I was asked the other day by someone reasonably senior in a library service for a guide for which bodies do what in the public libraries sector. It strikes me that I’ve never actually seen one so I’ve started creating one. It’s simple and misses a few things – sorry Carnegie and ASCEL, there’s note enough space and I’m not going to touch the minefield of volunteer libraries and parish councils – but should give some ideas. Also, some of it is open to interpretation. I got some push back from various people on Twitter about how certain bodies aren’t doing their jobs and that’s always going to happen. So, rather, use the chart as an idea for what should be happening, not necessarily what you feel actually is. And let me know if I have anything actually wrong.

I tweeted an original draft of this chart on Saturday night and it’s been amended a bit since then. One of the things I’ve never really properly grasped before is that while the DCMS has the duty of superintending libraries, it is the MHCLG who provided much of the funding, which is set-up that Nick Poole notes is bound to cause problems. Judging from Twitter, a few people are shocked by how small some of these bodies actually are. Anyway, comment directly if you wish or email me at ianlibrarian@live.co.uk with your thoughts. The chart is free to use and share under CC BY. If the image below does not open properly, it’s available via Google Docs. or via this tweet and, if worse comes to the worst and you’re reading this on a council machine with security blocks on it everywhere, email me and I’ll send it to you that way.

Wait until you realise it’s not the same outside of England.



National news

  • ACE takes on Libraries Taskforce  – BookSeller. “Arts Council England (ACE) has taken on the work of the Libraries Taskforce until March 2020, as part of its remit as the development agency for libraries. However no further funding for the Taskforce has been allocated after that point. ” … “In practice this will involve the coordination of Taskforce activities, research to support the Taskforce’s work, governance arrangements, assisting in the regional development of the sector and managing communications for the Taskforce.”

“The transition of Taskforce responsibilities signifies an acknowledgement that ACE, working closely with CILIP, Libraries Connected and the British Library, is ideally-placed to lead the next phase of library sector development. We look forward to working with the Taskforce both to highlight the fantastic work delivered by libraries across the country every day and to addressing the challenges brought about by budget cuts and devolution.” Nick Poole, CILIP.

  • CILIP wins approval for new Apprenticeship standard for Library and Information Sector – CILIP. “The CILIP-led ‘trailblazer’ group has successfully won full approval for a Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard for the library and information profession. The Standard is for Level 3 – Library/Information/Archive Services Assistant and fulfils a vital role in ensuring that employers in all sectors are able to offer high-quality apprenticeships, which help build their information capability and develop up-to-date skills.”
  • New award champions books for babies and under-fives – Nursery World. “BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, has announced a prize for the best books for sharing with babies and children under five.

The BookTrust Storytime Prize has been launched in partnership with Youth Libraries Group. Public librarians will be part of the specialist panel which will help select the shortlist of six new books, which must be first published between 1 March 2018 and 28 February 2019 to be eligible”

Axiell Selflib
International News

  • Finland – The Big Issue’s Top 100 Changemakers 2019: Finland – Big Issue. “Closing libraries may be all the rage in the UK – 800 plus have gone since 2010 – but the Finns waved goodbye to 2018 with the opening of the €98 million (£88m) Oodi Library.”  … ““It is wonderful that Finland is becoming known worldwide as a pioneer of library services. We may be the only country in the world where people queue to gain entry to a library” [This is actually quite common in the UK too – Ed.]
  • Singapore – Biggest shopping mall library offering views of Sentosa to open in VivoCity on Jan 12 – Straits Times. “Visitors to the new library @ harbourfront may find it a challenge to pore over a book, with its location on the third level of VivoCity offering sweeping views of the sea and Sentosa.The coastal theme runs through the facility, which opens on Jan 12, from its blue-green colour scheme to deck chairs for readers to relax in as they browse the refreshed collection of 200,000 books. Spanning 3,000 sq m, or about half a football field, the library @ harbourfront is the biggest library to be located in a mall.”. Video shows beautiful harbour views, shelves lit from back and floor, touchscreens everywhere, sensory room and, interestingly, volunteers shelving the books. “There are six learning pods for adults to access digital content and resources to upgrade their skills, such as TED talk videos and online courses from LyndaLibrary.” … “The adult zone will be run by volunteers, similar to the arrangement at a number of existing libraries including library @ chinatown and Bukit Panjang Public Library.”
  • UK and Australia – 7 statements library professionals should rethink in 2019– Princh.“There are many things that libraries got attached to in their long history such as fines, the library card, the Dewey classification and many other things that librarians have tested: the switch of focus from books to other activities, the removal of quiet zones and more. Some of them are not that successful anymore or still need more time to see the actual results. To get more insights about a few statements library professionals should rethink in 2019, we have talked with two library experts for their insights and advice: Ian Anstice, editor of Public Libraries News (United Kingdom) and Jane Cowell, Chief Executive Officer at Yarra Plenty Regional Library (Australia).”

“I started visiting other library services who told me to my face that what I know works cannot work and that my service must be in some posh magic wonderland that is unlike theirs. No, it’s not” [I know I’m quoting myself but this is true and it gets to me – Ed.]

