This post is even later than usual being I’ve been in pantomime over the last couple of weeks. It was a fun amateur production, and being a librarian I felt really at home as Baron Hard-Up, but it did not half reduce my blogging time.

That's me on the right. Oh yes it is.

That’s me on the right. Oh yes I am.

While I was away, the Libraries Taskforce, in their most recent Libraries Deliver newsletter, has added up some useful council survey replies and come to the conclusion that more than twice as many libraries opened or moved since 2010 than were closed. At first blush, this will come as a shock to anyone who has even a passing relationship with the reality of the situation but, to be fair, the same article makes clear that this is only a reasonable claim if you discount the 500 or so volunteer libraries (really) and also if you count libraries possibly co-located with ten other services or in a corner somewhere as the equal to a stand-alone building. But it’s a claim you can expect the new libraries ministerial team, when they work out where their office is, will be using repeatedly, without any such qualifications any day now.

Statistics are wonderful things

Statistics are wonderful things

In other news, it’s interesting timing that Harrow and Ealing are recommending staying with Carillion running their libraries while at the same time it’s in all the newspapers that Carillion will go bankrupt without hefty government intervention. The reason, though, is clear: both authorities agreed to massive fines (£485k and £693k respectively) if they decided to leave the private company before ten years was out. They must now be privately regretting that, especially as the evidence suggests Carillion are far better at negotiating hard-nosed handcuffing contracts than, well, actually running a successful business.



National news

    • Andrew Carnegie children’s book to be released in UK – BookSeller. “Pikku founder Elena Mannion is publishing The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie after buying the UK and European rights from the original Canadian publisher, Owl Kids. “This book struck me as incredibly timely given what is happening here [with cuts in library services].” She told The Bookseller. “Carnegie’s life was quite amazing. He was a self-made billionaire from Dunfermline who emigrated to America and eventually became a steel magnate… He built more than 2,500 libraries worldwide and most of his libraries are still in use. Our culture would look quite different without him.””
    • Carnegie LibraryLab – Carnegie UK Trust. “We are currently looking for applications from individual library staff working in early and mid-management roles across the UK and Ireland. Successful applicants will work with us as Carnegie Partners for 18 months (June 2018 and September 2019).” … “Please note that the application period closes on Thursday 5th April 2018 at 5pm. ” see also Carnegie Library Lab: Final Project Snapshot from Cohort 2 – Carnegie UK Trust.
    • Carillion crisis: fears major government contractor is on the verge of collapse – Guardian. “Carillion insists rescue deal is still possible, but contingency plans are in place to handle potential administration of construction firm with 43,000 staff” [Carillion runs several library services, including Ealing and Harrow who are currently decided on whether to continue or withdraw and pay large contractual fines – Ed.]
    • Coding with Over 60s – Libraries Taskforce. “In November 2017, Leeds Library and Information Service trialled a series of Hour of Code workshops with Over 60s in partnership with South Leeds Live at Home
    • Figures show growing ‘culture gap’ between rich and poor Scots – Herald Scotland. “Critics said the statistics showed “radical action” was needed to improve access to culture amid ongoing cuts to council services such as libraries”
    • Government announces ‘hubs’ to boost children’s literacy – BookSeller. “Fellow children’s author Alan Gibbons shared similar frustration. He tweeted: “Government closes getting on for 500 libraries, sacks a quarter of librarians, hands over libraries to volunteers, slashes book funds, cuts opening hours and takes the public library service to the brink, then announces ‘hubs’.””
    • How does a Council approach broader strategic planning? – Libraries Taskforce. “The pilot would aim to integrate the physical space requirements of the services, as well as the front line staffing, within a single management structure. Specialist staff remained to help with more detailed advice, including librarians; but from the initial point of contact, customers would be helped and supported and be referred only when necessary, not as a matter of course.”
