One of the big things about the CILIP Conference, which I was going to write about last week before a whole bunch of social media trouble, was the launch of the Green Libraries Manifesto. This looks like a sure winner to me. There’s no need to “greenwash” libraries. We’ve been pretty darn green to begin with. A book bought in a bookshop perhaps gets read once, twice if it’s lucky. And a lot of books aren’t even read at all: they’re just gifts. A library book gets taken out, what, twenty times? Thirty? I’ve withdrawn books with eighty date-stamps on them. And they’ve been doing it for ages. I bet those papyri at the Library of Alexandria got read a lot more than a typical “The Man Who Got Mummified Twice” by Richardeses Osmanakhun.

And, oh yeah, there’s a climate emergency going on at the same time as energy prices smash previous record highs. So public libraries can shout about their green credentials while at the same being a place of refuge for those who cannot afford to heat their houses. A tweet from Martin Lewis suggesting “warm banks” got 44,000 likes last time I checked. Wow.

And, as I write this, we’re living through a heat wave and in a country where barely anyone has air conditioning. I see an opportunity there for “cool banks” in libraries there, like they already do in the USA. And not just because I don’t want to melt in the libraries I work at this week. Oh no.

Changes by local authority

National news

“In this webinar we find out about a new report and assets developed by the National Literacy Trust that will help libraries to deliver and demonstrate their role in supporting post-pandemic literacy recovery.”
  • Green Libraries Manifesto – Libraries Connected. “As libraries we occupy a place at the heart of the communities we serve. Through this manifesto, we want to come together towards a shared vision: to lead by example through our own environmental actions and use our power and reach to inform and inspire people to take positive action and build resilience in the diverse communities we serve.”
  • How to Apply – E to G Libraries Tour 2023 – Simon Armitage. “Does your library’s name or location in the UK (village, town or city, but not street) begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? If so, you’re welcome to submit an invitation by August 19, asking Simon Armitage to visit during the next Tour: Mon-Sat, March 20-25, 2023. “
  • Kerry Hudson: School librarians saved me – Scotland can’t afford to lose them – Press and Journal. “I’m writing this to you because I credit so much of this to school libraries and librarians. I don’t know how I would have survived those years had I not been able to disappear into the books and safe space you provided me.”

Public libraries also play an important role in supporting digital inclusion. Around 2,900 public libraries in England provide a trusted network of accessible locations with staff, volunteers, free wifi, public PCs, and assisted digital access to a wide range of digital services. Library staff and volunteers have been trained in digital skills so that they can provide library users with in-person support in using digital applications and services.

Damian Collins, Chair, Draft Online Safety Bill. They Work For You.
  • Libraries as Dysfunctional Organizations and Workplaces – Routledge. “Libraries as Dysfunctional Organizations and Workplaces expands the ‘dysfunctional’ concept in the professional and academic LIS discourse by exposing the internal problematics of libraries, especially at the social and organizational level.”

