Archive for June, 2019

US weirdness, the SDP again, Library Island and more fines free


The more I read about US public libraries., the more foreign they sound. You can get into trouble in some for protesting when a member of the public brings in a gun, hidden or not. There is also no issue in many about adults watching porn on library computers, by the children’s library or not. Both are to do with the somewhat messed up views Americans have about their constitution. But another problem that has come up recently is religious fundamentalism and a certain unenlightened approach to anything but heterosexuality. There have been a ton of protests there about drag queen story times and just this week a protest from someone who genuinely believes the Earth is 6000 years old that libraries are a danger to children. Good grief. The American Library Association is trying to cope with mostly being far more liberal than a significant part of the country’s population but it must be a challenging time in such a divided country. It’s doing its best though and has just removed the name Dewey from a prize on account of Melvil’s behaviour, which was deeply inappropriate even when he was alive and is even more so now.

I need to report that my summary on the Single Digital Presence report last week was little inaccurate. The cost of the research is £266k (£236kI from Arts Council England plus £30k from Carnegie) and not the £320k reported. Oh, and it covers the UK – including Wales and Northern Ireland who effectively already have some form of uniform webpage – and not just England. However, I stand by my worries that this research, involved and well-run as it may be, but which at the moment is not giving a clear direction, is simply delaying a much needed national website for another 18 monthsor so and I have little hope of such a thing appearing for many years to come. This isn’t the fault of the British Library research but rather I think their brief and something more structural in the messed up and overly scattered national governance of public libraries in this country.

I have been in contact with Matt Finch for a while and heard much about his training so it was great to see him offering his “Library Island” training for free, of which more below. I am also delighted to report two more library services that have been fines free for apparently years but I had not included before – West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian. That makes 14 councils in the UK so far fines free.


Library Island

So I had a chance to talk Matt Finch about the making of his excellent Library Island resource free for anyone to use. For those of you not familiar with it – and it will be too many of you – it’s a training tool intended to make your library service think about what it needs to do in the future and how to put yourself in the shoes of your users and potential users. That sounds quite dry but, by all accounts, it is a fun game. Have a look at it here.

It has been tested in sessions all around the world from Australia to the USA and, in this country, notably in an event hosted by Libraries Unlimited. Although it requires a minimum of 15 people to do properly, Matt points out that this is an opportunity to invite partners/stakeholders along to help out and that it indeed strengthens the game to get their viewpoint. It can also help persuade them about the importance of libraries. In addition, getting people from all levels of the organisation – not just managers but library assistants and even caretakers – can help them understand the role of the library service better.

The game is a standalone activity, but forms part of a wider “scenario planning” approach which allows you to think about ten years or more ahead, trying different scenarios (e.g. halving of budget, increase in homelessness, NHS increasing spending on libraries …) but if this sounds like too long then Matt makes clear that it is not an exercise in science fiction or aiming to predict anything but rather to test your assumptions. And testing assumptions is important. Matt is clear that the library service should serve the needs of its local community. That sounds pat but time after time I see library services grabbing funding that’s available (I’ve given up reporting on ACE-funded theatre shows) with little thought for how it ties in with local need or indeed long-term strategy. I also see a lot of what Matt calls, in a wonderful phrase, “copy and paste innovation”, where a library service sees something shiny happening elsewhere and adopts it with little thought as to if it’s needed. For me, the ultimate example of this is makerspaces but there are others.

Matt, who I worry is one-man climate change inducing machine, has been to many countries in his travels and ended with a thought that rings true with me. This is that if you’re wondering about the future or if your service should do something or other then look abroad. Chances are that another country is already facing similar problems and you can learn from them. For instance, no-one tackles homelessness better than some New Zealand systems or has more of it than the USA so those are the places to look at if that’s an issue. But whatever you find out, remember it’s your local communities that your libraries are serving and not the other way around. Use examples from elsewhere but always this in mind. And then your library island will be a happy one.

  • My Visit to Library Island: Justin Hoenke – Mechanical Dolphin. “I’m featuring some accounts of the island from people who have attended Island sessions, or run Islands of their own, to give you a better sense of what it means to take part in, or even organise, your own Library Island. This week, we’re joined by Pennsylvania public librarian Justin Hoenke, who attended an Island session with colleagues from across the western part of his state in June 2019. The activity was embedded in a day-long event focussed on strategic & scenario planning for public libraries and their communities.”

“With Library Island, I felt differently about it from the moment I heard about it. Change?!?! Chaos?!?!? Games?!?!? Play?!?!?! Fun?!?!? What was this? Why were people smiling and moving around during this workshop? Library Island offered something different, a workshop that brought together learning with fun and unpredictability. At the end of the day with Library Island I was physically and mentally tired, but in a good way, a way I hadn’t felt in ages. I needed to get home and get to bed to recover, but my humming head wouldn’t let me fully put down the great experience I just had.” Justin Hoenke

  • Welcome to Library Island – Dr Matt Finch. Full text needed for roleplay training game designed to help library staff think strategically and secure funding. See Library Island Is Here. “This interactive training activity helps participants to explore strategy, innovation, and the messy business of working with communities. We’ve spent the last two years perfecting Library Island with university staff, health workers, museum professionals, students, and, yes, librarians. The free CC-licensed print-and-play kit is now available for download in PDF format. Feel free to adopt it, adapt it, and make your own visit to Library Island.

National news

  • 100 years of the library: The service we should value like the NHS – but don’t – Politics. “The 1919 Public Libraries Act effectively created libraries as we know them today.  It removed the rates cap preventing local authorities from establishing new libraries and paved the way for a service available to all for free. But this is not a centenary that will be celebrated. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has issued no press releases and there will be no commemorative events …. But this is about more than evil Tories taking kids’ books away. It’s about the hierarchy that governs the way we – the media, politicians, everyone – think and talk about public services, cherishing some, and curiously indifferent to the fate of others.”

“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport monitors library service provision throughout England, but does not hold figures on the number of public libraries operating for all or part of their opening hours without staff. Following discussions involving the Department and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) the annual library statistics, will for the first time, report for each local authority the scheduled staffed and unstaffed opening hours per week for their libraries. This annual report will be published by CIPFA in November or December.” Mims Davis MP, DCMS Parliamentary Undersecretary.

  • Andy McNab: ‘At 16, I read my first book – and it changed my life’ – Guardian. “The main gist of what I tell anyone willing to listen is that the best soldier out there is the one with a library card.”
  • CILIP launches new Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Network – CILIP. “he network will provide a forum for BAME information professionals to share experiences, support each other and build connections. Working with CILIP and other partners, the network will support the advancement of BAME professionals in the workforce. The launch of the BAME Network will help to address the under-representation of people of colour within the library and information workforce as identified in the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping data (2015).”

“We appreciate the incredibly important work librarians do to champion authors and create welcoming spaces for all book fans. If you are currently employed as a librarian and can provide  proof of employment, you are eligible for a 40% discount on the price of a Capital Crime ticket. We’ve made 30 librarian tickets available and they will be sold on a first come, first served basis, with a limit of one per customer.” Capital Crime Festival 26-28 September, London.

  • How libraries change lives  – TedxExeter. “When was the last time you visited your local library? You might be surprised by what’s happening if you haven’t been recently. Ciara Eastell makes a strong case for these places of transformation and possibility, arguing that in an era of fake news and loneliness, we need our libraries more than ever.”

“We actively encourage people to speak to us as they are formulating their ideas for Engaging Libraries and are keen to be as helpful as possible. We are all friendly folk and can be contacted on  01383 721445 and There is a blog that we published that gives a flavour of the programme and why we think public libraries are so well situated to connect people and ideas (because, guess what, they already do this!) and why we’re keen to support public libraries to establish partnerships with researchers: Peachey, Carnegie UK Trust via email.

