plymouth this week, several local writers have banded together to form ‘The Library Party’. This group has the aim of raising awareness of the proposed cuts and helping the public voice their concern and objections to the closures. This special Anthologia has poetry and micro-fiction from local Plymouth writers. Each piece focuses on the issue, libraries or the essential service provided by this ancient institution. There are also images explaining what is proposed and links to the petition within this page. “
  • Plymouth – Council told libraries are ‘community hubs’ at first public meeting over closures – Herald. “Jennifer Pointer, a mother of two, who attended the meeting with her family, felt that the closure of the school’s library would be wrong as for her libraries are “a life-line”. “I had quite bad post natal depression,” said Mrs Pointer, “The library was a good way to meet other mums and talk about it – they are a bit of a life-line.”. Many responses ask for investment in libraries to improve them rather than closing them.
  • Swindon – Libraries minister comes to Swindon as community deadline looms – Swindon Advertiser. “Last month Coun Mary Martin met with MP Rob Wilson, whose ministerial portfolio includes libraries, and on Thursday he came to Swindon to take a closer look at the plans” … “As part of the visit, he was shown the central library as well as Covingham library, which is well-advanced in its set up as a community run facility.” Covingham is one of the few community libraries where a clear path to a secure future has emerged. A trust model, devised by ward councillors and recently registered with the charities commission, has received the backing of local library supporters and the borough council” … “”It was a productive meeting to give the minister an update on the work that is going on towards protecting our vital libraries and to discuss further options for where the government can provide assistance. “I’m greatly encouraged, we seem to be making good progress.”