    • Innovative partnerships: a strategic perspective – IFLA. Birmingham, 23 February. A look at various new libraries/co-locations including The Hive, StoryHouse, Library of Birmingham, Idea Stores and The Word.
    • Jilly Cooper believes literary fiction should not receive state funding – BookSeller. “Both writers lamented the loss of public libraries, described as “tragic” by Cooper. Sutton also touched on the issues of diversity and inclusion. He said: “If the poor libraries were better funded, better supported… books should be free to so many people. And in a way, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to sit there and write a book but what it does cost is time.””
    • Libraries minister changes again as Glen moves in reshuffle – BookSeller. “Junior minister John Glen has lost the libraries brief after being moved to the Treasury as part of prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle. It has not yet been confirmed who will be replacing him at the department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Prime minister Theresa May continued to reshuffle her cabinet on Tuesday (9th January), after beginning the process the day before, in a bid to strengthen her ministerial team in a contentious time for the UK government. Margot James has been made culture minister after Matt Hancock was promoted to culture secretary on Monday (8th January). James was previously parliamentary under secretary of state at the department for business, energy and industrial strategy.” see also Hancock: ‘Creative industries have got their mojo back’  – BookSeller. “Watson said the creative industries did not just contribute jobs and money to the economy, they also “describe Britain to itself and…represent Britain to the rest of the world.” He told the audience: “Too much of your sector has had to deal with austerity”, picking out libraries among the institutions most affected…”
    • ‘Library closures are the death of civilisation’, warns global bestseller Peter May ahead of Perth talk – Courier. ““Literacy is fundamental to education and so the notion that you take away from the current generation, the next generation, the generations to come, the ability to be able to read freely any range of material that they are attracted to whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, is just shocking. “It’s the death of civilisation and we all need to fight against that.””
    • Library Lab Application – Introduction – Carnegie UK. “Library Lab offers: financial support for participants to develop and deliver an innovative, practical project in their local library service; exclusive access to a bespoke online learning programme to support innovation, leadership and skills development; access to an external mentor to assist with project management and personal development; networking events including face-to-face meetings and online platform; and an external evaluation. The Trust is looking for applicants in early or mid-management roles that have an innovative idea that they would like to implement or develop in their library, and who have a commitment to self-development and collaborative working.”
    • Reflection: Looking back and looking forward – Community Libraries Network. “Over the last 12 months we have seen the Community Managed Libraries Network grow to almost 200 members, we have hosted two webinars and a legal workshop and two pilot group meetings for those involved in shaping the network as we grow.”
    • The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP – Gov.uk. The new secretary of state for the DCMS. “Matt Hancock is the MP for West Suffolk, having been elected in the 2010 general election. From 2010 Matt served as a backbencher on the Public Accounts Committee and the Standards & Privileges Committee. Matt entered government in September 2012 and has served in a number of Ministerial Roles, including for skills and business, and as Paymaster General. He oversaw the expansion of apprenticeships, and championed the digital transformation of government. Since July 2016 he has served at DCMS as Minister of State for Digital and is responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and the tech industry.”
    • Sex, drugs and fights – Why some bookworms are banned from libraries – Daily Post. “n 2017 up until June numbers for Wrexham show four people were stopped from using the facilities for threatening staff, being abusive and for sexual behaviour. In Conwy visitors were banned because of unreasonable behaviour, breaching library bye-laws or for unacceptable use of a PC.”
    • Thousands of council staff across Yorkshire assaulted as they help us – Yorkshire Post. “A member of North Yorkshire County Council staff was even assaulted at Harrogate Library.” … “The largest number of assaults came in Leeds, where there were 1,411 incidents, of which 407 were physical. They took place in departments including adult social care, libraries and museums.”
    • Waterstones boss decries closure of public libraries as a disgrace that ‘threatens social mobility and damages education’ – Mail. “James Daunt, chief executive of the 288-store Waterstones chain, said library closures threatened to throw social mobility into reverse and damage education. He described local politicians who shut down libraries as penny-pinching short-termists whose actions will create problems for society in future.”

