• For a guide on when public libraries in the UK are reopening, and the current situation, see this page.
  • For a guide on how libraries around the world are coping with the crisis, and the various health and safety precautions that are being used, see this page.


A lot of news this week to cover. The Libraries Connected guidelines for reopening libraries is expected to be formally released tomorrow, Monday (8 June), with copies already with chief librarians. I’ve seen a draft but will refrain from comment – other than to say it’s comprehensive and I approve of the great majority of it – until it is formally released.

The Summer Reading Challenge for 2020 is for obvious reasons almost entirely online and, for less obvious reasons (at least to me) launched at the far earlier than normal date of 5 June. That self-imposed deadline must have been punishing but the Reading Agency have done a grand job of getting celebrities involved and getting the website ready, although there were some glitches with the site on Friday (hopefully brought on by overuse?) and some sad comments from children asking how they can get their library books.

The make-up of the DCMS “cultural renewal taskforce” working group for libraries has been announced. It includes 3 representatives for library trusts compared to just one (and that rotating) for council-run libraries, 1 for volunteer libraries, 2 social change charities (including 1 – CIVIC – I had trouble even finding on Google but who are apparently involved with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – yes the latter being run by another trust), CILIP, Libraries Connected and the LGA. Balancing out the preponderance of charities there are two union representatives. One would also normally expect Locality to be included on such things but, don’t worry, there’s a two for one deal there as the Libraries United boss is also a trustee of theirs. He’s clearly a busy man too as the Devon and Torbay charity is advertising for a Head of Library Service & Customer Experience to do, you know, all the actual library stuff for him, that requires. you know, library experience. A vision for the future there perhaps. Good to see it requires being a qualified chartered librarian or equivalent, though.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention Black Lives Matter. There’s not a representative proportion of ethnic minorities in library services, with 97% of library workers (all sectors) being white compared to 88% in the UK as a whole. We can look with derision at the racism in the US but those figures suggest something is going on here too. Question why and try to even things up a bit. Please.

"Discover the library in your pocket" RB Digital Advert

Silly Squad

  • Jacqueline Wilson asks children to join Silly Squad this summer – Guardian. “Wilson, the former children’s laureate, is calling on children to sign up online for the Summer Reading Challenge, which launches on Friday. Encouraging children aged four to 11 to read during the long break, this year the focus is on funny books, and getting children to read whatever makes them happy.”
  • Silly Squad – Reading Agency. “Get rewards, play games and earn badges as you discover awesome books to read this summer”

Advert for DCA "We are DCA and we work to increase the visibility of libraries"

National news

  • Black Lives Matter – Arts Council England. “it is clear that despite our best intentions, we have so far failed to create the systemic, structural changes needed for our sector to be truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds. There is still a long way to go to ensure that the creative industries reflect the way England looks today.”
  • Bobby Seagull pens love letter to libraries and their vital post-Covid role – Big Issue. “the teacher, author and presenter has penned an impassioned essay for The Big Issue on the pivotal role they have played in his own life — and their huge importance in our post-Covid world” Call for evidence – DCMS. “The Committee invites written evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on any sectors under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s remit …” Open until 19 June.
  • Councils to offer click and collect service at local libraries – Monmouthshire Beacon. “During the next few weeks, Click and Collect services will be delivered by library services across Wales.”
  • Cultural Renewal Taskforce and supporting Working Groups – Gov.uk. Membership of libraries group includes 2 library trusts, 1 council library service (on rotation), 1 representing volunteer libraries, 2 social change charities, 2 unions, Libraries Connected, ACE, CILIP, CLOA – again representing trusts, this time leisure ones, and the LGA.
  • Heads of Service/Senior Management Consultation – British Library. “n this survey, we want to gain a deeper understanding of the current digital services you offer, what you value about them and what you would like to improve. We also want to test your appetite for a few interventions we think would provide real values to our users if delivered through a ‘single digital presence’; a digital platform that served all of the United Kingdom’s public libraries.”

“As well as making the library easier to use, we think the ‘single digital presence’ should be an interesting place to visit in its own right, capturing the vibrancy and vitality of the public library. Building this requires great content. From features on books and reading, to articles celebrating the public library as a physical space, this online platform would amplify the library’s role in UK book culture, while advertising and celebrating public libraries in a central, accessible space.”

Single Digital Presence consultation
Covid-19 offer from Princh. With our mobile printing solution, library visitors will be able to easily print and pay from their own devices. Links to Princh offer webpage.

