Recovery continues, although the latest Libraries Connected figures showing a far slower return to libraries than to shops. This is, however, honestly to be expected as still only a small fraction of branches are fully open, with most only offering partial services and many still closed, although Sandwell is now the only library service not to have any form of physical service at all.

In other news – now there is other news – it’s been reassuring to see the huge fight put up in Glasgow over possible closures, resulting in the assurance this week that all branches are safe. Like most book readers, I do like a happy ending and the Scottish have apparently managed to get one there.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Boris Johnson and the revenge of the school librarian – TES. “Lining the shelf just behind Mr Johnson’s head were titles with rather unflattering associations for any political leader, including “The Twits”, “The Subtle Knife”, “The Resistance”, and “Betrayed”. And sticking out like a sore thumb was “Fahrenheit 451”, a dystopian novel about a society where books are banned.
  • Burning the books by Richard Ovenden – BBC Radio 4. 14 minutes, first episode of five. “Richard Ovenden, director of the Bodleian Library, explains how attacks on libraries and archives have been a feature of history since ancient times, but have increased in frequency and intensity during the modern era. Libraries are far more than stores of literature, through preserving the legal documents such as Magna Carta and records of citizenship they also support the rule of law and the rights of citizens.”
  • Lesley Pearse launches Libraries Connected #LibrariesFromHomeLIVE virtual event series – Libraries Connected. “Hosted via Zoom, Facebook Live and Live Webinar the series will kick-off with Bristol Libraries on the 10th September and conclude with a special Friday Fizz! Event with Manchester Libraries on the 25th September.”
  • Libraries: helping local communities find work – Arts Council England. “As the country tries to recover economically from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, libraries are extremely well-placed to help people looking for work and support their communities.” … “Data provided by Norfolk Library Service, Somerset Library Service and Wandsworth Library Service to Libraries Connected for the weeks immediately following lockdown indicate that …”

Libraries have always supported their local communities by offering resources and facilities throughout people’s lives – from toddler rhyme times to supporting the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable. However, as the economy begins to recover from Covid-19, libraries are extremely well-placed to help those people who are looking for work. I know that up and down the country, library staff will be doing everything they can to support those in their community who need to get back to work or change career path.

Sue Williamson, Director, Libraries, Arts Council England
  • Reading Challenge aims to support pupils returning to school – Grampian Online. “he challenge is available to all primary and secondary schools as well as community groups and libraries in Scotland, and aims to build positive reading cultures and improve literacy for young people. Now in its fifth year, the programme is run by national charity Scottish Book Trust and over a third of all schools in Scotland took part in the challenge last year. The First Minister’s Reading Challenge aims to support teachers and pupils returning to school after lockdown with additional resources and funding.”
  • Troubled Capita to Sell Another Software Business – CBR. “Capita’s Education Software Solutions business also includes “Reading Cloud”, a library and resource management system that is used by some 15,000 schools, and AGILIT-e: management software for universities that is used by 30 higher education institutions in the UK and Ireland, according to Capita.”
  • Webinar: Phased Reopening of Libraries :Warwickshire Libraries and IF_DO Architects  – Bibliotheca. Tuesday 1 September 2pm.
  • We’re back! How public libraries have been reopening their doors – Libraries Connected. “We have just a snapshot of around 1 in 3 public libraries at the moment, but we’ll be collecting this data over the coming months to build up a more detailed picture of how library services are recovering. ” … “In the first week of opening, libraries saw 8% of their usual visitor numbers, and over the 6 weeks to mid- august this rose to 15%. However, this comparison is based on footfall numbers last year when all library sites were open, so with the 15% figure is more likely to be between 20 and 40% of usual footfall for those sites that are open. “
  • What Does Quality Mean for a Modern Library Service? – Libraries Connected. Recording of video chat, virtual consultation.

International news

  • To-Go Library Services – ALSC Blog. “…  as the months wear on, we’ve come to realize that patrons (much like their hard-working librarians) are pretty burnt out on technology. So last month when we reopened to the public, the Youth Services Team rolled out a few fresh ideas for engaging with our community.”

Local news by authority