  • Libraries on Twitter – Twitter Librarydata. Free tool to show what is trending on Twitter about the UK public library sector, other library sectors and internationally. “Data taken from the lists compiled by Sarah’s LibraryLists. For more exploration of libraries on Twitter, see Sarah’s Open Access article, Tweeting into the void?: creating a UK library Twitter list and analyzing best practice – successes and myths.”
  • Melvil Dewey’s name stripped from top librarian award – Guardian. “The American Library Association will rename the Melvil Dewey medal in recognition of their co-founder’s racial discrimination and sexual impropriety” … “The resolution explains that Dewey did not permit Jewish people, African Americans or other minorities admittance to the resort he owned, the Lake Placid Club. He also “made numerous inappropriate physical advances toward women he worked with and wielded professional power over” and was ostracised from the ALA after four women accused him of sexual impropriety, the resolution continues, declaring that “the behaviour demonstrated for decades by Dewey does not represent the stated fundamental values of ALA in equity, diversity, and inclusion”.”
  • More than 100 public libraries close every year due to Tory cuts – Mirror. “Since the Tories came to power, 817 have been shut or handed to volunteers, leaving 3,660 struggling on as councils try to balance books. Campaigners hope a Commons debate on the crisis next month will pressure the Government to protect library spending. Experts say the cuts are hitting the poor hardest as libraries cater for young parents, the old and jobless who cannot afford books.”
  • On-the-shelf idea: Time to get our libraries booked for business – City AM. ” why don’t we draw these threads together and transform a part of our local libraries into business hubs, which in turn could secure their future in the community?” … “We could repurpose a corner of all our local libraries into business “spokes”, radiating out from these main library hubs. The basic building infrastructure and good location already exists.”
  • Reading introduced as a prescribed treatment for mental health issues – South Wales Argus. “he scheme, which is known as ‘bibliotherapy’, is being launched in Wales following its success in England which has seen 931,000 people borrow over two million Reading Well books from public libraries. Free copies of the books will be available to members of the public to borrow from all 22 public library authorities in Wales from Wednesday, June 26, as well as supporting promotional material including leaflets containing the book list.”


  • Australia – Fee-free overdue policy prompts library renaissance among young TasmaniansABC News. “More than 8,000 new members signed up to the state-run library service in just five months between November 2018, when the changes were introduced, and March this year. It is a stark contrast to the loss of 900 members Libraries Tasmania encountered in the same period the year prior.” … “Data released in response to a question-on-notice during budget estimates showed the Education Department wrote off more than $330,000 in overdue fees last financial year as part of the reform. “We looked at what it was costing us in staff time, sometimes it was getting down to us chasing people through a debt collector,””
  • Canada – 10 big ideas from around the world to inspire Ottawa’s new super library – Ottawa Citizen. “The team behind the 216,000-square-foot project with a $193-million price tag is currently on what might be described as a library world tour, surveying standout institutions with an eye to shaping our own”. Many interesting examples from the world listed.
  • Global – What The Library Means To MePrinch. “we’ll take a look at quotes from people all over the world, from different demographics, backgrounds and stages in life; but all have been asked to share their personal thoughts, on what the library means to them.”
  • India – How Much Is India Spending On Its Public Libraries?Bloomberg Quint. “There were 70,817 libraries in rural areas and 4,580 in urban areas serving a population of more than 830 million and 370 million, respectively, according to the 2011 Census where libraries were notified (officially identified) for the first time. These numbers roughly translate to one rural library for every 11,500 people, and one urban library for over 80,000 people … There is no relationship between a state’s capacity to spend on libraries and its willingness to do so, studies have revealed … Public libraries in the U.S., U.K. and other European countries use library resources to cater to large populations. In the U.S., for example, the public library system provides services to 95.6 percent of the total population and spends $35.96 per capita annually, whereas in India the per capita expenditure on the development of public libraries translates to 7 paise [Less than one pence].
  • Pakistan – A Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets – New York Times. “A local book lover, Raj Muhammad, hopes it becomes known as the home of the Darra Adam Khel Library. Located near a gun shop that his father built 12 years ago, the library opened in August, and Muhammad considers it a labor of love as well as a message to the area and the wider world. “I put books on the top of the gun market, making them superior to guns,” he said. “It’s a step for peace.” … “Now the military is helping Muhammad build a new library that can accommodate up to 65 people, seeing it as a way to help residents recover from years of traumatic violence.”
  • USA – Protesters against Maryland Drag Queen Story Hour outnumber event attendees – Life Site News. “About 100 Christians showed up throughout the day “to pray in reparation for the violation of childhood innocence and for the conversion of parents who’ve abandoned their God-given role as protectors of their children by bringing them to this depraved event,” according to Father Kevin Cusick, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish.”
    • Florida library’s LGBTQ prom canceled over safety concerns – Fox News. “the event met opposition when conservative activist Elizabeth Johnston campaigned against the affair, urging her supporters to follow her lead. That was when the library decided to cancel the prom. “Express your disgust that this pervasion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library,” Johnston told her 636,000 Facebook followers.”
    • Man behind biblical theme park warns that ‘libraries are becoming dangerous places for kids’ – Yahoo. “Ken Ham, who is the CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, criticized libraries for supporting LGBTQ-friendly narratives in tweets on Sunday. Ham is the founder of Ark Encounter – a giant replica of the Noah’s Ark located in Willamstown, Ky., – as well as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., which highlight and promote Christianity and Bible history.” and Man who thinks the earth is 6,000-years-old: ‘Libraries are becoming dangerous places for kids’ – Dead State.
    • Petition against Drag Queen Story Hour goes viral – Life Site News. “LifeSiteNews and Personhood Alliance have launched a massively successful petition campaign against the perverted “Drag Queen Story Hour” (DQSH) phenomenon. Personhood Alliance Education’s research has uncovered the fact that these offensive and dangerous events are actually partly funded and orchestrated by none other than the American Library Association (ALA).” … “The petition, therefore, urges the ALA to stop promoting homosexuality and the LGBT agenda and start promoting literacy again.”
  • USA – New York City Public Libraries Drop Kanopy Free Movie-Streaming Service – Variety. “Kanopy suffered a blow with the decision by New York City’s three public library systems — collectively the biggest library system in the U.S., with some 210 branches across the Big Apple — to drop the free movie-streaming service, citing high costs.” see also As Kanopy’s Popularity Grows, Can Your Library Continue to Afford It? – Indie Wire.”Kanopy said it did offer NYPL a capped model plan, but the two sides remained extremely far apart. IndieWire has learned that Kanopy insisted on a cap that was many multiples higher than New York was willing to spend.”
  • USA – Thinking outside the stacks: The Growth of Nature Smart Libraries – Children and Nature Network. “My data show that librarians want to participate in this movement, but they need your help. Nearly all of these initiatives represent the grassroots efforts of a unique constellation of actors working in specific local communities. After all, nation-wide 85% of public library funding comes from local jurisdictions. We need more research and knowledge creation on the impacts of these efforts, and we need your help to make this happen. Learn more about this project and its goals at Let’s Move in Libraries. 

