Tower Hamlets have reversed their decision to impose deep cuts on their library service. This will come as a relief not just to their library users but also to many in the library community, where the Idea Stores model from the borough is well-known and respected. The councillors of Croydon, however, whose library budget have rarely been envied at the best of times, are still going through with deep cuts there, although there is some impressive campaigning work going on to try and stop it. Elsewhere, library services are gearing up for their plans for when they are allowed to open on 12 April, with some services which had been completely closed, sticking a toe in the water with click and collect before then.

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Changes by local authority

National news

  • CILIP’s Library and Information Supplier Showcase – CILIP. 25 March, online. “Attendance for delegates is free of charge and you will need to register so that you can gain access to the virtual event platform.”
  • CIPFA Speaks: Budget 2021 and World Book Day – CIPFA. “his week’s packed episode featured CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman with his reflections on the 2021 Budget, Libraries Connected on the impact of COVID-19 on libraries, and CIPFA student Faye Revely joined us for our recurring segment on working from home in public finance.”
  • Dr Seuss: Six books withdrawn over ‘hurtful and wrong’ imagery – BBC. “Among the six children’s titles being withdrawn are If I Ran the Zoo, Scrambled Eggs Super, McElligot’s Pool and On Beyond Zebra” … “Babar’s Travels was removed from the shelves of libraries in East Sussex in the UK after complaints of racism from words used such as “savage cannibals”. Similar complaints have led to some of Herge’s Tintin adventures being removed from libraries, or moved to the adult section.”
  • Libraries are a safety net, what happens when they are pulled away? – Big News. “Libraries are often referred to as “the last safety net”. When someone slips through the cracks of social care, they come to us. What happens when that “last safety net” is pulled away?”
  • Libraries are lifelines – BookSeller. “Whatever the future holds, the pandemic has made it clear that we need to rethink how essential services are made available to those who need them the most. Libraries are not expendable, and I hope that the way they are cared for in the coming years reflects the value that they hold for their communities.”
  • ‘Library job stopped me from suicide, they’re a sanctuary we can’t afford to lose’ – Mirror. “The library where Allie Morgan works became a sanctuary for gaunt, poverty stricken men and women, including an ex-heroin addict who said boredom was the killer that could make him use again.” … “After experiencing the magic of libraries first hand, Allie has written a book, The Librarian, telling the story of how she went from rock bottom to community activist and spokeswoman for library workers”

“The Library Communication Framework (LCF) is set to transform how library suppliers share information with each other in the future, building on the work that the SIP2 protocol has delivered in the past.  LCF will allow vendors to share not only basic transactional information (like SIP2), but additionally manage libraries’ users and stock better.  For libraries planning on upgrading any of their systems from 2021 onwards, LCF should form part of your understanding and be a (possibly mandatory) part of your specification or tender requirements.” BIC Webinar, 29 April.

  • Pandemic shows how ‘digital by default’ government services exclude those who need them most – Conversation. “And with libraries closed many are more cut off than ever before. Indeed, people rely on libraries for online access – a place to search for jobs, answer emails, access educational resources and stay in touch with the outside world.”
  • Working Internationally for Libraries Conference 2021 – CILIP. 25 June, 10 to 5pm, webinar. ” A unique programme of panel sessions, presentations and hands-on workshops draws on speakers from a diverse range of countries – from UK, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East – to share best practice, spotlight new ideas and showcase successful examples of international working projects.”
  • World Book Day: Is Covid lockdown giving reading a boost? – BBC. “Gone are the children’s dressing up competitions, reading extracts in school assemblies, the book reports and the festivities at the local library.” … “During lockdown, the Welsh government provided £250,000 towards digital library resources and one provider saw a 110% increase in borrowing of e-books compared to 2019.” … “It is not clear yet, but it is safe to assume bookworms cannot wait to return to bookshops and libraries again once restrictions end.”

International news

Local news by authority