We take public computers in libraries for granted now. There’s often rows of them and they’re normally one of the busiest places in the library. People use them for all sorts of reasons: social, buying stuff (boarding passes a speciality), job-hunting, everything. And there’s normally a member of staff nearby helping out, working out why something hasn’t printed or patiently explaining how to do something to someone who simply does not have the computer experience to know. It’s one of the key ways that public libraries go some way to helping equality of access to people who would otherwise be barred by ability to pay. So it’s good to see a free e-book launched celebrating the People’s Network, without which libraries and communities would be poorer places than they are today.

That the launch was in the same week as the CILIP Conference in Manchester is not a coincidence and do expect further announcements this week to tie in with that.  I’ll be there both days and will tweet what people say. Well, not while I’m doing my session obviously but I’ll probably share that later anyway. I always find conferences tremendously useful but then I’m in the privileged position of being a speaker at the ones I attend (or these days can blag a press pass) and therefore get in for free. It’s notable that the numbers of those going to them from public libraries is reducing in this country as councils cut back on training.

That’s a long-term false economy but not a surprising one, when one sees the reductions going on. Thoughts this week to the paid staff of the 12 libraries who are either now volunteer or soon will be. I wish the volunteers well but it is a tragedy that such an important public service as libraries is being given to amateurs.


National news

  • Apprenticeships – Libraries Taskforce. “The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and a sizeable target of 3,000,000 apprenticeships by 2020 set by the government has rekindled interest in the value of apprenticeships. Our sector is not excluded from this and in 2017 an exciting and important project was launched to convene a group of “trailblazers” to develop new standards for the profession. The development work on the standards is yet to begin, but it is envisaged that three new standards will be produced over the next 24 months: level three, four and six. They will be designed so that they can be used in any of the many sectors that this diverse profession covers (e.g. health, public, legal, education) and for a number of roles within libraries, archives, records, knowledge and information management.” see If life was a musical and Posting Pro – Hantsweb.for examples of what apprentices do in libraries.
  • CC Librarian Certificate – Creative Commons. “Libraries are adding makerspaces, learning labs, 3D printing, and digital media studios to their traditional collections of books and periodicals. In this new, more digital environment, librarians have a critical role to play enhancing the media literacy of their patrons, from kids to scientists. The CC Librarian Certificate aims to ensure all librarians have the 21st century knowledge and skills they need to successfully perform Creative Commons related library functions and help patrons extend access to knowledge.”

“To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to increase funding for public libraries to enable more libraries to become digital community hubs.” Darren Jones MP, Labour, Bristol North West.

“The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has provided support for library authorities throughout England to deliver library services that are accessible, modern and meets local needs. This included funding a £2.6 million programme to support the installation or upgrade of wifi in public libraries in England; benefitting around 1,000 libraries, and enabling over 99% of public libraries to offer free wifi. In addition, DCMS financed the £3.9m Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone fund to support innovative library service activity to benefit disadvantaged people and places in England. Around 60% of the successful local authority applicants are using digital means to support delivery of their projects. The Government will continue to encourage local authorities to invest in libraries to ensure that they remain relevant and meet the needs of the community.” John Glen MP, Libraries minister. They Work For You.

  • ‘The day Martin Parr came, we had to stop on the moors for a huge flock of sheep to pass’  – Guardian. “This was my first job as a librarian. There were three mobile libraries in Powys, and I was responsible for the one in Radnorshire. Powys is a huge but sparsely populated county. I’d head off into the wilderness every day to visit tiny farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. You’d do about 50 miles a day, a different route each day, on a fortnightly rota.” … “I’m the librarian at Hereford College of Arts now. The mobile library service is still hanging on in Powys, but I don’t know how much longer it will survive. Even then, it felt like part of a disappearing world.”
  • Do Libraries Have A Place In Modern Britain? – Answer Bank. Answers divided between those who love libraries, those who don’t use them and those who lament the ones near by to them that have closed, despite whatever public protests there have been.

