A few “extra” features today, Craft Council have been in touch about their collections and resources for library loan and Silva Linings have similarly contacted in order to let libraries know about a carer-based theatre show they’d love to tour in libraries. There’s also an email from Bristol to let everyone know about the weekly lunchtime lectures they put on there. I love this sharing of info and glad to be service. But I must say I love the idea of entering librarianship “to engage my passion for pushing in other people’s chairs” (and if you don’t know why, you don’t work in a library) even more. And the BookStart Bear guidelines absolutely cracked me up. Working in libraries, I often think one has to have a sense of humour and it’s not shown on PLN enough. What funny thing has happened to you recently?


Craft Council

Craft Council have been in touch about what they can offer public libraries:

Craft Club is a national support network that champions volunteer-led craft groups in schools, community centres, libraries and anywhere else you can bring people together to share craft skills. We will help you to find a local Craft Club to join, or give you the tools and knowledge to set up a Craft Club yourself. Our offer is completely free, and includes:

·         Resources offering creative activities and practical advice are available online (see ‘downloads’ bar on the right) or in printed format (you can request these via email)

·         Our Handling Collection Loan Box contains pieces from Crafts Council’s permanent collection and teaching resources for Craft Club leaders to run a series of educational workshops. It’s available for rental by libraries, feel free to email us for further information.

·         Our regional skill-share events, where Craft Club leaders can learn new creative and teaching skills in workshops delivered by our network of professional makers.  The events take place several times a year across the UK, sign up to our newsletter for details of any upcoming events.

·         Finally our newsletter goes out eight times a year with creative features, opportunities, crafty competitions and examples of other Craft Club’s achievements, sign up here.

Craft Club acts as a national platform celebrating and sharing the work that Craft Clubs do regionally in a range of settings, and advocates for the benefits of crafting together to wellbeing and community cohesion. For more information on how your library can get involved, check out our Craft Club Handbook

National library news

  • Building Connections Fund – Big Lottery Fund. “Following the Prime Minister’s wider endorsement of the Jo Cox Commission recommendations on Loneliness in January 2018, the £11.5 million Building Connections Fund has been set up to support projects that are able to prevent or reduce loneliness.”

The guide to using the BookStart Bear includes unexpected horrors

The guide to using the BookStart Bear includes unexpected horrors

  • Paul McNamee: Libraries give us power – Big Issue. “At The Big Issue we’ve been asking different governments for years to take the prevention message seriously. To get in early and make sure that where you are from doesn’t keep damaging where you’re going””

“Many thoughtful people from academia, local councils and from the arts world feel that we’ve created a play of interest to people involved or interested in care or caring, and that carers and their managers will find to be a positive contribution to their work… as you’ll see from this five minute film: Silva Lining’s Care Plan trailer. We will be submitting a bid to the Arts Council in Autumn 2018 for more performances of this play in 2019. We hope to perform it in a number of unconventional spaces so that we can reach people who might not ordinarily go to the theatre. I would like to hear expressions of interest from libraries – so please let me know if you would like to see a performance of this in YOUR library, so that we could potentially add it to our Arts Council bid.” Elspeth Penny, Silva Linings.

Axiell Selflib

International news

  • Finland – How to design the library of the future? – Insights from Helsinki Central Library Oodi – Princh. “At Oodi we tried to carry out an even more revolutionary change; to not have its own permanent staff but instead, have staff that would circulate with other libraries. However, this was not possible according to the City of Helsinki’s HR rules. Therefore, we hired people with the provision that everyone must work in some other library at least ½ year in a 2-year span. This is to keep best practices and know-how circulating throughout all the libraries.” … “The third floor we call the ‘Book Heaven’; with a roughly 100,000 item book collection. We also have the family spaces, with children’s books and some digital learning materials. For example, there is a virtual reading fox doing the same job as a traditional reading dog.”
  • USA – 5 Intriguing Reasons Public Library Staff is Crucial to Communities – EveryLibrary. “I’d bet that somewhere in the world at this very moment, a library staff member is making someone’s day.”

Local news by authority

“At Bristol Libraries, we are approaching the first anniversary of holding free weekly lunchtime lectures in the foyer of Bristol Central Library. We started small, and we started them as an experiment: never before had we tried to provide an ongoing series of weekly talks nor had we used that space for talks during opening hours, but we were being approached by so many authors who wanted to launch their books in Bristol. But within the first couple of months, our attendee numbers grew from an average of 5 to 27 and we were being approached by a range of exciting speakers who wanted to share their expertise – authors, professionals, academics – on all manner of subjects. We are also piloting family lectures during the summer holidays. My favourite moment of a lecture comes when I see someone walk by who, hearing the speaker, suddenly stops, leans against one of the pillars and becomes completely absorbed in learning; they hadn’t meant to stop but in those moments, they’ve lost themselves completely, engaging with the talk.