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Aberdeenshire libraries are going on a bear hunt – Press and Journal. “Knitted teddies are to be hidden across the region to celebrate We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The search will be launched on Saturday July 6, in time for the school summer holidays, and small prizes will be on offer. Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee chairwoman Anne Stirling said: “This is a really innovative way of marking the anniversary of this well-known children’s book by Michael Rosen.” … “Children and those young at heart can pick up a card from their local Live Life Aberdeenshire library to mark down the bears’ hiding places.”
  • Angus – New mobile libraries to serve isolated rural communities in Angus – Courier. “Angus Alive’s two new mobile library vans Isla and Glen were unveiled at Peel Farm in Lintrathen and will start their working life on Monday. The two new library vehicles, being slightly smaller than their predecessors, will make regular, scheduled visits to remote areas of the Angus Glens which have not had a library service in recent times.
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Brand new mobile library for B&NES to enter service at the start of July – Bath Echo. “The custom-designed vehicle will provide a full lending service giving access to DVDs, talking books and the three million books available from the LibrariesWest catalogue.”
  • Bolton – Cultural delights are what makes town great – Bolton News. “…libraries are a crucial part of any community. They give children access to exciting new worlds and knowledge without having to worry about the cost. The buildings are also local hubs – a great place for people to meet and socialise. Bolton Central Library is housed in a magnificent building, with a huge collection of books and fascinating and priceless archives.”
  • Buckinghamshire – You can now hire out your own tablet at Aylesbury Library – Bucks Herald. “‘Hublets’ are Samsung Galaxy tablets which customers can borrow for use within the library itself. All you need is your Buckinghamshire library card and PIN to release a Hublet for up to two hours, completely free.”
  • Cheshire East – Nantwich Library to launch 20th annual Summer Reading Challenge – Nantwich News. ““Last year more than 6,500 children took part across Cheshire East making us one of the highest participating authorities in the North West.”
  • Cumbria – TV licence to be bought for library – Times and Star. Town council buys tv licence for Cockermouth Library after county council declines to do so.
  • Derby – These Derby libraries will be handed over for a local charity to run – Derby Telegraph. “The Phillip Whitehead Memorial Library at Chaddesden Park and Blagreaves Library are set to follow in the footsteps of Sinfin, Spondon and Allestree libraries in becoming community managed libraries. A fourth library at Mackworth officially became a community managed library this month, on June 24″ … “A total of 10 libraries will be run by DHA [charity Direct Help and Advice] when the handovers are complete and this will leave five libraries still in city council control – Pear Tree, Alvaston, Mickleover, the Local Stdies Library and the Riverside Library in the Council House.”
  • Essex – Community won’t bid to run Manningtree library – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Members of Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley councils held an informal meeting to discuss the future of Manningtree’s library last Thursday. Essex County Council wants to shut a third of its libraries, while it hopes volunteers will run others, in a bid to save £2 million. But attendees of last Thursday’s meeting decided not to submit an Expression of Interest to the county council in the hope it would help to save the library service as it is.”
    • ‘No silence please over library plan’ – Clacton Gazette. “Tendring Council’s opposition – made up from Tendring First, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and independents – has called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss a motion concerning the future of libraries in the district. The motion calls on the cabinet of Essex County Council to rule out the closures or any reduction in opening hours of public libraries in Tendring and to instead concentrate on making better use of them as community hubs and to maximise the use of the buildings to generate income for the library service.”
  • East Sussex – Rallying call to Ore community to save local treasure – Hastings and St Leonards Observer. “The Save Ore Library Group is on the threshold of holding a public meeting and recruiting volunteers with a view to taking on the running of Ore Community Library. The Group was founded two years ago in response to plans by East Sussex County Council to close the library.”
  • Manchester – Watch a Brand New Manchester poem in 64 languages – Manchester Libraries Blog. “A brand new multi-lingual poem incorporating an incredible 64 different languages and written mostly by school children, takes pride of place from this week in Manchester Central Library for the next year.” … “Local school children and community groups have been invited over the last year to add new lines to a poem ‘Made in Manchester’ written by local poet Zahid Hussain. What makes the poem unique however is that the youngsters and others were all asked to contribute lines written in their own heritage language, to highlight the cultural diversity of the city – a city that is proud to be called home by people speaking more than 200 different languages.”
  • Norfolk – Plans for future of 11 axed children’s centres revealed – Eastern Daily Press. “A further three centres – in Loddon, Gorleston and Harleston – will be based in libraries and used to supplement their work with young children.”
  • North Yorkshire – Council pledges to continue supporting volunteer-run libraries – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “Stokesley councillor Bryn Griffiths said the continued success of the market town’s library was only due to residents agreeing to pay extra council tax for a library manager, as organising 32 volunteers was a complex job. Scarborough councillor Tony Randerson questioned whether the county would continue providing support staff. He said: “The libraries are coping on the basis that there is additional paid support by North Yorkshire County Council. Without that I think they would struggle really badly. It is essential that that support is kept on.”
  • Oldham – International bestselling author from Saddleworth inspired by local libraries – Saddleworth Independent. “When Saddleworth author Phaedra Patrick visited Oldham Library as a young girl, she dreamed that one day her own books would sit on the shelves there.” … “To celebrate the launch of her latest book, Oldham Libraries are running a social media competition on Thursday, July 27. A picture of Phaedra’s book will be posted in a mystery location and fans will be invited to guess where it is. A winner will be selected from the correct answers.”

“I am writing as a library user from Sheffield, I have been using libraries intensely since 2008, having always had an interest in reading. The interest I had for libraries and reading developed into a passion and hobby purely on the strength of visiting our beautiful art deco central library, which at the time had it’s own music library, fully staffed and stocked reference library and much more. In recent years our libraries in Sheffield have borne the brunt of austerity cuts, with 15 libraries now run by volunteers each with their own book collections in addition to the council controlled stock, these books are not on the main Sheffield Libraries catalogue meaning library users may be missing out on accessing particular titles.

The area of Tinsley, an area with high numbers of adults and children who speak English as a second language, now does not even have such a volunteer run library, having to make do with a small room full of books housed in a small room in the local community forum. This is despite the council owning an empty Carnegie Library literally just over the road. Book loans according to the councils own figures have declined at volunteer run branch libraries, as has income ironically in the same period charges for library fines, printing and other services were increased a few years ago. A new strategy obviously needs to be adopted in Sheffield, perhaps following the example of neighbouring Barnsley library service which has recently announced it is scrapping library fines in an attempt to boost library usage.

Libraries are such vital institutions, it is only right Sheffield gets the library service it deserves to enable future and current generations to change their lives as I have done mine through reading for pleasure.” Matt, Sheffield library user

If you think it’s been a while since my last post, just wait for the Single Digital Presence


Well, sorry about that. It has been a really long time since the last Public Libraries News post. This is due to me having a bout of glandular fever. It was not fun, it took a long time, and of course news kept on stubbornly happening – in the same way work emails do – when I was off work so it took me a while to catch up.

The preliminary report of the £320k (yes, £320k) British Library research into a single digital presence for English libraries has been produced. It gives a list of options for what a single digital presence may be … and suggests further research. The final phase of research is running until September 2019. and will build upon the June 2019 report to provide practical recommendations for the sector to consider about funding and governance models, drawing on user research and ongoing input from colleagues across the sector. The British Library have recommended that key elements of this work are owned and led by the public sector and will be looking at options for public investment. It is not the fault of the BL team, led by the very capable Liz White,  that I’m really frustrated by this but rather those who have repeatedly kicked it into the long grass in the first place. A single digital presence is up and running in several countries already and the fact that even the form, or source of funding, for an English one hasn’t even been decided upon is deeply frustrating. It suggests there is something spectacularly and embarrassingly wrong with the public library system and how it is run. But then we knew that already (see the structure chart at the top of this page). It’s clear to everyone that we won’t see anything this decade and, frankly, I’m a tad bit worried about whether we get something the next. It may well be beyond 2025 before we get a decent national website at this rate. And we must fear the possibility that we may never meaningfully will.

Something that is happening surprisingly quickly, on the other hand, is the move by libraries towards being fines free. Both Salford and Barnsley have announced they are removing fines since my last post. From my conversations with senior managers, it has become clear that few if any defend fines as an effective tool of getting books back – that would be difficult with the evidence coming in from those who have removed fines that it makes barely any difference – but rather that they’re simply more worried about the money that fines bring in that will be lost. That’s no way to run a welcoming library service free for all but it’s the way that cash strapped managers have to think. But gosh it’s such a good sell for councils when fines are removed that there’s hope many more others will get the needed impetus to do what is right soon.



