So now we know. After far-too-long-a-time calling the proposed web presence for English public libraries “The Single Digital Presence”, it’s been decided that the official name will be “LibraryOn”, presumably pronounced like “Librarian”. Well, it could be worse, it could have the word “hub” in it. The logo looks a bit dated to my eyes but, again, there’s far worse out there. And, yes, Libraries Connected, I’m looking at you. So now all that needs doing is to, um, actually deliver. LibraryOn is still in the beta testing stage and does not promise to be as universal as some had hoped but it will be great when it’s actually online and publicly advertised. I had wondered sometimes if that day will ever come, and still do occasionally, but this is a vital next stop.

In other news, Arts Council England have announced big funding decisions, securing BookTrust and boosting library services such as Gloucestershire and York Explore. That’s all good. Elsewhere, I’m loving the pavement illusion in Dublin, a new wood-lined interior for a library in London and the adult reading scheme in Nottinghamshire (especially the video). And, finally, Warm Spaces continues to be a huge thing for libraries, with more services announced, although some just seem to be the normal public library offer.

Finally, a new DCMS report says positive things about public libraries. We will see what this means in practise but it at least doesn’t suggest negative stuff. And at a time when councils are again looking at deep cuts, this is welcome.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • BookTrust awarded £17.3m and recognised as National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England – Book Trust. “BookTrust’s new status as an NPO is an endorsement of the transformative power of reading and an investment in the creative development of young people. The £17.3m funding from ACE, spread over three years, will play a key part in the national strategy to deliver better outcomes for children through culture and creativity.”
  • East Lothian and Inverclyde libraries triumph at SLIC awards – Bookseller. “East Lothian scooped the Library Service Excellence Award for its activities on the theme of “championing the local community”.” … “Inverclyde triumphed in the Project of the Year category for its focus on sustainability ahead of and linked to the COP26 Summit in Glasgow last year. “
  • Government urged to negotiate with public sector workers over pay – Public Finance. ““We’ve got nurses, librarians and teaching assistants going to food banks – we’ve got a hospital that’s set one up for its staff. People can’t afford to feed their families. If I’d have said this would happen 10 years ago no-one would have believed me. That’s now a reality.””
  • Green Libraries Webinar – CILIP. Friday 25 November, 1pm. “The Green Libraries Webinar is an hour long meet to showcase the recent work we have published for the Partnership. We will discuss the Partnership’s aims, what work is currently going on and what has taken place earlier this year. We will hear from two libraries that were featured in our case studies and what work they are doing for their library services to be more sustainable and have an impact in their communities. There will be a short Q+A towards the end.”
  • Libraries Celebrating Black History Month – DCMS. “Each October, libraries across the country mark Black History Month through events and recommended reading.  Here are just a few examples.  It is a longer read than usual but we wanted to highlight the variety of activities libraries run to bring together their communities.”: Staffordshire, Gateshead, West Sussex.
  • Library chiefs call for DCMS to ‘stem the tide’ of service cuts – BookSeller. “Library chiefs have called for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to “stem the tide” of service closures and staff cuts by providing more support, with several libraries across the country under threat due to rising inflation and increased energy costs. Nick Poole, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), told The Bookseller the organisation is “deeply concerned about the current fresh wave of reductions in library services being proposed in a number of local authorities, including some of the most deprived wards in the UK”.”
Finally, a name for the Single Digital Presence
  • LibraryOn – LibraryOn. “LibraryOn is a not-for-profit initiative and we put libraries and library ethics at our heart. Funded by Arts Council England, LibraryOn is also managing a £1.1m local grant programme. Co-designed with library services, the grants will help libraries improve their own online presence. While LibraryOn is in development, we will provide information here about its progress.”
  • New drive to get books by black authors into libraries – Voice. “The ‘Mark My Words’ campaign will gift libraries titles for both adults and children and will include both fiction and non-fiction books by black authors. “
  • Parliamentary report calls for government to support and modernise libraries – Guardian. “Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee report says libraries are ‘an important part of a community’s infrastructure’” … “The report, titled Reimagining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda put together by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, recommends that the government should “support the development of a network of hubs providing cultural spaces, workspaces and free, fast internet access in places most in need of levelling up in order to modernise library service provision”
  • UK councils slashing services to meet £3.2bn budget shortfall – Guardian. Libraries specifically mentioned, with the example being the Wirral.
  • The Yorkshire libraries where you can borrow anything from power tools to party supplies – Great British Life. “this library lends everything from hand tools and powertools, to sewing machines, lawn mowers, carpet cleaners, ladders, party supplies, camping equipment and air mattresses — anything that people use infrequently (say once a month or longer) but would otherwise have to buy new and store at home.”

