Trusts tend to get a bad press on library social media, and GLL due to its size more than anyone else. There’s an open letter against it included below and there’s currently strike action going on in Bromley, which is one of its services. In the normal PLN tradition of trying to cover both sides, though, I will mention here that GLL has ended lone-working in Dudley at no extra cost to the council and has included below a response on Bromley. If you feel the need to get angry at me for including these things, you are welcome to comment below but remember first the need for sharing information is part of the profession’s job. And that goes for both sides, and not just the one you agree with. This is also true for Tim Coates, who many of us have disagreed with for attacking the UK librarian profession at every opportunity. I include his chart on US, Australian and book issue trends here for you to make up your own mind. For me, the reason is fairly obvious – cut the bookfund and you cut the issues – but make up your own mind as to why.

I greatly enjoyed, as ever, the CILIP Conference this week, of which more at another time but I was saddened, after listening to a spirited talkthere, that the Libraries Change Lives Awards will not happen this year. Let’s hope they come back stronger than ever next year.

Right, good news bad news time. Havering have announced 5 libraries could be volunteer run and West Sussex have announced they may get rid of a mobile library and other services as part of a £500k cut. On the other side, Lewisham have cancelled deep proposed cuts and Nottinghamshire have rearranged opening hours for a slight increase. Being I mentioned volunteer libraries, I discovered on Thursday – while talking to an Austrian librarian – that 80% of their libraries are volunteer run and have been for decades, with a tier of government offering substantial training to ensure volunteer librarians are up to standard. Being that there are no standards in England even for paid staff, it seems unlikely that such a thing will happen here.


National news

  • An open letter to CILIP’s Board of Trustees – Various librarians. Protest letter concerning CILIP working with GLL. “Firstly, we are asking CILIP to provide more information on how Employer Partners areg ranted this status. Itis unclear how the process functions and whether adequate procedures are in place to ensure due checks, balances, and oversight are consistently undertaken” … “library workers in Bromley are currently engaged in indefinite strike action against GLL” … “We would also like to raise our concerns over CILIP’s partnership with the MoD”

“GLL has run the library service in Bromley for 18 months – during which time we have prioritised ways to make services better, providing nicer buildings, better stock, good ICT, more staff on the frontline and more activities. We are sorry that, despite these efforts, Unite has, for the fifth year in succession, called for strike action across Bromley Libraries. We understand that this year’s dispute relates to a 6% pay claim and unfilled vacancies. In their latest leaflet, however, we read that Unite is saying that we have cut budgets by 25% and that we are attacking library services. These statements are factually incorrect.

We are ambitious for the library service in Bromley: we have made significant investment to upgrade ICT in libraries since the start of the contract, and are now embarking on a major refurbishment programme of libraries in the Borough to make them lighter, brighter and more welcoming. This is alongside maintaining excellent stock levels and developing the activities programme. Throughout the strike, libraries across Bromley have opened as normal.

We are happy to resume negotiations with the union on condition they agree to meet the standards and performance we have committed to delivering as part of a modern library service.” Statement from GLL on Bromley, received by email, sent in response to statement above.

  • Libraries Change Lives Award – CILIP. “the Libraries Change Lives Award is on hold for 2019. ” … “It’s not been a decision lightly taken, but the award needed a refresh in both structure and reach. It’s so important that the amazing work the Libraries Change Lives Award team do reaches all library and information workplaces, and that meant a breather was needed to examine” (Dawn Finch via Twitter)
  • LibrariesDeliver Campaign Launches to Activate the Public about Libraries and Librarians – CILIP. “In an effort to raise awareness and make a meaningful, long-term impact on the future of library funding, CILIP and the EveryLibrary Institute today announce the launch of LibrariesDeliver, an advocacy campaign that connects people from across England in support of their libraries. The core of the campaign is LibrariesDeliver.uk, a new GDPR-compliant advocacy website designed to activate and connect an extensive network of individuals and advocacy groups about library funding and use. On LibrariesDeliver.uk library supporters can sign up to become part of the campaign, pledge to support libraries, create and field petitions about funding, donate to support libraries, and become better organised and connected.”

Chart from Tim Coates, who says: “In this country, local and national politicians and senior members of the library sector have argued for two decades that the advance of the internet and availability of eBooks have led to an inevitable decline of the need for libraries to provide books. Those responsible have reduced book collections and caused libraries to concentrate on other activities. The chart shows clearly that such a decline has not taken place in either Australia or the United States, and that therefore it was not inevitable at all. The reduction of traditional library service has led to the decline in use. There has been a continuous failure of public library strategy particular to the UK and it still goes on.”

