It has been a real delight over the last year to see the many pro-library drawings by Chris Riddell popping up on Twitter.  He has been the children’s laureate for 2016/17, soon to be replaced by the next (mystery) children’s writer. This position is often filled by someone who rightly has worked out how important public libraries are to getting children to read.  I am delighted to see that Chris will not stop campaigning because his tenure is at end: he is becoming the president of the School Library Association. Whoever thought of asking him to do that job is a genius. Another example of a great advocate for libraries is Val McDermid who has been quoted, not for the first time, supporting public libraries. People, and thus the media, tend to listen more to celebrities than even (perhaps especially even) experts and so people like this are gold dust. Here’s a list of famous people I’ve noticed saying nice things about libraries. Can you let me know of any more? Email me as normal at ianlibrarian@live.co.uk.


National news

  • Relative Poverty – Relative Poverty. “Relative Poverty is an ongoing body of work being created by Les Monaghan with families defined as destitute in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. It is a process-led photographic investigation both documentary and collaborative, that deals with issues of agency, visibility, public engagement and fairness of representation. Relative Poverty is being exhibited in all 25 Doncaster libraries, beginning with Askern Community Library and Balby Community Library in May 2017. It will be exhibited at Sheffield Central Library from 10 June 2017.”
  • Riddell urges next government to address children’s rights – BookSeller. “… Finally, the continuing closure of libraries in our communities and schools is a blight on the intellectual development and creative future of all our children. At the end of my Laureateship, I’d like to urge our future government to address these issues urgently.””
  • School library cuts ‘hurt pupil creativity’ – Times (partially behind pay wall). “Chris Riddell, who has been in the post since 2015, will condemn the lack of investment in school libraries, warning: “The reading culture in our schools is being threatened” … “Riddell, who leaves the role on Wednesday and will become president of the School Library Association, said he hoped to work with Ofsted, the regulator, to set guidelines and safeguard standards. He said school library cuts and closures were “a blight on the intellectual development and creative future” of children.”
  • A Step in the Right Direction? – Changing Libraries. “Apple’s recent announcement of the upcoming release of iOS 11 caused ripples of excitement across the RFID and NFC worlds – not least among those of us with an interest in libraries….”
  • Val McDermid says she “would not be a writer” without public libraries – Courier. “Personally, I can say that I would not be a writer if it wasn’t for the public library system,” she said” … I’m from a working class family and we couldn’t afford books so I understand completely the value of reading. My mother used to take me to the library in Kirkcaldy when I was a child. My life was changed by the library system and I know plenty of other writers just like me. “A door was opened that allowed me to become a writer. It was a world where you were not thought of as weird to want to read a book rather than climb a tree. “So many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are created because they have opened a book.”
Plus free afterword by myself....


International news

  • Australia – Instagram for local studies in public libraries – State Library New South Wales. “When the James B Hunt Jr Library opened, the library encouraged students and others who were visiting the library to share their photographs on Instagram using the hashtag #myhuntlibrary.  They provided a way to curate  images on Instagram, and archive some of the images (you can read a description here).  Have a look at the NCSU social media archives kit, which includes  their Lentil documentation. This collecting of images from Instagram seemed an idea to consider for local studies collections”
  • Colombia – Dustbin man builds free library of thrown away books – BBC. “A dustbin man in Bogota in Colombia, who never studied further than primary school, has gathered a library of more than 20,000 thrown away books.”
  • Russia – Russia convicts Ukrainian library director of ‘anti-Russian extremism’ – Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. “Natalya Sharina, a 59-year-old librarian has been convicted by a court in Moscow on an ‘extremism’ charge linked with material in the Ukrainian Literature Library, and on a far-fetched charge of squandering public money.  Given the current regime in Russia, the 4-year suspended sentence with a 4-year probation period is almost a ‘victory’, since it could undoubtedly have been much worse.   Sharina has, however,  been under extremely strict house arrest since late October 2015, with this now the subject of an application pending consideration at the European Court of Human Rights.”
  • USA – 6 Lessons From the Library: Circulating Board Games (One Year Later) – Stuffy Library.Over one year ago, I posted on Reddit (Original Post) about the circulating board game collection we started at my public library. It was received with a lot of interest and great questions, but to be honest, I was still unsure how the collection would be used by our patrons (i.e. our taxpayers). Here’s my update! The short of it is…the collection is going really great! While usage statistics aren’t everything, people are taking a ton of games out of the building (see below), the collection has grown substantially, and we are providing programs to support the collection.”
  • USA – What is a library? – Smart Set. Scholarly study of what a library is, and how the book may be over-valued as “a library is a place that helps us realize that we are all part of each other. “

