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As more and more public libraries reopen, the feedback is that the public are returning in manageable numbers, understand the need for the anti-covid measures in place and are grateful to see the service starting slowly to come back to normal. England is a bit further ahead in opening up more than “click and collect” (or a hundred variations thereof) in 20 or so services.

The other thing happening is the Summer Reading Challenge being promoted more in several library services due to the start of the school holidays. Early indications from the Reading Agency is that its online offer is proving very popular but it would need to go some to beat the normal promotion, which is by far the most successful campaign libraries conduct each year.

National news

  • 1000 Tiny Fun Places Library Webinar with Stella Duffy 4th August 2020 3pm-4pm – Fun Palaces. “This year Fun Palaces weekend on 3rd and 4th October 2020 will be different – sometimes smaller, always safer, but as ever remarkable. To help libraries prepare Libraries Connected will be hosting a webinar on 4th August 2020 3pm-4pm led by Fun Palaces’ amazing and inspirational co-director Stella Duffy. “
  • ACE and British Library to feature in Reading Together Day – BookSeller. 16 July “Co-ordinated by the Reading Agency, the day will showcase a day of events across social media, delivering a programme of activities for families and young adults. The events are designed to support families with changes in education, home learning and wellbeing, caused by the pandemic. ”
  • CILIP warns librarians over contact tracing – BookSeller. “CILIP was responding to calls from the government for public libraries to assist in collecting personal information about their users to help track people who get coronavirus and their contacts. However, the organisation said it was concerned about the lack of appropriate planning and preparation for the implementation of the measures and says key criteria need to be met before libraries take part.”
  • Conversation: Using technology to safely reopen and strategically pivot during COVID-19 – Bibliotheca. “Join us for a new weekly conversation series. Learn how technology can help ensure library users and staff continually feel safe as the pandemic shifts. From holds pickup lockers and real-time occupancy monitoring to touchless self-service and mobile checkout, learn how our connected ecosystem of solutions deliver strategic long-term value for your library.” Webinars.
  • Coronavirus: How libraries provided a lifeline in lockdown – BBC. Suffolk: “BBC News went to Ipswich Library to hear how people have been finding solace in more than just the pages of a favourite book.” … “Strict hygiene and social distancing rules mean customers cannot walk in and browse but librarians can do it for them. Jemima Smith, protected by a face mask and gloves, is surrounded by books being placed in bundles ready for collection.” … “Soon after lockdown, staff were given online training from Suffolk Mind to ensure they looked after their mental health, and began checking in over the phone with the most vulnerable.”
“A brief history of libraries, a reading from the Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell and how to make your own box file! Enjoy – Konnie Huq”
  • Free public library membership – National Acquisitions Group. ” NAG is pleased to announce that membership for public libraries in the UK will be free from 1st July 2020 – 30th June 2021.  We are also working on expanding the “Learn” resources we offer for public libraries within the Members area of the website by commissioning new content.”
  • Libraries: An essential part of local recovery – Libraries Connected. “Library services are far more than their buildings. During lockdown, libraries expanded their digital and remote offer to continue to provide services to their communities. They’ve seen a 600% increase in digital membership as well as fourfold increase in the number of ebooks borrowed. These activities support children learning at home, reduce isolation and include exciting new events created in partnership with local artists and arts organisations. While libraries have rapidly adapted to this new normal, we know that our communities need our buildings and the range of services that we provide in them … “
  • National Poetry Day announces new book trade promotion for 2020 – National Poetry Day. “A bumper crop of citizen poet-performers will be the stars of this year’s National Poetry Day, after four months of lockdown prompted the public to seek out and share poems on an unprecedented scale.”
  • New Chair appointed to support a new public library strategy for Scotland – SLIC. “Jeanette Castle, University Librarian at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), has been appointed Chair of the newly established Public Library Strategy Advisory Group. The group has been formed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) to support the vision and implementation of a new public library strategy for Scotland from 2021, building on the work of Ambition and Opportunity: A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015-2020.”
  • Public libraries have been vital in times of crisis – from conflict to Covid-19 – Apollo. A look at the history of public libraries in the UK in dark times before. “The coronavirus pandemic may prove to be a challenge that dwarfs the many episodes of anxiety and crisis through which the public library has lived in the past. In a post-Covid world, however, the public library’s resilience will stand it in good stead, especially if its potential to support policies for regeneration, levelling up and the promotion of well-being is meaningfully acknowledged through adequate resourcing.”
  • A virtual exploration of public libraries now and in the future – Living Library. “This virtual space is a response to the disruption – caused by Covid-19 – of Seadog Theatre’s plans to create an interactive physical art installation that would tour public libraries in Spring 2020. Instead, the theatre makers and live artists involved worked with web developer, Matt Stevens, and emerging computer game platform Sinespace, to create a virtual take on a physical exhibition.”
  • Welcome back libraries – Time To Read. A look at how public libraries are reopening in the North West. “During lockdown, library teams across the North West have been dedicated to keeping in touch with residents as much as possible and putting out loads of virtual content including story reading, crafts and advice on using digital technology. It’s good to be back. See you soon!”
  • When are libraries open? When libraries in England are confirmed to reopen as eases lockdown rules ease – Yorkshire Evening Post.

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