CILIP had a busy week last week. It launched the “Public Libraries: The Case for Support” document in partnership with The Big Issue in parliament. It’s full of good stuff. It is also working with Libraries Connected on a new accreditation framework. It also helped out on some good work on school libraries last week as well as helping to lobby for more money from government, which cannot have hurt the £250 million partly for libraries announced the week before.

It’s not perfect though. The professional association also had its AGM last week, where the member proposal “that CILIP undertake a full review of their “Employer Partner” scheme in light of ethical concerns raised by members, including consultation with members over the design of the scheme, and how employer partners are selected and approved.” was passed. This tied in with unhappiness about CILIP accepting GLL, currently in dispute with library workers in Bromley, as a partner.

My view is that while CILIP may not please everyone – and I suspect nothing realistic would appreciate a number of those who criticise it, especially on social media from what I have seen – but it is the only professional association that librarians have so one should support it for the good things it does, and genuinely help to improve it where it needs improving. There are so few public library CILIP members left (just 12% of its total in January 2019) that it’s amazing that it does so much in the sector. Criticising it is easy, and in some cases necessary, but I can’t help but thinking that we’re all going to miss if it ever goes and we discover that we’re left with, basically, no other organisation ultimately independent of government or unions arguing the cause of the sector.

Otherwise, it’s been a generally normal week, with the normal mix of good and bad (nasty for Hampshire though) with only the absurd claim by York – that moving numerous other organisations into libraries would “turbocharge” them – standing out. This disconnect with library reality is normally indicative of a council that’s having financial difficulty and is trying to put a brave face on it but, if so, this is some of the most extreme propaganda for cuts in a library I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Advocating for our profession – CILIP. Lists, well, what CILIP is doing to advocate for librarians.
  • Author Jojo Moyes Is Giving Away Mini Libraries and Copies of Her New Novel The Giver of Stars – People. “”Libraries are one of the few resources where people can be sheltered, educated and entertained without having to pay, and it pains me that they are under such threat” … ““I was built in a library. My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up, so the weekly visit to the local library was a key part of my education, and my love of reading,” “
  • BBC winds down its in-house VR production team – Yahoo News. “For the next year, the British public will also have the chance to experience the broadcaster’s work thanks to a cross-country tour of the UK’s public libraries. However, with only one last production in the pipeline, it’s safe to say the BBC is ready to move on.”
  • Inside Britain’s best libraries – Spectator. Includes only one public library, the Library of Birmingham. “I’d be happy to pay 90 per cent tax just to clear these noisy little people out of libraries on week days, so I can have peace to write ironically about a cold society full of indifferent adults that no longer cares about them. Obviously, I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek. But I can’t lie and say that, while trying to get some work done in my local library, the thought of banning anyone who makes a noise did cross my mind.”
  • It’s great to see bodies in libraries once again, but only if they keep it quiet – Daily Record.
  • Libraries Connected to consult on new accreditation framework for libraries – Libraries Connected. “Libraries Connected has secured a grant of £128,456 from Arts Council England and will work closely with them and CILIP to develop the new framework. This is part of an overall programme of sector development outlined in the recent libraries blueprint report. Delivered collaboratively by Libraries Connected, CILIP and the Arts Council, this programme includes joint projects to update the Public Libraries Skills Strategy and to help drive diversity in library leadership.”
  • MPs and Peers call for a national ‘Public Library Improvement Fund’ to build stronger, smarter communities – Politics. “The Libraries APPG is calling for long-term sustainable funding in public libraries, asking Parliamentarians to invest £50 million per year, creating more opportunities for communities accross the UK. “

“Libraries are evolving and innovating, but to do so they need sustainable long-term financial support to maintain their premises, update their digital infrastructure and retain professional staff. That is why, through the Libraries APPG, we are calling on fellow Parliamentarians to support proposals for a new investment of up to £50m per year over the lifetime of the next Parliament to create a national Public Library Improvement Fund – ensuring that the library renaissance reaches every community across the UK. We are excited about the possibilities that our new public libraries can offer for communities everywhere.”

