Undoubtedly the big news this week is the £250 million in extra funding announced by the DCMS. This is welcome, although a study shows that this is over five years (therefore actually meaning £50 million per year), with half looking to be pretty much accounted for already (o-ho, now it’s down to £25 million) and the remainder to be shared with museums. Hmm. So that’s down to £12.5 million per year if public libraries are as successful as museums in bidding. Still, nothing to be sneezed at, although that’s less than 2% of the existing total budget each year for libraries in England, so it will not have an earth shattering impact and, just to be more depressing, the average annual decline in library services budget since 2010 has been more than that. I hope the sector succeeds in bidding for its fair share and that it uses it for projects with long-term impact rather flash-in-the-pan-but-looks-good projects one often associates with such things.

Libraries Week saw a lot of good news stories, including a successful Lego competition. The one initiative with the most long-term impact though was Leeds going fines-free and also removing the requirement for ID when joining. The failure of libraries to openly not trust prospective joiners to give their correct names and addresses when they are ask for a library card has been a quiet shame for many services for a while now so one hopes the example of Leeds, along with that of the scores of library services already not requiring ID with no ill effects, will encourage those still with trust issues to have a look at their culture and perhaps stop turning away people from joining quite so much in future. Bath and North East Somerset has also chosen this week to get rid of fines, making the strength of this trend fairly undeniable, with 12 services in the UK subscribing to it compared with 2 just a year or so ago.

