Derbyshire Libraries have telephones. Their numbers are clearly visible on their webpages. And, despite the best efforts of the council, most of them still have staff in them to answer the telephones. They also have computers which allow staff to renew books. Simple. But, from now on, if you phone one of these libraries, you won’t be able to renew a book. Because the council doesn’t want you to and is deliberately putting a barrier in your way. For those without online access and easy transportation, this is going to stop them renewing books – for no good reason other than The Council Says No. Let us be clear. This is the opposite of good customer service. It is designed-in bad customer service and whoever is responsible for this move should be ashamed of themselves.

This is the most ridiculous result so far I have seen of Digital By Default in libraries, where the user is pushed to using the computer because its cheaper. But in this case it is not even that: there’s no extra cost involved. The staff are there, the phone is there, the computer is there, the renewal facility is there. This is just ridiculous and if any other service is thinking following Derbyshire’s example, remember what your actual purpose is in your job … and don’t.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Artist Commission, New Words Project, Time to Read, North West Reader Development Partnership – Time To Read North West / Arts Council England. “New Words is a new 18-month project, supported by Arts Council England, to promote and develop relationships between independent publishers and libraries in the North West, broadening reading experiences for existing readers, and developing new readers to libraries and publishers.”
  • Author Ben Holden launches podcast to support libraries – BookSeller. “Author Ben Holden will host a new podcast which celebrates libraries and indie bookshops, and aims to campaign against library cuts, with Jacqueline Wilson, Melvyn Bragg and Val McDermid among the interviewees. Ex Libris will launch on 6th November and will see Holden in conversation with Ken Follett in his childhood library Canton Library, Cardiff, with senior librarian Rhian Jones.”
  • Cowbridge pupil picks up library award for his story – Glamorgan Gem. “Children from across Wales took part in the competition launched by Welsh Libraries in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society during Dementia Action Week in May, to pen a short story on the theme of memories in no more than 480 words, 480 being the number of people being diagnosed with dementia each day in the UK. “
  • How my local library changed my life – Penguin. “Here Jojo Moyes, Jacqueline Wilson and 11 other Penguin authors share memories of their local libraries. Together they make a powerful case for why we should fight to protect them.”
  • Love for library after romantic fiction award nod – Worcester News. “The library has been shortlisted in the Library of the Year category at this year’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Industry Awards. They will now be looking to win over the hearts and minds of the judges, as they face love rivals Harrogate Library, Kingswinford Library and Jersey Library, who are all also swooning for the prize. “
  • Statement on the government’s Social Prescribing Academy launch – Libraries Connected. “There are over 3000 public libraries in the UK and many of these are already working closely with local social prescribers. Libraries are within reach of most communities and offer a warm welcome for all without judgement…”
  • Streaming: Kanopy, the film service for library users – Guardian. “Any free streaming options, then, are more welcome than ever, and a new one is slowly making inroads into the UK via the most venerable no-cost entertainment service of them all: the public library system. It’s been 11 years since video streaming service Kanopy was founded in Australia, initially as an educational resource for university students, before extending to public library users across the country. It offers a selection of more than 15,000 films, shorts, documentaries and educational videos to be digitally “checked out” on a standard library card, whereupon they’re available for home viewing for three days.”
  • Supporting Libraries, Supporting our Future: towards a blueprint for a collaborative support infrastructure in England – Carnegie UK Trust. “Our hope at CUKT is that this report will provide a starting point for a blueprint for a collaborative support infrastructure that bridges national organisations and local public library services, cements joint working and is successful in securing a sustainable national network of public libraries for the benefit of future generations”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Barnsley – Library @ the Lightbox, Barnsley – Designing Libraries. “The new ultra-modern facility offers users access to over 20 PC’s, digital learning and coding clubs. Students can relax and spend valuable time in the study area with plenty of PC and desk access and comfortable seating. There is an events room, a quiet room for autism sufferers to use when they need a quiet space, away from the busy library. The Children’s Library is bursting with colour and has many items of interactive furniture for little ones to climb, hide and perch to read their favourite books.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – New community library opens in Peasedown following 18 months of work – Bath Echo. “The library will be run by more than 20 volunteers at St John’s Community Hall and will be open for 12 hours a week, stocked with 700 books for locals to enjoy.”