An online bookclub from Axiell

International news

  • Global – 5 Elements To Keep In Mind When Measuring Your Library’s Success – Princh. Collections; services/programs, users/communities, technology and staff.
  • Norway – Biblo Tøyen: a library just for kids – Designing Libraries. “The library is just for kids, age 10-15, no adults allowed. It’s an idea pioneered at Tio Tretton (‘Ten Thirteen’) in Stockholm, Sweden, and has the same philosophy of working with young people to create a space they can own, an inspirational place to read, learn, meet, eat, explore, express, unfold creativity and feel safe.” … “It may be surprising when we say this, but we don’t have an educational purpose. Our job is to inspire the kids, make them feel competent, show them things they didn’t knew existed.” … “it is important to make it fun, easy to join, and easy to leave and come back later.”
  • USA – Question of Little Free Libraries – American Libraries. ““I think anything where you have a book is a library. The more we have out there, the better,” she says. “I don’t think we’re going to put the library out of business by any means. I see them as helping out the libraries. I’m very glad they’ve come along.””

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeen – Aberdeen boy Leo wins national library competition – Evening Express. “Seven-year-old Leo Caldwell entered the “Klang: The Road Home” word search competition at Bucksburn Library and was picked as one of four winners from more than 4,000 entries across Scotland. He received a £25 book token to spend at Waterstones.”
  • Aberdeenshire – Campaigners looking for support for “Hands Off Our Libraries” demonstration – Press and Journal. “Aberdeenshire Council plans to hand over control of libraries, swimming pools and museums to a charitable trust. The authority claims the move, which was approved in November, would save it £1million. However the decision has provoked opposition among some with fears that it could lead to a reduction in library services and also closures of rural facilities.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Up to 300 jobs to go at B&NES as it budgets for future – Journal series. “The Council is making a capital investment of £3 million to reshape library and customer services and develop a network of ‘community libraries’, and says it will invest a provisional £5 million in implementing new digital technology to enable service transformation”
  • Bedford – New chapter for Bedford’s mobile library service – Bedford Today. “As well as being more efficient, the new state of the art mobile library vehicle will be one of only a handful in the country to be equipped with a self-service machine making it even easier for residents to check out books and other media. ” … “The previous vehicle was purchased in 2007 and had done ten years of service.”
  • Birmingham – Library groups clash over plans to turn Sutton Coldfield venue into ‘glorified Wacky Warehouse – Birmingham Mail. “A play area and café that campaigners hope will save Sutton Coldfield Library from closure could turn the venue into a ‘glorified Wacky Warehouse’ it has been claimed.” … “Libraries campaign group – The Friends of the Library of Birmingham (FoLoB) – say the play café which is about to be constructed at Sutton Coldfield Library will irrevocably change the nature of the venue, make it noisy and will detract from users other than young families coming in. But local library campaigners FOLIO (Friends of libraries in our Sutton Coldfield) have hit back at FoloB and said without a play café, which will be run by its trading arm – Little Green Bookworm CIC (community interest company), bringing in an income of around £40,000, the town centre venue would have to shut in any event” see also Closure date for Sutton Coldfield Library announced – Birmingham Mail.
  • Bolton – Appeal for volunteers and funds after takeover of community hub – Bolton News. “Friends of Dumers Lane Community Centre and Library have been successful in their bid to Bury Council to run the library in Radcliffe. Now, the group is appealing for volunteers and help to raise £2,500 to run the site. Bury Council shut down the library to save £1.4million, as part of a wider programme of closures across the borough.”
  • Borders – Borders youngsters book themselves prizes – Southern Reporter. “Children were invited to create designs for the new membership cards and the prize-giving ceremony took place at Galashiels library. Norman Given, Live Borders library supervisor, presented the 12 winners with their prizes, pictured, and the artistic creations will now be reproduced as real library card” 200 entries.
