National news

  • Capita to raise £700m as losses deepen – BBC. “Capita has reported a £513m annual loss as the outsourcing firm set out plans to revive its indebted business. Profits were wiped out by £850m of one-off costs, mainly from writing down the value of acquisitions made under its previous management. The company said it would raise £701m through a rights issue to fund a reorganisation of the business. Shares closed 13% higher at 180.8p in London, valuing Capita at just over £1.2bn.” [Many councils, notably Barnet, rely on Capita – Ed.] see also Some call it outsourcing. I call it spivvery – Guardian. “The Tory councillors of Barnet used David Cameron’s spending cuts as an excuse to outsource large chunks of its public services. Their aim was to turn the borough into a no-frills “easyCouncil”. And by far the biggest 10-year contracts – everything from HR to highways – ended up with Capita. Less than five years since the outsourcing began, Barnet has paid £327m to Capita – and the problems keep mounting up. Bins haven’t been collected; when the snow fell a couple of months ago, gritting trucks weren’t on the road; a few months before that, Capita failed to do the council’s accounts on time. The outsourcing was meant to save Barnet money; last week it was announced the council will need to make more cuts to close a “budget gap” of £39.5m.”
  • Getting the reading fix – BookSeller. “Quick Reads was launched in 2005 at the BA Conference in Glasgow, as part of the already established World Book Day, targeting the UK’s forgotten 12 million non-readers. The first list appeared in 2006 with Val McDermid, Maeve Binchy, Richard Branson and John (now Lord) Bird. The books from all publishers were financed by the industry with support from The Arts Council, National Book Tokens, all the literacy agencies, UnionLearn and libraries. ” but see also A Quick end? – BookSeller saying that Quick Reads has lost sponsorship and so is likely to cease new titles after this year.

An online bookclub from Axiell

International news

Local news by authority

  • Angus – New Angus mobile libraries lined up at cost of £270,000 – Courier. “Communities committee councillors have signed off spending on the new vans, which will come in at a total cost of almost £270,000. The authority has £113,000 set aside in its vehicle replacement fund for the new vehicles and Angus Alive, the council’s arms-length culture and leisure trust, is to seek more than £150k of external funding to buy and kit out the hi-tech machines. Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said: “I think this is a good news story. “Angus Alive has sought external funding and that will help finance these vans, which I understand will be available early in 2019.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Planned changes to historic library stalled after vote Argus. “Councillors at Brighton and Hove City Council’s meeting on Thursday night voted for the plans for Hove Library to be halted after criticism from residents and conservation groups about how the planning process was handled. A dozen objections were made to the planning application, with some stating the proposed changes to the ground floor of the library would damage the historic internal fittings and character of the building.”
  • Bromley – Bromley library workers win strike campaign – Socialist Worker. “The campaign has won concessions from the employer on all the main items in dispute. This includes the immediate filling of 17 vacant posts, protection for pay and conditions that goes beyond the legal protection provided by ‘TUPE’ (workers were transferred out from the council to Greenwich Leisure Limited – GLL – in November 2017), a pay increase from this April, implementation of the London Living Wage and paid trade union facility time.” … “Bromley council had itself withdrawn from national pay bargaining some years ago. The win at GLL means that the vast majority of Unite members will actually get a better pay increase than they would have done at the council.” see also Bromley library strike called off after pay agreement reached – Edenbridge Chronicle.
  • Ceredigion – Opening Ceremony of Llandysul Library – Facebook. Now volunteer. Author Ruth Jones opens.
  • Cheshire East – New library opening hours confirmed – Alderley Edge. “Councillor Craig Browne said “In addition to these times, I am looking to operate a volunteer-led session, which will enable the library to be open on either a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon/evening. I will shortly be contacting all the residents who have already come forward and offered to volunteer; however, if anyone else would like to join the group of volunteers, please drop me an email.””
  • City of London – Dragon Café in the City – “It is a relaxing space, and is open to everyone. Located in Shoe Lane Library, Dragon Café in the City offers a range of free activities and events to promote and support mental wellbeing. Dragon Café in the City also provides an open, quiet and calm environment, to reflect or to practice mindfulness on your own – A space to look after your own wellbeing – mind, body and soul.” … “Designed to help City workers and residents open up about mental health challenges”.  Part of Engaging Libraries.
  • Darlington – Letters: ‘Library – beautiful, inspiring and precious. I fear for its future’ – Northern Echo / Letters. “Judicial Review of Darlington Borough Council’s proposals to move the Crown Street library to the Dolphin Centre will be heard in Leeds on June 18 and 19. Crown Street was a gift from the Pease family to the people of Darlington so they could improve themselves and lead better lives. The council is the custodian of this gift to protect it, not to destroy it.”
  • Dudley – Partnership Manager, Dudley Libraries – Lisjobnet. £39k permanent full-time. “GLL is looking for a Partnership Manager to oversee our libraries service provision in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the West Midlands. We have recently taken over the management of library services across Dudley so this is a key role that will lead on supporting and developing the service to take it to the next level of excellence. There are 14 libraries and three library links in the borough which offer communities a place to learn, to study and to meet other people. The libraries provide an excellent range of books, e-books, audio books and DVD as well as ICT facilities. All libraries offer a programme of activities appropriate to the needs and interests of the communities that we serve. ” … “You will have a degree and/or postgraduate qualification in Librarianship and be a member of CILIP.”
  • Hertfordshire – The way Hertfordshire’s libraries are run could be about to change – but senior county councillor says that proposals aren’t privatisation – Hertfordshire Mercury. “Although this will still need to be supported by the full council, it means that the libraries are likely to leave public control. Being part of a ‘public service mutual’ means that they are not owned and run by the county council, but that any profit they do make must be reinvested into the library service.”
  • Lambeth – Lambeth Democracy campaign launches on 23rd April demanding a ‘democratic reform of Lambeth Council’ – Brixton Buzz. “The discussion will focus on Lambeth’s undemocratic plans to flatten the Cressingham estate and turn popular libraries into unwanted privately-run ‘book-ish gyms,’ and commentary on the councils’ finances.”
  • North Lincolnshire – New Scunthorpe community hub to open next month – Lincolnshire Reporter. “Work to turn a Scunthorpe library into a community hub with IT facilities, employment, housing and health advise, meeting rooms and activity spaces is on track to open next month. The project is part of North Lincolnshire Council’s regeneration plans to transform the town centre in a £60 million investment. Scunthorpe Central will open to the public on May 14, 2018.”
  • Sefton – Anger as library is halved in size to make way for gymChampion. “THE council’s decision to close the first floor of Maghull Library at the Meadows complex on Hall Lane has been met with opposition from residents – with one claiming the choice of books “is now halved.” Sefton Council has said the library services on the first floor have been moved to the ground floor to make way for a new fitness studio. However the move has angered some library users. John Mullin, from Maghull, said: “Maghull used to have its own stand-alone library for a long time, but the building was sold and the library moved to the Meadows complex.”
  • Trafford – Trafford MBC: Why we’ve abolished library fines LGC (behind paywall). “Sarah Curran, head of customer service at Trafford MBC, explains how it’s hoped axing library fines will encourage more people to use services…”