Some more coverage on the dire recent CIPFA figures, which are analysed further (for yet more depression) and shown to be incomplete, meaning the real picture is (joy!) likely to be even worse than hitherto shown. The potential economic and political impacts oif this are explored (admittedly, partly by me) of this are explored in a New Statesman article. The public support for libraries was shown on Twitter by a double whammy from Dawn Finch – first the “tweet heard around the world” (see below) and then the #ThankALibraryWorker hashtag. Have a look at both if you can. Give yourself an early Christmas present.


National news

      • Are We Losing Our Libraries? – Digital Imprint. “It’s come apparent to us that libraries are in serious danger and we wanted to make you aware of what is going on. Someone once described libraries as ‘a lifeline to the world and all the information in it.’ We understand that we now have the internet and e-books, but it’s not quite the same as what libraries can offer. “
      • Initial CIPFA data analysis by Tim Coates – December 2017 – UK Library News. “The following analysis of CIPFA data is shared with permission of Tim Coates, who described the situation as ‘catastrophic’
      • Library book spend falls £45m in 10 years – BookSeller. “The analysis, undertaken by library campaigner and former Watersones’ m.d. Tim Coates, has also revealed the number of libraries which closed last year might be worse than feared”
      • Local authorities given power to raise council tax by nearly £100 for average property from next year – Telegraph. “Nearly every local authority in the country is expected to take advantage of the new powers, which will enable councils to raise the tax by 6 per cent.”
      • The loss of Britain’s libraries could be a huge blow to the economy – New Statesman. “What does it cost a country to lose its libraries? Is there any point holding on to buildings full of books, when most people have a screen in their pocket that can access millions of websites?” … “But the most costly aspect of the dismantling of the UK’s public libraries is also the most fundamental. “If you don’t have a literate population,” says Ian Anstice, “you don’t have skilled population.” ” [It always gives me a thrill to see that block Anstice quoted – he speaks a lot of sense – Ed.]

  • Single sign on Shorter – SCL / JISC. Suggested single sign-on for library resources.]
  • One librarian’s battle cry against government cuts is making people feel things this Christmas – Canary. “When librarian Dawn Finch tweeted in fury at people’s “self-justification for their lack of support” against government cuts, she probably didn’t imagine the reaction. But the tweet went viral, triggering feelings people didn’t know they had about their local library.”: 32,000 likes, 11,000 retweets and 469 comments. “At this rate, we’ll be handing future generations a shattered society and a thousand apologies. And this is why Finch’s tweet resonated with people. Christmas is coming. What will we leave behind us?”

  • Participate in the 2017 International Library Automation Perceptions Survey – Axiell. “Library Technology expert Marshall Breeding is again collecting responses for his annual survey on Library Automation and has asked for your participation”
  • School librarians at their best – Leon’s Library Blog. “The last post in the current series on school libraries is by Caroline Roche, Chair of Cilip’s School Library Group. Caroline explains about the work of the group, the work they do with 2000 school librarians, and the importance of collecting reliable data for the sector to help encourage informed decision making.”
  • South West Region of Readers App – Contracts Finder. £40k, Bournemouth led. “The innovative Region of Readers project is about reading for pleasure and wellbeing and is taking place in geographic areas of regeneration. The project involves six library services in South West England in partnership with Literature Works (the literature development agency for the region), The Reader (a charity running shared reading groups) and SWRLS (the South Western Regional Library Service). The project aims to support reader development through curated literature resources and engaging communities in shared reading activities, creating cultural content, and cultural events. The project is funded by an Arts Council England grant as part of the Libraries Opportunities for Everyone Innovation Fund programme.”
  • Taskforce meets in Storyhouse – Libraries Taskforce. 17th meeting. “The meeting took a different format from usual, as the Taskforce had agreed some time ago to set aside the time to focus on longer-term strategic issues. Also, as it was almost exactly a year since we published Libraries Deliver: Ambition, it was a good opportunity to both look back, and reflect on what had been achieved, and forwards – setting out any new priorities.” … “Lots of food for thought as Taskforce members walked around and heard more about the vision for the building. It was certainly an excellent venue for a different sort of Taskforce meeting, and we’d recommend it as a place to visit. Storyhouse recognise that not everyone will have the substantial capital budget needed to produce a building of this scale, but there were lots of ideas that would work in even very small spaces that they are keen to share.”
