It comes to something when a cut of £50k is something to be treated with relief but that’s the case in Suffolk Libraries, which appears to have negotiated a four-year agreement that will make pretty much every other library service in the country weak with envy. Well done to them. Bradford are not so lucky with a deep cut of £950k just announced, on top of the deep cuts which that city has had to endure a year or two ago. That cuts are the order of the day, and a £50k on can be seen as little short of miraculous, pretty much underlines the view of a roundtable discussion at the Palace of Westminster this week. But I wish it was not so. And it’s Christmas-time so, if you can, try to think positive thoughts and perhaps tune into #uklibchat soon to discuss all that is great and good in libraries. And, despite, austerity, that’s still quite a lot.



National news

  • Libraries are for the homeless, the drifters and the snorers – people like me – New Statesman. A visit to the British Library.
  • Love libraries and library staff? – #UKlibchat. “We’re all busy with the holidays coming up so here at #uklibchat we are feeling celebratory. With this next chat we want to appreciate all that is great and good in libraries and LIS”
  • Redesigning library digital services – Libraries Taskforce / Darren Smart. “I was invited to share my thoughts on redesigning library digital services at the PMLG conference, as people knew I had personal experience of this. My presentation synthesised the learning gained through SCL’s Digital Leadership programme and years of practical experience, working in a number of different library services. Anyone who is faced with complaints or requests from users, or perhaps new members of the team who question why things are done in a certain way, might find that triggers a need to look at digital services overall, so I hope you find this approach of use.”
  • Relentless cuts are turning library sector into ‘war zone’ – BookSeller. “Relentless cuts to the public library service are turning the sector into a “war zone” and making it difficult to recruit staff, figures across the library and information profession have heard. However professionals in the industry are “fighting” hard to keep it alive. Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the Palace of Westminster on Monday (27th November) about the future of libraries, Sue Wills, library services manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, described the realities of working in the public library sector. “We’ve seen many ups and downs in the libraries world. We all have to have courage and the heart of a lion, and we have to fight our corner day in day out,” she said”

“My perception is that cuts are damaging the people most vulnerable. The relationship between poverty and literacy [is something we need to focus on]. Are we prepared to campaign for library use with a bias to the poor?” Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.

“Receptionists would sadly inform me that they’d previously had a librarian but there was no one to do the job now. Really? How could it be possible? Who had ever heard of a school without a library? The answer had been simple. Cuts. And more cuts.”

