There are some similarities between the collapse of Carillion and what we’re seeing in Northamptonshire. Both darlings of the Right and pro-outsourcing, it turns out that they were both houses of cards, with shiny exteriors but rotten inside. The big payoffs of their bosses as they collapsed are exactly opposite to the shabby way they treated front-line employees. Northants hasn’t quite collapsed yet but unless they get a big handout to avoid government embarrassment it looks like it will soon. Lashing out in any way it can to cut spending, Northants has given just six months for 21 libraries to find a way for paying for themselves or close. They’ve also reduced opening hours of some libraries to just one day per week. It’s good to see CILIP kicking a stink up about this one and it’s the first real challenge for the new libraries minister, whose constituency is in the same county. However, Northants is a Conservative authority so don’t expect him to be too critical.

The first chief executive of the Society of Chief Librarians has just been announced – and, no, she’s not a librarian. She’s an archivist who has worked for the National Gallery then the MLA then ACE and then the National Archives. The SCL description ermphasises she worked to “address resilience, digital capacity and impact in the sector. Within the first year she secured nearly £1m external funding for the plan”. Well, resilience and funding are certainly things libraries need. So, welcome Isobel. Looking forward to seeing you get to work.


National news

  • Isobel Hunter named new SCL chief executive BookSeller.”Hunter previously worked at The National Archives where she was head of archives sector development, serving a national constituency of 2,500 archives. During her time there, Hunter led the development of Archives Unlocked, a new government vision to address resilience, digital capacity and impact in the sector.”

“I share SCL’s vision of the value of libraries to build strong communities and change people’s lives. As the first chief executive of SCL, I will work with members to ensure we continue to deliver this vision and to represent, connect and support public library leaders up and down the country”, she said.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

“I hope many unions, organisations and library advocates across the world will get inspired by the concept of The Opinion Formers and will do something on their own. The library needs voices to raise a sound and constructive debate on libraries now and in the future. And remember, we all have a voice and we all have an obligation of being an ambassador and opinion maker for libraries, anywhere, all the time.”

  • Denmark – Modern libraries: Moving from a transactional to a relational library – Princh. “While the number of book loans has gone down, the library usage has increased over the last few years (usage –  measured in the number of visitors to the physical libraries). The library’s physical location has gained more purposes, than just ensuring the place for a transaction and people are using it for a lot more activities: “they are using in huge numbers the physical location (the computers, the makerspaces, the areas), they use it for gatherings, study groups, small courses on different subject, especially technology and a lot of other things. So, the purpose of the library is not fulfilled only by the medium but also by the spaces, by having these libraries locations around.”
  • Global – Five libraries around the world that are open despite the odds Guardian. “On World Book Day, a look at libraries from Egypt to Dominica that have remained open despite death threats, extreme weather and terrorism”

Local news by authority

“Our library is one of the 15 that was, in theory, saved from cuts yesterday. Within hours of that news staff were told, with no warning, that Brackley Library is now only open one day a week,”