Library trusts in England haven’t been around for long, with the oldest being just two or three years old. As such, their chiefs are the library managers who took them out of council control. So the first changing of the guard, caused by the retirement of the Suffolk boss Alison Wheeler, was an interesting one to watch, and not least because of the 17-page vacancy pack. No, it was one to watch to see who would get it and where they would come from. And now we know. It’s someone from a charity and with apparently no library experience. That gives a clear indicator as to the direction of travel Suffolk has already gone on: the skills needed are now those of an independent fundraiser and not of a public librarian. It’s a truism that the higher up an organisation one goes then the less specialist skills you need and that’s the case in libraries as well as elsewhere, and Suffolk is not the first library service to have a non-librarian running it by any means. But it gives a view into the future, and the present, that would perhaps have surprised those in the library sector ten years ago and shows the financial and political pressures that such services are expected to have to face.

Interestingly Hertfordshire have just announced that they’re thinking of going down to the libraries trust route because it is “supported by national government” and it’s certainly true the Taskforce is heavily pushing the model. As funding is reduced in authority after authority, on a cycle of every two to four years, the siren call of the Trust is going to get louder. But it means that library services will become more akin to charities than statutory council run services, with all that implies. The first library chugger may not be far away.



National news

  • The librarian will see you now – Libraries Taskforce. “Librarians have an integral part to play in shared decision-making and health information literacy, because they possess the required skills and are uniquely positioned to provide information support to the public”
  • Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC) – LILAC. “LILAC are pleased to be able to offer bursaries for conference places to applicants in certain sectors. Find out more about bursary opportunities here.”
  • Privacy Workshop – CILIP. Newcastle 13th December. “All current indicators suggest that privacy is regarded as one of the most important issues facing our profession at the moment. Privacy and confidentiality have always been fundamental to CILIP’s Code of Ethics. However, the concept and practice of online data privacy are undergoing rapid change and challenge from both the private sector and the state at all levels.”
  • Single card pilot for Scottish libraries launched – BBC. “Five councils are taking part in the scheme, which will be rolled out to the whole of Scotland if successful. One Card aims to encourage greater access to libraries by removing barriers between services and gives access to more than 120 libraries and 1.6 million books. It was launched in Aberdeen by Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop. The pilot has been supported by £15,000 from the Scottish government’s Public Library Improvement Fund. It will run for six months across the Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland, and Perth and Kinross council areas.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Scrutiny panel endorses plans to combine One Stop Shop and Bath Central Library – Bath Echo. “A scrutiny panel on Bath & North East Somerset Council has endorsed plans to integrate Bath’s Library and One Stop Shop in one location at the Podium.” … “Whilst endorsing the plans for Bath Library, the scrutiny panel raised concerns over aspects of the Council’s proposals for community-run libraries and asked that the Cabinet look again at these issues.” see also Bath council to press ahead with main library merger but decision on branches stayed – Bath Chronicle.
  • Bexley – Bexley Bookbuzz festival announced for February next year – News Shopper. “Bookbuzz festival will take place from February 10-24. During the two-week festival Bexley will have author visits, workshops and poetry session. Authors set to visit the borough during the fortnight include Ben Aaronovitch, Mike Gayle, Alison Weir and Stephen Booth. During the festival there will be a chance to take part in Where’s Wally hunts, a look into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and a visit from the Gruffalo and Peter Rabbit.”
  • Brighton and Hove – New home for Brighton library – Brighton and Hove News. “Hollingbury Library reopened in its new home at Old Boat Corner Community Centre in Carden Hill at 9am today.” … “The library will now open seven days a week, instead of the previous three days, offering a broad selection of books for all ages, plus computer and internet access. (See opening times below.) The community centre, which is next to Carden Park, also has its own café open seven days a week as well.”

“Hollingbury Library at Old Boat Corner Community Centre will be staffed on Thursdays. On other days people will be able to borrow books and use computers using their library card.”

  • Bristol – ‘If we lose Bristol’s libraries now, we will never get them back’ – Bristol 247. “Mayor Marvin Rees came under fire from a cross-party group of councillors and stood accused of “deliberately inflicting pain” on the city at a packed meeting on Tuesday (November 14). He would go down in history as the “book butcher of Bristol” if his administration goes ahead with the proposed cuts which could see more than half of the libraries close, warned one councillor”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Systems and Information Librarian – Cheshire West and Chester Council. £22658Grade 7 permanent based in Chester.
