A mixture of the good and bad. Haringey have overturned previously reported plans to cut library opening hours and are instead investing £2 million in them instead. That’s quite some U-turn. From the news report I read, it seems like they did an honest consultation (hi Livewire, see it can be done) and the result was taken on board. It’s also good to see Coventry also having a rethink and reducing the cuts there, although four libraries are still to become volunteer, which is hardly nothing.  It’s interesting to see GLL taking over another library service (that’s four so far I think) in Dudley.  The leisure trust has now completely overcome its London roots and must be seen as a force to be reckoned with nationally.  Whether that’s good or bad, depends on how you feel about non-profit trusts. On the bad side, Liverpool are cutting the libraries budget by nearly £2 million and trying to pass on four libraries to others and Wolverhampton are going for full-on co-locations and volunteers. Expect a lot more from those two councils in PLN soon.



Media mentions heatmap

This shows longer term trends in authorities than this post alone.  Only authorities with 6 or more are included. :

  •  Plymouth (24, -1), Bath and North East Somerset (10, new),  Cornwall (6. new), Lancashire (6, -5), Birmingham (8, -2), Darlington (7, -1), Walsall (7, +1), Warrington (6, =), Manchester (6 – this is all positive news), Kirklees (6, new)

National news

  • Books are back because Amazon likes them – Amazon. Amazon is now charging less or similar for print books than for comparable bestselling e-books.
  • Cultural commissioning and libraries: workshops – Libraries Taskforce. “This post is the second in a series which collates and shares the content of workshops given during the recent Libraries Deliver: Ambition sector forums. It was written by Charlotte Lane, a member of the Taskforce team, who attended Jessica’s workshop” … “through the intermediary outcomes, eg. impact on employment. It’s difficult to track long term employment, but we can track and measure the library input like improved knowledge of the job market, improved skills (in CV writing) and improved confidence at interviews”
  • Send LibraryCamp to Next Library 2017 – Crowdfunder. “… we’re reaching out to our families, friends, librarycampers, colleagues and anyone who  can possibily help to make our dreams come true and help us deliver an awesome workshop in Denmark. We’ll be co-hosting Connection Through Collaboration. We aim to deliver a session that inspires and empowers attendees. If they leave feeling motivated to go back to work and make a difference in their communities and libraries, we will have done our job…”

International news

  • Australia – Instant Professional Development – Moreton Bay Style – Public Libraries Connect. “The idea behind a presenter-less session is that each participant receives a challenge to complete or discuss, and by doing so, the whole group comes together to address an issue, bringing their own concerns, ambitions, dreams, experiences, and expertise to the table.” … “If you can gather a group of five or more staff and/or stakeholders, you can run this activity in your own venue.  You could schedule this as part of a staff meeting, a designated training session, or perhaps over a morning tea.”


  • Sweden – Sweden to Trump: What happened last night? – BBC. “Some of those contacted the official @Sweden Twitter account – which is manned by a different Swedish citizen each week – to ask: “What happened in Sweden last night?” It was down to Emma, a school librarian, to allay concerns voiced from people around the world.” {If you can, read the tweets from @Sweden – an honest librarian facing Stupid and winning – Ed.]
  • USA / India / UK – An Elegy for the Library – New York Times. “Every so often, there are rumblings, among students gathered on the front steps or in the local press, that the library will close: the predatory gaze of developers is never far. And I’m more conscious than ever of the many things we would lose.” Writer remembers libraries he has used and library workers who made an impression on him.