Gill Furness MP
  • Report: Public Libraries, The Case for Support – Libraries Deliver. “At a Parliamentary event at the House of Lords today, The Big Issue and Library Champion Bobby Seagull will join forces with CILIP, the UK library association, to make the case for long-term sustainable funding for libraries. The event, which will be attended by Members of Parliament, Member of the House of Lords and senior Civil Servants, will focus on the launch of two new campaign documents:
    • A new joint CILIP/The Big Issue report Public Libraries: The Case for Support, which brings together for the first time the best currently-available evidence of the positive impact of libraries on their users, communities, locality and local economy, alongside stories from library users about their experiences and;
    • A new 10-point Manifesto for Libraries, produced by Library Champion Bobby Seagull and CILIP, setting out the call for Government to recognise the wider value of libraries and librarians in areas such as health, education, business and policymaking.
  • Public Libraries – our new report shows urgent need to boost funding – Big Issue. “Let us count some of the ways libraries enrich our lives: Libraries are places of learning. They offer a quiet, safe space of study when home is too crowded or chaotic. Libraries are an intellectual hub at the heart of thriving communities and provide respite from social isolation. Libraries also offer internet access for those who are not online at home, they help entrepreneurs and students and connect people from marginalised communities. This much we know. But when Lord John Bird and Gill Furniss MP (former librarian and now head of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries) met with the government to ask for more support for libraries in the UK, they were met with a demand: show us the data”
  • A sticking plaster policy – ArtsProfessional. “with local authority funding for culture now more than £236m lower than in 2010, and museums alone having lost £109m in annual funding over the past decade, the Government’s promise of £250m for culture over the next five years will at best put a sticking plaster on a patient with a life-threatening injury. The fact that the promise has been made by an impotent government – one that looks unlikely to get this week’s Queen’s Speech through parliament and could easily be out of office by Christmas – makes it laughable.” … “. In reality, this supposed windfall is nothing more than blatant spin and shameless electioneering … ACE may well imagine it is in charge of the arts, and a supplicant sector allows it to persist with that illusion. But the reality is that ACE is simply a hand servant doing the Government’s bidding.”

“All this announcement means is that a small amount of the funding that has been taken away since 2010 will go back into the cultural sector. Most of it, though, isn’t ‘new’ money all. Grants to a forthcoming City of Culture have been the norm since the designation began, and the Cultural Development Fund, which awarded £20m for 2019/20, is actually going to be worth less than £20m a year over the next five years under the renewed scheme.”

  • With libraries closing, where can pupils study quietly? – TES. “”Imagine my alarm when I asked a class of students how many were members of a local library and only a few raised their hands. There was one student who did not even know that he could borrow books at the library free of charge. I hope that he is the exception. Many students also said that their local library had closed, and they didn’t know where their nearest one was now. “

International news

“Where Did You Get That Book?” – In Conversation with Tim Coates – EveryLibrary Institute from EveryLibrary on Vimeo.

