Two key news stories for me this post. The first is from Bristol, which has temporarily a deep cut to its libraries while it looks in to the possibilities of mutual and co-locations. This is coming about from government money designed to encourage mutual and it’s unusual for such a delay in libraries due to Government funding, although the strong push towards such trusts has been notable for years. I suspect the depth of the cuts and the level of protest had something to do with it.

The other is a CILIP-led protest letter, signed by authors and others, against cuts to school libraries. It started with a tweet and snowballed into a major (well, for libraries, anyway) news story. I got some serious deja vu from it as you may recall a similar mass protest letter against public library closures a few years ago. The difference now is that CILIP was key to the action, while back in the old days of 2011, it hadn’t quite got the hang of protest or realised how deep and prolonged the cuts will be. That has all changed now and the organisation is earning its subscription fee to both public and school libraries.



National news

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • New Zealand – Banned dog now library ‘staff member’ – Radio NZ. “Quaker, a three-year-old German Shepherd, has had official status bestowed on her by animal control officers, and she is now a listening post for younger readers. The dog is part of a national literacy development service that involves children reading to dogs, which has been extended to Westport’s public library. Owner Gregg Quinn, a 66-year-old former journalist with the Westport News, said Quaker had grown up on a diet of being read news and current affairs, and is well suited to the role.”

“It apparently now means Quaker is a member of staff, which means she’s allowed in the library,” he said. A library spokesperson approached by RNZ News said Quaker has been approved by the animal dog control officer, and is now a volunteer staff member. “I mean, it’s not like we’re paying her – not even in dog biscuits, but in lots of cuddles and kisses,” she said.”

  • Spain – Engaging Library Visitors Through Gamification – Interview with Ana Ordás – Princh. “Librarians have a history of effectively providing information requested by users and creating usable systems. However, the user experience is created by interacting with the system and the emotional aspects play a fundamental role… this is where games come into play. Read below our chat with Ana Ordas, a specialist in games and gamification in libraries from Spain. She gives some great insights on engaging library visitors through gamification.”
  • USA – FAQs for Library Lovers: Snappy Answers for Grumpy Uncles and Other Haters – Medium / EveryLibrary. “People misunderstand libraries. The majority of them don’t do it deliberately, they simply haven’t thought much about the institution. A quick conversation is usually enough to bring them around. There are, however, those out their who are purposefully mean about libraries. The reasons vary: Some had a bad library experience as children, some are intimidated by anything intellectual, and some…Well, some are just assholes. These people make me angry.”
  • USA – Floating Collections: How It Can Work in a Public Library – Ingram. “library services team could shift and reallocate materials to keep materials moving around the system, thus ensuring that individual branches don’t have stagnating collections or very uneven collections. Practices such as knowing which locations tend to need rebalancing because they are in a more isolated area of the county or who gets overstocked with bestsellers because their patrons are very sophisticated holds users, ensures that each location maintains balanced subject areas and well represented fiction collections throughout the system. While all of the panelists acknowledged that floating collection problems were caused by an increase in different workloads for the branches, none viewed this as a bad thing. The staff has to go straight to the OPAC a lot more and teach patrons how to place holds. They also have to figure out where to send pooled items or when to get rid of them. Making sure entire collections aren’t depleted is a top priority– again, to prevent all the frog books ending up at one place.”
  • USA – The legacy of the free library – Medium. “The legacy of the free library is still important. The idea that knowledge should be democratic and open and accessible and easy to get regardless of income or demographic is something I think most people in this country get behind. If we abolish Net Neutrality, it seems to me we’d move back to the age when knowledge was less accessible, back to the pre-free library and closed-stack days. That would be a loss for us all.”

