“The future is here, it’s just not widely distributed yet” is a quote by William Gibson that I have had a chance to reflect on recently. I was asked to do a 15 minute lightning talk on the future of libraries by Oxford University Press, which got me thinking. How on earth do you know what the future holds? Well, taking Gibson at face value, you can just look around. One of the key things I noticed was that three of the library services around the table had been quite happily giving library membership for years without any ID requirements and with no ill effects. This came as a shock to the other library services who are still, presumably, turning away prospective members on an hourly basis due to the tradition of not trusting people. The future was there, around the table, and one only needed to look. I notice this repeatedly. What is done in one authority, sometimes neighbouring ones, is simply not known or not trusted in others. It’s a case of “not invented here” on a national scale and one which does not bode well for the sector.


National news

  • Big Issue seller always with ‘book on the go’ wins place at Cambridge – Guardian. “began living in squats when possible and on the streets when not, picking up books from libraries and charity shops – everything from Jack Kerouac to William Burroughs and John Steinbeck. “It’s a brilliant way of just escaping, really,” he said.”
  • Farewell SLIC – Scottish Library and Information Council. “In his final week with the Scottish Library and Information Council Gordon Hunt talks about his time as Chair of SLIC and current developments in Scottish libraries.
  • Public libraries for social, digital and economic inclusion: #Chances4Life – Libraries Taskforce. “library people met in Staffordshire for the CILIP Public and Mobile Libraries group (PMLG) biennial conference. This year the conference was called Chances for Life – and the conference aimed to show how public libraries support social, digital and economic inclusion. ” Summary of conference.

An online bookclub from Axiell

International news

  • United Arab Emirates – Sharjah Public Library Launches the United Arab Emirates first eBook Collection – OverDrive. “Sharjah is the first library in the United Arab Emirates to join the 38,000 libraries and schools worldwide in the OverDrive network. Their collection is comprised of 1,200 eBooks and audiobooks in English and includes a broad selection of pleasure reading and professional, academic, and continuing education titles, including content supporting English language proficiency and science and medical content”
  • USA – Library backers outmanoeuvre dgeport’s political machine– CT Post. “Mayor Joe Ganim is supposed to be a master campaigner. But, at least this one time, he and other Democratic leaders got schooled by, of all things, the volunteer Library Board. Voters this week backed a referendum requiring City Hall to set aside roughly an extra $2 million next year for the libraries, despite last-minute opposition from the mayor and the Democratic Town Committee. According to the registrars of voters’ unofficial results, 2,326 ballots supported the referendum; 1,644 were against it.”

