Congratulations to Ciara Eastell, chief of the Devon libraries (including Torbay) trust Libraries Unlimited who becomes part of the “General Council” of Arts Council England. No, I had never heard of the General Council either – but here’s some info on it. It looks to me that Ciara is the only representative from public libraries out of the sixteen members so I hope more are appointed from the sector soon.

I mentioned the Bromley library strike last post and was accused of pro GLL bias on Twitter for providing info sent to me by GLL as well as the info in the local newspaper and union webpages. I rather hope that it wasn’t anti-union bias – I was a steward myself (although for Unison, not Unite) for years  – but rather pro-information bias, showing all the info available to me at the time. In the same spirit, I include info from both sides below again. As background to this decision, if it is needed, I see PLN as a place for getting all information on public libraries and so think this is appropriate. It is up to the reader to then make up their own mind on what is going on there but I refuse simply to show one side simply because I may agree with it more.  I’m human and so bias will creep in but it’s not something that I deliberately build in (although the “editorial” and other sections where it’s clearly me speaking on my own behalf will be personal). This dedication to facts was something taught to me, I think, in library school.

And if ever we need a clear picture then it’s now, with so much clearly biased info in other sources. Indeed, I think this is something that is a strength of libraries. If you want the answer that ties in with your pre-conceived view, go to the left or right-wing media source of your choice. If you want the facts, one should always go to a library.


National news

An online bookclub from Axiell
Local news by authority

  • Brighton and Hove – Library changes are ‘against spirit of law’ – Argus. “Substantial changes to the internal layout of the Grade II listed Carnegie Building – Hove Library – in Church Road were approved last month by officers after only four letters of objection were received in the statutory 21-day consultation period. ” … “Valerie Paynter of the Save Hove Library campaign said: “Labour wants to get rid of that library, it’s a simple as that. “Somebody has scrutinised the delegated powers scheme and realised we don’t have to do this publicly, we can work to the letter of the law.” see also Labour is threatening Hove Library yet again, say Greens – Brighton and Hove News. “Less than two years since the successful campaign to save Hove Library and plans are in motion from the Labour council to remove many of its bookshelves and instal an office on the ground floor”. In 2016 “Over 4,500 people signed our petition calling on Labour to halt plans to sell it off.” and Disappointment as library changes are given go ahead – Argus.
  • Bromley – GLL Bromley library strike: Union brands new pay offer for staff a ‘con’ News Shopper. Unite spokesman says “At long last they will put people on the London Living Wage, which is obviously good news and welcomed. “But when you look at how many of GLL’s Bromley workers will be affected, it’s a different story. People on £19,000 would get a 2.9 per cent increase if the library was still operated by local government. “The losses become higher as you go down. Some people would earn four per cent more if they were still in local government.””.

33 out of the 133 staff in Bromley (25%) received more than the 2% increase awarded by Bromley Council. The percentage increases for this group range from 3.81% to 7.74%. The largest group (18 staff) will receive a 3.81% increase.” GLL email in response to my query.

  • Bromley – Libraries’ Bath, Book and Bed campaign to help end sleepless nights – This is Lancashire. “Free top tips booklets, can be picked up at any Bury library or downloaded from booktrust.org. “
  • Derbyshire – MP pledges to fight Derbyshire library cuts – Buxton Advertiser. “High Peak MP Ruth George said she was “disappointed, but not surprised” after Derbyshire County Council voted to proceed with a consultation on cuts to libraries across the county. Earlier this year, the county council approved £12 million in cuts for 2018, in order to meet a target of £53 million by 2021. The proposal to hand 20 of the county’s least-used libraries over to volunteers and review opening hours and staffing is aimed at saving the authority £1.6 million.” see also Petition launched over plans to make cuts at 20 Derbyshire libraries – Derby Telegraph.
  • North Yorkshire – Acclaim as libraries turn over a new leaf – Keighley News. Council uses  library volunteers on large-scale “Now the initiative has been showcased nationally, by both the Arts Council and the Local Government Association, as a model of best practice. ” … “And it has been shortlisted for a Public Finance Innovation Award for community engagement. County Councillor Greg White, executive member for libraries, said: “There were difficult decisions to make in the face of Government cuts and, like all council services, libraries had to find substantial savings.” … “Nearly 2,500 volunteers are now involved in operating the libraries”
  • North Yorkshire – Rescued Bedale library goes from strength-to-strength – Northern Echo. “A library rescued from closure by volunteers, has had more than 25,000 visits in the past year and is marking its first anniversary by extending the opening hours. Bedale Community Library was one of 22 across North Yorkshire facing closure after funds to pay for staff were withdrawn by the county council as part of major budget cuts.”