  • The day the e-books stopped working – BBC. “Consumers who bought ebooks via Microsoft’s online store are losing access to their libraries.” … “Although many readers will not have even realised Microsoft had made a third run at the industry, experts say the cut-off serves as a reminder that you do not actually own a copy of most digital purchases outright but rather have purchased a licence that can expire.”
  • Social Capital for Libraries – Princh. “Unlike financial capital that depreciates with use, social capital actually grows the more it is used. Reach out with information about what libraries are doing and how they can be supported to do more. Reciprocity happens! No, it’s not simplistic thinking. What librarians make happen to others, they will help to make happen to libraries. However, when our intentions are solely to ‘use’ people to achieve what we want, it can backfire badly.”
  • ‘A network of infrastructures’: Exploring Public Libraries as Infrastructure By Louise Rondel, Laura Henneke and Dr Alice Corble – CUCR Blog. Academic look at Idea Store Whitechapel, Idea Store Watney Market and New Cross Learning.

International news

  • Australia – Libraries After Dark: a public health pilot – Medium. ” If Libraries offered a regular late night opening with activities and learning opportunities and a social get together this may divert people at risk of a loss spiral at the local pokies. In essence it was designed to encourage people to move from the local gambling lounge to their community lounge — their local library…”
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – The Love of Books: The Brave Librarians of Sarajevo – Al Jazeera World. “”The culture of our people, the identity, the history of Bosnia, for centuries in one place. And suddenly it was being swallowed by the fire and the flames,” says firefighter Ismet Tucak, who responded to the blaze at the National Library. Fearing the Gazi Husrev-Beg library would be attacked next, Jahic’s staff took the momentous decision to move their most precious works to safety. Dodging Serbian snipers and street violence, the small band of book-lovers – including the cleaner and the Congolese nightwatchman – moved the manuscripts, one box at a time, to preserve a valuable part of their written history.”
  • Canada – Library won’t partner with group planning to screen films about police brutality – CBC. “ssues of brutality, racism and militarization within police forces. Alex Khasnabish has arranged several film screenings at the library in the past and had been allowed to use the space for free.  But he said he got an email from the program manager at the library saying there were concerns about this year’s film choices and asking that a police representative be added to the accompanying panel discussions. “
  • Finland – Kuopio City Library ditches protective plastic covers for books: “This is climate action” – Uutiset. “nly scientific libraries housed books without protective plastic covers. “This is a groundbreaking thing,” gushed Rauha Maarno, Managing Director of the Finnish Library Society, who claimed that no public library in Finland has done this before Kuopio. And, it’s not just good for the environment — the new practice could save money and time too, Koistinen said. Books that no longer need to be covered will make their way to the libraries faster than before. The money saved can be used to acquire new books.” [This goes directly against my experience, where a jacketed book will happily last 40 issues while a non-protected one dices with tearing at every issue – Ed.]
  • France – Stanton Williams wins hotly contested French library job – Architects Journal. “‘In a time when local libraries and community centres here in the UK are being closed and under increasing budget pressure, the new Metropolitan Library in Clermont-Ferrand is a bright example that there is faith in the importance and transformational power of access to literature and culture that our cities and communities need more than ever.’”
  • Israel – Long Overdue Resolution Finally Passed – Times of Israel. Applauds removal of Dewey name from library award.
  • USA – Peitition: Tell U.S. libraries to stop pushing ‘drag queens’ on our kids – Life Petitions. “LifeSite and Personhood Alliance are combining forces to combat the new and twisted phenomenon of the “Drag Queen Story Hour” taking over America’s libraries.” and N.J. library planned a ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.’ Then came 2 days of nonstop phone calls – Leigh Valley Live and A library canceled an LGBT prom after backlash. Then a church stepped in – Washington Post. “The Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville stepped in and held the prom Friday, the same night as the original event at the neighborhood’s library. “It was the right thing to do,” Grace Repass, the church’s past president, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The LGBTQIA+ youth in our community deserve to have their prom and we wanted to support them.” and Breast ‘binder raffle,’ drag show held at public library for ‘Teen Pride’ – Christian Post.

