You know how it is. Some other place, shinier and bigger than yours, wins an award. That’s how it goes. Well, I’ve seen a fair few libraries and there’s some brilliant ones out there who have never had recognition, and some are small and far from shiny. They just do brilliant work, over and above what is needed, every day , meeting the needs of their communities and going the extra mile. Some are pretty darn imaginative about it too. So it’s great to see the relaunch of the Library of the Year award into something more inclusive and open. Any size library can apply and any number can do so from any one library service. So ignore that inner voice that says your library is not as good as that big one you’ve heard about. Concentrate on the brilliance of yours and apply. it’s only 300 words and getting a great mix of libraries, large and small, old as well as new, in the final ten will done wonders to help show the variety of the great things libraries do. Apply before 15th June.


National news

  • Could you be a Library of the Year? – BookSeller. “In July 2018, The Bookseller intends to produce a dedicated Libraries of the Year focus within the pages of the weekly magazine. This coverage will include detailed case studies of how libraries are benefiting their communities up and down the country. It will interview the librarians who are reaching new and reluctant readers. It will discuss how libraries can continue to provide an excellent service on reduced funding.” … “Individual funded public libraries or a library authority on behalf of its libraries. If you are entering as an authority then you will need to highlight the performance of individual libraries under your management. School, prison, academic or specialist libraries are also eligible.”
  • Information Literacy and the role of public libraries – Libraries Taskforce. ““…the ability to think critically and make judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage with society.”” … “Information literacy initiatives in public libraries are hugely varied in scope and overlap quite significantly with initiatives to help get people online, to use the internet in their everyday life, to help them pay bills or claim benefits. However, some initiatives also focus on supporting people improve their health literacy, to make choices about their own or others healthcare. In many cases public libraries often work with charities who operate in the digital inclusion sphere.”
  • Jessie Burton: ‘I just write novels I hope people want to read’ – Evening Standard. London-wide libraries CityRead book. “It’s for CityRead, a month-long celebration of literature in which Londoners are invited to read and discuss the same book.”
  • Liz Jolly to be new Chief Librarian of the British Library – British Library.
  • Read Regional: Around the North in Twelve Library Authorities – New Writing North. “In a recent conversation, I was informed by an otherwise reasonable-seeming man that “We don’t need libraries anymore because you can buy books for 99p from charity shops.” I wish I could have hired him as my Passepartout on my Read Regional tour this spring (‘Around the North in Twelve Library Authorities’), as I’m sure it would have made him have a rethink. I’ve always loved libraries – I’m a former librarian and a heavy borrower with three maxed out cards. But visiting such a wide variety of them, meeting their dedicated and enthusiastic staff and engaging with the communities that use them has given me a fresh insight and an even bigger love. I’m halfway through my Read Regional tour … “

“I started off on this tour thinking it would be about me telling people about my book. But it has turned out to be much more of a two-way experience, in which, thanks to the safe, shared space of public libraries and their hardworking staff (and the amazing support of New Writing North) I’ve been able to listen to other people’s stories too. “

