Two main news subjects this week. The first is the suggestion of using libraries as “warm banks” for those who can’t afford to heat their homes. However, a couple of articles point out that libraries may hardly be in a position to provide such warmth if more funding does not become available. Indeed, it’s pointed out that libraries, with their big spaces and limited council budgets, face a heating crisis of their own this winter.

The other story is, still, that of Drag Queen story-times. It looks like there have been small groups of protesters at basically every event this Summer that they new the time and location of, with other (normally larger) groups of counter-protesters turning up too. Regardless of how one feels about the issue, and there are librarians on both sides, any library service thinking of similar events next year will know to include how to deal with insults, protests and possible need for arrests when they do so.

Changes by local authority

National news

Isobel Hunter got cut off before being able to make this point
  • Soaring energy bills may close libraries, leisure centres, nurseries and small businesses, warn leaders – I. “Soaring energy costs this winter will push community facilities to the brink with leisure centres, swimming pool, libraries, nurseries and small independent shops forced to consider closing temporarily or for good.” but “the public library network gives councils and government a key facility in almost every community and some libraries are gearing up to act as warm spaces and advice centres during the winter months.”
  • Libraries Connected responds to media discussion of libraries as ‘warm refuges’ – Libraries Connected. “Public libraries have always offered a warm safe space to those who need it, but the energy crisis means demand is likely to be much higher over the colder months. Our research shows that over 80% of library leaders expect an increase in people using libraries to keep warm this winter.” … ” library budgets will be even more stretched over the coming months. This money has to be found from somewhere. “
  • The ultimate guide to photographing libraries – Designing Libraries. “Photography is all about light and the best light is to be found early in the morning or in the late afternoon… Keep it all as simple as possible – most well designed new build libraries are strong enough on their own to be graphically interesting… Download the full Essential Design Guideline publication from this page.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Powys – No more library fines if council agrees new plan – Shropshire Star. “On Wednesday, August 31, a delegated decision will be taken by the council’s cabinet member for a prosperous Powys, Councillor David Selby which will take away the financial punishment.” … “Traditionally fines were applied as a contribution to the costs of sending printed overdue reminders to customers. However, the Library Service no longer sends printed overdues because of the costs were prohibitive.””
  • Reading – Drag Queen speaks out as protestors disrupt story hour tour – Reading Chronicle. ” the tour has reached over 1,000 children across the country. Speaking about the impact of the tour Aida has said: “I never had a role model as a child. Nobody told me H from Steps was gay. Nobody told me Alan Turing was gay. LGBTQ kids don’t get given the needed asset of a role model. I’m being the role model I wish I had when I was their age. “If these hateful people didn’t exist, then I would just be this fun, fabulous, Story Hour drag queen.” … “Drag Queen Story Hour has been opposed by Michael Manoel Chaves, a conspiracy theorist who runs the ‘Mad Mix Conspiracies’ Telegram channel.”
  • Rochdale – Hundreds benefit as digitech library branches out – Rochdale Council. “A further 300 digital devices have been loaned to households through Rochdale Borough Council’s innovative digitech library. Hundreds more digitally excluded residents now have free access to laptops, internet data and support to get online. The digitech library is a partnership between the council, the voluntary sector and grassroots organisations to help tackle digital exclusion and poverty.”
  • Somerset Drag Queen Story Hour: 50 protesters descend on Somerset library hosting children’s event – Somerset Live. “Officers from the neighbourhood team attended Glastonbury Library following protests at similar events across the country, including at libraries in Bristol last month. About 50 protesters attended, including those in support of the event and those opposed to it.”
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries presents Sounds of Nashville: an evening of songs and stories – Suffolk Libraries.
  • Swindon – Travel through time in Swindon with free virtual reality events – Swindon Advertiser. “As part of the national Unboxed Festival, Swindon Libraries is one of only 15 UK library services chosen to host StoryTrails, which uses cutting-edge technology to bring local stories and places to life in completely new ways.”
  • Warrington – How will libraries keep lights on this winter? – Warrington Guardian. “As eye-wateringly expensive as the domestic energy price cap is, at least there’s a cap. That’s not the case for all other businesses, local authorities, libraries and museums that will have to fork out the full whack.” … ” libraries and leisure centres in Warrington are run by LiveWire, a not-for-profit community interest company that saw its income drastically reduced when it had to shut up shop during the pandemic. Now I dread to think what LiveWire’s energy bill is like – I wonder just how much it costs to heat a swimming pool.”
  • Wokingham – Arrests made at Drag Queen Story Hour UK protests – Bracknell News. Vehicle had registration plate obscured. “A 59-year-old man from Wokingham was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence at the Wokingham protest.”
  • Worcestershire – Calls for planned Redditch library closure to be shelved – Advertiser. “It follows increasing public discomfort over possible proposals to demolish the existing library with no clear suggestion as to where current services provided would go.”. Suggestions library moves to town hall but “However Cllr Fry pointed out there would only be 321 square metres of unused space available at the Town Hall, while the existing library area covers 2,267 square metres, seven times more than the area available at the Town Hall.”