Interesting mixture of news from GLL’s several library services this week. On the one hand, three of their library workers are up for national awards, it’s been confirmed that they are continuing to run Dudley’s libraries and there’s a nice refurbishment in Bromley. On the other, there’s strike action in their Bromley and Greenwich library services, with ““low pay and shoddy working practices” being cited. Away from them. there’s a refurbishment in Staffordshire and protest moves against the huge cuts in Birmingham. There’s also a positive news article written by CILIP on the Business and IP Centres out now in the Big Issue.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • British Library did the right thing by not paying cybercriminals – Guardian / Letters. “At the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of GCHQ, we have long shared the view of our law enforcement partners that paying ransoms should not be condoned, encouraged or endorsed. Doing so does not guarantee a return of access to data or computers, and in fact makes it more likely that the victim will be targeted in future.”
  • CILIP Conference – CILIP. 10-11 July, Birmingham. “Intellectual Freedom will form our headline theme, but per our leadership remit, we will also explore wider challenges and opportunities within our sector.”
  • CILIP North West Away Day and AGM 2024 – CILIP. 17 April, Liverpool. Speaker is Andrew Walsh, neurodivergent librarian, trainer, and National Teaching Fellow.
  • For The Love of Literacy 2024 – Better World Books. Webinar, 27 March 11am. “Join us on Wednesday 27th March at 11am, for 45 minutes, to meet some of our literacy grant and book donation recipients. They’ll tell you about their exciting projects and how our partnership will help achieve their project aims.”
  • Future of Scotland’s Libraries – RSE / Eventbrite. Wednesday 17 April, Edinburgh. “being asked to deal with challenges such as the cost-of-living crisis, book-banning requests, misinformation, the need for climate emergency awareness and more, and all of this in the face of growing budget challenges.”
  • GLL library staff nominated for prestigious awards – GLL. “Nominations and categories are as follows – Gill Nutkins, Stock Librarian, Bromley Libraries “Nominated for her dedication to making library services more accessible to people with additional needs.”. Loretta Awuah, Strategic Business Support Manager, Greenwich, Bromley and Wandsworth Libraries “Nominated for creating the business support section in Greenwich and delivering the British Library SILL (Start Up in London Libraries) programme”. Georgina Carr, Partnership Marketing Programme Owner, Lincolnshire Libraries “Nominated for championing online improvements and bringing in innovative ideas which have enhanced the customers’ experience”
  • Libraries closing across the UK: What could the future hold – BBC Newsround. “Since 2010 nearly 800 libraries across the UK have closed, and visitor numbers have dropped too. A recent report looked at how libraries in England might be different in the future. So Emma-Louise went to meet some children and author, and Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho, to find out what they want from libraries.”
  • More than 100 Bromley and Greenwich library workers to strike next week over pay – News Shopper / Yahoo. Union leader says “There are severe injustices that come with zero hours contracts and a so-called social enterprise should be ashamed to use them. “Our members are ready to fight for better pay and working conditions and we are right behind them.””
  • SLIC CEO Announces Retirement – Scottish Library and Information Council. Pamela Tulloch “A powerful and articulate advocate for libraries, during her time as chief executive she has grown and cemented the role that libraries play in all areas of social, cultural and political life, with successful and robust community initiatives which have had an impact on both the provision of funding and clear strategic lead.”
  • Spine Festival: Bringing poetry to South London’s libraries – London News Online. ACE funded. “Libraries in Lewisham, Southwark, Bromley and Wandsworth will be taking part in the festival, hosting performances across the next month. Each poet has been selected to create three relatable and fun creative writing workshops for their community’s children, exploring the themes of magic and imagination. “
  • They’re in everyone’s good books: Two librarians on shortlists for awards – London News Online. “Two dedicated and hardworking staff members at ‘Better’ libraries covering Bromley, Greenwich and Wandsworth have been shortlisted for distinguished awards from ‘Libraries Connected’.”
