A few news pieces catch my eye today. The first is an ex-magistrate sating in the Mail – where else – that libraries could be turned into court venues as they are under-used public buildings. Words fail me sometimes. Sadly, they don’t fail the Mail. Then we have the normal US madness of censorship, with 17 states now considering imprisoning librarians for their stock choices. There’s also a heart-rending story from that torn country about a child, are regular visitor to a library, whose parents decided to play the story-time song at the funeral. Oh my.

The thing that really caught my eye though was news from Ireland. The government there is spending – get this – £21 million to provide 11 new libraries and 12 new mobiles in rural areas. That’s twice as much as the Libraries Improvement Fund right there. But then scale that up to take into account the relative populations and you’d have, if it happened in the UK, £210 million in capital expenditure with 110 new libraries and 120 new mobiles. Then lift your jaw off the floor. Ireland led the way a few years ago in national publicity and national initiatives like removing all fines and now it is apparently reaping the benefits.

National news

International news

“Founded in 1905 under segregation, Louisville’s Western Library helped lay the foundation of Black librarianship in the U.S. The oldest library in the U.S. run independently by and for African Americans, Western was also the earliest training ground of Black librarians from around the South.”
  • USA – 17 States Are Considering Laws That Would Imprison Librarians – Vanity Fair. “Ron DeSantis has been forced to limit certain Floridians to only one book-banning attempt per month.”
    • Beloved Bunny’s Death Shows How Libraries Help Parents – Ms Magazine. “rather than forcing children to think a certain way, libraries help us find our words in life’s most challenging moments.”. When a child passed away who was a regular attender at story-time, ““They sang the goodbye song from story-time” at the funeral.
    • Does The Future of Libraries – or Narrative Itself – Include Books? – Indiana Public Media. Podcast. Book issues down. Non-fiction section “irrelevant” in age of the internet. More library events. “more librarians now have a performance mindset”. People are still reading but doing it digitally. Libraries “are for bringing people together in a free and open space”.
    • It’s Time to Take a Hard Look at Public Libraries – Cato. “Like local post offices, neighborhood libraries once served an important community function but are now becoming increasingly irrelevant. And, as with post offices, libraries continue to receive funding because they enjoy support from a relatively small but vocal segment of the population, while the rest of us are usually too reluctant to question their utility.”
    • The Week in Libraries: April 26, 2024 – Publishers Weekly. “a deadline looms for federal library funding; the FCC votes to restore net neutrality rules; Maryland passes a law designed to discourage book bans; and why Alabama librarians are feeling exhausted”

Local news by authority

  • Barnsley – Book festival attracts more than 3,000 visitors – Rotherham Advertiser. “saw locals enjoy a packed schedule including 49 library and six partner events and 42 authors and artists.”
  • Birmingham – Future of Birmingham’s libraries sparks row as campaigners pledge action – Express and Star. “Asked why steps were not taken to notify ward councillors and communities in good time of the consultation programme, cabinet member Saima Suleman responded: “There were some online consultations that were registered last week which I believe councillors were not informed of.” … ” in Hall Green, residents gathered once again on Saturday for a ‘read-in’ at the local library – following similar events elsewhere in the city. The demonstration was attended by over 100 people, spanning all ages and backgrounds, as well as authors and renowned woodcarver Graham Jones.”
Blaenau Gwent. Musical “Nye” has public library scene