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – North-east libraries to help support economic growth – Evening Express. “The Library Innovation Network Aberdeenshire (LINA) will combine creative co-working spaces with library facilities to help local entrepreneurs and small and micro businesses. “It is being developed by Aberdeenshire Council and Robert Gordon University (RGU) and funded by the LEADER Scottish Rural Development Programme.”
  • Buckinghamshire – You can now hire out your own tablet at Aylesbury Library – Mix96. “All you need is your Buckinghamshire library card and PIN to release a Hublet for up to two hours, completely free. The Hublets are ready to browse the internet using the library’s wifi and are preloaded with some favourite apps.”
  • Dudley – Staff boost for libraries across Dudley – Worcester News. “Libraries across the Dudley borough are to receive a boost in staff numbers, in a bid to improve footfall, security and customer service. Coseley, Cradley, Gornal, Long Lane, Lye, Netherton and Wordsley libraries will receive more staff so that at least two librarians will be on duty at any one time. Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which runs libraries across the borough, put the boost into force on July 1 to end lone working for staff”
  • Ealing – Ealing Libraries Need Our Help – Unison. “Ealing Unison led the lobby of the council meeting on Tuesday 11th June 2019 at the steps of Ealing Town Hall. Over 150 people from the local community, including Librarians, library users, young and old and Ealing Trades Council, assembled to send a message to Ealing Councillors that we value and use our Libraries across the borough …” … Lobby of cabinet meeting 16 July.
    • Save Our Seven Libraries by Akuba July 2019 – YouTube. “Inspired by the Save Our Seven Libraries UNISON-supported campaign I wrote this poem to first highlight the impact of Tory austerity poilicies since 2010 on library provision in the UK and the Labour party’s official response to them through the Shadow Culture Minister, Kevin Brennan’s response. I also point to the paradoxes in being part of a Unison-backed campaign that is challenging the Ealing’s Labour Council’s Draft Strategy Libraries Proposal 2019 – 2023 to cut its Library Service and use community volunteers to make savings due to central government funding reductions. The Campaign to Save the Seven local libraries under threat of either being closed or handed over to voluntary organisations will conclude at the Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 16th July. “
  • East Sussex – County pulls plug on plans for Ore community library and says it wants to sell off the building… – Hastings in Focus. “A bold claim from last April that Ore Library had been saved for the community – seen by many at the time as an electioneering stunt – has come to nothing. Worse still it looks like East Sussex County Council now plans to sell off the old library building which could dash all hopes of ever seeing it re-open as a community facility. This week East Sussex County Council announced it was puling the plug on attempts to reach an agreement with Ore Community Association about re-opening the library, a spokesman said: “A year ago we agreed in principle to lease the former Ore library building on a peppercorn rent to the Ore Community Association for a community library to be provided at the site.”
  • Essex – Letter: Tiny town that roared its protest – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Manningtree, often described as the smallest town in England has chosen to ignore its diminutive size, assert itself and stand tall; in March of this year it held the largest and possibly most successful of the Young People’s Marches for Libraries, across Essex.”
    • Letter: Tories sending mixed messages on library cuts – Times series. “We understand the library services may need to evolve and they may, for example, need to link in more with some of the work being done by local councils to help strengthen communities and combat issues such as social isolation. But this will require the support of Essex County Council to continue, rather than to be cut. There is also the issue of sustainability to consider. Increasing numbers of people are now trying to make more environmentally- friendly choices.”
    • Stansted Parish Council renews call for ‘proper library’ – Bishops Stortford Independent. “A community-run library for Stansted has been ruled out by parish councillors who want Essex County Council to stick to its promise of providing a new facility for the village. And they are calling on their county councillor Ray Gooding to fight their corner when it comes to deciding on the library’s future as he sits on the cabinet which will ultimately decide its fate.”
  • Havering – Havering Council consultation: Have your say on community-run libraries and new ‘community hubs’ – Ilford Recorder. “The proposals are for five of the 10 libraries in the borough – Collier Row, Elm Park, Gidea Park, Harold Wood and South Hornchurch – to become community-run with some support from the council. This means they would be run on a day-to-day basis by community groups, but they would remain in their current buildings and still receive financial and strategic support from the council.”
  • Lancashire – A new chapter for Chatburn Library as closed down facility reopens – Advertiser and Times. “Locals, schoolchildren and civic dignitaries gathered to celebrate the reopening of a village library that closed three years ago. Chatburn Library officially unveiled by County Coun. Albert Atkinson is the latest library to be reopened by Lancashire County Council. The county council’s cabinet agreed a proposal earlier in April this year to reopen the library and reinstate the running of it from Chatburn Church of England Primary School, on Sawley Road.”
  • Lewisham – Slight increase in opening hours  – News Shopper. “the authority will now work up a new proposal to plug the hole in the library budget, after development proposals were not found to make enough income. In the meantime it will fix the urgent problems with the Lewisham Library building – including its leaking roof, which are threatening its archives. “
