This is going to be the last post before Christmas and so it’s great to see public libraries doing so much great stuff. With the cold weather, the sector is really pushing it’s possibilities as a warm welcoming and neutral space to the fore. I’m loving things like “kindness racks” for people to donate and take clothes, places to recycle those troublesome used batteries, giving hot drinks, providing free activities and free charging of phones. This is full-on final chapter of Christmas Carol stuff but even more so are the library services who have removed fines and the two this week who have either “paused” fining or extended their fines amnesty. All this and we provide fantastic free loan of books too. My gosh what a sector to work for.

So, merry Christmas everyone. Wishing you all the best this festive season. May I wish you many more happy returns (and issues) in 2023.

Changes by local authority

National news

Nick Poole is the only person related to public libraries on the list
  • Green Libraries Conference – CILIP. London, 24 March 2023. “The 2023 Green Libraries Conference aims to connect library staff at all levels to share ideas and insights on environmental understanding and action. A free, one-day event for public libraries in England on the theme of ‘Working Together for People and Planet”
  • Hot drinks, free coats, cold, hungry children: the shocking reality of Britain’s winter ‘warm banks’ – Guardian. “On Thursday, she spent some of the morning at the Gainsborough library in south-east Ipswich, in one of the city’s newly designated warm banks. The modern building is kept heated to 21C; its cafe offers free hot drinks and has a welcoming smell of toast. It feels like a healthier and more cheerful place than her home, where she has been keeping the heating off during the day to save money, and has experimented with keeping some of the windows open in an attempt to stop the spreading mould.”

“… the staff here are proving a new kind of support in a subtle way and their approach seems to be working. People come in to print out a document and stay in the cafe for hot drinks. Rails of free clothes (known as “kindness racks”) are available for visitors to choose whatever they want. On Thursdays, library staff and volunteers pack up bags of pears, potatoes, bananas, apples, peppers and carrots, and sell them for the reduced price of £2. Cartons of free period products have been slotted in between book displays on the library shelves, to make it easy for people to help themselves.”

  • The Knowledge – This a link to subscribe to the free daily email from The Knowledge about current affairs. It’s a short update, and I’ve always found it interesting, with different articles to what normally sees plus some fun stuff. Not much to do with public libraries though. But, if you subscribe through the attached link, I get entered into a prize draw [! – Ed.]
  • North-east family’s donation to help local charity spread message to every UK child – Press and Journal. “It’s hoped, by Christmas, each library in the UK will have a copy of A Friend Just Like Me. The book was written for Ballater organisation A Bear Named Buttony, set up to break the “poo taboo” around stomas, bowel and bladder conditions.”
  • TalkTalk reveals more hybrid workers using libraries to reduce bills – News and Star. “Half of those that have used such alternative venues for work are now doing so for one or two days a week, with further third swapping home for local businesses or libraries three or four days a week.” see full TalkTalk report.
  • A Tube-Style Map Of London Libraries – Londonist. “not only includes 350 libraries, but also provides information about their facilities and how to get between them”
  • Webinars – British Library Living Knowledge Network. ” a series of recorded webinars that cover a wide range of useful topics for library staff. Build your knowledge of evaluating events, death positive libraries, engaging with teenagers and more.”
  • Where to keep warm this winter – BBC Moneybox. “We visit Widnes library and speak to the organisers of the campaign.”

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