Local news by authority

  • Brent – Kensal Rise newsletter – Kensal Rise Library. Author event with Alan Johnson MP, report on refurbishment, £40k still needed but “The library’s refurbishment is only possible due to our remarkable achievement of raising £160,000 before the deadlines we set ourselves in 2016. All the hard work has paid off and we are grateful for the success of our application for £75,000 to Power To Change and our other awards from the Foyle Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation and Brent Council, plus sponsorship from Daniels Estate Agents, an anonymous bequest of £10,000, revenue from our ever popular events – and not least, the generous support of the community.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Our 10 Year StoryLittle Chalfont Community Library. ” 2006 Buckinghamshire County Council announced the proposed closure of a number of branch libraries, including Little Chalfont.  This was massively opposed by the residents of Little Chalfont who convinced the council that it could be kept open and run by the community at no cost to the Council. The library has now been run as a charity, raising its own funding and staffed entirely by volunteers (the only person who gets paid is the window cleaner) for 10 years. It has gone from strength to strength and by clicking the tabs below, you can see the progress we have made. Of course, none of this could have happened without the continued and generous support from readers, local businesses, council grants and residents. Little Chalfont has much to thank you for.
    ​When you’ve taken your stroll down memory lane, don’t forget to check out our vital statistics.”
  • Coventry – Coventry libraries to stay open another year as £2.4m council cuts announced – Coventry Telegraph. “Plans to close libraries have been stalled for another year as Coventry City Council announces £2.4m worth of cuts to services that help the city’s most vulnerable. While libraries have been saved for now, funding for youth services and dozens of full-time jobs will be axed if proposals for youth services, children’s centres and libraries are approved on March 7. Around 85 jobs, mostly in children’s centres, are likely to go – but council bosses have pledged to help affected staff by offering early retirement, voluntary redundancy or training options. After the closure of Arena Park library and its relocation to Holbrooks Community Centre, the council has given its reassurance that no other libraries will close for the next 12 months.”
  • Devon – Date set for sneak preview of new East Devon library – Exeter Express and Echo. “While some communities have lost the libraries, Ottery St Mary is bucking the trend by opening one in the town, and residents are being invited to enjoy a sneak preview inside it. What was previously the NatWest Bank building in the centre of the town has been turned into the first library to be opened by Libraries Unlimited. The new staff and community-owned social enterprise was established last spring with the support of Devon County Council. Its doors will briefly open on Friday, February 24, between 4.30pm and 6pm, for a first-look at its transformation. It will then officially open for business the following day from 10am.”
  • Dudley – Exciting times for library mutual – Dudley Council. “Following a competitive process, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has been chosen as the preferred partner to bring their expertise to Dudley libraries and archives and run our mutual over the next five years. GLL is a charitable social enterprise which is committed to working on behalf of the whole community.  As an employee led mutual it involves staff in decisions about its services.  It has been running leisure and library services since 1993 and currently manages libraries in Wandsworth and Lincolnshire as well as Greenwich Council’s library services. “
  • Haringey – Average household council tax bills in Haringey set to rise by £39 – Enfield Gazette and Advertiser. ““We’ve listened closely to what local people have told us, which is why our proposals include a commitment to maintaining current opening hours at our libraries and investment in further library improvements, alongside funding for roads, pavements and leisure,” he added.” £2million investment in libraries, shelving an earlier suggestion to reduce opening hours.
  • Lancashire – Aussie trio bring ‘aural treat’ to latest library music session – Visitor. “Stewart Parsons, from Get It Loud in Libraries (GILIL), said: “Loud In Libraries is delighted to have booked such a hot band for its spiritual home – Lancaster Library. “Only a few remaining tickets are left on sale and the city’s music lovers are in for an aural treat.””
  • Lewisham – This man is saving London’s ailing libraries from closure – Big Issue. “The Big Issue Group’s social investment arm, helped Eco Communities access finance to transform libraries, cherished public resources, in deprived parts of south London. “Eco Communities is actually run out of my local library in Crofton Park,” says Daniel Wilson-Dodd, head of lending at Big Issue Invest. “The library is helping more people to access knowledge and opportun-ities, as well as a good cup of coffee. It’s also used by lots of different people, from the very young to the very old, across a range of socio-economic backgrounds. It’s great to see the impact of our investment in person.”” … “p and down the UK, social enterprises like Eco Communities have proved themselves shrewd and flexible operators, finding new revenue streams by opening up library spaces to a wider range of outside partners, from housing associations to Citizens Advice bureaus to further education providers.”
  • Liverpool – Budget 2017: 300 jobs to go, 5% council tax rise and libraries under threat – Liverpool Echo. Four libraries under threat for 2019. £1.6m cut proposed for 2018/19. Volunteers may be involved.
  • North Somerset – Nailsea library and college could be sold if services move to Scotch Horn – North Somerset Times.
  • North Yorkshire – Town’s cash gift to help library rescue group – Northern Echo. “Town council is handing over £4,000 of taxpayers money to help save the community’s threatened library. Bedale town councillors agreed unanimously to contribute the money requested by volunteers setting up the new community library. They are taking over the running of the library after funding for staff was scrapped by North Yorkshire county council in the face of massive budget cuts. Neighbouring parish councils are also giving money, Aiskew and Leeming Bar £2,000 and Crakehall £500, with further amounts from other villages.”
  • Northamptonshire – ‘Work in libraries’ Northamptonshire council staff told – BBC. “Staff at a county council have been told to work either in a library or from home because work to their new headquarters has been delayed. Northamptonshire County Council’s current HQ has been sold. Workers, including social workers, must move out by the end of March but cannot move into the new Angel Square complex in Northampton until a month later. Unison said it was concerned there could be confidentiality issues with staff updating files in libraries.”
  • South Tyneside – The Word welcomes 88,000 visitors in first two months – Shields Gazette. “The Word – National Centre for the Written Word – welcomed 88,000 visitors in its first two months of operation. Meanwhile, the centre’s website attracted almost 40,000 visits, and 867 new readers joined the library since October – an increase of nearly 400% compared to the same period in the old Central Library.More than 50,000 people have now visited the Ridley Scott exhibition, which was endorsed by the man himself. Sir Ridley said he was ‘proud and humbled’ to be honoured with the exhibition in his home ” [Included here as I think I missed this December article at the time – Ed.]
  • Oxfordshire – Heralding the Past column by Jackie Smith: A history of Abingdon’s libraries – Oxford Mail.
  • Warrington – Trust is lost – Warrington Guardian / Letters. “new report into libraries appears to propose a collection of ad hoc arrangements cobbled together in the face of the public outrage at LiveWire’s closure programme. Let’s not be gulled into believing that the brief details are anything other than the usual soothing noises about possibilities here and there. It’s typical of LiveWire to peddle such stuff in its hurry to distract from its own inability to manage our library service, which is disintegrating before our eyes. Our councillors should treat the cause not the symptoms”
  • Wolverhampton – Wolverhampton libraries: Bilston could move from 145-year-old home in major shake-up – Express and Star. “A major shake-up of libraries in Wolverhampton has been unveiled with one facing a move from its 145-year-old home and businesses being invited in to four others.” … “The city council has launched a review over its 16 libraries. Bilston library could be relocated from its Grade II listed home in Mount Pleasant to Bilston Town Hall under one proposal put forward. Central library in Wolverhampton will remain with improvements planned inside the building. Other ideas include relocating Low Hill library to Low Hill Community Hub and East Park to an unknown location.”