  • 50 Fictional Librarians, Ranked – Lit Hub.
    • Safety in Libraries: a Continuum – Intellectual Freedom Hub. “I’ve had many discussions with librarians about what it means when we talk about safety in the library. I’d like to offer an approach I’ll call the continuum of safety, offered from the perspective of the patron, the person who uses the library but is not a member of the staff. My goal is to establish a framework for the supervision of public space, in keeping with the values of the profession. In future blogs, I’ll try to dig into this a little deeper.”
    • “The People Who Helped Me the Most Were the Librarians” — Rep. Elijah Cummings – School Library Journal. “”The people who helped me the most were the librarians,” Cummings told Steve Kroft in a 60 Minutes interview broadcast in January of this year, adding that the public library was the only integrated institution in his neighborhood.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Letter: Council ‘short-sighted’ – Keighley News. “It’s ironic that this month as part of Libraries Week Keighley Library is celebrating the life of its founder, Andrew Carnegie, and his wife Louise (whose idea it was!), whilst at the same time Bradford Council is pressing ahead with its plans to cut the budget to libraries, museums and galleries by 65 per cent – without proper public consultation. “
    • Loss of library would ‘degrade Keighley in eyes of the world’ – Telegraph and Argus. “The image of Keighley would be “degraded in the eyes of the world” if its library were to shut – a Councillor has claimed. Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Cons, Worth Valley) was referring to concerns that the town’s library might face the chop under planned £1.05 million cuts to Bradford’s Museum and Library service. “
  • Bristol – Bristol library closures fear as five-year ‘vision’ for the city revealed – Bristol Live. “Bristol citizens have expressed their fears for the future of the city’s libraries after the council released its “vision” for the service over the next five years. The one-page document summarising Bristol City Council’s draft library strategy to 2024 was revealed in a 38-page report last week. It refers to “hubs for community development”, “volunteering opportunities”, “extending the availability of the building outside normal hours” and improving “library environments to improve cultural and social inclusion”. … “Kate Murray, the council’s head of libraries, defended the lack of detail in the strategy saying it sets out a “broad direction of travel” and any changes affecting specific libraries would be subject to public consultation.”
  • BuckinghamshireGovernment minister visits Bucks library – Mix 96. “Lord Gardiner of Kimble is a minister in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, serving as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity. He visited Beacon Villages Community Library, in Ivinghoe, to see a great example of how a library can provide a valuable community resource in a more rural setting. The Library, run by a committee of dedicated trustees, is on the ground floor of Ivinghoe’s medieval Town Hall, which also houses the village post office.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Start-up day success for small businesses at Cambridge Central Library – Cambridge Independent. “The annual UK-wide event, led by the British Library’s Business & IP Centre and supported by Santander UK, invites Cambridgeshire & Peterborough residents to visit their central libraries in Cambridge and Peterborough and take the first steps towards turning their brilliant idea into a successful enterprise. New figures recently released by the British Library reveal that its 13-strong national network of library-based Business & IP Centres has helped create an average of 15 new businesses every working day since 2016. ”
  • Devon – Busy start to the month at Holsworthy Library – Post. ““The library was buzzing as people took part in the activities; family history research with Meg and Stephanie from Holsworthy Museum, making a model plane with Wilf from the Men’s Shed, drawing classes with Dawn from the Art Sanctuary and rag rugging with Pam.”
  • East SussexHastings community group given go-ahead to re-open library – Hastings Observer. “East Sussex County Council’s lead member for resources, Cllr Nick Bennett, has approved a proposal to lease the Ore Library building to Ore Community Library Group. The newly-formed group will take on a three-year peppercorn lease for the building, its fixtures and fittings and a selection of stock and run the facility as a Community Library”
  • Essex – Kid’s parties could be held in Essex libraries to boost usage – Gazette Standard. “Essex County Council is set to trial hosting the events at four locations across the county; Witham, Walton, Basildon and Great Parndon. If this trial is successful the scheme could be rolled out to facilities across Essex in the near future. Four party themes have been developed – a rhyme party, an interactive story party, a pirate party and enchanted forest event. ” … “”Officers are not aware of any authorities in England offering any of their libraries as a birthday party venue currently but is aware of one in Scotland and one in New Zealand. “
    • New library set to get stamp of approval – Echo series. Wickford: “he ambitious bid to demolish the current library and community centre will be voted on next week, with councillors considering whether a five storey replacement is suitable, consisting of a host of flats, a new library, and a “flexible” ground floor unit – set to become a shop. ” … “Mr Buckley insisted that Wickford was never in the library closure debate because it has always been popular and has a high “book check out rate”.”
  • Gloucestershire – Scenes from poetry book recreated at library – Stroud News and Journal. Library prepared for visit by Joseph Coelho: “It meant he had to walk through scenes as they are depicted in his own book from January to August – which he described on social media at the time as a ‘delightful surprise and a brilliant display’. They included starlings hanging from the ceiling, a pond filled with frogs, a wobbly display of jellyfish and even a balcony scene complete with rain, that were put together by volunteers, customers and staff. “
  • Hampshire – Council plots budget saving through library services – Hampshire Chronicle. ““A significant part of the savings proposals relates to library services, amounting to £1.7m. This represents 16 per cent of the overall budget for the service, but still means that a budget of around £10 million would remain for library services. ” … “Further to ratification by Cabinet and Full Council, some proposals will then be subject to further, more detailed consultation. “
  • HertfordshireLonger opening hours at Berkhamsted Library – Hemel Today. 27 hours longer opening due to staffless technology. “Users will need to register at Berkhamsted Library for Open+, after which they can use their library card as a swipe-card to gain access to the library. There is CCTV to keep customers safe, while the integrated IT system manages the lighting, building controls, public IT access, self-service kiosks and security. Once users exit the system automatically shuts down and the building is made secure.”
  • Lambeth – Highlights of half term events in Lambeth’s libraries, Oct/Nov 2019 – Brixton Buzz.
