Archive for April, 2019

Purdah and the Commonwealth


It’s election week and I know what purdah means so I’m going to keep this simple: read Leon’s article, look at the articles and then re-read Leon’s article on The Library Commonwealth. Thank you.


National news

  • Artist and author Edmund de Waal hits out at ‘vicious’ library closures – Belfast Telegraph. “One of his creations is a Library Of Exile, featuring almost 2,000 books by exiled writers from Ovid to the contemporary. But the Costa Award-winner told the Press Association that he had also been angered by the closure of libraries closer to home. “In terms of shortsightedness, to close a library in a community is one of the most vicious, violent things you can do to a community,” he said. “You take away all that space for reflection.”
  • The Bookseller’s Library of the Year Award returns – BookSeller. “The Bookseller‘s Library of the Year Award is back for a second year, following Liverpool Central Library’s win of the inaugural prize in 2018. The award, which highlights the work the best libraries of all sizes do to promote reading, literacy, information and the love of books, is sponsored by Rakuten Overdrive and W F Howes, and run in partnership with The Reading Agency.”
  • Do volunteers still have a place in museums and cultural organisations? – Apollo. “Firstly, though, let us not forget that some cultural organisations, especially museums and libraries, are largely or even entirely volunteer-run (something that helps to account for the huge surge in new museums in the UK in the 1980s). These institutions depend on volunteers for their survival. ” … “In the UK there are more and more community libraries, in which local volunteers take on ownership and management, with or without financial support from the local authority.”
  • ‘Fake news’ detection tool launches in UK – The News. “The company also confirmed it was launching a Media Literacy Partnership programme with UK libraries, which encourages them to introduce NewsGuard onto the computers used by library visitors.NewsGuard said it also planned to launch in Germany, France and Italy ahead of the European Parliament elections in May”
  • How We Work Towards A Society With No Food Banks – Huff Post. “In Lewisham we are about to open donation points at our town hall and council-run libraries to support local food banks.”
  • Library Commonwealth – Leon’s Library Blog. “This post is something of a swansong for me (although I know better than to say never again!). But I’ve been writing this blog since October 2013 and now seems the right time to take a step back.” … “Libraries are facing an existential crisis. Not because they are danger of disappearing altogether but rather a crisis of identity; who they are, what they are, what they stand for.” …. ” there is also a deeper malaise and it’s one that as a profession we all have to accept responsibility for. And that is a loss of belief in the profession itself. We have lost our sense of identity and by doing so lost our sense of purpose.” … “the damage done nationally to the underlying infrastructure will, in my opinion, take a long time to recover from. That’s assuming the political will and inclination is even there.” …. “there seems to be very little to choose from between both main parties ” …. “Suffolk and Devon, both mutuals, have recently appointed charity bosses as CEOs rather than someone with a library background” …. “far from defending the role of paid staff SCL/Libraries Connected is heavily involved in advocating for volunteer led libraries.”

“After a hundred years of support through the public purse libraries seem now to be regressing backwards to a model that is overly dependent on ad-hoc philanthropy, the good will of volunteers, a two-tier system that entrenches inequality of provision, and commercial partnerships that undermine the value of a ‘safe and trusted’ service” … “I hope and aspire towards a better future. For a strategic vision that leads towards a national approach to library services; that provides genuine oversight, development, and resources to enable libraries to be the best they can be for the benefit not only of local communities but for society as a whole. This should be the aspiration of the whole library profession and we should demand better not just from the politicians but from our own leadership.”

  • The library of things: could borrowing everything from drills to disco balls cut waste and save money? – Guardian. “ndeed, as you browse for Oxford’s belt sander (£8 a week) and projector (£10 a night), you might decide, while you’re at it, to borrow a pressure washer for the patio (£10 a day), and add a disco ball (£5 a week) and chocolate fountain (ditto) for the party. You’ll live a cheaper, cleaner, more enjoyable and more sustainable life.” … “In essence they have a simple task. Gather a good inventory (350 items so far), build a system to manage membership and online bookings (a free software package, initially, called myTurn), then staff the Lot on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday afternoons, for collections and returns.”
  • National Survey for Wales, 2017-18: Arts, museums, heritage and libraries -Welsh Government Statistical Bulletin.  “34% used a public library service in the last 12 months” … “72% of visitors to public libraries used them for borrowing or reading books” … “5% went at least once a week. “. 25% visited a library to picky up recycling bags.
  • Neighbourhood services – 10 Key Facts – Institute for Government. “Since 2009/10, libraries have borne real-terms day-to-day spending cuts of 41%.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Bromley – Bromley library workers consider striking again over pay dispute – News Shopper. “More than 40 members of Unite the union are preparing to vote on taking industrial action in the latest of a long-running saga with Greenwich Leisure Limited. GLL manages libraries on behalf of Bromley Council. Unite say GLL bosses are not filling vacant jobs, and asking existing library staff to take on extra responsibility without any extra cash.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Jim Brooks Steps Down After 12 Years as Library Chair – Little Chalfont Community Library. “Little Chalfont owes a true debt of gratitude to Jim who has steered our library from a run down Council-managed library marked for closure to become one of the most successful and well regarded community libraries in the country.” … “When we started our journey in 2007 many people and in particular the County Council thought we and other fledgling Community Libraries would fail but they were wrong. “
  • Devon – Libraries Unlimited welcomes new trustees – Charity Today. “Sarah O’Brien, External Affairs Advisor at the National Trust and IT and publishing sector specialist George Lossius were appointed to the Board of trustees this month. They join a number of independent trustees as well as both staff and community trustees who set the strategic direction for Devon and Torbay libraries” … ““Throughout the first three years of Libraries Unlimited’s operation, it has become more and more apparent just how vital it is to have a diverse mix of trustees, each bringing their own vision and skills to help shape the future of our libraries and ensure we’re always providing the best possible service. I have no doubt that Sarah and George will bring valuable skills and experience to the Board. The trustees will be even more vital over the next few months as the team welcome new Chief Executive, Alex Kittow, in June of this year. I know that the trustees and staff across the county will give Sarah and George a warm welcome.”
  • Essex – This was the Young People’s March to save Essex libraries – Gazette Standard. “The march is part of a day of action across the county organised by the Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) campaign. It included speeches from the young people, who made many of the banners on show, and badges which were sold at the Colchester event.”
    • Campaign group, trying to save libraries launch “alternative” consultation – Halstead Gazette. “More than 60,000 people signed petitions against the closures, and campaign group Sole – Save our Libraries Essex – staged a massive demonstration outside the council’s HQ in Chelmsford. The group has now launched an “alternative” survey for residents. Sole spokesman Katy Vargas claimed the original consultation was “flawed”.”
    • Essex libraries closures: Children protest against proposals – BBC. “Children dressed up as book characters to march against the proposed closure of 25 libraries. Conservative-run Essex County Council is reviewing how many of its 74 libraries it wants to keep or hand over to be run by community groups. About 400 children and adults carried placards and musical instruments as they marched in Manningtree.”
    • Library cuts protest march set for Manningtree – Halstead Standard. “Manningtree and Colchester are hosting young people’s marches on Saturday in a bid to show how children will be impacted by Essex County Council’s plans to slash library services across the district. “
  • Merton – The statistics that show how libraries in Merton are thriving – My Merton. “… a report that shows how over the past 10 years, the opening hours of libraries across the borough have been extended. An annual libraries report is set to be discussed by the council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday, April 30.” … “n Merton, there are higher numbers than most across the UK, with 545 volunteers racking up a total of 27,437 hours in 2018/19.”
  • Neath Port Talbot – Council starts library review in Neath Port Talbot to ‘provide sustainable service and make savings’ – Wales Online. “The review will look at what must be legally provided, the changing role of public libraries and operational costs as well as the relocation of services, staffing and micro-libraries” …”Four libraries faced closure under the local authority’s budget plans earlier this year but a public outcry prompted decision-makers to change their approach, leaving them under council control for another year while a review takes place.”
  • Sunderland – Free Books Given Out as Sunderland Celebrates World Book Night – Sunderland Magazine. “As part of World Book Night, Sunderland Libraries handed out 80 free copies of The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. The books were given to people who don’t regularly read or don’t have many books at home.”
  • Thurrock – Thurrock libraries presented with books in South Indian language – Your Thurrock. “Navsammajdarpan” UK-based social, cultural and voluntary organisation launched one of the South Indian language called “Telugu” kindergarten literature books for public use purposes through public libraries in the United Kingdom for free. Primarily, they are targeting Thurrock libraries and hope to expand all over the UK where the majority Telugu people live.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Network of ‘safe places’ launched in West Dunbartonshire – Reporter. “Shops, libraries and cafes have agreed to make their premises a ‘Keep Safe’ place in an initiative run by I Am Me Scotland who work in partnership with Police Scotland. “
  • Worcestershire – Protestors meet to save St John’s library and voice opposition to cuts – Worcester News. “The protest was organised by Sean McCauley and Mark Davies, both members of the Socialist Party, and attended by more than 20 people”