  • Why Libraries Matter to Scotland’s Communities – Scottish Book Trust. “We are approaching another round of budget cuts and both public and school libraries will once again be under discussion by Councils up and down the country. These libraries and their staff make an extraordinary difference to people’s lives and must be protected as much as possible.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • Canada – Library cancels anti-Islam film screening – CBC News. “The room at the library’s main branch at 120 Metcalfe St. was booked by the group ACT! for Canada to show a screening of the film Killing Europe on Saturday, Nov. 25. The group’s Facebook page says they aim to speak out “against the rise of Islamism.””
  • Ghana – Hands on computer classes for 1,800 Ghana children – GlobalGiving / EIFL. “Children who go to schools in poor and rural areas of Ghana are failing their exams because they do not have hands on computer practice. Working with a library, EIFL has successfully tested and can offer a solution – mobile libraries equipped with solar power that take fully charged laptop and tablet computers to schools. Our new project will provide 1,800 eager school children with the opportunity to develop vital technology skills – and to pass their exams.”
  • USA – Laundry, libraries, and literacy: Why one group is putting books in laundromats – Michigan Radio. ““What’s been exciting about this is that we’ve found a space where you’re almost forced to be idle, and, most importantly, we’re reaching a lot of folks who don’t have the resources or might not have the resources for a working washing or drying machine,” Chang said. The program turns folding stations into computer stations, brings in bookshelves with reading-level-appropriate books, and provides local library staff and facilitators on site to lead programs. Libraries Without Borders has also built a partnership with the Coin Laundry Association to continue spreading the program”
  • USA – You Will Truly Understand Libraries and Librarians By Reading These Books Medium / EveryLibrary. “I want to — ironic twist forthcoming — recommend some books to help you gain an understanding of my challenging, unusual, and ultimately fulfilling profession. If, however, you want to preserve the myth that librarians read all day, that’s fine. Stop here, do not pass go, do not collect $200. For those who want insight on librarianship, read these books”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Bradford Council set to axe 150 jobs as budget is slashed by a further £30m – Telegraph and Argus. “The biggest savings in 2018-19 are set to come from cuts to street cleaning, libraries, and museums and galleries, with the closure of some sites “not ruled out” … “Library services will be slashed by £950,000, with the museum and galleries budget set to be reduced by £260,000. Asked about the closure of any library or museum sites, Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “That is a last resort obviously. “We are reviewing how we can run services and take costs out. We can’t rule out having to close some services if it gets that far.””
  • Bristol – Libraries, lollipop-people and loos – the public has their say – Bristol Post. Cuts to libraries postponed: “Bristol Lib Dem councillors welcomed the news. Cllr Anthony Negus, Chair of the all-party library scrutiny group, said: “It is a good sign that the Mayor is listening at last to the consultation, the many thousands of people who signed the petitions and our motion passed by full council”
  • Darlington – Court will hear of the battle to save Darlington’s historic Crown Street Library today – Northern Echo. “Sitting at Leeds Combined Court, Mr Justice King will preside over a hearing concerning Darlington Borough Council’s contentious plans to cut and change library services across the town, with the authority’s consultation procedures expected to be closely scrutinised. The case comes following a legal challenge issued by campaigners who have used legal aid to enlist lawyer Michael Imperato to represent them in court.”
  • East Sussex – Campaigners organise protest walk to save Langney Library – Eastbourne Herald. “The Save Langney Library Campaign is holding a protest walk from West Rise Schools, along Sandpiper Walk, Heron Walk and Kingfisher Drive on Friday (December 1) The walk, which will be led by Stephen Lloyd MP and Langney County Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, is to demonstrate against the proposal for East Sussex County Council to close the Langney library along with six other libraries and the mobile library service.”
  • Glasgow – Glasgow bookworms tuck into literary feast to celebrate Book Week Scotland – Glasgow Live. “The sixth annual Book Week Scotland festival begins today and to celebrate Glasgow Libraries is inviting everyone in the city to tuck into a tasty selection of bookish treats. The theme of this year’s festival is Nourish and to mark the occasion Glasgow Libraries has a feast of free and ticketed events on offer”
  • South Gloucestershire – New volunteers find their feet at Chipping Sodbury’s library – Gazette Series. “Chipping Sodbury’s new volunteer-run library service was launched just six weeks ago. “Our large team is enthusiastically learning the ropes and is very grateful for the patience being shown by users,” said volunteer Julia Bernau. “We are more than happy to give our time to keep the library open and enjoy helping people get the most out of it.” The library continues to offer the same services as it did before and, in addition, is open all day on Wednesday, when Yate library is shut.”
  • Lambeth – Harsh cuts threaten Lambeth libraries to the brink of closure – Richmond and Twickenham Times. “West Norwood Library is an advocate to struggling libraries nationwide, to show them how to be creative and use what they have. Ideally, we would like to use the whole building for the library, but we are grateful to have even the smallest space. In times like this, when so many public services are being cut, we have to stick together and push through. It’s what we do.” “
  • Lambeth – Lambeth’s shame: photos of the still-closed Carnegie Library, November 2017 – Brixton Buzz. “Closed since April 2016, work has finally started on converting the much-loved Carnegie Library into an unwanted private gym and (mainly) unstaffed book collection. Despite a sustained campaign of opposition from local residents who fought hard against Lambeth’s undemocratic and unpopular decision to hand the library over to a private leisure company, the council has pushed ahead with the redevelopment of the 1906 building.”
  • Lancashire – Another milestone in library programme – 2BR. “The first to reopen in East Lancashire, the library on Barden Lane was reopened this morning (Monday 27 November) by County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services.”

“Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has so far made decisions to reopen 13 libraries, and agreed to transfer the ownership of a further six libraries to local organisations which will operate them as independent community libraries. The county council is continuing work towards reopening libraries in all of the areas where libraries were closed.”