There’s some great things going on in libraries. I see so much brilliant stuff in the news doing this blog and in my work regionally and locally. Up and down the country, library services are looking up from their books and reaching out the local community and beyond, working out what they need to succeed. Those services lucky enough to have both staff and have those staff be active and busy, rather than wait for people to walk through the door (and, yes, this still happens in places) can be something to behold. So well done to Liverpool Central, one of my favourite libraries, and to the others on the list. You do us proud and are, literally, examples for all. And, lest we forget, thanks also to the BookSeller who set up this award. It’s a magazine that’s taken for granted a little and perhaps not seen much in many libraries these days, with there often being limited numbers subscribed to it and perhaps just one paper copy per service, if that. But it does sterling work and its support for public libraries – comparable only to the Guardian – has been notable for as long as I can remember, with the current issue being a brilliant example of how it both reports on libraries and seeks to support them.


National new

  • Fun and games at the library Libraries Taskforce / Darren Edwards. “Libraries can play a key role in making this social aspect of gaming more accessible by providing an inclusive non judgemental space for gaming. Libraries can also stock games which can be expensive for an individual to purchase but compared to many library resources are relatively low cost, particularly when considering the number of people who can be using them at the same time.”

International Games Week is an initiative run by volunteers from around the world to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games. This year International Games Week is November 4-10, 2018. To take part you need to run a gaming event during or near to this week and should International Games Week.

  • Library of the Year: Ten UK libraries heralded as Liverpool Central triumphs – BookSeller. “The library (pictured below) triumphed in a field of over 40 entries to the award, including prison, school and professional libraries, and both large flagship libraries and smaller branch operations that serve their local community.” … “The judges felt Liverpool Central Library, which reopened in 2013 following major refurbishment, was continuing on a strong upward trajectory and providing an example that other libraries could look to for inspiration. They picked out its major success in increasing visitor numbers, running cultural programmes relevant to the community, offering excellent opening hours and a good ratio of professional staff, as well as working with local businesses, including booksellers. While the library acknowledges that it has still more work to do, it is demonstrating such ongoing progress that it deserves to win Library of the Year, the award judges concluded. Liverpool won out on a 10-strong shortlist which recognised success in a wide range of libraries. The other contenders were Storyhouse in Chester, Macclesfield Library, HMP Thameside in London, HMP Ford in West Sussex, Colliers Wood Library in London, Lochee Library in Dundee, Newham libraries in the capital, Royal College of Nursing Library & Archive Service and the East Lothian Council Library Service.”
  • London businesses offer study space to students as libraries close – Financial Times. ““I need a space for silent study,” said Daniella, who is studying sociology, Spanish and French A-levels. “I share my room at home with my mum and there’s too much noise. She’s watching TV and I get distracted.” Daniella is part of a programme responding to a broader problem of limited access to spaces for private study after school hours. Students often live in cramped conditions and the closure of at least 450 libraries across the UK since 2012 means they have few quiet spaces in which to study. “A long time ago, students would go to public libraries, but they are now few and far between,””
  • “Smells of dust, the dust of time, Egyptian dust…”Disney Ate My Daughter. A look at the decline in public libraries. ” Based on my eight years as an English teacher, I can guess that fifteen minutes private reading would go down very well with British children. The only problem is, where could they find the books?”

