The massive spending combined with tax cuts in last week’s not-a-budget and energy subsidies definitively marks a huge break between Truss and previous Conservative leaders. However, none of the money spent is primarily for public services and the huge increase in government debt it implies means that there will be fewer pounds available for public libraries in the future. Indeed, even if Labour get into power in two years time then such debt severely limits their options too. On the other hand, the sustained cuts to public libraries since 2010 and the increased expectations places upon them (such as the recent “warm bank” scheme) also means that it’s hard to see how the Government could seek to balance the books by further reductions to the sector. So it’s hard to see what the future holds but I suspect it doesn’t mean as rosy an investment as that recently given to the highest paid.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Content ideas & inspiration for your library newsletter – Artefacto. “Newsletters are a fantastic option for marketing and communicating directly with your users. But it also means competing with a lot of other email noise to get people’s attention. Our inboxes are busy. Creating engaging content, from the subject onwards, makes a big difference in establishing a connection with your audience, and that’s what all of our examples have in common. They tend to have a particular focus or theme… “
  • Cost-of-living crisis: how libraries plan to support the vulnerable this winter – Libraries Connected. “A snapshot survey of over 50 library leaders, carried out by Libraries Connected this month, revealed that nearly 60% are actively considering taking part in a “warm bank” scheme, with many hoping to provide additional support such as hot drinks and advice on managing bills. Almost half (47%) plan to work with local partners such as churches, charities and community groups to support the vulnerable. Only 4% of library leaders expect to receive any extra funding for this activity, however. That makes it uncertain if, or for how long, they will be able to provide it” see also ‘Warm bank’ libraries call for extra funds – LocalGov. “Library services have warned that without additional funding they will struggle to cope with the extra demand of people looking for somewhere warm to spend time in this winter.”
  • Green Libraries Events – CILIP. “Events and activities under the Green Libraries Partnership and wider sector events on sustainability and climate action.”
  • Save the Dates for our 2022 Reading Partners Roadshows – Reading Agency. “The virtual roadshows are an opportunity for library, prison and education sectors to hear from our publishing partners about their latest titles, meet authors, and have the chance to ask questions about promotional opportunities”
  • Update on the Single Digital Presence – British Library. Extra people taken on, with more vacancies being advertised. The actual name of the SDP is now down to a shortlist.

Public Library People – NAG needs you!

Would you be interested in helping guide the direction of travel for NAG? Contributing to the discussion around how we can best serve our Membership and grow the organisation? Our Executive Committee is split into groups to ensure even representation of the membership and this year we will have vacancies in the groups for Public Libraries, Commercial Members and Special Libraries. If you work in one of those sectors, we would be delighted to hear from you. We are particularly keen to get more public library representation on the NAG Exec Committee; please do get in touch if you’re considering it and you would like more information on any aspect of the role.

We are restructuring our sub groups and teams for 2022/23 so it will be an exciting time to be involved. Our plan is that sub groups will have more autonomy to plan and organise then report back to our full Executive Committee leading to more flexibility and shorter full Exec meetings. In general, most subgroup and Exec meetings are virtual to enable greater participation. Full Exec meetings are usually on Mondays via Zoom. For physical events and meetings we offer full travel expenses to help enable our Exec members to attend. If even the cost of NAG Membership is a barrier for your organisation, we would be happy to offer discounted or even free membership in exchange for your time serving on Exec, especially for public library people. Our AGM date for 2022/23 is 7th October in central London. Do save the date if you’re interested in joining us.

Best wishes. Jennie and the NAG Exec Team

Email from National Acquisitions Group nag.office@nag.org.uk
  • Volunteering in Public Libraries – 10 years update – Northumbria University Newcastle. Survey. “This research aims to investigate how volunteers are being used in English public libraries building on previous doctoral research undertaken in 2012 to understand how things have changed over the past decade of austerity measures and local authority budget reductions. “
  • Webinar: Libraries in partnership with heritage and archives – Libraries Connected. “This webinar will explore how heritage and archives can deliver against all the universal offers and support the work of libraries beyond culture and creativity. “
  • Winners of the Our Year, Our Card competition announced – Literacy Trust. “Read Manchester and Manchester Libraries are very happy to announce our winners of the Our Year, Our Card library card design competition. Our Year aims to put children at the centre of life in Manchester as we continue the recovery from Covid, and the competition gives them a chance to submit their own artwork and highlight their abilities.”

International news

USA – Libraries & Bookstores Advocate For Importance Of Banned & Challenged Books
  • USA – Pandemic stresses increasing burnout among librarians – UWM Report. ” The new expectations put on libraries during the pandemic increased the burnout rate among librarians, a profession that already suffers from high rates of mental illness,”… “Librarians were treated like frontline workers without being labelled as such, Phillips said. They were expected to be at work a month after everything shut down in 2020. During the pandemic, libraries have provided masks and COVID-19 tests as well as books and enrichment activities.”

“The battle to protect democracy is a global struggle playing out at the local level, and libraries have landed on the front lines. These are places that help people to understand the wider world and move beyond their political and social bubbles. At a time when democratic norms are under sustained attack in the US and around the world, the need for openness to new ideas is greater than ever. “

Blomberg UK

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Tell us what young children need from library services in B&NES – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Parents and carers of children aged zero to 11 are being invited to have their say on what they want from library and information services in Bath and North East Somerset in a survey launched today”
  • BoltonFirst look at how central library will look after spectacular £3.7million revamp – Manchester Evening News. “Spectacular images have been released of how Bolton central library is set to look after a £3.7M refurbishment. Bolton Council has revealed the concept images of the new building, which will be closed for the next 12 months as work progresses.” … “The council said book borrowing and promoting reading remains a core priority of the library, however the refurbishment will help to change how communities use libraries, such as taking part in creative activities, accessing the internet and using digital equipment.”… Children’s library divided into three: “The first section will be for under 5s with a dedicated area for play and exploration. The second and third spaces will be for older children and young people to develop their experience and joy of reading.”

“Cllr John Cottee (Con), portfolio holder for communities, also believed the ‘warm rooms’ scheme was not required because it’s “already provided” through the county’s network of 60 libraries. He said: “We already have these, but we don’t happen to call them ‘warm rooms’ because this would imply it’s their only purpose.”


“By removing fines we are sending a clear message that we want everyone to feel confident using their library, whether they are borrowing a book, joining in one of our social or activity sessions, or just want somewhere to sit and relax without having to spend money. “