International news

  • Australia – Why your library could soon change completely – News.com.au. Report on libraries going fines-free. “Last year, Cambridge Library raked in just under $15,000 in fees for overdue library books. However, Ms Shannon says the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. “The report to council explained that the cost of the administration was actually greater than the fee collected”
    • Libraries are about ‘people, not books’ as they survive and thrive in digital age – ABC News. “Librarian Chris Jones remembers being warned in the late 1980s — just as the internet was emerging — that libraries would be “dead in five years”. But despite advances in technology and the emergence of the digital age, he said libraries were thriving as people changed the way they used them. Mr Jones said libraries were “here to stay” because they were about so much more than the books.” … “Libraries are about people, not books, they are about a safe, socially inclusive space where people can interact”
  • USA – Montana rejects library logo over similarity to pride flag – AP News. “a member said the main feature — a prism — brought to mind the rainbow LGBTQ pride flag, something she suggested would set off a political firestorm.” [They’re going to get really angry when they see sunlight reflected through rain – Ed.’]. $130k logo design consultancy wasted. “suggested the logo be toned down to shades of blue, black and gray.”
    • Bee Cave librarian: Summer reading program winds down – Austin American Statesman. “World Champion trick roper Kevin Fitzpatrick and his horse Romeo helped us kick things off, drawing more than 350 people to the plaza in front of the library” … “The annual Summer Reading program has been a mainstay of public library service for the past hundred years or so”
    • Found in a Library Book – I Love Libraries. “The librarians at Oakland (Calif.) Public Library have collected the treasures they’ve found in books over the years and digitized them to create the “Found in a Library Book” project. The ephemera includes drawings ranging from crude to intricate, photos, homemade bookmarks, maps, personal letters, odd lists, and more. It’s all endlessly fascinating and incredibly bingeworthy.”
    • Libby is stuck between libraries and publishers in the e-book war – Protocol. “While they might be worried about their budgets, at the end of the day librarians just want people to read more, and Libby is helping them do that. “We only see it as a positive,” Jeske said. “It has introduced the library to folks who weren’t using it before.””
  • More than 200 Stuffed Animals Sleepover at the Goleta Valley Library – Santa Barbara Independent. “Staff were prepared for a great turnout as they have had in the past but were thrilled to see more than 200 “stuffies” dropped off this year for the “all-nighter”.”
    • Urban Library Trauma Study Final Report – Urban Libraries Unite. “Almost every library worker has a story about one event at work that left them shaken. Sometimes it’s an abusive patron, sometimes it’s workplace bullying, and sometimes it’s that haunting feeling left behind when a patron needed more help than you could provide.  The Urban Library Trauma Study (ULTS) looked to take these anecdotal stories, quantify them and build a pathway to practical solutions for the issue and move the library industry towards a culture of community care.”
    • With another leader leaving, Vinton Public Library closes for now – Gazette. “The Vinton Public Library, which lost two directors in two years amid community complaints over books, is now closed indefinitely as the interim director has left, too. The previous directors left after city residents complained about the library’s display of LGBTQ books and books about Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.”
    • The ‘world’s first library farm’ is home to plush gardens and community innovations – Shareable. ““This is as grassroots as you can get,” Buswell said. “We saw the grass and we decided we could garden there.””

