I was listening to a podcast while walking the Schnausers this morning on the history of libraries. What do you mean, you already knew I was a library nerd? Anyway, a few good points stuck out from it. One was that a public library without books becomes a council community centre or social work building, and not a library. And, another related point, was that printed books appear to be here to stay despite repeated predictions to the contrary – remember the extinction timeline that said the last public library would close in 2019? The book has already seen off microfilm and CD-ROM as challenges and it looks reasonably certain now that the latest contender for the extinction-event for the printed page – eBooks – is instead a complementary technology. So that’s good for us that like printed books but less so for those who appear to think that the future of libraries is entirely without them. A point that stuck with me was that public libraries try to plan for the future but, because no-one can know what it looks like, often end up planning for the wrong one. So perhaps keep hold of those paperbacks for now. Also, another thing that sprung to mind was that a thing one can be fairly certain that the fines-free movement is on the right side of history. One hopes that more services will be able to afford it soon.

Finally, well done to Scottish libraries which took part in the “Keep the heid and read” campaign , which has resulted in over 456 thousand minutes or reading being pledged. It’s a fine example of a national publicity campaign. Such campaigns have also been successful in Ireland but, for some reason (the one often cited is that the country is too big), have not been a factor in England as yet.

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£12000 of grants available for digitising archives
  • UKeiG 2022 Members’ Day and Annual General Meeting by Zoom – CILIP. 9 June 1pm, Zoom. Includes “The library technology ecosystem- where we are now and what does the future hold?” by Ken Chad.
  • Welcome to National Crime Reading Month – Crime Reading. “Run by the Crime Writers’ Association in partnership with national charity The Reading Agency, NCRM is a festival that takes place throughout June across the UK and Ireland, culminating in the prestigious CWA Daggers ceremony at the end of the month.”

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