  • Liverpool – Pools, parks and libraries – the facilities at risk as Liverpool heads for financial cliff-edge – Liverpool Echo. “Like many struggling cities – particularly those in the north of the country – Liverpool has been living hand to mouth for the past decade, borrowing, applying for funding and making its own investments in a bid to continue the basic services that citizens need and deserve.” … “the lack of clarity around the future funding settlement means those in charge of culture are getting nervous. Cllr Simon said: “There are no plans to make any changes to the library services at the point. “Looking into the future, it would be disingenuous for anyone to say anything is absolutely safe.” Cllr Simon admitted that the council has already had to ‘significantly’ reduce its replacement of books at facilities across the city.”
  • Merthyr Tydfil – Use of Merthyr Tydfil’s libraries increasing year on year – Wales Online. “Members of the council’s governance scrutiny committee heard that usage of libraries has gone up by about 10% in the past five years. There were 229,042 visits to Merthyr Tydfil’s libraries throughout 2018-19 and 47,349 members registered although this is because people need to register to use all sorts of services, such as the internet, and it includes users from other areas. The library service, which is managed day to day by Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, is meeting all but one of its targets in full and is seeing an increase in users year on year.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Some library opening times to change across Nottinghamshire – West Bridgford Wire.  “The new opening hours follow a detailed review of current opening times and usage along with local knowledge and customer feedback.” … “Inspire, the County Council’s cultural partner, is currently contracted to deliver 1,487 hours of public access to the library service per week. The approved changes this increase this to 1,525 hours per week and will benefit library users across the county.”
  • Redbridge – Community hub to house libraries, police stations and pharmacies under one roof – Guardian series. “The new hub in Gants Hill will bring public services – such as council offices, pharmacies, libraries and police stations – together under one roof to make them easier to access and more efficient. The Gants Hill centre will be one of six central community hubs dotted throughout the borough – others will be situated in Barkingside, Clayhall, Fullwell and Valentines wards.”
  • Rochdale – Celebrating library digital services: Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers – Lorensbergs. “we introduce Rochdale Libraries’ longest running group, the Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers. This senior technology group is a fantastic example of how libraries are addressing the digital divide while satisfying the digitally inquisitive nature of their customers. Most importantly, it shows how there doesn’t need to be (and often isn’t!) a gap in digital capability between the generations. All you need is your local library to gather, support and inspire you.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire libraries and theatre record increase in visitors – Advertizer. “Shropshire Council has revealed that 16,500 more visits were made to libraries in the county in 2018/19 compared to the previous year. ” … ““Usage of the cloudLibrary e-book system has doubled to over 24,000 loans and the e-audio has quadrupled to over 4,800 loans.  ” [Still tiny numbers compared to print – Ed.]
  • St Helens – St Helens library card holders to be able to use facilities across city region – St Helens Star. “A new service means that people can use St Helens library cards to use any other library across the Liverpool City Region. Library Light will launch on Monday, July 8 and means existing customers can access all libraries across the city region with their current library card. People can present their library card, and provide a name, address and contact number.”
  • Suffolk – Town without a bank gets Barclays services in library – EADT. “Barclays has begun a three-month trial of the paired [sic] down services for customers in Aldeburgh. The trial comes only months after Barclays became the final provider to pull its services from the town, leaving it without a bank. At the time there were huge concerns in the town as to what the impact would be for residents and businesses. The new sessions will take place at the town’s library on Mondays from 9am until 1pm until the end of August, when the scheme will be reviewed. Customers will be able to access a number of general banking tasks by visiting a Barclays’ “moment banker”, who will be based in a private office in the library.”
  • West Sussex – Worthing and Littlehampton’s mobile library taken off the road – Littlehampton Gazette. “West Sussex County Council operates two mobile libraries, one from Horsham and another from Bognor Regis. After a series of mechanical failures the mobile library based in Bognor Regis, which serves the rural south of West Sussex, has been deemed ‘no longer roadworthy’ and the decision has been made to take it off the road.”
    • Several West Sussex libraries could close as part of further budget cuts – Chichester Observer. “Questions hang over the future of a number of West Sussex libraries amid county council plans to cut up to £500,000 from the service’s budget. A report due to be discussed by the cabinet next week said ‘several’ tier 6 libraries could be closed to help save money. There are 13 tier 6 libraries in the county … According to an officers’ report: “Reducing the level of service as suggested would have an impact on the ability of the service to support the County Council outcomes effectively and would represent a reduction in service. This would require extensive community and staff consultation.”
    • Libraries and a tip could close amid £28m cuts – Argus.
  • Worcestershire – Council told to produce ‘vision’ for libraries before making future decisions – Worcester News. “Worcestershire County Council has been told it needs to use the results of a four-month consultation as well as an extensive peer review to create a strategy before it begins cutting more than £395,000 from the library budget this year. ” … “a peer review by the Local Government Association has recommended the council should consider abandoning this plea, promote the use of ‘open’ unstaffed libraries and also look at using single-staffed libraries more. “