Happy second retirement Jim Brooks


Not all of you will know about Jim but he has been one of the most significant figures in public libraries for over a decade. He was until a week or two ago the Chairman of Little Chalfont Community Library in Buckinghamshire. Yes, one of the very first of the wave of volunteer libraries that since then have swept the country. Little Chalfont and its sister libraries were faced with closure back in the old days of 2006, years before austerity. Rather than just closing, the communities there took a different route and fought the council to keep them open, first as volunteer libraries despite council resistance and then with their support. It was the reported success of these libraries that played a persuasive part in councils encouraging more volunteer libraries when the cuts really started hitting four or five years later. Jim, along with others, provided his experience to other services but was always clear that he’d prefer the library service first and foremost to be council run.  He received a MBE for his service way back in 2011 and has been helpful ever since.

So, that was unexpected wasn’t it? Me paying tribute to a library volunteer. But the thing is Jim and the others are not the ones to blame for the destruction of many a paid library job in the last decade. They do their best to keep open the libraries they love and are in many respects the biggest supporters of the library. No, the ones to blame were and are those pushing austerity, and the electorate who voted them in, who decided to cut public service budgets by so much. Many councils have had their staffing cut by a third or a half – not just in libraries but for all of it – and the bloom in volunteers has been a reaction to that. Volunteers have not been an unmixed blessing, goodness knows. They have split campaigners right down the middle and they’re not as well-trained or skilled as paid staff can be. I could write whole essays on the cons and pros and have once or twice. But, in the communities where they’ve occurred, they have kept libraries open. And I refuse to blame them for that not least because councils have blackmailed so many of them. “Volunteer or the library closes” is the unspoken message I see time and again. And least of all people like Jim who have given over a decade of their retirement to keep a library serving its public.  wish him every luck and good fortune in his second retirement, away from Little Chalfont, where he will finally be able to do some travelling.


National news

  • The arts overtake agriculture as a UK economic power – but cuts continue – Big Issue. “Theatres, libraries and museums are adding £10.8bn to the UK economy, overtaking farming as an “essential” economic contributor. Arts and culture are about as beneficial to the economy as cities the size of Liverpool or Sheffield, new research has found, with book publishing and performing arts among the most productive parts of the industry.”
  • Blind and deaf Universal Credit claimants ‘humiliated’ by benefits bosses – Daily Record. ““I think many people will be absolutely stunned to learn that the DWP may be advising people with hearing difficulties to book sign language interpreters over the phone, that blind people are being recommended to use public libraries to input personal financial information – but this is the kind of monstrous indignity I have come to expect from the Tories.””
  • CILIP North West Celebration Day – CILIP NW Blog. Includes look at changes in Trafford plus useful general articles.
  • Council elections: A testing time for party alignments – LocalGov. “Labour councillors will protect vital frontline services, the party’s statement says, ‘despite massive ongoing Tory Government cuts, ensuring all libraries, children’s centres and Council youth centres remain open, as well as maintaining weekly bin collections and support services for older people.’” … Greens are “Surprisingly, it focuses on restoring services rather than environmental issues. The Government’s ‘ideological commitment to austerity’, it says, has closed libraries, forced councils to sell public land and laid off the council staff that collect litter, repair roads and care for older people.”
  • Kanopy Expands to the UK – Cordcutters News. “Kanopy has been working with libraries across the US, Canada, and Australia since 2008. The on-demand streaming service provides free access to streaming content for those with a library card at a partnering library. Kanopy has over 30,000 film titles available and is available to over 50 million library patrons.”
  • Revealed: library closures, reduced hours and huge drop in spending on books in North East – Chronicle Live. “More than half the region’s 169 libraries moved to reduced hours between 2013 and 2018 while 42 closed altogether and 23 only stayed open when they were taken on by volunteers or third party operators.” … “Sunderland saw the biggest number of library closures between 2013 and 2018, with its 20 libraries being reduced to just three. County Durham kept all of its libraries open but reduced hours in every one, while Newcastle reduced hours in 12 of the 14 libraries it maintained (from an original 15). Staffing numbers in libraries in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham fell from 704 to 499 over the five-year period while spending on libraries as a whole fell from £26.5m in 2013 to £22.4m in 2018. Spending on books and other stock fell from £2.4m to £1.4m.” … “The 49% reduction in books borrowed was the largest fall of any region in England. The total number of books in stock fell by 21%.”
  • Time to Read launches ‘Book Bingo’ in north west libraries – BookSeller. “People in the north west are being encouraged to use their libraries with a “Book Bingo” contest worth up to £200. The game, launched by library partnership Time to Read, challenges players to read a book from five different categories on their bingo-style form. By doing so, they can complete a straight line on their sheet and enter a free regional prize draw for the chance to win the £200 main prize or a £100 regional one. There are 25 categories to choose from, ranging from genres like biography to challenges like “re-read a book you love” or “chosen with your eyes closed”.”
  • Your Library? Shut down – Gulls. “Libraries are not closing because of lack of use. They’re closing because the Tory government doesn’t care about our right to read. Your library? Shut down. If not already, then perhaps soon. Our new single, Shop, is released 19.04.2019 “Fun, clever and puts libraries centre stage among all the precious things that are being destroyed to serve greed and austerity. We love it.” The Library Campaign”