  • Bradford – Abusive yobs shut Shipley library early – Telegraph and Argus. “Shipley councillor Martin Love said the problems with anti-social behaviour had driven Bradford Council bosses to make the decision to shut the library’s doors at 5pm Monday to Friday instead of at 7pm meaning library users are losing ten hours access a week. “
  • Bristol – Library campaigners invited to take part in workshops about future management options – Bristol Council. “An independent options appraisal was commissioned in November 2017, following funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to assess and evaluate alternative models for managing a future ‘core’ library service for Bristol.  The work is expected to finish in April 2018. ” … “Workshops will take place later this month to discuss options for the management and governance of any future core libraries. A number of models, including a trust, mutual, industrial provident society or outsourcing to another provider, will be considered. (see notes to editors for definitions).”
  • Buckinghamshire – Budget – Buckinghamshire Council. Cutting opening hours by a tenth (£140k) plus cut to book budget by around a fifth (£125k).
  • Bury – Bury Council is giving away its books after closing 10 libraries – Bury Times. “Community group, charities and schools are all eligible to select items which are no longer required by the library service. Those who are part of an eligible group can arrange to pick books, audio-visual items and furniture from buildings that are closing.”
  • Cheshire East – ‘No plan to close Holmes Chapel Library at this time’, council told – Knutsford Guardian. “Parish Council (HCPC) has said it understands the village library will not be closed by Cheshire East Council. The borough council’s pre-budget consultation proposes closing Alderley Edge, Disley and Prestbury libraries to save £150,000, with Holmes Chapel and Bollington to be considered for future closure. A HCPC spokesman said: “The information received is that these two libraries are unusual in that their footfall is increasing and so they maintain their relevance within the community.” see also Final chapter? Deadline for commenting on proposal to close library – Alderley-Edge.com.”Local residents have very little time left to register their feelings about the Council’s proposal to close Alderley Edge library., following the announcement in November that it is under threat as Cheshire East Council is considering closing it in order to save around £50,000 a year.”
  • Coventry – Councillor Maton’s brash retort can’t mask real threat to libraries – Coventry Observer. “Kevin Maton appears to claim council leaders have thwarted the Save Coventry Libraries campaign. “The fact is we undermined their entire strategy, which was to blame us for closing all libraries. And since we haven’t closed any, they don’t know quite what to do now,” he told us. It’s a characteristically brash and reductive statement, despite any good intentions amid heavy government funding cuts to councils. As our two Special Reports on libraries illustrate, libraries offloaded by the council to community volunteers remain at high risk, as evidence nationally shows too. And there can be no guarantees for any Coventry libraries, with further multi-million pound council cuts forecast for years.”
  • Coventry – What’s the future for Coventry libraries? – Coventry Observer. “Denise Bird, a Finham resident for 50 years, has been volunteering at Finham Library for a month. “The council made a bad decision to shut down the library. I didn’t use it myself as I got older, but I always brought my children after school from Finham Primary School, over the road. I thought it was a facility that really shouldn’t be shut. In this area, we haven’t got any community buildings. There is a church, but that’s about it. “Our library is more than just books. It is an important community hub.” Ms Bird, who volunteers weekly, blames Coventry City Council’s decision to shut down libraries in communities with less deprivation and need.”

“Despite closing down libraries, Coventry won the City of Culture 2012. I think that’s farcical. The night they announced it, I thought, ‘what about the libraries?’ Surely, the library is part of our culture?”

  • Darlington – DCMS investigating threatened Darlington library – BookSeller. “The building has been threatened with closure as part of Darlington Borough Council’s plans to save £12.5m. The proposals would see most of the library’s resources moved into the nearby Dolphin Centre, while Cockerton Library would be handed to volunteers to run. The mobile library services has already been closed. However, these plans have been temporarily postponed awaiting the outcome of a legal challenge brought by campaigners following an investigation by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, according to the Darlington and Stockton Times.”
