Similar to the way that libraries are not just the buildings, libraries should also not just limit themselves to lending books. Over the years, we have read about libraries giving out period products, dog poo bags and Covid tests. Libraries have also been known to lend out a variety of things such as fishing rods, skating shoes and Halloween costumes. Libraries of Things take this concept to the natural conclusion and lend out a whole bunch more. My first note of them comes from 2014 but they have been around a lot longer than that and are a perfect fit for public libraries. After all, public libraries already have a computer system set up for labelling and tracking things for issuing and returning, buildings in local communities and a staff used to public service and being non-profit. So it’s good to see recently a couple of services – Greenwich and Essex – going down this route. I suspect that they are among the first of many. Just like in fact those services who are going fines-free, with yet another, South Lanarkshire, joining those ranks this week.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Engaging the public with research – Libraries Connected. “We’ve developed a new toolkit in collaboration with Carnegie UK to help guide libraries through this process. It draws on evidence collected during the Engaging Libraries programme which ran from 2016-2021. This programme supported public libraries across the UK to develop and deliver public engagement activities.”

“Seven libraries received, I think, £200,000, which brings the total funding through that fund to £1.25 million. We will continue to support public libraries, because we understand the clear role that they play in local communities, in terms of culture and heritage. They also have a wider role to play, and we will be looking to support our public libraries to continue the good work that they are doing.”

Neil Gray, SNP.

Libraries as a statutory service – DCMS. Updated April 1 2022.

  • Libraries receive final funding boost for Covid relief – STV. “The sum is the last tranche of awards to be made from the Scottish Government’s £1.25 million Public Library Covid Relief Fund administered by the Scottish Library and Information Council. The fund has supported a total of 30 library community projects since it was set up in October last year. Library services sharing the final funding include South Ayrshire, for its Friendly Faces Cafes to tackle social isolation and Dundee’s Miners, Modellers, and Makers project, which will create eight STEM clubs to improve the “digital divide” – the gap between those who have access to new technology and those who do not.”
  • Webinar: Survive and Thrive – Practical Steps You Can Take In Your Library Service – Innovative. “We want local authorities and commissioners to think ‘libraries first’ whenever they need to deliver a service to communities. Experts Isobel Hunter and Susan Wills discuss practical initiatives you can take right now, to make that happen.”
  • World Book Night 2022 – British Library. “This event takes place in the British Library Theatre. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform.”. See also World Book Night resources.

International news

Local news by authority

“With the cost of living crisis impacting on so many people’s finances, we recognise another cost, although small, is the last thing that anyone needs.”

South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s general manager, Kay Morrison