International news

  • USA – Book banners are weaponizing legitimate resources: book censorship news, October 28, 2022 – Book Riot. “Part of the reason these book banning attempts are spreading so far and so quickly is because they share lists online, such as in Facebook groups or shared Google Drive folders, making it easy for a book being banned in Montana today to pop up in a California school board meeting the next day. They share images, rhetoric, out-of-content quotations, and other fodder for the fear machine, and it seems to only collect more targeted books as it goes.” … “Book banners are searching out lists online that are aimed at finding good sources to teach age-appropriate sex ed, or lists of books starring Black main characters, or lists of LGBTQ-friendly picture books, or lists of books to teach social-emotional learning — and they’re using these resources as book banning target practice.”

Warm Spaces

“They think they’re just having fun. That’s very important – children don’t need to know their parents are stressed”

Alexandra Mitchell, 28, on visiting Chelmsford Library

Local news by authority

  • Bath and North East Somerset – Spread some Christmas cheer and Gift A Book – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Bath & North East Somerset Council’s libraries service is calling for donations of new or nearly new books for its Gift A Book campaign, which last Christmas saw around 3,500 books donated by residents and charities.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Council cannot confirm there will be no cuts to libraries – Argus. ““This indicated potential budget shortfalls of £13 million in the best case, to £21 million at the midpoint, up to £31 million in a worst-case scenario,” said Councillor Martin Osborne, on behalf of the council.”
  • Caerphilly – Popular ‘Managing Money’ event returns to Caerphilly library – Caerphilly Council. “The second Managing Money MOT Day run on November 30th, will include a wide selection of organisations including Caerphilly School Uniform Exchange, Citizen’s Advice, Furniture Revival and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and is looking to replicate its success from September.  There will also be a fantastic budget cooking demonstration with Mrs Shopland, who – along with her talented A-Level Hospitality students from St Martin’s School – will be showing what can be done with Christmas leftover food.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Northwich Library stabilisation work begins this week – Northwich and Winsford Guardian. “Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) has engaged historic building conservation specialist Recclesia Ltd to undertake the first phase of the work.  They will be working alongside structural engineers, specialist scaffolding engineers, Historic England and qualified health and safety advisors.”
  • Cumbria – Millom Community Hub opens with new library for town – ITV. “The Millom Community Hub will now host a library and the town’s adult learning, health and wellbeing team. Copeland Borough Council and Millom School reception will also be based in the hub. New technology and free Wi-Fi has been installed at the library, as well as shelving and a comfortable seating area. A dedicated space for teenagers and a children’s library is also part of the new hub.”

“With soaring inflation and rising costs in fuel, energy, food and mortgages, Nottingham City Libraries have clubbed together to host ‘Cost of Living Cafes’ in their libraries this November. This will give residents the opportunity to meet organisations who can help with energy use, money matters, wellbeing and much more. Plus, tea and coffee will be available as well as children’s activities.”. Free tea and coffee, lego and colouring for children.

Nottingham – Cafes bring communities together in cost of living crisis Email update
  • Powys – Could your child design the new library card for Powys? – Powys Council. “The competition is open to anyone aged between 4 and 16years old and will be split into two age categories: primary school children (aged 4-11), and secondary school children (aged 11-16), with a prize for the winner of each category. One of the winning designs will be chosen to create the new library membership card.”
  • Shropshire – Library’s spooktacular success for Halloween – Shropshire Council. “A Halloween themed party at Market Drayton Library attracted more than 1,000 people through the doors to enjoy a host of seasonal activities – the biggest number ever. The annual Halloween event at the Shropshire Council-run library has gone strength to strength and more and more people are adding it to their social diaries. Hard-working staff and volunteers organised face-painting, games and crafts and a town trail to encourage people to get out and about and explore.”
Nottinghamshire – Adult Reading Scheme