Changes by local authority


National news

  • Billy Connolly: a very Scottish story – Herald Scotland. “He hated school but loved libraries. “People often say that football and boxing are the ways out of the working class and they are your ticket out of that kind of life, if you happen to want to leave it,” he says. “But, for me, the library is the key. That is where the escape tunnel is. All the knowledge in the world is there. The great brains of the world are at your fingertips.”
  • Bobby Seagull’s “Manifesto for Libraries” – EveryLibrary. “HM Government has an opportunity to transform lives across the UK by investing in the future of our libraries. That is why I am calling on Ministers, Members of Parliament and representatives in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to get behind my 10-point Manifesto …”
  • Carrickfergus manager is Public Library Champion for 2019 – Carrickfergus Times. “Judges highlighted the importance and variety of the many events and activities Carrickfergus Library hosts on a regular basis. These include a ‘New Mums of under Ones’ group, a walking club, GOT IT computer sessions, a drop-in for teenagers with autism, ‘Beginners Guitar Group’, storytime sessions and the ‘Memory Lane Café’ for people with dementia which is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society.”
  • Digital focus for Libraries Week as Bobby Seagull publishes manifesto – BookSeller. “The annual event, sponsored by Nielsen Book and Rakuten Overdrive, will feature coding clubs, the publication of “University Challenge” star and CILIP Library Champion Bobby Seagull publish a manifesto for libraries. Seagull is calling on politicians to invest more in the service through a £50m improvement fund and “fair funding” for local authotrities .”
  • England’s libraries and museums get share of £250m boost – BBC. “Libraries, museums and other cultural institutions in England are to benefit from a five-year £250m government fund. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it would set aside £125m for the upkeep of libraries and museums.”
  • Lifeline for Libraries – Express. “Brexit policy is not and cannot be the only mark of a good government. It is essential that the domestic agenda to improve the lot of people in this country and protect the things that give life value is also delivered. So it is very welcome that the Queen’s Speech will include plans for an extra £250million for libraries and museums.” … “It is certainly a sign that Mr Johnson is determined to make Britain a fairer and better place that he has devoted funds for this cause.”
  • New £250 million Culture Investment Fund launched – DCMS. Over £125m for libraries and museums.
  • York rail museum handed £18.5m from ‘biggest fund in a century’ – Yorkshire Post. “The National Railway Museum in York, which attracted more than 820,000 people last year, has been guaranteed £18.5m from the pot, claimed by ministers to be the biggest one-off investment in museums and neighbourhood libraries in the last century.” … “The new fund will see a total of £125m ploughed into regional museums around the country.” … “”The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it would be delivered in tranches of £50m for each of the next five years. Coventry, which will succeed Hull as the UK’s City of Culture in 2021, will get £7m from the fund.”
  • Game Library Camp – Eventbrite. Saturday 9 November, Leeds. “With sessions on developing games collections, running tabletop gaming events, games based learning, escape rooms and interactive fiction it provides an opportunity to learn how games are being used across the library and information sector. As well as scheduled sessions, attendees can add their own topics to the afternoon discussion sessions. The full list of speakers and detailed schedule can be found at https://librarycamp.game.blog/
  • GLL-run Libraries rated ‘Excellent’ by users – GLL. “”The latest survey shows customer satisfaction scoring an ‘Excellent’ rating of 97% in September 2019. Meanwhile the Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicating the percentage of customers who would recommend the service, rose by 6% to 63%. Scores above 30% are considered ‘Excellent’” … “Library visits in Greenwich increased from 1.49m in 2010 to 2.57m in 2018/19; Wandsworth topped the table of issuing authorities in London with 1,469,021 items issued; Bromley Libraries continue an upward trajectory, with issues up 4% to 1,454,806; Lincolnshire Libraries issued 2m items for the first time; Dudley Libraries added 5% to their annual issues – up to 971,663”
  • Lego Libraries Winners – Libraries Week. Padgate Library in Warrington wins. “It is the programme of activities outlined above and the future plans for the Business Case which have influenced our LEGO Library of the Future. This can be seen in the Lecture Theatre, Art Gallery, Coffee Shop with walking group leaving the building  and a Meditation Garden. In the future we would like to be able to offer rehearsal space and a recording studio for local music groups. Having access to 24 hour issuing of items from an automated outside system would be a dream.”
  • Libraries Connected announces major new programme for The Novels That Shaped Our World festival – Libraries Connected. “Led by Libraries Connected and funded by a £253,000 grant from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants programme, with additional support from BBC Arts, the year-long multi-platform engagement collaboration marks 300 years since the birth of the English language novel. ” … “Libraries Connected will work with BBC Arts and libraries to deliver a programme of innovative activities for all communities, from voracious readers to those who haven’t read a novel in years, with opportunities for everyone to try something new to read. Libraries will commission artists, creatives and local partners who specialise in working with vulnerable groups, including refugees, young people at risk of knife crime and adults with dementia.”
  • Libraries Connected launches programme for BBC Novels That Shaped Our World festival – BookSeller.
  • Maddie’s Do You Know? – BBC. “Maddie learns how a library works and visits a factory to discover how a book is made”
  • Public Libraries 2030 and NewsGuard Announce Partnership to Bring Media Literacy Tool to European Public Libraries – Newsguard. “NewsGuard and Public Libraries 2030 are bringing NewsGuard’s Media Literacy Partnership Program to libraries in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium. NewsGuard uses trained journalists to rate and review thousands of news and information websites for credibility and transparency practices.”
  • When is a library a lifeline? – Arts Council England. Kerry Hudson: “A kid who was smart but had nowhere to turn smart into a future. Nowhere, that is, except libraries, where I was always welcomed. Where no one asked anything of me. Where the books on the shelves provided portals to other worlds that might be mine if I just held on. Each time I picked up a book and read of a life that was not mine but that might be one day I was sent the message ‘keep going, don’t stop, keep hoping.’ So I did. Now I write books that sit in the same libraries that gave me life.”

International news

  • European Union – EU Library Factsheets – Public Libraries 2030. “We created a series of Libraries and Skills fact sheets which show key statistics from libraries alongside EU DESI (Digital Economy and Society Index) data for every EU member state, in partnership with Princh and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Library Map of the World. This provides a surprising mix of data to use with local and European policy makers.
  • FinlandSports clubs in Finland offer season tickets on loan from local libraries – Uutiset. “Sports clubs in Finland are teaming up with their local libraries to offer season tickets on loan in a bid to fill stands and provide opportunities to support local outfits. Basketball team Helsinki Seagulls is reportedly the first team in Finland to launch a campaign that will allow library-goers to borrow a season ticket to the club’s games from the Töölö library. Seagulls’ sports director Toni Leppänen told daily Helsingin Sanomat that the team wants to offer members of the public an opportunity to see a basket ball game at least once.”
  • Global – A Map of Banned Books – Princh. “This post will shine a light on many books that have been banned to the “dark”. In today’s post there will be a map of banned books in an infographic format. “
  • Portugal The Gaming Library That Helped a Neglected Neighborhood Find a New Identity – Vice. “When the city council announced plans in 2012 for a new local library, Marvilans eyed it with skepticism. Lisbon city hall officials envisioned this and other “libraries of the future” as a way to directly connect with locals, address illiteracy, and tackle inequity, but the library team says many residents saw it differently: just another imposition … It could have remained only a library, eyed askance and left empty by wary Marvilans. But an unusual head coordinator has taken an everyday building and turned it into a local fixture with gaming programs unlike anything in Portugal.”