International news

  • Australia – ALIA National Simultaneous StorytimeALIA. “National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Now in its 19th successful year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.”
  • 11 things really annoying people do in libraries – Rachel’s List. Snffing, being very loud, making conference calls, bratty kids, eating, porn on PCs, damaging property, pets, being abusive, being romantic, playing around,
  • Canada – Budget cut a sign that Doug Ford’s contempt for libraries persists – Star. “If I have a litmus test for politicians, it might be this: if they don’t understand the value of public libraries, then I don’t trust them. Because a person who doesn’t understand public libraries doesn’t understand community, and doesn’t understand civilization. Libraries are pillars of both. Why, you may ask, do I take the time to mention this now? Well, it seems the provincial budget has slashed the Ontario Library Service budget by 50 per cent …”
  • Eire – Homophobic backlash has forced a library to cancel an event for children hosted by drag queens – Canary. “An Irish drag collective has had its upcoming story-time event for children cancelled after a homophobic backlash. Glitter Hole was due to hold the event at Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (DLR) library on 26 June. According to the library, it was to be the “first ever Drag Story Time event” held there. But DLR library has since cancelled the event. It said “this event will not now go ahead at this time”. Initially, it suggested this was because of concerns about “age appropriateness”, though it later said homophobic abuse was responsible.
  • European Union – A Library Manifesto for EuropeEurope 4 Libraries. “
  • Global – Why Students Should Use Public Libraries – Princh.
  • India – The city that crowdfunded its only library from a Facebook post – Ozy. “August 2017, businessman Imtisunup Longchar put up a post on Facebook seeking help to build a library for his community. The reason: There was no library in all of Dimapur, the largest city inNagaland, India. The response was overwhelming: People offered books, money and advice …”
  • Spain – 3GATTI envisions the ‘green spaceship’ library landing in madrid’s villaverde – Designboom “the ground floor is designed to be completely transparent to the public and contain all the ‘noisy’ functions, while the upper floor, characterized by a floating monolithic volume, will house all the ‘quiet’ functions, such as silent study zones.”
  • USA – We Increased Summer Reading Participation by a Whopping 97 Percent! Here Are the Four Easy Changes that Worked. – Super Library Marketing. Remove library card requirement, use paper tracking so kids can use it, add experiences, make a game out of getting the prize (scratch-off cards)
  • In a world of Google and Amazon, libraries rethink their role – C-Net. “People will still be coming in for books and special collections, but my guess is over the longer haul, libraries will end up being the civic spaces, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where people have no place else to go that’s quiet,” Marx said. “Places where they can sit, where they can have a computer and be treated with respect and not asked for their credentials.””
  • Shh, No Roaring! When A Lion Lived In The Downtown Milwaukee Library Building – WUWM. “The expedition crew grew attached and brought Sim by ship to Milwaukee. He arrived at the Library and Museum Building 90 years ago, on Saturday, April 13, 1929.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeen – Aberdeen library charges set to increase – Evening Express. “Fines, multi-media items and photocopying costs will go up at Aberdeen City Libraries from April 29. Fines will cost 50p per week or part of a week, with five or more weeks charged at £4. Previously it was set at 45p per week, and £3.60 for five weeks or more overdue items. Fines for language courses will be £1.10 per week, and single DVDs/Blu-Rays a maximum of £10 for eight or more weeks. Charges will increase for multi-media library items such as CDs, which will rise to £1 per item, two language courses at £1 per item, four DVDs or Blu-Rays will be £2.10 per item and two DVD box sets with four or more disks at £3.50 per item. Photocopying in black and white will be 15p for A4 and 30p for A3”
  • Bracknell Forest – Bracknell Library hosted the free lunch and spoke with its volunteers – Bracknell News.
  • Cumbria – Children write about ‘inspiring’ Lego event at Barrow Library – Mail.
  • Darlington – Letters: ‘We need clarity from Cllr Harker over Darlington library’s future’ – Northern Echo. “Friends of Darlington Libraries are concerned at the recent article (Echo, Apr 3) in which the council leader, Stephen Harker attempts to justify the announcement in February 2016 of Darlington Borough Council’s intention to close Crown Street Library and to move the service to the Dolphin Centre. He states that: “It is more important to hear what people in Darlington want, rather than just my view”. This was clearly not the case in the past, and it was only the closure of M&S and uncertainty around Binns that caused the council’s U-turn.”
  • Denbighshire – Novel project thought to be first of its kind in North Wales will see mini libraries ‘pop up’ in Rhyl – Journal. “This is very much an extension of the town’s successful library and sees us working together to reach out to the community, help boost literacy and instil in people the somewhat old-fashioned joy of picking up a book for free.” The project, believe to be the first of its kind in North Wales, has been funded by Rhyl Town Council” … “Rhyl’s librarian Deborah Owen said: “The idea of people stumbling across a book in unusual places really appealed to us. Finding the little libraries and the books will be as much a part of the joy as reading them.””
  • Derby – Lib Dems want better housing, more e-bikes and successful libraries in DerbyDerbyshire Live. “In Liberal Democrats Change Derby’s Future – which has the strapline Demand Better for Derby – the group has pledged to prioritise building good affordable homes, deal with fly-tipping and ensure the city has successful libraries.”
  • Derbyshire – Labour slams ‘disturbing outburst’ by Derbyshire County Council’s Tory leader – Derbyshire Times. “Barry Lewis, Tory leader at Derbyshire County Council, has accused Labour’s Anne Western and Ruth George of ‘blocking attempts’ to allow individuals and groups to come forward to run 20 local libraries.” … “Councillor Western, leader of the Labour group on the council, and High Peak MP Mrs George have both categorically denied doing this – and described Coun Lewis’s ‘latest outburst’ as ‘bizarre’, ‘ridiculous’ and ‘disturbing’.”
  • Dorset – Weymouth Library undergoes refurbishment – Dorset Echo. “Dorset Council is working with partners and other agencies to bring together a range of services and teams into one shared building, as a ‘library and learning centre’. The library building in Great George Street in the town centre is being adapted to offer space for: * The town’s library * Skills & Learning – thelocal Adult Learning provider which offers a variety of high quality courses and learning opportunities to the community and training opportunities to local employers …”
  • Essex – Children to lead libraries protest in ColchesterGazette Standard. “A Young People’s March for Libraries is being held in Colchester’s town centre, in protest against Essex County Council’s proposal to close a third of libraries in the next five years. Children will march through the town centre in opposition to plans which could affect libraries in Prettygate, Stanway, Wivenhoe, Mersea and Tiptree. Campaigners with the Colchester branch of Save Our Libraries Essex claim Essex County Council “failed to directly seek the views of under 19s during the consultation process”, a claim the council disputes.”
    • 20,000 respond to Essex library plans consultation – Clacton Gazette.
    • Campaigners rally against Walton library threat – Gazette. “Delyth Miles, vice-chair of the recently founded Friends of Walton Library committee, said her town “desperately” needs the facility.”
    • Coggeshall Library campaigners vow to keep fighting – Gazette News. “Coggeshall Community Library Group has announced it will host a protest march and celebratory reading session in the coming weeks in an effort to protect the future of the service in the village. “
    • Fat cats at Essex Council pay themselves millions while plotting to axe libraries in impoverished wards – Yellow Advertiser. “Data published on Tuesday, April 9, revealed Essex Council had more staffers on more than £100,000 per year than any other council in Britain. The five highest-paid employees earn a combined £1.03million per year in salary and perks. Meanwhile, County Hall is planning to axe 25 libraries, saving an estimated £974,000 per year.”
    • Library petition figures re-released by Essex County Council – Gazette News. “The data said 58,245 signatures were handed in on 53 petitions. But Wivenhoe Library was listed as having just 16 signatures on one petition and Brightlingsea Library was not listed at all.” … “The new data, set to go before councillors this week, said 59,855 signatures had come from 56 petitions.”
    • Protest group’s day of action as libraries decision looms – Southend Standard. “Save Our Castle Point Libraries will be marching on Saturday to keep the pressure on Essex County Council bosses as they decide the fate of libraries across the county. ” … ““The idea that volunteers can run our libraries is just a fig leaf to cover the reality of the cuts. Volunteers play a fantastic role already in areas like the home library service, but they will never be a substitute for professional library staff”
  • Hampshire – Hampshire interlibrary loan fees rise by as much as 500 per cent after service review – News. “Readers hoping to take out a book which needs to be acquired from a library elsewhere in the UK will now have to pay £20, compared to the previous charge of £4.” … “While the provision is time consuming and expensive to offer, with many of the books requested either out of print or specialist publications which are costly to purchase, we want to continue to be able to offer this option to our customers. ‘The only way we can afford to do this however, is at a rate which more closely matches the actual cost of providing the service.’ “. Portsmouth charges £4.50, Southampton £3 and Isle of Wight £8.50.
