There’s some scary news for libraries this week as four library services announce consultations. These tend to include only cuts as options so it’s fairly clear where the direction of intended travel is. The cuts look to be particular severe in Gateshead with a 2010-like 5 out of 8 being under threat. On the other hand, the whole of the island of Ireland is now fines-free, with Northern Ireland no longer forcing its customers to pay for not being able to return theirs books on time, following the example of the Republic of Ireland two years ago.

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National news

  • 10 November – What’s new? What’s next? – Library Campaign. 7.30pm to 9pm, Wednesday 10 November, webinar. “Here’s your chance to catch up on all the news you need to know. The Library Campaign aims to give library users and Friends a complete one-stop update, via Zoom. Plus a chance to discuss it all. A lot has happened in public libraries since our last Zoom in May. More is due to happen in the next few weeks.”
  • Children will be forced to do homework in cafes and libraries due to rising energy bills at home, experts fear – I News. “Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said public libraries are “gearing up to do much more targeted work with people suffering from destitution… because they know rates of people struggling in their communities have grown”. “
  • Embrace it, Design It, Build it: Information Professionals at the heart of Digital Transformation – CILIP. 3 and 4 November, webinar. “Technology is transforming every point in the supply-chain of knowledge and information – from content creation to research, selection to data analytics. These technologies depend entirely on the availability of high-quality, well-structured information, data and metadata to function.”
  • Freedom of information and library stats – Library data blog. “Everyone knows this is broken. Leadership organisations are on board, but none have direct responsibility for data. Many services don’t complete data because they can’t afford to receive the commercial reports. Plus the reports are marketed around benchmarking and performance management, which isn’t what library services need. Services need to be able to provide data in the knowledge that it will be widely used and shared for insight, and that they’ll also receive free access to other libraries’ data. Urgent change is needed, ideally in time for 2021/2022 data.”
  • Haig, Whitty and McKay awarded CILIP honorary fellowships – BookSeller. “Author Matt Haig, chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty and librarian Amy McKay have been awarded CILIP honorary fellowships for 2021. The trio were described by the UK’s library and information association as “three very different individuals recognised for their contribution to this sector in the face of unprecedented global challenges”. “. Nick Poole says ““This year’s honorary fellows all demonstrate in different ways the powerful role our sector can play in health and social care. Whether it is leveraging evidence to support informed decision-making in the NHS and public health or exploring the role of reading in building empathy and improving mental health – the pandemic has truly shown the power of libraries as the ‘hospital of the soul’.””
  • Northumbria research team celebrate library project award win – Northumbria University. “The Death Positive Library Project unites libraries in Newcastle, Kirklees in Yorkshire and Redbridge in London, with a research team from Northumbria University made up of Dr Stacey Pitsillides in the School of Design and Dr Claire Nally in the Department of Humanities.”
  • Reading Agency project to bring latest VR technology to 15 libraries – BookSeller. “Called StoryTrails, the project is led by creative producer Professor David Olusoga and will include 15 libraries across the UK and Northern Ireland. It will involve speaking to members of the local communities gathering forgotten and unheard stories, before they are brought to life with the latest technology. StoryTrails will be in libraries from early 2022 and will return again in the summer, offering two-day residencies in each location which will be free for the public to attend. Starting in July 2022, the tour will visit Omagh, Dundee, Dumfries, Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Newport, Bristol, Swindon and Slough, before ending in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Lewisham in September.   “
  • Rise by Maliha Abidi: competition resources – Reading Agency. “This pack contains an PDF sampler of the book “Rise” by Maliha Abidi and a promotional poster for a competition inspired by the book.”
  • The U.K.’s Latest Budget Gives Arts Organizations an Impressive-Sounding $1.2 Billion—But It’s Actually Less Than Last Year – Artnet. ” This money is also for libraries, many of which have closed due to austerity policies that predate the pandemic.”

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