The big news, especially for those who have been following the drama these last two years, is the announcement that Crown Street Library in Darlington will stay open. This simply would not have happened without the strong public response to the new, the campaigning and protest and, indeed, the legal challenge. The real challenge, though, now will see what the surviving library will look like – the fear is that cuts will be made to staffing and that other services will be brought in, reducing the space and “offer” that has made the library so successful in the first place. But, for now, well done Darlington campaigners. Well done.

Other news that strikes the eye is the large amount of refurbishment going on in Hampshire – well done again – and the confirmation that open technology, which is relatively slowly but surely spreading like self-service did, will be universally adopted in Bracknell Forest. Finally, interesting to note King’s Lynn – not a name that shouts urban deprivation to me – has had to call in the security guards. As a result, I’ve started a twitter poll on security guards in libraries which I’d love it if you could contribute to. Thank you.


National news

    • Britain’s shared spaces are vanishing, leaving us a nation of cliques – Guardian. “As well as the stripping-back of some of the most essential public services, one of the key effects of 10 years of austerity has been the crushing of countless other shared spaces: drop-in centres, libraries, Sure Starts. Perhaps the most overlooked casualties have been the hundreds of youth centres and clubs that have closed since 2010″

  • Council boss becomes chairman of national libraries group – Warrington Guardian. “Mr Broomhead has been head of the group charged with promoting libraries in Warrington and has now taken over as chairman of the national libraries taskforce.” … “”I believe it reflects well on the work we are doing here in Warrington to invest in and safeguard the future of our libraries. “I’m looking forward to sharing ideas, insight and best practice with the group, as well as using the opportunity to promote the good work Warrington Borough Council is doing to create a sustainable future for its libraries service.”
  • Relationship Manager, Libraries, Arts Council, England Arts Council England. £30k to £40k pr rata, job share. “The Relationship Manager will be part of both the South West Area team and a National art-form or cross cutting team and will contribute to the shaping and delivery of Arts Council strategy for the South West.”

Axiell Selflib
Local news by authority

“Because even in the digital age, a vibrant library can still play an important role in promoting arts, culture and tourism, in assisting the 11 per cent of households that don’t have internet access, in introducing children to the joys of reading, in helping students, and in providing a social space for older people. And a town without any interest in its own heritage is a town without a heart.

