The manifestos of the three main English political parties have now been published and it’s clear who’s the winner when it comes to at least mentioning public libraries. The Labour Party are at least aware of some of the issues around libraries, offering a return to Library Standards and money for IT. The Liberal Democrats are, well, at least aware of the word “libraries” and how it can be used in a sentence, offering the sector part of £2 billion to co-locate services. The Conservatives, on the other hand. don’t mention the word library once in their entire document. I get the feeling that does not bode well.



National news

“Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund of capital investment to enable communities to establish a local base from which to co-locate services such as council offices, post offices, children’s centres, libraries and visiting health professionals.” Liberal Democrat Manifesto – the only mention of libraries.

“” Conservative Party Manifesto does not mention libraries once.

  • Interview with Solus: Smarter Collection Management – Collectionhq. “Solus’ new hand-held device which supports more efficient collection management”
  • Leader comment: Protecting Carnegie’s legacy – Scotsman. “The welcome transformation of the first public library funded by Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in his native Dunfermline is bound to attract visitors and publicity.” … “It would be a crying shame to forget how our libraries came about, and take them for granted. Once closed, they are gone and it is highly unlikely there will ever again be a philanthropist like Carnegie donating such gifts to the public. Everyone needs to understand the true value of Carnegie’s legacy”
  • Manifesto for Libraries for the General Election 2017 – Speak Up For Libraries. “If people wait another five years, their own library could go. Nationally, a postcode lottery is a reality with only some communities benefitting from the presence of a council funded and professionally run library. Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to reading, learning, information and leisure. Libraries are, or should be, a trusted public space for everyone. They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combatting the digital divide. Speak Up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking the government to make a public commitment to their survival and development…”
  • Party Manifestos – CILIP. “As part of our Facts matter campaign, we have been working hard to secure their support for libraries and the wider information profession in party manifestos and other commitments. Get to know the manifestos and read what the parties have to say about the role of libraries, knowledge and information in their vision for the UK.” … “The Plaid Cymru Manifesto doesn’t explicitly reference the role of libraries, but includes a number of policy commitments that are directly relevant to the information profession, including policies on education, welfare, poverty and communities.” … “CILIP will publish an opinion piece with our comments and analysis following the publication of the other key party manifestos”
  • Plenty of reasons for poor people to vote Labour – Guardian. List includes “Giving more money to local authorities, protecting libraries, post offices, pubs and local shops”
  • Too Many Chefs… – Leon’s Library Blog. “… both parties offer little in the way of innovation. For the Tories it will the continuing path of localism and devolution leading to even greater fragmentation of the sector. For Labour it is primarily a funding issue. However, funding is only part of the overall challenge, what’s really needed is addressing the structural issues facing the sector” … “lack of leadership, which in turn is the result of the chaotic nature in which libraries are overseen, funded, and influenced. From the libraries minister, DCMS, DCLG, ACE, Libraries Taskforce, and LGA,  to professional representation by Cilip and the SCL, down to local authorities, and increasingly parish councils, community groups, charities, and mutual.” … “creation of a two-tier, post code-lottery in local library provision.” … “, I can also hope and aspire towards a better future. For a strategic vision and leadership that leads towards a national approach for library services …”
  • Who has backed the Facts Matter pledge? – CILIP. “As part of our Facts matter campaign, CILIP has been asking political parties in the upcoming elections to pledge their commitment to facts and evidence in public life and their 2017 General Election campaigns. Our members and the general public have also been asking election candidates to come out publicly in support of the pledge.”. Alliance Party, SDLP and UUP have supported, along with a smattering of parliamentary candidates (8 at time of checking).
Plus free afterword by myself....


International news

  • Canada – P.E.I. public libraries eliminate overdue fines for children’s materials – CBC. Prince Edward Island. To encourage use. Lost books will be charged.
  • USA – Bringing the Library Home American Libraries. “… libraries are teaming up with local public housing authorities to keep costs down and doors open. In these partnerships, the library provides its services to a traditionally underserved community while the housing authority shoulders the cost of building and maintaining a facility”
  • USA – Drag Queens Are Public Libraries’ Newest Storytellers – Smithsonian. “Drag Queen Story Hour,” as it’s called, has been happening at the Brooklyn Public Library since last fall. As its name indicates, it brings in drag queens to read stories to kids. Performers like Ona Louise, Cholula Lemon and Lil Hot Mess come to the library to read classic stories that show the things kids and drag queens have in common—like a love of drama, sass and sparkle”
  • USA – House Votes to Give Some Powers of Librarian of Congress to Donald Trump – Book Riot. Copyright office taken away from Librarian and given to Donald Trump [Good holy grief – Ed.]
  • USA – Stop telling people to love libraries – Medium. “Librarians get frustrated because if only these tragically uninformed people knew about our amazing resources, they would fall in love with libraries, and support libraries at every opportunity. The problem with this attitude is that it puts the responsibility of understanding libraries on the community rather than on the library itself. It’s the responsibility of librarians to communicate the value of libraries, and if people don’t get it, then we need to try a different approach. Here are a few tips on how to crush it when talking to key stakeholders.” [A must-read article I’d say – Ed.]
  • USA – Virtual Road Trip: Libraries Flexing their Space – Webjunction. “One example of community business collaboration and support is the “Putts Around Punxsy” program put on by the library. “In a rural area such as ours, safe and desirable entertainment is not always available without having to drive 30 minutes to the nearest town,” says Lasher. “Taking into consideration the ‘crawl’ type of events that have been popping up, we started a similar concept using mini-golf.” Miniature golf is not available in Punxsutawney [Yes, Groundhog Day fans will be delighted to hear this is a real town – Ed.] , but Lasher and the library saw it as a “timeless activity for families” and a way to connect to local community groups and businesses.”. Another library asked users and non-users before “They discovered that there was a real need for continuing education classes, specifically GED preparation. The library started offering GED Prep classes once a week, which quickly expanded to two nights and then two mornings per week. “

Local news by authority

“Although the festival’s support is short term, it is working with the local community to put a long-term plan in place. “We all do, however, have a responsibility to our local library. They don’t just need money. They need our attention. Our attendance. Our championing,” the spokesman said.”