If you’re reading this on Friday, with most or all of the general election results having come in, you will have more idea than I currently have on what the next five years holds for UK public libraries. More of the same or not. No matter what happens, always remember the importance of public libraries in so many different aspects of life and for all ages. If you work in libraries, be proud of what you do and aim to learn something new to make your work even better. If you advocate or campaign for libraries, take a deep breath. No matter what happens, your skills and your energy are going to be needed, no matter who you are.

National news

  • Casia Wiliam is the new Bardd Plant Cymru for 2017-2019 – Literature Wales. “Literature Wales, who deliver the scheme, encourages any school, company, library or youth club who would like to request a visit from Bardd Plant Cymru to get in touch soon”
  • Catalyst Small Grants programme – Arts Council England. “Arts Council England (ACE) has published the guidance notes to the new £3 million Catalyst Small Grants scheme which will open to applications on 13 July. The new fund builds on the Council’s previous Catalyst: Evolve fund, which has now closed. Catalyst Small Grants will provide one-off grants of between £10,000 and £30,000 to not-for-profits arts and culture organisations, museums, and libraries to build fundraising capacity to enable them to attract more private giving to arts and culture. To be eligible, organisations will have an income of between £100,000 and £750,000 and previously received an Arts Council England grant (in the two years before applying to this scheme).” (31/5)
  • Chris Riddell on being Children’s Laureate – ‘a humbling experience’ – BookTrust. “I think it’s been the opportunity to be an advocate for things I care about, specifically school libraries and the vital work school librarians do within schools.”
  • England Library Data – Libraries Hacked. A stunning achievement using open data – shows number of libraries, type, deprivation, catchment, in table and map form. Plus also links to recent PLN news per authority.
  • How libraries are harnessing the power of social media to spread the library love – PanLibus. Looks at the successful experiences in Leeds, Gloucestershire  and Lancashire.
  • Lauren Child becomes the tenth Waterstones Children’s Laureate – Children’s Laureate. “The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is awarded every two years to celebrate and recognise the important contribution children’s literature makes to cultural life.”
  • Lauren Child: New Children’s Laureate worried about equality in books – BBC. “Boys don’t like reading books that have girls as the main characters – and that “makes it harder for girls to be equal”, says the new Children’s Laureate Lauren Child.” … “Child said: “There are many children who don’t have access to books and they don’t have access to books in their schools because a lot of schools don’t have libraries.”

Libraries Conference Highlights Innovation and Creativity  8 June 2017—More than 140 library leaders, policy makers and partners will participate in the Society of Chief Librarians’ annual Seminar, a two-day conference focusing on innovation and best practice in libraries. The 2017 Seminar, Revitalise and Regenerate, will explore the challenges and trends in managing and delivering public library services during a continuing period of austerity and focus on how innovation and creativity has created a new buzz in libraries. The programme is packed with workshops and presentations aimed at stretching the thinking of library leaders.

  • Hull UK City of Culture 2017: Changing the Message, Changing the Image, Changing the Experience. Rosie Millard, Chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, Journalist, Broadcaster, Cultural Commentator and Author
  • Made in a Library, Jenn Ashworth, author and Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Lancaster
  • Libraries: The best possible shared space today and beyond, Jan Holmquist, Assistant Library Director at Guldborgsund Public Library in Denmark
  • Public Libraries across the UK and Ireland 2011-2016: Use, opinions and change, Dr Jenny Peachey, Senior Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, will chair a panel session with three prominent arts venue directors: Victoria Pomery, Director – Turner Contemporary in Margate; Fiona Allan, CEO – Birmingham Hippodrome; Julia Robinson, Principal Librarian – The Word, South Tyneside. The session will focus on how libraries can learn from the success of these three venues.

Neil MacInnes, SCL President, said: “Every year the SCL Seminar delivers a huge amount of excitement, information and action for public libraries. This year is no exception and we are thrilled to have such an eclectic and knowledgable group of people on the panel. Libraries are more creative and innovative now than at any time in history and we look forward to the new ideas and initiatives that come out of this year’s Seminar.

Martyn Evans, Chief Executive of Carnegie UK Trust, said: “The Society of Chief Librarian’s Annual Seminar plays a vital role in inspiring innovation and supporting leaders in public library sector. The Trust is delighted to support the SCL Annual Seminar and so contribute to public libraries’ ability to continue to improve the lives of people.”  Press release from Society of Chief Librarians. Some videos of presentations are available on the SCL Facebook page.

