Interesting to see the transfer of Hertfordshire libraries to a library trust being indefinitely postponed. This process has already seemingly taken forever, it being first mooted in 2017 and then delayed during the Lockdowns so perhaps hearts were never truly in it in the first place. But the reason given for the shelving (haha) is revealing: that the council has realised how important and useful its library service was during last year and so needs to think about whether it wants to lose it. This is combined with concerns about if a future financial shock would bring down a trust. So, a virus originating in China has affected the governance of an English county library service. It’s a highly connected world in which we live.

You may have noticed this post is a bit late. This is indirectly due to the appearance of five schnauzer puppies in my life. We want to wait another week or two before thinking about selling them but if any of you live near enough to Cheshire and fancy a bearded heavily eye-browed small canine in your life, with a speciality of sitting on laps, then perhaps let me know.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • BIPC Liverpool and British Library join forces to announce major new support lifeline for businesses across the Liverpool City Region – My Sefton. “The Business & IP Centre Liverpool (based in Central Library) and the British Library have announced the roll out of several new local Business & IP Centres (BIPCs) across the Liverpool City Region. Tuesday 21st September sees the official launch of more BIPCs in libraries in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens and Wirral.”
  • How does your library support people with no fixed abode – Reading Agency. “As part of World Homelessness Day, which falls on the final day of Libraries Week 2021, The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected are collecting information and examples of best practice for the ways libraries can support access to books and services for people with no fixed abode. The information will be used to better understand existing support and areas of need across the sector”
  • Missing persons wanted – BookSeller. “Growing up in the West Midlands, I turned my back on reading books and even visiting libraries for many years. When I start to think back to why this was happening, I realised that not seeing Asian representation within publishing and at libraries was a key factor.”
  • Of No Fixed Abode: Building the Public Library Offer – Eventbrite. Friday 8 October 3pm. “As part of the Libraries Week 2021 ‘Taking Action, Changing Lives’ events schedule (run by CILIP) and in the lead up to World Homelessness Day (October 10), The Reading Agency and Libraries Connected invite people working in or with the library sector to a panel discussion about the homelessness crisis in the UK today.”
  • Read, Talk, Share – Stories from the frontline – DCMS Libraries. “Reading Friends is a befriending programme using reading to start conversations and connect people. It tackles the loneliness challenge head on by bringing people together to read, share stories, meet new friends, and have fun. Through an award by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), The Reading Agency provided funding, training and resources for 102 English library authorities to deliver Reading Friends to diverse audiences at risk of loneliness including new and expectant parents, young carers, older people and those living with dementia.”
  • Too many libraries appear to be viewed as ‘easy targets’ when it comes to cutting budgets – John Dean – Scotsman. “Crime writers owe a lot to libraries. Library staff lend out their books, bringing in welcome payments under the Public Lending Right scheme, host their events and raise their profiles. Writers of all genres have much to be grateful to libraries for.”
  • Vera creator backs Reading for Wellbeing scheme – Belfast Telegraph. “The author is celebrating the 21st anniversary of her detective character Vera Stanhope – played by Brenda Blethyn in the hit ITV series Vera – by supporting a reading scheme being piloted in the North East of England. Cleeves initiated the scheme, and has donated funds towards the pilot, which she launched in Durham.
  • Which library matches your personality? – OUP Blog. “Which library matches your personality? Are you an old soul like the al- Qarawlyyin library? Compassionate like the Beitou Public Library? Quirky like the Culture Perth & Kinross Mobile Library? These are just some of the libraries you could match up with, give our short quiz a go to find out!” [I got the New York Public Library – Ed.]
  • With vision and ample funding what could Scotland’s libraries become? – Dani Garavelli – Scotsman. “Yes, libraries have adapted to the times, digitising archives, automating check-out and return, offering eBooks. But library providers have become conscious of the importance of the physical gathering space in a world where people are increasingly isolated. Counterintuitively, the rise of social media – which reduces the opportunity for real-life contact – has fuelled a loneliness epidemic so great supermarkets were at one point being encouraged to set up “chatty cafes” for isolated customers.”

International news

  • Canada – Why investing in libraries is a climate justice issue – National Observer. “For many, the safest and most accessible place to escape the heat was also free — the library. Public libraries are increasingly opening their doors as cooling centres as officials develop emergency plans for heat and other extreme weather condition”
  • Denmark – The public library is the haven where we can rediscover the ability to immerse – Christian Lauersen. “The public library is not interested in getting you through the store as quickly as possible so that a new customer can drive the plastic card through. The library invites to slow time; time to read and time to be present. “
  • USA – Whose Safety is the Priority? – International Journal of Information, Diversity and Inclusion. “Police and policing have tacitly, and at times explicitly, been normalized as aspects of library service in the U.S. As American forms of policing are exported at an international scale, this has international implications.”
    • History of Library Hand – Book Riot. “In September 1885, Thomas Edison and Melvil Dewey teamed up to design library hand — though their “team work” was less collaboration than it was one of implementation. Library hand, a rounded, easily legible style was based on Edison’s own handwriting”
    • Name calling, property damage: Public librarians harassed over vaccine mandate enforcement – Hawaii News Now. “Aldrich says since the vaccine and test mandate went into effect Monday, some people have been verbally abusive toward librarians who are trying to enforce the rule. “Calling us names or throwing their library card at us,” said Aldrich. “Our staff really want to serve the community and they care about the communities, so it’s hard when people are angry and they take it out on our staff.””
    • Slow life, slow librarianship – Information wants to be free. “Slow librarianship is an antiracist, responsive, and values-driven practice that stands in opposition to neoliberal values. Workers in slow libraries are focused on relationship-building, deeply understanding and meeting patron needs, and providing equitable services to their communities. Internally, slow library culture is focused on learning and reflection, collaboration and solidarity, valuing all kinds of contributions, and supporting staff as whole people.”
    • Teacher Stuck with $1,400 Fine from Library System that Killed Fines – Voice of San Diego. “Library Director Misty Jones said no patrons were sent to collections for fees attached to unreturned materials during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ruble’s case had already worked its way to the San Diego treasurer before then, and the fee couldn’t be reversed.”
    • Techdirt Podcast Episode 297: The Future Of Libraries – Techdirt.”The notion that if libraries didn’t exist already, the publishing industry wouldn’t allow them to exist at all is both a grim joke and a depressing truth, as continually evidenced by the opposition of publishers to seemingly unobjectionable technologies like controlled digital lending, which aim to allow libraries to carry their mission forward into the digital age.”
    • Texas mom hijacks school board meeting to rage about young adult novel in school library about love affair between black boy and Mexican girl that features anal sex – Daily Mail. Library book successfully banned.

Local news by authority