International news

  • Australia – Strong Girls Clubs and Libraries – Jane Cowell. “The first meeting was advertised on Facebook, the Library Website, the Library What’s On booklet, and through the local High School newsletter. The unexpected surprise for our library coordinator was that the group who came to the first meeting were mostly non-binary girls.”… “It is very important to let the girls run the Club.”
  • FinlandBook lovers return to Finland’s libraries – Yahoo News. “From 1 June bars, restaurants, sports facilities and cultural sites are allowed to reopen in the Nordic nation which has so far registered 320 deaths”
  • Global – Webinar Series Title: Libraries Reopening: A Perspective of Best Practices from Around the World in the Time of COVID-19 – IRRT Webinars. Experience of reopening from Sweden (public) , Germany (academic) and Hong Kong (academic) shared in webinars this week.
  • Ireland – New ‘Call and Collect’ service at Dublin City Libraries – Dublin Libraries. “Dublin City Libraries are planning a ‘Call and collect’ collection service as part of the phased re-opening of libraries from 8th June. The first phase will be piloted in 6 branches from 8th June as follows: Cabra, Coolock and Raheny on the north side, and Dolphin’s Barn, Rathmines and Walkinstown on the south side.”
  • New Zealand – Reopening Libraries in New Zealand: Slow and Steady Wins The Race – Justin the Librarian. “In no particular order, here are the things that were done during the next two days to get the space ready …”
  • Norway – Oslo’s new library opens June 18 – Designing Libraries. “Covering six floors, Deichman Bjørvika offers experiences, technology and knowledge in all forms: literature, music, instruments, film, comics, workshops, sound rooms, children’s activities, stages, classrooms, study areas, and much, much more.”. Due to Covid, open but limited to 1000 people (!) and no events.
  • USA – Tulsa City-County Library to reopen for express service – Black Wall Street Times. From June 22: “Express service includes curbside or in-library holds pickup along with browsing, copying, printing and faxing. Computer usage will also be available with a 30-minute time limit. Library buildings will observe limited occupancy at all locations during this time to support social distancing guidelines by local and state officials””
    • A Statement from LJ on the 2020 Library of the Year – Library Journal. “When we announced The Seattle Public Library (SPL) as the 2020 Gale/LJ Library of the Year yesterday, many librarians protested our celebrating a library that had allowed the Women’s Liberation Front, an anti-trans group, to rent a meeting room for an event in February. …” and Sign on to the open letter to revoke the Library of the Year 2020 award – Signatories include multiple past winners of the Mover and Shaker Award who are asking to return their honour unless the decision is overturned.
    • New York City libraries unveil their plans to reopen – Time Out. “That’s an 864% increase in digital library card sign-ups, and about a 200% boost in new users across all of its e-reading platforms, the NYPL says.” … “Libraries across the city are planning to start offering limited services as early as July and will slowly reinstitute services over time. A full reopening will be largely contingent on health and safety recommendations, according to library officials. One thing is for sure—they’ll be taking it slowly, ensuring the safety of their visitors and staff, they said.””

Local news by authority

  • Caerphilly Library services to be reopened in phased approach – Caerphilly Observer. “The first stage of reopening library services will see the reintroduction of the LibraryLink community outreach service. However, library buildings themselves appear unlikely to reopen any time soon.”
  • Cardiff How the new Cardiff library click and collect service will work – Wales 247. “In Cardiff, phase 1 of the recovery will allow customers to pre-order titles either via libraries online catalogue or by calling a new library phone line where they will be offered a selection of five books based on their interests and preferred genres.” … “Quarantining and cleaning measures for returned books will be in place before they are reused reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.”
  • Denbighshire – Boost to digital resources at Denbighshire libraries – Free Press. ““We have introduced new offers such as Ancestry Library … and now able to offer Press Reader to our members.”
  • Devon – Head of Library Service & Customer Experience – Libraries Unlimited. £45-55k. “you will be leading the day-to-day service across our library buildings, mobiles and online. In addition, you will be positioning the charity to be at the forefront of service excellence both with the services we offer and the customer experience we provide.”
  • Essex – When will Essex County Council libraries reopen? – Epping Forest Guardian. “A spokesperson for the campaign group said: “Essex County Council must not use the lockdown as an excuse to not reopen the threatened libraries. When it is safe to do so libraries must reopen in their pre-lockdown library buildings with pre-lockdown staffing levels.” … “From Monday, July 6 sixteen sites will re-open; Basildon*, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Dunmow, Epping, Harlow, Harwich, Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, South Benfleet and Witham.” … “Customers will be able to return and borrow books, as well as have some limited time to browse the shelves. The number of customers allowed in a library at any one time will need to be reduced to help people stay safe.””
  • Falkirk – Huge rise in demand for e-books in Falkirk libraries – Falkirk Herald. “E-book borrowing from Falkirk libraries has soared by 73 per cent, while March also saw a 222% increase in new users”
  • Fife – Fife library services go online and tap into huge audience in lockdown – Fife Today. “LibrarYAY Facebook group developed by the Libraries Young People team.” … “Some of the sessions have had over 800 views locally – and internationally – and that just gave us such a boost we decided to see what else would translate as an online offering.”