Early notice for our #EngagingLibs Q&A: Weds 12 July, 12.30pm – 1.30pm – use #ELQs to have all your queries answered with @LibrariandyW pic.twitter.com/ya2H555ZnQ

— Carnegie UK Trust (@CarnegieUKTrust) July 3, 2017

  • Game Library Camp Games and Glams. “On Saturday 12 August, 12:30 to 16:30, we are holding a free game themed Library Camp at the Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2DB … Registration for the event will begin at 12 noon. This game themed Library Camp, is intended as a warm up to International Games Week in the autumn & to inspire librarians and library staff from all sectors to host their own game events. It will be a great opportunity for all those interested in any aspect of gaming in libraries to get together and share ideas.
  • How we can help libraries — and how libraries can help us – DotEveryone. “The internet has had a massive impact on our libraries. In the past decade, overall library usage has gone down by 30%. As a result, hundreds of libraries across Britain have closed and a quarter of all library staff have lost their jobs. And at the same time, we have access to more information than ever — but no good way to tell the good from the bad. Doteveryone believes we need neutral, non-commercial, community spaces for discovery, learning and existing in the digital age. We also believe libraries are a vital public institution, and provide vital social infrastructure, worth saving. (Libraries are public institutions that stand for a set of values. They are one of the few places left where you are a resident — or a person — before you are a consumer. We didn’t want to get nostalgic about libraries but when things are closed down and taken away, it is a lot harder to bring them back.)”
  • How to decrease social mobility – Andy Seed. So, children have an escape route from poverty and social inequality and deprivation and the cycle of unemployment and hopelessness. But if we close libraries we cut that off. We’re making it even harder for those who have it hard from birth. I don’t blame Bury Council. They have very hard decisions to make in the light of budget cuts. This is once again at the hands of the government. The same people who say they want to increase social mobility. Let’s put the financial picture in perspective. There are proposals for a £200 million Garden Bridge across the Thames in London. Closing Bury’s 10 libraries will save £1.4m a year.”
  • Libraries to cash in on Whitehall hot desking – UK Authority. “Kathy Settle (pictured) told the Connected Local Government Live conference last week that the Ministry of Justice is among the bodies renting “hot design” space in libraries, but also warned that those seeking to use space in this way should prepare for both “pushback” from the local community and a reluctance from Whitehall to integrate.” … “At least one library is receiving payments from a local authority to help fulfil its public toilet provision obligation, she said, and acknowledged that such initiatives “can sound unpalatable”, stressing that strong leadership is required”
  • No need for ‘Dr Google’: Library scheme gets Brits reading their way to better health – Reading Agency. “The Reading Agency and Society of Chief Librarians launch new strand of successful Reading Well Books on Prescription programme. New scheme focuses on supporting 26 million people in England coping daily with long term health conditions. Scheme is supported by Public Health England, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Association of Primary Care as well as other key partners. Long term conditions account for 50% of GP appointments and 70% of hospital bed days.”
  • Short Stories from the People’s Network – Lorensbergs. “This publication draws together 10 stories that illustrate how important it is to be able to do this simple thing – to be able to get online at your library. The stories are from the library staff who see first hand what the People’s Network represents – exploring how this resource of public computers makes such a difference to its users and their wider communities. As a collection, the stories show how the People’s Network and the libraries that provide it are keeping the UK connected, progressive and with opportunities open to all.” … “In Brent, Wakefield and Stoke, for example, libraries are helping to get more people into work, using the People’s Network to support the vital digital skills needed in today’s competitive job market. In Kensington, the People’s Network is helping to combat social isolation for the elderly while also attracting younger audiences into the library. In Slough, the People’s Network is promoting greater diversity, helping the libraries engage a broad cross-section of their community.”

The findings of this book show, really for the first time since the People’s Network was launched, exactly how its impact reaches across every part of society and the economy.”  Nick Poole, Chief Executive, CILIP

An online bookclub from Axiell


International news

  • Australia – Librarians Lets Be Digitally Awesome – Medium. “Digital technologies are changing every day and with the changing technologies changing behavior follows. And this is where Libraries definitely need to be checking in on our own unwritten and written rules, our own behaviors and looking at how we engage with our community and how we encourage our community to engage with the library. Opportunities are passing us by as the technology advances and we do not change the behavior of library staff and library culture to take advantage of these advances. Here is an example of new technology and the possibilities for the library.”: Podcasts, going beyond the basics in IT training, question what you do.