  • Haringey – Muswell Hill Library’s historic mural: ‘Decidedly striking’ artwork that’s turned heads for since the 1930s – Ham High. “The mural has been cited as one of the reasons behind the building’s Grade II listing, while visitors to this day are entertained by the mythic depictions of the – purported – discovery of the Mossy Well that gives Muswell Hill its name.”
  • Hertfordshire – Cost of moving Redbourn and Wheathampstead libraries into fire stations soars by £674,000 – St Albans Review. “he existing Redbourn Library has been operating out of a temporary building that’s said to be ‘not fit for purpose’. And Wheathampstead is in space leased from the parish council, which could request it back at a later date. But within weeks, residents of both villages will be able to access renewed and refurbished library facilities at their nearby on-call fire stations.” … “They were told that tenders for the two sites had been £200,000 higher than set out in the initial feasibility study – and that once on site, construction costs had risen by a further £240,000.”
  • Hull – Giant hippo takes to Hull’s streets as Big Malarkey Festival programme announced – Hull Live. “A giant hippopotamus was spotted strolling though Hull city centre today as the city’s libraries announced the programme for this year’s long awaited The Big Malarkey Festival.  The children’s literature festival has been in East Park for the past two years and will be returning in June. To mark the announcement of the programme launch this weekend, organisers gave everyone a sneak peak of what’s to come this summer – in the shape of a giant animal.”
  • Islington – How library figures tell a story about Islington bookworms – Islington Tribune. “A freedom of information request submitted by the Tribune, to find out the borough’s most borrowed library books and CDs for the past few years, proves once and for all residents are a literary bunch with a penchant for indie music.”
  • Kirklees – Revamp of Kirklees libraries slammed as volunteers say ‘enough is enough’ – Examine Live. “Kirklees Council has been urged to look again at its planned revamp of the borough’s libraries. The call came as part of wider concerns over whether cutting frontline library staff will put extra pressure on volunteers and cause libraries to struggle during periods when they are on holiday” … “Proposals mean libraries could act as hubs for a range of services such as the voluntary and community sector, primary care, adult and children’s social care, and communities teams as well as access to networked libraries elsewhere.”
  • Lincolnshire – Gift of reading for Long Sutton Men’s Shed from town library – Spalding Today. “Tuesday (April 23) marks World Book Night – and to celebrate, Long Sutton library will be gifting books to the town’s Men’s Shed.”
  • North Yorkshire – Take a virtual trip into the heart of Africa – North Yorkshire County Council. “We are teaming up with the BBC to present the virtual reality pop-up event. Visitors will put on a virtual reality headset and find themselves on assignment with BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead as he explores this conflicted country. They will meet gorillas up close and personal, visit the ruins of the palace of former President Mobutu deep in the jungle, join United Nations soldiers in an armoured vehicle as they visit a refugee camp, fish the rapids and meet Sapeurs, members of the La Sape social movement that emphasises style and appearance.”
    • Library giveaway for World Book Night – North Yorkshire County Council. “To complement the book giveaway, there will be a recital by harpist Bridget Cousins in the library on 23 April from 3pm to 4pm. Anyone attending can show their library card or join the library to claim their book. Joining is free and no ID is needed.”
    • Library refurbishment will improve services – North Yorkshire County Council. “Improvements will include a new children’s library, new books and space for community events and activities, including learning activities delivered by the County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service.”
    • Sing for joy with new wellbeing choir at Scarborough Library – Scarborough News. “It is the brainchild of library supervisor Dee Johnston, who has a musical background and has taught music. Pianist Paul McCann will run the choir with Dee. “Dee said: “The idea came about because a couple of customers asked me if I had thought of setting up a community choir.
  • Oldham – Annual Bookmark festival returns to Oldham libraries – Oldham Evening Chronicle. “Bookmark Festival returns to Oldham Libraries for its seventh year with lots of fun-filled, book-related events and activities for all ages to enjoy.”
  • Oxfordshire – New health scheme means library staff ‘make every contact count’ – Oxford Mail. “As part of a scheme called Making Every Contact Count (MECC), some staff in the county’s libraries have been trained to help turn conversations with customers into constructive lifestyle support as part of a pilot project. In an effort to make libraries a place where people might turn to for help in improving their lifestyle, sections dedicated to health within the libraries have been supplemented with leaflets promoting wellbeing and healthy choices.”
  • Powys – Powys’ libraries consultation remains open until Sunday, April 28 – Powys County Times.Powys residents are being urged to continue to contribute their views about the future delivery of library services in the county. This comes even though the service has been granted a reprieve and has a year to find savings of at least £200,000 and potentially more.”
  • Richmond – Proposed closure of Heathfield Library Access Point – Richmond Council. “This report recommends a new approach to the provision of library services in Heathfield ward, moving away from the single inefficient Heathfield Library Access Point towards a wider, more geographically diverse offering which delivers library services closer to the point of need and in collaboration with local service providers.”
  • Southwark – Free video streaming launches in Southwark LibrariesSouthwark News. “Free online films are now available to anyone with a Southwark library card thanks to a partnership with a streaming site, writes Josh Mellor… Kanopy is a website that offers film streaming services in the same way as Netflix or BBC’s iPlayer.” … “
    • Southwark’s library cut reversal interrogated  – News Shopper. “The proposals were announced alongside a raft of other cost-saving measures following an £8.6 million cut in central government funding. But Southwark announced a new £1m library fund in January, after proposals to cut library opening hours by one day a week were scrapped. Lib Dem Cllr Victor Chamberlain questioned why proposals to cut the service had been raised, with the value of the library service well-known.”
  • Suffolk – Library bans non-members from using toilets to tackle anti-social behaviour – Ipswich Star. “Suffolk Libraries said it had to bring in the measures at Ipswich County Library in Northgate Street because of a spate of incidents.”
    • Suffolk Libraries mental health project shortlisted for libraries award – Suffolk Libraries. “The Open Space project has been announced as a finalist in the social category of the EDGE Libraries Conference Awards which are held in Edinburgh as part of an annual libraries conference. The awards recognise and promote outstanding library-based initiatives which celebrate the value of libraries across the UK.”
  • West Berkshire – Libraries helping those with EU ‘settled status’ – Newbury Today. “Library staff can look at the requirements with applicants and guide them through the online application process.  They will check that applicants have the required documentation and assist with scanning and uploading anything necessary to complete the online form, including photo ID. There is no charge for this service, but advance booking is necessary”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Line-up for Booked! festival is here – Dunbarton Reporter.
  • West Sussex – ‘Well-dressed’ man watches extreme porn in library just yards from children – Mirror. “Library user Chris Winfield was ‘disgusted’ when he looked up and saw a man in front of him watching a series of gay porn clips featuring masturbation and anal sex. Chris said the man, in his mid to late 30s, seemed “comfortable” and like he “didn’t have a care in the world” as he watched the clips in Crawley Library, West Sussex.” … “Chris stopped filming and reported the sleazy user to library staff – who was promptly booted out.” . [US libraries often allow watching of porn due to “freedom of speech” issues. Interesting that the Mirror and apparently the library saw nothing wrong in one person film another in the library – Ed.]
  • Worcestershire – Campaigners to hold protest at St John’s library after petition is handed in – Worcester News. “Residents campaigning to keep open a Worcester library have handed in a petition, ahead of the latest protest this weekend. The group, called Save St John’s Library Services, started the campaign amid fears the Glebe Close library service could be cut, or even closed. The petition was launched last year after Worcestershire County Council said it intended to slash £1 million from its library budget by the end of the financial year in 2021, as a result of cuts to local government funding.”
    • Editor’s View: Libraries are priceless and should be protected  – Worcester News. “t is easy to say that libraries are dying out, but that is a very simplistic view. Yes, fewer people are coming in to check out books than they used to, but that does not factor in the many other uses libraries like the one in St John’s have. Every day, community groups such as play groups, chess clubs, schools and similar visit the library to use its facilities. The library is far more than just a building full of books, it is a vital centre for the community, and, as one protestor told the Worcester News: “We need things like this in St John’s just to keep the place going.”
    • Petition to keep staff at Bewdley Library handed to council – Worcester News. “The 1,000-signature petition was delivered to senior staff on Tuesday (April 16) in response to a consultation launched by the council to cut £800,000 from the county’s libraries budget. A protest was held outside Bewdley Library in December as users feared the county’s smaller libraries would bear the brunt of council cuts.”

