Two councils this week demonstrates, at different stages of the process, what can happen when a council tries to close libraries that have strong public support. In Essex, sustained and well-organised protests lasted long-term, eventually not only leading to a u-turn promise that no libraries would be closed but also, this week, the announcement of £2.4m of various funds for the service. Nottingham Council is still trying to close some of their libraries but with some of their own councillors coming out against the move, billboards being put up in protest and local authors banding together. It would be great to think that the Nottingham story will end as relatively happily as the Essex one but of course each council does things differently. We’ll only find out when we find out. Elsewhere, there’s a couple of stories showing the strength of Ukrainians and some Arts Council England funding to boost volunteering in a couple of services.

Changes by local authority

National news

“In order to provide Ukrainians with a range of free reading, listening, learning and entertainment opportunities, multimedia content provider Odilo  launched a free app for both Android and iOS in early April. Available across Europe, the app includes 3000 e-books and audiobooks in a variety of genres, including 1,700 Ukrainian titles and 500 in English. There is material for both children and adults. Kraal: ‘We hope that everyone – from social workers to host families – will draw the attention of the refugees to this app. To offer them the support, pleasure or comfort of reading, learning and listening in these difficult and uncertain times.” Links to the app: Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.odilo.ukraine iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ukraine-unlimited-learning/id1615037168

  • New Voices, Big Ideas apply to speak – CILIP. “This year, we want to hear from people who have never spoken at a conference before, but have big ideas that they would like to share at the session “New Voices, Big Ideas”. CILIP is looking for 6 speakers to each give a lightning talk around the theme of “What is Sustainability?”
  • Scottish libraries ‘lost out on more than £250m’ in last decade, new Labour analysis shows – Morning Star. “The party cited figures from the Improvement Service’s local government benchmarking framework, which showed that by 2020-21, real-terms cumulative cuts to the net expenditure on libraries had hit £257,125,000.”

International news

  • Ireland – €20m grant funding announced for school libraries – Independent.ie. “Public libraries already provide a range of supports for school under the Public Library Supports for Schools jointly agreed by the Department of Education and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Public libraries will also support the roll-out of the School Library Book Grant through the provision of additional measures and resources, in two steps.”
  • Spain – Barcelona honours Gabriel García Márquez with new library – Guardian. “In the digital age, building a new library filled with old-fashioned printed books seems idealistic, almost quixotic. Not so in Barcelona. The city council is about to open a new €12m (£10m) library next month, the latest instalment in a programme that dates back 20 years.”
  • UkraineLibraries around the world are helping safeguard Ukrainian books and culture – Conversation. “Just as libraries have collected, preserved and shared knowledge held by their own institutions over the past century, they are now sharing this knowledge globally so that when the war is over, Ukraine can see its cultural treasures rescued and restored.”
  • USAThe 2022 Peeps Diorama Contest – Library Arts Center. “Make an original shoebox-sized diorama with the iconic Easter candies—PEEPS!—as the main characters.    Community members of all ages, businesses, school classrooms, groups & organizations are all encouraged to enter.  Take cues from current events, pop culture, or clever “peeps”  puns …”

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