    • New investment proposed for Bath Central Library – Bath and North East Somerset Council Newsroom. “t follows a review of plans for the library under the council’s Modern Libraries Programme, which in 2017 had proposed the Podium as the site for a central Bath integrated Library and One Stop Shop. Last year the £3m scheme was paused pending a review due to challenging budget pressures. A budget report before the council’s cabinet, which meets on Thursday November 7, says the council’s Capital Programme will be adjusted as a result to remove the £3m allocated to the scheme.” But councillors will be recommended to consider a smaller capital investment proposal, as part of the council’s capital budget for the next financial year, which would fund work to refresh the library.
  • Bracknell Forest – Take a step into the Bracknell Forest of make-believe and celebrate literature – Bracknell News. “Stories are being brought to life this week with a series of unique and vibrant author talks, workshops, dance and poetry as part of Bracknell Forest Library’s first ever literary festival.”
  • Bradford – Local government round up: Fight at Bradford libraries escalates – Socialist Worker.
    • Celebrating reading challenge success – Ilkley Gazette. “3,200 children took part in the challenge during the six week summer holidays. An out-of-this-world 54 per cent managed to complete the challenge which meant reading six or more books.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Blacon Adventure Playground to stage free Halloween party for children – Cheshire Live. “Under-eights will be able to enjoy scary stories with the Cheshire West and Chester Libraries team”
  • Derbyshire – Library users will need to renew books online or in person from November – Derbyshire County Council. “Derbyshire library-users are being asked to renew their books online or in person at a branch from Friday 1 November 2019, rather than ring Call Derbyshire.” … ““Library staff will be pleased to help people who are unsure what to do.””
  • Doncaster – Doncaster’s new library and museum is the tops – Doncaster Council. ““We are raising the bar with this new central library and museum. It will be a first class facility, offering a range of modern services for our residents. We want to encourage local people to aim for the stars and inspire them to learn about Doncaster’s rich and varied heritage. Libraries empower and enable all our citizens to learn and gain knowledge; libraries give us power individually and collectively. ” Expected to open Summer 2020.
  • Flintshire – More support needed for Mancot Library – The Leader. “Sue Dylan, volunteer at Mancot Community Library’ is asking residents to attend the upcoming events and raise funds for the cause. She said: “We don’t get any funding. All of the fundraising events we hold, helps to pay to keep us going so that will go on electricity and gas.”
  • HackneyHackney home visit library service: “Books bring the outside in” – East London Lines. “The first question is always – what does it cost? It’s free,” said Mo Dixon, a Community Library Service officer. Dixon is talking about Hackney Home Visit Library Service – a scheme that lends around 12,750 books a year to over 700 people aged between nine and 102 on a daily basis, to individuals, residential homes, day centres, nurseries and hospitals.”
  • Kingston Upon Thames – Kingston Library prevented from opening by ‘Ethelred’ the squirrel – Sutton and Croydon Guardian. “Staff at the library announced the news on Twitter after revealing that “wildlife” had prevented the library from opening on time Saturday morning. “
  • Lambeth – New library scheme to lend smart clothes to jobseekers for interviews – Belfast Telegraph. “The service is being set up at Brixton Library in south London and will lend outfits free of charge to anyone who has a job interview or entrepreneurs heading to meetings with potential investors.”
    • Lambeth library events for November 2019 celebrate one hundred years of free public libraries – Brixton Buzz. “We are about to celebrate two big anniversaries in Public libraries. One hundred years ago the Government passed The Public Libraries Act 1919, reforming the old legislation to remove the ‘penny on the rates’ system and paving the way for the Public Library service in Britain to become a truly national, free service for all. Twenty-five years ago in 1994 UNESCO ratified its international Public Library Manifesto, laying out 12 key missions which put information, literacy, education and culture at the core of public library services worldwide.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Edwinstowe Library, Nottinghamshire – Designing Libraries. “Not only is the library the wonderful, fresh, relaxing space envisaged, but the number of new users is double what they were for the same period in the previous two years, children’s issues have increased by 41% and there has been an increase in visits by 20%.”