  • Understanding APIs: 4 key facts – Axiell. “API, short for Application Programming Interface, lets systems talk to each other. Some APIs are called Web Services because they talk via the Internet. APIs are like data ambassadors. Each program (or person) has their own stuff going on. Sometimes one side wants something from the other. It could be asking a question or doing some kind of task. One side sends a request, or call, using the API. The other side listens, then hands the API back a response. There is no direct link between the two programs. Instead, the API carries messages back and forth…”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • EU – European Members of the Parliament share their reading recommendations – Naple Sister Libraries. “The goal of the Public Libraries 2020 programme is “to raise awareness about the importance of public libraries as modern learning hubs close to citizens and (potential) learners”. They have developed a few campaigns targeting the Members of the European Parliament, like the Libraries Change Lives campaign (where they highlighted case studies and statistics proving that point) or the MEP Library Lovers, an initiative where MEPs are invited to sign in and support Public Libraries and has reached over 100 members. This group already launched a successful campaign called 60 books for the summer.”
  • Finland – 100 reasons why these Finnish libraries are the world’s best – YouTube. “See what kind of services these libraries in Espoo, Finland has to offer.”.
  • USA – The case against library fines—according to the head of The New York Public Library – Quartz. “I and many others at libraries across the country have been seriously evaluating the complex and long-standing issue of library fines – and whether to do away with them” … “At our 125th Street Library in Harlem, for instance, a young mother tried to check out a wi-fi hotspot so her daughter could do her homework. Homeless, the family couldn’t afford broadband internet, and her daughter’s grades suffered. Unfortunately, her library card was blocked, not because the family was irresponsible, but because one night, they were abruptly moved from one shelter to another,”
  • USA – A Librarian’s Guide to Choosing the Right Book for You – EveryLibrary.
  • USA – Public Libraries and Blockchain by M Ryan Hess– Blockchains for the Information Profession. “For libraries, the key functionality of Ethereum is the smart contract. This programmable layer allows for the authentication of any transaction, particularly those that could benefit from a network of participants.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeen – CityFibre Aberdeen: Schools and libraries go gigabit – Broadband Deals. “With political will failing to support libraries and cultural centres in the north of England, it’s another boost for Scottish arts and education”
  • Anglesey – Campaigners remain hopeful over doomed library – Daily Post. “Cemaes, along with Newborough and Moelfre libraries, are set to close following the decision by Anglesey Council’s Executive today.” … “Rhosneigr library, which was also on the hit list, looks set to be saved if a community-run model is agreed with Llanfaelog Community Council, with a January 2018 deadline having been put in place. But during the meeting in Llangefni this morning, local members were not giving up hope of also saving Cemaes from the chop, citing that possible nuclear funding could give time for a community group to be set up.”
  • Barnet – Local inquiry into library provision in Barnet – DDCMS. Minister “minded not” to intervene in library service after complaint over deep cuts to library service.
  • Buckinghamshire – Public feedback influences new Aylesbury library design – Mix 96. “There were worries about the study centre move, so extra space will be created for that. It follows a six-week public survey and six open days to showcase possible designs and layouts for refurbishing the lending library in Walton Street, and integrating the study centre, at a cost of £366,000. The scheme will improve access to study centre resources, provide new children’s and teenage sections, and update technology for users.”
  • Darlington – Does anyone know where our Christmas sign has gone, asks the Friends of Darlington Libraries – Northern Echo. “Friends of Darlington Libraries decided again this year to repeat putting 12 Trees of Christmas throughout Crown Street Library, including two the librarians had already put up. This year we managed nine of our own, making a total of 11, so we have added the librarian’s tiny one to make up the twelfth. Next year, who knows? If Crown Street Library is still operating we will ask the public again to take part.
  • Devon / Torbay – Devon Libraries Unlimited, bucking the trend for national library closures – PRSD. “We asked for a response to the New Statesman article, and here’s what they said: “All 50 of our libraries in Devon are still open and run by paid staff and last year we had almost 3 million visits to our libraries. “We will continue to work hard to improve library services and increase usage, and are looking forward to working with colleagues in Torbay Libraries.””
  • Kent – Kent’s Digital Dens – Libraries Taskforce. “Kent successfully bid for funding from the Libraries: Opportunities for Everyone (LOFE) innovation fund in April 2017 and, by June, I was seconded to the role of Project Manager. The bid was to set up 5 digital clubs in locations of deprivation in Kent, with the aim to tackle disadvantage amongst children (ages 8-11) by providing access to technology that they might not otherwise have. The clubs would also support development of digital and foundational skills, eg. problem solving, through use of Code Clubs”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Council sets February ‘target’ for re-opening Carnegie library – three months ahead of local elections – Brixton Buzz. “Lambeth Council has announced February 2018 is the ‘target’ for the Carnegie Library to re-open. This is under three months until the local elections take place in the borough. Herne Hill ward is a target seat for the local Green party.”
