This week will go down in everyone’s memory as Platinum Jubilee week. Public libraries have played their part throughout the country, with flags, displays, coffee mornings and other events. An impressive number of librarians – no less than ten – have also been named in the Platinum Jubilee Honours. While there are arguments against as well as for Honours, I would argue that they at least boost the status of those holding them, which can be very useful.

I had the honour of speaking at the French library conference this week – due to my limitations online alas, rather than where it was taking place in Metz. While the cuts situation has apparently cooled off, for now at least, in many library services, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the UK is see as a warning for what could happen in many countries. The French librarians were anxious to learn about the situation and many were concerned that what happened here could happen there. And well they should. There have been one or two cases there of cuts recently. I remember the complacency of many librarians in the early 2000s. That has gone now in this country and those elsewhere would do well to learn what lessons there are from it.

Finally, well done to Knowsley, which becomes the 39th library service in the UK to go completely fines-free. For those wishing to know how it can be done, New Zealand has produced a toolkit on the subject, including case studies.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Are libraries open on Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday? – The Sun. “t is likely that your library will be open at some point across the weekend, although running on shorter hours for the Queen’s Jubilee. If you have a very small local library then you may find the library is shut as employee numbers are minimal.”
  • Fun Palaces: The Library Special – Fun Palaces. “In this podcast, we meet librarian Zoey Dixon who will tell you all about why Fun Palaces are so perfect suited to libraries.”
  • Helping jobseekers help themselves – Arts Council England. “investigates how jobseekers use libraries, and the role library services play in improving employment outcomes. The report recommends that libraries should take actions such as coordinating their support for jobseekers with other forms of jobseeker support, and reinstating in-person support for jobseekers in libraries that was paused because of the pandemic.”
Libraries Week
  • Nine Scottish libraries to loan out musical instruments – West FM. “There will be six libraries from Edinburgh, two from North Ayrshire, and one from Fife all part of the new project.” … ““There’s a music group going to be associated with each library. So, there’ll be music classes and taster classes for young people to try it out. And we’ve also got the tinderbox online music school, where people can get online lessons for free.””
  • Not as I like it! War Horse author Michael Morpurgo says Shakespeare plays ‘need a bit of editing’ – Mail Online. “Sir Michael said: ‘Libraries, and particularly the librarians who work in them, are vital for us all, but especially for those who need them most.’”
  • PRH UK donates entire audiobook library to charity Calibre Audio – BookSeller. “Under the new partnership, around 6,000 titles as well as future releases will be made freely available to Calibre’s 16,000 members, who have a range of disabilities that make reading and understanding text difficult, including visual impairments, learning disabilities, cognitive impairments and physical dexterity conditions. Earlier this year, the service was made available to people with long Covid …”
  • Refugee week and Libraries of Sanctuary – Libraries Connected. 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 from Ashley Beckett of City of Sanctuary.
  • Thousands of UK public buildings now have gigabit broadband – Techradar Pro. “The figure includes 1,200 schools, 340 libraries and 50 hospitals …”

Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours


  • Catherine Mann. Head of Libraries and Arts, Staffordshire County Council. For services to Public Libraries.
  • Christine May. Head, Libraries at Bradford. For services to Public Libraries.
  • Helen Joy Osborn. Lately Director of Library Services, Libraries NI. For services to Public Libraries.
  • Susan Lesley Williamson. National Director, Libraries, Arts Council England. For services to the Library Sector.
  • Susan Elizabeth Wills. Assistant Director, Lifelong Learning and Culture, Surrey County Council. For services to Public Libraries.


