Good to see the Summer Reading Challenge is expected to go strong this year too. It’s the biggest promotion by far that libraries are involved with and hopefully will continue to be successful. I’d also love for me to be able to say next year that there’s at least another national promotion that can challenge it in terms of scale – because we need national promotions for adults and, above all, for non-users. In the meantime, though, have a read of Philip Pullman.

Changes by local authority

National news

“It seems an act of destructive folly, almost unparalleled, to allow the library service – which was so good in my lifetime – to fall into such decay so soon, so rapidly and so carelessly as if it didn’t matter,” he said, “As if it was just a silly little luxury that we can do without. “We can’t do without it. It is absolutely, fundamentally, necessary.”  Philip Pullman

  • Reading Agency aims to maintain summer challenge numbers – BookSeller. “We are still finalising orders [from libraries for the challenge promotional packs] but they seem to be similar to what they were last year, and sales in Scotland and Wales are actually slightly up,” Anne Sarrag, head of children’s reading at The Reading Agency, told The Bookseller. Nearly all of the libraries in the UK (98%) are taking part, along with eight literacy centres worldwide, including places in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. One library in York is fundraising to pay for the challenge and, although Sarrag hasn’t heard of it happening before, she said: “As we move into a world of tighter budgets crowdfunding is something that may become more normal.”

An online bookclub from Axiell
International news

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Plans for up to five new voluntary libraries – Journal. “Five new facilities could be created in Bishop Sutton, Chew Valley School, Timsbury, Peasedown St John and Whitchurch – with support from the Council, but a greater reliance on charities and volunteers. The authority is also looking to convert five of its branch libraries into community hubs, and engaging with the public on plans for Bath’s Central Library after it dropped plans to move it to Lewis House.”
  • Bristol – Labour councillor defends comments calling for Wesbury and Henleaze library closures – Bristol Live. “A Labour councillor has defended comments calling for funding to be pulled from libraries in Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze after the ward voted in its third Conservative councillor.” … “Mr Breckels implied the ward should not receive help from the council if it is willing to vote in three Conservative councillors – the party which he deems responsible for the dire shortage in local government funding.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Toys will come to life at library sleepover event in Winsford and Wharton – Winsford Guardian. “toy ‘sleepovers’ will take place at library branches across Cheshire, including Winsford and Wharton, to promote reading for fun in young children. In a first for Cheshire West and Chester libraries, children are invited to bring a cuddly toy to the library, as part of the National Bookstart Week celebrations across Cheshire.”
  • Derby – Second city library to be turned over to Derby charity – Derbyshire Live. “Spondon Library will become run by Direct Help and Advice (DHA) from Monday, June 25. Its last day of operating as a council-run library will be Tuesday, June 12”
  • East Lothian – Public meeting to discuss Port Seton Library cuts East Lothian Courier. “A public meeting is being held tomorrow amid growing concern about cuts to Port Seton Library’s opening hours. The library will no longer open at weekends or in the evening from next week after East Lothian Council reduced its weekly opening hours to just 19 hours a week. Local residents reacted angrily to the news with an online petition launched calling for the changes to be scrapped.”
  • East Sussex – Look on this as a challenge – Sussex Express / Letters. Letter in response to previous one pulling out of library due to reading group charges. “As far as finance is concerned, each of our 11 members has contributed £5 for a float – and we draw on this to pay charges to the library. When we can see the bottom of our money-box, we shall ask for another fiver – and I suspect the cost will be not far off the £60 a year we paid previously. Being able to pick up the requisite number of books from the library does constitute a huge advantage to any group, so Denise Savage, be encouraged – and look on this as a challenge.”
  • Norfolk – The Norfolk Reading Pathway – literacy project in Norfolk – Libraries Taskforce. “This project has run for a year and aims to help non or poor readers to read. Volunteers support readers to develop their reading skills in one-to-one coaching sessions in libraries. It is based on the premise that anyone who can read fluently can teach a poor or non-reader to read in 6 months or less using the “Yes We Can Read” book, a one-to-one phonics based workbook. The project’s work is now continuing as business as usual across all 47 of Norfolk’s libraries and 8 mobile libraries.”
  • Redbridge – Libraries to receive £65,000 funding boost – Guardian series. “Redbridge’s popular annual arts and literature festival, Fabula, has been granted £50,000 to expand from a two-day event at the Central Library to a four-day event in three libraries across the borough. ” … “The second project, called ‘A World of Recycled Robots,’ is part of Redbridge’s Library Lab programme. It has been granted £15,000 by the Carnegie Trust. “
  • Scottish Borders – Borders schoolchildren being asked to take over axed library staff’s jobs – Southern Reporter. “Schoolchildren in the Borders are being asked to fill in for trained library staff as part of a cost-cutting drive by council bosses. Several librarians lost their jobs last year, with less senior staff taking over from them, but now staff at Galashiels Academy, Peebles High School and Kelso High School have been told to expect to see pupils and volunteers working alongside them.
  • North Somerset – Bid launched to save library – North Somerset Times. “There have been concerns over the future of the site, in Old Church Road, since North Somerset Council revealed plans to close library buildings in Clevedon, Nailsea and Long Ashton in an attempt to save about £140,000. But the building could be thrown a lifeline if a Curzon cinema-led bid for Coastal Communities Fund cash is successful. If the funding bid is approved, the council will sell the library, with the Coastal Communities Fund money being used to buy and adapt the building. Once complete the facilities will include theatre space, a local history archive and training provision, as well as retaining the library service.”
  • Somerset – It’s a ‘good, busy library’ but future is uncertain – Swindon Advertiser. Options are “make no changes; form a community partnership to run the library with help from the county council; and meet the statutory requirements through use of mobile library visits twice a month and outreach activity, such as access to computers, in various locations. Mr Woodhams gave the impression the county’s favoured option was the second of the three but he pointed out that no decision would be made until all responses had been scrutinised by the strategy team to produce final recommendations. The county council’s cabinet would consider these in October. Members of the audience queried why Wellington was in the ‘at risk’ group given the county had recently spent several thousand pounds revamping the building, it was one of the 12 busiest libraries chosen to have self-service machines, and had recently been described to the town council by a county council official as ‘a good, busy library, which was good value for money’.
  • South Lanarkshire – End of an era as Strathaven hall closes its doors for final time – Daily Record. “The library shut down earlier this month so staff could move stock and equipment over to the new facility which opened to the public yesterday. It consists of four separate areas which can be booked individually as smaller spaces, or joined together as larger spaces, depending on need. “The new library has a seating area where customers can enjoy a book over tea and coffee; a dedicated children’s area, and wifi.”
  • Swindon – Reading scheme to improve understanding of mental health will launch on Tuesday – Swindon Advertiser. “The 2018 Reading Well for Mental Health scheme will offer support to people who are concerned about their own or someone else’s mental health and will be launched at Central Library next week. “