OK, I’m biased. I order children’s stock as part of my job and I love doing class visits and school assemblies, with the Summer Reading Challenge aware ceremonies being a particular joy. But it’s been noticeable for some time how excellent the options are for chilldrens’ stock are, with serious superstars like Rowling and Walliams, leading the charge to keep kids interested. So it’s great to see a 16% increase in book sales to kids.

But this leads to the observation of a failing in public libraries, at least in many UK examples. One of the things widely know about that libraries need to work out is how to cope with the decline in adult book stock.  However, one of the things I rarely see mentioned is the need to rebalance space so there’s more for children. Walk into any decent library and it’s likely it is the “junior library” that’s packed, if anywhere is, often for rhymetimes. Yet that section is often given far less proportional space than anywhere else. Add in the need for housing prams and you sometimes get the odd situation of a packed children’s library and a quiet “adult section” taking up four or more times the space.  Yes, I know kids are smaller and aren’t in all the time but they normally bring a full-size parent along with them and, when it’s peak time for them, boy do you know it. Library planners need to give the amount of attention this key part of the business deserves. Why the section is often ignored is a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps children are just not seen as “serious” enough in meetings where normally adults are of course the only ones present. But this needs to change. Library design is not child’s play, but perhaps it should be.



      National news    

Find out more via http://www.libraryexcellence.com/

Find out more via http://www.libraryexcellence.com/

  • Big Ideas Generators: Update – Libraries Taskforce. “The Big Ideas Generators (BIG) project is supporting innovation and enterprise across 10 Greater Manchester (GM) library authorities, serving a population of over 2.7 million people. A unique customer service is being delivered by one team working across the Greater Manchester library services, a first for the city region. Participants will gain vital information and digital support to navigate their entrepreneurial journey and develop new skills.” Sessions included twitter, cloud computing, 3D printing. “early days for specific outcomes but the number of attendees is good: so far over 500 places have been taken. “
  • British Library to scope Single Digital Presence for U.K. Public Libraries – Changing Libraries. “The scoping project will build on the work of the Single Digital Libraries Presence Steering Group…” Wait a minute – wasn’t that the name of the group of which I was a member?” … “The first problem in almost every discussion I have about SDP is – what exactly is it”. A look at the Irish experience, what has happened in the UK so far and the pitfalls and reasons for the delay in the UK.
  • Children’s books with humans have greater moral impact than animals, study finds – Guardian. “After hearing the story containing real human characters, young children became more generous. In contrast, after hearing the same story but with anthropomorphised animals or a control story, children became more selfish.”

“Having read to a child who burst into tears when Piggie & Elephant had an argument over a toy I remain sceptical.” Brenda Frawley via Twitter

  • Design for the Future – Leon’s Library Blog / Dr Malcolm Rigler. “The following presentation, Design for the Future, is by Dr Malcolm Rigler, a NHS GP and member of the Cilip Health Group. Malcolm is co-founder of the Health/Art/Libraries (HAL) project, which aims to design and deliver arts projects, events, publications, workshops, and training to help patients and carers in their search for information and understanding about health, social care and life changes working along the theme of ‘Libraries on Prescription’.”


Let CILIP know any interesting library facts you may have via @CILIPinfo or by emailing  mark.taylor@cilip.org.uk.

Let CILIP know any interesting library facts you may have via @CILIPinfo or by emailing mark.taylor@cilip.org.uk.


  • Locality’s Annual Convention – have you booked your place? – Community Libraries Network. “Join the Community Libraries Network and hundreds of inspiring Locality members, partners and people working in the community, voluntary and social enterprise sectors for the biggest community sector event of the year”
  • Read my lips – the library will always be my first love – Guardian. ” have no grand plan when I enter the library – I merely search my memory for old intentions and see what grabs my eye” … “. The library, one of our great inventions, has always been a sustaining refuge: it’s a for ever kind of love.”
  • Return to local, not to normal – CILIP. “Update talks to Gill Furniss, shadow business minister and chair of the Libraries All Party Parliamentary Group about what her experience of working with communities and her new cross-party role speaking up for libraries.” … “. ‘When it came to the difficult budget savings, I clearly spoke up about public libraries and we ­never actually closed one. We were aware that once you’ve closed a library, opening one up again is nigh on impossible. We went down the volunteer route, not something we liked. I have every respect for volunteers but it is devaluing the profession.” … “In areas like Sheffield, we know that we have a skills shortage among many sections of our population and I believe libraries are a way forward” … ” did think public libraries fitted better in Civil Society. To me they are community assets and don’t go terribly well with arts, museums and culture”    An online bookclub from Axiell   International news
  • Canada – The evolving role of libraries – Niagara This Week. “A small lineup of fresh-cut T-Rexes with rough edges waits for his final touches before Bateson hands them off to two teens to colour and decorate. It’s today’s drop-in activity led by Bateson in the library’s newly created Makery, a collaborative space where people come to create, invent, and learn”. Librarian says ““We used to be consumers of information and entertainment but now we’re creators as well.”.

