Further from my last editorial on the new DCMS Secretary of State, none other than the great Bob Usherwood emailed in to point out Jeremy Wright MP defended the so-called “ban” on prisoners buying books. See this. Yay. On the plus side, in the same article the MP does advocate for using the prison library instead so it’s not all bad.

In other news, well done to Lancashire who has reopened its twelfth library after the change in controlling party there. As a reminder, and somewhat confusingly for some, it’s the Conservatives who are in control there now. In addition, one notes that Ealing are looking to close down a recently refurbished library and change it to a volunteer one, perhaps in a local church. Not that, it seems, they’ve actually asked the local church yet. And Ealing is Labour. And Labour are as likely to cut libraries as the Conservatives, with both fine with volunteers (although Labour perhaps more hesitantly). What’s clear is that the overall political environment in England is austerity and so whoever is in charge looks around to make cuts. It’s not that the world is turned upside down – it’s just you have to zoom up a little to see the real cause, which is a continued national deep cut in spending on local services. There’s still enough UK money for Trump (who must be the anti-librarian in so many ways) to have at least £5 million set aside for his golf trip to Scotland. As ever, when it comes down to it, spending is a political choice. But that choice is more forcibly made in central rather than at local level.

Note: I described Nominet as a private company yesterday in my coverage of Two free guides for small businesses: Why get online, and How to get online. It is effectively a non-profit trust. My thanks to the Libraries Taskforce for pointing this out.



  • Doughty pleas with politicians to ‘support copyright and libraries’ – BookSeller. Louise Doughty. “Speaking at the Publishers Association’s Summer Reception on the Terrace Pavilion, the bestselling author said copyright must continue to be protected as the UK embarks on a new trading era. Without it, authors like her wouldn’t exist, she said. The Faber writer also called for the “powermongers in the room” to support libraries, which have faced widespread closures since austerity measures in 2010.”

” I would like to add that the other linchpin – and I’m talking to the powermongers in the room here – a) support copyright but b) please, please continue to support our public libraries. There were very few books in the house I grew up in, there were certainly no novels and I discovered fiction in my local public library in the small town where I grew up, so support for public libraries and education comes hand in hand with support for copyright law.” “

  • EasyJet launches flying libraries to encourage children’s love of reading – AOL. “More than 17,500 copies of books translated into seven European languages will be stocked across 300 planes this summer.” … “Research commissioned to mark the launch of the so-called flying libraries found that almost two out of five (38%) parents say their child has fewer than 10 books at home, and a typical British child aged between six and 12 has not visited a public library in more than six months.”

“Failure is an option! Come to the Failcamp unconference. It’s new! It’s by LibraryCamp. It’s free. It’s a safe place to share your fails! Attending conferences and meetings and hearing about stuff that goes right is good and important, but it gets boring. Learning about the stuff that goes wrong is much more fascinating. Dare we admit we all make mistakes? Do libraries suffer from cognitive dissonance? If people and organisations sweep failure under the carpet we’re doomed to make the same mistakes again and again. Bring your own fail and share it with the room. Get insight, advice and support!” Sue Lawson and Richard Veevers

  • Harry Potter: a history of magic – Libraries Taskforce. “Displays launched simultaneously in 20 public libraries across the country in tandem with the main exhibition at the British Library in London, and between 20 October 2017 and 28 February 2018 the displays toured a total of 40 libraries, from big cities to small towns, across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.” … “The most popular livestream in the series was Women, Witches, Witch Trials, which was screened live by 7 libraries and watched by over 280 people outside London – a new record for the Living Knowledge Network.”

Axiell Selflib
International news

  • ChinaHong Kong: LGBT-Themed Books Restricted in Libraries – Human Rights Watch. “Instead of hiding a children’s book about a same-sex penguin couple, Hong Kong’s government should endorse nondiscrimination and put the books back on the open shelves,” said Boris Dittrich, LGBT rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “While Hong Kong’s highest court is taking down discriminatory walls, the government seems intent on maintaining them.”
  • Germany – Berlin’s first Arabic-language public library aims to redefine refugee integration – PRI. “At first glance, Baynatna — “between us” in Arabic — looks like just a few hundred books, artfully arranged in a sunny room on the ground floor of Berlin’s public library. It’s much more than that. The small collection is the first Arabic-language public library in Berlin and, according to its founders, the first-of-its-kind Arabic-language literary and cultural center in the German capital, which is now home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.” 
  • USA – Ohio State Library Launches Custom Infographic Tool – Library Journal. “Although the librariesbythenumbers.org site only includes data for Ohio libraries, Kirstin Krumsee, government information library consultant and LBTN project manager for the State Library of Ohio, told LJ that the tool “is open source. We really hope that the project will be replicated by other state libraries, or that they would [develop] additional functionality, because we definitely see room for future development.”
  • USA – Surprise: Ohio library that eliminated late fees says borrowers return more – WCPO. “The Dayton Metro Library eliminated late fees and now says fewer borrowed materials are becoming overdue — and patrons are returning more borrowed materials — even though revenue from late fees are down some.” … “Under the new policy, borrowed materials not returned after 21 days overdue are now considered lost and the library adds a charge to the borrower’s account for replacement of the materials.” … “After 35 days overdue, the library adds a $10 processing fee to the replacement costs, and the borrower’s account is turned over to a collection agency. Patrons’ borrowing privileges are restricted if they have a certain number of items on their account that are long overdue or considered lost, he said.”