  • NFC, RFID and creating better libraries – Changing Libraries. “I’m being told that my piece on NFC yesterday (below) was too difficult for librarians to understand so here’s a shorter non-technical summary:  1. For libraries to really start seeing benefits from RFID + mobile technologies we need Apple to add a small piece of code to their iOS operating system. 2. Android already has it. 3. If iPhones had it too developers would see more value in building apps that would reduce dependence on RFID kiosks and greatly enhance the user experience. 4. Let’s ask Apple to catch up.  I’ve also been asked if any of this has any implications for  privacy. Well NFC certainly could although the risk would be lower than conventional RFID due to the short range nature of the technology.”
  • This Is What The UK Has Lost Since Austerity Measures Were Introduced – Huffington Post. Includes libraries: “The Department for Communities and Local Government which funds libraries amongst other things, has been the hardest hit by austerity; Many local authorities are at “breaking point and some may even have to declare insolvency; Spending on public services will be 22% lower this year then in 2010; According to one piece of research, by 2020, authorities will have faced real-terms cuts of up to £30 billion in the preceding decade;  Councils have a statutory duty to provide ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library services; Data collected by the Guardian in 2012 shows 2011 was the first year volunteers outnumbered their paid counterparts for the first time.; Combined visitors to library websites and premises rose from 2007-10 then dropped.` [Includes comments by myself – Ed.]
An online bookclub from Axiell


International news

  • USA – Evanston Librarian Faces Firing Over Facebook Post – Evanston Patch. “The Evanston Public Library will hold a hearing Friday to decide whether to terminate a long-time librarian over a social media posting that questioned the library’s commitment to diversity. “
  • USA – Library Late Fines Are Not Helping Anyone – Book Riot. “For me—and many other library professionals—it comes down to what the library as an institution stands for. Libraries are public spaces that provide free access to information and other necessary services. Do daily late fines espouse our mission? Or do they make us seem like the shush-ers of old, sticking to rules for their own sake, pettily charging fines over technicalities?”
  • USA – Michael Bierut: How to design a library that makes kids want to read – TED. “When Michael Bierut was tapped to design a logo for public school libraries, he had no idea that he was embarking on a years-long passion project. In this often hilarious talk, he recalls his obsessive quest to bring energy, learning, art and graphics into these magical spaces where school librarians can inspire new generations of readers and thinkers”
  • USA – Oculus Rift Heads to California Public Libraries – PC Magazine. “Oculus Rift headsets and PCs powerful enough to run them are coming to 90 public libraries around California as part of a project to support equitable access to emerging technology. Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality division, is spearheading the effort. It’s not considering the Rifts and computers as a donation, but rather a pilot project to bring VR to a wider audience. If people—especially children—don a Rift headset on their next trip to the library and come away wowed by the experience, the thinking goes, it will help broaden VR’s appeal beyond its traditional purview of hardcore video gamers.” plus several other articles online.
  • USA – Webjunction course catalog – OCLC. “library-specific courses and webinar recordings are available for free to all library workers and volunteers. Through the generous support of OCLC and many state library agencies across the US, WebJunction provides timely and relevant learning content for you to access anytime, from anywhere.” Free courses.

Local news by authority

  • Darlington – Our Mobile Library: Darlington’s library on wheels – Our Crown Street Library. “Our Mobile Library is a video presentation about our library on wheels, from its origins in 1951 right through to its current status in 2017”.  See also Our Mobile Library: Darlington’s library on wheels – DailyMotion. “Our Mobile Library is a video presentation about our library on wheels, from its origins in 1951 right through to its current status in 2017. For financial reasons Darlington Borough Council voted to cease our mobile library from September 2016. Technically the service remained classed as ‘suspended’ until a further vote in March 2017 in which it was decided to cease providing the service.  This presentation includes the mobile library’s schedules of stops over the years, the various events the mobile library attended in the borough, photos of the inside & outside of the vehicles, & the impact of withdrawal of the service followed by the council’s response to a question from the public about the effects of that withdrawal. “
  • Lancashire – Library sell-off back from the brink – Lancashire Evening Post. “Campaigners fighting to re-open Fulwood Library can finally celebrate after a move to convert it into offices was formally abandoned this week. Preston company Turftech International withdrew its planning application from the city council, ending fears by residents that the sale of the building in Garstang Road might be too far down the road to halt. New County Hall leader Coun Geoff Driver pledged within hours of taking charge last month to reverse the decision by the previous Labour administration to shut around 40 of the county’s libraries. “
  • Leeds – Special Nordic delivery for Leeds Central LibraryYorkshire Evening Post. “Now, visitors to Leeds Central Library can delve deeper into the works of Scandinavian story-telling following the delivery of classic and contemporary books, courtesy of the Finnish Institute in London this week. In a gift prompted by Finland’s centenary celebrations as an independent country, the consignment of ten modern masterpieces and beloved classics, all penned by Finnish authors and translated into English, was presented to the city’s central library today – one of ten UK libraries chosen to receive different collections of ten Finnish books during 2017.”
  • Newham – Canning Town and The Gate libraries reopen after flooding – Newham Recorder. “Both libraries were closed on Friday as a result of heavy rainfall in east London”
  • North Yorkshire – A new chapter for North Yorkshire Libraries – PanLibus. Change of library management system to one which is easier to use for volunteers.
  • York – New mobile library to launch – Press. “Haxby’s new mobile library is finally ready to hit the roads, and the new facility will be launched this Saturday. The communities of Haxby and Wigginton have had a temporary library in Oaken Grove Community Centre, since the permanent building was closed at short notice late last summer, because of structural problems. The new mobile will serve the towns until a new permanent home is ready in Haxby Memorial Hall, and it will launch this Saturday, June 10 at 10am at Oaken Grove Community Centre.”