Local news by authority

  • Blackpool – Grand opening announced for new Mereside library and launderette – Gazette. “The Langdale Library and Laundry Room – also called Wash Your Words – on Langdale Parade will officially open to the public at 11am on July 30, following a ceremonial procession to transport books from the old Mereside Library at Crummock Place. Clifton ward coun Paula Burdess said: “This new facility is great news for Mereside. The new library and laundry space will be a fantastic asset for residents to be able to use and socialise.”
  • Borders – Mobile Library Service – Live Borders. “Need to print something?  Our East Mobile Library van now has a shiny new printer which can print, scan to USB and photocopy”
  • Bradford – Money for mobile libraries among schemes to benefit from developer cash – Telegraph and Argus. “£312,216 will be spent on boosting education facilities, £191,587 on parks and green spaces, £70,958 on walking and cycling schemes, £70,958 on improving wildlife habitats and £63,862 on library services.”
  • Calderdale – Calderdale councillor calls for sale of Hipperholme Library to be suspended – Halifax Courier. “A councillor has called for a halt to the sale of a library building in Calderdale while a complaint about the circumstances of its closure is considered.” … “Coun George Robinson (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said Calderdale Conservatives have submitted a formal complaint to the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) arguing that the council’s Labour Cabinet had not properly consulted the public immediately before agreeing to close the buulding – one of eight libraries across Calderdale – in November 2020 under the Future Council proposals.”
  • Derby – There’s ‘no intention’ to close Derby libraries, says leading councillor – Derby Telegraph. “These are libraries run by volunteers and managed by Derby based charity Direct Help and Advice (DHA). The libraries involved are located in Allestree, Allenton, Blagreaves, Chaddesden, Chellaston, Derwent, Mackworth, Sinfin, Spondon and Springwood Library in Oakwood. But there are growing fears that some or possibly all of the libraries will close permanently as a result of the review as Derby City Council seeks to find “options for a sustainable library provision that meets the needs of its communities”. see also Council urged to take back control of under-threat Derby libraries – Derbyshire Live.
  • Devon – Popular escape room experience comes to South Molton Library – North Devon Gazette. “Following a sold out run at Exeter Library last year, the escape room experience will be visiting” … “The Lost Librarian is a ground-breaking escape room for inquisitive explorers of all ages. Using interactive mechanical books, groups of up to six people experience a 60-minute journey, uncovering a fantastical tale of the last known witches in the UK and the legacy that they have left behind. Work together as a team to solve the mystery of the Lost Librarian.” £12 per session.
    • Police probe after Devon mobile library destroyed in savage fire – Devon Live. “Owners of Torrington Mobile Library are “devastated” after their vehicle was destroyed in a fire last night. A spokesperson at Libraries Unlimited said the service is currently suspended and would have serious financial implications for the charity.”
  • Dudley – Go explore with Beat the Street Dudley – Dudley Council. “This week is Go Explore and events include a Mystery Box event, where random Beat Boxes all across Dudley will be giving out triple points this weekend and a Wild Letter Hunt at Brierley Hill Library on 9 July 11am – 3pm. Pick up an activity sheet and find the letters hidden around the library. Earn double points at our Mobile Box and win great prizes. People can also post selfies of themselves playing the game and share on twitter @BTSDudley with the chance to win their own stuffed toy cuddly hedgehog. So far, 22,385 participants have signed up and have together walked, cycled, run, scooted and wheeled nearly 48,000 miles across the game area.”
  • Gateshead – Gateshead warm buildings plan for people in heating crisis – BBC. “On Monday, Mr Lewis, the founder of the Money Saving Expert website, tweeted he could not “believe I’m writing this, but I wonder if this winter we’ll need ‘warm banks’ the equivalent of ‘food banks'”. He suggested public buildings such as libraries might be used for people to keep warm.”
  • Glasgow – Call for Springburn Library to restore opening times and fix staff shortage – Glasgow Evening Times. “Springburn Library is only open on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday and has also experienced a string of sudden closures. Glasgow Life, which runs the facility, said there have been recruitment issues and staff absence. “
  • Gloucestershire – ‘Ambitious’ new library strategy aims to fight climate change in Gloucestershire – Gloucestershire Live. “Libraries will encourage wildlife and tree planting in library gardens, install electric vehicle charge points in library car parks, promote recycling and raise awareness of initiatives to help the environment”
  • Hampshire – Hampshire County Council faces £200m budget hole – BBC. “The social care budget has also hit by cuts while plans to close eight libraries to save £1.76m were unveiled in 2020. Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Keith House said the county council was in “a deep, dark financial hole that gets worse each year”.”
  • Kent – Get ready for the Gadgeteers, coming to Kent libraries – Kent Council.
  • Lancashire – Greater Manchester council plans ‘warm banks’ in libraries to help struggling residents survive the winter – Manchester Evening News. “It comes after concerns were raised by the money saving expert Martin Lewis about the prospect that ‘warm banks’ may need to be used. Warm banks are spaces where people who can’t afford to heat their home can go to stay warm. Lancashire County Council (LCC) has announced that some of its public buildings, such as libraries and other council buildings, could be used as “warm and welcome places” amid fears vulnerable people could freeze to death this winter. Rising fuel and energy prices with rocketing inflation are driving more and more people to food banks and other support areas, but this is only set to get worse.”. Only Tameside of the Manchester councils went public on what they plan: “Tameside was the only council to issue a full statement. They suggest residents using libraries in the borough to keep warm if needed, but they are also exploring ‘other options’ which could also be used.”
