The launch of the very good guide to privacy for library staff was a nice surprise – befittingly, they kept that quiet – as it is very well written and includes an excellent call to arms by Aude Charillon as well as useful tips and examples. Do have a read. Sadly, I think the only thing many public library services are currently leading on privacy-wise is not sharing their performance data. There’s an excellent article by Libraries Stats on the continuing drama of CIPFA trying to control access to library figures (or, rather, “professionally collate” them and then refuse to give them to anyone who does not have £650) and also the rather poor record of some library services in sharing their data on request. This is a very ironic shame, and shameful, for library services. I was taught in library school that we were signposts to people, not locked doors, but that does not seem to be the case for many. I hope the trend towards Open Data apparent elsewhere finally reaches the library sector soon.

Well, I don’t often mention my own library service on the website, for obvious reasons of the need to keep work and blog separate. But it would be off of me if I did not mention Cheshire West and Chester Council library service winning not just the Transformation award for which it was entered but also the Overall Award as well, and it would also be wrong if I did mentioned they’re my employer. So, well done colleagues, well done library service and well done the Guardian for their continuing support for libraries. That’s at least something that’s not secret.


National news

  • 31 days, 31 Creative Challenges. Bring it on, January – Libraries Taskforce. “Jemima Frankel from 64 Million Artists writes about this year’s challenge, and encourages libraries to get involved. ” … “The idea is simple. Each day in January, we’ll send you a short creative challenge that takes just 5 to 10 minutes of your day. Challenges are fun, accessible and free for anybody and everybody to participate in. You could be creating a castle out of random objects in the room, drawing 5 faces in 5 minutes or writing a poem inspired by a book title, or Mondays. Who knows where each day will take you?”
  • Chester’s award-winning library puts culture at heart of transformation – Guardian. Cheshire West and Chester Libraries win the Overall award and the Transformation award at the the national Guardian Public Service Awards. “A couple of years ago, the library service in Cheshire West and Chester was in decline. The number of visits had dropped by nearly 100,000 in the two years leading up to 2016. It seemed it was another casualty in the dismal UK landscape for libraries, where many have been closed or forced to rely on volunteers. Today, visitor numbers have rocketed by more than half a million, library membership has increased by 6% – up 11% among teenagers – and book borrowing is on the rise. Libraries across the district are now thriving community hubs, providing spaces for a diverse range of groups including a Syrian refugee sewing circle, and venues where health visitors can support hard-to-reach families and where young people not in education, employment or training are happy to meet.” … “The new £37m cultural centre Storyhouse, which brings the city’s main library, a new cinema and a theatre all under one roof, has been the catalyst behind this transformation of library services” see also ‘Outstanding’ Storyhouse library service in Chester wins prestigious awards– Cheshire Live and National Recognition for Cheshire West’s Libraries – About My Area.

“We hear so much about councils struggling to maintain services, but Cheshire West and Chester has rejected retrenchment and gone on the front foot with a stunning investment that has not only breathed new life into its libraries, but triggered a much wider cultural and community reawakening”

  • CWA Dagger in the Library – Crime Writers Association. “The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire. Only librarians can nominate authors for the award. It is one of the most prestigious crime writing awards in the UK and previous winners include Mari Hannah, Elly Griffiths, Christopher Fowler, Sharon Bolton, Belinda Bauer, Mo Hayder, Stuart MacBride, Jake Arnott, Alexander McCall Smith, Stephen Booth, Peter Robinson,  Lindsey Davis and in 2018 Martin Edwards.
    Nominations for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2019 are now open.”
  • Laura Swaffield: Everyday stories that show our libraries are priceless – Yorkshire Post. A long article by the leader of the Library Campaign on what makes libraries so valuable, and such value for money.
  • Leading the Way – a guide to privacy for public library staff – Carnegie UK Trust. “Leading the Way – a guide to privacy for public library staff  is designed to support public library staff across the UK to develop and enhance how libraries approach the topic of privacy and play a leading role in advancing the privacy of library users. The guide has been designed to help library staff to consider the kind of data they collate, hold and share about those who engage with their services; and how ‘privacy friendly’ their systems and resources are.  It includes practical steps that can be taken by those seeking to enhance the approach to privacy across different aspects of their service.” see also Public Libraries: leading the way on data privacy – Libraries Taskforce.

