The usual repeat story of censorship in libraries is again in the news, with reports on protests to library staff over stock and events plus also the move in the British Library to tag books which may be politically incorrect at the date of tagging. I now remember somewhat fondly those innocent years when librarians could put what they thought was needed on the shelves without worrying about offending someone or being complained about. At least it means that people take what librarians do seriously I guess, although I could have done without the horribly one-sided report on GB News, though, included below.

Otherwise it’s been a quiet and indeed positive week, at least on the surface, with no less than three new libraries in the news. OK, none of them are big, at least one is volunteer staffed and one is community-owned but you can’t have everything I guess. Well, not people taking what you do for granted anyway.


Changes by local authority


National news

  • Calling all bookworms: Manchester is hosting a festival of libraries – Time Out. “Thought the library was dead? Think again. Footfall might have depleted over the last two decades, but a significant number of our public libraries remain alive and well”
  • Councils warned over library cutbacks after staff reductions – Herald Scotland. “New figures, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, reveal that the number of library staff in Scotland has dropped from 1,462 full-time equivalent workers in 2017-18 to just 1,306 by 2021-22. The data comes from the 24 out of 32 Scottish local authorities that provided responses to the requests.” … “Scotland’s Culture Minister has warned local councils to think “extremely carefully” before rolling out cutbacks to libraries after it was revealed the number of library staff has fallen since 2017.”
  • ‘For the first time ever, I worry about doing drag gigs’ – BBC. ““Drag Story Hour looks exactly like any other [event] you would see at a library,” says Jonathan Hamlit, Drag Story Hour’s executive director in the US. “But the reader may look a little more fabulous than your average librarian.”” … “This level of violence has not been seen in the UK, but there have also been protests around drag storytelling events. “Last summer we had over 60 events [in the UK],” says Sab. “Only one of them didn’t have any aggressive people outside shouting at me.””
“To work in a library has always been considered a dull and boring job” … “Are librarians insulting the intelligence of the British public?” … “Obviously this is a waste of money”. GB News covers the British Library decision to flag potentially socially unacceptable terms in their own inimitably unbiased way.
  • Third of UK librarians asked to censor or remove books, research reveals – Guardian. “Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip), the UK’s library and information association, found that a third of librarians had been asked by members of the public to censor or remove books, indicating that such incidences “had increased significantly in recent years”, according to Cilip’s chief executive, Nick Poole. The most targeted books involve empire, race and LGBTQ+ themes.” … “Cilip is in the process of updating the national guidance for librarians in managing stock, spaces, events and activities.” … ” “No librarian should ever be in fear of their wellbeing or safety as a result of doing their job for the public.””
  • Tom Gauld on creating the perfect library – cartoon – Guardian. “Leave?”
  • Why we should (sort of) abolish the poet laureate – Varsity. “We do need someone to stand in solidarity with poetry, but we don’t need them standing on the monarchy’s shoulders. If poetry needs a face, it should be a fresh one.” It should be poetry for the sake of poetry, and for the sake of the people” … ” laureates should take their cues from librarians, not the King”

International news

Local news by authority