  • Lincolnshire – Summer Reading Challenge – Spalding Voice. “Children aged 4-11 can visit the Victoria Street building to meet the Gadgeteers and get involved in a science and innovation themed challenge.”
  • Middlesbrough – Libraries and Hope Foundation join IT poverty battle – Middlesbrough Council. “The town’s Library Service has joined forces with the Hope Foundation to get IT equipment to those who need it most. They’ve teamed up with the FurbdIT partnership which collects unwanted devices and IT equipment, and refurbishes and breathes new life into it for the benefit of local communities. Residents, organisations and businesses can drop off unwanted IT equipment such as PCs, laptops, iPads, tablets and mobile phones at Middlesbrough Central Library and community hubs and libraries at Acklam, Hemlington, Marton and Thorntree.”
  • Norfolk – Norfolk libraries announce record year for supporting local businesses – Norfolk Council. “From April 2021 to March 2022, over 700 attendees received free business support from the Centre. 36% of these attendees were aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business and 27% were looking to grow an existing business. Additionally, there was a 180% increase in people receiving support from the Centre during this period.”
  • North Somerset – Free sim cards to be handed out to people in part of Somerset – Somerset Live. “Residents who need a data voucher should contact their local library to make an appointment to collect it.”
  • Portsmouth – Book your tickets for the Drag Queen Story Hour tour – Portsmouth Council. “Cllr Steve Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said, “We are committed to supporting diversity, as well as developing children’s love of reading, so I am really pleased that the summer tour is visiting our city and hope many families will choose to support this event.””
  • Redbridge Redbridge Holiday MiniMix – Redbridge Vision. “Redbridge Holiday Mini Mix is a programme of books, culture and creativity for children 4 years and over happening in Redbridge Libraries this summer holidays.”
  • Solihull – Library Specialist – Stock and Resources – WM Jobs. £31-37k, full time permanent.
  • South Gloucestershire – ‘Reading challenge can support literacy in South Gloucestershire over holidays’ – Gazette Series. “There are also lots of incentives to encourage young readers to participate such as free swim vouchers and brilliant books.”
  • St Helens – Libraries decision ‘one of the most difficult’ councillors in St Helens have taken – St Helens Star. “a decision that could lead to the closure of six libraries is arguably one of the most “difficult” choices senior local authority figures have had to make.” … ” “some people were in favour” of having just one library in the entire borough which he was “strongly against”, which is why that plan “did not come forward”.” … “The current library service includes 13 libraries – although Billinge Library, on Main Street, is temporarily closed due to the condition of its roof and floor. The council says the findings of consultation and engagement exercises have been considered and are reflected in the final library strategy and delivery plan. These include the relocation of St Helens Library to a refurbished Gamble Building, making it a “state-of-the-art cultural centre”. However, the report confirms that the council proposes to reduce the number of library buildings to seven.” see also Historic building to be transformed as six libraries marked for closure – Liverpool Echo.
  • Stockport – Stockport’s Central Library to continue to offer library services – Stockport Council. “the town’s Central Library will continue to offer library services to the borough’s residents. Following a consultation regarding the move of library services from the Central Library Building to Stockroom, it had previously been announced in February that the council’s adult education service, currently based at Hardman Street, would be the preferred service to relocate to the historic grade 2 building on Wellington Road South. Whilst many consultation respondents were very positive about the opportunities offered by Stockroom, others expressed concern that the Central Library Building would no longer house any library services. Some respondents said that they wanted to ensure that the public could continue to access and enjoy this important heritage building.”
  • Stoke on TrentTunstall Library set to move into refurbished Tunstall Town Hall – Stoke on Trent Council. “We are really excited to be moving Tunstall Library into the Ballroom of the recently refurbished Tunstall Town Hall. “We have organised additional pop-up library facilities in Tunstall throughout the summer, to ensure our members can access all of their regular services while we transport the library to its new home.””
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries supporter announced as new children’s laureate – East Anglian Daily Times. “known for his Luna Loves picture books and Fairy Tales Gone Bad, which are often featured in Suffolk Libraries and recommended for children. Mr Coelho visited Ipswich County Library as part of a library marathon, where he pledged to join every library service in the UK. “
  • Warwickshire – Could you be Warwickshire Libraries’ next Young Poet Laureate? – Warwickshire County Council. “The competition is open to anyone aged between 13 and 17 who lives and is educated in Warwickshire, and who would like to perform their own poetry to an audience.” … “ate’s Storytree ‘Stories of Innovation’ sessions will also be taking place,”
  • Libraries across Warwickshire are inviting children to participate in the ‘Gadgeteers’ Summer Reading Challenge from Saturday 16 July 2022 – Warwickshire County Council. “Warwickshire libraries will be hosting a range of free events for children to enjoy during the summer, including an action-packed storytelling adventure game with Pyn Stockman called “The Lost Book of The Magic Flying Ship”.”

“The library boom has council officials both pleased and baffled. “Maybe during the pandemic people have got more into reading books,” said chief executive Nigel Lynn.”