  • Cornwall – St Ives to dig its heels in over Cornwall Council funding for town library – St Ives Times and Echo (not available online). “St Ives Town Council wants Cornwall Council to cover the annual cost of the business rates for the floor-space it uses once the town has taken ownership of the building. Cornwall Council will still need to provide core information services from the library building. The Town Council also wants County to carry out works on the building, regarded as necessary by the Town Council prior to the transfer. However, Cornwall Council has said this would not be possible and Town Council had determined it would not go ahead with the library transfer unless these conditions were met.”
  • Croydon – Cash-strapped Carillion can’t pay their library paper bills – Inside Croydon. “Carillion, the building company which somehow landed the contract to run Croydon’s public libraries, is so strapped for cash that they have unpaid bills from their suppliers for use of photo-copiers and paper. The value of the company’s shares plunged a further 30 per cent this morning, as the troubled firm issued the latest in a series of profit warnings and trading updates” … “Carillion’s problems relate mostly to its construction business, but it is having a knock-on effect to the subsidiary which is running Croydon’s and other local authority libraries.” … “That’s not good news for Croydon’s libraries. There have already been a string of complaints from residents and councillors about the lack of proper maintenance of the buildings or the book stock. Now, printers and copiers in the borough’s public libraries are not being serviced if they break down, because of the unpaid bills with suppliers.” Comment says “As Chair of the Croydon Disability Forum I am still waiting for an explanation of why they are withdrawing the very valuable Home Library Service from everyone except those who are housebound and have nobody to assist them to collect books.”
  • Cumbria – At risk Copeland libraries could become community hubs – News and Star. “At a meeting of Copeland’s local committee yesterday, councillors said they would look at the libraries being used as community hubs, run by volunteers offering different services, such as Age UK.”
  • Glasgow – £10 million to be spent on Glasgow’s libraries and community centres – Evening Times. “This week, the city councillors will be asked to approve a plan which will result in £10million being spent before the end of March. The community asset fund is spent on properties which are said to improve the wellbeing, cultural, recreational or sporting interests of local communities. Recently, a survey of every council property was carried out to assess the condition of the fabric of the buildings.” … “Libraries to benefit will include Baillieston, Cardonald, Castlemilk, the Mitchell, Partick, Riddrie, Whiteinch and Woodside “
  • Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire signals next stage off libraries plans – Government Business. “‘Inspiring Libraries – the next phase’ outlines plans to develop its online offering, improve and extend access to libraries – through swipe card access and by using volunteers to extend opening times – and complete our roll-out of community libraries. The council could also pursue plan to deliver the library service in a different way, copying contrasting schemes already in place in Suffolk, Nottinghamshire and Devon. The three regions supply library services based on a ‘public service mutual’ model, where an independent organisation is created to deliver library services on behalf of the council”
  • Inverclyde – Inverclyde councillor hits out against proposal to close South West Library – Greenock Telegraph. “John Crowther, called on the public to oppose the shut-down of the South West Library to save £57,000 and cut the equivalent of 1.5 full time jobs. He said the Barr’s Cottage library is in the ideal location to serve a wide area of Greenock with its books and computer suite.” … “It is understood council bosses have said in a private report that closing the library would have ‘a manageable impact on service delivery’, although they recognise it would result in fewer Bookbug sessions for children in the south west area. “
  • Kent – The Tunbridge Wells Museum, art gallery, library and Adult Education Centre buildings will be closed for two years – Kent Live. ” museum and library in Tunbridge Wells will close for two years along with the art gallery and Adult Education Centre. The town centre facilities will shut from the end of next year while the multi-million pounds Heritage, Cultural and Learning Hub is redeveloped on the site.” … “The new centre costing £13.3million has attracted £4.3million Heritage Lottery funding along with £1million from Arts Council England and £7million from Kent County Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. The borough council said it will bring together the museum, art gallery, library and adult education along with Gateway services and Tourist Information Centre in a “modernised set of buildings”.”
  • Kirklees – Fears for future of library as Council prepares to review service again amid further cuts – More UK News. “The department’s budget has already been cut by £1.8 million in the last two years, and the latest redesign takes account of further cuts of around £1.9m. This would leave the library service with a budget of £2.2m a year – less than half what it was 2015. Councillor Kath Pinnock, who represents Cleckheaton, said she feared the town’s library, which was one of the busiest in the district, would be under threat again.” see also Cabinet asked to consult on future library services – Kirklees Together. “Cabinet members will be asked to agree to go to consultation on the future of the library service in Kirklees at their next meeting. If they agree, the consultation will begin in the first week of the new year.”  and Will more Kirklees libraries close when a further £1.7m is slashed from budget? – Huddersfield Daily Examiner and Fears for future of Cleckheaton Library as Kirklees Council prepares to review service again amid further cuts – Telegraph and Argus.
