Things feel slightly less certain this week than last, what with the Indian variant causing headlines, but public libraries are continuing the slow task of reopening. This is happening at different paces in different places – this is the UK public library service after all – but some problems are becoming obvious. The first, mentioned in the BookSeller, is that quarantining books is a bit of a problem now and will get to be a bigger and bigger problem as more people come in. And then of course there is the issue of physical regular groups and events. Some services are already tipping their toes into this water but if the Summer Holidays are as busy as normal (and it’s even possible, just about, that they may be busier – after all, foreign holidays are going to take a dip) then it’s going to be, at the least, a bit of a shock for the quarantining shelves just two months away. The rush to open on the High Street outside of library doors is also a concern for those library chiefs not wanting to look overly cautious. So, this summer is already presenting all sort of challenges, and not just the one that normally ends with certificates and medals.

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National news

  • CILIP NW Libraries Day and AGM 2021 – CILIP. 28 May 10am to 4pm. “This free event is open to all, both CILIP members and non-members. This event will showcase the creative ways that libraries in the North West have adapted during the last extraordinary 12 months.”
  • Cynhadledd CILIP Cymru Wales Conference 2021 – CILIP. 20-21 May. “oin us as we embark on our very first virtual conference to recognise and celebrate information professionals in Wales. This last year has been a strange one for everyone. We want to help demonstrate confidence as a sector, commitment to diversity, and impact and influence across communities, Wales and beyond. Our 2021 conference is packed with an exciting list of speakers to help inspire you to make a bigger impact. Thanks to the Welsh Government, CILIP Cymru Wales is delighted to offer bursaries to public librarians to join us at CILIP Cymru Wales Conference 2021.”
  • Freckle Report 2021: Digital or Diverse? The future of public libraries – Tim Coates. “The Freckle report 2021 includes survey results from the studies ‘Where did you get your book’ of April 2019 and April 2021. These show the picture of reading both before and late on in the period of the Covid 19 pandemic”. Covers USA, Australia and UK, £63.
  • I’ve been to the library – A Sense of Place. “I’ve been to the library, that’s my big news for today and it’s more than enough to be getting on with. I’ve been to the library.”
  • Library Campaign Zooms in on a publicity campaign for libraries Monday 24 May 2021 19:30 -21:00 – Library Campaign. “We’ll focus on following up the ideas that came up in April for a campaign to publicise libraries. The meeting will include a chance to discuss with Nick Poole, the Chief Executive of CILIP (the librarians’ professional body) what they are doing to advocate for libraries, and their plans for this year’s National Libraries Week”
  • Many libraries now open but 72-hour quarantine rule causing ‘huge pressure’ – BookSeller. “Library authorities say more than 90% of their facilities have reopened since lockdown eased, with nearly half offering browsing, though many have suffered “huge pressure” from a 72-hour book quarantine rule.” … “93% of libraries are offering PC access and have browsing at some or all sites while 45% have opened for browsing at all their buildings.”

“Libraries have operated this quarantine for a year now, and it is slowing down the rate at which materials can be lent as well as placing huge pressure on available space. Libraries Connected and DCMS have both been working with government contacts and PHE to explore whether this guidance can be revised or relaxed while maintaining the safety of library users.”

Nick Poole, CILIP
  • Shelf Love: Several Fascinating Facts About Libraries – BBC Radio Four. “To mark the documentary Late Returns, in which writer Nicholas Royle returns three library books – three decades after he borrowed them, we’ve collated some interesting facts using our own version of the Dewey Decimal System…”
  • Townscapes: The Value of Social Infrastructure – Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Mentions public libraries seventy nine times.
  • Universal Library Offers Project Manager – Libraries Connected. “The postholder will work with the Universal Offer Leads, supporting them to implement the plans, and will also oversee the creation of the annual plan. The postholder will also ensure engagement between Libraries Connected and the public library sector on the delivery of the plans.”. 14 hours per week.

International news

  • EU – 2021 NAPLE Forum annual meeting – NAPLE Sister Libraries. 20 May, 12 noon to 2. “Please join us for the NAPLE Forum 2021 where we will be discussing the impact of public libraries as we emerge from the pandemic period, and looking over the horizon to see what’s next for the public library sector in the next 12 months.”
  • Ireland – Firm sues over computer system contract for public libraries – Irish Times. “An unsuccessful tenderer for a multimillion-euro computer system for the country’s public libraries has sued over the awarding of the contract. Innovative Interfaces Incorporated, which was unsuccessful in tendering for part of the contract, has also obtained an automatic suspension of the awarding of part of the contract pending the outcome of its legal proceedings which were entered into the Commercial Court on Monday.”
  • USA – Why librarians are natural born detectives – Crime Reads. “Whether you’re looking for information about an uncle’s will or a homemade poison, the reference desk is the place to go.”

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