I wasn’t sure what to write in this week’s editorial – more on Warm Banks (or whatever we call them) perhaps or on the recent austerity-laden budget. But then I read something just below publishing about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It strikes me that libraries can meet all of these needs: self-actualisation (e.g. writing that novel, 3D printer), esteem (e.g. literacy, even owning a library card), social (e.g. knit and natter) and safety (neutral welcoming space). What went without saying until recently is that they provided warmth as well. But now that’s an actual selling point of libraries. And it seems to me that what level councils and library services aim for on the hierarchy is a pretty good indicator of how successful they are, and not just them, but for the society in which they a part of. In which case, it’s pretty low at the moment. But pretty essential too.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Cost of Living crisis: Libraries as warm banks – Dawn of the Unread. “By having multiple purposes, libraries are able to connect with communities that may otherwise not come into contact with books.” … “, the question of whether a library can be a focal point of the community seems to be the least important function at present. The current economic climate means the ambitions, at least in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, are purely physiological, to provide shelter and warmth.  “
  • Digital Leadership for Libraries empowering England’s public library workforce – CILIP. “five open-access, online learning modules created for public library workers, volunteers and apprentices. The modules are intended to create engagement with the principles and values of being a digital leader in the public libraries, unlocking the potential for all public library workers, and their services, to be confident digital leaders.”
  • Health on the High Street: The Role of Public Libraries – DCMS / Gov.uk. 215 people used ” M8 dual function automatic monitor (affectionally nicknamed FRED) which allows customers to accurately measure their height, weight, BMI, heart rate and blood pressure without supervision. They get a printout of the results and the data is also sent to their GP automatically if the customer consents to do so. The pilot was soft launched through local advertising via social media and by library staff and partners talking to their customers.”
  • Libraries vs. the Cost of Living Crisis – Book Riot. Free entertainment, easing financial pressure, warm banks. “While the fact that such a thing as a “warm bank” is necessary is a horrifying indictment of how bad things have become under austerity and late-stage capitalism, it’s reassuring that, once again, libraries are stepping up for their communities. “

International news

  • Iraq – Library Development in Iraq – Re-writing History – CILIP. 13 November, 5pm.
  • Ukraine – Forum on Building Partnership for Ukrainian libraries – Naple Sister Libraries. “Several hundred libraries were fully destroyed or damaged because of Russian missile attacks in Ukraine.
    To rebuild them it needs strong partnerships and ‘sisterships’ from the friendly libraries of Europe. That is why it is organized the Forum on 17 November 11.00-13.00 (Kyiv time) to present the situation of Ukrainian libraries and search for opportunities for cooperation.”
  • USA – They Want to Kill Libraries – Cory Doctorow. “Librarians are kind of upside-down cops: public employees who are stepping in wherever the rest of our services have failed. Cops are some of our highest-paid public servants and their salaries are going up. Librarians get by on a shoestring and their wages are being slashed. Progressives openly call for the police to be defunded — billionaire plutocrats hide their campaign to defund libraries behind groomer hoaxes.”

Local news by authority