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Mobile library set to stay as part of revised proposals for community libraries – Bath Echo. “The Cabinet responded to concerns raised by the scrutiny panel and has added a number amendments and clarifications to the original decision. It says the mobile library service, which is a lifeline for many rural communities, will continue to operate and is not subject to closure. Councillor Tim Warren, council leader, said: “We have listened to people’s concerns and I want to stress the council is committed to the mobile library service because we recognise how important it is to many people who live in the more rural communities”. Support for volunteers/community groups to run libraries previously council-run: “Communities will be helped by an initial investment of £275,000 which includes start-up funds of up to £5,000 providing books from central stock, assisting with training and providing access to a wide range of targeted community services provided by the council.”
  • Bristol – Bristol’s libraries have been saved – for now – Bristol Post. “Libraries have been given a stay of execution as the council has paused its plans to close 17 of the city’s 27 facilities. The announcement comes after pressure from a number of campaigns calling for the authority to rethink its programme of savings.” … “Instead of immediate closures, the council is undertaking an independent consultation – paid for by central government – to see if libraries could be run in a different way such as through a trust or by private firms.” … “Once concluded, Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees, wants to talk with local GPs, Avon and Somerset Police and other community centres to see if separate agencies could collaborate with the library service. This could mean other agencies are moved in to libraries, or books and resources are moved out of existing library buildings. This approach is already taken at some libraries in North Somersetsee also Lifeline for Bristol’s threatened libraries – Bristol 247.
  • Bury – The closing date for these 10 libraries has been revealed as more than two-thirds of town’s branches shut down – Manchester Evening News. “Library members today (Friday) received an email announcing when the closures would take place. It read: “Sadly, the 10 libraries scheduled for closure following the Library Review will be shutting their doors for the last time on December 20th. “Bury, Prestwich, Radcliffe and Ramsbottom libraries will be continuing to provide library, leisure and learning opportunities across the borough, although opening hours will change from January 3rd. “Staff at all libraries would like to thank you for all your support during this difficult period. Please look out for information regarding new community uses for some of the former library buildings.”
  • Cheshire East – Prestbury library set to close after proposed council cuts – Macclesfield Express. “The council has been blasted for proposing to close a village library in order to save ‘just £10,000’ from its budget. Prestbury Library has been earmarked for closure by Cheshire East Council as part of its pre-budget report to save £70m over the next three years. But John Martin, chairman of Prestbury Parish Council, says the £10,000 a year saving does not justify the closure of an important community asset.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Storytelling with Santa StoryHouse.”Making a visit to Santa adds that extra bit of magic to the festive season for little ones (and the young at heart). So it’s good news that the man himself will be making some stop-offs at Storyhouse this Christmas time! Storyhouse celebrates its first ever Christmas by transforming The Den into a magical Grotto. Join Santa in the Storytelling Room, tell him your Christmas wishes, listen to festive stories and enjoy festive-themed arts and crafts. Tickets £3 per child”
  • Croydon – GLL lined up for libraries, as well as leisure and pools – Inside Croydon. “On Monday night, at the Croydon Town Hall, it was announced that GLL was to be handed a 20-year contract to operate Croydon’s gyms, swimming pools and other leisure activities. This extensive deal sees football pitches and tennis courts in Croydon’s parks brought under GLL control, rather than the parks contractor, id-Verde. GLL will also operate the recently refurbished Old Ashburton Library in Ashburton Park, as a café, nursery and leisure centre – almost a bookish gym. But GLL may yet have a real hand to play in the management of Croydon’s 13 public libraries.”
  • Croydon – South Norwood could be getting a new library – Croydon Guardian. “Croydon Council have announced plans to build the £500,000 library at a currently vacant site in Station Road. It will replace the current “outdated and inaccessible” library around the corner on the junction of Selhurst Road and Lawrence Road. This proposal follows a recent building survey on the old library that estimated it required £420,000 worth of modernisation works and repairs just to keep it operational for the next 20 years.”