“Tell me please — why does the collection item have to be back in 3 weeks? Why are we making our members renew when automatic renewals can be in place? Why do we need to see an address on a printed piece of paper when we can determine an IP & could build GPS into our systems? Are we challenging the business models of our vendors to meet these new opportunities or just wanting them to keep the same old capabilities to meet our outdated practices?” … “do not give me the lament about limited time. What you need to say to me is ‘This is not important” so I am not prioritizing it. Really — your own professional development and work practice is not important?” Jane Cowell

  • Norway – Who are they and what do they do? – IFLA. “The method used was observation. A number of library visitors were observed during their library visit a week in November 2015.The libraries have done the same survey in 2007, and this new survey gave interesting results compared to the first survey. The main libraries, some branch libraries, and two branches, also open in unstaffed hours, were included.” … “visitors 19 to 45 years of age accounted for 54 percent of visitors” … “58 percent of visitors were women, and 42 percent were men”. Looks at differences in use in unstaffed hours. More read, less borrow, during unstaffed hours.
  • USA – Austin public libraries to expand videoconferencing – Austin Monitor. “Videoconferencing is set up through Google Hangouts, an online video-calling service accessed either in a browser or through the app for iOS and Android devices. All users need is a Gmail account and a Gmail address for the person they’re looking to reach.” … “Toni Lambert, interim director of Libraries, said people who do not have the technology to video call at home can go to the library to connect with distant relatives and friends. Lambert also said since groups in the community use the library rooms for meetings, people who are homebound can participate in those meetings through videoconferencing.” [I remember videophones in my library back fifteen years ago – Ed.].
  • USA – In conversation with Jessamyn West, famous librarian – Medium. “Just walk the talk. If you’re interested enough in Creative Commons to be reading this, share your stuff, put your content online, help other people do it, and spread the word. I think that’s the most important thing that super fans can be doing at this point.”
  • USA – Public Library Manifesto – Yes Magazine. “In an age of greed and selfishness, the public library stands as an enduring monument to the values of cooperation and sharing. In an age where global corporations stride the earth, public libraries remains firmly rooted in local communities. In an age of widespread cynicism and distrust of government, the tax-supported public library has widespread, enthusiastic support.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Volunteers help save Thornton Library, just yards from the birthplace of the Bronte sisters – Telegraph and Argus. “A GROUP of volunteers have helped save a village library that is just a few yards from the birthplace of the Bronte sisters, but more volunteers are needed to secure its future. Thornton Library was one of the district’s libraries that faced closure earlier this year due to Bradford Council’s tightening budgets. However, a group of villagers stepped up to help run the vital facility, and now it is completely manned by volunteers. The library is on Market Street, a short walk from the house Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte were born in, starting a literary legacy and placing the village in the history books.”
  • Bristol – Petition: Save Redland Library – Bristol City Counncil petitions. “We ask the Mayor and Bristol City Council to reconsider the withdrawal of funding for Redland Library by the Library Service, which would be the outcome of any of the options within the Neighbourhood Consultation document published on 13 June 2017. We believe the Council should seek additional funding to keep a library service available to all communities in the City”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – ‘Animal Agents’ needed for Summer Reading Challenge – Northwich Guardian. “Other events include animal handling events such as ‘Animals Takeover’ as well as events from ‘Fun Science’ and others from west Cheshire museums and the Chester Zoo Safari Rangers. Cllr Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “This year’s Summer Reading Challenge will soon be here and the list of events planned across all our libraries is bigger and better than ever.”
  • Derby – Shake-up of libraries in Derby will save £648,000 but Central Library will close after 138 years – Derby Telegraph. “The biggest ever shake-up of Derby’s library services will see the Central Library close and move from its present site in the Wardwick – after 138 years – to the Council House. Ten of the city’s smaller libraries will be turned over to community groups for them to run, as part of a £648,000 cost-cutting exercise that also includes significant job losses.” … “Just five libraries will be retained by Derby City Council – Alvaston, Pear Tree, Local Studies and Family History library, the Riverside (the new Council House library) and Mickleover libraries. The process will see the loss of at least 39 library assistant jobs and two library managers out of almost 100 library staff who work for the authority. The proposal is expected to be approved by the council cabinet at its next meeting on July 12 and follows the end of the latest consultation in December in which four options were put forward for the public to consider.”