  • Kirklees – Yet more library cuts threaten our children’s future – Telegraph and Argus / Letters. “And the cuts go on. Earlier this week, it emerged that Kirklees Council is carrying out another review of its library service even though £1.8 million has already been cut from the department’s budget in the last two years. Further cuts of £1.9 million are on the table, which would leave an annual budget of £2.2 million, less than half the cash available in 2015. The proposals have raised fears that Cleckheaton’s library could be under threat, according to town councillor Kath Pinnock.”
  • Lancashire – Celebrations as Rishton library officially saved after two-year campaign – Accrington Observer. “Lancashire County Council (LCC) has overturned a decision to make Rishton library surplus to requirements, ending two years of uncertainty over the building’s fate. The library, on High Street, was facing possible closure or being transferred into community hands, after it was confirmed as one of three in the borough at risk. However, LCC’s cabinet has decided to reopen 13 libraries since the Tories took control of county hall in May, and agreed to transfer ownership of six more to independent community groups”
  • Lancashire – Earby library moves another step closer to being re-opened – Lancashire Telegraph. “Councillors said the former Earby library is ‘no longer up-to-scratch ‘and cannot provide the service residents need anymore. Officers had recommended that the existing large building is in poor condition and not well-suited to a modern library service. As the county council owns the New Road Community Centre, should the feasibility study find the building is suitable, they said the transition should be smooth.”
  • Lancashire – Step forward in bid to save town library – Gazette. “County Coun Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services at County Hall, has pledged that Lytham will have a library again – it is just a case of in which location. His announcement came after the Friends of Lytham Institute and Library presented a petition containing more than 3,000 signatures to county councillors ahead of the latest cabinet meeting.”
  • Lincolnshire – Library near Skegness prepares for new £160k chapter – Skegness Standard. “The £160,000 modular building will be delivered at the end of this month, with the library expected to open there in the New Year. The volunteer-run resource is currently housed in the Burgh Community Complex. The group took over the library’s operation from Lincolnshire County Council in November 2015.”
  • Liverpool – A Different Kind of Proposal: Weddings in the Library – Public Libraries Online. “In today’s world of shrinking budgets, public libraries are forced to develop more creative funding sources. Sales of used books and items emblazoned with library logos are relatively common, but England’s Liverpool Central Library has a new proposal to help make ends meet: weddings.” … “As novel as it may sound, Liverpool’s wedding idea is not entirely new; various U.S. libraries are already offering weddings. Popular wedding website The Knot, prominently featured the wedding of NFL defensive end Devon Still and his wife Asha, held at the famous Stephen A. Schwarzman building of the New York Public Library, as its “Dream Wedding” of 2016″
  • Manchester – Alanah and Rowan Heywood are playing a starring role in Illuminate at Manchester Central Library – Bolton News. “Sisters Alanah and Rowan Heywood are stepping out for a starring role in a dramatic dance, music and library art event at the iconic Manchester Central Library tonight and tomorrow. The sisters, from Heaton, are appearing in Illuminate, a performance in which dancers inspired by classic storytelling bring to life the hundreds of stories and characters who live in the library’s catalogue of literature.”
  • Norfolk – Harry Potter: History of Magic Exhibition tours Norfolk libraries – EDP24. “The Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition is touring four libraries in the region – Great Yarmouth, Thetford and the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library – and is currently in King’s Lynn. “
  • Northamptonshire – Corby MP criticises attempt to ‘hijack’ squash court campaign – Northants Telegraph. “A  number of residents took to Facebook to question the MP’s priorities, given the situation facing children’s centres, libraries and the Corby Urgent Care Centre. Katherine Rutter said: “Perhaps when NCC have finished killing off the libraries and children’s centres you could convert one of those into a squash court.”. Conservative MP says “This has nothing at all to do with the Urgent Care Centre, the Pen Green Children’s Centre and the libraries – all of which are entirely separate issues, which come under the auspices of entirely separate public bodies”
  • Northamptonshire – Have your say on the future of Higham Ferrers Library – Northants Telegraph. “Northamptonshire County Council is consulting on three options for the future of the town’s library and information service. Option one allows for the delivery of the library services in Higham Ferrers as a community managed service. However, options two and three would mean that the library in Midland Road will close.”