  • Derbyshire – Schools’ library service could close down because so few have signed up – Burton Mail. “Derbyshire’s school library service could be closed down following a sharp decline in registered users – with only just over a third of eligible schools using the facility.”
  • Ealing – Library Contract Extension from September 2018 to August 2023 – Ealing Council. “Delegates authority to the Executive Director Environment & Customer Services, following consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Community and Libraries, to extend the current contract for the provision of Libraries Management Services for a further five years from 1st September 2018 to 31st August 2023, to be funded from the existing approved Library contract budget of £2.051m per annum.” £639k fine if contract terminated early.
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Village library to close for revamp – Pocklington Post. Stamford Bridge. “The revamp will include repainting the main and staff areas of the library and public toilet areas, and also replacing the existing flooring. In addition, a community space for customers will also be created. The facility will reopen on Thursday 1 February at 2pm following the refurbishment. After reopening, the library will continue to provide a full selection of stock, three public access computers with internet, printing and scanning facilities, free wi-fi, as well as a self-service kiosk.”
  • Edinburgh – The Edinburgh Fiction Map, an activity from Edinburgh City Libraries – Naple Sister Libraries. “Edinburgh Libraries’ Digital Team have created a Fiction Map of their city. Using the Google Map interface, they have pinpointed stories where they intersect with places in Edinburgh. They’ve discovered that this is a really popular tool for people to discover new books.”
  • Essex – Families zone for Chelmsford Library – Designing Libraries. “The project will put the library at the heart of family support services in the city, where library staff, health and social care workers, along with staff and volunteers from other support agencies, will come together to create a one-stop shop for free family services. The revamp has been made possible thanks to a £145,586 grant from Arts Council England, plus a further £171,000 from Chelmsford City Council’s Chelmsford Infrastructure Levy Fund.”
  • Essex – New volunteer-run community libraries to be introduced across Essex – Echo series. “Six new volunteer-run community libraries could be coming to Essex as a result of a recent consultation on the county council’s mobile library service. Findings from the consultation, which began in September 2017, will be presented to the county council’s cabinet at its January meeting. As a result, six community groups and organisations have come forward and expressed a firm interest in hosting a volunteer-run community library. A total of 124 consultees expressed an interest in helping set up and maintain new community libraries that will be in keeping with residents’ needs.” see also Mobile library services in Essex could be reduced by 60 per cent – Times series.
  • Essex – What’s going on in Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend during the Essex Book Festival? – Yellow Advertiser. Many events in libraries. “Programme booklets can be picked up at libraries across the county.”
  • Greenwich – Bill for Plumstead’s new library and gym leaps 48% to £16.6m – 853 London. “Plans to redevelop Plumstead Library to include a leisure centre are set to cost Greenwich Council £16.6 million – over £5 million more than first planned two years ago. The 115-year-old building is being revamped as the centrepiece of a scheme to revive the fortunes of the area’s high street. In February 2016, council officers estimated the project – which then would have seen much of the library demolished – would set the borough back £11.2 million. But shortly afterwards, Historic England placed a Grade II listing on the library, and now costs have risen by 48%. The council plans to award a construction contract later this month, with work starting in February.”
  • Halton – Libraries appeal for nostalgic items to create memory boxes for people with dementia – Runcorn and Widnes World. “appealing for old recipe books, kitchen utensils and football programmes to create memory boxes to help people with dementia recall their past. “
  • Hampshire – Community hub plan is ‘good news’ for Gosport – The News. “Gosport Discovery Centre could receive the injection courtesy of Hampshire County Council, which will see the introduction of an Older Person’s Day service, new rooms for public activities and an improved heritage floor on the mezzanine level.”