National news

  • £1 million for museums, archives and libraries in Wales – Government of Wales. “In addressing the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Wales Annual Conference today, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord-Elis-Thomas, announced that museums, archives and libraries in Wales will benefit from nearly £1 million Welsh Government capital funding to develop and enhance their facilities and services”
  • Digital Transformation for UK Public Libraries June 2019: – Five approaches to a “Single Digital Presence” –  British Library. Funded by ACE and Carnegie UK Trust. “This report is an independent study by a small team within the British Library and reflects our provisional evaluation of these options for transformation, which vary in degrees of cost, complexity and feasibility”. Lists five options – one national LMS, “UK-wide content discovery”, “Unified digital lending”, “safe social space” and “one library brand”. No clear path recommended or funding found. Press release.
  • Dwindling UK libraries have ‘fallen into trap’, warns campaigner – BookSeller. “New figures showing the dwindling popularity of UK libraries suggest the facilities have fallen into a “trap” and a new approach is needed, campaigner Tim Coates has said. Coates, a former Waterstones m.d, commissioned consumer research on where readers get their books. Three hundred UK residents were polled about their reading habits for the survey, with the figures showing 87% had “made use of a book” in the previous 12 months.” see also Struggling libraries are ‘trying to do too much’ by offering yoga classes and iPads, former Waterstones boss says – Telegraph. “Tim Coates criticised the “hopeless” direction libraries in the UK have taken over the past 20 years, attributing their declining use to the industry’s obsession with “rigging them out” with the latest technology and trendy activities”. See the full research in this presentation. and Week in Libraries: New Reader Survey Urges Publishers, Libraries to Close Their Data Gap – Publishers Weekly.
  • Entrepreneur hubs – now in your local library – Edinburgh Reporter. “The Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes launched a new network of business hubs yesterday. The hubs are located in public libraries and are intended to both inspire and support entrepreneurs. This is the Scottish Coworking Network developed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) using funding from The Scottish Government. It is hoped that local freelancers and start-ups will use the dedicated space to meet, work and perhaps collaborate.”
  • Free ‘Access to Research’ online search service in public libraries is re-launched – Publishers Licensing Services. “Analysis of the top 20 search terms by month nationwide for 2018 has thrown up an idiosyncratic list of interests, in addition to the perennial concerns of health, history and science. Medical ailments are well represented (‘Caesarean nerve damage’ and ‘Effect tuition fees have on students’ mental health’) but there is also room for the somewhat specialized (‘Llama antibodies’ and ‘Ragwort’).”
  • Funding For Local Authorities In England Has Fallen By 21%, Report Says – Huffington Post. “Funding for English councils fell by 21% between 2009-10 and 2017-18, according to a report by Britain’s leading independent economics thinktank. The funding system for English councils is “unsustainable” and the government must take action to address it, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said. Spending on planning and housing services dropped by more than 50% while leisure and transport departments saw cuts of more than 40%. Researchers for the IFS said things are set to get worse as revenues from council tax and business rates are unlikely to keep pace with rising costs – particularly around social care – and increasing demand for services. “
  • Government’s ‘drastic cuts’ amount to human rights violation, UN says – Metro. “‘The social safety net has been badly damaged by drastic cuts to local authorities’ budgets, which have eliminated many social services, reduced policing services, closed libraries in record numbers, shrunk community and youth centres and sold off public spaces and buildings.”
  • Guardian Books: ‘You can tell a lot about a country by how it treats its libraries’ – Guardian. “I think you can tell a lot about a country by how it treats its library service, and a country’s leader on how they treat their authors. Authors are the canary in the coalmine for so many social issues – we can see in the fluctuations on the bestseller charts how people value their guidance on anything from women’s rights to sovereignty.”
  • Home is where the art is: Developers are including cultural amenities such as arts centres, cinemas and libraries in several new projects – Mail. “In North-West London, two libraries that were closed down have now returned under community control. Cricklewood Library was demolished to make way for flats but concerned locals examined the deeds -– which are owned by Oxford University’s All Souls College. They contained a statement declaring that there had to be a place of learning on the site. A crowdfunding campaign raised more than £100,000 to provide a modern, multi-purpose library. Similar moves were made in Kensal Rise, where a library also had deeds owned by All Souls.”
  • Libraries On The Brink Of Closure As Visitor And Staff Numbers At A Record Low – Speaker. Dudley and Wolverhampton libraries experience examined.
  • ‘Libraries protected me at my most vulnerable’: Kerry Hudson on why libraries can’t be lost – Penguin. “Lowborn author Kerry Hudson is proudly working class, but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was grinding and often dehumanising. She shares the vital role that libraries and books played in her life, and why we must do everything in our power to protect them.”
  • Libraries resources – Arts Council England. Links to all reports produced by ACE.
  • Libraries saved me when I was vulnerable. I won’t desert them now – Big Issue. Kerry Hudson: “On Twitter I asked for stories from people from marginalised backgrounds who wouldn’t be doing what they now are without libraries. Over 200 deeply moving stories flooded in. Each was unique but many aspects of the stories overlapped, circles within circles, a Venn diagram of the true significance of libraries. Stories came from those who were in care, those from chaotic, poor or abusive households, those who were bullied, those with disabilities or mental health problems, those who were LGBT, those who just needed a place they wouldn’t be turned away from. Though many said that without those loaned books they’d have remained near uneducated or would never have gone to university, many more told me libraries also offered them desperately needed escape, safety and possibility where none existed otherwise.”
  • Library volunteers filling in for full-time staff after Tory cuts, says Labour – Mirror. “tatistics from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show that between 2010/11 and 2017/18, the number of paid staff in libraries in England, Wales and Scotland plummeted by 7,538. In England, where the Tories were in power throughout, overall numbers dropped by 6,657 – some 35%.” … “Falls were less steep in Labour-controlled Wales where numbers declined by 19% – equating to 225 paid workers. And in Scotland, where the nationalists have been in power, the plunge was 646 paid staff – 24%. At the same time, the number of volunteers rocketed in all parts of the country.” … “Labour’s Deputy Leader, Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson, said: “Library volunteers are the last line of defence between central government cuts and losing library branches altogether. “Volunteers are important to our public libraries, but so are professional staff with the expertise to support library users’ varied needs.”
  • Middlesbrough Central Library: Hugs, sleep and Islam for Dummies – BBC. “Libraries are more than buildings with books in. They are free gateways to infinite worlds and providers of help, advice and unexpected acts of kindness. As part of We Are Middlesbrough, the BBC has been finding out how the town’s central library cares for its people.”
  • National portfolio libraries: One year on – Libraries Connected. “Earlier this month, the Arts Council hosted an event in Birmingham where the six library services who are part of their National Portfolio could share and reflect on their activities over the past year. A vast range of activities were unveiled, with each library service producing a cultural programme tailored to their local communities.”
  • Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 23rd May 2019 – They Work For You. Rupa Huq MP: “The Manic Street Preachers said “Libraries gave us power”, but since 2010, 230,000 library opening hours have been lost and 127 libraries in England have completely shut their doors. I have three under threat in my constituency. I listened to the Minister’s answer. What advice or assistance can he give Ealing Council, which is struggling to keep its statutory services going with a 64% cut from the Government, to keep these engines of social mobility alive?”. Michael Ellis MP: “I would ask Ealing Council, as with other councils, to look at local authorities that are investing in libraries. Local authorities around the country of every political hue are opening, expanding and developing libraries. The first reaction to those facing budgetary challenges ought not to be to cut cultural items, but to provide support for them, and other local authorities have proven that they can do it.”
  • New £500,000 public engagement funding programme for UK libraries now open – Carnegie UK. “The new phase of the Engaging Libraries programme, worth £500,000, will offer around twenty selected projects direct project funding alongside a range of support and opportunities to build their skills.  We hope that this programme will inspire an exciting and dynamic range of new projects and initiatives, building on the success of phase one, which ran during 2017/8.  Engaging Libraries Phase 1 highlighted the enduring unique and important role that public libraries play in local communities across the UK as free, safe and trusted spaces, ideal for facilitating discussion and debate about a wide range of challenging subjects.”
  • North Wales hospitals, GP surgeries and libraries to benefit from £7m digital boost – News from Wales. “The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has approved up to £7million for the area to make the switch from copper-based services to ‘gigabit capable’ full-fibre optic provision, as part of its Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Programme. The move will provide locations including GP surgeries, libraries, hospitals and social services with resilient, cost-effective ultrafast broadband connectivity which can be upgraded in the future as new technologies emerge.”
  • Queen’s Birthday Honours: Lancing founder of children’s Summer Reading Challenge awarded MBE – Worthing Herald. “Anne Sarrag, 55, has been included in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to improving access to reading in the UK. With a career spanning three decades, Anne is perhaps best known for her work as the co-founder of LaunchPad, a charity that worked to promote library services to children and families. ” and her work at The Reading Agency.
  • Reading SightShare the Vision. “, is the newly updated, one-stop shop for a range of professionals to find information that will help them to support visually and/or print impaired readers. The website relaunch comes during the annual Make A Noise in Libraries fortnight which closes tomorrow. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Get Connected’ and libraries across the UK have organised events and raising awareness around all that they do to help people with sight loss to continue reading. The fortnight is led by Share the Vision and RNIB.”
  • A room is not just a room: The Library as shared place and why it matters to communities – Christian Lauersen. “This piece is gonna be about why public places matters, how to work with public places and to wrap it up, the library as a public shared place and why it is so important to communities. This will not be about library décor, library architrchture or library design.”
  • Twine – Free bundle of digital tools offered by Power to Change to Community Managed Libraries – Community Managed Libraries Network. “Twine allows you to log volunteer hours and visitor footfall quickly and digitally and then use this digital data to create efficient reports. It is designed overall to make reporting on volunteer and visitor stats faster and easier. It’s been designed with simplicity in mind and overall is very easy to use. “
  • Veteran librarian from Havant is made an MBE for her impressive career – Portsmouth Herald. Gillian Harris, ” ‘I am amazed and deeply humbled to be nominated for an MBE, and proud on behalf of all the many very hardworking and dedicated people I have worked alongside in my career – in Tower Hamlets and with CILIP, SLG, ILIG and Ascel”
  • Vincent the therapy rat travels to schools and libraries to help children learn to read – Metro. “Vincent is a therapy rat, heading into schools and libraries to help children learn to read. To be clear, this is not a genius rat able to sound out words and teach children about spelling and grammar. He’s there to provide comfort and a non-judgmental ear for kids who need a confidence boost when it comes to reading aloud.”