I’m always there to listen to attendees about how they found the lecture, if they have any suggestions which I can use to improve what we do. It’s not always possible, of course – I can’t change the fact that I need to work around the space in order to use it: before the lecture, I’m on the move – setting up, putting out signs and closing off exits – and throughout it I’m on hand to remind people gently the lecture is on if they have not seen the signs, or to grab more chairs if we’ve run out and someone needs to sit. Our lectures started small but they continue because of our strong will to provide more for the public, where we possibly can.  And we’re still going; we’re hunting out subjects that will appeal to different people, we’re continuing to pursue partnerships that will build yet more bridges, we have a waiting list of speakers and a growing audience; I’m proud to be part of that ambition.” Bristol – Email from Bristol Libraries about weekly lunchtime lectures.

  • Cardiff – National Eisteddfod Cardiff 2018: Crown for ‘exciting young poet’ and S4C scriptwriter – Daily Post. “he Cardiff-born writer wrote a large chunk of the poems in the city’s Central Library as she is keen to see the continued success of places where books, history and art are available to everyone free of charge.”
  • Darlington – Conservatives issue challenge to retain Darlington town centre library and launch heritage centre – Darlington and Stockton Times. “Crown Street library should be retained and a centre celebrating the town’s heritage, such as railways, created in the Victorian building, the chairman of the town’s Conservative Association and the leader of Darlington Borough Council’s Conservative group have said. “
  • Dundee – Talking ‘Bout Teddies – sharing the science of comfort in Dundee SLIC.
  • Ealing – Ealing Council ordered to think again about plan to ‘close’ library – Get West London. “More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for the council to keep Pitshanger Library in its current home” … “Ealing Council has been ordered to think again about proposals to close Pitshanger Library as we know it, after an impassioned backlash from local residents and businesses. The council agreed earlier this month not to renew the lease on the library in Pitshanger Lane and to look at moving the library to a different location, possibly to be run by community volunteers.” … “Council leader Julian Bell said Cllr Kumar was wrong to say the council was closing the library as it will look to find an alternative location and a community partner to run it.” … “The [oversight and scrutiny]committee expressed concern at the decision and demanded officers draw up another report to be presented to the council’s cabinet outlining the options and financial cases in more detail so that another public discussion can be had before a final decision is made.”
  • Merton – Merton’s first sensory library – Designing Libraries. “Morden library has transformed its children’s area into a space that appeals to the senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing – all helping to improve communication skills and encourage reading, giving children somewhere fun to learn.”
  • Northamptonshire – What will be decided at key Northamptonshire County Council meeting on Thursday? – Northants Telegraph. “
  • Where possible, county council services could be transferred to other organisations. This means that the county’s district and borough councils, and the voluntary sector, will be heavily relied on to continue services such as subsidised rural bus services, community libraries and grass cutting.”
  • South Gloucestershire – An Adventurers Companion – Libraries Taskforce. “culmination of a three-year arts project funded by Arts Council England and delivered by the library service, which involved working closely with mental health and older people’s services within the council and the wider community.” … “Artist Liz Clarke developed a physical travelling companion: a bespoke suitcase of exercises, resources, ideas and inspiration – which is available for groups to borrow from South Gloucestershire Libraries and use with their members.”
  • Sutton – Sutton Central Library – Designing Libraries. “Now a community hub, the space has been used to its full potential and is a success with students eager to study, local artists who can showcase their own work and view fellow artists’ work, and children who spend their day playing/reading while parents can relax but keep a watchful eye.”
  • Warwickshire – Let’s Make makerspaces in Warwickshire – Designing Libraries. “Let’s Make – the branding for the new spaces – was created using a variety of materials including pegboard, pinboard, plywood and orientated strand board. “We wanted to promote the fact that the space is accessible in the widest possible sense and hopefully change their perception of what Makerspaces have to offer,” says the company. The spaces offer the local community unique access to a range of digital and making technologies, equipment and facilities to explore new ideas and to create things in new ways.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Balloch library gets new make-over – Dunbarton Reporter. “The library was the first in West Dunbartonshire to benefit from the rebranding and branch improvement project, which includes book quotes on the wall, use of historic photography and modern information boards throughout. “