  • Statement condemning SCL/UKVI deal – Radical Librarians Collective. “Any system which boasts that it will ‘streamline’ services whilst dealing with complex issues such as the immigration status of individuals should be carefully scrutinised, particularly as many are concerned about the impacts of such a stress test on an already demoralised front-line workforce. ” … “We believe that the creeping normalisation and increased presence of Home Office divisions in public libraries will actively work against the creation of an inclusive and diverse public library service. “
  • The row over the New York Times’s depiction of austerity Britain misses the point – New Statesman. “He contended that a “brand new police station was opened in Prescot in January, alongside a new fire station”, noted that “the museum moved to a new location in 2012” with its site being requistioned for a £26m Shakespeare playhouse; claimed its library was still open on the grounds that it was “tweeting two days ago and I doubt it has closed in the meantime”, and flagged that the leisure centre two miles away in Huyton was “fully open with two swimming pools”.” … “But others said Snowdon’s rejoinder was itself inaccurate. Prescot’s library and museum, for instance, have both been moved to a smaller site in its shopping centre, where it serves communities who have lost their own libraries. The same is true of the new police and fire station, and the town’s leisure centre hasn’t been replaced like-for-like, despite the presence of the well-appointed facility in Huyton. “
  • What’s got PC gamers looking for their library cards? – Gamasutra. “or the last week players of Cycle 28, Pill Bug Interactive’s latest release, have been talking books! Whether it’s buying them or borrowing them from a library, the Cycle 28 community are trying to hunt down copies of James Smythe’s The Explorer in the hope of solving the game’s tricky mystery. Finding Smythe’s book appears to be a big breakthrough in the community’s 3 month-long struggle to understand just what is happening to Flight Lieutenant Olivia Bergen, the game’s main character, and how they can rescue her from what reviewers have called, “Groundhog Day in space”. ” … “I actually went to a library to sign up yesterday and search for the book. It was closed.”
  • Writing successful bids: a roundup from our recent Applying for Funding masterclasses – Libraries Task. ” we put together a programme of events which collated advice and ideas from a wide range of other funding bodies. We produced a pack of material, which include a template of questions to ask as you work through the process.” … “Treat an application like a job application – if the advertiser wants a single side introductory letter and an accurately filled out form, don’t send them a video and multi page brochure with lots of different examples of your work.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • Pacific – Pacific’s librarians hold summit in Fiji – Islands Business. “The Summit will culminate in the first ever region-wide Pacific Libraries Vision and Call to Action to inspire Pacific collaboration in advancing the development of public library services and to build and strengthen a supportive network that ensures public libraries are resourced and equipped to undertake their vitally important work in communities. ” [If you’re reading this, conference organisers, I’m open to be invited as a speaker next year – Ed.]
  • Finland – Mind-Building exhibition at the Pavilion of Finland – Arch Info. “Mind-Building is a study of Finnish public libraries and library architecture. The exhibition speaks for active citizenship, freedom of speech and equality promoted by the library movement and the power of architecture to be uplifting and welcoming. We celebrate public libraries as constantly rejuvenating hubs of social vitality and their role as public investments in a free and democratic society.” see also Why Finland is home to the world’s most radical libraries – CNN. “Is there any other nation that loves its libraries as much as Finland? In 2016, the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture revealed that nearly 2 million of its 5.5 million citizens were book borrowers, making 49 million library visits and borrowing more than 68 million books a year. “
  • USA – Delta Dental of Minnesota sends nearly 50,000 toothbrushes to libraries throughout Minnesota – Delta Dental. “o celebrate National Smile Month in June, Delta Dental of Minnesota is distributing more than 150 toothbrushes to more than 300 public libraries in the state of Minnesota. Using the tagline #SmilePower, Delta Dental of Minnesota is sending nearly 50,000 toothbrushes in total in an effort to support libraries in their important work to strengthen the communities they serve, and to help improve oral health care and awareness throughout the month of June.”

