So, it’s lockdown in England again. Let’s take a moment to reflect on that and how ironic some of the news below about library re-openings look now. Hear that screaming sound? No, not that one, that’s you. I mean the other one. That’s the sound of a whole sector desperately going into reverse gear.

How far into reverse gear though? Currently, it’s unclear what this exactly means for public libraries. The general assumption is that they will be closed for browsing but there’s a lot of grey area. Click and Collect for “non-essential retail” is explicitly allowed so one assumes libraries can do that but the word “library” is not mentioned. The Government has specifically found time to mention vape shops though, which kind of puts us in our place. I have also heard the possibility of PC use being allowed. But no-one really knows at this moment. I will tweet as soon as I do (@publiclibnews).

4 November: public libraries will close in England for normal business. However, “click and collect” services and PC use is allowed depending on local service discretion and circumstances. For more info, see this page.

Changes by local authority

Lockdown 2

  • Covid-19: England gets ready for new four-week lockdown – BBC. “The prime minister said he expects the lockdown to last until 2 December, after which England’s regional tiered system would be reintroduced. But Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News the lockdown could be extended beyond that deadline.”
  • New National Restrictions from 5 November – Gov.uk. “Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.” … “Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.”

National news

International news

  • AustraliaLoneliness in the Digital Age & Public Libraries – Jane Cowell. “Effective interventions are group based aimed at targeted audiences with shared interests. Having a learning outcome — something to do — also helps to break down some barriers and encourage participants to interact with each other. Empower the group to organise their own meet-ups in the library and to develop the group in their way. And remember one size does not fit all groups.”
  • EU – Drawing exhibition: a collaborative activity from Public Library in Aleksandrów (Poland) and Viana Public Library (Spain) – Naple Sister Libraries.
  • Finland – The brand new children’s mobile library Stoori invites visitors to adventure – Helmet. ” the mobile libraries bring library services to places where children and their families are, i.e. day care centres, schools and play parks. The routes for weekday evenings serve residential areas that do not have local libraries of their own.”
  • Ireland – Ireland’s Beautiful Libraries Make Us Want To Curl Up And Read Forever – The Travel. A look at some very old Irish libraries.
  • USA – What is Books to Treasure? – Tulsa Library. “Books To Treasure has grown into a Tulsa tradition for all second-grade students in Tulsa County. These youngsters receive a free copy of a treasured illustrator’s book, the chance to get their very own library card, and an opportunity to see the illustrator in person or, this year, online.” … “Children’s librarians and library staff typically visit schools in September and October to talk about the illustrator and talk about the importance of reading and the library. “
    • Charlotte removes the name of a white supremacist North Carolina governor from a branch library – CNN. “Library officials conducted an audit of its 20 branches last year to identify items on display that represented racism and injustice. The results of that audit found 10 items that needed to be removed from public display along with the name change of one of the branches — The Morrison Regional Library.”
    • City’s library system earns national honors – Cranston Online. ““The library supported the community through the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, pivoting to offer more than 200 virtual programs between March and June even as the buildings were closed for staff and patron safety, as well as offering tech help for students in distance learning and 3-D printing face shields for COVID testing center and senior facilities”
    • Librarian, Read Thyself – The Rambling. ” library workers have been conditioned by professional precarity and gendered expectations to be, above all else, reactive to need” … “Librarians can’t be missionaries or saviors; we’re workers under capitalism. Our need, I think, is to better recognize ourselves as such and recognize that even if we’re lucky enough to have fulfilling jobs, we’re not exempt from sustaining or passing on capitalism’s harms. “
    • Military Families and Public Libraries – EveryLibrary.
    • This outdoor escape room brings the social-distanced fun – I Love Libraries. “Peters Township Public Library in Pennsylvania, who created a Google Doc-based Harry Potter escape room that anyone can play online. Wisconsin’s McMillan Memorial Library has taken a different approach: staff set up a no-touch, outdoor escape room that community members can enjoy while maintaining social distancing.”
    • The Weight We Carry – American Libraries. “Vicarious traumatization (VT) occurs when we work with patrons whose traumatic stories transfer onto us …”

Local news by authority

“Campaigners with the Colchester Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) campaign have reacted with concern to revelations that more Post Office services may be moved into library buildings. A pop-up Post Office opened in Prettygate Library last week, and this week it was revealed that attempts had been made to move Post Office services into Greenstead Library also. Campaigners say such moves will diminish the existing library service, discourage library users, and not provide a suitable long-term solution for the Post Office. ”

Essex – SOLE press release