National news

  • Those long summers of learning and visiting the library have been shelved – Evening Standard. “My library was full of kids, all of us unknowingly learning and discovering, as Alan Bennett told me in my borrowed copy of The History Boys, that reading a book you cannot be lonely: “It is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” But now those hands are being snatched away. Councils are shutting libraries all over London; many of the survivors are husks serving up cheap bonkbusters; the once-great halls of literature are stripped down to the basics, so there’s little protest over their future.”
  • Working with the Taskforce team: spreading the word – Libraries Taskforce. “Alyn Thomas from Kent Libraries worked with the Taskforce on secondment for 5 months, and created new advocacy material which will help promote how libraries deliver against the Outcomes laid out in Libraries Deliver: Ambition”

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Local news by authority

  • Angus – Costs of upgrading Montrose Library exceed £1 million Courier. “Work started in December with an original budget of £820,000. However, major additional works were subsequently added, leading to the budget rising by almost a quarter to £1,015,000. The large overspend has been alleviated by an underspend on similar works at Carnoustie Library.”
  • Barnet – Barnet children protest over libraries – Times series. “Children from Barnet delivered an invite to culture secretary Jeremy Wright to tour the borough’s libraries in September. It was handed to the department for culture, media and sport representatives Simon Richardson and Sheila Bennett on Monday (July 23). Mr Richardson, who is head of libraries, has been handling the Save Barnet Libraries’ (SBL) complaint, while Ms Bennett is head of libraries strategy and delivery and head of the libraries task force team.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Residents spoke, Parish Council listened, The Hub is saved – Journal. “Following a public consultation and vote, Paulton Parish Council is pleased to announce that it intends to enter into an agreement with B&NES Council to take over the management of Paulton Hub from April 2019. This will mean that the library will remain in its current location at the Hub and continue to be a focal point for the local community. B&NES Council, as part of its Modern Libraries programme, will only keep control of three libraries in the area – Midsomer Norton, which has now moved to the Hollies, Keynsham, and Bath Central Library, which is going to become the new ‘Bath Library and Information Service’.”
  • Denbighshire – Drug addicts force closure of library toilets after staff’s grim discovery – Daily Post. “A sign put up at Rhyl library says “recurring” drug abuse means the toilets are closed on health and safety grounds until further notice. The closure coincides with the start of the Summer Reading Challenge initiative, which encourages children between the ages of four and 11 to visit libraries and take books out to read during the school holidays.” … ““On more than one occasion recently, our staff have had to clean up and remove drug paraphernalia left in the toilets, which pose a health risk to other toilet users,” said the council.”
  • Devon – Barnstaple Library provider defends claims service is ‘at breaking point’ – North Devon Gazette. Criticism that “Previously dedicated and happy staff are demoralised and describe working there as ‘just a job now’. “For years the library has relied on goodwill from staff. I have seen it stripped of goodwill.” … “A spokesman for Libraries Unlimited said the team at the Barnstaple library is well managed and supported, and the service works in line with the charity’s financial regulations and policies. “
  • Devon – Home library in need of volunteers – Mid Devon Advertiser. “Run by the Royal Voluntary Service, organisers of the service want to grow its coverage and attract volunteers to help. Devon Home Library Service takes books to people who cannot get to a library and is looking for volunteer coordinators who love books and reading.”
  • East Riding – Using Technology to help deliver the Health Offer: East Riding Libraries – Axiell. “Rebecca Tallon, Health Lead & Librarian and Gary Smith, Digital Services Officer (Libraries) at East Riding of Yorkshire Council discuss their innovative and holistic approach to providing the Health Offer. Through working with other council departments, such as Public Health and Archives, East Riding have been able to do more for their users’ health and well-being, whilst generating income for the library service and further proving their worth.”
  • East Sussex – Advantage East Sussex – Libraries Taskforce. “Advantage East Sussex, the title of our project, was focussed upon trialling new projects which we thought might be able to inform or be included in the East Sussex Libraries Strategy, due to be launched in 2018. Although there were 6 different projects, the common theme was around supporting our more disadvantaged groups in the county, and focussing on communities (both of people and place) in areas of high deprivation.”
  • Harrow – North Harrow Library to reopen in September thanks to community effort – Harrow Times. “Campaigners rejoiced after they successfully won a bid to reopen a “valuable” library run “by the community, for the community”. On July 20, the North Harrow Community Library Trust expressed “shock” when they officially took over North Harrow Library on Pinner Road three years after it was closed due to council budget cuts. The library was one of four others in the area that suffered due to £83 million cuts made by Harrow Council where councillors voted to close libraries across Harrow.”
  • Havering – Public toilets, street lights and libraries facing the axe amid Havering Council budget cuts – Romford Recorder. “Proposed cost-cutting ideas include closing public toilets, switching off street lights, merging libraries and childrens centres together, and increasing business rates of charity shops by 20 per cent.”
  • Manchester – Tourism’s missing link – Central Library’s astonishing visitor numbers – Confidentials. “Despite John Rylands Library being included in the top eleven of Manchester visitor attractions (with 242,892 guests) the most visited of all the Manchester region cultural tourist attractions is strangely absent. This is Central Library in St Peter’s Square which now attracts a staggering 1.6m visits. Since reopening in 2014 the figures have been continually improving.”

“Catch it during exam times and the place is full to the gunnels. Central Library is particularly a place for young people to study, meet, flirt in a place of calmness. “

  • Northamptonshire – Legal hearing over fate of 21 Northamptonshire libraries – Northants Telegraph. “Irwin Mitchell will represent a young girl from Desborough and Watkins and Gunn will act for the 20 other threatened libraries. Both legal actions will be heard together before a judge. The county authority proposed last October to close down the majority of its 36 libraries in a bid to save funds. If the proposal goes ahead it would see children’s centres and other community groups based in the libraries having to relocate. Caroline Barrett, a specialist lawyer for Irwin Mitchell representing the Desborough family, which cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “We have been instructed to challenge Northamptonshire County Council’s decision to shut 21 libraries across the county.” see also Scale of cuts will make this judicial review different – CILIP.

“Caroline said that although many previous cases involving library closures had failed to succeed in arguing that there had been a breach of the Libraries and Museums Act 1964,which requires councils to operate a comprehensive and sufficient library service, that “The reason this case is different is because of the extent of the cuts, which are so much greater than in previous cases. We’re hoping that the comprehensive and sufficient requirement will carry greater weight here because of the numbers of libraries which have been designated for closure.”

  • Northamptonshire – Wait for outcome of High Court hearing over plans to close 21 libraries in Northants – Northants Chronicle. “The legal team for Connolly also said that the authority acted ‘irrationally’ in its decision making by not taking into account the possibility that it might have to pay back a £1.1m DfE grant attached to the provision of children’s centres if it closes the libraries.” … “If we are required to revisit this matter there is no guarantee that we could stick with option two and we may have to reconsider everything.” The Judge replied: “I think that might be seen as a threat.””
  • Portsmouth – Why Portsmouth libraries will scrap fines for three years – News.  “All penalty fees for the late return of books were scrapped as of June 18, along with charges for reserving items. The scheme will run for three years, with a view to make it permanent if it proves a success. It is thought the removal of fines will encourage more residents to use the city’s libraries.”