Local news by authority

  • Brent – Council cancels library cuts for time being – Harrow Times. “In a draft budget report presented in October, it was suggested that opening hours at some of the borough’s six council-run libraries be cut.This would have resulted in a saving of £150,000 and Cllr McLennan confirmed that, while it is not necessarily dead and buried, the idea has, at this time, been pulled.”
  • Ealing – Consultation coming on Ealing’s libraries and children’s centres – Chiswick Herald. “Councillor Jasbir Anand, Cabinet Member for Business and Community Services, explained: “We want to keep our libraries open, but government cuts mean that we must look with fresh eyes at how they are operated. Our proposals include plans to carry on directly operating six of our 13 libraries, changing the opening hours so they stay open at the times when they are most used. We will also ask local groups to come forward and take on the long-term management of the remaining seven. “Community-managed libraries are a feature of many communities across the country and could be a real success for Ealing. We want to keep our libraries open and we need local people to get involved.”
  • Essex – ‘Doomed to failure’: Residents criticise alternative library plans ahead of planned closure – East Anglian Daily Times. “The Prettygate representative resigned from her post as cabinet member for culture and communities at Essex County Council on Thursday, January 10. In a letter to the county council leader David Finch, she cited the threat of closure to the Prettygate Library as one of the reasons why she had made the decision.”
    • Essex County Council accused of ‘gagging’ library staff – Gazette News. “The body which represents trade unions in the town said it has demanded an explanation from Essex County Council after hearing staff have been banned from talking to councillors ahead of a campaign meeting Thursday tonight. Tory councillors will meet campaigners at the Prettygate Pub in Colchester to discuss the potential closure of Prettygate Library by the county council.” … “Staff have been told to refer inquiries to a telephone number. Managers are believed to be intimidating staff to stop them talking with Unison, or members of the public. “
  • Kent – Consultation on cuts to opening hours of Kent’s libraries concluding – Kent Online. “A consultation into plans to cut the opening hours of many of Kent’s libraries concludes later this month – with council bosses needing to save £1 million. Under the strategy, libraries will be grouped according to an assessment of how well used they are throughout the day with their opening hours being adjusted based on the number of people coming through the doors.”
  • Kirklees – Future of village library will be decided on Monday – Examiner Live. “Villagers who are fighting to save their beloved library building in Almondbury from closure will learn its fate on Monday (Jan 21). Kirklees Council announced plans to move library services in the village from the Carnegie Building, on Stocks Walk, to the former SureStart Centre off Fairfield Road. The authority intends to shut and sell off the late Victorian building – the first purpose-built library in Huddersfield – as it is deemed old-fashioned and outdated.”
  • Leeds – Leeds Playhouse and Leeds Libraries partner for new creative residency programme – Yorkshire Evening Post. “The Speak Volumes scheme will offer two artists or theatre companies the opportunity to work with Leeds Central Library and other libraries across the city to create a new piece of theatre relating to library life. Speak Volumes builds on the success of The Things We Wouldn’t Otherwise Find by Emma Adams, co-presented in a collaboration between the playhouse, The Leeds Library and Leeds Libraries in November 2018. The play ran for two weeks at The Leeds Library before embarking on a tour of libraries across the city.”
  • North Yorkshire – Holocaust memorial webcast at library – North Yorkshire County Council. “North Yorkshire County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “This offers local people a chance to come together to remember and reflect. As a hub of the community, the library is an ideal venue to host such an event. I hope as many people as are able will take the opportunity to attend.””
  • St Helens Daniel wins St Helens Libraries’ social media advent calendar competition – St Helens Reporter. “Daniel Woods from Rainhill was selected at random to win 24 books made up of novels, children’s picture books, autobiographies and audio books – all donated by the publishers, authors and digital service, Borrowbox – as part of a competition throughout advent. Through the St Helens Libraries’ social media advent calendar, one suggested book a day was revealed via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To be in with a chance of winning all of the books, which included the international number one best seller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, and Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to British Birds – entrants were required to ‘like’ ‘comment’ or ‘share’ the calendar on the Library Services’ social media platforms.”
  • Sandwell – Banish Blue Monday with variety show fun at Blackheath and Cradley Heath libraries – Dudley News.
  • Warrington – Novel way to make friends – speed dating in the library – Warrington Worldwide.
  • West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire residents can get free computer training – Daily Record. “They are targeting the information sessions at beginners and also all those who want to get the full benefit of their devices.”
  • Wigan – ‘Support for our public libraries is long overdue’ – WIgan Today. “There is a petition calling on the government to protect library services by ringfencing government funding for libraries. The petition can be found at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228742.”
  • Wirral – Wirral library to become winter homeless shelter – Liverpool Echo. “Birkenhead Central Library will be opened one night a week over the winter months and will provide sleeping facilities for a maximum of 12 people. Library staff have worked on the project with Wirral Ark, a leading charity that runs a homeless shelter in the town, and other community and church groups. Known as Arklight, it will be wholly staffed by the Ark with trained volunteers on site for a trial which will start in February.”