Axiell Selflib
International news

  • Australia / UK – Drink Your Way To Better Librarianship with @RobThomson2528Matt Finch / Mechanical Dolphin. “…the framework of Asset Based Community Development (or ABCD). ABCD says to look at your community and see what it has – both in physical infrastructure and non-physical social infrastructure – rather than looking and seeing what it lacks. The concept of ABCD is very well known in community development work or social welfare work but is almost unknown in libraries.” … “If we are “hard-wired’ into the community it’s a lot harder to get rid of us. Without being there, this is difficult to say, but it would appear that this may have been a part of the problem for UK Libraries in the past that didn’t get addressed soon enough. ” … “so forget about trying to build something you haven’t got – ABCD is about seeing what spaces you have already available that you can use. “
  • Eire – Council presses ahead with plans for multi million euro Dublin City Library Journal. “… the estimated cost of this project had jumped from €60 million when it was first announced, to €100 million, with plans for the council to take a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to raise the additional money to finish the development. Last month it was reported that a new government strategy for libraries would see all late fines across the country wiped. Extended opening hours are also included in this plan to encourage people to return to their local libraries. It is estimated that up to 3,000 people a day would use the new Dublin City Library.”
  • Pakistan – Recreational centres, libraries in shambles Pakistan Times. “… CDA chairman Kamran Lashari approved of constructing libraries along with the gyms to be benefitted by the public at large. Almost a decade after, the libraries and the gyms are in miserable condition. Many libraries suffer from scarcity of the books while the gyms are either closed or the equipment is rusty and unusable.” … “the libraries do open quite regularly but their timings have been cut short by three hours. According to the National Library’s website, the timing is from 8 in the morning to 7 in the evening. However, many libraries close around long before the prescribed time, they close around four in the afternoon.”
  • Sweden – The Alternative Nobel: vote opens for a surprising new literature prize – Guardian. “Sweden’s librarians have spoken: a wonderfully eclectic lineup of authors has emerged on a long-ish longlist for the New Academy’s alternative to the postponed 2018 Nobel prize for literature. Traditionally awarded in Autumn by the opaque and austere Swedish Academy, the Nobel was called off in March due to an ongoing sex scandal – and swiftly replaced when a group of the country’s cultural figures decided that the “world’s greatest literature prize” should still be awarded. “In a time when human values are increasingly being called into question,” the New Academy’s solemn opener read, “literature becomes an even more important counterforce to stop the culture of silence and oppression.”
  • USA – Communication and Conflict Resolution at the Library – Public Libraries Online. “About a month ago, I attended a conflict resolution workshop hosted by the National Conflict Resolution Center (ncrconline.com). I went in with the idea that I would learn skills that would help me deal with difficult customers. I mean, who else would I have conflicts with? Little did I know that the workshop would prove valuable in every aspect of my life, professional and personal.”
  • USA – Think libraries aren’t cool? Check out downtown Arlington’s new high-tech hangout – Star Telegram. “… there are books. A lot of them — especially in the building’s third floor, which feels the most like a traditional library. But the 80,000-square-foot building also includes computer labs and a creative space that includes 3D printers as well as a tech genius bar where patrons can get help downloading e-books to their devices or simply logging on to the Internet.”

Local news by authority

  • Brent – We want to be open in time for Christmas, say Friends of Cricklewood Library – Brent and Kilburn Times. “Campaigners working to re-open Cricklewood Library are still waiting to set foot in the new building.”. Library closed in 2011 and land redeveloped. “ne of the conditions of the planning permission was that part of the site would have to be used as a library – but it still hasn’t opened.” … “The new 2,000 sq ft space still needs plumbing and electrics as well as bookshelves and tables before the community can be allowed to use it. FoCL have been fundraising to fund the fitting out of the library”
  • Ealing – An Ealing library is set to close and the decision has been called an utter disaster – Get West London. “It’s just one of a large number of community centres, children’s centres, libraries and schools that could be sold off, redeveloped or relocated to help the council make savings in the wake of government cuts” … “t a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (July 10) councillors confirmed they intend to close Pitshanger Library when the 16-year lease comes up for renewal in December 2018.”
  • Manchester – Manchester Comics and Reading (MCR) FestivalLibraryLive. ” We have a traditional comic event, an anime / manga showcase and a cosplay event all rolled into one day and venue, but in three very distinct zones. Meet creators, join us for seminars, enjoy our comic trade and celebrate your fandom.”
  • North Somerset – Clevedon School pupils look to raise £12k for library project – North Somerset Times. “Students campaigning for more than £12,000 to fund a library and creative space suitable for students and the community.” … “Clevedon School pupils have teamed up to raise money to buy two shipping containers and transform them into a school and community library in a scheme called Project Xenia. The student group said: “With cuts to our library services, it is more important now than ever to provide our school and community with access to books and reflective spaces to read and get lost in a world of literature and ideas.”
  • Slough – Vacancies – Slough Council. 16 library assistants, 1 operational manager, 1 children’s specialist.
  • Somerset – Opposition councillor calls for all elected members to get say over Somerset’s library services – Somerset Live. “An opposition councillor has asked for all elected members of Somerset County Council to have a say on the future of Somerset’s library service. The request was made during Somerset County Council’s policies and places scrutiny committee on Tuesday (July 10).” … “As many as 15 libraries across the county could be at risk of closure if community support is not found for them.”