The Library Book, The Public and the Mighty Ducks


I’m a sucker for books and films telling me how great libraries are. One of the best books I’ve read recently is The Library Book by Susan Orlean, due to a number of factors. The first is, of course, the fact that the author clearly loves libraries but also there is the ongoing whodunnit thread of who burnt the library as well as it being an introduction to the US library system both now and the past. For this reason also, I’m looking forward to watching The Public. Mind you, I’ve always liked Emilio Estevez, even in the Mighty Ducks. You can always tell it’s been quiet news week (Brexit? Local elections?) when I slip in a film or a book in the editorial. Don’t tell anyone …

Changes by authority

National news

  • 13 Nonfiction Books About Real, Live Librarians – BookRiot. “librarians are like ninjas: easy to overlook yet extremely effective. Any modern library worker will tell you that they don’t spend their days behind the desk reading. In fact, books are only a slice of what librarians do. (In my humble experience, actual library work involves a heck of a lot more spitballs.) That said, let us enjoy these 13 nonfiction books about librarians. As we do, let’s raise a glass to those who show the world how to operate the printer fifty times a day.”
  • Celebrating libraries in the digital world – Libraries Week. “Libraries Week is a celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries. In 2019 we are celebrating the role of libraries in the digital world. Libraries Week 2019 will celebrate and explore how libraries are engaging communities through technology, building digital skills and confidence, encouraging digital participation and inclusion, supporting health, wellbeing and education and supporting local business and enterprise. Libraries Week 2019 will take place 7-12 October. Library staff and supporters can register now to take part and stay up to date as more details on this year’s campaign become available.”
  • CWA Brings Writers, Venues and Book Groups Together in National Crime Reading Month in May – Time To Read. “NCRM, which has run for a number of years, is a unique literary festival that is held throughout the UK in May to celebrate the crime genre, both fiction and non-fiction. The festival, which is organised by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA), sees authors staging events including talks, recitals and ‘in conversation’ evenings in venues ranging from libraries to pubs, theatres  to town halls.”

Axiell Selflib
International news

  • Eire – Do your shelf a favour and get back into your local library – Irish Times. “With free access to books, mags, DVDs, web access, talks and courses – and no more fines for overdue items – Ireland’s libraries are hoping to double their membership to 1.5m”
  • Ghana – Reading Spots Ghana Provides Solar Powered Library To Ekawso – Modern Ghana. “Reading Spots Ghana, has provided the people of Ekawso with a solar-powered community library as part of its aim of providing educational resources for all schools and adults in the area. According to Mr. Ampoma Patrick, a representative from the Ghana Library Authority, less than two percent of children in primary two are able to read fluently in the Ghanaian and English languages.”

  • USA – Book BotMountain View. “Book Bot is a book pick-up device that will allow residents in a test area to return library books and other library materials to the Mountain View Public Library from their home once a week. Book Bot is one of several applications of Personal Delivery Devices developed as part of a project within Google’s Area 120 workshop for experimental ideas.  This project is part of the City of Mountain View’s pilot program to allow the use of Personal Delivery Devices …”
  • USA – Emilio Estevez Goes Public In His Library Love, Homelessness Concerns In New Movie – Forbes. “Libraries – long the world’s repositories of knowledge and books trying to find new roles in the Information Age – these days are having a bit of a moment. First there was The Library Book, the latest from New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean, whose The Orchid Thief became the unlikely film adaptation Adaptation. In The Library Book, Orlean looks at the 1986 arson of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Branch that burned half a million books and damaged another million. Along the way, Orlean examines  the fast-changing but still essential role of libraries in public life in a time when smartphones provide a bottomless well of information and entertainment. Earlier this year, Orlean was featured guest in the L.A. library foundation’s annual fundraiser.Now comes a new movie, The Public, about a different role that has been thrust upon many libraries, as a flash point in the nation’s homelessness problems. The film is debuting in 250 theaters across the country on Friday.”
  • USA – Paramount TV, Anonymous to Adapt Susan Orlean’s ‘The Library Book’ – Variety. ““Susan has created a captivating narrative that is part mystery, part magic, and part love letter to the dedicated stewards who fight to keep these beloved institutions alive,” said Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount TV. “Each day at the library, the human drama that unfolds among staff and patrons of every socio-economic level – funny, sad, inspiring, unexpected – speaks to the highs and lows of our country right now, and we’re excited to bring these stories to life on screen.””
  • USA – Project Outcome: Gather Better Data – Princh. “Outcome measurement is one way for library staff to collect data from patrons about the value of public programs and services. Because library staff do not always have in-depth experience in evaluation, they could find themselves unsure of how to write an outcome-focused assessment after collecting patron feedback. For example, staff know that a program like Storytime can help improve literacy of children, but the specific data to reinforce this knowledge is not always present.”

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Alice and the Library Tree – Storytelling and music combine in a new commission for Sutton Coldfield – Brumpic. “Combining storytelling and music and created by local children’s opera company B’Opera, this new work will explore the wonder of libraries and how they inspire curiosity.”
  • Carmarthenshire – Library users to benefit from new system – South Wales Guardian. “The council is the 17th of 22 library authorities in Wales to adopt the new SirsiDynix Symphony Library Management System. “
  • Cumbria – Best selling crime writers lift the lid on their work – Mail. Author visits.
  • Dorset – New signs for council buildings and libraries cost £8,800 – Dorset Echo. Dorset Council changes logo.
  • East Sussex – Update on Pevensey Bay Library – Eastbourne Herald. Volunteers may take over closed library. “campaign. Since the closures only two have reopened, run by the communities they serve. A spokesperson at Volunteers Network said, “Although there is local interest in taking over all of the libraries and reopening them, many have had legal or financial issues to be resolved, and organising community run libraries is not an easy task. “
  • Essex – County Hall: 50 groups interested in running libraries – Gazette News. “The plans show 19 libraries out if the 74 in Essex are earmarked to be run by community groups. County Hall has now confirmed more than 21,000 people responded to its consultation held earlier this year. There have also been 50 ‘expressions of interest’ by groups wanting to take over the running of libraries.”
  • Lewisham – Lewisham Library redevelopment study due next month – News Shopper. “Lewisham Council’s feasibility study into whether it can redevelop Lewisham library and build rented council homes or cut staff hours to fund a £450,000 shortfall is due on May 8. Proposals to cut staff hours in 2020 were put on hold while the council looked into whether rented council housing on-site could help pay for a new library.”
  • Rotherham – News: New chapter for Rotherham’s Central Library? – Roth Biz. “Rotherham Council is seeking views from residents and library users about the possibility of moving the Central Library back to a more central location in Rotherham town centre. Currently based within cultural space at the Council’s Riverside House, which opened in 2011, the central library holds the largest collection and range of lending materials in the borough. It was previously housed on Drummond Street alongside former council offices that were demolished to make way for the Tesco Extra.
    The Council has now said that it is considering moving the library back across town into a new community/cultural hub that could be located opposite Tesco in the Markets, which is due to be developed as part of the Town Centre Masterplan”
  • St Helens – Youngsters learning to write in libraries with children’s author – St Helens Reporter. “Mark Powers, known for the Spy Toys series, will pass on some of the tips of the author’s trade in the workshops called Show, Don’t Tell.”
  • Staffordshire – Libraries gear up for Staffordshire Day celebrations – Staffordshire Newsroom. “Author visits, quiz nights, local heroes competition, guided tours and arts and crafts activities are amongst the events already lined up for this year’s celebrations.”
  • Old Stafford library could be turned into flats – Express and Star. “an application has now been submitted to Stafford Borough Council to convert it into 10 apartments and a bar and restaurant. Eight of the apartments will be located on the first floor and the remaining two on the ground floor. “
  • Stirling – Stirling pensioner wants pro-Scottish independence paper reinstated in libraries – Daily Record.
  • Suffolk – New opening times for Brandon Library – East Anglian Daily Times. “The new opening times will see the library open for longer on Wednesday afternoons, but closing earlier on Friday evenings. The changes, approved by the libraries board and Suffolk County Council come following calls from customers and will come into effect from May 20. Suffolk Libraries confirmed however it will remain closed on Monday despite the longer opening hours and that future events are unaffected.”
  • Wrexham – Wrexham Library services help with Universal Credit – Leader. Online resources publicised. “It is the second time William Todd has clashed with Stirling Libraries over the availability of the ‘Scots Independent’. The last time was the late 1980s. The 70-year-old, from St Ninians, said that up until two and a half years ago he had been able to read a copy of the ‘Scots Independent’, first published over 90 years ago, alongside a variety of daily national newspapers at a number of Stirling district libraries. He recently wrote to Stirling Library HQ to ask why he can no longer access the monthly title which had been distributed to libraries for free.”

