It;s great to see some new mobile libraries being bought and put on the road in a couple of library services. Over the last ten years, while the smallest libraries have been closed or moved to volunteers in many services, there is one exception … those libraries with wheels. They are proving remarkably tenacious, providing equality of service to those in rural and hard to reach areas. Long may they move.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • The classism of closing libraries – The Boar. “My main takeaway from an exchange like this is that at some point libraries were removed from the weekend itinerary, they blended with the essence of nostalgia rather than staying part of the present; meaning either the person stopped reading, or started  sourcing their books elsewhere. It is important therefore to explore the shift away from the use of public books and reflect on why we choose to buy not borrow, and what that means for everyone else”
  • Covid-19 – How are the rules on face masks and COVID passes changing in England? – Sky News. Wearing a mask is now a legal requirement for libraries “and reading rooms”.
  • Harry Potter book sells for world record £356,000 – Cheshire Live. “The ‘mint’ condition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was in the first run of 500 printed in 1997. About 300 were given to libraries and schools and the remaining 200 passed into private hands.”
  • Let’s Create Jubilee Fund – Arts Council England. £175k grant. “The grant will be distributed by Libraries Connected, and will provide £1,000 for each library service to mark the occasion in whatever way they think will be most relevant and enjoyable for their users and local community. This could be done in collaboration with other library services, or be a purely local celebration. Libraries Connected will contact all eligible library services to discuss the process for delivering the grant, which we expect to be paid in January or February.” [The other £25k (there are are 150 library services in England) is for Libraries Connected take on staff/contractors to project manage, distribute the funding to 150 library services, market nationally, identify additional national/regional partners and manage the evaluation – Ed.]
  • Library audio and ebook loans in 2021 reveal unexpected stars – Guardian. “… while Richard Osman might have topped the list of the year’s most-borrowed ebooks, Ellery Adams’s tale of a North Carolina bookshop owner who doles out bibliotherapy over a fresh-baked scone has made a surprising entry on the list. Adams’s 2017 title The Secret, Book & Scone Society, in which Miracle Springs bookseller Nora prescribes the “perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain”, only for one of her customers to be found murdered, was the fourth most-borrowed ebook from UK public libraries in 2021. It was more popular than Booker winner Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, which came in fifth, and Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel The Sentinel, although it came in behind Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. The figures come from OverDrive, which provides ebook and audiobook access to more than 3,000 of the UK’s libraries.
  • Library closures are cutting off routes into creative life for so many – The Stage. [paywall] “The deaths of two theatre titans, Sher and Sondheim, had producer Richard Jordan remembering how he discovered their work in his local library, and how the closure of libraries around the country is cutting off vital access to theatre careers and so much more …”

The Reading Agency, in partnership with the BBC and supported by the Arts Council, is calling for recommendations for the Big Jubilee Read, a national reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads by celebrated authors from the Commonwealth to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. Readers are invited to send your recommendations for an expert panel to select the list of 70 Big Jubilee Reads. Recommendations should include author, title, publication year and reasons for recommendation. Books must be published between 1952-2022 by an author from the commonwealth, be considered a great read of a decade, appeal to diverse and inclusive audiences and be available in print or e-book format. Titles can include fiction, poetry and graphic novels but not non-fiction. Books in translation are welcome. They should be emailed to thebigjubileeread@readingagency.org.uk by 16 December.

The Reading Agency, via email

International news

Local news by authority