Libraries have always been Jacks of All Trades and open to all. A warm neutral and welcoming place. That is a great strength but in times of stress, it can also lead to uncomfortable collisions like probation services loudly using spaces next door to the children’s books. Co-locations and sharing with other services is seen as a great hope for libraries by many but the danger is that the library is damaged if the wrong alliances are made. On the other hand, though, in times of cuts, eight years long now for many councils, beggars can’t perhaps be choosers. But equally they should not be exploited and lose the qualities for which they are so valued.

In other news, it’s great to see Silverdale Library reopening. The newspaper reports “jubilant scenes”. That brought a smile when I read that. Here’s looking forward to more.


National news

  • Keep Antibiotics Working – highlighting the risks of taking antibiotics when you don’t need them – Libraries Taskforce. “Guest post written by Susan Hopkins from Public Health England (PHE). PHE is a member of the Libraries Taskforce (as is NHS England). It supports closer working between health and libraries, based on the important role libraries play in helping individuals and communities manage their own health and wellbeing” … “To support the campaign in your library, you can order resources free of charge from the PHE Campaign Resource Centre.”
  • #OurDay 2017 – Libraries Taskforce. 21st November: “Our Day is the annual celebration of the people who work in all areas of local government and keep communities running. It takes the form of a tweetathon, where people are invited to tweet during the day and share examples of their work. Last year, it trended nationally at number one and reached over 20 million people, but we want to make #OurDay 2017 the biggest yet. This year’s #OurDay campaign has launched, and there are lots of ways that libraries can get involved.”
  • Research and evidence portal survey  – CILIP. “CILIP is committed to adopting an evidence based approach to policy and practice across the information sector. As a result, we are now engaged in scoping out the requirements for the development of a sector-wide evidence-base/portal. We wish to consider the views of various stakeholders about their current evidence needs and what would be desirable in such a portal. Next year we aim to work with like-minded partners in the information sector to develop the portal.”
  • Thousands of articles on medicine now freely available and readily accessible in UK public libraries – Access To Research. BMJ, one of the world’s leading healthcare knowledge providers, has partnered with Access to Research to provide free access to their content in UK public libraries.”
  • Why are privatised probation services using public libraries to see clients?  – Guardian. “Through the main entrance is the public library, where Dean (not his real name) is waiting. He’s antsy, muttering to himself and jiggling his legs up and down. Where he sits is flanked by the children’s books section and a bank of public computers. But Dean isn’t here to take out a library book or use the free wifi. He is on probation for an offence that’s deemed him to be of “medium risk” to the public and has come here for his weekly meeting with his probation officer”. One officer”was so appalled by the service she was expected to deliver in the public library that she quit her new job after just two days.” … “Conducting interviews in public is particularly detrimental for vulnerable women, says another ex-staff member, speaking on condition of anonymity. She describes a situation with a female offender having to be interviewed within earshot of her ex-partner – a perpetrator of domestic violence. “He deliberately sat at the nearby computer station in order to intimidate her”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • Global / Finland – Power to the People : Libraries & Participatory Decision Making – Medium / Jane Cowell. “I was struck by the commitment of Finnish Library Managers and Aarhus City to involve ordinary citizens in making and influencing public decision making in library planning and library programs.” … “Citizen Engagement is key to solving future challenges in the Public sector and there is growing expectation that democracy moves from representative democracy with politicians choosing for the people to an involved democracy where people do the choosing. Technology will only enable this change and where best to start this engagement than for people to be invited to be more actively involved in their public library.”
  • Puerto Rico – Help My Library Relief Go Fund Me. “San Juan Community Library, the only lending library in the San Juan area, was greatly affected by hurricane Maria.  We are located in a park and lots of trees fell all over our premises. Our wooden roofs were damaged and water flooded our main building. Our sales book section, one of our main sources of revenue, was also damaged. The Library was about to celebrate its 30th Anniversary, however our main fundraising event of the year had to be canceled due to the aftermath.”
  • Turkey – Istanbul’s Libraries: A Refuge in Uncertain Times – Los Angeles Review of Books. “Last month, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced that the number of public library memberships in Turkey increased by 24.1 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year. In a time of terror, political uncertainty, and a coup attempt, Turks took refuge in libraries.”
  • USA – Hunger and Libraries: Snacks, Backpacks and More – Webjunction. “We’ve also gathered ideas and inspiration from library staff who are teaming up with local partners to provide after-school snacks, breakfast before schools, backpacks with food to get kids through the weekend, and more.” see also Columbus Metropolitan Responds to Hunger: Summer Meals and More – Webjunction. At Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), staff realized kids were hungry from the time they arrived at 9am until they left at 5pm. During the summer vacation, these kids and their families didn’t have access to the meals they depend on during the school year””

