A generally quiet few days for libraries, as befits a bank holiday Monday. I hope you all enjoyed the sunshine or did something (or several somethings) fun. Now it’s back to the world of public libraries. energised hopefully from the time off.  That should help you to keep on making the difference to the, oh so many, people who use your branches.


National news

  • Arts are best way to boost wellbeing in later life – Arts Professional. “Age UK’s latest research finds the majority (80%) of older people engage with literature, with reading for pleasure and using a library service the most common activities. 71% of older people engage in the visual and performing arts, including visiting museums, the cinema and the theatre; and 68% engage with ‘historical’ activities by visiting historic towns, castles or gardens. However, participation in these activities decrease as people grow older.”
  • Crumbling Britain: how austerity is hollowing out the heart of Tory Somerset – New Statesman. “Dulverton’s library, a former green-fronted old ironmongers on the main square, is also under threat – nearly half of Somerset’s libraries face closure as the council consults on making them community- or volunteer-supported instead of council-run, or replacing them with mobile libraries. In the consultation, Dulverton library has a “no change” option, but locals are gloomy about its fate.”
  • Ensuring the Resiliency and Value of Public Libraries – Public Policy Exchange. “This timely symposium will therefore provide an opportunity for; local authorities, commissioners, local community organisations, central government departments, resident advise services, community cohesion and social mobility groups, to engage with the Government’s ambition for libraries, and formulate strategies for delivering innovative, needs-led and sustainable services. It will also enable all stakeholders to identify and disseminate good practice in extending the creative and cultural role for libraries in communities and across digital platforms. “
  • Readers of the world, unite. Vote to save your public libraries – Nothing in the Rule Book. “fter years of a Conservative government in the UK houses of parliament, funding for libraries has been repeatedly slashed – with local conservative councils often cutting funding completely.” … “What this all means in the immediate term is a need to vote for your local councillors based on their personal commitment to libraries in your area.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

  • Australia – Building a Credible Online Presence for Library Professionals – Medium / Jane Cowell. “regardless of where you are in your career it is essential to have a credible and professional online brand. “
  • Canada – Vernile announces more money for libraries – Kitchener Post. “With a general election looming, Ontario’s Liberal government has committed to increasing operational funding for local libraries for the first time in more than 20 years. The $51-million increase announced Friday morning at the Kitchener Public Library will be phased in over three years and is the first increase since the province cut its funding by 50 per cent back in 1996. “This restores it to 1996 levels,” said Stephen Abram, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. “Going forward, we’re hoping it will be indexed to inflation.”
  • Eire – Why libraries matter: a personal view by novelist Salley Vickers – Irish Times. “We live in an age of terrible philistinism – perhaps more so in Britain (which I think of as culturally more barbaric than Ireland). The current decimation of our libraries here is a public disgrace, especially the loss to our children. People speak idly of the superior powers of the internet, of digital reading but not all children are lucky enough to have these resources. How on earth are they anyway supposed to know what to read if the choices are not in plain sight– if there are not wise and engaged librarians to steer them towards treasures that may otherwise be passed unseen?”
  • USA – Library Systems Report 2018 American Libraries.
  • USA – UK local elections eyed as pre-Brexit political barometer – Washington Post. “The Conservatives, who have been in power nationally since 2010, braced for losses amid anger over unsteady Brexit negotiations, an explosive immigration scandal and years of public spending cuts that have seen local officials close libraries and slash services.”

