The hypocritical approach of Bradford council in trying to be recognised as a City of Culture while cutting its libraries and museums is being met by strike action and a fair bit of media coverage. Also gaining attention, although for happier reasons is Warrington – recently having gone through pretty tough times itself – which has led a rather impressive “food for fines” campaign on top of promoting other good things.

While the time of the Library Campaigners meeting from CILIP – 2pm on a work day – has not attracted many admirers, it marks another move by the professional association to be more of an activist organisations, also notable is the Change Lives move. However, those who know the old Libraries Change Lives awards will not miss it isn’t taking place this year.

The blog post by Isobel Hunter of libraries Connected in Princh (how odd that a library supply company is one of the chief websites for library thought pieces) updates us on the policy and views of chief library officers, as does the slightly less positive but very knowledgeable piece in the Library Data Blog.

National news

  • Culture Minister tells MP – Libraries have the answer – Edinburgh Reporter. “Ian Murray Labour MP for Edinburgh South asked The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport a written question recently and has shared the answer. He wanted to know what assessment the Minister had made of the potential benefits to (a) partially sighted and (b) blind people of (i) e-readers and (ii) other digital reading materials; and what steps her Department is taking to increase access to those materials. He tabled the written question on 16 October 2019 and has just received a written response. …”
  • Dear Gavin Williamson, how strange that prisons have to have a library but schools do not – Guardian. Michael Rosen: “One of the curiosities of life is that schools are not obliged to have libraries, but prisons are. Step one, then, is to make it compulsory for schools, too. This has to be backed up withstep two: ringfenced money to support schools’ libraries, along with the hiring and training of librarians.”
  • Delivering A Sustainable Future For UK Libraries – Princh. “In this week’s post Princh guest writer Isobel Hunter, Chief Executive from Libraries Connected discusses delivering a sustainable future for UK libraries … we also recognise that local authorities are working in times of unprecedented challenge and are struggling to manage huge financial reductions across all service areas … We believe firmly that we’re not here to keep libraries as they are, or to revert to what they were, but that our role is to help them to evolve to meet the current needs of their communities.”

“If we manage to pull all this off, it will mean a more sustainable framework for libraries; a team to support each library service to not only survive change, but to develop to its best potential; a stronger and more diverse leadership; and a clear definition for public libraries with a tool to define what this means in each locality.”

Isobel Hunter, Libraries Connected
  • Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives – CILIP. “Libraries, Information and Knowledge Change Lives” is CILIP’s commitment on behalf of librarians, information and knowledge professionals to tackle some of society’s most urgent challenges. It outlines our plan to become an ‘activist’ organisation, through proactive advocacy and the promotion of inclusive, participatory and socially-engaged knowledge and information services.” … “We will be consulting on each of the six priority areas through a combination of workshops, surveys and interviews. Register your interest in participating in this consultation by completing this form.”
  • Library Campaigners Meeting – CILIP. London 5 November, 2pm. “The purpose of this meeting is to provide a platform for CILIP and campaigners to engage with each other, share concerns and ideas and set out how we want to work together for the good of libraries and library users in the future. The meeting is open to anyone who wishes to attend and participate, whether or not they are a current CILIP member.” … “Please register to let us know how you will be attending, especially if you wish to attend online so that we can send you the webinar details.”
  • Members of the British Library Advisory Council – Cabinet Office. “The British Library wishes to appoint four members to its Advisory Council, which provides advice, insights and suggestions to the Library’s leadership. Applications are sought from candidates with expertise in a relevant field such as: collaborative (post-graduate) academic research, data sciences, life and physical sciences, education, culture, publishing, business and commerce, entrepreneurship, libraries, or the creation and management of knowledge.”
  • OverDrive Founder Steve Potash speaks at House of Lords event in support of UK public libraries – Rakuten Overdrive. “OverDrive is proud to be the sole corporate sponsor of this important new report from CILIP and The Big Issue,” he said. “OverDrive is dedicated to ‘A world enlightened by reading,’ and works every day to aid the essential mission of libraries and librarians to promote literacy, education and digital skills. We urge politicians to get behind this Case for Support to secure the long-term future of this critical sector.”
  • A public library data strategy – Library Data Blog. Very little about data in recent Libraries Connected report, with chief library officers concerned that they would not see any local benefit in providing data, even though it provides national benefit. “This is a misrepresentation of how essential common data standards are. But it is also understandable. The desperation of public libraries has led to a situation where the only good outcomes are seen as those that bring in more funding, with other benefits being ignored.”

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