So we have a new prime minister. Oh well. Moving on …

It’s great to see another library service going fines-free. Well done to Oldham, which is now the fifth in the North West alone to remove a key barrier to equality and usage, and the fourteenth in the UK as a whole. Also, in the North West I’m also delighted that Warrington – which went through an absolutely disastrous consultation about cuts a few years ago but has since come good – is looking to the future and that Manchester continues to go great guns. Elsewhere, outside of that region, things are less good, with ongoing drama in Northamptonshire and Essex as well as strike action brewing in Bradford.


National news

Opening the Book have been thinking

  • Libraries as a statutory service – DCMS. Useful information including how to complain about a cut library service.
  • Library closures scandal: parents urged to book a library trip in the summer holidays – Express. Mainly the Reading Agency press release but also Konnie Huq says “As a mother-of-two, I am all too well aware that public libraries can be a godsend during the long break. Feeling stressed before and during the summer holidays is all too common for many parents. Finding things to do and making sure your kids are enjoying every minute of their time can be a pretty full-on occupation. The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun, free activity for children which encourages reading for pleasure by providing access to books through local libraries.”
  • Library systems in use in UK library authorities – Local Government Library Technology. List of all library services with their provider, previous provider and consortia if applicable.
  • ‘Loss of library market making publishers risk-averse’, says Ann Cleeves – Bookseller. “Giving the closing keynote at the National Library Conference, held in Harrogate on Friday (19th July) as part of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Cleeves called on her audience to be “disruptive, subversive”, in supporting the library service, saying:  “We need libraries more than ever – when there is a danger fake news may triumph, we need places where truth is told; and when we are riven with disagreement we need places where we come together to discuss our differences reasonably; we also need a place to escape.””
  • Magus of the Library Volume 1 Review – Anime UK News. “Magus of the Library, from publisher Kodansha Comics, is a relatively new series (only three  volumes in Japan so far), which promises to show us why libraries and books are so important. Set in a fantasy world, it aims to both teach and entertain with a collection of quirky and lovable characters – but does it deliver? Let’s find out!”
  • PM speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum  – BBC. Boris Johnson said “… And we’re now going to have a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns. So that they will get the improved transport and improved broadband connectivity that they need. They’ll also get help with that vital social and cultural infrastructure, from libraries and art centres to parks and youth services: the institutions that bring communities together, and give places new energy and new life …”
  • Use of Volunteers in Public Libraries – Sheffield University. “I’m completing an MA degree in Librarianship and I’m currently carrying out my dissertation research on ‘The Use of Volunteers in Public Libraries’. I am looking for paid staff working in public libraries across the UK to complete a short online questionnaire on the topic of volunteers in libraries.”