Local news by authority

  • Brent – Brent Annual Library Visits Rise Yet Again – James Powney’s Blog. “Brent Library visits have risen yet again.  The annual figure is 4.5% up on last year (2,547,168).  The graph above shows the continuously upward trajectory since the decision to transform public libraries in Brent was taken back in 2011.  In my view, it is since the decision to transform public libraries in Brent was taken back in 2011.  In my view, it is a clear demonstration that a public network of libraries is far preferable to a privatised one. “
  • Bristol – Bristol MP inadvertently reveals two libraries which will be saved from closure – Bristol Live. “Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones, says he has been personally assured two libraries within his constituency will be saved from closure. The Labour politician claims Bristol City Council Deputy Mayor, Asher Craig, told him the Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze facilities will remain open as the authority looks to close up to 17 of the city’s 27 libraries.”
  • Cardiff – A new library and café to be built in a hospital chapel – Wales Online. “Plans to turn Cardiff Royal Infirmary’s chapel in Newport Road into a new library, café and meeting space have been released. Roath Library shut in November 2014 due to a boiler failure and a leaky roof and campaigners had argued Cardiff council should bring the library back into use at its current site.” … “Plans to turn Cardiff Royal Infirmary’s chapel in Newport Road into a new library, café and meeting space have been released. Roath Library shut in November 2014 due to a boiler failure and a leaky roof and campaigners had argued Cardiff council should bring the library back into use at its current site.”
  • Cheshire East – Library to host art exhibited by people with learning disabilities Cheshire East Council. “The artists attend three Macclesfield-based day service centres – Brocklehurst, Mayfield and the Lifestyle Centre – which provide specialist social care daytime support for adults with learning disabilities, autism, epilepsy and dementia.”
  • Cornwall – Locals could be ‘taxed twice’ after St Ives library deal – Pirate FM.When St Ives Town Council discussed the plans in January there were some concerns from councillors that taxpayers would be “double taxed” when the takeover happens, as they would be paying additional council tax to the town council to run the library while also paying tax to Cornwall Council which still runs some libraries in the county.”
  • Coventry – Earlsdon Library under threat as board pulls out of formal takeover over council funding concerns – Coventry Observer. “Earlsdon Library Friends’ (ELF’s) board informed members in writing last week of their collective action, claiming Coventry City Council had refused to meet the building’s maintenance costs for two or fhree years to help the community project become established. They had stepped in with a community take-over last year to prevent the celebrated 106-year-old Carnegie library’s closure from council cuts. Councillor Kevin Maton has now, in election week, responded to news of the resignations by claiming the council will do what it can to help the library survive.”
  • Lancashire – “Bonkers” plans to switch librarians from Colne to Nelson – Lancashire Telegraph. “Bosses at Lancashire County Council are proposing transferring staff from Nelson Library to Colne Library and vice versa following a change to the opening hours of libraries across the county. It is believed the staff at both libraries were informed about the proposed changes last week and could be forced to move despite their reluctance because of their friendships they have built with users. The move comes after new county-wide standardisation of opening hours was introduced by the Conservative administration at County Hall in Preston where libraries have been allocated to one of four different bands depending on local need.”
  • Lancashire – Lancashire libraries book to boost mental health for young – Lancashire Telegraph. “he libraries will be highlighting their selection of Reading Well books including collections of self-help volumes chosen by health professionals, covering common mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress, depression, eating disorders and self-harm. “
  • North Somerset – Weston Town Hall and library opening hours reduced again – Mercury. “Opening hours at Weston’s Town Hall will be reduced again – decreasing the amount of time the police desk is available to people to report crimes in person.” … “A spokesman said: “A review of visitor numbers has shown, on average, only one or two enquiries are made at the Town Hall reception between 5-8pm Monday to Friday and between 2.30-7pm on Saturdays. “Use of the library is also low at these times so, in order to make best use of resources, North Somerset Council is reducing the opening hours.””
  • Northern Ireland – Libraries in Northern Ireland join breastfeeding scheme – Belfast Live. “The new members will take the number of businesses, council facilities and popular tourist attractions signed up to the scheme to over 600”
  • Oxfordshire – Summertown library’s future is secured after six-year £90,0000 fundraiser – Oxford Times. “future of Summertown’s library has been secured for generations to come after the community ‘took a stand against savage cuts’ and raised £90,000 in six years. The South Parade hub was under threat of closure in 2011 before high-profile writers including Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman starred in a campaign to save it from county council cuts. A six-year fundraising campaign to renovate and protect it for future generations has finally reached its target and work will begin in the summer.”
  • Scottish Borders – Scottish Borders libraries not ‘quiet places’ any more – BBC. “The council’s executive committee agreed the move to allow conversations and the use of electronic devices. The management rules were drawn up after public consultation found most people were in favour of them. However, one comment did suggest that libraries should continue to be places where people could only speak in “hushed voices”.”
  • Somerset – Mass book withdrawal at Wiveliscombe Library – Wellington Weekly News. “Supporters of Wiveliscombe Library will be taking part in a mass book withdrawal next week. Somerset County Council wants to make the library – which serves a rural population of 7,000 people and has 23,000 visitors a year – a community-run amenity or replace it with a mobile service. The council is consulting on the future of the county’s libraries as it looks to save money”
  • Somerset – Somerset libraries could be forced to share staff as council consults on their futures – Somerset Live. “Somerset County Council is consulting on the future of its libraries, with a total of 15 across the county at risk of closure unless some form of community support is put in place.” … “”As a group we see Somerton Library as an essential part of a thriving community. We therefore want it to remain open. We do not consider the mobile option as feasible for Somerton, due to potential lack of access for the disabled, school class visits and no flexibility for working people about when they can access their library. It also implies that a library mainly lends books, but our library does so much more than this.”
  • West Lothian – West Lothian community want council to save their library from potential cuts – Daily Record. “Residents of Craigshill are against a merger of Almondbank Library and Lanthorn Library at a central location in Livingston” .. “Craigshill residents want Almondbank Library to be saved from a potential merger with Lanthorn Library into a central Livingston location, saying the library, contained within the Almondbank Centre, is the community’s hub. However, the council have said that no decisions have been made and any proposed merger of libraries would not affect the overall centre as there are no plans to close it.”