Two things that spark my interest today. The first is the continuing, and little publicised outside of the county, move by Cornwall to transfer numerous branches to town and parish councils. The media suggests Bude-Stratton, Redruth, Camelford, Falmouth, Launceston, St Ives, Bodmin, Camborne, St Austell and Penryn are all being transferred this way. This makes sense as lower-tier councils are not capped in the same way as top-tier ones and of course there’s co-locations happening in a few of these. Cornwall are clearly going for it big time with this option, as are a handful of others such as Swindon. I’d also expect others are quietly exploring this route.

The second is a couple of mentions of staffless/open libraries. Leicestershire are installing a lot of this in their libraries and, interestingly, one branch which is not having it is described as “missing out” in the local press. Such a description would not one suspect be shared by the Irish “Staff Our Libraries” which has uncovered evidence of widespread and repeated examples of people using the libraries without library cards. including children. It’s worth noting that there appears to be little actual problem or serious incident with this, yet, but the worry has to be that something really bad will happen in one of these branches and the council will then have to prove due care and attention was given. Something to weigh up when doing the risk assessment at least, including in Bristol where a few libraries will be going down this “extended access” route shortly.


National news

  • As the social divide widens, libraries are the bridge to culture, creativity & expression that our communities need – Axiell. “The consequences of underinvestment into communities and under-representation of communities are drastic, especially as we enter a more isolationist, post-Brexit era, where national identity is already coming starkly into question. … The argument that it is a false economy to cut funding to libraries, culture and the arts only grows stronger”
  • Book review: The Librarian by Salley Vickers – Lancaster Guardian. “When a young librarian arrives to start a new job in Wiltshire in 1958, she is full of hope for the future… until her ambitions are engulfed by a scandal that rocks the quaint market town. From the author of acclaimed novels like Miss Garnet’s Angel, The Cleaner of Chartres and Cousins comes this nostalgic but subversive story about the dangers of idealism, the joy of reading, the importance of libraries, and the hypocrisies that bedevilled society in the buttoned-up Fifties.”
  • Community Managed Libraries Conference: Links to resources and reflections on the day – Community Libraries Network. “Discussion among the group highlighted a number of different models even just around this small table of 8-10 libraries. Within the Sheffield libraries alone there are various staffing models with different levels of paid staff to volunteer ratios, although mostly volunteer staffed, and some pay their own utilities whilst others do not. Where facilities are provided this can present its own challenges as they have a challenge to get work done where there are competing demands on limited LA resources.” … “The question was posed to the table: Is your library part of statutory provision in your library authority? There was a lot of uncertainty around the table with many library representatives being unsure.” … ” a local bakery delivers to the library and customers collect their goods from the library. One library is looking into this and currently examining the repercussions and potential challenges of undertaking this activity.”
    • Marketing Excellence Awards entries 2018 – CILIP. “If you or your library team ran a campaign between January 2017 and 30th May 2018 to market all or part of your service, now is your time to shout about it! Submit your entry to CILIP’s annual Marketing Excellence Awards and be rewarded for your hard work.  The Awards are open to any library of any size in any sector across the UK. You will be judged on your campaign’s impact, effectiveness and creativity, not your budget. From stock promotions to storytelling projects, new online services to the launch of major new library buildings, the Marketing Excellence Awards exist to celebrate achievement at any scale. Awards will be presented at the Publicity and Public Relations Group annual conference in January 2019 and winners will be invited to present their campaigns. “
    • The Marvel Universe, Libraries today, Kizzy Crawford and Gwilym Simcock – BBC Radio 4 Front Row. “At a time when many libraries across the UK are facing an uncertain future, Salley Vickers has gone back to the 1950s for her new novel The Librarian. Salley, and Peter Gaw who runs Nottinghamshire’s libraries, consider how the role of the library has changed and adapted to a modern world, and the challenge they face today. “
    • ‘People’s Choice – Building of the Decade’ – vote for your winner – BBC One North West Tonight. Chester StoryHouse joint library/theatre/cinema up for award.

An online bookclub from Axiell International news

    • Denmark – Beyond tables and chairs: The Library as facilitating platform – Christian Lauersen.To me libraries are very much about learning and about people meeting, collaboration and talking. The library is also about collections for sure but a collection in itself is not the goal, the goal is to support learning, education and research and libraries are great at that so let’s just call it a library.”
    • Eire – Further breaches of safety in staffless libraries Staff Our Libraries. “There have been 29 tailgating incidents and 24 incidents of an Open Library member giving their card to another person. Most staggering of all though are the 158 incidents of open library members opening the security doors to allow access to another person. Most worrying of all the suspensions are those due to leaving a child without supervision in an unmonitored unstaffed library. In 2015 there were 4 incidents of a minor being left unsupervised during unstaffed hours, in 2016, 3 and another one last year. One incident should have been enough to prompt a review of the system and its safety.”
    • Global – An open book: a photographer’s love letter to city libraries – in pictures – Guardian. “Swiss librarian and photographer Thomas Guignard captures the beauty, symmetry and intricate designs of libraries across the world”
    • USA – Obama Foundation announces new public library branch – Chicago Trubune.  “Unlike other public library branches that close on Sundays and typically operate only until the early evening, the Obama branch will have hours that match the foundation’s other programs. But instead of full staffing, the branch will have self-service checkout options, officials said.”

