Things change and libraries change. I was training a new member of the team this week and went through everything that had changed since I started in public libraries in the same area (not the same council – that’s one of the changes) back in the 1990s. It included library moves, opening hour changes (usually for the better, thankfully), story-times, the Summer Reading Challenge, self-service machines, people’s network computers, cafes, rhyme-times, baby bounce, reading groups, printing and a little thing called the internet. That last has revolutionised everything else, including what books we stock and how to display them, not least changing staffing needs. None of this is bad, and much of it is good, but the key is … imagine if we hadn’t changed? What a dinosaur library service we’d have been, and there’d have been complaints. And rightly. The latest thing I’m enjoying is the powerful combination of online event booking combined with posts linking to them in local facebook groups. Wow. What an impact that has had, including attracting people into the library who would never have thought about visiting before. And this makes think – not changing these days would be the biggest change of all. Change is not even really a choice any more. Lack of change would be very difficult and lead to, ironically, a great change in how we are seen. That’s not to say all change is good. Not change is not bad either. And that’s good, because the only thing that stays the same in this world is that things change.

That was going to be my whole editorial this week but I need to add something else. When I was starting out in the public library blogging hobby back in 2010, there were a few people that really helped me. One of those was Shirley Burnham, a library campaigner from Swindon with wonderfully pro-library and unbending views. She made me look positively lukewarm on libraries by comparison. So it’s with great sadness that I see she passed away at the start of the year. I will miss her and I can’t see that changing for a while.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Celebrating 125 years of CILIP Chartership – CILIP. “In celebration of the 125th anniversary of our Royal Charter, we are launching The CILIP 125 List, to recognise and honour a new generation of librarians, information and knowledge management professionals who drive positive change, making a difference and having an impact across all sectors.”
  • CILIPS Annual Conference 2023 – CILIPS. “The largest conference in Scotland for library and information professionals, CILIPS23 will bring together colleagues from across the country and beyond to share knowledge, network and engage in professional development. Hosted by CILIPS President Richard Aird and taking place on 5th and 6th June 2023 at the Dundee Apex Hotel, our Annual Conference will feature inspiring keynote speeches, impactful parallel sessions, a range of networking opportunities and much more.”
  • Getting started with open data – Libraries Data Blog. “Last week I was asked how a public library service could get started with publishing open data, and where to look to make it good. There aren’t many library services publishing data (yet!), and it can be a daunting task for a service to get started. For libraries, it’s still leading in innovation rather than jumping on a bandwagon. Firstly …”
  • Libraries Activity Data – Libraries Connected. 23 February, 1pm, webinar. “We are analysing libraries’ activity data on a monthly basis and benchmarking this against broader data from High Streets and other areas. Join us for a discussion on what the data shows, what it means and provide your own insight from the library services to make our analysis a much richer picture.”
  • The Story Detective Will Tour to Libraries Across the UK in 2023 – Broadway World. “An immersive promenade dance performance, The Story Detectives takes children and their families on an imaginative journey through the library to discover different kinds of books, from a detective book to an adventure book, a dictionary to a fairy tale, led by two characters Playful and Particular.”

International news

  • AustraliaPublic Libraries and the public good: How Australian public libraries are a core to local government presence – Medium. “hile the three Rs are essential to the operation of society, the provision of public library services can be seen as critical for local governments in providing a human face to council services and one of the only few spaces where the notion of community is fostered and thrived.”
  • Canada – How the North Bay Public Library is spicing things up – TVO. ” the North Bay Public Library also offers patrons the chance to participate in a special kind of club: anyone with a library card can pick up a free Spice of the Month kit containing a spice portion (like ginger in December, cumin in January, and paprika in February) and a simple recipe — four-ingredient cardamom muffins or ginger-molasses cookies, for example — so they can try the spice at home. NBPL makes around 30 to 40 kits to hand out to library-goers on a first-come, first-serve basis. “
  • Finland – Eventful year in the Iisalmi City Library – NAPLE Sister Libraries. “the project wants to turn the library space into an active forum of public debate and other activities connected to promoting democracy. “
  • USA – Publishers Want to End How Libraries Lend Books Online – Medium. ” “publishers will continue to sue libraries over digital practices that were long considered fair uses in the physical world — even if they are done on a nonprofit basis with no measurable economic harm.””