  • Want to rebuild the UK economy, Jeremy Hunt? Start with our beautiful public libraries – Big Issue. Jo Cornish of CILIP writes on Business and IP Centres in public libraries: “Over a three-year period (2016-2019), these centres helped no fewer than 12,388 business to launch – nearly half of which were in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. Over the same period these ‘library start-ups’ generated £239m in additional sales, creating 7,800 new jobs in the process.”. These businesses were demographically diverse.
  • What’s the point of libraries? – Unison. “Library activists from Walsall and Hampshire explain the reality behind the stats that funding has been decimated and libraries are closing at an alarming rate” … ““It’s people in the cracks in society, without a support network around them, those are who rely on libraries.””

International news

Local news by authority

  • Bournemouth Christchurch Poole – BCP Council cuts hard copy newspapers in libraries – Daily Echo. “BCP Council has made the decision to cut all physical copies in its 24 libraries across the conurbation, saving the authority around £15,000 a year. Instead, around 1,000 newspapers will still be available digitally with the usual national papers and the Bournemouth Echo. ” … “Hours are set to be cut by an average of 10 hours a week, at each library, from April, which could save the authority £440,200.”
  • Bradford – Family fun at Bradford Libraries this Easter – Rombalds Radio. “Libraries will be reading stories and singing rhymes and there will be craft activities including making fluffy bunnies, designing Easter eggs, decorating bird houses, building Easter baskets, and creating Easter plant pots.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Changes to Hove Library archive stock collection – Brighton and Hove Council. “our libraries will be looking to sell a part of the archive stock collection through public auction. All funds raised from sales will be put aside for future spending on Hove Library.”
  • Bromley – Refurbishment of Southborough Library to begin soon – Bromley Council. “The council is undertaking an extensive repair programme across nine of the borough’s libraries, investing over £10m over the course of two years. The programme will deliver essential repairs to the libraries and seek to provide improved accessibility and sustainability throughout the buildings. The £500k refurbishment of Southborough Library will include a comprehensive repair programme with end of life materials replaced and repairs made to the building’s infrastructure, as well as new public access toilets with baby changing facilities.”
    • ‘Appalling’ GLL is facing strike by library workers in Bromley – Inside Croydon. “Library workers in Bromley are to take strike action over “low pay and shoddy working practices”, according to their union, Unite.” … “The union says that they employ library workers on zero hours contracts and implement “policies that do not align with local government conditions”.” … “, pay awards would have been higher if staff were still in-house.””
  • Croydon – Exploring the vague proposals on the table for Croydon’s libraries – Save Croydon Libraries. “The proposal and the consultation use misleading language, expressed in overly-positive terms, about changes that will purportedly improve access to libraries. What is being proposed is so vague that it is very difficult to understand what is really intended. For example, a ‘community book collection’ could mean anything: a box of random donated books; a shelf of library books in the corner of a post office, pub, or church hall; or a more comprehensive, well-curated offer in a large inclusive space. Self-service could mean self-service checking in and out of books, or it could refer to fully staffless ‘self-”
    • £51,000pa saved on library won’t touch council’s £1.6bn debt – Inside Croydon. “since 2019, our libraries service has had it budget reduced by more than £800,000 and opening hours have been reduced. Now, they’re at it again and Sanderstead and three other Croydon libraries are earmarked for closure as part of proposed changes. I suspect I’m not the only one who sees the cruel irony of London’s Borough of Culture proposing such an act of cultural vandalism.”
  • Darlington – Record numbers make a beeline for new look library – Darlington Council. “Among the new innovations which has proved most popular since the library reopened last September has been The Hive, a cutting-edge space designed to ignite curiosity and fascination in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) activities. After securing a £30,000 grant from LibraryOn, Darlington libraries teamed up with North East company Fuzzy Logic Studio to improve its online presence and engagement. The Hive boasts an interactive wall mural …”
  • Derby – Council invites bids to run Derby’s ten community libraries – Derby Council. “Derby City Council is inviting organisations to formally register their interest in running the city’s ten community libraries as a Trust.” … “As part of their application, organisations need to show that they have the knowledge, experience, and resources or support to manage the buildings or spaces to deliver a range of services, including library provision.”