  • Anthony Lambert Tyrrell Brown. Chair, Suffolk Libraries. For services to Public Libraries
  • Christopher John Lawrey Clarke. Company Secretary and Treasurer, Friends of Jesmond Library. For services to the community in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Sorrelle Clements. Service Development Manager, Coventry Libraries. For services to Libraries.
  • Susan Ann Comitti. Libraries and Heritage Service Manager, London Borough of Hackney. For services to Public Libraries.
  • Robert John Jones. Library Service Manager, Isle of Wight Council. For services to Public Libraries.
  • Emma Claire Noyce. Assistant Director, Culture and Information Services, Hampshire County Council. For services to Public Libraries during Covid-19.
  • Bookworm and Arts Council boss Sue Williamson gets MBE for her work in the library service – Lancashire Post. Arts Council England director for public libraries.
  • ‘Emma helped thousands of people access libraries during lockdown’ – Yahoo News. “Emma Noyce, 45, had only been in her post as Head of Hampshire’s Library Service for a year when Covid hit. After overseeing the closure of 48 libraries in just 24 hours, Emma quickly organised a team of staff to phone 500 vulnerable residents who would normally use the home library delivery service.” … “She then convinced senior leadership to invest in £100,000 worth of ebooks which resulted in an 84 per cent increase in daily loans.” … she “also inspired the digital library team to create an online timetable of events and activities including Baby Rhymetime, Story Time and bedtime stories, created on video by library staff. These were being watched more than 1,700 times a day.”
  • Honours Week – Showcasing the best of the UK’s honours system – Cabinet Office.
  • Islanders recognised for public service in Queen’s Birthday Honours list – Island Echo. “64-year-old Robert Jones from Rookley has been awarded a BEM for services to public libraries. Robert is the Isle of Wight Council’s Library Service Manager. Robert is an active member of the Libraries Connected regional network and was previously involved in the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. He represented public libraries nationally on the Prison Library Service Partnership Board.”
  • ‘Lovely surprise’: Hackney’s long-serving libraries manager recognised in Queen’s honours – Hackney Citizen. Sue Comitti: ““Hackney’s given me my career,” she said as she reflected on the work that has led to her being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours. It includes the refurbishment of Hackney Central, Clapton and Shoreditch libraries, and helping generations of residents discover a treasure trove of books and activities.”
  • Man who fought to save Beccles Library named in Queen’s Birthday Honours – Beccles and Bungay Journal. “Anthony Lambert Tyrrell Brown, known as Tony, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his outstanding service to public libraries. The 67-year-old former chair of Suffolk Libraries initially started a campaign to save Beccles Library from closure, before becoming involved in a wider project to protect sites across the county. Mr Brown has been a member of the Suffolk Libraries board since 2013, including spending time as chair between 2013 and 2021.”
  • Queen’s Jubilee birthday honours: Library manager gets BEM for autism work – BBC. “Sorrelle Clements is the Service Development Manager for Coventry Libraries and said “we’re not just about books”. She worked with parents of autistic children in the community to find ways to make library spaces more welcoming.”

International news

  • Australia – One of Sydney’s most underrated treasures: our incredible libraries – Sydney Sentinel. “Rather than fork out hundreds of dollars a week for a co-working space where the fridge reeks and people get inordinately excited by ping pong, I get to work somewhere quiet and peaceful, with ample plug sockets and free WiFi. Membership is also free and entitles me to book private rooms to conduct phone calls and interviews. This, my friends, is why I pay my taxes.”

“As the UK closes libraries, we’re opening them in Sydney. And they look unlike any library I saw growing up in Britain, which were mostly dingy, unremarkable, cold and somewhat forgotten buildings.”

  • Canada – Promoting Food Security in Public Libraries – Hamilton Public Library and McMaster University. “This project reviews relevant literature on food insecurity, investigates current food access initiatives in Hamilton, and outlines promising practices and initiatives from other Canadian public libraries to help inform HPL’s involvement in addressing food insecurity in Hamilton”
  • Global – Odilo raises $64M as its white-label e-learning library passes 8,500 customers and 170M users – Yahoo. “Odilo has so far racked up 8,500 customers in 52 countries, covering some 170 million users in all, with the list including government bodies, libraries and education organizations like MIT, but also big corporate customers such as Google and Vodafone.”
  • New Zealand – Removing Library Fines – Lianza. Excellent guide to how to remove fines including case studies. “Our toolkit helps libraries, councils and communities remove significant barriers to accessing trusted information, the joy of reading and connecting with others.”
  • USA – Louisiana County Libraries Block Displays for Groups, Issues – Bloomberg. Libraries self-censor to avoid fighting. “Book displays targeting specific groups or topics such as Cajun heritage, Pride Month or Black History Month are prohibited indefinitely at public libraries in Louisiana’s Lafayette Parish, a newspaper reported.” … ““I’m doing this because everything’s a fight,” he said. “And if I put these books out right now, I feel like I am inviting people to challenge these books.””
  • How Rural Librarian Jessamyn West is Alleviating the Digital Divide – The Slate. Podcast. “a librarian in rural Vermont who’s working to improve computer literacy and access to library services in her community.”
    • Library, author, bookseller groups condemn legal action attempting to censor books in Virginia – ALA. “No book has been banned for obscenity in the United States in more than 50 years. Prohibiting the sale of books is a form of censorship that cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment.”
    • Once More for Those in the Back—Libraries Are Not Neutral – Publishers Weekly. “In a February New York Times editorial, conservative opinion writer Stanley Kurtz took to task the efforts of what he called “woke” librarians and pleaded for a return to “neutrality” in libraries. What Kurtz got wrong, however, is that libraries are not–and have never been–neutral.”. Those arguing for censorship have argued that having LGBT books on shelves is like having bleach accessible for children on the bottom shelves of shops. Those wanting to ban books wants libraries not to be neutral but rather biased towards them, and not others.

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