  • Harrow – Kenton Library closed ‘til March 1 for renovation – Harrow Times. “Kenton Library, in Kenton Lane, Harrow, will be closed until March 1 for renovation and technological instalments. The building, which was built in the 1930s and is listed, will undergo redecoration, while the original wooden shelving and parquet flooring will be restored. A new public toilet will be installed, while a dedicated study area for young people will be created with improvements to the stock layout and guiding.”
  • Harrow – Library management contract extension – Harrow Council. “The contract with CIS started on the 1 September 2013. The first five years of the contract ends on the 31 August 2018. If Ealing and Harrow wish to continue the contract for a further five years each authority must give at least six months prior written notice to CIS. The deadline for informing CIS of the decision to extend the contract is the 28 February 2018. The end date for the full ten years of the contract is 31 August 2023. 3.2 If the contract is not continued for the full ten year term, Ealing and Harrow will be liable for payment of a termination sum to reflect the difference in the ten year and five year contract price. The one-off termination sum for Harrow would be £485,120.””
  • Hertfordshire – Public consultation launches on future of Hertfordshire’s libraries – Welwyn Hatfield Times. “A public consultation has been launched over a proposal to create an independent organisation to deliver Hertfordshire’s library services on behalf of the cash-strapped county council, which is struggling to balance its books” … “The Inspiring Libraries consultation opened on Monday and runs until February 18, seeking views on an independent organisation – such as a social enterprise, charity or co-operative – delivering library services on behalf of Herts County Council.” see also Have your say on future of Hertfordshire’s libraries as consultation launches – Royston Crow and Libraries to become independent of Herts County Council? – Hemel Today. “One possibility is to keep them ‘in-house’ and run by Herts County Council – but chiefs warn that ongoing budget cuts are likely to mean service reductions. Alternatively they could be run by a ‘local authority trading company’, meaning 
they are still owned by 
County Hall but with “added freedom to pursue commercial opportunities”.”
  • Islington – £32m government cuts force council tax rise for Islington residents – Islington Tribune. “A saving of £30,000 will be made by not purchasing new books for libraries.
  • Kensington and Chelsea – Donation for library near Grenfell Tower to help young people in shock and grief – CILIP. “Illustrator Lane Smith and author Ruta Sepetys have announced a joint donation of £1,000 to North Kensington Library, the closest library to Grenfell Tower. The donation is part of the prize from CILIP, the library and information association, for winning the 2017 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards. The donation will be used to create a special collection of books to support young people in the community who are experiencing grief and shock. “
  • Kent – Tonbridge library will close for three months for a major refurbishment – Kent Live. ” library will close on January 20 for three months due to a “major refurbishment” by Kent County Council. Visitors to the library can look forward to a “brighter, more modern facility” after the revamp.”
  • Kirklees – Have your say as council cuts mean more Kirklees libraries could close – Brinkwire. “The budget is being cut to £2.2m from £3.9m and the authority is asking for ideas on how to re-shape the library service. Among them are potentially drastic changes such as outsourcing or making it a profit-making company.”
  • Lambeth – At time of widespread cuts, Lambeth’s senior salaries soar – People’s Audit. “Lambeth council now spends £23.8 million a year extra on senior management compared to 2006/2007. Even after adjusting for inflation, the figure still stands at an additional £19 million a year. To put this figure into context, £19 million is equivalent to the annual budget for libraries for 5 years; the playgrounds budget for 25 years; the cost of building over 100 new council houses”
  • Lancashire – Date set for reopening of Whalley Library – Lancashire Telegraph. January 29th.
  • Lancashire – Delight as village’s library is reopened – Blackpool Gazette.
  • Lancashire – A new chapter in Burnley’s library service is opened in 1930 – Lancashire Telegraph. “This image shows youngsters packed into the children’s department in its first days, their noses firmly in their books; many are wearing school uniform, too – it’s likely the visit was scheduled into their timetable, with schools keen to encourage more reading. “
  • Lancashire – Oswaldtwistle library reopening this month after successful campaign – Lancashire Telegraph. “Oswaldtwistle Library will finally reopen at 9am on Monday, January 15, it has been confirmed by Lancashire County Council bosses. The library was closed at the end of 2016 after cuts were made by town hall bosses hitting similar sites across the county. Plans are also being finalised to create an ‘ Oswaldtwistle Library Friends group’ which will help run the library and host events.”
