My pick of the articles today is that by Stephen Abrams on the experience of Canadian public libraries. He explains the challenges they have faced and how they’re reacting to them, including some very good ideas such as open data (hmmm), marketing (ahhhh) and social media training. He addresses, quite correctly, that the main crisis facing Canadian libraries is the technological change, not budget cuts, and stresses the need to persuade decision makers. I suspect they’ve not had things as bad over there as here but he makes some interesting points and it’s worth a read. In other news, Cheshire East may be closing a few of its libraries and continues the trend of looking towards alternative forms of governance, in this case the local leisure trust, as an option.


National news

  • Progress Indicators for the 7 Outcomes libraries deliver – Libraries Taskforce. “These were the result of the Libraries Deliver consultation and work with the Taskforce member organisations including the Society of Chief Librarians. These proposed indicators have now been finalised with the initial baseline added (where this data is currently available). We’re now working on providing a baseline against the remaining measures.” Includes long list of qualitative and quantitative outcomes over the seven categories.
  • Rhyme Time and Seven Quality Principles Toolkit – ASCEL. “In 2016/2017 ASCEL received funding from Arts Council England to explore the potential for using their Seven Quality Principles to assess the impact of rhyme times  on families. The Toolkit that we have produced is the result of a close collaboration between 11 library services and supported by expertise from Shared Intelligence and guidance from Booktrust.”
    An online bookclub from Axiell

International news

  • Canada – Canadian Librarians: Creating innovative strategies on their path to success – Interview with Stephen Abram – Princh. “While  some define the crisis in purely funding terms, the real existential crisis is of professionals’ ongoing struggle with defining our relevance in the 21 Century. Speaking with one voice in a time of fragmentation amongst many roles is a challenge”  … “I believe that funding success is merely a measurement of how well you have lobbied for and communicated your value to your funders which is not the real goal. Our real goal is to move minds and that requires a sincere change in our own mindsets.” … “The public library annual data collection was tied up in a government mainframe and locked up in PDFs. We successfully lobbied to have the data made available. We developed a service where all library systems could order custom peer library reports and compare themselves on these measures”

“We bought, populated, and promoted a new e-learning system called LearnHQ for our libraries. It now has thousands of courses on all topics for librarians, technicians, library board trustees, leaders, managers, and more.” … “We invested in face-to-face interviews to discover our ‘brand’ as a public library.  We landed on a great tagline, “A Visit WILL Get You Thinking!”, and launched this with a three-year commitment nationally promoted through a revitalized Ontario Public Library Week and Canadian Library Month … We hired a social media guru to train all library systems in Ontario on the critical components of social media success. Our early results showed 500% to 750% growth in social media engagement for our member public libraries.  This is called OpenMediaDesk.”

  • Global – Get Carded : Flexible Library membership – Medium / Jane Cowell. “Libraries need to be across other government digital initiatives for identification purposes and link these initiatives to library membership to make it easier for people to join and use publicly funded information and reading resources.” e.g. Manchester homeless partnership, flexible library membership, one library card for all South Australia.
  • USA – Libraries, not SNES Classic, might be the best place to preserve old games – Digital Trends. “Unlike movies, music, and books which can be relatively easily converted to modern mediums for posterity, it’s much harder to maintain games in a playable state. They often require specific platforms to run on and in the case of certain MMOs, even need certain hardware to run as originally created. When they’re shut down, they often disappear for good, erasing big portions of gaming history forever. Poetically then, it seems like libraries and museums could be the best place to store some of those gaming memories and even make them accessible to gamers of today and tomorrow.”