  • Welcome to Library Island – Dr Matt Finch. Full text needed for roleplay training game designed to help library staff think strategically and secure funding. See Library Island Is Here. “This interactive training activity helps participants to explore strategy, innovation, and the messy business of working with communities. We’ve spent the last two years perfecting Library Island with university staff, health workers, museum professionals, students, and, yes, librarians. The free CC-licensed print-and-play kit is now available for download in PDF format. Feel free to adopt it, adapt it, and make your own visit to Library Island.

  • Welsh Libraries at the Beating Heart of their Communities – Business News Wales. “Living Well in Wales is a nationwide initiative that brings together public libraries and partner organisations to highlight the important role libraries play at the heart of their local communities  and promote the thousands of events and activities promoting health and wellbeing held in libraries each year.”

International news

  • Australia – How libraries became tourism hotspots – Arts Hub. “Globally, libraries have been adapting. Professor Stuart Kells takes a tour of the world’s best and discovers why they are still vital.” … “So what did we learn from all this library touring? Reports of the death of the library are certainly exaggerated. People, including young people, continue to use and appreciate libraries. People are still investing in libraries, and they are still buying and reading books. But the libraries and their custodians are engaged in hot battles on multiple fronts, including the fight against underfunding and creeping volunteerism, and the epochal clash between analogue and digital content.”
  • Canada – Inter-library loans to be revived in north after outcry – Star. “Inter-library loans will resume in northern Ontario starting in June — but with the future of such loans in the southern part of the province still in limbo, it remains unclear how much of the popular service will return. And local libraries are also raising concerns about the government’s huge funding cut to the two provincial organizations that co-ordinate the book sharing, and the impact that will have on other crucial services and support the two provide.”
  • Critics of Millennium library security measures demand changes ahead of public report – CBC. “Broad and Millennium For All have spoke out against the security measures which include bag checks and handheld metal detectors since they went into place late in February. Last month, the group held a silent ‘read-in’ event in the lobby of the library near the screening area. Library management originally instituted the policy to crack down on the rise of serious violent incidents and threats which they said had increased by 75 per cent since 2013.”
  • Halifax libraries join nationwide movement towards free menstrual products -Atlantic CTV News. “Some of the products are donated by community groups, Kachan said, but the library system foots the bulk of the cost as part of its operating budget. “It’s really an extension of providing toilet paper and soap,” Kachan said. “These are basic hygiene products … that allow people to deal with the physiological realities of their day.”
  • Eire – Old tomes return home as libraries close the book on late fees – Times. “The abolition of library fines at the start of the year has led to books being returned to public libraries after decades out on loan.”
  • USA – In One Year, People Visited Public Libraries More Than a Billion Times – IMLS. “More than 171 million registered users, representing over half of the nearly 311 million Americans who lived within a public library service area, visited public libraries over 1.35 billion times in 2016.”
  • USA – Librarians Are Trying to Encourage Children to Read—by Bringing Books Straight to the Laundromat – Mother Jones. ” thousands of families are benefiting from storytimes and bookshares in laudromats across the country. Adam Echelman, executive director of Libraries Without Borders, a nonprofit that aims to bring knowledge and information to those most in need worldwide, says, “You’re able to hold programs at a time and place that really meets people where they are. You have a captive audience, families return weekly, and it’s open all the time.”
  • USA – Library Could Do Away with Overdue Fines – Loudoun Now. ““I think that … the purpose of a library is to provide free and equal access to every citizen,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).”
  • USA – Library innovation with Maxine Bleiweis and Bill Derry – Princh. “We hear about libraries that are “innovative”, but what does that really mean? What is library innovation? What makes a library innovative? Can one characteristic or initiative make a library innovative?” see also Liquid Libraries – Alcohol and Libraries – Princh.
  • Local news
  • Aberdeen – Six Minutes a Day: Aberdeen library launches reading challenge – Evening Express. “Aberdeen Reads is open to everyone and the city council is urging people to get their family and friends involved in the challenge too. It involves reading for at least six minutes every day and can include books, newspapers, magazines or other material. The project also features a number of mini challenges every week to help people explore their local libraries.”
  • Aberdeenshire – Scoop up books to win ice cream prize – Inverurie Herald. “This year, the library service is going to award one of these children the title of “Aberdeenshire Star Reader” and the winner will be awarded a prize kindly donated by Mackie’s of Scotland – £100 Book Gift Card and a year’s supply of Mackie’s Ice Cream.”
  • Barnet – Save Barnet Libraries: Campaigners ‘cautiously optimistic’ after council expands scope of review – Ham and High. “At a meeting of the town hall’s community leadership and libraries committee, the committee accepted an opposition amendment put by Labour’s Cllr Sara Conway to widen the scope of the intended review so that it now also will consider the impact of the loss of space at libraries and the impact on disabled people.”
  • Barnet Council denies library ‘cover-up’ claims – Times series. “The council has denied claims that an upcoming review of libraries involves a “cover-up” of the impact the cuts will have on disabled people and other groups. Campaigners from Save Barnet Libraries slammed a planned evaluation of the borough’s libraries as falling “far short of what is necessary” and demanded a “full and transparent inquiry” into cuts to the service.”
    • Serious concerns over Barnet libraries after shake-up – This is Local London. “Locked toilets, a dead rat and a man openly watching porn are just some of the problems recently faced by people using the borough’s libraries. They were among a range of serious concerns raised by residents and councillors calling for a far-reaching review of Barnet’s library service, which has undergone sweeping changes over the past few years.”
  • Barnsley – Library fines scrapped and debts cleared in Barnsley – Star. “From July 1 no further fines will be issued for books which are overdue and outstanding fines will also be removed, in a change which also ends the use of reservation fees for those requesting books not in stock at their local branch. The change means fines will never be issued against users of the new flagship Lightbox central library, due to open in May Day Green this summer. Councillors hope that removing fines will take away a stigma which could discourage parents from taking their children into libraries, if they have had bad experiences with being fined in the past.”
  • Bolton – Ian Savage: Why libraries matter so much for young minds – Bolton News. “The former Tesco Metro supermarket building in Market Street will be demolished and the library and health centre built on the site. The CGI images accompanying the application look pretty impressive. What particularly pleases me is that under this plan a library will remain in Little Lever.”
  • Bradford – BookStart Bear celebrates Silsden Library’s second birthday – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “Silsden’s library, which was formerly run by Bradford Council, reopened in the town hall under the management of volunteers on June 9, 2017.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Brighton librarian awarded British Empire Medal – Argus. “Her most significant achievement has been the success of the Jubilee Library in Jubilee Street, Brighton, which has been in the top six most popular of all public libraries in the country every year since it opened in 2005.”
  • Bromley – Workers at 14 libraries in Bromley to go on strike – London News Online. “Workers at 14 libraries have voted to go on strike on June 6 to protest against low pay and increased workloads caused by lack of staffing. The 14 libraries are in Bromley borough and 98 per cent of the 50 library staff voted for the day of action after a long term dispute with employers Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).” see also Bromley library workers to strike again over pay and working conditions – News Shopper.