  • Manchester – Withington Library set for major refurbishment – Manchester Gazette. “Withington Library is to receive a major refurbishment, with the aim of producing a new and improved interior for the benefit of the local community. The revamp will see the creation of two new meeting rooms and extended areas for children and teenagers, plus new furniture, computers and books”
  • Northamptonshire – ‘Shutting down the library will deny a legacy to our children’: Deanshanger residents protest cuts – Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser. “Friends of Deanshanger library are throwing the book right back at Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) after hosting a showcase day to protest proposed cuts. Forty concerned residents and their children raised placards at the special event on December 9, used to highlight how library services benefit the community.”
  • Northumberland – Council deal secures future of Alnwick’s Playhouse theatre – BBC. “Northumberland County Council has bought Alnwick Playhouse and granted the trust that runs it a 50 year lease. The move will see the 200-seat theatre, which opened in 1925, retained, with the addition of community facilities, including a library. The site, on Bondgate Without, will close until May 2019 while the renovation work is carried out.”
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff – A library in a ‘deprived area’ of south Wales has been given a huge revamp – Wales Online. “Rhydyfelin Library Support Group was set up with members chaining themselves to bookshelves to try and save the building from closure. They later won an appeal hearing against RCT council who agreed to reopen the library in June 2014. But plans to demolish the old building and rebuild a new facility at the same location were given the go-ahead with the group’s support. Now, that new library has opened its doors on Poplar Road.”
  • Salford – KKP’s review of Salford’s libraries underpins proposed improvements – KKP. “The investment in IT facilities goes well beyond simply upgrading computers. Library visitors will be able to charge personal laptops, tablets and mobiles and print from them. Digital novices will be given more support to get online, while those wishing to seek more advanced or specialist learning will also be helped.”
  • Thurrock – New facilities announced for Aveley Community Hub – Thurrock Gazette. “A proposed community centre in Aveley took a step forward after facilities for the building were announced, which include a library, a café and a nursery. The announcement came in a Thurrock Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, December 13, after they agreed to secure a building contractor for the site.”
  • Torfaen – Torfaen pupils donate slippers to elderly in ‘Slipper Talk’ library scheme – Free Press. “Torfaen Library’s Slipper Talk project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of older people, while bringing together young and old to encourage better understanding between the different generations. Library staff have reached out to members of the Library at Home and Read Aloud groups and offered them new sage slippers, which have been specially designed to help prevent falls.” … ““This project is an opportunity to bring the younger and older generations of library users together in an imaginative way to discuss important health issues and help the different age groups to understand each other a little more.” “
  • Warwickshire – Closure threat at Nuneaton Library – Coventry Telegraph. “Nuneaton library could be forced to close on Sundays as part of cost-cutting moves. It is the second time that Sunday openings at the town’s main library have been put under threat and, if funding cannot be found, it is set to become a reality. Warwickshire County Council says that it needs to save £100,000 from its library service and £54,000 would be achieved by the withdrawal of the Sunday Library Service at its three main libraries – Nuneaton, Rugby and Leamington.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Clydebank library hours are getting cut – and you fill out the consultation for Christmas – Clydebank Post. “Council bosses had proposed slashing hours at Faifley, Parkhall and Duntocher and trimming them at Clydebank and Dalmuir. But the corporate services committee delayed the plan saying there needed to be a public consultation first and that a new Skypoint should be considered for Faifley instead of its current library.” see also Council launches consultation on proposed library cuts – Reporter.
  • Wigan – Library volunteers feel ‘squeezed out’ after service changes – Leigh Journal. “Atherton Library on York Street has had its area reduced since the Life Centre information desk moved into the building in November. The Atherton Library Support Group, which holds a range of classes for people such as a crafts group and a mums and tots session, believe the change has made it difficult to accommodate its sessions.”
  • Wirral – Shared Reading Programme – Contracts Finder. £125k “Wirral Council is seeking to commission a Shared Reading Programme as part of its approach to promote positive mental health across the borough. The successful provider will establish and deliver a range of shared reading groups within a variety of settings, targeting the most vulnerable Wirral residents. The aim of the programme is to improve wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence and reduce feelings of social isolation for reading group members and volunteers.”