That London Library By Euston


Interesting to see that the British Library, based almost entirely in one big city in the South East of England, is considering opening up a “British Library North” in Leeds. About time, as anyone can attest who has had to travel hundreds of mile to visit a place that apparently serves the whole nation but in fact is almost entirely based in London and charges the heck (or, in BL terms, “full cost recovery”) out of other libraries (don’t dare use the word “provincial”, you hear me?) to borrow something it got given for free. It’s been good to see the British Library start to wake up to its wider role in the last few years, with 13 business and intellectual property centres in libraries around the country and a group of 22 library services (out of more than 200) it works with on some projects, but there’s a lot more that it could do before I stop thinking of it in my mind as “That London Library By Euston”.

Great to see more fines being removed, with one authority going fine-free and two more removing children’s fines. Something more confusing was the debt that York Explore somehow ended up owing to the council but, that’s OK, because the council is paying them an extra amount of money to allow Explore to pay it back. I think. My head hurts.



National news

  • British and Chinese library leaders to share knowledge in Chengdu – British Library. “Public library leaders from China and the UK are to meet at the Sichuan Provincial Library and share knowledge in a two-day forum in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, at the end of March: the first such gathering of its kind.” … “The initiative is funded by HM Treasury and also includes a programme of knowledge exchange between staff at the British Library and its counterparts in China.”
  • British Library planning Leeds branch with Boston Spa upgrade – Guardian. “The British Library has embarked upon “ambitious” plans to open a branch in Leeds as part of a drive to expand the organisation’s activities in the north of England. Board meeting minutes obtained by the Guardian reveal the library has been in discussions with Leeds city council about potential locations for a facility referred to as British Library North.”
  • British Pubs Can Operate as Post Offices and Libraries, Thanks to Government-Backed Program – Food and Wine. “Launched in 2001, Pub Is the Hub is a not-for-profit organization that works with pubs that are “thinking of broadening their services.” Since 2013, the group has received government funding for its efforts — over £500,000 in total — including an additional £188,000 (about $250,000) announced this week for 76 new projects in rural pubs across England. Though the exact beneficiaries were not disclosed, the U.K. government did provide the examples of the new projects which include Post Office facilities, grocery stores, libraries, and children’s play areas (which, as a parent who lives in England, I can adamantly say is greatest thing a pub can have).”
  • Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1 – Carnegie UK Trust. “he aim of Engaging Libraries Phase was to enable public libraries to pilot public engagement activities on health and wellbeing. Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1 provides an overview of the 14 Engaging Libraries projects across 16 public library services, identifies factors which facilitated the successful delivery of Engaging Libraries projects and factors which inhibited some projects, and uses case studies to illustrate reflections from the programme on working with partners, new skills, knowledge and approaches and the benefits of a network.”

“Taboo breaking: Engaging Libraries demonstrated that libraries can be a space for discussion and debate about subjects which can be taboo or difficult to talk about such as death, body image and mental health. As safe, trusted spaces public libraries were the ideal venue for engaging people on tricky or touchy subjects.

Experimentation and risk: Engaging Libraries revealed that public libraries embraced the opportunity and have the appetite to experiment and be creative with public engagement activities. Libraries also worked in diverse partnerships across different sectors and disciplines.

Safe space: Engaging Libraries showed that funding opportunities can be valuable in giving public libraries the space and permission to forge new partnerships as well as build on existing links, reaping benefits for the library, its community and partners.”

  • ‘I’m an Orkney librarian driving to a school when a wave engulfs my van’ – Guardian. ” There are occasions when our mobile library can’t go out; this has an impact on more isolated people who don’t have much human contact and really look forward to it. I always feel like I’m letting them down when this happens.”
  • Public Libraries 2018: Netloan Customer Survey Results – Lorensnbergs. ” The critical importance of libraries in supporting digital inclusion and skills development continues to grow: nearly half of public libraries saw increasing numbers of customers request this kind of help (this is the second year running that this size of increase in help needed has been reported). Only one library authority this year reported a decrease”

Axiell Selflib

International news

  • Canada – The library steps up in Thunder Bay – Star. “The Thunder Bay Public Library has emerged as an unlikely hero in a city in crisis. The city’s library system offers the community much more than rows of books, microfiches and the Dewey Decimal System. It has become a leader in a city whose racial struggles are openly displayed for the world to see. Libraries have long been community hubs, places of collective learning and knowledge sharing. And this has been especially true — and especially important — in Thunder Bay in recent years.”
  • Global – Parents, Babies & Libraries – Princh. A look at rhymetimes, baby sessions.
  • Indonesia – No quiet rules at Indonesia’s flyover library – Mail. “Several years ago, the flyover in suburb Ciputat, part of Jakarta’s greater metropolitan area, was strewn with rubbish and roamed by intimidating street thugs, Febrianti said. But armed with books and paint, local organisations set about transforming its down-and-out reputation. Artists painted murals on the walls, installed planter boxes and a futsal pitch, and a library with several dozen books was built on site.”
  • USA – 7 unexpected things that libraries offer besides books – Conversation. “The Westport Free Library in Westport, Connecticut – population of roughly 28,000 – has a Robot Open Lab where the public can learn how to program robots to respond to simple commands, catch and kick a small soccer ball and even dance.” … “the library loans health equipment such as blood pressure monitors. ” … “The Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina offers Chapel Hill Open Data in partnership with the town. ” … “or those who want to build and fix things, Chattanooga also has an extensive hand- and power-tool collection filled with hammers, wrench sets, drills and saws among many other tools. “
  • USA – With Vaccine Misinformation, Libraries Walk a Fine Line – Undark. “Earlier this month, Hoopla — an online service that allows public library cardholders across the U.S. and Canada to download or stream movies and television shows for free — quietly pulled the documentary “Vaxxed” from its collection. The film, which peddles a repeatedly debunked theory linking vaccines to autism and claims to expose a vaccine-related coverup within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can still be found on DVD at libraries around the U.S. “