  • Buckinghamshire – Nationwide cuts to libraries set to hit Buckingham – Buckingham Today. “Just 12 weeks after heartily celebrating the 70th anniversary of Buckingham Town Library, staff have been told they must reapply for their jobs … Staff are having to reapply for their own jobs and there are going to be less jobs. The narrative won’t be about that and you won’t be told about that but it’s really not very good that councillors come to be photographed with the wonderful staff and then the next week they have to reapply for their jobs. You can think what you like about that but I don’t think it’s very proper.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Refurbishment of Soham Library underway along with relocation of pre-school – Ely Standard. “Council bosses say the building is set to create a new welcoming, flexible and accessible library space and support the delivery of local services. This will include Neighbourhood Cares, which helps people find the support they need locally to help them live independently. Work started at the end of April but to minimise disruption and ensure the refurbishment phase is carried out safely and efficiently, the library will be closed to the public from Friday June 7 for around four weeks.”
  • Camden – Highgate library invites residents to test out its new digital tools – News Camden. “Highgate library is giving residents the opportunity to spend time testing out brand new digital equipment, including a virtual reality headset, a 3D printer, tablets, robots, e-newspapers, new PCs, self-service kiosks and much more.”
  • Carmarthenshire – Carmarthenshire’s library service is best in Wales – South Wales Guardian. “…library service is a model for the rest of Wales, according to a Welsh Government report. The council has been praised for its commitment to the future of its library service and for its forward-thinking approach in creating a new digital learning environment alongside its more traditional offering.”
  • Conwy – Mobile and home library service could be amalgamated under Conwy proposals – Rhyl Journal. “Housebound people in Conwy could lose a service that sees library books delivered to them by council staff. Members of the county’s finance and scrutiny committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss plans that could see the mobile and home library service amalgamated. As part of the changes, some housebound residents would be asked to have family members pick up books for them.”
    • Half of county’s mobile library stops to be scrapped – North Wales Live. “People currently receiving the housebound service will continue to receive it, but new applicants for the service will be asked if they have alternative ways to access library services, such as getting the assistance of family members. In a review of services, which included a public consultation, officers have proposed that 68 of the mobile service’s 120 stops will cease in the future”
  • Cornwall – Future of St Just Library secured – Coast FM. “St Just Library has been safeguarded for the community as part of a new partnership between the town and Cornwall Council. Under the agreement the library will transfer to the town council after alterations have been completed. The town council office will be relocated in part of the library building so visitors can access a range of services in one location.”
    • Perranporth Library transferred to Perranzabuloe Parish Council – Packet. “The future of Perranporth Library has been safeguarded after a new agreement which will see it transferred to Perranzabuloe Parish Council today. The arrangement, which is part of Cornwall Council’s devolution programme, means the library will continue to provide all the key services essential to a modern library as well as access to a range of Council services. Perranporth Library is remaining part of the countywide service meaning customers will keep their existing library cards and can still visit, borrow and order books online from other libraries in Cornwall.”
  • Croydon – Libraries become sell out venues – Thornton Heath Chronicle. “Rebecca Kenny narrates Prokofiev’s symphonic which is touring four Croydon libraries including Thornton Heath Library on May 30 between 2-3.30pm.” … “The counci l has unveiled  a 10-year plan to transform the borough’s libraries into thriving cultural hubs  with investment to increase the number of books as well as  encouraging creativity from live performances to exhibitions and workshop”
    • Petition to save Croydon libraries branded ‘nonsense’ by cabinet member – Guardian series. “A petition to save four Croydon libraries has been branded a ‘nonsense campaign’ by the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport. Last week Croydon South MP Chris Philp started a petition against “secret plans to close four libraries”. He claims that Bradmore Green (in Coulsdon), Purley, Sanderstead and Shirley libraries are all in danger of closure. But Croydon Council is adamant that it will be keeping all 13 of the borough’s libraries open.”
    • Plans to refurbish Croydon’s libraries given public backing – Guardian series. Norbury: “More than 150 people attended an open day event hosted by councillors and council staff, filling out feedback forms to contribute their opinions on proposed designs. The refurbishment, which is due to start over the summer, will include a full roof replacement, upgraded ICT, redecoration and new furniture.”
  • Cumbria – Work of Barrow library praised – Mail. “A report to county councillors said: “Barrow Central Library is a well-used community resource open to all and already attracts many community groups.” “With free WIFI and free PC usage, more people are using the library to access services and by improving the flexibility of the building to allow a better customer and community experience, it is hoped that more services and activities can continue to be delivered from this building in future.” Works costing up to £1 million are planned to redevelop the library and are currently going through the planning process.”
    • A new chapter: Shed turned into library – North West Evening Mail. Library opened in shed by volunteers after cut to mobile library service.
    • Libraries recognised for support work – News and Star. “Libraries in Carlisle and Penrith have been awarded special status. They are two of six libraries across Cumbria to receive ‘healthy status’ for their work in supporting their communities. As part of the Healthy Library Initiative, library staff were trained in mental health first aid, dementia awareness, and suicide awareness amongst others. “
  • Dorset – Help make libraries the exciting hubs that people love – Dorset Echo. “Dorset Libraries are looking for adult volunteers as part of its latest recruitment drive. ”
    • Weymouth Library will close for two weeks to undergo £550k refurb – Dorset Echo. “As reported, the town’s central library is undergoing a £550,000 refurbishment that will see other services based there. Dorset Council says the revamp – in which it will transform into a library and learning centre – is approaching the final stages. But it will have to close later this month while work is carried out. Work is said to be progressing well and the areas on the first floor are now complete with a new meeting room for community use, interview rooms, public and staff toilets including an accessible toilet and a shared office space.”
  • Durham – New cycle stations in County Durham aim to encourages bike and book lovers alike – Northern Echo. “The Durham County Council Love Reading, Love Cycling initiative encourages greener modes of transport, bringing together active travel, the joy of reading and the use of libraries as social hubs, to increase health and well-being. Belmont Library has already benefitted from the scheme, with new cycle parking installed, as well as the provision of Bike Easy books and special bike seat covers to anyone using the bike stands.”
  • Ealing – Council selling books from libraries in Ealing for just 7p – My London. “Council figures show that since February last year 6,286 books were sold to Revival, a company that specialises in on-selling, rehoming and recycling old books. In exchange the council received £440.02.Campaigners trying to save Ealing’s seven threatened libraries have voiced concern about the sales.”
    • Akuba Reads ‘Hands Off’ @ Greenford SOS Library March, May 2019 – Akuba. “Akuba (Grace Quansah) reads a second version of ‘Hands Off’ at the Greenford Library March to Save Seven Libararies in the borough of Ealing from threatened closures.  There is also a small snippet of footage of the March, credited to Oliver New”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Summer of rockets and reading as libraries blast off for Space Chase challenge – Bridlington Free Press.
  • Edinburgh – Corstorphine Library closing for a few days – Edinburgh Reporter. “Corstorphine Library will close on Saturday 22 June 2019 for planned internal plasterwork repairs to take place and will reopen on Wednesday 26 June.”
  • Essex – Parents and children march against proposed library closure – East Anglian Daily Times. 70 march for Coggeshall Library:  “On Saturday, May 18, marchers met at Honywood School before walking to St Peter’s Primary School and continuing to the library where they enjoyed some funny children’s poems from poet and author Anne Boileau. ”
    • Austerity threatening our right to protest peacefully – Gazette Standard/Letters. “Essex Police is using the most underhand tactics to prevent legal, democratic, and peaceful protest marches taking place as their response to cuts. I have been involved in the organisation of protest marches in Essex going back to the Eighties and Essex Police had only ever been highly cooperative.”
