Considering that it has been a fairly quiet few days, what a heck of a lot of national newspaper coverage. The Express continues its quite impressive “crusade” for libraries with a couple of big of articles this weekend and, I understand, more coming in the next week. The newspaper, not known for its pro-public service sympathies, is publishing a few pro-library articles a week at the moment, which is brilliant as I suspect the decision-makers tend to discount the Guardian (the normal reporter on library matters). The Independent too has published three stories this weekend too, which is fantastic. And all of these articles in both papers have been entirely positive about the sector which is great.

Oh, and I love the “50 times libraries surprised everyone” article by Boredpanda. There were a couple on there I’ve not seen before, including having the books lying down and spine up so people can clearly see their titles. I’ve been collecting ideas and innovations for public libraries for a few years now, by the way, and recently updated by seriously nerdy list here.



National news

  • Camilla turns to poetry to inspire young to use libraries – Express. “Camilla,71, read to pupils from three Wiltshire primary schools. She chose Come Into the Woods, a poem penned by local author Alfred Williams who died in 1930: “Come into the woods, the wild birds are singing, The white hawthorn’s scent wafts into the wind, The skylark is up and the sheep-bells are ringing, Young Pleasure’s before and old Sorrow’s behind.” The Duchess was visiting North Swindon Library in her role as patron of the National Literacy Trust.” … “Author and illustrator Steve Antony, patron of Swindon libraries’ children’s reading services, said: “I cannot begin to say just important it is for children to have access to a public library. “One of the reasons I try to do as much as I can with the libraries is to make children and adults aware of what’s on offer.”
    • Children’s library books ‘vanishing from shelves’ – Sunday Express. “More than 1.7 million books have been cut from public libraries in the past year with children’s titles suffering the biggest cull, shocking figures have revealed. There were 184,775 fewer children’s non-fiction books on library shelves in 2018 compared with the previous year, a drop of 4.1 per cent.” … “Last night, shadow culture secretary Tom Watson, who is backing our campaign, said public libraries are paying the price after council budgets had been “cut to the bone”. He said: “No child should visit a library to find empty shelves.”
    • Delighted nine-year-old helps Camilla cut cake during library visit – Gazette News.
  • Council funds for libraries, museums and galleries cut by nearly £400m over eight years, figures reveal – Independent. “Libraries, museums and art galleries across England have had their funding slashed by nearly £400m in the past eight years, forcing hundreds to close, The Independent can reveal. Leaders of county councils, which are mainly Conservative-run, say spending cuts have been made to the arts and education to ensure there is enough funding to provide care for the elderly and the vulnerable. It comes as Essex County Council plans to close a third of its 74 libraries, while Birmingham City Council is looking to reduce its grants to arts and cultural organisations by nearly 50 per cent.”
    • Libraries should not be about nostalgia – my kids have taught me that – Independent / David Quantick. “… a library is a colourful, living experience, all about potential, and roads not yet taken.Libraries are portals to other worlds; supporting and funding them is supporting the future, not the past. Without them, we’re just rooted in the present, watching lives go by that we never got to live.”
    • Library funding cuts mean we are denying people the joy of reading for pleasure – Independent / Cressida Cowell. “We need public and school libraries where the books look modern and exciting and relevant to the children’s lives, like sweets, not brussels sprouts” … “If your parents can’t afford to buy books, and there is no public library to borrow them from, and your primary school hasn’t got a school library, how on earth are you supposed to become a reader for pleasure when you have no access to books whatsoever?” … “We need librarians in school and public libraries, who are expert in getting children to read for pleasure, and getting the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time.”

    Axiell Selflib

International news

  • USA – A Fine Way to Encourage Reading – Now I Know. “many kids with fines don’t have to have those conversations with their parents — they can avoid the fine simply by avoiding taking other books the library. (And at that point, the library is going to suspend their borrowing privileges anyway.) The result is a lose-lose situation: the kids read less and the library doesn’t get that $10 anyway. So, the Los Angeles County library system fixed it. They call it the “Great Read Away.”

Local news by authority

“We have served over 500 cups of coffee and 300 slices of cake”