Apologies for missing a week – these posts are done on Sundays and last weekend I was in South Wales when my father took a fall and so accompanied him to Accident and Emergency. From 5pm to 7am. Anyway, enough about me. Away from the pantomime revolving-door farce-tragedy that is the Prime Ministership where I am sure someone in Downing Street will sort out A&E queues any day now, in public libraries the main story has been Warm Spaces. What this means varies in different services, with some just publicising what libraries would be doing anyway while others are offering refreshments and advice and a very few extending their opening hours. This extra string to the library bow when arguing for a fair share of council funding may be coming just in time. After all, those severance packages and £115,000 per year payments afterwards to ex-Prime Ministers are beginning to mount up and someone has to pay. Let’s hope it’s not public library services.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Access – PMLG. Summer 2022 edition. Several interesting articles.
  • Being an Engaged Citizen – Facet Publishing. “John Vincent shares the importance of libraries in these trying times and how they can help us all become more engaged citizens.”
  • Blind and partially sighted library users (World Sight Day 2022) – DCMS Libraries. Review of RNIB services and link to public libraries. New “Library Engagement Manager”. “The RNIB is extremely excited to be setting up this partnership form of working with libraries and is working in partnership with Libraries Connected”
Scotland – Public LIbrary Strategy
  • More black books please – The Voice. “According to one poll, 38% black people were more likely to have visited a library between 2019 and 2020 in comparison to 30% their white counterparts. Despite these figures, many black parents say their local libraries are failing to have books that reflect the communities they serve. “
  • Reading Friends 2021-22: Reach and Impact – Reading Agency. “In 2021-22, 3,728 people were supported in 72 library authorities to connect 44,054 times. “
  • Stamford to Sutton (and beyond); visiting library branches across England – DCMS Libraries. Baroness Sanderson (independent chair of an advisory panel to help develop a new strategy for public libraries) visits libraries on fact-finding mission: Wimbledon (business co-working run by a CIC, independent recording studio), Yeovil (NHS health checks), Deepings (volunteers), Devon (library trust, 3D printers), Redbridge (co-location with gym, run by Culture Trust). Like books but libraries not “set in aspic”, “it was fantastic to visit Sutton Library for the launch, last Friday, of TLC Discover, the new digital library from The Libraries Consortium.”
  • Updates on the Single Digital Presence – British Library. Name decided on and will be shared soon. Research shows nice pictures, recognising library staff and listing what is free are important.

International news



  • Better World Books UK Sustainability Webinar – Better World Books. Tuesday 1 November, 11am. “Better World Books aims to lead by example through our own environmental actions, and we would like to share with you some of the ways in which we strive to achieve this.”
  • Media literacy activities and resources for librarians – Guardian Foundation. Thursday 24 November, 2.15pm. “In this special session for librarians we will share structured activities that you can adapt and replicate with families and young people as well as ready-to-go individual resources and ideas. Join us to gain inspiration and exclusive resources to use in your library.”
  • #NotOurJob (Winspiration) – eradicating sexual harassment in libraries – CILIPS. Friday 25 November, 11am “The latest research that evidences the reality of sexual harassment in libraries, with even one incident being one too many. We’ll learn about your legal rights and the responsibilities of employers.”

Warm Spaces

  • Martin Lewis backs guide for libraries wanting to become winter ‘warm banks’ – Guardian. “… he commissioned the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) to create a guide titled A Warm Welcome, which sets out tips and guidance for libraries who want to offer themselves as warm banks. In the introduction, Lewis said he was “both saddened and gladdened to quickly hear from a few councils and libraries already planning” to become warm banks when he tweeted.”
  • Warm Spaces: Inside a hub amid the chill of energy bills – BBC. A look at one in a Cardiff Library. “Part of the reception desk has been set aside as the Warm Spaces base, with free hot and cold drinks on offer, which staff will make for anyone who wants one, notwithstanding the existence of the cafe just across the room.”
  • Libraries across England become designated Warm Spaces – GLL (press release). “65 libraries across England have been designated Warm Spaces by GLL …  food service company Brakes, has agreed to donate free tea, coffee and biscuits to all 65 locations.” … “All the participating libraries are also expanding their programmes of free onsite activities, which again will be open to anyone who wishes to visit.” … ” we have also invested in more comfortable seating”

