It’s been a while since this post has covered staff-less libraries but three different mentions this week brings them to attention once again. Having library card and PIN entry to allow customers into libraries has been around more than a decade now. In the UK, this has been used both to extend hours and to replace paid staff, with the prevalence of one or the other being a useful weathervane for where the budgetary winds are blowing. So, it’s good to see that the two reported in the UK today appear to be aimed at extending hours rather than cutting staff costs. In the third mention since the last post, the technology is less conflicted – it’s in Australia, a country which has seen nothing like the budgetary pressures we have, and it’s seen an entirely good, indeed, an award-winning thing.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Free Makerspace Starter Guide for Libraries – Artefacto. “Previously we have shared this publication with people attending our training or libraries we’ve worked with. But now we wanted to share it more widely to help libraries (and other cultural organisations) interested in launching or developing their own makerspace programme. “
  • Making the Most of National Events: A Toolkit for Public Libraries – Libraries Connected. “gives an overview of how to successfully engage with cultural events. Drawing on the experience and expertise of members of the Culture and Creativity Offer Group supported by Libraries Connected, the toolkit is full of ideas, top tips and templates for developing strategies and planning event activity.”
  • Platinum Jubilee: War Horse author Morpurgo dedicates latest book to Queen – BBC. “Sir Michael said: “Libraries have been, and continue to be, a constant in our communities, our schools, and lives. “Libraries, and particularly the librarians who work in them, are vital for us all, but especially for those who need them most.”
  • Psychosocial needs and the Public Library – University of Aberystwyth. “You are being invited to participate in a research study titled: How prepared are UK public library services to meet the psychosocial needs of their users? With a focus on staff perceptions and trainingThe term ‘psychosocial’ refers to the interrelated mental, emotional, and social needs of individuals.”
  • Public Library Survey – UCL. “for my Library and Information Studies MA at UCL, I am looking into patron-perpetrated sexual harassment towards UK public librarians within the last 5 years.” …”The survey is completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to you or your workplace.  “
  • Refugee week and Libraries of Sanctuary – Libraries Connected. Webinar, Monday 13 June, 2pm. “In this webinar we will have an update on support for Ukrainian newcomers from Larysa Bolton from the Association of Ukrainian Women in the UK, Julie Hayward from Book Trust, and a more general update on the Libraries of Sanctuary submission process …”
  • Updates on the Single Digital Presence – British Library. Currently concentrating on branding. Head of Delivery starts in June. see also Single Digital Presence for public libraries – British Library. “The current phase of funding (June 2021 – March 2024) will enable us to develop and test a public-facing version of the platform. £1.1 million of the funding is ring-fenced to help libraries in England with their digital offers.”
  • Violence on the rise in British Libraries as shock figures lay bare UK’s ‘hubs of chaos’ – Mirror. “Shock figures show they were the scene of nearly 6,000 serious anti-social behaviour incidents in five years.” … “An ex-policeman who spent five years working in a North East library told us: “I was assaulted more times in there than in than in my 25 years in the force.” … “In some areas they are used as a contact point for social services, which is believed to have added to the risk of disturbances.”
  • What it’s really like working in libraries – Socialist Party. “27 million books, 9,000 workers and 800 libraries cut by Tories”

International news

  • Sweden – The library – a bright spot? Biblioteket – en ljuspunkt? – Biblioteket tar saka #librarycase. “Time: Tuesday May 31, 2022, 17.00 pm -18.45 pm UTC +02:00 (time converter) Purpose: to show that – and how – the library can contribute to «sustainable development» and «global justice» and thus be «a bright spot». The workshop will be in English (the first Zoom part) and in Swedish (the following physical part). Both with time for discussions.”
  • USA – Hillsdale to consider banning Harry Potter as library wars hit Michigan – Bridge Michigan. Complaints about too many books by Jewish and Black writers, one librarian resigns over paedophilia accusation, another looks to ban all Potter and LGBT titles. “Paladino said the “city’s library director has begun to fill the library with CRT, LGBT and sexually promiscuous books and displays.” Included as an example of books he felt were inappropriate for the library’s children’s section was a Harry Potter book, plus a book for young readers titled “How to Fight Racism,””. One librarian objected to because she is gay, with one comment being “Is she even Christian?”. Fears over censorship as complaints rise.

Local news by authority

  • Devon – Queen’s Jubilee Exhibition: Huge collection makes debut at Barnstaple Library – North Devon Gazette. “The astonishing treasure trove of royal memorabilia is on loan from North Devon collector Sarah Grant”
    • Library card music player – Crowdfunder. “We aim to build and install a library card music player into Exeter Library in time for the Summer Reading Challenge.”
  • Essex – e-comics and creative writing help from Essex libraries – Saffron Walden Reporter. “A dedicated literacy area has opened at Stansted library this week. And similar dedicated literacy areas for libraries in Saffron Walden, Thaxted and Great Dunmow are due by the end of June. Dedicated literacy areas have materials to support reading and writing for adults and children, printable take-home resources, and creative writing prompts.”
    • A library card for every child – Essex Council. “We want every child to experience the joy of reading. That’s why we’re giving every pupil in Essex a library card as part of our Essex Year of Reading campaign. Pupils will receive their library card and a campaign bookmark from their school. All they need to do is take it to any Essex Library to activate it and start borrowing. As well as access to thousands of books, Essex Libraries also offer e-books, e-audio and e-comics.”
  • Gwynedd – Penygroes and Dyffryn Ogwen Libraries benefit from grant – North Wales Chronicle. ” libraries at Penygroes and Dyffryn Ogwen, Bethesda are set to benefit from £56,000 of Welsh Government funding, through the Capital Transformation Fund. The funding aims to help local libraries and museums to develop their facilities and services” … “A transformation grant will support the development of these two libraries in order to realise ambitious plans to develop Llyfrgell y Petha (the Library of Things) at both sites, as well as creating a virtual reality hub in Penygroes Library and wellbeing garden at Dyffryn Ogwen Library.”
  • HounslowShare your local memories and help create a unique local history archive – Hounslow Council. “Showcasing some fascinating finds from the borough’s archives, every exhibition will be unique, focusing on the history of the area surrounding each library.”
Tower Hamlets