This copy of PLN is coming out a day early as I am attending a conference on Monday so there’s not as much news as normal. The article that stands out for me is the one on Finnish libraries, which show them to be booming in both people and new ideas, with one even opening soon with a sauna. The legal protection in libraries under the law there is the explanation for this success, with it being noted that there has to be a minimum number of qualified librarians per library, unlike in this country where there is effectively no minimums of any sort, due to lack of government intervention and the lack of any library standards in England.

Changes by authority


National news

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PMLG Conference

PMLG“Public libraries are at the heart of their communities; recent years have seen services grow and change fundamentally through increased social, digital and economic inclusion. From supporting job seekers, to providing social opportunities, to encouraging health and wellbeing, it’s clear that libraries connect and empower individuals across a wider public audience.

This year’s CILIP Public & Mobile Libraries Conference, run in partnership with the Community, Diversity and Equality Group, will explore these themes further, looking at the role public libraries fulfil in supporting personal and social prosperity. For many authorities, public libraries reach people that other services struggle to connect with – the different speakers and workshops on offer throughout the Conference will consider these dimensions, providing talking points for future direction and best practice in delivering inclusive library services for all.

The Conference will be opened by CILIP’s Chief Executive, Nick Poole, championing the role public libraries play for social, digital and economic inclusion. Nick will be joined by a host of distinguished speakers throughout the Conference, including Janene Cox OBE, who will be discussing how public libraries support inclusion for refugees and asylum seekers; CILIP’s Vice President, Ayub Khan, on fulfilling SCL’s Digital Offer; and Liz White of the British Library, looking at the Libraries Task Force economic ambition. A range of topical workshops will also be on offer throughout the weekend for delegates to learn more about how public libraries can develop and deliver increasingly social, digital and economically inclusive services, with sessions including “10 Tips for Engaging Your Local Community”; “Redesigning Digital Service” and “Creating Your Own Maker-Spaces”.

Alongside this varied, engaging programme of speakers and workshops, the PMLG Conference will also be hosting the annual Public and Mobile Library Awards dinner, presenting the award for Public Librarian of the Year; Public Library Champion of the Year; and Mobile Library Champion of the Year. Nominations are still open on an extended basis, so if you know of a team or individual doing outstanding work for their community and the wider public library profession then celebrate their achievements by nominating them today! Full details and the entry form can be found at www.cilip.org.uk/public-and-mobile-libraries-group/awards.

To ensure as many delegates as possible have the opportunity to attend the “Chances for Life” Conference (and aware that budgets are tight for many) PMLG are extending their Early Bird booking offer until 30th September – just quote EB2017 when booking your place.

The venue, Yarnfield Park Training & Conference Centre, is near to both Stafford and Stone train stations – PMLG can arrange taxi-shares at reasonable cost for any delegates arriving into Stafford by train, so please declare at the time of booking if you would like this. There will also be a certificate of attendance for any delegates working towards Chartership or Certification, or in support of other CPD activities.”

he PMLG “Chances for Life” Conference promises to be an informative and engaging event – to book your place now, or for more information about the full programme of speakers and workshops, please visit: www.cilip.org.uk/public-mobile-libraries-group/pmlg-conference.

International news

  • Finland – Recording studios and saunas: what Finland can teach the UK about libraries – New Statesman. “Walking  through the grand entrance hall of Kallio Library in Helsinki, it’s hard to believe it began life as a homeless shelter. Shelves heaving with books in different languages are neatly stacked, and a piano sits in the middle of a large event space in the centre.” … “On the top floor, the lively (but still immaculately tidy) children’s section features a quiet “fairytale attic” with desks for doing homework. It’s full of kids who have come straight here with friends after school” … “Around 2,000 customers visit Kallio Library every day – more than 600,000 a year – mostly local residents who travel less than 1km. They check out half a million items annually.”

“Across the country, which only has a population of 5.5 million, Finns borrow almost 68 million books a year. Compare this to the UK, where libraries have been among the first services targeted by councils struggling to make savings, and use by adults has dropped by around 30 per cent in the last decade. Only a third of over-16s used a public library in the year to March 2016, government research found … “I think the strong position that libraries have in Finland is because we have the library law,” says Riiheläinen. As well as ensuring libraries remain free to use, this states that each must have a certain number of highly qualified staff depending on the size of the population they serve. Riiheläinen has also worked in London, where he says that on one occasion he was the only staff member out of 20 with a degree in library and information services. “

  • Pakistan – Public libraries remain neglected as government tenure nears an end – Truth Tracker. “To promote reading culture, the PML-N had promised in its 2013 manifesto to develop libraries at national, provincial and district level, equipped with modern reference tools. The trend of having public library has diminished in Pakistan because of lack of interest of people in reading and the declining rate of literacy in the country”
  • USA – SF public libraries to help immigrants apply for US citizenship – Inquirer. “The program is a partnership between the San Francisco Pathways to Citizenship Initiative, San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) and the San Francisco Public Library. It will be announced during a free citizenship workshop at City College of San Francisco’s Ocean campus on Saturday, September 9.”

