There were several librarians named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. The name that stood out to me was Isobel Hunter, the current and first CEO of Libraries Connected, who despite only being in post two years has not put a foot wrong in what could have been quite a difficult time, ensuring that LC has had a strong founding. A notable thing to me is that those honoured have been at chief or very senior level in libraries. While understandable, because they’re at the level that can get things done and are thus noticed, this I think is a bit of shame as there are tons of highly committed and gifted librarians who may not get to that level but still make a huge difference. See my article here for more thoughts on the subject.

Changes by authority

National news

  • CILIP announces Honorary Fellowships including Library Champion Bobby Seagull – CILIP. “Bobby Seagull and CILIP are delighted to announce that he will be continuing in the role of CILIP Library Champion for 2020-21. In recognition of his services to libraries” … “Alongside Bobby, Honorary Fellowships are also being awarded to Margaret Casely-Hayford, CBE, for services to children’s literature and illustration through her leadership of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards Diversity Review; and Pamela Martindale, for her sustained and significant contribution to the library, information and knowledge profession through professional registration.”
  • How can libraries play a positive role in the Covid crisis? – Eurolis. Zoom, Wednesdays 14, 21 and 28 October 2020, from 4 to 6pm. Speakers from UK, Portugal, Poland, Catalonia (Spain), Italy, Germany and France.
  • How shipping container libraries can help save the public library crisis – Open Access Government. Shipping Container boss praises shipping containers.”BiebBus is a mobile container-based in The Netherlands, which has the ability to let kids have fun and explore the world of books before travelling on to a new place. We all love novelty and shiny new things, and can often get bored when things stay the same. With portable, alternative libraries which are only in town for a limited amount of time, people may feel more of a need to visit. It’s new, and it’s an experience people can try out with their friends.”
  • Libraries Week features nationwide Haig event and Bonnier book club launch – BookSeller. “Libraries Week kicks off today (5th October), featuring behind the scenes looks at authors’ bookshelves, a nationwide live reading of The Midnight Library by author Matt Haig (Canongate) and the launch of a Bonnier book club.”
  • Living Libraries – Soho Radio. “a celebration of public libraries in the words of people who use, work in and run them. Sarah Pyke and Shelley Trower present the Living Libraries oral history project, 2019-2020 at the University of Roehampton, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The oral history collection is copyright of The British Library Board and is used with permission.”
  • Supporting economic recovery – Local Government First. “With their offer of access to computers, job clubs, CV writing support, skills training and targeted support for start-ups through Business and Intellectual Property Centres (BIPCs), libraries have an important role to play.”
  • TWA Heritage Digitisation Grant – Amended to Reflect the Changing Face of 2020 – Town Web Archiving. 3 grants of £3000 each open to libraries.
  • Why libraries hold the key to a start-up revolution – Times. Behind paywall.
  • Young north-east football fans can support reading challenge – Grampian Online. “This year’s 4-4-2 Reading Challenge has been launched with Peterhead FC supporting the initiative in the north-east. It is the third year of the successful programme which is spearheaded by the SPFL Trust, Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), and Scotland’s libraries.”


  • Susan Hill and Mary Berry awarded damehoods in Queen’s Birthday Honours – BookSeller. “Librarians were well represented in the Birthday Honours. Receiving OBEs were Libraries Connected chief executive Isobel Hunter “for services to public libraries”, and Julie Oldham, head of Library and Museum Services at Bolton Council, and professor Steven John Broomhead, “for services to public libraries” in Chorley, Lancashire. MBEs were awarded “for services to libraries and the arts” to Andrew Bentley in Cheshire and “for services to public libraries” to Michelle Alford in Lancashire, Janet Holden in Suffolk, Sarah Smith in London and Gateshead Library Service manager Stephen James Walters.”
  • Andrew Bentley – Queen’s Birthday honours see Holocaust survivor, Storyhouse boss and Crewe hospice fundraiser recognised – Cheshire Live. “Storyhouse chief executive Andrew Bentley, who has been working hard to try to save the theatre from the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus lockdown.”
  • Steven Broomhead – Steven Broomhead awarded MBE in Queen’s birthday honours – Warrington Guardian. “Professor Steven Broomhead’s name was listed among others deserving of recognition for their contribution to society following the publication of the full honours list. The award comes following his leadership and chairmanship of the National Libraries Taskforce, in which he helped to implement the Independent Library Report and reinvigorate the national public library service.” … “Prof. Broomhead was previously chair of Warrington’s Libraries Working group, which formed to review the results of consultations over the borough’s provision.”
  • Council Chief receives MBE for services to libraries in Queen’s Birthday Honours – Warrington Worldwide.
  • Peter Gaw – Inspire CEO honoured in Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2020 – West Bridgford Wire. “The British Empire Medal (BEM) has been awarded to Peter Gaw the CEO of Inspire – Culture, Learning and Libraries in the Queen’s birthday 2020 Honours list in recognition of his service and commitment to Libraries and Culture.”
  • Janet Holden – Suffolk’s community heroes celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours – East Anglian Daily Times. “Janet Holden. For services to Public Libraries (Halesworth, Suffolk)”
  • Julie Oldham – Bolton librarian to be honoured by the Queen for a second time – Manchester Evening News. Julie Oldham received an MBE in 2002 and now has OBE. She retired this year. ““During my career I have been privileged to work with some fantastic people who have inspired me and worked with me to deliver our services, often through challenging times.”
  • Stephen Walters – Gateshead individuals honoured – Gateshead Council. “Stephen Walters, Gateshead Council Libraries Manager, awarded the British Empire Medal for services to public libraries”

International news

  • USA – A former Austin Library employee is accused of stealing $1.3M in printer toner – CNN. Bought it for the library and then stored it in garage until sold online. He also allegedly fraudulently used library credit cards.
  • Walmart’s new store design proves browsing is dead – Fast Company. “Walmart is rearranging many items across the store, consolidating categories such as electronics, toys, and baby products into their own dedicated sections rather than having some items scattered. Then they’re loading these stores with clearer signs to point you around the space. These signs match up with the exact categories and icons you’ll also find inside the surprisingly great Walmart app. The intended effect is what the company is billing as a “seamless” shopping experience between the digital store and the physical one.”

Local news by authority

“The library building in Barras Street has sat empty for over a year in the heart of our town centre with no refurbishment work even commencing during this whole period. “I just hope that Cornwall Council learn from this debacle and ensure we are never put in this position again where decisions are taken to vacate buildings before the next steps have been secured and agreed.”

Cornwall Councillor for Liskeard Nick Craker

“Libraries were listed as a ‘discretionary service’ to be potentially looked into despite the council having a ‘statutory duty’ to provide efficient library services to residents. The council leader acknowledged libraries are statutory but said RBWM could be looking at a number of avenues to deliver the service such as changing the opening times, the number of libraries and their locations in the borough, integrating the service into another model, etc.”