Words are important so it’s time to have a note about terminology. The policy of Public Libraries News is to describe reductions to budgets as “cuts” whereas the almost universal policy of councils is to describe them as “savings”. It depends on one’s viewpoint and the pros and cons of each case as to which word is more true. A cut can also be a saving of course, and sometimes efficiencies can indeed be made. But the word “saving” suggests that there has been no reduction in the service offered so that nothing is lost, financially or otherwise. The word “cut” suggests a reduction both in service and budget. My use of the word “cut” comes from the 2010s when we were indeed looking at brutal cuts to services and I would argue that it’s a more honest word than the alternatives even now. But it depends on circumstances and viewpoint and one must always bear that in mind. The word “saving” is sometimes used by councils in full knowledge that what is actually happening is a cut. That’s a shame and I think being more honest with people would be good, because people should not be misled, especially when they are the ones ultimately paying the bills both in terms of budget and in terms of services, cut or, um, savinged.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Carthew plans UK tour to address publishing diversity and inclusion – BookSeller.”The Breaking Class Tour will visit festivals, universities, libraries, bookshops and conferences around the UK throughout 2022. Carthew will talk about the issues that face working-class writers including barriers to success, as well as talking to publishing industry professionals regarding how best to tackle discrimination and unconscious bias in the industry.”
  • End of Year Recharge and Reset – British Library Living Knowledge. “A restorative session aimed at giving you clarity of mind as we move towards the holiday season. Join Author and life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru for a relaxed mental health check-in, with tips and strategies for balancing and assessing your work life balance and winding down 2021 with a positive mind-set.”https://digitalcontentassociates.com/bringing-ft-to-the-worlds-public-libraries/
  • The Librarian Behind a New Anthology of Poems About Books & Libraries – Fine Books Magazine. “The 272-page anthology, with gorgeous jacket art, includes such poets as Horace, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Borges, Angelou, and others, all paying homage to books and libraries.”
  • Stories Not Statistics: An Autoethnographical & Narrative Exploration of the Value of Public Libraries Humanities Commons. “This research examines what the narratives around libraries reveal about the ways in which they are valued, and explores the use of methods that are still relatively new to the field of LIS. ” … ” there is a gap in the current LIS scholarship on work that draws together narratives of belonging, loneliness and the body in relation to the public library with the use of autoethnography and narrative inquiry specifically, and that using narratives to understand and articulate impact should be key to understanding the value of libraries.”
  • #uklibchat 6th December – Farewell and Review – #uklibchat. “This is our last chat. We are grateful for all your interactions, for all those who followed us and lurked. This last chat is not so much a discussion as an opportunity to come together and appreciate each other and the conversations #uklibchat has helped foster. We have a few conversation starters in our agenda for this cosy chance to gather round the inspiration that is #uklibchat. Feel free to add your own.”
  • Universal Library Offers Calendar 2022 – Libraries Connected. “Key dates for libraries in 2022”

International news

Local news by authority

“I was more than willing to support South Gloucestershire Libraries. The service has so much to offer – access to computers, a meeting place to connect with your community, somewhere to study and if you want to find out anything then the library is the place to go. But above all these great services it’s their power to change lives through reading. I would encourage everyone to use their local library.”

Stephen Merchant
  • Staffordshire – When a decision will be made on moving Burton library to the market hall – Staffordshire Live. “Decisions on the future of Burton’s library and Market Hall will be made after March next year, it has been revealed. The business case by Burton Town Deal Board will be passed to the Government by March and a decision will then be made on which seven projects will be taken forward.”
  • Surrey – Council makes commitment on whether to keep Surrey libraries open amid transformation plan – Get Surrey. “Surrey councillors have made a commitment that no library services will be lost in the county in the face of large costs to upgrade facilities.”… “Achievements as part of the plan so far include joining the Libraries Consortium which means residents can use their Surrey library card to access libraries in Essex and 18 London boroughs, and being on track to make savings of £2.9m by the end of March 2022.”
  • Thurrock – Protesters show their support to save Thameside theatre complex in Grays – BBC News. “Thurrock Council is proposing to sell the Thameside complex, which also houses a library and museum, in Grays as part of plans to save £34m by 2024. Labour councillor John Kent said people were “really angry” at the plans.”
  • Torfaen – Temporary reduction in Torfaen library opening hours – South Wales Argus. “There are currently four vacant library assistant roles within the borough’s service, which is leading to staff shortages as more people return to using libraries following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. But a council report says filling the vacancies while a review of the service is being carried out would ‘prejudice’ its outcome.”
  • Wiltshire – Market Lavington library opens for first time since Covid – Gazette and Herald. Library “has reopened in its new location after closing its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic. The new library is now open at the Old School, Church Street, thanks to the partnership between Wiltshire Council and Market Lavington Parish Council.”
  • Worcestershire – Mask up when visiting the library as new variant forces change – Bromsgrove Standard. “Face  coverings will once again be required in order for customers to enter the county’s libraries from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 30. The county’s libraries will be increasing Covid-19 protection measures in light of the new directions from central government and will be asking anyone visiting to wear a face covering.” [This turned out not to be true – government guidelines excluded libraries from essential mask wearing – Ed.]