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – The Hollies One Stop Shop & Libraries Reconfiguration Project – Main Contractor – Contracts Finder. £125k. “Brief description of the work: ‘Reconfiguration of Ground Floor and Lower Ground Floor of Hollies office building, Midsomer Norton, to form new Reception, new Library and associated facilities. Please express an interest to access the full documentation and any revisions.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Library facilities would be ‘decimated’ by proposed move to Lewis House – Bath Chronicle / Letters. “I am writing as the Modern Library consultation process enters its final week. I feel as former Manager at the Podium Library I must express my grave reservations if the move proposal to Lewis House happened. I seriously can see a dramatic reduction in the service that can be provided in the half-size space. The majority of people who responded to the first consultation sought a good range of books for all ages for browsing and borrowing. The ever popular study area is often full with a variety of students taking advantage of the refurbished area.”
  • Bradford – Fate of village library to be decided at crunch meeting – Ilkley Gazette. “group is urging Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Council to retain the village library in its current location. Parish councillors meet on Thursday next week when they could decide to sell the library site for development and use the proceeds to redevelop the Queen’s Hall to include some form of library facilities. Alternatively they could decide to maintain and improve the library which is the only building owned by the parish council. The Queen’s Hall is held on a 50 year lease.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Arts Alive programme announced for Wisbech, Chatteris, March, Soham and Littleport libraries – Ely Standard. “The programme, chosen by Library Friends groups and local communities for each library, features music, theatre, magic, art, literature and puppetry. “Music fans of all ages are encouraged to beat out new rhythms at samba drumming workshops or try their hand at the ukulele,” added the spokesman. “
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Neston Library is one of several in the Cheshire West area taking part in ‘Fun Palaces’ on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October 2017 – About My Area. “Neston Library, along with others in Chester, Blacon, Ellesmere Port and Northwich, will be opened up to the local community and they are looking for volunteers to come along and get involved.”
  • Ealing – Relocation of Ealing Central Library – Ealing Council. Central Library to close – library to move to first floor of Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, above Primark.
  • Islington – London Super Comic Con – Libraries Taskforce. “This year was the first time the event had been held in Islington, so a good opportunity for us to get involved. It was produced in partnership with Islington Council’s Library and Heritage Service, which released a special booklist of 100 comics and graphic novels to celebrate, chosen by Gosh! Comics. You can download the full booklist here. The cost of producing the book list was shared between Islington Libraries, Islington Arts service, Gosh! Comics and LSCC.”
  • Kirklees – Threatened Honley Library could have been thrown a lifeline – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “Holme Valley Parish Council will lead an asset transfer for Honley Library. The library, like many others Kirklees run, is at risk due to major funding cuts. There is an active Friends of Honley Library group dedicated to saving it, volunteering and organising events to attract visitors. Clr Charles Greaves, Holme Valley North Independent, said: “The Parish Council are going to lead on the whole process, which simplifies it where the community are concerned as it would be daunting for volunteers to do this on their own.”
  • Lancashire – Big changes coming to Lancashire – 2BR. “Adlington Library could see their ownership transferred back to Lancashire County Council. And Cleveleys Library and Children’s Centre group want their library to be an independent community library. The cabinet’s being asked to approve the transfer, which would bring the number of independent community libraries in development to six.”
  • Lancashire – Library visits fall across Lancashire, figures reveal – Citizen. “In the first three months of 2017/18 there were 845,866 visits made which is down by 256,242 compared to the same period the year before. Visits had also dropped by more than 94,000 compared to the previous three months. Last year total visits were down by 673,206 compared to 2015/16, according to a Lancashire County Council report. The decline has been attributed to the closure of libraries as well as usual seasonal variations.”
  • Staffordshire – £1.3m budget cuts could see Burton and Uttoxeter libraries become ‘self-service’ out of hours – Burton Mail. “Staffordshire County Council has already shaved £1.675 million from its budget by making 23 of its 43 facilities volunteer-staffed “community libraries”. As things stand, Burton‘s and Uttoxeter‘s facilities are still staffed by professional librarians. However, the council has now announced plans to save another £1.3 million by 2021. The cuts could mean council-staffed libraries, including Burton and Uttoxeter, will become out-of-hours self-service facilities.”
  • Swindon – Parish councillors clash over future of north Swindon’s libraries – Swindon Advertiser. “Parish councillors debated what the future should look like for North Swindon’s libraries at a parish council meeting this week, having taken over the running of them from the September 1. With demand for book loans down over a number of years, the question of whether they provide value for money and what services they should provide proved a hot topic at the parish’s Leisure and Amenities Committee.” Book use down, computer use same or up.
  • Warrington – Warrington £16m leisure scheme finances ‘shocking’, says MP – BBC News. “An official report has raised concerns over how taxpayers’ money has been spent building a £16m leisure centre in Warrington. Auditors criticised the way “large sums” had been spent despite an “unsigned” contract for the new Great Sankey Hub.” …”The hub is due to include swimming pools, tennis courts and a library. Construction is due to finish in Spring 2018.”
  • Worcestershire – Council in controversial talks to move Rubery Library to a village church – Bromsgrove Advertiser. “The proposals to move the popular library to St Chad’s Church on New Road have been suggested by Worcestershire Libraries Service in a bid to recoup cash by sharing space with other services and organisations.” … “But the plans have been met with anger from the county’s Labour Leader and Rubery councillor Peter Mcdonald who said libraries should be ‘independent from religion’ and it was ridiculous to move the site which was already ideally situated.”
  • Worcestershire – Shared Library Solution – Worcestershire County Council and University of Worcester – Contracts Finder. “The Council and University of Worcester are seeking a solution that is fit-for-purpose, future proofed, and flexible for the changing needs of a modern library solution, in order to provide an enhanced set of library services both for the public in Worcestershire and for all academic users of the University wherever they are based.  The core scope of the required service is a solution to support and deliver the operational requirements of the two sets of library services provided by the Council and the University: to satisfy current requirements and also for known or expected future needs.”