There are many  libraries, perhaps, that have no problems with antisocial behaviour. Where the worst that can happy is a child shouting “bogies” as they leave. Where the public tuts if someone swears loudly and then things go back to normal. Then there are the others: the ones with  drug users or alcoholics regularly using the place, where people have been known to throw chairs, and not just at empty space. Where groups go in to fight eachother. Where disgusting things are found on the carpet. Those are public libraries as well, and often serving quite as important purpose as all the others. The staff in these buildings need to learn strategies to deal with the behaviour they face: they learn not to shout, but to lower voices. They understand the importance of always going through with a threat if made. Some have learnt that a confrontation is only one where there are two sides: that acting bored or discussing their holidays with the troublemaker can be far more effective than threatening the police. But, sometimes, enough is enough. The police need calling and hopefully things get sorted. Sometimes even that does not work and, well, then it’s hard. This is not a well-known side to libraries, at least in the popular media, but it’s there. And, if you’re reading this and recognising your workplace as similar then I salute you.


National news

  • Agenda: How public libraries have a vital role in boosting the health and wellbeing of Scots – Herald Scotland. The role public libraries play in supporting individuals and carers with health information needs has often gone unnoticed. Yet it can be life-changing. There has been a shift in thinking, with recognition of the value libraries offer, and how integral they are to the delivery of national policies. The action plan highlights the need to work with libraries to link people to useful sources of health and care information and to develop accessible resources that better meet people’s needs.”
  • Bucking the trend – Taskforce meets in the Woolwich centre – Libraries Taskforce. “The library service in Greenwich has been shown over some years to be one of the most successful in sustaining and increasing use – from 1.49 million visits in 2009/10 rising to 2.55 million in 2016/17, and from 656,000 book issues in 2009/10 to 762,000 in 2016/17. Figures supplied by GLL indicated that Greenwich’s 12 local libraries had seen the highest number of visits per 1,000 residents of any borough in the UK over the last 2 years.” … “There was an interesting discussion around stock, recognising that, although GLL spent less than many in-house services, it got more usage, primarily because of rigorous measurement of usage around the ratio of stock to loans, and by using data on lending patterns to inform purchasing policies.
  • Ensuring the Resiliency and Value of Public Libraries: Working in Partnership to Maximise Opportunities and Meet Local Needs – Public Policy Exchange. 5th June, London.
    Outsourcing Fundamentalism, Hasn’t Herts heard of Carillion? and SCL/Taskforce backed vol-led ‘libraries’ conference comes to Sheffield – Stop the privatisation of public libraries. Alan Wylie looks at some library news inc. asking Paul Blantern “at a Speak up for Libraries conference a few years ago whether he thought that an outsourcing fundamentalist was a good choice to chair a Taskforce on public libraries he just laughed it off, hope he’s stopped laughing … “
  • Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year Nominations now open – CILIPS. “Nominations are now open for the annual recognition award being presented by CILIP in Scotland. Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year, sponsored by Bolinda Digital, is our annual cross sectoral award honouring a CILIP member in Scotland for outstanding achievement and accomplishment in post.”
  • Top professionals for trustworthy information revealed – CILIP. “A YouGov poll commissioned by CILIP, the library and information association, has revealed the professionals the public believe are most likely to provide trustworthy information. Medical staff topped a list of ten professional groups with 74% of British adults saying they would provide trustworthy information, followed by teachers and police officers (both at 49%), librarians (46%) and lawyers (39%). Bottom of the list were politicians, with 2% of respondents saying they would provide trustworthy information.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • EU – Erasmus+ opportunity for library cooperation: the Mills of Folk Knowledge project – NAPLE Sister Libraries. “This widening of the scope for Erasmus+, plus the designation of 2018 as Year of the European Cultural Heritage, is an opportunity for public libraries in Europe to apply for grants in cooperation with others.”
  • New Zealand – Library Boss – New website for librarians. “The Library Boss knows digital literacy is crucial for librarians and provides the tools for you to flourish with grace and flair. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a library qualification, are new to the profession, or haven’t got a handle on this digital thing at all.”
  • Norway – The extraordinary Stovner library: the shape of things to come – Designing Libraries. “The ‘social library’ is the driving idea behind the Deichman Stovner library. Here, people of all ages will find a flexible, inclusive space in which to read, create, discuss, and have new experiences.” … “an inspiring and flexible space that lays claim to 1100 square metres in the Stovner shopping mall. ‘The mall is the heart of Stovner and the library belongs where the people are,'” … open 7am to 11pm via card/pin entry … “orld-class set designers produced extraordinary props”
  • USA – Flirting with Fame among the Librarians – The Coil. Alex Halpern: “the best part of the last few months, aside, perhaps, from sharing a page in American Libraries Magazine with Dolly Parton, has been meeting and hearing from so many amazing librarians across the country and across the world, who are doing such impressive, notable work for their communities with little to no recognition.” .. The list of librarians I admire is a lot longer than I could ever fit into an essay like this”
  • USA – ‘Sad’ dog looking for kids to read to him is now all booked up – Today. Twice a month, Sting visits a Minnesota library so that young kids can read to him as part of a program called Paws to Read.He’s participated for the last two years.”

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