Things are already quietening down for Christmas, with the only real theme being a late few library services announcing their Warm Spaces offer. This can range from just mentioning their public libraries exist to, on the other extreme, extending opening hours, providing food and drink, plus advice. In other news, the annual launch of the Universal Library Offers Calendar for next year. I have recently become a convert for long-term planning, having already booked in scores of events for next Summer, so I’ll be looking through this calendar for ideas tomorrow.

There is another theme though, and that’s the lots of positive Scottish news (including from Sean McNamara who is fast becoming some sort of library celebrity). There’s talk of automatic library membership, “lend and mend hubs” and (my perennial favourite) dogs in libraries. Shame it’s so cold up there … well, except in the libraries, obviously.


National news

  • It’s ok to fail. Creating playful learning spaces in libraries – Artefacto. “Practise what you preach and be inventive with your planning. You could even create a forum for your own staff and/or patrons, where participants are free to creatively engage with ideas on building a creative program together. But staff need to feel supported to deliver these innovative programs. There are resources out there to help them, and we’ve picked out a few below …”
  • New drive to make ‘every child’ a library card holder – Herald. “Pamela Tulloch, chief executive of the Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC), said it is working with health professionals to promote information on the benefits of library membership to parents as early as during antenatal care. “What we would like to see is more children joining up as library members at birth,” said Ms Tulloch.”
This gives an opportunity for library services to say what they would use a grant for

Changes by local authority

  • Blackburn With Darwen – Blackburn Library opens for an extra 2 hours every Saturday afternoon and Darwen Library opens for an extra 3 hours every Friday morning (source: email). 

International news

Congratulations to Dave Rowe of Libraries Hacked for winning the data category in the Open:UK Awards

Local news by authority

  • Medway – Medway Libraries’ first international exhibition – Medway Council. “Explore how the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the concept of art at Medway Libraries’ first international exhibition at Chatham Library.”
  • Merton – Health and Wellbeing Zones launched in Merton’s libraries – Merton Council. “More than 700 people, including local GPs, councillors and the Mayor, attended the launch of the new Health and Wellbeing Zones at Morden Library. The zones are now available in all seven of Merton libraries, as part of the MindSpace project. The Health & Wellbeing Zones will give residents access to vital information, exclusive online content, and tech gadgets to help improve their wellbeing.”
  • Nottingham Knitted gift for council leader after libraries saved – West Bridgford Wire. “When they heard that their library is saved, they decided to thank the council by way of thanking Cllr David Mellen, the council leader.  The obvious way was to give him something knitted, and a scarf was made for him. The Basford Knit and Natter Group has contacted David Mellen to ask him when they can present the scarf.”
  • Oxfordshire – Free food waste caddy liners for households – Yahoo Sport. “Householders can pick up a free roll of food waste caddy liners to help deal with the extra food waste expected to be generated over the festive period.”
  • Pembrokeshire – Town library closed ‘until further notice’ – Yahoo News. Essential building maintenance. “Narberth Library is a community managed partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council’s library service, the Friends of Narberth Library and Narberth Town Council. The library will be moving to the Old School site in Narberth late 2023/early 2024.”
  • Sheffield – Zest – Zest – ex-Upperthorpe public library is now a multi-use leisure/community centre. Library has very long opening hours, self-service. Joining also requires “2 proofs of ID”.
  • Suffolk – Gainsborough Library sees rising demand for food support – Ipswich Star. “Earlier this month, Suffolk Libraries launched the Be Kind in Kind campaign to support vulnerable people through a difficult winter. The initiative has seen the charity open all 45 of its libraries – including Gainsborough – to the community, offering a warm space, free hot drinks, kindness rack – so people can pick donated clothes – hygiene products and a safe place to meet people. “Since Suffolk Libraries launched the Be Kind in Kind campaign people have also been coming in to make the most of the hot drinks and our kindness rack,” added Mandy. “
  • Wrexham – Wrexham libraries offer a safe, warm space to visit – Leader.