  • Hertfordshire – New theatre and cinema for Bishop’s Stortford unveiled in Old River Lane plans – Herefordshire Mercury. ” new arts and cultural centre forms the centrepiece of proposals to transform Old River Lane in Bishop’s Stortford, unveiled by East Herts District Council (EHDC) today (Thursday, November 23). If given the go-ahead, the centre would include a 500-seat theatre, three or four-screen cinema and cafe/bar. The council is also looking at relocating the library to the building, alongside a one-stop-shop for council services and “hot-desking” workspace.” [Originally mistakenly typed in as Herefordshire – really, people, one of you two counties needs to change your name. To Somersit, or Darbyshire. Um, no … Ed.]
  • Lambeth – Minet neighbourhood library service extended – Vassall View. “Lambeth council has announced that the summer services at the Minet building in Vassall will be extended and the Lambeth Archives will remain on the same site until moving to a new facility in Kennington” … “The library has as a self-service facility with trained library staff support for between two and a half and three hours a day from the Hubs Library team. The Home Visit library service will continue to be based in the building, whose staff, alongside the Archives staff, will be able to monitor use of the library, when librarians are not present. “
  • Lancashire – ‘Dear Santa, can you save our library? – Blackpool Gazette. “The appeal from seven-year-old Emilia Ficorilli regards St Annes Library, which has been shut since August for vital maintenance – and comes as the wait goes on to see Lytham and Freckleton’s libraries to reopen after being closed by Lancashire County Council’s previous Labour regime under budget cuts.” see also New and improved Oswaldtwistle library ‘could be open by February’ – Accrington Observer. “Oswaldtwistle library is set to reopen within three months once ‘staffing issues’ are resolved, a meeting has heard. The library was mothballed nearly a year ago but will reopen as a ‘new and improved’ community facility early next year.” and Earby Library a step closer to re-opening – Craven Herald and Pioneer.
  • Lancashire – Libraries celebrate county’s key day – Blackpool Gazette.
  • Norfolk – Tiny codeable computers donated to Norfolk libraries to teach new skills – Lynn News. “More than 500 pocket-sized, codeable computers have been donated to libraries across Norfolk to help improve children’s digital skills. “
  • North Somerset – Online criticism for probation meetings held in Weston Town Hall library – Weston Mercury. “A number of services are run from the same building in Walliscote Grove Road, including the library, the council’s housing team and a police desk. And a probation company relocated its programme to the town hall just over a year ago, but due to a lack of meeting rooms, offenders sometimes are interviewed alongside library users. One probation officer interviewed by the Guardian newspaper said the situation was putting the public at risk, and was also denying offenders a proper chance to engage in the rehabilitation programme, but the review found the probe did not reveal security breaches.”
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries celebrate success since being taken over by volunteers – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “North Yorkshire’s 33 community-managed libraries gathered this month (November) to celebrate their success, share ideas and look to the future. In April this year 21 community libraries joined those already in operation as part of a revamp of the library service following reductions in government funding.” … “Around 120 representatives from the libraries took part in workshops on topics including marketing and communications, planning for the future, fundraising, volunteer training, IT and the library in the 21st century. “
  • Northamptonshire – Children in ‘save Desborough Library’ protest – BBC. Video: “About 60 primary school children gathered to fight the possible closure of a library. Desborough Library, in Northamptonshire, could be shut as part of council cuts of £10m.” see also Library Closures In Northamptonshire Will Have A Terrible Effect On The Community – Affinity.
  • Northamptonshire – East Northants residents may be asked to pay to save Oundle library – Northants Telegraph. “Residents may be asked if they would be prepared to help pay for a library to avoid its closure. Oundle Library could face closure under one of three options being considered by Northamptonshire County Council as part of recent proposals to make county-wide savings.”
  • Northamptonshire – ‘Option four’ motion to spare Northamptonshire’s libraries from cuts rejected by county council – Northants Telegraph. “Councillors have rejected a bid to offer a “spare Northamptonshire’s libraries” option to the public as part of a proposal to cut £10m from services.” … “More than a dozen members of the public and county councillors spoke at the meeting to appeal for “option four”, including Northamptonshire author Sue Bentley. But Conservative Cllr Sylvia Hughes said: “An option of ‘do nothing’ is not viable.” see also No-confidence motion in Northants county council defeated as library closures are debated – Northants Telegraph.