Local news by authority

  • Ealing – Council proposes a community facility to be resited to St Barnabas Church – Ealing Today. “Ealing Council is proposing to close Pitshanger Library when the lease comes up for renewal in December. “. Wants to move it into “community location”. “He suggested that St. Barnabas Church might be one option but confirmed no contact had been made with the church or any other community location so far. ” … “‘Labour have repeatedly promised that they weren’t going to close libraries, but as with the planned move and reduction in size and stock of the Ealing Central Library, it now looks like Pitshanger is another library set to be closed by the back door.””
  • Lancashire – Crawshawbooth’s library opens a new solo chapter – Citizen. “independent library and community centre has opened in a town as part of a local authority’s ‘transfer of assets’ programme. It is hoped the building in Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth, will become a hub of activity as well as lending a range of books to residents. The library in Crawshawbooth is the first to reopen in a building transferred from Lancashire County Council to the community under the Conservative administration’s programme to reopen several of the 26 closed two years ago.”
  • Lancashire – Library’s new home gets warm welcomeLancashire Telegraph. “It has moved from its old home at Coronation Hall on Cemetery Road into the town’s community centre. It is the 12th library to be reopened by the authority’s Tory administration out of 26 closed by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition.” … “The new Earby Library is a more modern facility in a more central location, and provides new opportunities to maximise its use by working with the groups which already use the community centre, and attract everyone who comes here for events and activities.” “
  • Northamptonshire – Borough council joins fight to save four threatened libraries in NorthamptonNorthampton Chronicle. “The libraries in Abington, Far Cotton, Kingsthorpe and St James have all been earmarked for closure in September by Northamptonshire County Council, which has said it cannot afford to keep them open. Despite not being the authority responsible for libraries, Northampton Borough Council has now pledged to work with residents to try to help all four in the town stay open for community use, after cross-party backing for a motion from Labour councillor Paul Joyce at its full council meeting on Monday (July 9).”
  • Oxfordshire – Summertown library to reopen next week following £90,000 refurb – Herald Series. “Summertown  Library will reopen next week after a six-week £90,000 refurbishment project funded by the community. The South Parade library has been transformed to create space for up to 100 people for events, with new bookshelves, an expanded children’s section overlooking Turrill Sculpture Garden and new carpet. It 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 Oxfordshire County Council cuts.” … Council says “We run 43 libraries in Oxfordshire – many operate thanks to a band of 1,000 volunteers working with our staff. “
  • St Helens – Gruffalo opens Church Square honesty library – St Helens Star. “Steve Brogan, centre manager of Church Square Shopping Centre, said: “We are delighted our Honesty Library is finally open and our shoppers have a space where they can take a minute out of their busy day to read. ” … “A wide range of books are now available for shoppers to pull up a chair and enjoy a quiet space to delve into a good story, thanks to Carmel College, Queens Park Primary School, St Teresa Primary School and other borough schools and companies who donated 900 books in total.”
  • Shropshire – Plans to tackle fall in Shropshire library visitor numbersAdvertizer. “Figures revealed last week confirmed more than 111,000 fewer people visited the county’s libraries in 2017/18 compared with the previous year – a drop of almost 11 per cent. It continues a long-term reduction in library visits. But Councillor Lezley Picton, portfolio holder for culture and leisure, said Shropshire’s library teams are already working on ways to bring people back. She said: “This is part of a national trend where the number of people visiting libraries is decreasing.”
  • Somerset – Decision on Highbridge Library’s future to be announced in October – Burnham on Sea.com. 7000+ consultation responses to be analysed. Detailed report to be published in September followed by decisions on closure etc in October.
  • Staffordshire – Calls for new Young Poet Laureate for Staffordshire Staffordshire Newsroom. “The role is open to teens aged 14 to 18 and is a one year position.  Applicants must either live or study in Staffordshire, share a love of poetry and a desire to promote it.  The successful applicant will take up the role from 4 October 2018.”