  • Dudley – Books will be on sale at Stourbridge Library for just 25p – Halesowen News.
    • GLL to continue providing Dudley library service – Dudley Council. “Following a competitive tender process, the charitable social enterprise has been awarded the contract for the day-to-day management of the 13 libraries and Dudley Archives and Local History Service. GLL, which has been running Dudley’s libraries and archives since 2017, is committed to continuing to maintain and build on the service for borough residents. It is currently planning an official launch in the coming months of Brierley Hill Library, following it’s £670,000 refurbishment, and later this year will be launching the GLL Literary Foundation, which will support talented authors who are based near local libraries.”
  • Gloucestershire – Exciting event to return and library gets another funding win – Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard. “To help with the annual operating costs of the Library, the Gloucestershire County Councillor for Fairford and Lechlade-on-Thames, Dom Morris has announced that a one-off grant of £2,000 will be paid to the Library alongside the existing annual £10,000 at the start of this financial year and is to be used at the discretion of the Library volunteers to assist with any increased costs.”
  • Essex – Update on new Shenfield Library – Essex Council. “A topping out ceremony has marked a key milestone in the construction of Shenfield’s new library. The project will deliver a modern library and commercial space. Nine high quality apartments will be for sale above.”
  • Hampshire – North Baddesley Community Library raises more than £150 – Hampshire Chronicle. “Money raised will go towards buying replacement book shelves and new large print books which are popular among local readers.”. A further jigsaw sale is planned.
  • Kirklees – Kirklees Council set to sell off buildings and land to plug £47m deficit – BBC News. “Also on the list is the former Almondbury Library and community facilities including the DRAM Sport and Community Centre at Dalton.”
  • Knowsley – Teenage Writing Competition at Knowsley’s Libraries – Knowsley News. “Knowsley Libraries are running a writing competition for aspiring teenage writers. You can write a short story, poetry, a script or even a novel in any genre, the only criteria is that it should be an original piece of work and should be no more than 2,000 words in length”
  • Leicester – UK council won’t say whether two-week ‘cyber incident’ impacted resident data – Register. “Libraries and community centers remain open, and waste services continue to operate as normal, but access to public computers, Wi-Fi, and printing is down. “
  • Lincolnshire – Lincolnshire librarian in line for prestigious award – Lincolnshire World. “Georgina – who is the Partnership Marketing Programme Manager in the region – has been nominated for championing online improvements and bringing in innovative ideas which have enhanced the customers’ experience. These include a bespoke video sharing customers’ library stories, integrated catalogue functions, and room and activity booking facilities within the website.”
  • Manchester‘Unique’ south Manchester library set for major revamp – with closures announced – Manchester Evening News. “Chorlton Library will undergo a revamp, with work starting later this month. Once it fully reopens next year, the grade-II listed building will boast new meeting rooms, longer opening hours, and improved stonework and windows.”
  • North East Lincolnshire – Review of library and archive service across North East Lincolnshire closing this week – North East Lincolnshire Council. “The first stage of the review of library and archive services across North East Lincolnshire is coming to a close at the end of this week with nearly 600 people already having contributed their views. The current statutory library service and archive service is operated by Lincs Inspire Ltd …” … “The results of the first stage of consultation will inform proposals about how the services may look in the future, which will be the subject of the second stage of consultation, likely to be released in the late spring or summer of 2024.”
  • Nottingham – Nottingham library opening delayed after contractor goes bust – West Bridgford Wire. “The opening of the revamped Sherwood Library has been hampered by the collapse of a construction company and subsequent “snagging issues” – but remains on target for the summer.”