International news

  • Canada – Vancouver Pride bans library from parade over event featuring ‘transphobic’ activistCBC. “The pride society says the decision is a result of the library allowing “transphobic and anti-sex worker speaker Meghan Murphy” to book space for an event on Jan. 10.” … “The VPS said it recognizes the role of libraries as hubs for public debate and free thought, “but not past the point that the speech is discriminatory based on protected grounds.”
  • USA – ALA denounces new Macmillan library lending model, urges library customers to voice objections – ALA News. “The American Library Association (ALA) denounces the new library ebook lending model announced today by Macmillan Publishers. Under the new model, a library may purchase one copy upon release of a new title in ebook format, after which the publisher will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title sold to libraries.”
    • Crowds rally for Drag Queen Story Hour: ‘It just shows how far we’ve come’ – Reno Gazette Journal. 600 attended. “Many waved rainbow flags and held posters that read: “Jesus wore a dress,” “Hate is a drag,” and “All are fabulously welcome.””.  One man protested. Library Deletes Photos of Children Fondling Drag Queens During ‘Story Hour’ – Breitbart. Drag Queens Are Bringing Families Together at Public Libraries Across the U.S. – Them. ““It came out of a community need I was hearing from parents about their kids being bullied for … not fitting into rigid gender stereotypes,” says Mills. Working with colleagues, they created a curriculum rooted in acceptance and kindness, collaborating with family-focused Pride events.”
    • Linkedin to libraries: drop dead – Boing Boing. Lynda.com online learning, used by many US libraries, is now moving to “LinkedIn Learning” … “If libraries accept this change, it will mean that any patron who uses this publicly funded service will also have to have a publicly searchable Linkedin profile. Linkedin’s explanation of why this is OK is purest tech-bro PR … condescending and dismissive. “
    • How To Promote a Library Event on a Small Budget – Princh. “Effectively managing the budget of the library is an important and continuous task. Any strategies to help promote library services, raise awareness for libraries and attract library visitors at a low cost are enticing for libraries to review and potentially implement. Egor Gerashchenko, chief of Marketing & Development Department, Central Library System of Moscow Region shares his experience in this blog about how he was able to effectively and successfully promote an event that attracted a substantial number of visitors, and media mentions at a very low cost. Read below to see how Egor was able to do this.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Aberdeenshire libraries to act as NHS hearing aid battery collection points – Mearns Leader. “Patients are reminded in order to receive a pack of batteries from their local library they must produce the NHS Audiology Booklet or leaflet that they have been given by their hearing aid consultant as evidence they are entitled to this service”
  • Bradford – Frustration as details of museum and library cuts still to be revealed – Telegraph and Argus. “Members of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee had expected to learn more about what the vital services would look like after their budget is slashed when they met in City Hall on Wednesday evening. But they were instead told that details of closures, shake ups or job losses would not be revealed until September at the earliest.”
    • Strike action could be on the cards for Bradford library and museum staff – Wharfedale Observer. “The Unite union has announced it is holding a consultative ballot of its 50-or-so library and museum members in Bradford district to see if they wish to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot. Union bosses have accused Bradford Council of regarding libraries and museums as “soft targets” and said it should be “ashamed” of attacking “low paid, mostly female workers”.”
  • Brent – Library Operations ManagerSalary range: £42,684- £45,585 “This is a critical role in the successful running and development of the library services. The post holder will be responsible for effectively managing the senior staff at each branch and will ensure the smooth operation of our premises. Based at The Library at Willesden Green, the post holder will also be responsible for the hires officer, contracts and partnerships in the centre, generating opportunities for the service to develop and generate income. Developing new partnerships within the community and the Council, and ensuring the service continues to perform at a high level are also key responsibilities of the post.
    • Library Stock Development ManagerSalary range: £35,724 – £38,799 “This is a key role within the library management team, responsible for effectively managing the stock budgets, collections and supplier relationships. Collection development is an important aspect of the role and it is a priority for us to ensure that our stock continues to meet the needs and interests of our residents. The pos tholder will also take a lead on the effective promotion of the library stock, through staff development, campaigns and community engagement. Management of the Home Library and Community Outreach stock services also falls within the remit of the role.
  • Bridgend – Change to library services in Bridgend – Llantwit Major Today. “The reference library in Bridgend is set to move to Maesteg to pave the way for further development on the Sunnyside site.” … “Plans going before Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet on July 23 would see the local and family history service move to Y Llynfi Library at Maesteg Sports Centre on a temporary basis. It would then move to Maesteg Town Hall after its planned £6m redevelopment has taken place. Council officers said the library at Maesteg Sports Centre was the only suitable and cost-effective location for the service. The reference library receives around 6,000 visits a year.” … “the local authority said it needs to reduce the management fee payable to Awen by £150,000 between 2019 and 2021, based on reviewing the number of libraries and reductions in services or opening hours.”
  • Devon – ‘The rest was history’ Carol celebrates 20 years in the library – Sidmouth Herald.
  • Essex – Essex council which U-turned on library closures signs off plans – BBC. News. “A county council which saw celebrities back a campaign against its plan to shut libraries has signed off a five-year strategy for its loan service. But campaigners say they are still no clearer how this plan will operate.” … “On Wednesday, the council confirmed it was still seeking volunteers to keep the small branches open.”
  • Lancashire – Preston’s Savick Library shuts temporarily after problem is discovered with ceiling – Lancashire Evening Post. “Although we haven’t got a definite date for the library to reopen yet, we will do all we can to make sure that this happens as soon as possible. “
  • Manchester – New Chairperson appointed to lead Manchester City of Literature – Manchester City Council.
    • Spirit of Manchester” statue to tour Greater Manchester libraries – Manchester City Council. “After spending time on display at libraries in each of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs, the statue will end its tour at Manchester Art Gallery, where it will remain on view until it takes up permanent residence at Manchester Town Hall, which reopens to the public in 2024.”
  • Moray – Letter to Moray Council – CILIPS. Concern over opening Moray libraries up to the open market. “Our concern is that the above process may lead to library services being delivered in ways that may affect the local community’s ability to access an adequate public library service as required by the Local Government Act, particularly if the model that was ultimately pursued was one where library services were to be delivered by fewer paid and trained staff and without adequate Council funding”
  • Northamptonshire – Investigation at Desborough Town Council after conflict of interest allegations – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Kettering Council’s monitoring officer has commissioned an investigation after a complaint by a Desborough resident concerning seven of the town’s councillors also being involved in the Desborough Library and Community Hub which is asking for a large grant from the town council.
    • Extraordinary meeting this week about whether town council should buy Desborough library – Northants Telegraph. “Desborough Town Council is holding an extraordinary meeting on Thursday (July 25) to decide whether it should put up £210,000 from its own funds to help buy the building in High Street from Northamptonshire County Council”
    • Hope for nearly all under-threat Northants libraries – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Northamptonshire County Council says that it has had business plans from 15 of the 17 libraries which will no longer receive statutory protection after the cash-strapped authority decided to reduce its library earlier this year. Just Higham Ferrers Library and St James’ library in Northampton are still to have a concrete proposal, with the authority saying it has extended the deadline to try to ensure the libraries remain open.”
  • Oldham – Always getting library fines? If you live in Oldham, it won’t be a problem for much longer – Manchester Evening News. “Over the past two decades, 14,000 people have had their library membership restricted due to long overdue books and outstanding fines. Town hall officers say large numbers of residents came from some of the most ‘deprived wards’ in the borough”