  • Northumberland – Join the Elf on the Library Shelf challenge to win a prize – Northumberland Gazette. “Every time a child visits their local library and borrows a book – or when they introduce a friend to the library for the first time – they can collect a special book ticket onto which they write the title of one of their favourite books and then post it in the Christmas post box in the library. The tickets will be put into a draw to win a special prize. So, the more visits you make and the more books you read, the greater your chance of winning the gift. The Elf on a Library Shelf challenge will run from Friday, December 1, through to Saturday, December 30.”
  • Pembrokeshire – Library planned for Haverfordwest gets Saturday open hours funding – Western Telegraph. “new library will open all-day on Saturdays, following a vote by the town council to commit to five years of funding for Saturday afternoon opening hours. The council approved funding for Saturday afternoon opening hours at the new library during their meeting on Wednesday, November 22, following a presentation on the benefits the new library could have for the town held the previous week.”
  • Powys – Powys CC to sell off Hay Library site and cut the library service Facebook / Hay on Wye Library Supporters. “For over a year Powys County Councill has blocked every attempt by Hay-on-Wye Library Supporters (HOWLS) to meet with Councillors and provide accurate financial information in order to find a way to keep Hay on Wye library/Llyfrgell Y Gelli Gandryll operating from its current, purpose-built site in the centre of town. As the deadline of December 2017 draws closer for submission of a business plan it is clear that Powys CC has no intention of honouring their previous decision to consider proposals. Likewise, Powys CC is completely ignoring the views of the local community, who want Hay Library to remain where it is and to develop the service”
  • St Helens – Central library to remain closed until further notice – St Helens Star. “Central Library is to remain closed until further notice after St Helens Council confirmed repairs will take a long time to complete and run up “significant” costs. The town centre library, which has been closed since March for essential maintenance works following water damage, was due to reopen in December. However, the council now says both the inside and outside of the building require reconstruct work. In a statement it said: “Extensive work to the exterior of the building is required to stop further damage being caused from water ingress.”
  • Southwark – Camberwell named Library of Year – Southwark News. “Camberwell Library has celebrated receiving The Bookseller’s Library of the Year award. To mark the occasion, Councillor Johnson Situ, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for business, culture and social regeneration, was joined by author Sophie Hannah, library staff, and a crowd of more than 60 people. Visits to the library have almost doubled and new borrowers have tripled since it was opened in 2015.”
  • Staffordshire – Enjoy a chilling night of tales by torchlight at Stafford Library – Sentinel. “An atmospheric evening at Stafford Library will feature readings chilling short stories by a world renowned author. On Tuesday from 7pm local actors will read spine-tingling tales by Susan Hill, best known for The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I’m the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award.”
  • Staffordshire – People invited to help shape future of county’s libraries service – Tamworth Informed. “A series of drop-in events are being held across the county throughout December to give people the opportunity to get involved in early discussions about the county’s libraries. Feedback from the informal drop-in events will help develop the proposals that will be consulted on in the New Year. The consultation will help the service plan ahead for the next three years”
  • Suffolk – Special screenings and talks organised by Southwold and Lowestoft libraries – Journal. “Southwold and Lowestoft libraries have organised a series of screenings in the weeks ahead. Southwold Library is hosting the following Kidz Film Fun screenings at Southwold Arts Centre:” … “All the above screenings use quality digital projection equipment funded by Arts Council England as part of the Suffolk Libraries Presents programme. Southwold Library is also hosting performances by Librarian Theatre next month.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Plan to cut West Dunbartonshire library opening hours by a third to save cash – Daily Record. “The council says that due to costs they hope to make the changes to protect all eight of the region’s facilities.” … “The council claims that due to “above average” staffing costs they hope to make the changes in a bid to protect all eight of the region’s facilities. If approved, the move could lead to the loss of the equivalent of eight full-time jobs and total library hours across the region would drop from 338.5 hours per week to 237.5 hours – almost a third”