    • Author Jacqueline Wilson backs campaign against Essex library closures – Southend Standard.
    • Authors, poets and journalists slam library closure plan -Times series. “Children’s book author Michael Rosen has joined the growing list of prestigious writers who have voiced their concerns against Essex County Council’s proposal to close up to 44 libraries in the county Michael shared his views on Twitter after seeing a video of an 11-year-old library user rallying crowds at the Young People’s March for Libraries in Colchester and then responded in a post.” AL Kennedy, Jojo Meyes and Kes Gray also respond.
    • Campaigner’s bid to have MPs discuss library axe plans – Gazette News. “Mr Walker, leading a group of 35 campaigners, has secured approval to launch a petition to the Government. The petition, which will be considered for debate in Parliament should it reach 100,000 signatures, is looking for an increase in funding for library services.”
    • David Baddiel and Michael Rosen back Essex libraries campaign – BBC. “Essex-born singer Billy Bragg has also tweeted his support on social media, as well as children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Essex photographer Tessa Hallmann took pictures of the celebrities holding placards supporting the cause.”
    • Manningtree library campaigner at Chelmsford march – Standard series. “Manningtree campaigners joined 700 protesters as they took to the streets of Chelmsford to march on County Hall on Saturday.”
    • Only people who want to close libraries are Tory county councillors – Halstead Gazette / Letters. “The only people who seem to support closures are the Conservative county councillors, all of whom have now voted against three motions that would have saved the libraries.” … “It was sad that not a single Conservative councillor or MP came to the march to hear first hand from children, poets and regular people about why a library is important to them”
    • Priti Patel hits out at Essex County Council over libraries axe plan – Gazette Standard. ““I am furious so many libraries in my constituency face the prospect of closure and since the proposals were published in November. “I have been in extensive correspondence with Essex County Council to make clear my serious concerns and throughout this period I have been consulting parish councils across the constituency to look at ways to save our libraries. “21,000 people responded to the consultation, demonstrating the strength of feeling there is against these closures.”
    • UK authors rally to save Essex libraries – Books and Publishing.
  • Flintshire – Delyn’s Assembly Member says library investment will boost ‘education and culture offer’ – Leader. “Flint Library is one of four libraries in Wales to benefit from nearly £1 million Welsh Government capital funding to develop and enhance their facilities and services. The Transformation Capital Grant Programme is supporting, museums, archives and libraries to transform services for users, and ensure their future sustainability. Hannah Blythyn AM said: “This is really good news for Flint Library and the Welsh Government investment in Flint is most welcome.”
  • Gateshead – Three Gateshead libraries to be transferred to community organisations that run them – Chronicle Live. Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Fellng: “the volunteer groups are set to be offered short term leases of the buildings. According to a report due to be heard by cabinet next week the lease will be “on a full repairing and insuring basis” and rent free.”
  • Gloucestershire – People who can’t visit local library could have books delivered to their homes by electric vehicle – Gloucestershire Live. “A new hybrid or electric vehicle would be bought to deliver pre-ordered books to residents who cannot visit their local library due to physical disabilities or lack of transport. The delivery vehicle would also be used to drop off and pick up books to various collection points in Gloucestershire.” … “There is an existing mobile library which delivers books to residents across Gloucestershire, but the county council said it needs repairs totalling £28,000 and cannot guarantee is would remain roadworthy.”
    • Gloucestershire libraries join #Bookface campaign – BBC. “Libraries across Gloucestershire have been merging books with staff members for the #Bookface campaign. The initiative is designed to encourage people to use their local libraries whilst having fun at the same time. Staff members go to great lengths to match their look to characters on the covers of their favourite books to make the photos look as realistic as possible.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries and social services under threat in new £80m spending cuts drive – Advertiser and Times. “The latest suggestions include shutting libraries and increasing reliance on volunteers, adding fees for parking at country parks, turning off streetlights for longer, and extending charges for non-household waste at recycling centres.”
  • Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire Librarian recognised in Queen’s Honours – Hertfordshire Libraries. “Under his leadership, Hertfordshire Libraries were one of the first in the country to have self-service and Wi-Fi across all sites, as well as helping to develop volunteer-partnered libraries”
  • Lancashire – Use it or lose it: Friends of Fulwood Library out to revitalise Preston library – Lancashire Post. “Thankfully reopened a year later following a change in political stewardship at County Hall, Fulwood Library now has a new support group at the helm, a group of bibliophiles ready and willing to turn what has proved to be a well-loved library into even more of a community hub. Enter, the Friends of Fulwood Library. Established as part of a Lancashire County Council initiative, the group aims to promote the library’s myriad events, as well as the sheer pleasure of reading. Now boasting around 40 members, the Friends of Fulwood Library launched their group with an event last month, signalling their intent to get Fulwood reading and using the library more and more with an afternoon of poetry, music, activities, and refreshments.”
    • Chatburn Library set to reopen … three years after it closed – Clitheroe Advertiser. “Book lovers will be delighted to hear Chatburn Library is set to be reopened with a special event on July 1st by County Coun. Albert Atkinson. At a recent meeting, cabinet agreed a proposal to reopen the library and reinstate the running of it from Chatburn C of E Primary School, on Sawley Road. Work needed at the school to make it suitable for use as a library started on May 7th. Under the previous administration 26 of the county’s 73 libraries were closed towards the end of 2016”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries smash two-million lending target – Skegness Standard. “Over the past 12 months, a record two million items, including books, e-books and DVDs, have been borrowed from Lincolnshire’s 15 core libraries, mobile libraries and e-services, a rise of 3 per cent, smashing previous records. In addition, 2018/19 has seen more than 5,000 events held within the county’s core libraries, attended by over 68,000 local people. Some of the most popular activities have included a Harry Potter Book Night and the Summer Reading Challenge, designed to engage more people with the joys of reading through imaginative activities and fun costumed events. The Book Bingo family reading challenge, which invited families to read a range of books from suggested categories to be in with a chance of winning a prize, involved nearly 400 families and highlighted the benefits of inter-generational reading.”
  • Merton – Nearly 100k granted to Merton libraries to improve special needs facilities – Wimbledon Guardian. “The project is being funded by a £94,826 Arts Council England grant”
  • Northamptonshire – Dementia day care centre to move out of Higham Ferrers due to library closure – Northants Telegraph. “Cando Care, which provides care and social activities for 16 people five days a week, is set to move out of its current location in Midland Road, Higham Ferrers, and set up 2.5 miles away at Irthlingborough library after Northamptonshire County Council decided to stop providing a library service in the town. Last week the community group proposing to take over the library decided to step down, saying the financial commitment being asked by the council was too much.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library helpers celebrated during Volunteers Week – North Yorkshire County Council. “From hosting under-5s storytimes to delivering books to housebound customers, volunteers are vital to the running of libraries.”
    • Council warned to fulfill statutory library duty – Craven Herald. “A council which saved £1.4m by handing over 33 libraries to varying levels of community responsibility has been warned it must continue to fulfil its statutory duty. A review on the second anniversary of the North Yorkshire County Council cost-cutting measure has found while the changes have led to library opening hours increasing, maintaining the services with volunteers was of “greatest concern”. A report to the authority’s corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee has found since the changes were introduced in 2017 library opening hours across the county have increased.”