“Despite outsiders’ doubts, Marvila library’s pro-gaming policy has changed community dynamics. Oliveira said parents no longer worry about kids’ whereabouts and safety. With the library close to the school, kids go immediately after classes to hang out with friends, get help with homework, and play games. When the library opens later on weekends, he says they line up for an hour just to get in and play. “

Local news by authority

  • Shropshire – Roadshow gathers feedback on services provided by Oswestry Library – Advertizer.
  • Suffolk – Stradbroke Library manager ‘blown away’ by celebratory artwork – Diss Express. “The three-panelled piece of work – conceived by artists Hannah Weeks, Christine Cooper and Kay Edwards – represents the community café, library and post office which are housed in the former courthouse building in Queens Street.”
    • Suffolk Libraries day: Karate, cakes and unicorns – East Anglian Daily Times. “Activities in Ipswich will include a book mountain and cake sale at Ipswich County Library, the chance to take your anger out on a pad in the Karate event at Gainsborough Community Library or the singathon on the Cornhill.” … “The Book Journey Challenge has been the biggest event of all and has involved all of the libraries pulling together to transport a book by a local author around every single location in Suffolk to raise awareness for the day.” … “Suffolk Libraries day has been sponsored by loads of businesses including Adnams, Ipswich Buses and East of England Buses who have all contributed to the book journey and other activities.”
    • Can you spot your child at the Chantry Library Cinderella disco? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Dressed as beautiful princesses themselves, they got to bop along to their favourite songs and have their picture taken with the Disney heroine. Chantry Library manager Vicki Mann said: “It was just so magical, at the end of the disco the clock chimed midnight and Cinderella ran off leaving her slipper behind.” … “The library has also hosted a Womble-inspired litter pick and a craft fair.”
  • Warrington – Out-of-this-world success for libraries reading challenge – Warrington Worldwide. “All together this summer: * 2,009 children in Warrington took part – up 11 per cent on last year and 28 per cent up on 2017. * 1,033 children finished the challenge – up 19 per cent on last year and 20 per cent on 2017. * 9 young people volunteered a total of 58 hours supported the challenge– compared to seven young people and 53 hrs last year. * 137 children joined a library to take part, up 57 per cent on last year * 280 youngsters took part in the Under 5s challenge – up 21 per cent on last year and 36 per cent in 2017. * Penketh Library had the most children taking part with 338. * 17 children took part in the challenge at the summer scheme in St Elphin’s Park.”
    • Over 750 people enjoy visiting a ‘Fun Palace’ in the revamped Museum & Library – Warrington Worldwide. “Since 2014 a total of 1367 ‘Fun Palaces’ have been held with over 450,000 people taking part. This was the second year that LiveWire’s Community Librarian Team has held a ‘Fun Palace’ event – following a successful one at Padgate Library in 2018. Over 750 people came through the doors on Saturday October 5 at the newly-revamped Warrington Museum & Library on the day, joining in the ‘Fun Palace’ creativity, which included activities like children’s yoga, flower arranging, Chinese calligraphy, storytelling, poetry reading, family craft activities, signing choir, wildlife drawing, make-up demonstrations, DJ workshops and so much more.”
  • Wokingham – Library challenge encourages young members to get reading – Wokingham Today. “Out of the 2,014 children who successfully completed the challenge, 378 had previously not been members of the library before signing up.” … “A poetry and short story competition ran alongside the ‘Space Chase’, with winners presented with a certificate, goody bags and complimentary tickets to the Wokingham Children’s Book Festival.  “