A couple of emails to share with you ..

First, a television company has been in touch, saying it is looking for areas of the UK which have either never had a library or lost one more than a few years ago. The aim is to build/provide a top-class library in that area and show the impact it can have. The company has been impressed by research from New York that building a library had a positive impact on unexpected things like the crime rate and spousal abuse. There’s no promises – and the series has not even been commissioned as yet – but if it comes off then it could be amazing. Naturally there are concerns about how the library would be funded, and especially if it had paid staff, which I will pass back but I think this is too good to miss. If you have an area in mind for the proposal, email me or Beth Morrey direct on beth.morrey@rdftelevision.com.

Secondly, I was querying the decision by the Society of Chief Librarians to base its offices in London. This is the official reply:

“… at the moment SCL doesn’t employ any staff it only has freelance self-employed workers like myself who work from their own offices but once they have a CEO and support team in place they wanted an office base for them. Having approached a number of libraries and scoped a selection of locations across England SCL decided on a London office. Some of the reasons for this decision were that a large number of partners such as the BBC, British Library, CILIP, The Reading Agency etc. are London based and many of the partnership meetings take place in London. London is also easily accessible for people to travel to from across the UK, we were offered a space in a library which met our budget and office requirements and this was the location where our new CEO is based. SCL are currently in the process of signing a tenancy agreement so I can’t announce the precise location until it has all be signed off and agreed.” Helen Drakard, Society of Chief Librarians




    • Extreme Library Makeover National Acquisitions Group. Leeds, 24 May. “Hear Liam Dixon talking about how redesigned stock areas and buying has drastically increased library usage in Surrey Libraries. Hear what NAG can do to support public librarians. Network with other stock librarians to discuss your successes and challenges”
    • Library World Records – Book contains “such subheadings as: Earliest Written Works in English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish; Earliest Written Works in Japanese and Korean; First Book Printed in Hebrew; First Books Printed in Russian and Eastern European Languages; Biggest, Heaviest and Smallest Books etc”
    • Telling the Library Story – SLIC. “SLIC’s Company Secretary Ken McKinlay reflects on his own career in the sector within the context of the wider, social importance of libraries.”

An online bookclub from Axiell


  • Canada – Glass Slipper volunteers make dreams come true Chronicle Herald. “We are fortunate to have amazing support in the community,” Thammachack said. Two Halifax Public Libraries — Bedford and Halifax Central — collect prom dresses and accessories on behalf of the Glass Slipper Organization. Don Schelew Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services contributes free dry cleaning for each dress.”
  • Lithuania – The Law Clinic of Klaipeda‘s I. Simonaityte library (Lithuania) – Naple Sister Libraries. “Klaipeda‘s I. Simonaityte library offer a free ‘Law Clinic’ for all library visitors. The library is now collaborating with Vilnius University, the oldest and largest higher education institution in Lithuania.This Vilnius University ‘Law Clinic’ is popular between young business men, non-governmental organisations or other people who can‘t afford to hire a lawyer.” … “Library visitors who have the legal problems get the opportunity to consult with Law students. Consultations are private, confidential and free with access to quiet rooms, computers, access to internet and skype.”
  • USA – Lawyers in the Library – Public Libraries Online. “A service offering that libraries should consider adding is a free legal clinic. This may seem like a complicated thing to start, but do not fear, it is simple. Access to legal services should be a basic right that every American should enjoy, but sadly, it is not (at least, not until it is too late). Having access to a lawyer is dependent upon having the ability to pay for one. Access to the courts is a social justice issue that librarians should be interested in helping correct. Legal advice should not be available only to those who can afford it.”