  • Redcar and Cleveland – ‘Let’s not remove the magic’: Pleas fail as council agrees library cuts – Darlington and Stockton Times / Yahoo. “The council said it received interest from 112 people who would like to become a library volunteer, while a number of organisations indicated that they would be interested in taking over Laburnum or Dormanstown Library buildings.”
  • Sandwell – CBeebies Bedtime Stories chair comes to Sandwell – Sandwell Council. “The chair will be located in Central Library, West Bromwich, for the next few months before being a tour around other libraries in Sandwell later this year. CBeebies Bedtime Stories legacy reading corners are being introduced at libraries in Sandwell, Leeds, Blackpool, Hartlepool, Leicester, Brent and Somerset.”
  • Somerset – New library scheme tackles abuse against women in Somerset – County Gazette / Yahoo. “Purple chairs are being installed in libraries across Somerset to provide a beacon of safety for women and girls. The “Purple Chair Scheme” will aim to provide safe spaces for women and girls across the county to get information about health and wellbeing, along with support and resources to help with any difficult circumstances.”
  • Somerset Libraries Neurodiversity books – Somerset Apple. “The collection includes 50 books and aims to provide ‘something for everyone’ including books for children, young people, adults, parents, women and those without an official diagnosis but who experience neurodivergent traits.”
    • Performing arts library in firing line of council cuts – BBC. “Somerset’s only performing arts library is facing closure as the council looks to save money. Located on the second floor of Yeovil library, the “unique” performing arts section offers music and drama study resources to the public. But Somerset Council is considering its removal from the Statutory Library Services.”
South Lanarkshire
  • Staffordshire – Burton Library set to undergo £1.3m refurb with extensive improvements – Staffordshire Council. “An allocation of £265,000 was secured from the Government’s Libraries Improvement Fund with Staffordshire County Council investing the remainder.” … “The refurbishment will involve repurposing the ground floor of the library into a vibrant, multi-purpose, accessible and inclusive space. It will include a flexible creative area for social activity and community learning which could be used by a range of groups and learning providers.”
  • Suffolk – Know Another Mocktail EventSuffolk Libraries. “Know Another is our new drink-awareness campaign to help you understand your alcohol intake and get advice to help cut down.”
    • Suffolk Libraries Day is coming – Suffolk Libraries. “libraries across Suffolk are hosting events and activities to raise money to support the vital work of the organisation in nurturing children’s literacy, tackling isolation and promoting wellbeing.” … “Suffolk Libraries Day has been running since 2019 and has so far raised over £50,000 to support Suffolk Libraries work in the community.”
  • Swindon – Swindon borough and parish councils to work more closely – Swindon Advertiser / Yahoo News. “One major service could be libraries. Cllr Grant’s report says:” There are five core libraries delivered by the borough council which forms part of the council’s statutory service and nine community libraries delivered by parish councils or community organisations, with agreed services such as stock management and training delivered by the borough council library service. As part of planning for sustainable delivery of library services, the council will explore the opportunities for further collaborative arrangements between the councils with regard to the future delivery of library services.””
  • Warwickshire – Warwickshire Libraries celebrates Shakespeare Week with pre-school ‘Storytelling with Shakespeare’ sessions – Warwickshire Council.
  • West Berkshire – New Thatcham Library part of wider regeneration plan for Brownsfield Road site – Newbury Today. “West Berkshire Council has allocated £1.2m in its budget for next year for a new build under ‘Thatcham Library’.”
  • West Northamptonshire – Self-funded community library calls for volunteers – BBC. Roade: “Without our volunteers it just wouldn’t exist. “You can have the funds but unless you’ve got the people to staff the library you are nowhere really.” The library is open Wednesday to Saturday and there are two volunteers at every session.”
  • Wolverhampton – Residents offered free health checks in libraries – BBC / Yahoo. “City of Wolverhampton Council said health monitors had been installed so people could also measure their height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and heart rate. No appointments are required and the checks are free and confidential, the authority said. Results are printed on a slip of paper for users to take away with them.”