“Axing fines is not expected to lead to a loss of stock, Coun Fielding said, adding “Quite frankly, if you were going to steal a book and never return it, you wouldn’t be bothered about the fine anyway.””

  • Oxfordshire – Oxfordshire libraries raise profile with little help from Friends – Oxford Times. “More than 20 Friends groups are now active across Oxfordshire County Council’s network of 43 libraries, helping to extend opening hours and putting on a host of events. The first Friends group was formed at Stonesfield Library in 2013 and hundreds of volunteers are now involved across the county.” … “Having a Friends group not only helps ensure that the community and library users have a voice and can engage with us on how library services are delivered, but also helps to foster the sense of community ownership and pride in the library facility. “
  • Redbridge – Residents feel ‘blackmailed’ into backing Gants Hill hub plans but Redbridge Council says it is trying to save libraries – Ilford Recorder. “Our concern is that if the residents say no to a new hub and flats, this administration will close our library and blame residents and government cuts when the truth is they find funding for plenty of other things,””
  • Southampton – How Southampton City Libraries are helping hundreds of people with digital skills – Digital Unite. “We proactively recruit Champions via posters and on our website and ask them to commit around two hours each week. Following a short interview process we give them access to the training on the Digital Champions Network. We now have 11 Digital Champions in nine libraries, 4 are retired and 2 are studying. The teaching activity varies across our branches depending on the demand by residents and the availability of our Champions. “
  • Warrington – New three-year plan to transform borough’s libraries – Warrington Worldwide. “At the heart of the strategy is the mission to make Warrington libraries “valued community spaces that make a positive difference to the lives of the people that use them and to make them “welcoming spaces for all, offering the opportunity for reading, learning, enjoyment, reflection, calm, safety, creativity, insight and inspiration.”