  • Northamptonshire – Local Labour Party members to protest proposed library cuts – About My Area. “Labour party activists in South Northants will, on Thursday 14th November 2017, be protesting Northamptonshire County Council’s proposed library cuts. Activists will gather at 4pm outside the library closure consultation, Riverside Resource Centre in Towcester, to talk to the public and raise awareness of the extent of the cuts”
  • Redbridge – Overnight break-in at Hainault Library leaves staff unable to open to public – Guardian Series. “Book lovers are unable to access Hainault Library today after last night’s incident. Redbridge Libraries tweeted: “Due to a break in at #Hainault Library last night, we are unable to open the library today”
  • South Gloucestershire – Councillors blast closure of library user committee in Thornbury – Gazette Series. “The Thornbury Library Users’ Committee, which used to meet three times a year, was told last month by South Gloucestershire Council, which runs the library, that the meeting they were in would be its last. This comes ahead of the decision on whether the library facilities would be moved from its current site on St Mary’s Street to Turnberrie’s Community Centre, with councillors set to vote on December 4.”
  • Suffolk – New boss announced for Suffolk Libraries to start in January – EADT. Bruce Leeke: ““I am particularly keen to look at any innovative opportunities or partnerships that can add value to people’s experience and ultimately further increase the profile and impact of the county’s library service.” Mr Leeke has worked in commercial conferences for large publishers, before moving into the charity sector with various chief executive roles at the Institute for Fundraising. For the last five years Mr Leeke has been regional director for St John Ambulance, with responsibility for overseeing the organisation’s activities in the East of England.”
  • Suffolk – North east Ipswich to get weekly pop-up library after funding approved – Ipswich Star. “Councillors in north east Ipswich expressed their concern that the area did not have its own library, and after the plug was pulled on the mobile library in 2013, left those in the area without nearby library provision.” … “Now, having secured the last batch of funding this month, the weekly pop-up will be launched at Ransomes Pavilion. Shelly Darwin, chairwoman of Ipswich Borough Council’s north east area committee which approved a grant of £12,960 this month, said: “I am delighted to see this progress and look forward to it becoming a hub for people to explore, interact, learn and imagine.”
  • Swindon – Hopefully a new chapter for libraries in Swindon – Swindon Advertiser. “So the most pleasing aspect of the party at the library was meeting the volunteers who have taken over the reins. They are following in the footsteps of the visionaries who built the Mechanics’ Institute library and, while some people might mourn the handing over of libraries to the people, I like to think of it as The Borrowers giving back what they borrowed. Hopefully it will be onwards and upwards for libraries. After all, some things are far better left in the hands of people who know the value of essential services, and not just their cost.”
  • Warrington – Warrington Borough Council still ‘fully committed’ to Bewsey and Dallam Hub despite scheduled opening date passing without any construction work taking place – Warrington Guardian. ” new £2.4m facility on Longshaw Street – including a fitness suite, library, pool and healthcare services – was originally anticipated to open in summer 2017. Ground was broken on the project in March 2016, but no progress has been made onsite since then. In February this year, it was revealed that the project had been delayed due to ‘higher than expected costs’ leading to Livewire putting the construction contract out to tender for a second time in order to obtain a ‘more competitive price’.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – New chapter for libraries as opening hours change – Dunbarton Reporter. Opening hours review: “The proposals are part of a transformation report aimed at addressing the fact that employee costs in West Dunbartonshire’s library service are the second-highest in Scotland per head of population, and £11,652 above the average. One of the main reasons for this is the number of libraries in West Dunbartonshire and the fact these many libraries are often open at inefficient times of the day when demand from local residents is low.”
  • York – Future of York libraries in spotlight – Press. “future of York’s libraries is in the spotlight in a 14 week long public consultation launched ahead of key contract negotiations next year. The council opened the consultation on Thursday, November 9, asking people in the city what they will need from libraries in the future. Mutual organisation Explore York has been running libraries in York since 2014, but its contract with City of York Council is due for renewal in 2019 so negotiations will start next year.”
  • York – Survey on Big City Read – York Press. “The events ran over the last two months, and were staged to help people increase their enjoyment of reading with activities based on this year’s book To Catch a Rabbit by Helen Cadbury. York’s libraries also welcomed crime writers from across the country. Now an online survey has been launched to find out what people thought of the events.”