“Across the room a machine that’s converting a grainy home movie from VHS to DVD sits next to another unexpected find in a library: a computerized sewing machine.”

  • Canada – Public library tells a new story – Globe and Mail. Albion Library in Rexdale, Toronto:  “The $12-million branch opened in early June to considerable media attention for its spacious and colourful design, its natural light and courtyards. (Instead of renovating the old building, the new library was built in what used to be the parking lot. Then the old building was torn down.) The atmosphere inside is bustling.”

“When we talk about libraries now, we think of them as access to education, learning, technology. But social connections are [also] really critical,”

  • USA – Houston Public Library Re-Opening 19 Branches Soon – Houston Press. “There is no question that libraries are essential to rebuilding our community,” Director of Libraries Rhea Brown Lawson said in the release. “For so many people libraries are a vital lifeline. We intend to leverage the vast resources of Houston Public Library to support recovery efforts in every way possible. This is our community too. During catastrophic times libraries are even more essential as people need a familiar anchor and touchstone in the community to remind them that everything will be all right again.”
  • USA – Local libraries are going ‘fine-free’ – Record-Herald. Another library joins the international trend to cease fining borrowers.
  • USA – Public libraries can (literally) serve as a shelter from the storm – Conversation. “After Superstorm Sandy, for example, the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey and Connecticut’s New Canaan Library gave the public somewhere to charge devices, contact loved ones or even just watch movies. Other New Jersey libraries went further: The Roxbury Public Library opened early and closed late. South Orange’s library became its primary evacuation center. Libraries don’t just pitch in following natural disasters. In August 2014, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library became a safe space amid the unrest that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. After local schools started the school year two weeks behind schedule, leaving students in the lurch, the library even hosted informal classes for hundreds of students.”

“Our toolkit also explains that librarians can help during emergencies by adjusting regularly scheduled children’s programs. Storytime themes can change to suit the new situation. For instance, librarians can set aside plans to talk about gardening and instead read books about overcoming fear. One good option: “Franklin in the Dark” by Paulette Bourgeois. Its turtle protagonist, who is scared of the dark in his own shell, meets several other animals – each with its own fears. ”

Local news by authority    

  • Bexley – Welling library is going to close for refurbishments – News Shopper. “The refurbishment will provide air conditioning, a larger children’s library, an IT suite and study area on the ground floor as well as new flooring and repainted walls. “
  • Borders – Gruffalo author Julia backs Borders Libraries – Borders Telegraph. “Borders broadcaster David Chipakupaku has been walking down the aisles with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson as they attempt to brighten the future for libraries. The duo were taking part in a high-profile panel show at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The 17-year-old from Hawick, who is part of the Voice of my Own youth project, chaired the debate on the future of libraries”
  • Bury – You can now apply to run one of Bury’s libraries – Bury Times. “Bury Council is inviting organisations, charities and not-for-profit groups to formally apply to take over the running of the buildings. To apply to run a community asset you will need to submit a formal expression of interest and a business plan. Expressions of interest need to be submitted before Monday, October 2 and business plans before Friday, November 17. A guide is available online and at libraries to help with finding funding, applying for charitable status and finding volunteers.”