  • St Helens – 6 Hallowe’en events coming to St Helens – St Helens Star.
  • Solihull – Poet pens Ode for Solihull to mark Libraries Week – Birmingham Live. “A top performance poet was recently enlisted to pen a poem which paid tribute to Solihull’s rich history – with those very verses debuted as part of Libraries Week.
  • Swindon – Special report: Libraries are a ‘treasure house’ – Swindon Advertiser. “The five core libraries – Swindon Central, North Swindon, West Swindon, Park and Highworth – together bring in over 500,000 visits per year. And more books are being taken out than people visiting the locations – 586,767 loans to the 519,922 attendees. This doesn’t include the nine community libraries run by parishes and trusts which makes up Swindon’s 14.”
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Launch of Wales’ first tablet loan scheme – Barry GEM. “The Vale of Glamorgan Council is supporting the project, with hopes it will help tackle social isolation and improve digital literacy, particularly amongst the elderly, disabled, those on low income or those living in rural areas.”
  • WarwickshireRugby and Leamington libraries to host events to introduce ‘self-help’ gadget website – Courier. “Called AskSara, the easy-to-use website helps improve people’s access to a range of ‘self-help’ smart technology and associated services in Warwickshire – from automatic pill dispensers to reminder clocks, personal alarms and general equipment to help make daily activities easier – so they can stay well for longer”
  • West Berkshire – Increased number of library volunteers essential to keeping service running – Newbury Today. “The number of people volunteering at West Berkshire libraries has risen as the service faced its first full year with depleted staff. The 47 library staff were supported by 322 volunteers, who contributed 12,035 hours between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. The number of volunteers increased by 13 per cent – 283 to 322 – and volunteer hours also increased by 18 per cent, 10,147 to 12,035. Having to reduce its budget by £19m in 2016 through a reduction in government funding, the council looked at closing eight of the district’s nine libraries.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – West Dunbartonshire mark Scottish Book Week with series of free events – Daily Record.
  • WiganWigan man wins National Lottery award for unique library concert scheme – Wigan Today. “Get It Loud in Libraries founder, Stewart Parsons, 53, was awarded one of only 12 prestigious awards in the whole of the UK. To celebrate his accolade, Stuart joined a host of stars from the world of stage and screen at the glittering 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards show which was filmed for BBC One at BBC Television Centre in London and will be aired on Tuesday November 19.”
  • Wiltshire – Failing to return library books lands Wiltshire man with hefty court bill – This is Wiltshire. “Swindon magistrates heard Christopher Taylor had failed to return 11 volumes withdrawn from Calne public library in February. Taylor, of The Rise, acted as guarantor for his children – who had checked out the eight books and two tomes on Second World War history. They should have been returned by February 25 and March 11. When they did not materialise librarians sent out reminder letters then notices warning Mr Taylor he could face prosecution if the books were not returned.”
  • WorcestershireHalloween-themed craft activities taking place at Hagley Library – Bromsgrove Standard. “Coun Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said: “There are lots of activities happening at libraries across the county to keep things creative and imaginative this half term. Our library teams have done a wonderful job in making sure things are suitably spooky.”. Similar report also for Droitwich Library including a Monster Ball.
  • York – York libraries to share buildings with other organisations – York Press. “City of York Council outlined plans to invest £4 million in Clifton and Acomb libraries – as well as proposals to bring other community organisations into some of the city’s standalone library buildings. Speaking at a meeting, Andy Laslett from the council said: “I think it’s important to recognise that, with a national picture of reducing resources going into libraries, York has a commitment that there will be no reduction in the number of staffed libraries.”