  • Leicester – Highfields library to close for refurbishment – Leicester City Council. “More than £190,000 of improvements will be made at Highfields Library, in Melbourne Road, which is being refurbished as part of the city council’s Transforming Neighbourhood Services programme. Improvements will include full redecoration of the library, installation of accessible public toilets and upgraded computer provision. There will also be new lighting and flooring, plus a re-arranging of the existing space to provide an improved area for activities and events.”
  • Liverpool – How I got Adele, Jessie J, Plan B and Clean Bandit to perform at their local libraries – Liverpool Echo. “Stewart [Parsons] eventually launched Get It Loud In Libraries – a project designed to give people who love music the chance to see artists in their local library for a fraction of the cost of a regular gig. He has managed to secure some huge names – some before they became famous, such as chart queen Adele, who performed at Lancaster library when she was 16.”
    • Tories’ ‘cynical’ cash for culture slammed by libraries boss – Echo. “Cllr Burns said the figure is a “drop in the ocean” compared to what the government has cut in council funding since 2010 and called on Whitehall to “properly commit” to the nation’s libraries. “This announcement is a cynical pre-election ploy by the government,” Cllr Burns said. “The figure announced is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of funding this same government has taken from the people of St Helens and local government nationally since 2010.”
  • Northern Ireland Book Week NI: Delivering library books on Rathlin Island – BBC. Video. “Rathlin Island has a population of about 150 people, half of whom use a mobile library service. Books are delivered by William Galloway from NI Libraries, who travels to the island off Northern Ireland’s north coast once a month. With no permanent library or bookshop on the island, the service provides a lifeline for bookworms.”
  • Powys – Powys libraries survey: children are asked for their views – Powys County Times. “Children and young people under 16 years of age, who use a Powys library during this coming week, Monday, October 14 – Saturday, October 20, will be invited to give their views on various aspects of the service as part of an all Wales survey. All libraries across Wales run the survey during the same week. The aim is to capture and compare the views given by children and young people over time to see how attitudes and views towards the service are changing and what needs to be done to improve their experience.”
  • Brecon museum and library complex Y Gaer to open in December – BBC. “Brecon’s new £14m museum and library complex will open on 5 December, Powys County Council has announced. Delays completing Y Gaer – The Fortress in Welsh – meant opening dates last year and this March were missed. Council bosses said they were confident residents would see the attraction centred on the Grade II-listed Shire Hall was “well worth waiting for”. Partners are being sought to help run the complex, prompting concern from opposition groups about public access.”
  • Richmond – Watching porn and racist abuse among the reasons people banned from libraries and leisure centres – Your Local Guardian. “In a Freedom of Information request sent by the Local Democracy Reporting Service it was revealed that 10 people have been banned from the borough’s libraries since 2015, while two have been banned from leisure centres in the same period. “
  • St HelensGiant regional book club coming to St Helens – St Helens Reporter. “The Great North West Read (GNWR) transforms the region into one massive, interactive book club — and this year’s chosen read is Phaedra Patrick’s charming novel, The Library of Lost and Found.”
  • Slough – #uklibchat – Virtual Tour of The Curve, Slough – UK Lib Chat. “We are trying something a bit different for our next chat! #uklibchat team member Gaby Koenig will be giving a virtual tour of her workplace, The Curve, SloughJoin us on Tueday 29th Octobert from 7pm GMT for the live stream
  • StockportLibrary of Lost & Found north west read 2019 – Marketing Stockport. “A giant book club is about to take over the North West…and you’re invited to join in a wonderful opportunity to bring readers in the North West together through online and in-person book discussions. Now it its second year, the GNWR’s goal is to be the North West’s largest community read and is supported by public libraries from Cheshire to Cumbria. “
  • Walsall – Libraries in Walsall set to close on Sundays because not many people use them – Birmingham Live. “Disappointed council bosses said Sunday community library users were significantly lower than anticipated and are now expected to shut on Sundays to save £40,000” … “A report to cabinet said: “Take-up of the service on Sundays has been lower than expected, with an average of 58 visits per library compared to 269 on other days, and 190 book issues compared to 715.”
  • Warrington – “Library of the future” – built in Lego – Warrington Worldwide. “The model was created by a team of eight members of the Lego Club run by the Friends of Padgate Library, based at the library on Insall Road. Child and adult Lego-enthusiasts worked together to produce the winning design, beating entries from around the country. The Friends of Padgate Library is a volunteer group that was set up 18 months ago to support Padgate Library, working alongside LiveWire’s library staff and Warrington Borough Council on the long-term sustainability of the library.”
  • West Sussex Plans to reduce Worthing library’s opening times – Worthing Herald. “Plans to reduce opening hours at some West Sussex libraries and cut the mobile library service completely have been put out to public consultation. As part of its efforts to save £75.5m over the next four year, the council plans to close Crawley, Chichester, Horsham and Worthing libraries from 6pm rather than the current 7pm from April 2020. It also plans to drop its Horsham-based mobile library at the same time. The Bognor-based service was taken off the road in June when its pre-MOT inspection showed it would cost more to make the vehicle roadworthy than it was actually worth.”
  • Wiltshire – 100 years of Wiltshire libraries – but still nothing like a good book – This is Wiltshire. Completely just mobile libraries until 1964. “Despite the changes, lots of things have stayed the same. People still come to the library knowing they will have a friendly welcome and is somewhere they can go to speak to staff with the knowledge to help hem. “
  • Wirral – Wirral youngsters to benefit from new books and resources to promote love of reading – Wirral Globe. “More than £400,000 worth of books and resources has been pledged to promote the love of reading for families in Wirral. As part of a three-year partnership with the UK’s largest children’s charity BookTrust, youngsters and families will benefit from new high-quality books distributed through the borough’s schools, libraries and healthcare visits. “
  • York – Plans to ‘turbo-charge’ city libraries and make them best in UK – Press. “nder the plans City of York Council bosses will look at ways to move other services – which could include scout groups, charities and youth clubs – into nine of the city’s libraries. A report for a council meeting next Thursday says: “Identifying potential co-location partners will be critical to the process and development of a future business case for investment.”. Council says of the move to reduce space for libraries: ““These proposals will turbo-charge our city’s libraries, making them the best in the UK. “