  • Devon – Libraries Unlimited Launches New Scheme to Support People Living with Long Terms Medical Conditions – LiteratureWorks. “To celebrate the launch of the scheme, there will be Pop Up Health Information Points in both Exeter and Barnstaple Libraries. These will take place at …”
  • Dudley – GLL, Greenwich Leisure Ltd meetings with council members/officers – What Do They Know. “Please provide any correspondence relating to meetings between Dudley Council Cabinet members/Council officers and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) over the last two years as well as minutes from these meetings. ” FOI request with copies of minutes.
  • Fife – Fife crime writer hails Falkland community for saving library – Courier. “James Oswald, whose crime novels have topped multiple best seller lists, cut the ribbon to officially open the village’s library on Saturday. The day of celebration ended a lengthy battle to save the vital service from Council cuts, with plans in the pipeline to make the library an exemplar in Scotland. The village’s library was one of 16 identified by Fife Council for closure, much to the shock and disappointment of the community. After much rallying and fund-raising, an initial five-year lease to run the service was secured by Falkland Community Development Trust (FCDT), a charity formed from the dissolution of the existing Village Hall Trust.”
  • Manchester – Cast your vote for the Best Community Space Spirit of Manchester Award 2017 – Manchester Community Central. “The Place is a vibrant community hub that provides relevant services tailored to the community it serves. At the heart of the organisation is a Friends of Fallowfield group established to challenge the closure of their local library. Many of them shared stories and memories of being brought to the library as a child and felt the need to react. More than 80 volunteers stepped in to help run The Place when the library was threatened with closure following council budget cuts in 2013. Through an innovative partnership with a local housing association and the City Council the Place was created. The Place now provides: library services; assisted job searches; a credit union; women in business and enterprise support; Talk English classes, Citizens Advice; knitting; a kids craft club; a free homework support and much more. The Place deserves this award because the campaign to save the library evidenced its ‘Place’ in the hearts of local residents and the surrounding community. It represents the best partnership approach to deliver a local solution to the point that it’s more vibrant, multipurpose and sustainable now than it ever was as a council service.”
  • Plymouth – Closing date revealed for six libraries with four more to be ‘cut off’ – Devon Live. “The libraries set to close are Eggbuckland, Ernesettle, Laira, Tothill and Stoke in Plymouth, with West Hill given until June 2019. Plymouth City Council has also vowed to improve online services and introduce pop up libraries in areas where services have been closed or where there is currently no library provision. Efford, Estover, North Prospect and Peverall libraries will be transformed into ‘tier two’ libraries.”
  • St Helens – Arts Council chief executive hails town’s cultural ambitions following funding announcement for Heart of Glass and St Helens Libraries – St Helens Star. “Last week the Star reported that the Heart of Glass will benefit from £1.4m of funding during 2018-2022 and the St Helens Council Library Service will receive £440,000. Darren Henley, who last year hailed the town’s “remarkable” artistic revival and has paid visits to the town, has commented on the town’s artistic scene exclusively for the Star.”
  • Wakefield – Library outreach: a case study from Wakefield Libraries – Oxford University Press. “Dawn Bartram is Library Development Area Supervisor, Skills and Learning, at Wakefield Libraries in the UK, and was the winner of our CILIP competition. Here Dawn expands on her winning entry, and talks us through the benefits and approach to setting up a library outreach programme in order to spread the word about the online resources available at your local library.” … “Expect the unexpected, be prepared but adaptable, and most of all enjoy the variety of opportunities available to share knowledge of library services within the community. To paraphrase the opening from the original Star Trek series – “Our continuing mission is – to explore new areas of the community, to seek out new potential stakeholders and future members, to boldly go where no library service has gone before!””