News by local authority

  • Bracknell Forest – There were four people banned from libraries in 2015 – Bracknell News. “A freedom of information request sent into Bracknell Forest Council found that in 2013, there was just one person banned from the Bracknell Library, for computer misuse. The person was aged between 50 and 60 years old. In 2014, there were four bans handed out at Bracknell Library, with two of these being for computer misuse. Those banned for computer misuse were aged between 50-60 years old, and 60-70 years old.”
  • Brent – The Curious Case of Preston Community LibraryJames Powney’s Blog. “I thought I would take another look at the curious case of Preston Community Library (PCL), which has been earmarked for an enormous grant from Brent Council resources for reasons I find mystifying.  The grant comes in two kinds.  One is held by Brent Property Services to be spent on the building (essentially doing up the interior).  That seems a bit odd as the Council want to redevelop the building but have yet to decide what to do.  There is a potential for a bigger development that would result in more housing or a more modest rebuild with fewer units.  The other chunk of almost £80k is to be spent by the PCL group itself.  They apparently want to spend it on furniture, including shelving.  Given that their largest spend hitherto appears to be £6.3k, upping that to more than ten times as much sounds like a big step up in their internal organisation.  It is not entirely clear what they have done in the past as they appear not to post accounts, or have any formal mechanism to report their activities.”
  • Bromley – Bromley library strike starts tomorrow over paltry pay deal – Unite the union. “Staff at all 14 of Bromley’s libraries will start an indefinite strike tomorrow (Wednesday 28 March) over a ‘paltry and insulting’ pay offer, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 27 March).  he strike by the 36 workers comes after the breakdown of pay talks yesterday (Monday 26 March) between Unite and Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), which runs the library service on behalf of Bromley council.” … “We began talks on a compromise based on the local government pay offer, which is only two per cent for most people, but with higher increases for some of the lower paid. However, the company yesterday confirmed it cannot commit to this formula. “Therefore, having transferred out from local government in November 2017, our members are already being penalised and seeing their pay cut.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Libraries launch special book collection to support autism – Cambridge Independent. “The library service has selected 30 titles which provide support for people with autism and their families and friends.”
  • Cumbria – Cumbria’s first autism-friendly library officially opens in Millom The Mail. “As well as offering a range of books and support services, the library includes a sensory dark den, lightbox, and plans to provide a ‘social story’ online to provide further assistance.”
  • Derby – Rare 16th century bible discovered in basement at Derby’s Central Library – Derby Telegraph. “A version of the Bible which would have been in use at the time of William Shakespeare, Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh and Derbyshire’s own Bess of Hardwick has been unearthed in the basement of the city’s Central Library. No-one is sure how a copy of the Geneva Bible, printed in 1589, came to be in the library, which is currently being wound down in preparation for a move to the new Riverside Library in the Council House, in July.”
  • Norfolk – Books celebrate the very best of West Norfolk – Lynn News. “West Norfolk’s literary scene is busy with regular readings by well-known local authors such as Elly Griffiths, and the King’s Lynn Literature Festival, which took place at the Town Hall last weekend.”. Launch of Norfolk Great Big Read.

“I am therefore minded to appoint commissioners to oversee the authority, using my powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999. From day one, I propose that they take direct control over the council’s financial management and overall governance. Getting these basics right must be the first step in stabilising this authority. I also propose giving them reserved powers to act as they see fit across the entirety of the authority’s functions if they consider that they must step in. My officials are writing to the council and to the district councils today to this effect, and they can make representations on this proposal. I will consider any representations carefully before reaching a final decision. ” Northamptonshire – Sajid Javid speak in the Commons

  • North Yorkshire / York – The pacifist lieutenantScarborough News / Letters. “May I through your newspaper thank the library staff of North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York which celebrate local and international writers, one of whom, Herbert Read, Pickering Library celebrate this week and next with a display.”
  • Powys – It’s not just books you can borrow at Newtown Library – My Newtown. “wys Library Service has today revealed the Cambrian Credit Union will be offering its services at Newtown and Welshpool libraries, offering financial information, savings and loans schemes to local residents, alongside the regular books, DVDs, internet access and other services already available in our public libraries”
  • Staffordshire – Libraries consultation nears end – Staffordshire Newsroom. “More than 1,400 responses have already been received in advance of the April 1 deadline. A series of public events have been held at libraries and mobile and travelling library stops throughout the 12 week consultation. Discussions have included potentially using technology to maintain and extend opening hours with an automated service, possibly increasing the number of community managed libraries and reviewing how the mobile and travelling service is used.”
  • Sutton – Sutton Library Reopens  Monday 9th April 2018 – London Borough of Sutton. “The official launch will be Thursday 17th May 2018 with a 2 week special programme of events. More information to follow shortly.”
  • Torfaen – Services and jobs at risk under £200k libraries cut in Torfaen – South Wales Argus. “Torfaen could see funding cuts of £200,000 as the authority looks to preserve the future of its services. The council is planning to cut two vacant posts, along with three other jobs, bringing the total number of employees down from 33 to 28. Members of the public would also be expected to make greater use of self-service machines as part of a new delivery model.”