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Midsomer Norton library and information service official opening – Journal. “People are invited to help launch an exciting new chapter at Midsomer Norton as the One Stop Shop and library reopen as a combined service following a £350,000 investment programme. It will be officially opened on Monday 4th June by the Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Karen Walker at 3 p.m. Midsomer Norton new Library and Information service, in High Street, has been redesigned to give people the chance to get information, advice and services all under one roof in an integrated modern and more flexible and useable space for the whole community.
  • East Sussex – Council makes decision on future of Langney library Eastbourne Herald. “The Langney Community Library Group has welcomed the offer from East Sussex County Council to allow them to take over the fixtures and fittings, and stock from the current facility. However, due to contractual obligations, the Council is unable to allow the existing unit in the Langney Shopping Centre to be taken over for 12 weeks. In the meantime, the Group will be busy with preparations, setting up the charity and implementing their business plan with the hope of opening in the current unit in August with the support of the Langney Shopping Centre management and local residents. “
  • East Sussex – Five of seven closed libraries could reopen as community projects – Eastbourne Herald.  “This comes after Ringmer, Polegate, Willingdon, Langney, Pevensey Bay, Ore and Mayfield libraries closed earlier this month for the authority to make savings. ” … “East Sussex County Council will provide books, furniture and shelving to enable Ringmer Library to be reopened as a community library run by Ringmer Village Hall Management Committee, which owns the building. Meanwhile, the county council is recommending approval of plans for community libraries at four other libraries it either owns or leases: Ore, Pevensey Bay, Polegate and Willingdon – with a final decision to be taken by the lead member for resources in June.”
  • Greenwich – New temporary library set for go ahead on Plumstead car park – News Shopper. “Greenwich Council wants to build a temporary library in Plumstead High Street, close to Abery Street, while Plumstead Library is renovated. Planning permission was given for major development works to the Grade II listed library including bulldozing a building to the rear and constructing a two-storey extension.”
  • Hampshire – Work due to start on Gosport Discovery Centre revamp – The News. “The centre in Gosport High Street will be closed for six weeks, with a range of new facilities set to be added. These facilities include bookable meeting rooms, more accessible toilets and changes to the library space.”
  • Leeds – People and activities in Leeds libraries Libraries Taskforce. ” I put together this short blog to showcase some of the stellar work our staff has been doing with local communities.” … “a shared reading group at the library with residents from local care homes” … “Comics Club is in its third year. There hadn’t been any long-running children’s clubs at Armley Library before it was introduced. As well as Comics Club, Armley Library has a Chatterbooks group and a Games Club, both of which began the same time as Comics Club” … ” a successful multi-lingual storytime at Compton Library” … “flash fiction writing competition for Leeds City Council staff”.
  • Norfolk – Just a Cuppa – reducing social isolation in Norfolk – Libraries Taskforce. “In Good Company is an initiative aiming to drive out loneliness from the county. It promotes positive ways that people can connect with others in their community; and highlights that loneliness can have an impact on individuals’ mental and physical health as well as other effects. As part of In Good Company, we launched ‘The Libraries Loneliness Project’ in November 2016. Its aim was to deliver a consistent countywide offer – so that any lonely person could be signposted to any library knowing that there would be quality and effective support available”
  • North Yorkshire – North Yorkshire Libraries Puts Volunteering In SpotlightYorkshire Coast Radio. “North Yorkshire County Council’s library service is taking the opportunity provided by National Volunteers Week to thank the thousands of people who support libraries across the county and to give others a chance to learn more.”
  • Oldham – Oldham library sensory room – Libraries Taskforce. “On 22 March, with much excitement, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and with honours completed by our Youth Mayor, we finally launched our new sensory room at Oldham Central Library. Situated within the children’s library the space is free to both Oldham groups and members of the public. The room is equipped with digital sensory technology including musical touch wall, LED interactive bubble tube, fibre optic slideglow, LED interactive infinity tunnel and an LED sound activated step light.”
  • Scottish Borders – Scottish Borders school pupils take up library roles – BBC. “Several librarians lost their jobs last year, with less senior staff taking over from them, local democracy reporter Joseph Anderson writes. Now staff at Peebles High School, Kelso High School and Galashiels Academy have been told to expect to see pupils and volunteers working alongside them.”

“Our library is having a support the Library day as well as authors  workshops, we are all making postcards to send to Somerset county council to say how, as well as keeping our wonderful library we would like it to remain in the centre of the town the heart of our community.we hope to have a fun day,poems were also requested I have written one… but I don’t seem to be able to get it into poem like lines. It is about a friend with Dementia he could get himself to the calm safe space of the library. Also my friend with mental health problems,indoors claustrophobia,outdoors agoraphobia: she wanted to go out so much sometimes she could. She knew our library was a safe place with no pressure..” Our library is Shepton Mallet the fun day is Sunday June 3rd. 10am to 2pm. ” Somerset – Email from Wendy Madden