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – ‘Appalled’ at treatment of fellow Save Bath Library campaigners – Bath Chronicle / Letters. “The former manager of Bath Central Library is shocked by how some of his female colleagues have been treated” see also Bath Conservative Association accused of ‘aggressive’ behaviour towards Bath residents on Twitter – Bath Chronicle. “On May 15 the Twitter account accused Bath protesters as “shadowy figures.”” … “”This behaviour – coupled with sorry disrespect for local people from Bath and North East Somerset Council over the library, youth / arts funding and Bathampton Meadows – dirties the badge ‘Conservative’ for those who would like to wear it.”
  • Birmingham – P0398 – Sutton Coldfield Library – Concessionaire Opportunity – Market Sounding Exercise – Contracts Finder. “In order to be sustainable, Sutton Coldfield Library needs to bring its running costs down to a level that is much closer to the City average for running a library. One part of the plan to achieve this will focus on a third of the floor space on floor 1, ( approx. 8,000 sq. ft.), of the library, being shared with a partner who will deliver an operation that will be complimentary and sympathetic to the ongoing library function. Appropriate usage might be a coffee shop, café with play equipment or other similar facility although all innovative ideas for the space are welcome.  Ultimately a successful proposal will maximise the income available from this space, reduce current operating costs and bring added value to the library services on offer.”
  • Hampshire – Hampshire babies issued with library cards – Eagle Radio News. “Parents are invited to sign up their babies to their local library – at the same time as registering their births. It’s part of a new Hampshire County Council initiative. In the past year, 1,267 new babies have received their very own library cards from Hampshire Library Service after visiting Hampshire Registration Service. The voluntary scheme has seen around 20% of all babies registered in Hampshire join the Library Service since May 2016.”
  • Isle of Man Family Library charity could ‘cease to exist’ if funds are not raised – BBC. “A Manx charity which supports a “vital and magical place” for child learning and a “lifeline” book delivery service for the elderly will close if it does not raise £250,000 by 31 July. The Family Library provides lending services, resources to the Isle of Man’s primary schools and a mobile service in rural parts of the island. A spokeswoman said it would “cease to exist” if the funds were not raised. A previous donor had offered to match-fund any donations up to £125,000. The charity took control of the services in 2012, when government funding ceased, and has been funded by online gambling firm PokerStars and that company’s co-founders, the Sheinberg family.”
  • North Yorkshire – Best-selling historical author to open Stokesley’s new community library – Northern Echo. Philippa Gregory to open volunteer library after paid staff lost. “It is one of 21 libraries in North Yorkshire that was handed over to the community in spring this year, after the county council announced it could no longer afford to operate them due to budget cuts. The library is now in operation under its new name The Globe Stokesley Community Library – and is being run as a charitable trust. Dozens of volunteers signed up to help staff the library, and have all now undergone training. Stokesley Town Council is funding a professional library manager, Jane Hall, to run the venture and manage its resources and staffing.”  … “Philippa Gregory, who lives on a farm near Stokesley said: “I am a great supporter of libraries – I spent a lot of time in them as a child and, in later life, they have been an essential resource in my academic and working life”.
  • North Yorkshire – Books home deliveries – York Press. “During National Volunteer Week, which runs from June 1 to 7, North Yorkshire County Council’s library service is encouraging more people to give some time to deliver books to people who can’t get to their library. The home library service provides free home delivery for people who, perhaps because of ill health or disability, find it difficult to get to the library or to carry books. Books are carefully chosen for each customer by the library team then the delivery volunteers deliver them once a fortnight. Volunteers also tend to spend time at each house having a chat about the books and the customers enjoy having a regular visitor.”
  • North Yorkshire – Catterick, Colburn and Richmond libraries seeking volunteers – Richmondshire Today. “The appeal comes as a refurbished Richmond Library opens to the public. Catterick, Richmond and Colburn Community Libraries (Craccl), which now runs the libraries, says volunteers are vital to ensure the libraries do not just open minimal hours, or not at all.”. Advert profiles one volunteer giving two sessions per month.
  • North Yorkshire – Norton library and community hub extends its opening hours and appeals for volunteers – York Press. “… newly-reopened Norton library and community hub has extended its opening hours and is appealing for more volunteers. Norton Hive, which opened last month following a major refurbishment, is now open 22 hours a week, compared to the previous 10. Marion Simpson, from the Norton Community Library Group, said: “Following major refurbishment carried out by an excellent team of volunteers and the expertise of Mike Spencer and his team from Harrison and Hargreaves, Norton Hive – Library and Community Hub – is now up and running.”