It’s pretty much all good news in the “Changes by local authority” section this week, with the star being an absolutely new I-kid-you-not not-a-relocation-or-colocation library in Milton Keynes. Not many of those come around. Well, apart from the 200 reported by CIPFA a few weeks ago, and I am sure they will tell us exactly where those are shortly. Then we have a very impressive £550k (plus some extra stuff) to spruce up Leeds and a Library of Things (I’ve always wanted one of those myself) in Greenwich. Then we have Sheffield become the latest library service to become fines-free. Extended opening is happening in Bedford, albeit by staff-less technology and there’s another new library, again albeit a volunteer one, in Llanteg. So it’s pretty much all positive, apart from continuing rumblings in Nottingham to keep us mildly depressed.

Changes by local authority

National news

International news

  • Afghanistan Afghanistan’s libraries go into blackout: ‘It is painful to see the distance between people and books grow – The Conversation. “The Taliban have not announced their policy regarding books, but the memories of what happened to libraries and reading culture in the mid-‘90s, when they first came to power, still serve. Though Charmaghz has resumed its operations, and our library in Mazar-i-Sharif is still open, the recovery of the reading culture and book industry seems a distant dream. Sitting in the once-buzzing library by himself, Ehsas tells me that books are like lights. With no one coming to the library and opening the books, “the lights are off.””
  • Norway – Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway attends library conference – Royal Central. “over 500 participants who work in the library industry have gathered in Oslo for a series of lectures, debates and seminars. Topics include the library’s role in a variety of areas, including diversity and knowledge dissemination.”
  • USA – Libraries and the Contested Terrain of “Neutrality” – Scholarly Kitchen. “The reality, in other words, is neither that the library is “never neutral” nor that it is “always neutral.” Our world is much more complicated than that. It would be more accurate to say that “the library sometimes and in some contexts must not be neutral, and in others absolutely must be neutral — and sometimes, it’s hard to say what we mean by ‘neutral’ and sometimes it’s hard to say whether ‘neutrality’ is the right or the wrong stance.””
  • Publishing Giants Are Fighting Libraries on E-Books – Sludge. ““It’s unconscionable that trade organizations that purport to support artists and creators are spending so many resources fighting librarians who are simply trying to get better access to resources for their communities”

Local news by authority

“The libraries improvement fund has support for Bradford’s libraries, so that they can improve their offer. Bradford is also one of 15 UK-wide locations that StoryTrails, one of UNBOXED’s commissions, will visit this year.”

Nigel Huddleston, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Bradford City of Culture Bid.
  • Bury – Bury community groups invited to make use of libraries for events and meetings – Bury Times. “Arrangements are now in place for rooms to be rented in the evenings and weekends, with groups allowed to let themselves in. Rooms can be hired at all four borough libraries during library opening hours and at other times by arrangement.”
  • Cumbria – Person banned from Ulverston library for ‘grossly inappropriate’ behaviour – Westmorland Gazette. Freedom of information request lists antisocial issues at library.
  • Dundee – At Home Library Service “a lifeline” for mobility-impaired Dundonians – Courier. “Despite life gradually getting “back to normal” for the majority of society, many of the elderly and clinically vulnerable still feel too anxious to go out. For them, the deliveries of their favourite titles and a chat on the doorstep with the At Home Library workers is one of the highlights of their week.”
  • Glasgow – New chapter for Glasgow’s Woodside Library as it reopens after renovation – Glasgow Evening Times. “As Woodside Library prepares to re-open on Monday after a £2.3m refurbishment, librarian Clare has been digging deep into the city archives and trawling the shelves of the Mitchell for fascinating facts about the 117-year-old building.”
  • Greenwich Woolwich Library of Things – Facebook. “After demand from local residents, we’ve partnered with GLL/Better and Royal Borough of Greenwich council to bring Library of Things to Woolwich! Once open, you will be able to affordably borrow everything from Carpet Cleaners, Pressure Washers, Sewing Machines to Drills, Circular Saws, Projectors, Hedge Trimmers, Ice-Cream Makers and much more. We’ll be announcing pre-booking very soon – so sign up for our newsletter here to keep updated and why not have a sneak preview at what’s available at our open locations :
  • Inverclyde – Free library IT sessions continue – Inverclyde Council. “Bring IT On” sessions for beginners.
  • Kirklees – Award-winning literary festival returns to Huddersfield – Kirklees Together. “The events will be held virtually, and at several venues in Huddersfield. The festival is designed to bring communities together and celebrate diversity.” Libraries will host some events.
  • Leeds – Leeds Central Library receives £500k funding boost – Leeds Council. Libraries Improvement Fund – “The Arts Council England funding will be supplemented by £300,000 from Leeds City Council, bringing the total investment to more than £550,000. The funding will allow the existing music library to be upgraded to provide access to recording equipment, software and instruments for aspiring musicians to practise and perform in a dedicated performance space. In addition, the funding will provide the opportunity to redesign and refurbish the current children’s and lending library rooms, providing updated, attractive and inviting spaces where people can read, socialise, study and relax in the city centre.” … “In a second boost, Leeds Libraries has also received £98,000 to lead a pilot project for the national Ask for a Book initiative which will provide an online service delivering tailored reading recommendations for library users. The suggested titles can then be collected for free from a local library. The Ask for a Book project will be delivered in partnership with creative company Opening the Book and 17 library authorities across the country and has received funding through Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.”
  • Milton Keynes – Brand new library to open in one of Milton Keynes’ most deprived areas – MK Citizen. “A new library is to open in Farthing Grove on Netherfield next week. Called Woughton Library and serving what is one of MK’s most deprived areas, it will also be used as a community meeting place.” .. “Woughton Community Council worked with MK Council to provide the library, with the council contributing £80,000 towards the project.”