Local news by authority

    • Bath and North East Somerset – Paulton Library under threat – Journal. “Due to the removal of funding from B&NES, Paulton’s Library is under threat of closure. Paulton Parish Council have the option to take over responsibility and run it as a community asset, otherwise it will close. Consultations are being held for residents of Paulton to find out more, ask questions and have their say on the future of the Library/Hub.”
    • Cornwall – Library in Cornwall could be transferred for just £1 Cornish Times. “Cornwall Council looks set to transfer St Ives Library to the town council for just £1, writes Richard Whitehouse, local democracy reporter. The library is currently owned and run by Cornwall Council but St Ives Town Council has agreed to take it over. It is the latest in a series of transfers of libraries to other bodies across Cornwall as Cornwall Council tries to reduce the amount of money it spends on the service.”
    • Coventry – Popular neighbourhood library at risk of closure – again – Coventry Live. “Earlsdon Library was one of five in the city that was threatened with closure in 2016 after Coventry City Council announced plans to save nearly £4million. It was saved when Earlsdon Library Friends – a small group of Earlsdon residents – stepped in to run it as a community-led library in September 2017. But the group has now announced it has formally stepped down as a partner to the council, and as such will no longer be running the library.” … “Members claimed it was only offered financial support “for less than one year” and told it would have to stump up the full cost of bills, business rates, insurance and more. The library will remain open as normal until a decision is made by Coventry City Council on its future.” see also Council ‘exploring options’ to save at-risk library – Coventry Telegraph.
    • Derby – City centre library move will see dramatic drop in books on shelves – Derby Telegraph. “Library book numbers are set to drop by more than 60 per cent when Derby’s new Riverside Library opens, a freedom of information request has revealed. Figures published by Derby City Council show that the current Central Library, in Wardwick, holds 48,500 books including those in stock and on-loan.” … “But when the library closes and relocates to the new Riverside Library at the Council House, the figures released to the BBC show that just 18,850 books are set to be moved to the location – a 61% drop. A further 11,600 will be shipped out to both Mickleover and Pear Tree Libraries – with up to 18,400 books being placed in “storage”.
    • Gwynedd – Library reopens after facelift – Cambrian News. “Bala Library has reopened its doors after a £120,000 facelift. The new-look library officially reopened to the public on Friday. The library returns to its original location on the site of Ysgol y Berwyn in the town following a temporary relocation to the Penllyn Leisure Centre whilst refurbishment work was taking place.”
    • Hertfordshire – Libraries could no longer be owned by Hertfordshire County Council – Watford Observer. “Following a consultation earlier in the year, county councillors have now approved a Public Service Mutual model. This could result in the creation of a new independent organisation to provide library services on behalf of the council. Although the library services would therefore no longer be owned or run by Hertfordshire County Council, they would still need to be supported by the full council.”
    • Leicestershire – Melton Library users won’t get self access technology – Melton Times. “Leicestershire County Council says up to 14 libraries will give members the opportunity to borrow, return and renew items or use the public computers, WiFi and printing and copying facilities after getting in using their library card. Birstall, Blaby, Glenfield, Wigston, Oadby, Shepshed, Ashby, Earl Shilton, Hinckley, Broughton Astley, Lutterworth, Coalville and Loughborough will all get ‘smart libraries’ by this autumn but it has emerged that Melton will not be involved in the scheme’s roll-out. Richard Blunt, cabinet member for libraries at County Hall, said: “At the current time, Melton Library will not be adapted to become a SMART library.”
    • North Somerset – North Somerset Council to cut Weston-super-Mare town hall and library opening hours – Bristol Live.as of Tuesday (May 8) the reception will close at 5pm during the week and on Saturdays it will open from 9am to 2.30pm. North Somerset Council has said the decision was made following a review of visitor numbers.”
    • Northamptonshire – Fighting council’s plan to shut 21 libraries – Law Society Gazette. Interview with solicitor who “Acts for a young resident and their family who have applied for a judicial review of Northamptonshire County Council’s plans to close 21 libraries. A spokesman for the council says it will be defending the legal challenges lodged.”
    • Northamptonshire – Volunteer groups hopeful of taking over all 21 under-threat Northants libraries – Northants Telegraph. “The move will see only the largest 15 libraries in the county remain open. Towns such as Rothwell, Thrapston and Brackley are all set to be without a library … A spokesman for NCC said: “We can confirm that we received at least one registration of interest for each of the 21 libraries earmarked for decommissioning. The next stage will be to work with groups that have registered an interest to look at their financial plans before determining whether they constitute viable proposals and can be taken forward.”
    • Reading – Join in with the 2018 Cityread in Reading – Get Reading. “Reading Library Service is inviting residents to take part in a month-long celebration of reading, running throughout May. London Cityread has been running since 2012 and each spring, Cityread invites visitors to pick up a book – the same book – and read it together. Cityread launched in Reading for the first time in 2017. Cityread returns to Reading, Berkshire in May and the chosen novel this year is ‘The Muse’, by Jessie Burton.”
    • Somerset – Save Highbridge Library campaign steps up pressure with new survey – Burnham on Sea.com. Online survey launched to see if public want library to remain.
    • Warrington – Friend of Padgate Library group formed by residents – Warrington Guardian. “The Friends of Padgate Library has been formed in recent weeks, following on from similar groups formed in Penketh, Stockton Heath, Lymm and Culcheth. These groups were started in the wake of Livewire’s proposals to close a number of Warrington’s libraries in 2016.”