  • Cambridgeshire – Workshops set to focus on future of library service in Huntingdonshire – Hunts Post. “Cambridgeshire County Council is to hold a series of “future-focussed” workshops to determine how libraries in the county, including those in St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives, can meet the challenges of reduced funding in a bid to improve. Within the sessions, attendees will also be asked to give their thoughts on how the county council can update the service to meet library users’ changing needs and demands by using technology.”
  • Carmarthenshire – Carmarthenshire libraries get digital as part of International Literacy Day – South Wales Guardian. “Library staff are preparing to upload an array of screen-based activities for the day, themed this year as ‘Literacy in a Digital World’, on Friday September 8”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Public have chance to see inside Cheshire’s historic buildings – Standard. “The Heritage Open Days brochure is available from libraries, Grosvenor Museum, Chester History and Heritage, Weaver Hall and The Lion Salt Works plus other public buildings. “
  • Coventry – Some of Coventry’s libraries are changing – here’s what you need to know – Coventry Telegraph. Self-service machine installed. Hillfields to be co-located into the Watch Centre; Finham, Cheylesmore and Earlsdon libraries to be volunteer,
  • Derby – Hunt for volunteers to run Derby libraries begins on Monday – Derby Telegraph. “Six weeks later than planned Derby City Council will formally launch its controversial process to find volunteers to run 10 of the city’s libraries on Monday. As part of the biggest ever shake-up of the city’s library services, the council says it will retain and run five libraries directly – Alvaston, Pear Tree, the Local Studies and Family History Library and the Riverside (the new Council House library) and Mickleover. It expects to save about £700,000 a year by making the other libraries available for community groups to manage . A range of documents will become available on Monday for interested people to download.”
  • Lambeth – Carnegie library candlelight protest – Brixton Blog. “Library campaigners and local residents will stage a candle-lit procession to the closed Carnegie library in Herne Hill tonight (31 August), starting at 8.30pm at St Saviour’s Church, a few minutes from the library on Herne Hill Road. They say that work to excavate the basement of the building g to install a gym could begin at any minute and that Lambeth council could be paying up to £3 million for the conversion of the library, while its leisure provider GLL will get the gym for nothing”
  • Lambeth – In photos: Carnegie Library campaigners stage candelit procession in south London, Thurs 31st Aug – Brixton Buzz. “Campaigners trying to reopen south London’s Carnegie Library and prevent it from being turned into a private gym held a candlelit procession along Herne Hill Road tonight” … “Local councillor Jim Dickson – who has advocated closing the library for 20 years – was absent.” see also Conservatives attend Candlelight vigil for Carnegie Library – West Norwood Community Action Team.
  • Norfolk – Town Mayor brushes up on her IT skills at local library – Lynn News. “Head of Norfolk County Council’s library and information service, Jan Holden, said: “Libraries are fantastic places to learn new skills and The Get Digital is a great opportunity for everyone to improve their computer skills for free, at their local library. “We work closely with Norfolk Community Learning Services who also use our libraries to offer courses in local communities.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Green light for public consultation on reduction of library opening times – Grimsby Telegraph. “The public are going to be asked to have their say on the future of libraries in North East Lincolnshire as the council looks to cut opening hours. NELC’s Cabinet approved a set of recommendations to enter into a period of consultation with the public as part of its plans to reduce library opening times. The proposals were presented to councillors yesterday with the council needing to ease pressure on the budget. In consulting with the public the options on the table include one-day-a-week closures, as well as an option to reduce library opening hours from spring 2018.”
  • Suffolk – Snails, snakes, lizards and creepy crawlies join youngsters at Chantry Library for Zoolab day – Ipswich Star. More than 100 kids.
  • Walsall – Library doors to open once again – Express and Star. “Pheasey Library, on Collingwood Drive, will open its doors once again on September 1 thanks to committed volunteers and community leaders. Councillor Chris Towe, who has helped organise the reopening of the site as a book exchange, says everything is in place for Friday and said he looked forward to reopening the site.”
  • Wigan – Government targets being met at a cost – Leigh Journal. “Well done Wigan Council for meeting Government targets and being awarded accolades galore for best practice. But it has been done while having waste management in chaos, housing in turmoil and libraries in meltdown.” … “I think it is the libraries that are the biggest mess. I believe staff have been cut by so much there is now significant understaffing in the whole borough. Library hours have been slashed, opening only when people are at work or school, and no-one seems scheduled to provide any of the usual activities and reading groups. I believe there are no caretakers, so no running repairs, and no drivers, so no internal mail. So if you have paid 90p for a reservation, I suggest you ask for your money back as it won’t be happening anytime soon. The home delivery service has in effect been scrapped.”