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Libraries ‘won’t face funding cuts’ but may be moved in Birmingham says council leader – Birmingham Mail. “The report said the expected budget gap for the period 2023/24 would be £80 million, rising to as much as £146.5 million in 2026/27. The council is expected to try and save £48 million this year.” … “Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham city council, denied libraries will be cut. Instead, he argued the services will be “reconfigured”.”
  • Brighton and Hove – ‘How can cutting Hove Library opening hours be allowed?’ – Yahoo News / Letters. “Now comes news that the shutting of Hove Library on a Saturday is under consideration. How can this be allowed? Provision of libraries is of course a statuary obligation and to close the doors on a Saturday could be described as discrimination.”
  • Bury – Bury readers can now borrow books across Greater Manchester – Bury Times. “The borough has joined the shared Greater Manchester Library Management System, giving people in Bury the choice to borrow 4m books and other items.”
  • Cardiff – Mass read-in protest against Council’s decision to library cuts – Inter Cardiff. “The council is planning to staff the library with unpaid volunteers and change the library opening times but this is a huge problem during the cost of living crisis, according to Adam Johannes, a representative for Cardiff People’s Assembly.” … “There are currently no libraries that are threatened to close but the campaigners fear that often services are cut and run down and then it leads to less people using them, which then is used as an argument in the future to shut them down. Adam says, “The basis of a true democracy is the library.””
  • Derby – Future looking brighter for Derby libraries as £415,000 is budgeted to keep them open – Derby Telegraph. “Derby’s 10 community-managed libraries are set to remain open – potentially for the next 12 months – while expressions of interest from community groups, charities and other organisations are processed. Initially, the city council cabinet was set to approve a plan which would see them operate with certainty until the end of July but a late addendum has now indicated they will remain open longer at a cost to the council of £415,000.”
  • East Riding – Business Start-Up Day at Bridlington Central Library on 22 February – East Riding Council. “The free event is run by East Riding Libraries with the BIPC Humber Partnership. BIPC centres offer free access to millions of pounds’ worth of business and intellectual property information and provide business events, workshops, one-to-one expertise and the space to research, develop and grow in a trusted and accepting space.”
  • Temporary closure of Goole Library – East Riding Council. “The works involve the redevelopment of the existing library, in order to accommodate Goole Customer Service Centre and Opportunity Goole, part of the Goole Town Deal. The new site will have an improved layout, the addition of two private customer interview rooms and the creation of a Contact Centre facility to answer telephone calls to the council’s main telephone line.”
  • East Sussex – Amnesty held for overdue library books in East Sussex – BBC. “The seven-week amnesty runs from 13 February to 31 March, when all fines will be waived by the library service for any books returned.”
  • Fife – Therapets added to Fife library to help young children read with confidence – Fife Today. “Cuddling in with a Therapet such as Jilli can boost the ability of those who get a little tongue-tied or struggle when asked to read out loud.”
  • Capel Library celebrates its seventh year of Community Cinema – Suffolk Libraries. “The Community Cinema has been organised by the Friends of Capel Library since 2016 and regularly hosts new and popular films in the library each month. The audience are invited to vote for which film they would like to see next at each event.”
    • Lakenheath Library to change opening hours this week – Suffolk Libraries. “The changes will benefit local people by providing longer opening hours on busier days to meet local demand. The library will close earlier on Friday evenings when the library has been quieter and will be open for the same number of hours overall.”
    • Pre-loved clothing sale and fashion show at Chantry Library – Suffolk Libraries. “The event aims to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote sustainable clothing whilst also raising funds for Suffolk Libraries. Chantry Library is also looking for any stallholders interested in hosting a stall to sell pre-loved clothes, new jewellery or cosmetics.”
  • West Northamptonshire – Start Up Day 2023 at Northampton Central Library – West Northamptonshire Council. ” a day of free workshops, motivational talks, networking and mentoring to give you the know-how to turn your business dream into a reality, whilst navigating a post-pandemic world.” Business and IP Centre.
  • Wirral – Plans to close nine libraries, play groups and iconic leisure centre thrown out – Liverpool Echo. “Plans to close nine libraries, playgroups and a leisure centre have been thrown out by councillors after a tense Wirral Council meeting.” … “The proposals will now be debated by all councillors on February 27 and looks likely to pass with support from the Liberal Democrats and the Greens who voted to move the budget forward with Labour.”
  • York – Dringhouses Library – York Explore. “Dringhouses Library will be closed from Monday 13 February until the end of the month. Average temperatures inside the library of only 10 degrees during the cold weather mean it is uncomfortable for staff and volunteers working in the building. We know how important this library is to our local community. We will keep the situation under constant review and aim to have the library back open as soon as it is safe to do so.”