Local services by authority

  • Barnsley – New landmark library to open in July following delays in building schedule – Star. “The project, called Library @ the Lightbox, was due to open in the Autumn of last year but the project was slowed by the presence of Sough Dyke, which runs beneath part of the town centre, which caused construction problems with the foundations. It was hoped the facilities would have been open in the Spring, but the date has now been confirmed as Saturday July 13. The building replaces the temporary library, opened in Wellington Street, to replace the 1970s building in Shambles Street, demolished following public opposition to make way for the new college building.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Books and Maps  – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Bath and North-East Somerset libraries will not be charging fines for the late return of books and maps borrowed from 2nd April 2019.  This includes large print books. *This is a trial to be reviewed and only applies to books borrowed in Bath and North East Somerset Council libraries.  It does not apply to items borrowed in libraries in neighbouring authorities. Overdue reminders will be issued after 7 and 21 days by email or text.  If postal overdue reminders are required a 50p charge will be applied to all categories of borrower.”
  • Birmingham – Birmingham Children’s Libraries – Designing Libraries. “BookSpace refitted the children’s libraries, independent of their associated adult libraries, adopting designs and layouts that were purposely created to be similar but respectful of each of their unique characteristics. With registered borrowers increasing by 24% amongst younger children and issue rates up 19% it’s a success story that other authorities could embrace. Each of the five children’s libraries had its own reasons for requiring a refurbishment. In the case of Kings Norton Library, it was a 100 year old Carnegie Library with the original oak shelving and a leaking roof! The brief to BookSpace was to get children, parents and carers excited about reading and books; to create a recognisably new space and to celebrate each of the libraries individual features.”

Libraries being advertised on back of bus in new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council adverts.

  • Devon – Unlimited Value: leading practice in unlimited value creation – Libraries Unlimited, University of Exeter and others. “From 2016, a research partnership including Libraries Unlimited, the University of Exeter Business School, the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and Open Data Institute (ODI) Devon has been worked together to understand how libraries can learn to develop a better understanding of their ‘social value’ – the difference that libraries make to the people and communities they serve. The project, named Unlimited Value, received £200,000 funding from Arts Council England’s research programme”
    • Storybook Dads receives donation from libraries – Charity Today. “Storybook Dads, the Devon-based charity that works to support prisoners in maintaining relationships with their children through stories and reading, has received £1,000 from fellow charity Libraries Unlimited”
  • Dorset – Voices: We must continue to cherish our libraries, galleries and theatres – Dorset Echo. “Literature permits people to express their emotions and thoughts to be presented to society, and society can listen to it to understand a meaning which is crafted to their emotions. Another person will view it in a different light. The arts are unappreciated and disregarded like that song that people don’t want in their heads. Our libraries, galleries and theatres are honourable establishments, and they must continue to be cherished.”
  • Dundee – Redundancies and library budget hit as Leisure and Culture Dundee agrees £860,000 in savings – Courier. £860k cut. “Board members agreed at a meeting yesterday to introduce voluntary redundancies and early retirement schemes, as well as a 10% reduction in the resource budget for books and periodicals in libraries. Staffing levels will gradually reduce at the organisation as vacancies will be “closely examined” and may not be automatically filled once an employee leaves.”
    • Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts – Courier. “The warning comes after Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD), the arms-length organisation that runs the service, announced plans to decimate libraries’ budgets this week.  The organisation has to find £860,000 to balance its budget this year and aims to do this through a combination of cuts and price increases.The cuts include reducing the resource budget of libraries – the money available for new books and periodicals – and cutting staff numbers through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.”
  • Essex – Essex Council library petition stats have been ‘manipulated’ – Gazette Standard. “The figures, published ahead of a County Hall meeting today, reveal 58,245 signatures were made across 53 petitions. The data has been broken down into petitions representing individual libraries and those jointly submitted between libraries. Others listed, such as five petitions from SOLE (Save our Essex Libraries), represent libraries in general. Wivenhoe library is listed as having just 16 signatures on one petition, despite strong opposition voiced by residents. And Brightlingsea library is not listed at all.” … “Wivenhoe resident and campaigner Rosalind Scott said more than 1,200 signatures came from the town’s online petition and at least 200 more on paper. Brightlingsea’s petitions had more than 500 signatures.”

“As you will appreciate, the consultation has not long closed and it will be some time before the evidence from it is fully analysed and brought back to Cabinet. There is a lot of work to be done to consider all the responses, suggestions and additional evidence, carry out a more detailed equality impact assessment, review the needs assessment and the strategy and identify options for the best way forward. We expect the results and final strategy to be presented to Cabinet this summer for us to decide on the future direction for Essex Library Services. I can assure you that no decisions have yet been made on the strategy and will not be made before that meeting. The library service will continue to run as is until a new strategy is adopted and implemented.” Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services in letter received.

  • 8,000 signatures to save Hockley Library – Leigh Times Series. “MP Mark Francois added his name to a petition of over 8,000 signatures which have been put together by local campaigners in a determined attempt to save Hockley Library from being downgraded by Essex County Council. Although the petition relates to Hockley Library, many constituents in Rayleigh have also added their names in support and the MP did so as well when he met Bob Barrett, also recently christened “Hat Man”, because he has frequently been in village and town centres over the last couple of months, wearing a very high profile hat, to assist in attracting attention to persuade passers-by to sign the important petition.”
    • Dermot O’Leary says axing libraries in Essex ‘a tragic shame’ – Gazette Standard. ““It is difficult. I am not a county councillor, I have no idea how tight their budgets are, I am sure it is the same across the board but it would be a tragic shame to get rid of libraries because of the support to the community. “Communities have to use them for their work. They are utterly important parts of the community and what they can give young minds.”
    • Plan to set aside £109k to save two libraries is unanimously backed – Echo. Basildon Council will pay to help cuts. “Council bosses say they are prepared to to fork out more than £100,000 in a bid to save two libraries from closure. Essex County Council has put about two-thirds of libraries, including Vange and Fryerns libraries, at risk as part of plans to reform the service.”
  • Gloucestershire – Town library may be on the move amid concerns it could ‘close within the next 12 months’ – Gloucestershire Live. “Stonehouse library could be relocated as part of plans to keep the service running ‘for many years to come.’ Both Gloucestershire County Council and Stonehouse Town Council are proposing to move the library from Elm  Road into the Town Hall. An investment of nearly quarter-of-a-million pound would be needed to ensure the current building is kept up to date and fit for purpose.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries taken over for Girlguiding night – Gazette. “Kingsclere and Silchester Division were among the 3,500 Girlguiding members who attended the mass takeover at 36 libraries across Hampshire which involved sleeping over at the sites. Girls from all sections had the opportunity to take part in creative, challenging and fun activities based on their favourite children’s fictional characters such as Paddington, The Hungry Caterpillar and Mary Poppins.”
    • Civic chief officially opens refurbished town library – Romsey Advertiser. “There’s a new community room available to groups and organisations, and a larger children’s library, meaning we can accommodate more customers and encourage more young readers. “
  • Hertfordshire – St Albans Library reopens – St Albans Review. “As part of the facelift, the library now has an upgraded children’s area, new computers, a bookable meeting room, and ‘CreatorSpace’ offering access to virtual reality headsets, 3D printing and digital sewing machines”
  • Kent – Cuts to opening hours at Tonbridge libraries are reduced – Times Local News. “Kent County Council will go ahead with its plans to cut library hours – but has made changes to its initial proposals which benefit Hildenborough and, to a lesser extent, Tonbridge. Under the original plan, the town’s main library was slated to lose 18 hours a week – or a third of its opening time. It was designated as a second-tier library – ‘town’ rather than ‘town plus’ – but has been reclassified as Tier One. That means it will lose 13 hours, down from 55 hours a week to 42 rather than 37.”
    • Richard Styles: Why do we need libraries? – Isle of Thanet News. “Kent County Council consulted on the future of the library service in Kent recently, and in short order decided to go ahead as planned. It does beg the question as to why they bothered, as over 2,500 individuals and organisations took the trouble to respond, seemingly, to no purpose. It does democracy and the standing of local government no good, to set up a consultation, set all the questions in a closed fashion and then pointedly, ignore all alternative suggestions”
  • Manchester – Bringing libraries to life – Arts Professional. “In Manchester, the city council’s library strategy has become more outward-facing. While keeping books, reading and information at the core, there is an emphasis on other things, including increasing participation in activities.” … “Following the growth of the Library Live programme, a natural development was to expand the model across the city-wide network of libraries. Initially, we are piloting it at three branch libraries with a programme called ‘Creative Spaces’. However, as we approached this roll-out, our vision of the expansion and the programme of activity was challenged very quickly.”
  • North Ayrshire – Consultation on future role of libraries and community centres – Largs and Millport Weekly News.  “With Council budgets coming under sustained pressure, North Ayrshire Council wants to work alongside communities in shaping the future services. To help make that happen, a working group was set up last year to develop proposals for more effective ways of ensuring people continue to access community facilities in challenging economic circumstances.”
  • Northamptonshire – Danesholme library to stay where it is thanks to Corby Council’s help – Northants Telegraph. “Danesholme library was one of the libraries under threat of closure as part of Northamptonshire County Council’s plans to only keep 19 as a statutory provision and hand over the remaining 17 to community groups. The library had been facing a move across the road from its long-term home at the end of the shopping parade at Danesholme Square into the Danesholme Communicare Centre. But after discussions from the library group with the council, the authority voted yesterday (March 26) at the One Corby meeting at Corby Cube to grant a new five-year lease to the area’s community association at a minimal rent.”
  • Nottingham – Specialist designers to be appointed for new Nottingham Central Library – Business Link. ““When we committed to a new Central Library, we committed to a better library than the existing one and the best children’s library in the country. To achieve this, it’s important we recruit specialist designers so we create something we and our children can be proud of in a great new area of the city.”
  • Oxfordshire – Banbury Library users urged to speak up to improve their health and wellbeing – Banbury Guardian. “Staff in a dozen Oxfordshire’s libraries have been trained to help turn conversations with customers into constructive lifestyle support as part of a county council pilot project”
  • Powys – Town unites in protest over library plans – My Welshpool. “A crowd in the hundreds marched through Welshpool on Saturday to send a clear message to Powys County Council (PCC) that they oppose plans to downsize the town’s library. The Save Welshpool Library march attracted around 4-500 people of all ages at its peak through the town centre, with many attending their first protest march.”