Local news by authority

“A programme of cultural events and community writing projects will be developed to celebrate Manchester’s City of Literature status including a libraries festival, the establishment of a new writers’ hub and far-reaching initiatives to support new writing, promoting writing in translation, music and words, and the writing of Manchester residents. The programme will encourage collaboration – both internationally and within the city’s literary arts community.””

  • Newport – Carnegie Library – Conversion to Flying Start  – Sell2Wales. “The works to convert the existing main library room into a new crèche type facility. The main room will be sub-divided into two rooms with stores and new toilet facilities. A new central lobby will be created by removing a non-load-bearing wall and a new partition will be erected in the back room to form the other wall of the new lobby. External works consist of a new drainage run within the grounds of the building.
  • Norfolk – Victims could soon go to libraries, shops or even pubs and bars to report hate crimes in Norfolk – Eastern Daily Press. “Victims of hate crimes could soon be able to report offences in shops, libraries and even pubs and bars across Norfolk as part of a new scheme.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library hosts reopening after refurbishment – North Yorkshire County Council.  Gargrave and Malhamdale Community Library : “The refurbishment included creating a children’s corner as well as repainting and carpeting the library. For the refurbishment, the community library committee used a £4,000 grant provided by North Yorkshire County Council and the work was co-ordinated by Skipton Building Society. The Society’s premises manager, Ian Atack, created the design and arranged for the work to be do”
  • Northamptonshire – Desborough residents join forces over future of town’s library – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “More than 100 people attended an emotional meeting to discuss the future of Desborough’s library. Residents from across the town joined forces at the R Inn to outline their campaign to keep it open. The library could close under Northamptonshire County Council’s plans to save £9.6m” see also Library users must unite to defend this vital service – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “We must avoid the temptation to respond to the threat to the library service in a parochial “my library is more important that the one down the road” fashion. Instead all library users and supporters must unite to defend a service that is not only essential but is the hallmark of any civilised society”
  • St Helens – A touch of Jane Austen hits borough libraries to mark 200 years since author’s death – St Helens Star. “Events will feature as part of the ninth season of St Helens Libraries’ award-winning Cultural Hubs programme. ” – wriing desk, comedy show and murder mystery.
  • Sheffield – Sheffield’s Harry Potter 20th anniversary exhibition is a must for fans – I. “To honour the anniversary, Sheffield libraries are hosting a special nine week long exhibition and programme of events for all ages, with a suitably magical theme.”
  • Shropshire – GB-Shrewsbury: DMCV 002 – Church Stretton Library Service – Contracts Finder. ” The Council is seeking a Contractor to deliver a library service in Church Stretton. The term of the Contract will be 3 years with an option to extend for a further 2 years. Our requirement is that Shropshire Council funding for this Contract should reduce over the Contract term”
  • West Berkshire – Town library to be transferred to Friends group – Newbury Today. “District councillors voted unanimously to agree, in principle, to transfer the running of Hungerford Library to the Friends of Hungerford Library (FoHL) group. There was particular praise for town mayor Keith Knight for his role in helping to broker the deal. But opposition Liberal Democrat councillors laughed aloud when it was suggested that this disproved claims of an anti-Hungerford bias among members.”