  •  Hampshire – An amazing refurbishment set for Andover Library – Love Andover. “Andover residents will have a modern, vibrant space to meet, read, learn and play in, thanks to £325,000 of County Council funding to refurbish Andover Library, which will contain a new community room and a larger children’s library. The £267,000 internal works were given the go ahead at Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage Councillor Seán Woodward’s Decision Day today (3 September), with the remaining £49,000 to be spent on fixtures, fittings and equipment.”
  • Hampshire – New library task force set to be created – Basingstoke Gazette. “Tasked with producing a plan to 2025, the group will be looking to find a way of continuing to sustain and improve the county’s service. Named the Culture and Communities Task and Finish Group, its scope will include creating an “efficient and effective library service for the 21st Century”. It comes after Hampshire County Council promised to spend £2 million on its libraries over a four-year period. “
  • Hampshire – Ringwood Library set for makeover – Daily Echo. “Citizens Advice New Forest and library staff will share a new helpdesk, which is being installed as part of the £17,000 refurbishment by Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) Library Service. New self service machines and carpets will also be installed”
  • Hampshire – Town library to get £316k refurbishment – with planned closures ahead – Andover Advertiser. “Hampshire County Council has agreed to renovate the space, in the Chantry Centre, which will see work carried out internally to improve the entrance, enhance the reception areas and modernise the building at a cost of £267,000. The redeveloped library will also have a larger children’s area to allow for more activities, a new community room, accessible toilet and flexible spaces for groups.”
  • Hertfordshire – St Albans library will close and offer reduced service while undergoing revamp – Herts Adviser. “Herts county council (HCC) are creating a brand new library with more room for reading, a book-able meeting room, better Wi-Fi, and a new creative space for users to learn a new skill or revisit a past one. No-one will be able to access the books for a full week from September 10. A reduced service will then run for 22 weeks until December, when there will be a second full closure, followed by another period of reduced access until the end of the works in early 2019.”
  • Kirklees – Library usage is shrinking – this is what Kirklees Council plans to do about it – Huddersfield Daily Examiner. “whilst that figure is up slightly from last year when it was 27.4% it is still lower than any other year since modern records began in 2005/06.” … “The council also sold off its mobile library fleet, which comprised six vehicles. Libraries in Kirklees are to undergo a massive revamp as the council looks at how to deliver services in the wake of ongoing cuts that have reached £3.5m.”
  • Norfolk – Security guards brought in to make King’s Lynn Library safer Lynn News. “Security guards have again been brought into Lynn’s main public library following repeated “serious” incidents of anti-social behaviour. Staff have faced intimidation and threats from some library users and have now said “enough is enough”. The incidents have also led to some customers staying away from the library.”
  • North Yorkshire – Volunteering opportunities behind the scenes at the library – North Yorkshire County Council. “County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Plenty of work goes on behind the scenes at the library to ensure that the library service across North Yorkshire runs smoothly. Whether a new book is intended for Scarborough or Skipton, it always comes through the headquarters in Northallerton. Back-up book collections are also stored there, and we are looking for support to process these books, as well as to supply other materials to libraries.””
  • Northamptonshire – Kettering children’s author returns with his second book – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Brian Brackbrick has a supporting cast of quirky characters, including: Fancy Nancy Sprinkle from the cake shop; Dr Harley Letters, the smart and stylish librarian; and Mrs Blumenhole from the flower shop. “
  • Nottinghamshire – Nottinghamshire Libraries modernisation programme – Libraries Taskforce. “The council developed a capital programme to modernise the network of libraries through both new builds and large-scale refurbishments, aligned with it strategic investment in planned maintenance works. The linking of the two was crucial as this reduced overall cost, limited closures and produced buildings that were more sustainable and would not require further major work for at least 20 years. In addition, investments in energy saving and co-locations were included as appropriate to the site and locality.”
  • Orkney – Orkney Library’s Fortnite joke tweet is internet hitBBC. The joke has 33,000 “likes” as of last check.
  • Sheffield – Sheffield library gets set for café culture – Star. “Anita Hollinshead, who has previously held leading roles with museums in Derbyshire and North Norfolk, will co-ordinate a submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund to renovate Walkley Carnegie Library. The HLF approved an initial £67,000 development grant last year, and if the full application is successful the work could be complete by August 2020. As part of the complex bid, a programme of outreach activities will need to be drawn up to prove the scheme will benefit the community, and lottery decision-makers also have to be satisfied the repairs will be carried out to a high standard.”
  • Somerset – Highbridge Library funding plea is “ignored” by local parish councils – Burnham on Sea.com. Neighbouring parish councils unwilling to help fund Highbridge volunteer library as Somerset pulls funding.
  • Staffordshire – Libraries celebrate as over 10,000 children take the Summer Reading Challenge – Staffordshire Newsroom. “Over 10,000 children signed up for the scheme which is brilliant news with over 3,000 children completing the challenge so far.  There’s still time to go until the challenge finishes on 10th September so I would encourage people to make sure they read their six books and claim their prizes.””
  • Swansea – Principal Librarian – Swansea Council. £32-36k. “We are seeking to recruit a suitably qualified professional Librarian who is innovative and proactive to be part of the library senior management team.”
  • Worcestershire – Worcestershire library book borrowing exceeds 1.5m this year – Bromsgrove Advertiser (cached). “ata from the county’s 23 libraries has revealed the most borrowed books of 2018, with author Lee Child claiming the top three spots in the adult fiction list. Night School, No Middle Name, The Complete Collected Short Stories and The Midnight Line were all among the most read, followed by Peter James’ Need You Dead and John Grisham’s Camino Island.”