“29/03/2019: Please excuse me for copying the Town Clerk’s comment on our Page verbatim but it deserves to be spread far and wide. Robert Andrew Robinson commented-“For information: Welshpool Town Council resolved on 27th March 2019 to ask their solicitors to serve notice on Powys County Council to seek implementation of the Charter between the two authorities. This is with regard to section 5.5 which states “5.5 Reduction or ceasing of services. Powys County Council will not cut any services in Welshpool without first giving Welshpool Town Council the opportunity to consider taking over such services”. The solicitors were instructed this morning (28/03) to take the process of serving notice forward. Town Clerk.” Thank you, Welshpool Town Council.” Save Welshpool Library Facebook.

  • Rochdale – Eyes down as call goes out for book bingo – Rochdale Online. “Book bingo will challenge library users to dip into popular titles and mark their special bingo cards, with the chance of scooping cash prizes. Timeless calls like ‘garden gate’, key of the door’ and ‘clickety click’ will be temporarily shelved and replaced with varieties like ‘re-read a book you love’, ‘made into a film’ and ‘includes magic’. Players can pick and mix any book from five of 25 categories and, after completing a line, can enter a free regional prize draw with a £200 first prize.”
  • South Gloucestershire – Two authors share first place at Concorde Book Award 2019 – South Gloucestershire Newsroom. “The Concorde Book Award is a long-running ‘young people’s Booker’ run by South Gloucestershire schools and public libraries in which groups of young people read a shortlist of novels. They are then encouraged to join a reading group, whether at school or in a local library, to read six books and talk about them with other group members, before voting on their favourite title.”
    • Hanham Library re-opens to welcome South Gloucestershire’s 5,000th Open Access user  – South Gloucestershire Newsroom. “Hanham library has become the latest in South Gloucestershire’s to offer residents the use of its facilities seven days-a-week, thanks to the installation of Open Access technology. The introduction of the system at Hanham Library also marked the fact that more than 5,000 people have now registered to use Open Access in South Gloucestershire’s libraries. Since Open Access was launched in South Gloucestershire in October 2017, registered users have visited our libraries more than 40,000 times. Feedback from users has been positive, with 88 per cent of users attending the introduction to Open Access sessions saying they feel they are helpful and the system is easy to use.”
  • St Helens – Cash prize on offer for St Helens bookworms – St Helens Reporter. “Readers in St Helens are being challenged to take part in a fun game of Book Bingo at their library, alongside thousands of people across the North West. Players can choose to read any book from suggested categories, such as “a book you have always wanted to read”, and when they complete a line, they will be entered into a free regional prize draw for a chance to win £200.”
  • South Tyneside – Whitburn village library all set to re-open – Sunderland Echo. “Whitburn Library is to re-open on Saturday after being closed to enable the charity to upgrade the computer network, re-decorate, train volunteers and install new toilet facilities. The library was under threat because of cuts by South Tyneside Council but has now been taken over by the charity Friends of Whitburn Library – set up by vet Rory Thomson.”
  • Suffolk – Children’s Month: April 2019 – Suffolk Libraries. “This April will be the first ever Suffolk Libraries Children’s Month – a brand new campaign to encourage more children and families to use their local library. Children’s Month will launch next week on International Children’s Book Day on 2 April and run throughout the month, starting with a launch event at Bungay LibraryTo help encourage greater use of libraries, Suffolk Libraries is also removing overdue charges for children’s books from 1 April.  “
  • Swindon – Community library in Swindon to offer extended hours – Swindon Advertiser. “Readers who use Liden library will soon be able to go and borrow books when there are no librarians on duty. It is the first library in Swindon run by community groups or parish councils to allow the sort of extended hours access that the central libraries run by Swindon Borough Council offer, using their library card.”
  • Warrington – LiveWire launches new social club for men to combat social inclusion – Warrington Worldwide. “Burtonwood Library staff decided to organise the group after hearing feedback that local men felt there was a lack of social events and opportunities for them in the area. If the group is successful then it could potentially be rolled out to other libraries in Warrington, as needed.  Drinks and biscuits were donated by Burtonwood Co-op, Old Hall Spar and Asda Westbrook, and the men who attended enjoyed chatting over a brew and a biscuit or slice of cake. Burtonwood PCSO Neil Brown also attended the first session, to offer support and discuss any community issues. There was also the option to enjoy a game or cards or dominos and there are plans for potential other activities with the club as it grows. “
  • Westminster – Help shape the future of libraries in WestminsterWestminster Council. “We want to hear from the community, users and staff to help create a plan of action, that will open up our libraries to deliver more for future generations.” Including Connected Libraries, independent report.
  • Worcestershire – Worcester library cuts: staff not even consulted – Socialist Party. “28 people came to Worcester Socialist Party’s second, very successful public meeting over the threats to library services. A rep for public sector union Unison in Worcestershire County Council explained that although there has been a ‘consultation’ over cuts to services, no consultation has been held with staff”
  • York – York Explore, which runs city libraries, to pay back £900,000 debts – Press. “The mutual’s annual report shows that it lost about £650,000 in the last financial year to March 2018 and is likely to lose money again in the current financial year, with net current liabilities of £876,853 at March 2018. However, the report says: “Forecasts for the year ended 31 March 2020, which is the first year of the new contract, show that as a result of increased income and identified cost savings the society will make a surplus. “It has been agreed that the final balance owed to City of York Council at 31 March 2019 will be repaid over a period of four years.”