  • Liverpool – Work to start ‘immediately’ on restoring derelict historic library – Liverpool Echo. “Once refurbishment work is complete, the old library will be taken over by local charity Lister Steps, which has been providing childcare and family support to local residents for the past 20 years.” [But not any library services – Ed.]
  • Merton – Merton’s transformation journey – Designing Libraries. “With the help of Arts Council England funding the back section of Wimbledon Library has become a multi-use space: a library by day and a performance space by night.” … “The introduction of the Primary Schools Membership Scheme has every primary school in the borough signed up and every pupil is a library member” … “Merton was awarded £142,000 from the Arts Council England to increase its engagement with young people through developing a new range of cultural activities in libraries.” … “Merton has two fully integrated nurseries operating out of two of its libraries, and they are hugely successful” … “Merton’s very own pop-up library, called Library Connect, has been established for almost three years. During this time, pop-up libraries have been set up in 17 locations and received a total of 13,566 visits.” … “. Collaboration is a key part of our success and we are looking to develop new partnerships, particularly with health services, as there is a strong link between libraries and wellbeing”
  • Moray – Scotland’s first baby of 2018 becomes one of the youngest library users in the UK – Press and Journal. “Harry Ferguson was born in Elgin just 10 seconds after the bells on New Year’s Day. Yesterday the baby was presented with his first library card when his parents Amy Coull and Craig Ferguson, from Portessie, registered the birth. Registrars joked it was the first time in three decades working in the office they had recorded the time “00:00” on a birth certificate.”
  • Norfolk – Libraries’ project extends to West Norfolk venues following successful launch in Norwich – Lynn News. “Homeless women and those on low incomes in West Norfolk will benefit from the extension of a service set up to provide free sanitary products at libraries. The widening of Norfolk Library Service’s Tricky Period project to venues in Dersingham, Downham, Gaywood, Hunstanton and Lynn libraries comes following a successful launch in the Norwich area.”
  • Northamptonshire – Last chance to have your say on proposed cuts to Northamptonshire libraries as public consultation ends tomorrow – Daventry Express. “So far, more than 3,800 responses have been received by Northamptonshire County Council to the consultation outlining potential cuts that could save the authority £9.6 million. The consultation feedback will be analysed by council officers and will help councillors make their final decision at a full council meeting on February 22.” see also Residents to stage sit-in protest at Oundle’s library Northants Telegraph. “Today (Friday) from 3pm, those campaigning against the plans will stay there past its usual 6pm close to show the support it has. The sit-in has the support of celebrated writer Alan Bennett, who spoke with chairman of the Friends of Oundle Library Ann Guy” and 95 per cent say they want Higham Ferrers Library to stay open – Northants Telegraph. “More than 400 people took part in a consultation on the future of Higham Ferrers Library, with 95 per cent saying they want it to remain open.” and Protesters stage sit-in to save Brackley Library – ITV and John Clare archive under threat from library cuts – Guardian collective letter.
  • Northamptonshire – Leadsom vows to campaign for ‘sustainable future’ of libraries – BookSeller. “Following the visit, Leadsom said she was doing her best to “make sure our libraries have a sustainable future”. “They are such a vital part of all of our local communities,” she said. “Many people have writ ten to me and I am absolutely representing their interest in making sure we can keep our valuable libraries”
  • Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire children urged to plant poppies to mark First World War centenary – Northants Telegraph. “Kettering and Wellingborough libraries are hoping to mark the centenary with a visual project which will help children learn about the war and understand the sacrifices made.”