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Panel to review decision to move One Stop Shop to the Podium in Bath – Bath Echo. “Council’s Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel will review the recent decision made by Cabinet to move the One Stop Shop to share the facilities of the Bath Central Library at the Podium.” see also How to have your say at Bath meeting to ‘review’ controversial library decisions – Bath Chronicle.
  • Bexley – Crayford post office will open in December – News Shopper. “The Crayford post office, in Crayford Road, closed in July 2016, and earlier this year a consultation was launched to find a new site. The new branch, set to open in Crayford library, will open on Tuesday, December 5 at 1pm. David Evennett, MP [Conservative] for Bexleyheath and Crayford, has welcomed the news.”
  • Buckinghamshire – In Profile: Chalfont St Giles Community library – Community Libraries Network. “Chalfont St Giles Community Library recently received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service which is the highest award given to volunteer groups in the UK. Here Mike Bedford, Treasurer of Chalfont St Giles Community Library, describes the library’s journey.” … “The library is run and staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers. There are 26,000 visits to the library annually”. … “Our strong volunteer support has enabled us to increase the library’s opening hours by 70% to 34.5 hours a week. Broadly we follow the opening hours of the village shops. We have two volunteers on-duty, previously the library was single staffed”
  • “Whilst a well-funded traditional paid staff library is likely to be the best option for any community, our experience indicates that it is possible to do things differently and be successful. The model that works in Chalfont St Giles may not work everywhere. Our library is small with light to moderate use. Buckinghamshire is a relatively prosperous County with a sufficient pool of people with the time and skills to operate the local library. Trying to follow the same model in a busy town library in a deprived area would be much more challenging.”
  • Cheshire East – Pre-Budget Consultation – 2018-21 – Cheshire East Council. “This proposal considers delivering further savings from the library service by closing the three smallest libraries within the borough: Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury. The Council has a statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all in the area that want to make use of it, but the Council is able to determine where libraries are provided giving consideration to equalities and best value duties. The Council would welcome proposals from local community organisations to deliver these libraries as community managed libraries as an alternative to closure.” £150k cut. May also consider closing an additional two libraries (Holmes Chapel and Bollington) – £243k cut. Or transferring service to leisure trust “Cheshire East has adopted a “best fit” approach for the most appropriate delivery mechanism for our services to enable us to achieve our corporate outcomes. Everybody Sport and Recreation (ESAR) is the Charitable Trust established in 2014 responsible for delivering leisure services in partnership with the council. It has quickly established a track record of success in delivering financial savings, improving service quality and increasing participation. This proposal to transfer the Library service to ESAR would deliver some financial benefits in the medium term while also providing the foundations for longer term savings and a more entrepreneurial outlook to the provision of library services.””
  • Devon – Funding bids to move Bideford Library into The Burton could be submitted next year – North Devon Gazette. “Plans to build a two-storey extension to The Burton in Bideford to house the town’s library are pressing ahead. An action plan for the library move has been drawn up, and Devon County Council said a formal funding bid should be submitted in January. But the deputy mayor of Bideford is calling on the council to rethink its plans. Councillor Doug Bushby said he believes Bridge Buildings, which are currently being sold by Torridge District Council (TDC), would be a better option”
  • Dundee – Dundee libraries join in Polish language book scheme – Evening Telegraph. Read PL is international scheme.
  • Fife – Dunfermline library named Scotland’s best building – BBC News. “A new library and gallery in Dunfermline has been named the Best Building in Scotland for 2017.Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries was awarded the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland’s (RIAS) Andrew Doolan prize from a shortlist of 12 projects.Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy Architects, which designed the £12.4m building, received £25,000. The award is the richest architecture prize in the UK” see also Dunfermline Carnegie Library wins best building award – Times.
  • Leicestershire – Melton Library to close for three days for maintenance work – Melton Times. “Melton Library is close for three days at the end of this month to allow essential maintenance to be carried out. Leicestershire County Council say the Wilton Road service will not be available between Wednesday November 29 and Friday December 1.”
  • Liverpool – Have Liverpool Council deployed security guards because of library protest? – Liverpool Echo. “Campaigners believe Liverpool City Council has brought in security guards at a local library because of their ongoing “peaceful protest.” Protestors have been asked to take signs down from outside Sefton Park Library – where they have been demonstrating for the past year. And now the group says a security guard has started patrolling the centre on the days when they regularly hold their quiet demonstrations.”
  • North Somerset – Portishead Library opening hours to increase thanks to swipecard entry – North Somerset Times. Portishead: “It will be first in the area to introduce a swipecard system so users can access it outside of normal opening times. It means from December the library will be available to use 78 hours a week, compared to 37.5 at present. Felicity Baker, North Somerset Council’s executive member for libraries, said: “Convenience is important and this will give people greater flexibility in how and when they use the service.”
  • Suffolk – Plans to provide new library in Eye progressing well – Diss Express. “Suffolk County Council plans to sell the site of the current library, in Buckshorn Lane, and move to a brand new library in Cross Street.” … “It will be funded by the sale of the town’s current library, which has served the community for the best part of 40 years.”
  • Swindon – Upper Stratton’s library celebrates 50 years – Swindon Advertiser. “Generations of library users descended on the Upper Stratton library – renamed Beechcroft Library in September – to celebrate its 50th year. There were also opportunities to find out more about Stratton St Margaret Parish Council’s future plans for the building, which include installing a lift to allow those with limited mobility to access first floor rooms. That the library is open at all is a victory, campaigners said. Last year, there were fears that the Upper Stratton Library would be shut.”
  • Wokingham – Plans for pool, library and 55 flats in Wokingham set to be approved – Get Reading. “Plans to build a swimming pool, sports centre, library and flats as part of Wokingham regeneration are due to be approved by council bosses. Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee is due to consider the application for the Carnival Pool Leisure Hub in Wellington Road on Wednesday, November 8.”