Two cuts announced this week. The first is in the wealthy (and apparently obsessed with the word “royal”) borough of Windsor and Maidenhead which is looking to close four branches. The reasoning for this appears to be as much ideological as for any other reason. The second is in Warrington – actually announced in early January but missed here – where the leisure trust Livewire’s income is suffering due to lockdowns and is looking for redundancies. Elsewhere, there’s a few co-locations. So, not yet the tsunami of cuts that has been widely feared. Let’s hope the wave never comes.

Changes by local authority

Advert for Niche Academy from DCA

National news

  • The changing world of public libraries in the pandemic – University of Strathclyde. “The prevalence of lending digital books, which had already been increasing for a number of years, has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left them as the only option for many library members during periods of lockdown. The study will examine changes in information behaviour, issues around the potential emergence of a ‘digital divide’ and concerns over privacy.”
  • Coaching yourself through the times we’re in – British Library. Friday 4 February webinar. “Overall this session will help you stay clear, calm, centred, energised, organised and resourceful and be best placed to survive and thrive personally and professionally in the days, weeks and year ahead and in our emerging new world.”
  • Library computers to play important role in economic recovery – Lorensbergs. “The latest netloan public library survey results predict library PCs will play a significant role in the UK’s economic recovery. 80% of library services rate the People’s Network of computers as essential for supporting jobseeking. From the 80 library authorities that participated, over 90% had provided PCs in the second half of 2020. It offers a lifeline to jobseekers, benefit claimants, and many others without other means to get online as the pandemic continues.”
  • LUSH Libraries Unleash Such Happiness – Eventbrite. Thursday 4 March. “Our inaugural conference welcomes representatives from Libraries Friends groups from all over the country. The event provides a treasure trove of ideas for activities, fundraising and community elevation. We are delighted to welcome keynote speakers Lemn Sissay, poet and performer, and Ron Finley, guerilla gardener as well as Chanje Kunde who will be performing a specially commissioned piece to uplift us all.12 thought-provoking workshops, spaces to share practical suggestions and ask questions. A place to listen. A place to be heard. A place to be inspired. Join us and bring some oomph to your Friends group.”
  • Mozfest bursaries for libraries – Libraries Connected. “MozFest is a seven-day celebration for, by, and about people who love the internet, showcasing world-changing ideas and technology through exhibitions, talks and interactive sessions. This year’s festival will be held virtually from the 8 – 19 March and we are delighted to announce that we are offering a number of bursaries to public library staff who would like to attend.”
  • National Library of Wales: Ministers accused of ‘lack of political will’ – BBC. “Thirty jobs are at risk at the library in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, and services are expected to be cut significantly. The source added: “It isn’t a lack of money, it’s a lack of political will.” The Welsh Government said it was “looking at every option” to protect jobs.”
  • Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant Award – NAG. “NAG are pleased to announce that their Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant will run again for 2021.   This grant, launched in 2019, aims to enable public libraries to take forward an innovative project, which may have already had a pilot phase, and develop it further.  We have doubled the grant pot to £10,000 this year and we are open to either making two smaller awards or supporting one large project depending upon the strength of applications.”
  • World Book Day Book Club – World Book Day. “We’re thrilled to bring you news of our brand new World Book Day Book Club. Talking about books together makes them more fun, memorable and magic. From March, tune into YouTube and read with us. We’ll share our favourite monthly read, talk to authors and more. Join in at home, in school & in libraries”
    • For Libraries – World Book Day. “Have a look at our Libraries Tool Kit for ideas and resources to help you make World Book Day happen in 2021. World Book Day will work more closely with libraries this year than ever before. We hope to get every library authority involved in this major reading event.”

International news

  • Argentina Libraries on the margins – Medium / Edward Civallaro. “Libraries that operate on the margins are countless in Latin America. Those spaces have become (sometimes unwittingly or without realizing it, others fully aware of it) into havens that allow resistance, activism, struggle, solidarity, and even militancy: militancy for social and environmental justice, for equality, for inclusion, for memory, for one’s own and others’ rights…”
  • Australia – Library Map Part 1 – Library Flanneur. Map of all Australian libraries with details, including on if they fine, included.
  • Germany – The Berlin State Library’s priceless treasures – MSN. Pictures. “Soon, people will once again be able to browse to their heart’s content in the spacious reading room, which architect HG Merz designed in a bright orange color. The institution is a historical research and reference library, with little of the holdings digitized. So, if you want to do research, you have to physically visit the site.”
  • Iraq – Artist Edmund de Waal Donates 2,000 Books to Iraqi Library Decimated by ISIS – Hyperallergic. “The University of Mosul (UoM) once held one of the largest libraries in West Asia, housing over a million books and rare historical materials, including a Quran from the ninth century and periodicals dating back to 1700 BCE. After Islamic State forces captured the city in 2014, much of its invaluable collection turned to ashes. Militants of the terrorist group burned down the building and its contents in what UNESCO described as “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.””
  • USA – Designing for the Future — The Post-Pandemic Library – Medium / Ditto Press. “In the midst of ongoing turmoil, libraries must still plan for the future. For some, this means reorganizing and reopening. Others must prepare for renovations or new construction in the face of grave uncertainties. Nobody knows — or can know — what the patron of 2022 wants. Will our struggles today will lead us to greater comity or further division? These questions remain unsettled. Essential services still move forward, however. Scheduled renovations must be planned. New libraries cannot wait for society to settle before they are built.” Multiple ideas.

Local news by authority