  • Northamptonshire – Local Government – Hansard. “For some time there have been concerns about financial management and governance at Northamptonshire County Council, and in recent months a number of reports have been published, which have led me to question whether the authority is failing to comply with its best value duty. Particular reports include the external auditor’s (KPMG) “adverse” value for money opinion in relation to the 2015-16 and 2016-17 accounts, publically available budget documents, and the September 2017 Local Government Association peer review into the council’s financial planning and management. 
  • Nottinghamshire – Top 10 most popular library books in Nottinghamshire – Gainsborough Standard. “The release of figures detailing the number of books borrowed from Nottinghamshire’s public libraries provides a fascinating snapshot of the county’s reading habits.”
  • Oxfordshire – New chapter for history of Westgate library – Oxfordshire Guardian. “The new library features a dedicated ‘Makerspace’ area for community activities including digital learning, arts and crafts and special events. With free wi-fi and 70 public computers, it will also allow visitors to access county council services online and get the support they may need to do this. The new children’s library will feature more space for activities, special events and school visits.”
  • Shropshire – Future of Shropshire’s main libraries secured – Shropshire Star. “Shropshire Council’s cabinet formally approved the authority’s Library Services Strategy for 2018 to 2023 at a meeting in Shirehall yesterday. It means ‘tier one’ libraries at Shrewsbury, including at the Lantern, Oswestry, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Ludlow, and Bridgnorth are safe. Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure, said the strategy took weeks to put together following a public consultation at the end of last year. She said 700 people responded to the consultation which showed just how important libraries are to the public.” see also Shropshire Council to consider revised library service strategy following public feedback – Whitchurch Herald.
  • Staffordshire – Kinver Library volunteers to celebrate first year of takeover – Halesowen News. “The event – featuring a prize raffle, a children’s lucky dip and free refreshments – will take place from 9.15am until 1pm on Saturday (January 6). Katherine Dixson, the library’s publicity officer, said: “It’s been a busy and challenging year but we have a fantastic group of volunteers who have gone the extra mile in getting to grips with the complexities.”
  • Staffordshire – Public consultation into the best way forward for county’s local libraries has begun – Lasar Radio. 3 month consultation in cuts to remaining 20 council-run (23 are volunteer-run) libraries. “People are asked to comment on possible options for each of the remaining 20 libraries, specifically: maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using technology to allow registered users access to the library outside core hours. No library would become completely self-service; maintaining and extending existing opening hours by using more volunteers; becoming a community-managed library, where a group takes over the management and day-to-day running, with access to all the council’s library resources, while the authority remains responsible for agreed utility bills and maintenance costs.” see also Uncertain future for three more libraries – Sentinel.
  • Warrington – Burtonwood Post Office set to move to new home – Warrington Guardian. “The relocation to Burtonwood Library means that the Post Office will be open for an extra three hours every week. This follows a consultation where residents were invited to have their say on the proposal”
  • Warrington – Free coding classes to launch at three libraries – Warrington Guardian. “LiveWire has announced that the Code Club initiative will begin at three of its sites from Thursday. The Code Club scheme currently has more than 6,000 bases in the UK, helping 86,000 children learn coding each year. The free classes will be available at libraries in Lymm, Westbrook and Padgate”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Public consultation ends as West Dunbartonshire residents have their say on controversial library hours move – Daily Record. Council “say the changes to the timetable will help reduce high employee costs and free-up savings to allow £421,000 to be invested back into branches. The plan has been roundly criticised by opposition parties, including local MSP Jackie Baillie and the library union CILIPS who expressed concern in a letter to council leader Jonathan McColl. In it they suggested the move would “severely damage” the ability for libraries to meet community needs. Ms Bailie added: “Dumbarton and Vale of Leven are well-served by local libraries and the impact of cutting opening hours would be keenly felt in our communities.””
  • Worcestershire – Warndon Library celebrates 50 years of lending – Worcester News. “Staff, borrowers and Warndon Library users joined together for a morning of celebration, memory and fun marking 50 years of the popular library.”