The local elections have shown a couple of things. The first is that the Conservatives are likely to win the next election, leading to the possibility of another decade of policies likely to minimise funding for local government, and thus library spending. The other is, as pointed out in coverage of Glasgow last week, how different things are Scotland. Libraries up there are in a different environment – although it may not feel like it in Glasgow – and may look forward, if independence happens, to funding on another level to that south of the border. However, if Scotland does go its own way then that’s a whole bunch of anti-Conservative MPs disappearing from the English parliament … and then heaven knows when the governing party will change down here.

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National news

  • F**k I Think I’m Dying: Claire Eastham on Learning to Live with Panic – Reading Agency. Tuesday 11 May, 7pm. Mental Health Awareness week free event.
  • International Booker Prize – Reading Agency. “Free digital packs are available to download from The Reading Agency Shop to promote the International Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction in your library. The packs contain promotion guides with ready-to-use social media schedules and copy, as well as assets and links to reading group guides”
  • Morrisons is giving away 50,000 FREE books to families – how to get one – The Sun. “The book is called “Cedric the Seed” and it will be distributed nationwide to local community groups and schools.” … “Morrisons has also launched a book donation and exchange station called the little library where children, teenagers and parents can take home any of the books available for free.”
  • Opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers to contribute to research on UK public library services – Hazel Hall. “Do you know or work with adult refugees and/or asylum seekers who have lived in the UK for 5 years or fewer? If so, please could you let them know about this opportunity to contribute to an on-going research project within the Centre for Social Informatics by completing a short online questionnaire”
  • Public Library Resilience: Innovations from the COVID Crisis – III. Thursday 20 May, 6am (3pm AEST), free webinar. “The health crisis has brought challenges and opportunities for public libraries. Even while buildings have been closed, libraries worked with determination and innovation to bring their services to users in new ways, reaching 3 out of 10 people (Carnegie UK Trust research). Innovative Interfaces has brought together two well-known thought leaders to discuss lessons from the past year, and opportunities for public libraries, in what promises to be a stimulating debate full of insights and ideas.”. [Including myself very early in the morning, and Roger Henshaw; Public Library Australia – Ed.]
  • The role of fines in the libraries of today – CILIP. Survey. “Abolishing library fines is something we have seen more public libraries adopt both here in the UK and abroad but it is something that some cash strapped public libraries are not so keen to follow. Public Libraries News have done a round up of some of the key pros and cons and recent initiatives but we want to hear your opinion on the matter.”
  • S4 Ep11 Arts Council England – Leading with James Ashton. Interview with Darren Henley. Says of libraries that ““love, cherish and continue to reinvent them”

International news

  • Australia – Leading Public Libraries for the new normal – Jane Cowell. “Library Managers across the world have been leading their service through a crisis.For my library service, with various branches in a number of different locations, staff with varying levels of technical skills, and a situation that was changing fast — sometimes multiple times a day — there were some key leadership priorities that enabled our library service to remain viable.”
  • Global – The most popular comics checked out from libraries worldwide – for kids and adults – Games Radar. “In the past 12 months, comics books and graphic novels were checked out over 15 million times from public libraries.”
  • New Zealand – Reimagining a new Nelson library as an ideas factory – Stuff. “What has dominated news coverage and clamour are two reasons some people object to a new library: The price. The location. We have been focused on problems, not opportunities.” … “clever thinking about what a library could be would make it a hub of our 10 innovative economies, and the centrepoint of a knowledge industry ecosystem for the community, and our overall economy. It would foster other supporting elements of an innovation economy to grow up around it.”
  • USA – Report Urges Library Leaders to Address Decline in Public Library Usage Stats – Publishers Weekly. “In a report published this week, veteran London-based bookseller, library advocate, and former Waterstones managing director Tim Coates warns that U.S. public library usage statistics show a steep decline—and he suggests that library leaders must do more to address the trend.”

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