There’s been enough time since Austerity started in 2010 to note some long-term results in the sector. Suffolk Libraries celebrates ten years as a Library Trust this year. It seems to be going well and certainly most of what I see from that service is good and positive. The other library trusts – notably York Explore and Libraries Unlimited (Devon) – also seem to be doing well. Leisure trusts have had a more mixed picture, with Falkirk, Northamptonshire, Peterborough and Wigan all having to return to council control due to various problems. Others have suffered during lockdown – leisure trusts rely on income from leisure centres etc – but have survived.

But the real standout has been volunteer libraries. Focusing just on longevity and not getting distracted by other issues, then the thing one notices is how few have failed in the last decade. Just one or two out of out of the (probably) over 600 have had to close over the time. And some of the first in Buckinghamshire have been open over fifteen years now. That’s a surprising survival rate compared to expectations in 2010 where it was assumed many would not be round for long. It suggests, rather, that they may be here to stay.

Changes by local authority

Floating or dynamic stock.

I recently asked on Twitter if library services use a floating stock system. This is where books are kept at the library where they end up (for example, for reservations) rather than send them back to a “home” library. See this page for some more info on this. The responses on Twitter totalled 4 doing dynamic and 20 doing static. A couple of others do a hybrid system where receiving library keeps the book if they want it, send it back if not.


  • Several library services have moved to static stock as it lead to build-up in some branches. On the other hand, it was reported that floating stock automatically moves books around and so refreshes libraries without any extra work (indeed, less work as they’re not returned back) and increases serendipity.
  • Some do a mixed system: for example “We keep them but send them back if less than two years old” and “we send non-fiction back for special collections but keep fiction if we have a stock gap”
  • New Zealand said poorer areas lose out if dynamic because wealthier borrowers reserve all the books.

National news

The first electric mobile library? 1979
  • £750,000 funding announced to boost libraries and museums in Wales – Wales 247. “The funding, which will be delivered as part of the Transformation Capital Grant Scheme, will support Wales’ local libraries, museums, to develop and revitalise their facilities, with a particular focus on widening access, partnership working, decarbonisation, and developing sustainable services.”
  • Arts Council future under review by government – BookSeller. “The review will look to identify a minimum of 5% savings for each organisation.”
  • Bookbug Week aims to inspire ‘an early love of books’ – The National. “Bookbug, Scottish Government funding for which over 2022/23 has been increased by £1.7 million, is developed in partnership between the national literature and literacy charity the Scottish Book Trust, local authorities, libraries, children’s publishers and health trusts across the nation, and provides free books to every baby, toddler, three and five-year-old in Scotland.”
A great T-shirt design from Warwickshire
  • Five tips to enhance your institution’s civic engagement by working with public libraries – Times Higher Education Campus. “Good two-way public engagement can connect communities, inspire learning and stimulate curiosity. So what better partner than libraries to support higher education institutions to engage the public with their work and build on civic engagement strategies?”
  • Green Libraries – CILIP. “CILIP has announced the Arts Council England funded Green Libraries Partnership, a multiyear research and development programme to enable public libraries in England to address Environmental Responsibility.”. Various links and events.
  • Handbook of Library Appliances – Library Association / Project Gutenberg. 1898 handbook to what library furniture is available and how to use it. Fascinating [and disturbing – I recognise some of this furniture – Ed.]
  • How well do you know your libraries? Quiz – OUP Blog. “Were you born to be a librarian? Are you a library fan? Or do you just like a bit of trivia? Whatever your reason it’s time to prove to us how well you know your libraries with this short quiz.” [I only got 4 out of 8 so I guess the jury is still out on me – Ed.]
Unison candidate on library work

International news

  • USA – Texas librarians face harassment as they navigate book bans – Texas Tribune. “Librarian Suzette Baker said she faced a hard choice last year when her boss asked her to hide a book on critical race theory behind the counter.” … “She spoke up, telling her supervisors that the library was facing a censorship attack.” … “Baker was fired for insubordination”. Others “have already quit, and others are considering it.”
  • Libraries Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Life – EveryLibrary. “… there is no one-size-fits-all veteran archetype. Veterans are found at nearly every demographic level of America. They and their families have long found libraries to be great resources when they move somewhere new, a one-stop-shop of community information and events to help them adjust. So, libraries want to continue offering support beyond the term of duty.”

Local news by authority

Lots of library staff talking about what Suffolk Libraries offers
  • York – Clifton Explore Library Learning Centre Development – York Explore. “A new Explore Library Learning Centre at the heart of Clifton, Where you come in wanting one thing, but go out with so much more. A friendly, accessible, safe space, where you will always feel welcome, A library with great books to borrow, the place you meet up with friends, A workspace with Wi-Fi connection, a place to learn something new, A flexible venue for events and groups, hobbies and meetings, A place you can trust for advice when life changes or challenges you. Help us to create your library in Clifton shaped by your needs.”