Local news by authority

  • Cambridgeshire – Youngsters have turned out in record numbers for Cambridgeshire libraries Summer Reading Challenge – Cambridgeshire Independent. “Cambridgeshire libraries registered their best ever summer with a 26 per cent increase in the number of young readers signing up and completing the Summer Reading Challenge. This year in Cambridgeshire over 7,000 children signed up to the challenge with over 4,000 children reading all six books and gaining their ‘completer’ status.” … “With some support from Parish Councils, the library service hosted or organised over 150 reading challenge events over the summer, including craft events and visits from all sorts of wonderful animals such as meerkats, lizards and puppies. A team of 153 volunteers helped run the events, accumulating an impressive 1,500 hours of volunteering over the six weeks.”
  • Cheshire East – Cheshire East Council earmarks three libraries for closure – So Cheshire. “Cheshire East Council has published a Pre-Budget Consultation for 2018/19 and included in the proposals is a suggestion that Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury Libraries could be closed. The document states: “his proposal considers delivering further savings from the library service by closing the three smallest libraries within the borough: Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury. It continues: “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.” see also Alderley Edge Library under threat of closure – Alderley Edge.com.
  • Conwy – Conwy’s libraries among the best in Wales – North Wales Pioneer. “An annual assessment carried out by the Welsh Government for 2016/17 acknowledged the service met all the core entitlements – the only library in Wales to do so.” … “Initiatives included the ‘shared reading’ project, which harnesses the therapeutic benefits of reading and includes work with MIND service users; sessions to improve basic use of IT equipment and use of websites and online information; and working with partners including ‘Cymraeg i blant’”
  • Devon – Library leaders fly in for Libraries Unlimited staff culture conference – Libraries Unlimited. “National library leaders made their way to Devon last week to take part in Libraries Unlimited’s first ever staff conference, celebrating and exploring the role that libraries have to play in arts and culture.” … “Speakers included Sarah Mears, Library Services Manager for Essex County Council, Harriet Hopkins from Awen Cultural Trust in South Wales and Sue Williamson, Head of Library Services for St Helen’s Council. Sue made the trip in a plane flown by her husband, especially to speak to Devon’s library staff about the role of libraries as arts and cultural facilitators.” …. “Arts Council England Chief Executive Darren Henley chaired a panel of speakers including David Lockwood from Bike Shed Theatre, Carolyn Hassan from Knowle West Media Centre and Sue Williamson, who debated the significance of being an NPO and collaborative work.” … ““Today saw 120 of our staff, from front line services, to business support and finance teams and our management, Board and trustees all come together” … “The conference and AGM was sponsored by a number of local firms including Kitsons LLP, KCOM, Itec Group and Colman Insurance Brokers.”
  • East Lothian – Mobile library services in East Lothian could be under threat – East Lothian Courier. “East Lothian Council brought neighbouring Midlothian Council in to provide mobile library access to the west of the county in April last year rather than replace its own van. At the time, East Lothian Council said the decision, which also saw Scottish Borders Trust take over responsibility for providing books to people in Oldhamstock and Innerwick, would save £100,000 a year. However, 18 months on, Midlothian Council has revealed proposals to axe its mobile library service, which would leave residents in Pencaitland, Humbie, Whitecraig, Macmerry, East Saltoun and Gifford with no service at all”
  • East Riding Of Yorkshire – 2287-17 Public Library Computer Booking, Log-In and Print Management System – Contracts Finder. “East Riding of Yorkshire Council is seeking to procure a new public computer booking, log-in and print management system to replace outdated methods of managing the ‘Peoples Network’ service and to compliment recent transformational changes within the authorities’ libraries.”
  • East Sussex – Library centre of village hub – Eastbourne Herald / Letters. “At a time when we are being told by some of your councillors it will be very easy to get to another library whether by bus or car we hear on the news that Eastbourne is a very dangerous area with increased pollution – 21,000 visits to our library in the past year is 21,000 x 2 more journeys on our busy roads.”
  • Essex – Increase in readers in Summer Reading Challenge – Leigh Times. “More than 37,000 children helped solve a series of mysterious crimes as part of Essex County libraries initiative Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge, borrowing almost 400,000 books.” … “Another 4,000 students took part in ImagiNation 2017, the challenge specifically for over 10s by creating artwork for display in their local library or writing reviews inspired by the books they read.”
  • Hertfordshire – Theatre shares mental health message at St Albans Library – Herts Advertiser. “The experimental performance is a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which re-imagines the original story in the setting of a mental institution. Actors Tom Cuthbertson and Kelly Eva-May set up Librarian Theatre as a not-for-profit company in 2015, with their performance of Hamlet last year also touring at Hertfordshire libraries.”
  • Lancashire – Geoff Driver: My vision to tackle funding black hole – Lancashire Evening Post. “Since taking control of Lancashire County Council in May this year, we Conservatives have wasted no time in moving our election promises from being ink on paper to buses on roads, books in libraries, and tarmac in potholes”
  • Lancashire – What we made of the Harry Potter exhibition at the Harris – Blog Preston. “In parallel with a major display on the same subject at the British Library in London, the exhibition marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, by J.K. Rowling. The Harris Museum is one of 22 other libraries across the country to be loaned some of the artefacts and information as part of the Living Knowledge Network – an innovative partnership with the British Library.” … “Despite this though, there wasn’t a lot else to see and it took all of fifteen minutes to walk round and read what was on display. The majority of the exhibition, quite disappointingly, seemed to cater for a much older audience than those young fans who would’ve been excited to see something they’d read about in the books or watched in the films.”
  • North Lanarkshire – Library event looking for your memories of village life – Cumbernauld News. “CultureNL Libraries and Museum staff are making a request to Condorrat residents to bring along their own photographs of the village and the surrounding area.”
  • North Yorkshire – Celebrating the start of a new chapter for Gargrave Library – Craven Herald. “Gargrave and Malhamdale Community Library, which is managed by volunteers, held an official reopening on recently after it was closed for refurbishment. The improvements 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 done”
  • North Yorkshire – Sight Support Ryedale relocates to Norton Hive Library and Community Hub – Gazette and Herald. “Support Ryedale has relocated to Norton Hive Library and Community Hub. The charity, which supports visually impaired people in the Ryedale, was previously based in Yorkersgate, Malton. Nicole Hingley, activities and administration co-ordinator, said: “One of the main reasons we have moved into one of the newly-refurbished offices at Norton Hive Library is so that we can be much more part of the local community.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Clydebank library to be transformed for the first time in decades – Clydebank Post. “The work to spruce up the historic building will include improving its appearance and access, particularly for residents with disabilities. But it will also carry out badly needed overhauls of plumbing and electrics and work on the roof. The £500,000 project is due to be completed in early 2018, confirmed a council spokesman.”
  • Wiltshire – Our town is failing – WIltshire Times. / Letters. “The council are still totally ignoring the problems with the internet access at Westbury and the answer has now become obvious – with the budget cuts being blamed as usual – Westbury library is in danger of closure. The problems have been going on for over 18 months and the council response is to put out false statements and ignore reports. I met with the councillor who deals with `library problems` – his response: “Can’t I go to Warminster instead.” My response to that is no I can’t and why should I when we have a library in my home town.”
  • Wokingham – Revolutionary plans for new swimming pool, library and apartments at Carnival Pool site given green light by Wokingham Borough Council – Bracknell News. “The new leisure centre, complete with a pool with a movable floor, a library, and apartments built on the Carnival Pool site, will be focused around a new promenade in Wokingham Town Centre. ” … “The new library space, with its added flexibility, will also be able to offer a much larger range of events and activities to the local community.””
  • York – Consultation starts on future of York’s libraries – Minster FM. “The council is (9 November) starting a 14-week consultation with residents about library services in the city. In 2019 the council is due to enter into a new contract for library services and wants to hear from residents about their future needs to help inform the contract. York’s libraries are very successful. The council’s provider, Explore York, has introduced many new services, visitor numbers and book issues are good and the service offers excellent value for money.”. But “many of the buildings are in poor condition, needing around £3m spending on them in the coming years. “