    • Libraries honoured during Volunteers Week – North Yorkshire News Room. “Grassington hub and community library has been named North Yorkshire’s library of the year”
    • Praise for vital services of community libraries – Gazette Herald. “Helmsley, Norton Hive and Derwent Valley Bridge in West Ayton were among those recognised by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). The awards were announced by the chair of NYCC, Councillor Jim Clark, during a series of events he attended to celebrate Volunteers Week. Cllr Clark said: “I have been privileged during Volunteers Week to meet so many people who generously give their time and skills to support their communities in so many ways.”
    • Knaresborough Library launches autism friendly chill out room – Harrogate Advertiser. “Toys, mood lighting, and a dark tent are among the autism friendly equipment on offer in a new chill out room at the popular facility. The area, funded by The Forest of Knaresborough Masonic Lodge, will be used every Friday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. It is also available on request at other times.”
    • North Yorkshire council’s pledge to continue support for libraries – Darlington and Stockton Times. “The statement by North Yorkshire County Council, which saved £1.4m by handing over 33 libraries to varying levels of community responsibility two years ago, followed a number of concerns being raised over the authority fulfilling its duty under the Public Libraries Act to run a service which takes account of the needs of communities … A meeting of the council’s corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee heard while library opening hours across the county had increased since the changes, the improved service had come at an extra cost to residents despite the county council providing support staff”
  • Nottingham – Internationally acclaimed architects appointed to design Nottingham’s new Central Library – West Bridgford Wire. “the Council wants to feature the best children’s library in country.”
  • Oxfordshire – Charlbury Library hugely popular since community centre move – Oxford Mail. “New membership applications at Charlbury Library increased by 44 per cent in its first year in operation, while 2,219 items were issued on Sundays alone. Meanwhile, since moving to the town’s community centre in 2017, the library’s self-service machine usage has increased by 65 per cent.”
  • Salford – Salford council scraps overdue library book fines, saying it doesn’t want readers and families to ‘worry’ about daily charge – Manchester Evening News. “Salford council hope the move will open up the city’s libraries to all and said it didn’t want readers to ‘worry’ about incurring daily charge …The move in Salford comes at a time when town halls across the country are shutting library doors to save money. The city however has invested in its services and resisted any notion of closures. It’s hoped the move, which came into force on Saturday, would also increase membership and the city’s book offer.”
  • Shetland – Library lending rate best in Scotland – Shetland News. “Shetland Library has the highest booking lending rate per capita in Scotland – and the second highest in the UK. The figures were revealed as part of the Lerwick library’s performance update for April 2018 to March this year. Visitor numbers were up by 8.27 per cent as the library enjoyed increased footfall for a fourth year running. There were a total of 155,064 physical visits during the year, while a total of 5,532 people borrowed books. Issues of eAudio books were up by 187 per cent, while library van users increased by 4.6 per cent. A customer satisfaction survey heralded results of 93 per cent – down by three per cent on the previous year. Social media, meanwhile, was another boon for the library, which has previously hit the headlines for its joshing with the Orkney Library.” … “Fraser added that only Richmond upon Thames (5,279 loans per 1,000 population) bettered Shetland (5,159 loans per 1,000 population) when it came to loan rates in Britain.”
  • Staffordshire – Community inspired art showcased in a new exhibition – Staffordshire Newsroom. ACE funded project involving Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Leicestershire.
    • Glascote Library comes to life with ‘Libraries Live’ scheme – Birmingham Live. Staffordshire uses ACE funding of theatre show to suggest volunteer libraries are “there for everyone”.
    • Queen’s Birthday Honours for Staffordshire – Staffordshire News Room. “An MBE was also awarded to Sue Ball, who has worked in Staffordshire’s public libraries for more than 30 years. Currently responsible for strategy and policy in Staffordshire, in recent years she has overseen the transfer of Stafford and Newcastle town centre libraries into new premises.”
  • Suffolk – Has the bedtime story lost its place in the digital world? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Suffolk librarian and head of service deliveries Krystal Vittles shares some of the great bedtime reads out at the moment – and they are all in stock at Suffolk libraries.” … “Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery at Suffolk Libraries, said: “This isn’t about demonising technology as it has its place when it comes to helping children learn. However, this must be done in moderation and it’s about understanding the right time and place for tech.”
    • Clare library to shut for refurbishment Enjoy Sudbury More. “The facility, in Clare High Street, will be shut between July 1 and 8 for work to improve children’s facilities and provide better storage. The refurbishment has been paid for by developer contribution funds and fundraising from the Friends of Clare Library.”
    • Do you take books out of your local library? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Information collated through a Freedom of Information request has shown that a select group of authors have proved popular with Suffolk readers in the past five years. The data tracked the top 5 books loaned out of Suffolk’s libraries from the years 2014-2018 and also included data from January to May this year.”
  • Swindon – Justin Tomlinson – Swindon Advertiser. “Last week, I was delighted to host the national launch of the incredibly popular Summer Reading Challenge. This is the fifth time I’ve hosted the event in Parliament and it was brilliant to see dozens of MPs from all of the different political parties coming together to champion this fantastic cause.”
  • Wakefield – Get your free crime book and join the Big Read heading north to a library near you – Wakefield Express. “Thanks to his publisher, Orion, 1,500 free copies of the book are available and can be collected at any participating library plus the Harrogate International Festival Office now.”
  • Warrington – Library to close two months to prepare for new life – Warrington Worldwide. “Stockton Heath  Library will be closed for two months while redevelopment work is carried out in readiness for the building’s new life.” … “Not so long ago, Stockton Heath Library was threatened with closure, along with other libraries across the borough. But after a “save our libraries” campaign, plans were drawn up to widen the building’s usage and extend its role in the community. The plans, developed by the South Warrington Libraries Working Group; and SWISH (Friends of the South Warrington Library in Stockton Heath), include: • Upgrading the building for provision of rental areas to ensure income streams • Widening the scope of community engagement with library provision and activities • Adapting the library to better accommodate the range of local needs/disabilities such as dementia or sensory disability • Increasing the building flexibility to extend the potential range of activities, such as literary events or cultural presentations.”
    •  Learning ‘comes to life’ thanks to new augmented reality books Warrington Worldwide. “LiveWire has run a number of recent public workshops at its libraries to introduce library users to the augmented reality technology and books – that feature topics including dinosaurs, extinct animals, ocean predators – with space and science-focused titles coming soon”
  • West Sussex – Shoreham Library 50th Anniversary in pictures – Shoreham Herald.
  • Worcestershire – Pictures: Protestors take to the streets of St Johns against library cuts – Worcester News. “The group, which gathered outside St John’s Library, formed a group and marched through the streets of St John’s to the traffic lights, then performed a lap around the back of the St John in Bedwardine church before arriving back at the library. ”
    • Campaign group celebrates news that Worcester libraries will be saved – Worcester News. “Sean McCauley, who organised the various protests, said: “We are delighted that the library is safe for the time being. “That being said, we would like assurances that the decision to save St John’s and Warndon has not come at the expense of libraries anywhere else in the county.”
    • New library cash vow is welcomed – Worcester Observer. “County council chiefs have welcomed the decision by Worcester City Council to approve £157,000 a year to fund the running costs of both St John’s and Warndon libraries. The future of several of Worcestershire’s libraries have been heavily discussed over the last few months, as almost 2,000 residents had their say on the future of libraries as part of the County Council’s public consultation.”