“I believe we should go further than respecting the privacy of citizens using library services: we should be taking a stand for it.”  Aude Charillon

  • Participation in Summer Reading Challenge falls 8% – BookSeller.  Sue Williamson, Reading Agency chief says “The Summer Reading Challenge remains incredibly popular and is still an effective programme: 98% of library services who participated this year intend to take part again next year. We will work closely with the library sector to understand the reasons behind this year’s drop in participation and to develop the Challenge accordingly. We need to ensure that mechanisms are in place to enable libraries and their partners to continue to reach children with the Summer Reading Challenge, especially those who would benefit most from taking part.””
  • UK public library stats – Library Stats. “There is very little available to the public, other than some DCMS funded PDF reports for each library service. With increasingly open government (to some extent), data portals, and open data communities, this has left public libraries behind other services in providing information about themselves. An increasingly embarassing situation given the nature of libraries.” Library services resistant to FOI requests. CIPFA claim “that the library service does not have to provide public data, as the public can go to CIPFA for data (£650)”.

“this is really where the disagreement is, between CIPFA and any public open data. CIPFA are a registered charity, and to maintain that status much of what they do will need to be claimed as being in the public interest. But data does not need to be assured by CIPFA for there to be a public interest in it being available. The idea that a small body of non library experts, with limited resource, is a better data validator than the library community itself is absurd.”

Well Read survey – Gocompare.com.
Axiell Selflib
International news

  • Canada – Local tales sought for short story dispenser coming to Calgary’s Central Library – CBC. “With the touch of a button, a machine coming to Calgary’s new Central Library will tell you a story. The short story dispenser was originally conceived in 2011 by a French publisher, Short Édition, which wanted to blend old-fashioned storytelling with modern technology.  The one-metre high machine has three buttons that offer one-, three- and five-minute stories, which unfurl from the printing slot below so you can take the story with you.”, library of things, kids/teen spaces
  • Canada / USA – Separated by travel ban, Iranian families reunite at border library – Reuters. “Estahbanati and her family had agreed to meet around 9 a.m. at the library, which through a historic anomaly straddles the U.S.-Canada border – and today has been thrust into an unlikely role as the site of emotional reunions between people separated by the administration’s immigration policies. ” … “The library is vulnerable to pressure from authorities because although the building sits on American and Canadian land, its entrance is on the U.S. side. U.S. officials allow staff and visitors from Canada to walk a few yards onto American soil without going through an official port of entry. “
  • Global – Help us demonstrate how the Public Library Manifesto makes a differenceIFLA. “On 29 November 2018 we will mark 24 years since the IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto was ratified in 1994. As we move towards celebrating the 25th anniversary in 2019, public libraries and public librarians everywhere are being asked to reflect on how the Manifesto relates to their library and to share this on social media.  “
  • USA – 5 “big” ideas that work well in small libraries – Insights from Maryann Mori – Princh. DIY Storytime “out a small display table with a few children’s books in a basket (picture books, easy readers and board books) – books are all centered on a theme. The display includes prepared craft materials with a completed example, and a stand-up note instructing parents and caregivers how to conduct their own Storytime with their little one.”, makerspaces, teen areas, collaborations.
  • USA – Should Book Choices Be Private? Harold Washington Library Patron Calls For Change – CBS Chicago. “Library patron Pamela McKinney says something was amiss when she went to pick up a book she had put on reserve. She saw shelves filled with books with receipts sticking out of the pages—with the full names of the patrons who reserved the materials.”