“Whilst libraries have been forced to close around the country, we’ve been working hard to ensure that we invest in and protect our libraries.”

Councillor Zoe Nolan, Cabinet member for Children and Families
  • Newcastle – Work underway to decarbonise schools, libraries and public buildings – City Life. Several libraries.
  • Nottingham – Letter: Keep your hands off our precious libraries – Hucknall Dispatch. “Once seen as an important part of the fabric and culture of society, they are now expendable pieces of public spending. They’re something that councils who cannot manage their finances properly, and get told off by the Government, think they can sacrifice to make ends meet. Not in Nottingham, I say”
  • Oldham – Digital Festival – Oldham Council. Virtual reality, digital storytelling, coding.
  • Pembrokeshire – Llanteg opens community libraries in village hall and phone box – Western Telegraph. “In a new chapter for Llanteg, a book swap has been created in a disused phone box, while a community library lounge has opened in its own room in the village hall. The tandem schemes have developed with support from the Co-operative Community Fund and Milford Haven Port Authority as well as local donations.”
  • Powys – Machynlleth Library to host community open day – Wales 247. “As part of the open day, which will be accompanied by music on the lawn, there will be stalls from partner organisations in the community – PAVO, CAMAD and Mid Wales Advice Centre. There will also be children’s activities and exhibitions …”
  • Salford – £82,500 investment in Salford library – Salford Council. Libraries Improvement Fund: “Height Library, in King Street, Irlams o’ th’ Height will see new flexible meeting, events and exhibition areas created, along with a fully accessible toilet. Improvements will be made to the exterior of the library and the entrance will be adapted to make it suitable for independent use by community groups and partners. Timescales for the building work are now being drawn up.”.
  • Sheffield – Sheffield Council scraps library fines for late books – The Star. “Sheffield Council has scrapped all fines for late items just a few months after Sheffield Cathedral received a book believed to be more than 300 years overdue.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire: Library changes won’t mean redundancies, council says – Advertizer. “The authority’s cabinet has approved a new draft library strategy setting out a planned overhaul of the service over the next five years, which will now be subject to public consultation. It includes reviews of all 21 buildings and the mobile library, and could see some libraries co-located with other council services in order to save money. One of the proposed changes is the roll-out of self-service machines, estimated to reduce face-to-face transactions by a third, while the opening hours of each library is to be tailored to best meet the needs of their communities.”. “Cost savings” … “It is also looking at reducing its current £178,000 annual subsidy to the county’s eight community-run libraries”
  • Slough – Senior Slough councillors approve to keep libraries open – Slough Observer. “Following a 12-week consultation, cabinet members agreed at a meeting to keep all four library buildings with reduced opening and staffing hours rather than close the Langley and Cippenham libraries. This will deliver a saving of £400,000 to the 2022/23 budget.”
  • Somerset – Shepton Mallet couple create picture book about library campaign – Somerset County Gazette. “Rob and Helen Heaton’s have finished writing The Town that Saved its Library and given local children to chance to illustrate the book about the campaign to protect the library’s place in the town centre.” … ““We feel that the story of the Shepton Mallet library is a special and important one, and we want the legacy of the people and community that fought so hard to keep it open and in the Market Place to be remembered by the coming generations.”  “
  • Stockport – An innovative, new project run by libraries across Greater Manchester aims to give Stockport entrepreneurs a boost – Stockport Council. “‘Build a Business in GM Libraries’ is a new scheme that will be led by Manchester City Council but delivered across the region. Part–funded by the European Union, the scheme received £1.3 million from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funding to help make the project a reality. The exciting business-focused scheme will run until June 2023, with workshops having already begun in local libraries across Greater Manchester. The workshops will be running in eight Greater Manchester districts: Bolton; Bury; Oldham; Manchester; Salford; Stockport; Tameside; Trafford.”
  • West Lothian – West Lothian shows the love for local libraries – Falkirk Herald. ““We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who braved the abysmal weather to visit us. Whether you took part in one of the many activities, attended an event, checked out the lovely displays, or just popped in for a cuppa and chat, we really loved seeing you all and appreciate your support.”
  • West Sussex – Overdue and reserving charges to be reintroduced at West Sussex libraries – West Sussex Council. “Overdue fees and charges for reserving items were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic. With services and opening times now returned to normal, it’s now easier to collect and return items.”
  • Wigan – New library! Wigan libraries (England) – NAPLE Sister Libraries. “The purpose of the Wigan libraries is to exchange of ideas and expertise, promotion of multiculturalism and multilingualism, Staff interchange.”
  • Wrexham – Foodbank collection at Rhos Library – Leader Live.