Local news by authority

  • Manchester – Brand new children’s library to open in Manchester thanks to partnership with Z-arts – Manchester Council. “The new library occupies a dedicated space on the first floor of Z-arts and features a bright and colourful design that was co-created with children and their families, brought to life by talented designer and craftsperson, Louise Ryder.”
  • Monmouthshire – Library fines being scrapped in Monmouthshire – South Wales Argus. “The council said it is taking the decision to ensure money isn’t a barrier to people accessing the library service and says it will have no negative financial implications for the authority. According to a report, in the three years leading up to the Covid pandemic, Monmouthshire collected £21,498.96 in library fines – working out at around £7,000 a year. That was despite fines being capped at a maximum of £15 per item, with charges set at 20p for every day an item was overdue, or 10p a day, or £7.50 maximum, for pensioners, children and other concessions. However, the report says, as fines were mostly paid in cash, administrative and security costs associated with banking and collection marginally exceeded the income, so continuing with fines wasn’t considered viable.”
  • North Northamptonshire – Irchester Library set to open under community management – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Irchester Parish Council has signed the lease on the library property and volunteers will be taking on the running of the library.”
  • North Yorkshire – Starbeck and Bilton community libraries set for 10-year council deal – Stray Ferret. “The original leases of five years were introduced as the new model was unique and unproven. However, it has been a great success so we are proposing to introduce longer leases which will avoid costs around future renewals.””
  • Northern Ireland – Book Week: Hundreds of events held across Northern Ireland – BBC. “a number of special programmes will be aired on television and iPlayer featuring familiar faces from the BBC choosing their favourites books. Book Week encourages a conversation about reading and using libraries. Speakers at events include the Reverend Richard Coles, author Colin Bateman and Prof Teresa Cremin. The Connor Philips Show on BBC Radio Ulster will come live from Omagh library on Wednesday, which is Love Your Library Day. The interim director of BBC Northern Ireland, Adam Smyth, said: “Book Week is a celebration of the joy that reading and libraries can provide.”
  • North Somerset – Plans to secure future of Nailsea Library – North Somerset Council. 125 year lease. “The council is announcing plans to relocate the library to 6-8 Colliers Walk, formerly occupied by HSBC bank, and keep the facility in the town centre. The relocation is planned to take place before next summer.”
  • Peterborough – Libraries begin amnesty for overdue book fines – Peterborough Matters. “During this period there will be no fines and library accounts will be cleared of any debt to allow users to start borrowing again. The reason for this amnesty period is hope to collect some of the over 22,000 overdue library books on loan to residents across the city, as well as wanting members to start accessing library services again.”. Until Mid November, when fining customers will start again.
  • Portsmouth – People’s Network celebrates 20 years of connection – Portsmouth Council. “Free internet access has been available since the People’s Network launched in 2002 when a £283,000 lottery grant meant over 70 computers were installed in all nine Portsmouth libraries with ‘super-fast’ internet access. Currently, there are 116 public-use PCs across the libraries, with another 79 PCs at locations across the city, including The Learning Place, community centres and youth clubs. The library computers have been used for 1,053,570 minutes, in the last six months alone.”
  • Redbridge – Help us improve our library service by telling us what you think about our proposed opening hours – Redbridge Council. “Redbridge Council is inviting residents to give us their views on new opening hours for libraries across the borough. Feedback will inform final changes, which will take effect from January 2023. The new opening hours have been suggested based on current user data showing when libraries are at their busiest. “

“Pre-pandemic data shows our libraries are much quieter in the early mornings and the evenings. The proposals would provide consistency across the library network by opening all libraries at 10am. We also find that popularity often closely matches the opening times of nearby shops, where libraries are situated close to high streets and shopping areas. “

  • Richmond – Richmond celebrates Libraries Week with activities for all ages – SW Londoner. “Libraries Week also marked the launch of Richmond Library Service’s partnership with the London Ukulele Project where ukuleles will be available to loan from the library free of charge.”
  • St Helens – Approach to library closures was ill thought out – St Helens Star. Letter. “Council’s decision to review their intention to close several libraries within the borough and cancel the proposed closing date of October 31 will come as welcome news not only to library users but library staff whose jobs were presumably at some risk.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire libraries get behind teen reading programme – Shropshire Council.
  • Stoke on Trent – Grandma hits out at council after finding library shut – Stoke Sentinel. Council says people were consulted in opening libraries only every other Saturday. “The new library opened last month following the completion of the multi-million pound refurbishment of Tunstall Town Hall. It was open yesterday and for the rest of the year will open on October 22, November 5 and 19, and December 3 and 17. Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, said: “The new modern Tunstall Library is fully equipped to benefit all of our service users. Tunstall Library is open every other Saturday and also until 6pm one night a week to assist those in the community. Also, our other libraries are open on alternate weekends so there is always a library in the city that can be accessed on a Saturday.”
Suffolk – How our Men Can Talk social groups are helping men with their mental health and wellbeing – Suffolk Libraries