Local news by authority

  • Bexley – Festive fun in Bexley’s town centres over Small Business Weekend – Bexley Times. “Blackfen Community Library, a special festive event from 12pm on Saturday December 8 will include a free Santa’s Grotto, Christmas characters and Christmas crafts, all culminating with the lights being turned on at 4.30pm.”
  • Bristol – Residents should be ‘given options’ on how they want to see their libraries run – Bristol Live. “Residents should be ‘given options’ on the future of Bristol’s library service not just be asked what they want, scrutiny councillors have said. Last month the authority’s cabinet agreed to spend more than a quarter of a million pounds to create a new plan to keep as much of the city’s library service open as possible.”
  • Central Bedfordshire – ‘CBC customer service hub has taken valuable study space in Leighton Buzzard Library’ – Leighton Buzzard Online. “Jane Grimwood, who regularly uses Leighton Buzzard Library as a place to work, was surprised when she recently visited its first floor quiet study area and found that it had been “taken over” by a Central Bedfordshire Council customer services point. Jane claims that those wanting to study have now become “lost to the library”, arguing that not only have around 12 tables been taken away, but that the building is no longer a place where the community can go. She alleged: “The quiet study tables and chairs were used by freelancers, students, local historians, researchers, teachers and many others giving one to one tuition”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Cheshire West library opening times over the festive period – So Cheshire.
  • Essex – Colchester Tories fight plans to close libraries – Gazette News. “”They were there to challenge the points system that determines the grading of libraries.”This grading forms the basis of the future consultation but does not take into account important individual local factors.” see also Invest in libraries and more will use them – Gazette News / Letter and Islanders launch petition to save threatened library – Gazette Standard.
  • Hull – Hull City Council is spending a lot less on the city’s libraries – Hull Live. “Hull City Council is spending £1m less on libraries than it did seven years ago after inflation, according to the latest council spending figures. The authority spent £4m on the running of the city’s libraries in the financial year of 2010 to 2011 – the same period in which the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government came to power”
  • Hull – Transworld to mark Wood’s 25th anniversary with library giveaway – BookSeller. “Transworld is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Val Wood’s first novel, The Hungry Tide (Penguin Random House), by giving out 10 sets of all the author’s books to Hull libraries.  This year marks a quarter century since she won the Catherine Cookson award for The Hungry Tide and she has been published by Transworld since 1993. Her romantic historical novels are all set in the city of Kingston upon Hull in east Yorkshire. “
  • Kent – Should opening hours for libraries across Kent be changed? – Kent Online. “Libraries across Kent could see their opening times slashed if proposals by Kent County Council go through. The plans could save the council £1m per year but would see many libraries reduce their opening hours. But should opening hours for libraries across Kent be changed? We asked shoppers in Chatham”
  • Northumberland – Children take on libraries’ Christmas reading challenge – Northumberland Gazette. “The challenge, which starts on Saturday and runs until Friday, January 11, encourges children to keep reading through the winter holidays. The theme is the laugh-out-loud book There’s a Yeti in the Playground! by Pamela Butchart.”
  • Staffordshire – New bids submitted for community libraries – Staffordshire Newsroom. “With the deadline for applications closing yesterday, the submissions for Cheadle, Cheslyn Hay, Clayton, Eccleshall and Penkridge will now be evaluated by an independent panel and a decision on their viability taken in the New Year.”
  • Swindon – Dropping business rates for libraries will help keep them open says Swindon councillor – Swindon Advertiser. “Labour councillor for Rodbourne Cheney, Des Moffatt said: “I was glad to see the dropping of national non-domestic rates for public toilets. “I’d like to see the government get rid of rates for public libraries as well. I think that would make it much more likely that libraries will be kept open wherever they are.”
  • Swindon – Commercial and Income Generation Manager – Swindon Library & Information Service – Indeed. £34-£36k per year. “We are looking for an innovative individual with commercial skills and a proven track record in strategic planning, and business development. You will need strong retail and income generation skills and the ability to develop and sustain positive relationships with external stakeholders and clients. “
  • Wakefield – Libraries have a fine idea for food banks – Wakefield Express. “Wakefield Council-run libraries say they will accept food to write off what is owed on late returns. The initiative is run with local food banks to help stock them in preparation for the festive period. There is no limit to the amount of overdue charges, but all food must be nonperishable – in tins or packet – and must have a 2019 use-by date at least.”
  • Worcestershire – Have your say on the future of libraries – Worcester News. “A Libraries’ Transformation programme was launched by the Council in 2011 which has seen over £3.7m of efficiency savings made through community support for libraries, sharing library buildings with other local services, making changes to the Mobile Library service, streamlining staff and management structures, investing in self-service technology and modernising stock buying and delivery … As the financial pressures grow on the County Council, libraries must continue to evolve in order to provide modern services for residents and ensure value for money. ” [Wow, this council public relations doublespeak department has really gone all out on this one – Ed.] see also Meeting about the future of the library – Ludlow